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Bighornian Smokesmeller

The highest rank attained by druids and elders of the bighornian clans, and possibly by coincidence the one which relies most on smoking and drinking for longish periods while looking out across the landscape.


The title of Smokesmeller is given to an elder who all regard as wise enough to stand as the ceremonial and social leader, as well as the honorary grandparent, of the whole clan. The first qualification is always respect and at least an air of sagacity.   The candidate must be sufficiently old and beat-up that it's clear they've been around the block a few times. In cases where multiple candidates are under scrutiny, they can have a competition to go around the block a few more times and get a little more beat-up. They also have to be pretty accomplished druids, though their power isn't supposed to be all about craft but wisdom. Basically, if the elder in question is grandfatherly enough for everybody, he's a good match and his magic doesn't matter much.


The other elders decide whether their eldest member is sufficiently elder enough to be given this honorific, and if not, well, the clan isn't going to have a Smokesmeller. The major deciding factor is whether everybody has enough respect for an old lady or geezer to make him honorary head of the clan.


The Smokesmeller has to preside every day over the Pouring of Drinks, the Filling of Pipes, and the Complaining about the Young Folks who Think they Know Everything. At any clan meeting, the Smokesmeller is given special attention and respect if he or she deigns to say anything, though again, the position is more of a recognition of deserved respect than an office with authority.   Now, the Smokesmeller is looked to for advice by lots of folks, and so his knowledge or ability to gather knowledge is relied upon often. Typically a Smokesmeller uses a lot of divination-type magic or a wealth of hard-earned knowledge on history or natural science to fulfill this duty. Other times, she is in deep water, but it's her job to make people feel like somebody sees the road ahead, so she'll burn some ceremonial budgies or jump on a rock or smoke a pipe and say the first thing that comes to mind. Astonishingly enough, by their own admission, these are the occasions upon which they often prophesy most clearly. Nobody knows how this mechanism works, but it's probably cosmic or some such.


People have to listen to their every story. Also, people provide for all their needs, and visit them at least once a week.

Accoutrements & Equipment

The clan usually tries to buy or make a suitably silly hat for the Smokesmeller to wear for added pomp on occasions of special note. There's also a dimly-understood tradition of outfitting the elder with a small taxidermized animal to carry at all times. Nobody knows why. Nobody thinks it's a good tradition. But it's a tradition, so they still do it and you can't make them stop.


The practice of choosing a Smokesmeller is descended from the Daishe traditional hierarchy of druids, which was much more rigid but also much less fun.
Magical, Professional
Alternative Naming
The Elderest
Source of Authority
Life experience.
Length of Term
Until death, ideally ten years or fewer.
Related Organizations

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Cover image: by Oogalook


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