This is a sneak preview of the Tatterdemalion. We thought players would be interested in seeing cultures and kingdoms as we work on them. As with all Sneak Previews, details may change over time.
The Tatterdemalion are not so much a kingdom, as a culture than coexists in a number of kingdoms. The Tatterdemalion (or, occasionally, Tatterfolk) are defined by their deep connection to Wayfare magic. This connection occasionally manifests for an individual or family as wanderlust, and this lends the Tatterdemalion a reputation as wanderers. The truth is that this magic also calls out to things that have been lost and tends to bring those things to the individuals or families that comprise the Tatterdemalion. They simply tend to find things, people, and stories that need to be found. The Tatterdemalion consider it their responsibility to return these things to where they belong, and the concept that everything and everyone has a place where they belong – their Accord – is important to their culture.
The Tatterdemalion are known for creating circles of pavilion tents, hung with patchwork banners to identify the family that lives there. Groups of these tents are called rings, and groups of these people are families or Kinrings. Not all Tatterfolk live in pavilion rings, particularly those that travel or live with other, non-Tatterdemalion, groups, but many do.
The Tatterfolk consider Arrogance to be the worst of the Hubris. They tend to talk softly, and many outsiders describe them as shy or reserved. Tatterdemalion who are too proud or talk too much of themselves – these traits are an indication that the individual is unsure or dissatisfied. Something that is in its rightful place is content and quiet. To the Tatterdemalion, people who seem disruptive are lost and need to find their Accord, or else they are in danger of becoming Hollow and losing their magics.
The Tatterdemalion can live off the land, but just as often they make money by selling goods to local folk around them. The Tatterdemalion are most often known for their candy creations: Tatterdemalion rings will often create and sell candies to folks nearby, or make these confections available to villages as they pass through. Tatterdemalion who are selling candies will walk with long staves covered in bells and tap these staves as they go out to sell their wares. There are even Tatterdfolk who practice a unique form of alchemy where they make magical candies rather than traditional elixirs. Candy comes in three forms; sticks of cinnamon or mint, sweet elixirs sealed in chewable wax, or pieces of toffee wrapped in paper.
The Tatterdemalion tend to be a colorful folk, and they often adopt styles and pieces of clothing from the people around them. The defining look for them is a colorful piece of patchwork cloth; a series is mismatched squares sewn together into a single item. This is worn most often in the form of a long scarf. Some find other ways to decorate themselves in a patchwork pattern, going so far as to wear coats, shirts, pants, or cloaks with patchwork patterns.
The Tatterdemalion can be any race that has been adopted into a ring, but they are most often human. The Tatterdemalion often have one or more Grotesque that have awakened inside or near their pavilion ring.
~ Be humble.
~ Listen more than you speak.
~ Lean closer and speak more clearly rather than speaking loudly.
~ Look for things that appear to be lost or haven’t found their place; especially other PCs.
~ Tatterdemalion who inspire large groups tend to do it with music rather than words.
~ You might assume that the quiet and shy Tatterdemalion make poor leaders and organizers but often the opposite is true; they don’t like hearing themselves speak so when they speak publicly they tend to be direct and to the point as much as possible.
~ You might find going through Gates more compelling, even if you don’t know what is on the other side. Especially if you don’t know what is on the other side.
~ Be wary of enchanters who only want your people to help with their Wayfare magic.
The Tatterdemalion don’t have a unified religion; each member is left to seek out their own answers and worship. Druids and Priests of the Sisters are most common among the Tatterdemalion, but any worship that doesn’t involve demons is tolerated. The Tatterdemalion do not allow demonology or the worship of Beleghast in their rings. The Tatterdemalion also have a higher representation of the Celestial Court than some other cultures. Some say it is because the Chosen look to the stars for inspiration, and the stars are one of the few constant aspects in the travels of the Tatterfolk.
The Tatterdemalion often encounter difficulties due to the Wayfare magic in their blood. The trouble comes in three forms.
First, items, people, and stories find their way to the Tatterdemalion whether they want them to or not. The Tatterdemalion consider it their duty to find the place where these things belong. This keeps them quite busy, and sometimes puts them at odds with individuals who consider themselves the legal owners of these things.
Second, the Tatterdemalion themselves are steeped in Wayfare magic and their participation in enchantments to create, control or destroy gates make those enchantments more powerful. This does not always end well for the Tatterdemalion that participate. In addition, this participation does not necessarily have to be willing, and there are stories of Tatterdemalion who are snatched away to be used as an unwilling participant in enchantments or rituals involving gates.
Finally, the presence of the Tatterdemalion sometimes attract lost spirits who then inhabit items or even forms near their pavilion circles. When these items become sentient it can cause trouble for the Tatterdemalion. Many families have gone so far as to set up effigies such as scarecrows or statues to protect against these spirits. It works most of the time, but sometimes the spirit inhabits the effigy itself and a new construct awakens as a living thing with a new personality no memory of any past.
The Tatterdemalion are organized into families, groups that travel and tent together, and Kinrings, a loose groups of anywhere from three to twenty families of Tatterdemalion. Each family has a Kinfather or Kinmother, and decides itself what other official positions it needs for the family to function. Each Kinring has one Kinsword and one Kincrown. The Kinsword is responsible for maintaining a group of champions that can travel from family to family to protect the Tatterdemalion, enforce the laws and decisions of the Kinring, and deal with bandits and threats. The Kincrown acts as the de facto judge and leader of the Kinring.
The Tatterdemalion, with their disdain for arrogance, have a complicated and subtle history of deciding who will take positions of responsibility. No one runs for a position, as that would be considered arrogant and no Tatterdemalion would support it. When someone who holds a position must leave that position for whatever reason they pick their own successor. This positions pass on when needed. This process does not always go smoothly, however. When a position needs to be filled, or the Tatterdemalion feel a position needs to be changed, one of the family or Kinring starts a secret petition to essentially assign a worthy individual to a positon. In theory the Tatterdemalion in question doesn’t know this has happened until the Family Kinfather or Kinmother – or the Kincrown themselves – informs them of their new duties. In reality there are sometimes individuals who pursue a position by secretly discussing the appointment with an influential member of the family or Kinring who sponsors their appointment.
As one can imagine, this complicated process sometimes places individual Tatterdemalion in positions that they don’t really want. Because of this the families and kinrings teach a strong sense of obligation to the Tatterdemalion. Many Tatterdemalion are of the opinion that no one really wants a leadership position, or at least no one should want it. The Tatterdemalion recognize that there are those who might want to refuse an appointment, but they practice they teach members to have respect and obligation for appointed duties. Tatterdemalion can refuse an appointment, but only after a fortnight with that responsibility and/or after a replacement has taken the position. Refusing to hold the position for at least that long and to help find a replacement is considered dishonorable.
The Tatterdemalion are a wandering, scattered people who don’t hold regions per se, but they do have a few major Kinrings that are known throughout the land. There are also many smaller Kinrings of Tatterdemalion that wander as well.
Kinmother’s Halo – This Kinring is dedicated to healing the sick and the injured. You’ll often find them near where sickness has broken out, or just off the edges of a battlefield. They pride themselves on taking no part in any kind of conflict, but (as long as the participants are not evil or demon-ridden) are willing to aid any who have need. Here also are the master confectioners of the Tatterfolk – the best candies and potions tend to come from this ring.
The Five Coins – known for the bright yellow circles of patchwork on their clothing, this Kinring roams the world, bringing entertainment wherever they go. In each new location, they declare an evening of celebration, and for a small fee delight the local populace with sweets, songs, tales and acrobatics. They often perform plays or poems that tell of the news of the day, and are always on the lookout for new things to perform.
The Loop – This Kinring is a mobile training ground, dedicated to learning and perfecting the martial arts. Many a good Kinsword has come from this Kinring, and many a young one has come to this Kinring in order to hone their skills. Members of the Kinring are found to more often wear armor, and often mix suits of armor with brightly colored accents and clothing.
Weavering – The arts of patchwork must come from somewhere, and if you see an arrangement that’s new, odds are it’s someone from Weavering who invented it. Experts in any kind of textile, here live those who play with geometry, pattern, and cloth, to make wonderful and colorful creations. Among other things, it’s those of Weavering who know the patterns and colors of each ring, and who keep the records of the Tatterdemalion as a whole.
Each of the listed Kinrings have a Kincrown, and on rare occasions the Kincrowns meet for decisions and discussion that might affect all of the Tatterdemalion. Some well known Tatterdemalion include the following.
Lady Fallow – As Kincrown to The Loop, Lady Fallow is a very experienced and skilled warrior. She is cunning and there are times when kingdoms send representatives to seek her advice or her aid. Although she spends her time teaching within her Kinring, there are times when she is taken away on some quest or mission that has captured her interest or imagination.
The Interminable Beggar Prince, Ezekiel the Cad – No one has ever accused the Beggar Prince of being unobtrusive or discreet. The Beggar Prince loves to stick his nose in people’s business, and although his intention is usually good it can be disconcerting and cause some inconvenience to the people involved. Unlike many Tatterdemalion, Ezekiel travels from Kinring to Kinring and directs his pleas toward the villages and towns nearby where he is as likely to collect trinkets and rumors as he is coin. Some say he has a more fluid definition of what items are lost than most, but the items he acquires tend to fall into the hands of people who seem to need them.
The Coinmaster – The Kincrown to the Five Coins, this figure acts as a ring master and organizer of the many entertainers of the Five Coins. He accepts apprentices and assigns them to teachers, and is the central point of a lot of tales and rumors and information brought to him through the traveling troupes that belong to the Kinring of the Five Coins.
The Lady of Weft – Although not a Kincrown, the Lady of Weft is an ancient figure belonging to the Weavering. She is always willing to invite folk both from the Tatterdemalion and without to sit and knit or sew in her circle, where the men and women trade pleasantries. It is said that she has a keen insight about those who sit with her circle, and sometimes dreams about the past of those who share her yarn.