Description: A people that make craft of war, the Mercenary Clans of the Grellken are utilize natural-born might and a lifetime of training to carve out a bloody reputation across Midworld. Those who meet these Trolls and Minotaurs are often cowed by their strength and their savage countenances before being surprised by their discipline and weapon skill.
Symbol: The Mercenary Clans are too diverse and too independent to united under one flag. Many Clanless Grellken wear no sigil or wear the symbol of their faith upon their person.
Endless War –When not doing chores for the Clan, the Grellken spend almost all of their time fighting and training to fight. Even their leisure activities keen their bodies and minds for the battle to come, appearing more like exercise, sparring or weapon training rather than entertainment. The dances of the Grellken are adapted from weapon postures and formation movements. Their songs are war chants, songs of triumph and laments for the fallen. This means that when Grellken analyze any situation or conflict, they see winners and losers, maneuvers and upsets, weaknesses and strengths.
Obey Orders — The greatest sin for the Grellken is not retreat but the failure to follow the orders of their commanding officer. Disobedience is harshly punished. Desertion involves ritual execution as inflicted by one’s own family or comrades-in-arms.
This adherence to the command structure is less an inability to be independent but a hard-earned acceptance of a single truth: a group fighting together and cooperative is far more than the sum of its parts. For all their personal resilience and weaponcraft (or spellcraft), the Grellken rightfully realize that they are nothing without their comrades and their comrades are nothing without them. This is why desertion is so harshly punished: the sin committed is against the very comrades and family members that depend on one’s presence.
Might makes right: With a life of constant battle, Grellken tend to follow strong leaders and have little patience for weak ones. This is made especially important by the fact that in most Clans, some officer positions can be won by challenging and dueling the one’s superior officer. Even the highest position of Chieftain-General is not a hereditary one — it is a rank earned through blood and skill.
This is why a Grellken is willing to accept being shamed by those they view as superior and are willing to ignore those they view as inferior (unless tasked to do otherwise by a superior officer). However, this also means that they recognize the fact that great power is attainable and are therefore willing to work hard to reap those rewards. This makes them terribly confused and frustrated with cultures where one’s rank in life is determined by heritage or bureaucracy rather than actual skill.
Discipline vs. Emotion — Despite their military training and conditioning, keeping one’s emotions in check is still a battle for most Grellken. Rage, hunger — these are all things that a Grellken must control. Oftentimes, this means that an aspect might slip past the Grellken’s cool — eyes might narrow in anger, lips might be licked in hunger and shoulders might shake in laughter. Regardless of whether it shows or not, a true Grellken does not give their emotions control.
No Free Fights — For many Grellken, their profession is soldiery and they refuse to fight unless the need is absolute. This means that Grellkens fight for coin or food, but also for self-defense. Honor is an abstract thing to them, some Grellken may fight when provoked or taunted but others will pay no heed to biting wordplay or only respond in kind.
Feast upon the strong — The need to eat is a powerful desire for the Troll and Minotaur Races. Many Grellken instead channel their primal needs into ritual and ceremony. Eating the flesh of the fallen is giving them respect; by eating something, you allow them to become part of you. This is especially true for strong foemen, whose strength can taken by a feasting Grellken. Some Grellken refuse to eat certain defeated enemies because they don’t believe they deserve to gain their strength (i.e. they won by luck) or because they don’t want to corrupt their own strength with their foe’s weakness.
Clan Token — In addition to a Grellken’s nuclear family, the upbringing of a Grellken is also assisted and instructed by the entire Clan. Thus, many war-eaters highly treasure the lives and safety of their fellow Clanmates. And because a Clan’s success is both integral to their upbringing and aided by their own labors, almost all Grellken take pride in their Clans. This is especially true for those that have been adopted into a Clan rather than being born into one — for these warriors, the difficulty of their initiation allows them to take pride in their success and thus, grow closer to the Clan that they currently call home. They show this pride through the wearing of Clan symbols and the recitation of clan lores.
Accent: Due to their nomadic natures, the Grellken don’t truly have an accent they call their own. Like the Riverfolk, they tend toward a mish-mash of words and cultures.
Names: The names of Grellken Trolls and Minotaurs tend to follow names that call to the ancient tribal communities of old. These names are usually 2 to 3 syllables long and embody a characteristic, an ancestor or a hero that the parents of a child want them to emulate.
Male: Ammon, Bhasa, Esu, Ghasai, Kardul, Marsok, Rakat, Turuk, Urgulu, Zaal
Female: Akan, Dhasai, Eryu, Gaani, Khala, Lirii, Malia, Sandasi, Yondari, Zainu
Clan Names: Bone-eater, Cloudwalker, Gorefang, Sharptooth, Rockstomper
Major Clan Names: Bloodscreamer, Firerunner, Laughing-tree, Longhorn, White-mamba
The Grellken are a mish-mash of different tribal cultures, interwoven with a harsh world-view and stringent military discipline. However their religion and some of their practices resemble that of the African faith, with a few references to the Voudoun spirituality.