Character Thursday-The Factions of the Refining Field

Since the disappearance of Korgaran, Grethgan’s followers in the Refining Field have become isolated from the central diocese and it’s doctrines. Grethgan himself has visited them only infrequently and for brief moments. As a result, arguments about the doctrines of Grethgan have gone unresolved among them. Three factions have formed, primarily over their varying interpretations of Grethgan‘s resistance to the advancement of technology. This small difference of opinion impacts everything from their military traditions to their life styles. The factions are The Slagists, The Compromists, and The Pragmatists.

The Slagists

This faction takes a hard line on technology with an opposition to all tools including weapons. Their population is entirely Minotaurs, Orcs, and Humans. They are primarily Brawlers, though some are Magic-users or Fighters training to become Battle Mages despite the lack of weaponry. There is a handful of Druids, mostly orcs, and the faction is led by an orcish Druid->Priest. He’s not above bias; the druids and orcs get special treatment and privileges in the faction.

Without tools, the Slagists are consigned to live in a series of natural caverns where water and mushroom fields were already present. The ceiling is low in many places and all but the shortest among them must crouch or even crawl to reach parts of the caverns. They live primarily on meat that they roast over lava flows in their cavern. Disease in the faction is fought off by magic when it becomes serious.

The Compromists

This faction believes that the prohibition is only against modern tools. After all, Grethgan is often mentioned to have wielded a great axe in combat in his history. He even used a tree as a lever to open the Grethik Volcano in Grethgan: Fire Freer. In battle, the members of the faction wield stone and wooden weapons: clubs, spears, axes, and javelins.

The Compromists are predominantly Human and have a wide variety of warriors, including a large Berserker caste that leads them. They have a smaller priest caste that watches over the texts of Grethgan in their crude library.

They claim to occupy the original chambers of the Priests of Grethgan when the Refining Fields were a center of worship and pilgrims visited frequently. Given their control of the sacred texts present in the ritual ground and their nearness to Grethgan‘s Altar, there is no evidence to refute this claim. They use crude shovels and pick axes to expand the caverns as they need for their population and cultivate fair sized mushroom gardens. They’ve also expanded their springs and live very healthily.

The Pragmatists

This faction claims that Grethgan‘s opposition was only to the advancement of technology, and as he adopted the best weapons available to him in his time, they too have a duty to fight for his cause with the best tools available to them.

Most of the Drow and Gnomes in the ritual ground are members of the Pragmatists. These skilled fighters and tinkerers are a catalyst, but not the body, behind the culture of the faction. The faction lives in chambers of worked stone with several artificial springs. They have a forge where they make weapons and tools including crossbows, swords, and digging equipment. They have a large mushroom field that yields more crop than the other two factions combined, but they also hunt and trap meat more easily. They eat far better than the others.

They are digging because they have higher ambitions than the other factions in their service of Grethgan. Given the incredible difficulty of assembling the tokens needed to reach the Vault of Six (they can’t even find Grethgan‘s), they are trying to get in more directly. So far their efforts have been stymied.

The three factions oppose each other, but they generally keep to themselves and skirmishes are pretty rare between the factions. Most of their fighting takes place around Grethgan‘s Altar where they all sacrifice. Sometimes their hunting parties will meet, but usually enough Fire Drakes are between their territories to feed their numbers. The wandering of the dragon makes much travel in large groups dangerous and they never risk attacks on each other.

How would you deal with the social puzzle of the three Grethgan factions? Would you play them against each other? Would you help one of them? Which one would you be most willing to work with? Let us know in the comments below.  

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