The grum are a diminutive humanoid race. They appear much as short, plump humans. Dark brown, curly hair and beardless chins are most common, but blonde or bearded grum are not unheard of. Grum have short limbs and (usually) plump bodies. They appear awkward but are actually one of the most dexterous and nimble races. Eye color varies widely with blues, browns and greens being the most common. Grum average about 1 to 1.3 meters tall (3 to 4 feet tall) and 23 to 35 kilograms (50-77 pounds). They live to be about 100.
A typical grum farmer.
Grum are renowned for the optimistic attitudes, hospitality and overall friendliness. They are endlessly curious and chaotic to the point of being happy-go-lucky. They love to eat, drink and talk. Grum also love to travel and trade (two things that bring them into contact with all sorts of people). There is no such thing as an anti-social Grum.
The most popular deity of the grum is Mireldokar, the goddess of agriculture. This faith has been dominant in the central plains region for centuries. Farzak, god of journeys and protection, and Daramis, the dancing rogue, are also quite popular with the grum. To a lesser extent, Imarus, Barrinor and Sarreth are also worshiped, though more in the cities of Dunlyn and Hearthtown than in the towns and villages.
Magic is limited in grum society. Although some grum dabble in the arcane as hedge wizards, very few grum have the intellect and patience to master the arcane arts. Not more than 1 in 4000 grum choose to pursue magic and few of these go on to pursue serious spell craft. More common than wizards are the priests who serve as role models of behavior for the various religions and links between the faithful and their chosen god. Grum priests serve almost exclusively in the community. Grum mages tend to roam, but some stay at home and act as hedge wizards for the village.
Grum inhabit the interior of the continent. The large agricultural nation of Jannerus, the old nation of Khenshire and the newly settled Falkir Clans all dominate the central plains and grasslands. Excellent soil, plentiful rain and moderate temperatures results in varied crops and herbs which are the most significant resources. The Khenshire tobaccos are almost legendary.
In these three nations, the populations are spread out. Grum communities tend to be small villages. However, Hearthtown (the capital of Jannerus) and Dunlyn (the capital of Khenshire) are both quite large. These communities are stable and nonmobile.
Dwargrums - There is a dwarf-grum hybrid known as the "dwargrum" which occurs with some frequency. Any time dwarven and grumman cultures have contact, there will inevitably be a few dwargrums born. Dwargrums are stockier and more muscled than grum, but more creative and socially outgoing than dwarves. They are usually welcomed in both communities.
Grumman is a simple, country dialect of which each grumman nation has developed its own version. Three distinct variations of Grumman have developed : low, high and clan. Grum literature is voluminous since the grum love to write. Historical records are extremely detailed (especially genealogical records and accounts from travels). Literature usually takes the form of fictionalized historical events based on grum experience. Poetry is common as is storytelling around the campfire. Other forms of art include many forms of wood carving and impromptu musical composition.
The grumman are famous for their colorful country sayings, many of them having to do with food. A few of the more well known ones include:
More than any other race, the grum love to interact with other races. Grum can be found in taverns and festivals almost everywhere on the continent with few exceptions. Grum have, or at least attempt, good relations with every other race and culture. Grum can be extremely stubborn when it comes to engaging strangers in conversation and making friends. Some races view the grum as a nuisance, but this friendly approach has allowed the grum to thrive and spread across the world.
The grum are sometimes referred to as the weefolk, the little folk and the bobbins. The grum are also sometimes called the "khendites". This word most likely shares the same etymological roots as "Khenshire" whose name is derived from "khen" which means "small" in Thullian. "Khendites" was the name given to the people that inhabited the central region of Ithria after the Great War. These people were short of stature and they developed into the grum. The term khendite is archaic and is now only found in dusty tomes and on crumbling parchment.
Food procurement and storage is never a problem. The grum grow much more food than they need and trade much of it to outside cultures. One of the most prominent grum talents is cooking and grum dishes and delicacies have found their way to even the most remote lands. Grum eat six meals a day - breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. Afternoon tea is a light snack taken with tea, hence the name. But the other five meals are quite large.
Grum have many customs and traditions which relate to meals and general dining habits. For instance, only "proper" topics (good news and happy tidings) are to be discussed at the dinner table. An extra place is always set for the potential unexpected visitor. The family always eats together when possible and friends are often invited to share meals.
Grum technology excels at agriculture, irrigation, weather prediction and animal husbandry. They have limited technology with regards to weapons and armor, but obtain these through trade. Architectural technology is about equivalent to the humans. Most grum inhabit wooden huts with thatched roofs. Dwellings built into the sides of hills are another common grumman form of architecture. A handful build structures in trees. Flower gardens and winding paths are commonly placed about grumman dwellings.
Grum utilize a wide variety of animals including horses, dairy cows, oxen, dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, falcons, hogs and many more. Uses include steeds, food and farm help.
Long distance transportation is done by wagons. Grum caravans are common. Long distance communication is done by horse. Many grum serve as dedicated messengers relaying news and personal messages between the central realms on the swiftest of horses.
Ownership laws and inheritance are based on the family unit. The parents own all material goods equally. More than 80% of grum families work the land. Land and possessions pass from generation to generation. Other families run taverns or small shops. In these families, the children may work with the parents and eventually take over the business. Occasionally, the children leave to set up their own shops. It is custom that the parents pass on gifts to the children if they leave home. Grum use their own minted coins. However, they trade with some many different cultures and encounter some many different coins that they usually accept almost any coin and attach value to it based on metal type and weight. Grum also borrow and pay back money often. The concept of debt is based on trust... something important to the grum sense of family and friends.
Males and females are nearly equal in grum society. The general trend is for the mother to tend the home and raise the children while the father works the land or runs the shop. Males tend to travel more than females. It all works out so that males and females do about the same amount of work. Males run the government, but are highly influenced by their wives.
Grum marriages are monogamous. The ceremony is an outdoor celebration involving many friends and much alcohol. At the height of the ceremony, a clay jar (which the man and woman have made together) is shattered by a priest of Mireldokar. The number of clay shards are counted and this is the number of years that the marriage is valid for. When this time period is up, the couple renews their marriage with another marriage ceremony. Very rarely does a couple not renew their vows. A couple will never separate before a marriage "term" is up. Such would be a social disgrace and an insult to Mireldokar.
Large families are the norm for grum and children are considered a gift from the gods. A typical grum family will have between four and eight children. Some families may have twelve or more members. The family shares in manner activities and always eats together. The father is considered the head of the household. Generally speaking, the sons are raised by the father and the daughters by the mother. When grum children reach age six, they begin attending an informal school system. All the children of the village who are old enough gather each day and are taught by the village elders in broad subjects such as history, culture, the nature of the gods and the world, etc. Things like leather working or farming are taught by the family, whatever the familys business is.
Grumman women have a gestation period of 10 months. A birth is a time for celebration. It is believed that Mireldokar looks upon every birth and guards every Grum. Some event of importance is always looked for on the day of the childs birth. This event, whatever is found, is used to choose the childs name. It is believed that Mireldokar creates this event specifically to help name the grum child.
Children are raised with a very close relationship with their parents. The family is emphasized in grum society. Children are encouraged to play with other children and involve themselves in the community. Games which emphasis participation are common. Discipline is strict but fair and always softened by the grum manner.
Death is a very sad occasion for the grum since they are a race that so enjoys life. Funerals are attended by friends and family. The deceased is buried with prized possessions. It is believed that the soul goes to a higher realm, a realm of peace and abundance to join grum that have gone on before. The family usually places such things as food, water, a pair of walking shoes and a staff in the coffin with the body to aid the soul in its long journey. Often, those who are very close to the deceased will write poems as a way of saying good-bye. These poems are often very personal and never shared. Occasionally, they are buried with the body as well.
Grum names consist of two parts : personal name and family name. The family name is traced through the fathers line. The personal name is either a "day of birth" name (see below) or is one of many standard male and female names.
There is an old grumman tradition of choosing a child's personal name based on an event of significance that occurs on the day of birth. Not all grum follow this tradition, but many do. Grumman children named in this fashion may be given odd names. This varies greatly with the event chosen. Hence, these grums have very personal names. Traditionally, the parents would choose the name of the child together. The traditional grum who follow this tradition consider the event and the chosen name to be a guiding force throughout life, especially in times of decision. It is often said that "a grum must be true to his name". This saying refers to this ancient grumman tradition. Because of this tradition, many grum names sound like nicknames to other races. There are thousands of such names, although some are used over and over.
Some examples of typical grum names based on the "day of birth event" tradition: Grumbler, Six Pipe, Rusty, Crack Jack, Brown Tom, Pepper, Treeburn, Piglet, Horseflesh, Trembler, Jinx, Flaxbin, Twofist, Jacksquire, Top Knot, Fivecoin, Sureshot, Halflask, Treefell, Greyduck, Rambler, Highwall, Threeblade, Jumper, Gadget, Threefoot, Redeye, Badger, Sawtooth, Random, Cutter, Slingshot and Browncoat.
Social stratification is subtle. Most grum are equal and work as farmers, laborers or craftsmen. Some grum work the mines and are considered "less fortunate" than those with land or businesses. Only council members and spell casters are considered "upper" class.
Each community has a council which decides all matters of importance, sets laws, runs the militia, decides punishments for criminals, sets taxes, etc. Elders, spell casters and wealthy landowners usually obtain positions on the council. Laws vary only slightly from village to village.
Each village has a small militia of volunteers. Typically they are led by the most skilled soldier among them, often a follower or priest of Farzak, who answers directly to the council. Armor and weapons vary. Members are usually dedicated warriors who patrol surrounding lands and escort caravans. They are paid by the council from taxes.
Ceremonies and celebrations are quite common. The grum will use any excuse to have a party. Tobacco and alcohol are quite common. Other than general parties and ceremonies already mentioned are : The Four Festivals Of The Seasons are the grumman spring equinox, summer solstice, autumn equinox and winter solstice festivals. The summer festival is also called the Friendship Festival. Gifts are often given at almost any occasion.
This website was last updated August 12, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.