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The Glorious Society of Progenitors
More than a thousand years ago, the Wizards of the School of Metamorphosis set out to magically create the perfect slaves. They decided that, rather than simply enslaving other humans on a massive scale, they would combine humans with animals, selecting for useful traits in each 'breed' or line of what would become beastfolk.
Manipulation on this scale was, at the time, unprecedented, and early experiments resulted in abominations that were either experimented upon further or simply euthanized.
One of these early results were what were colloquially called "Mongrelmen" - humanoids in whom the magically-grafted animal traits did not integrate well. Though many proved quite useful and even intelligent, they were so disfigured that the powerful Sascrian magocrats did not want them used.
Another early result of another line of experimentation were Lycanthropes, humanoids theoretically able to transition form human to animal forms, most of them combat-oriented, intended to be augmented super-soldiers. They were not able to control their change, however, and proved to be too volatile.
What is not commonly known is that a number of these "failed" experiments were able to escape. They slowly gathered, constantly fleeing Sascrian hunters seeking to return the "lost property". Over time, these newly freed humanoids took to finding refuge below ground.
Over time, their numbers grew.
In contrast to the experience of slavery in the Sascrian magocracy, the Mongrelmen and Lycanthropes sought to create a new kind of society of their own. They sought a radical egalitarianism in wihch everything was shared equally and decisions were made by way of simple majority vote among all adult members of the community.
As the generations passed and their numbers grew, this germ of an idea grew into the Glorious Society, an egalitarian meritocracy divided into theoretically equal work-castes. They have colonized a number of underground ruins and abandoned complexes, including mysterious ruins that apear to be incredibly ancient - more than ten thousand years old in some cases - with some places where indecipherable writing can be found, or artifacts whose function is long-lost to time.
In the aftermath of the Collapse, the Glorious Society, numbering in the thousands, is slowly realizing that it is suddenly at a great advantage compared to it's old enemy, the Sascrian magocracy. Objects and spell-effects undergound have somehow survived the effects of the Collapse - which means that the few powerful Society spellcasters have had a far easier time adapting to the new conditions, and all magical items posessed by members of the Society are fully intact.
This is not good for Sascrians, but they have not yet realized the full scale of the threat.
This is the spot for us to work out who exactly it is living beneath the ground.
I like the idea very much that we are discussing over on the Timeline page - that resistors and insurgents have built a pseudo-communist society beneath the ground, and that their supposed utopia is just as ambivalent as the Sascrian Magocracy.
I also like the idea of reworking Mongrelmen - better name, better write-up, more variety (maybe work-castes?).
Possibly instead of Mongrelmen, or in addition to Mongrelmen, it makes sense that Lycanthropes are a first foray into creating beastfolk, with the side-effect of uncontrolled shapechanging. They would be pretty hard to kill, especially at first, and it makes sense that there would be some escapees who would also be driven underground.
Another thought - an ancient civilization that built all of these caverns underground, maybe thousands or tens of thousands of years ago. Who were they? What happened to them? Etc.
Anyway, this is the stub for that.