jormangers Condition in Scarterra | World Anvil

jormangers (jore-main-ger)

In the Dwarven language, "jormangers" refers to anyone with Cannibal Sickness. In the Common language (and this article), "jormangers" refer to dwarves with the sickness.   Most dwarves would rather die than engage in eating mortal flesh. Most does not mean all. Dwarves prefer to live in the mountains and underground caverns which are not especially food rich environments.   Regardless of whether they are Stahlheimer dwarves, Meckelorner dwarves, or Penarchian dwarves, wasting food among dwarves is literally a criminal offense. Among Mondarian dwarves, food is somewhat more plentiful but being wasteful is still taboo.   Jormangers may try to impersonate ordinary dwarves or they may live solitary existences in the wilderness or they may seek out other Jormanger to form ad hoc clans. It's anyone's guess based on a jormanger's original personality and his or her particular circumstances.   When fighting enemies or prey, jormanger prefer to use cunning ambushes and trickery over pure brute force though they are by no means weak or cowardly.

Transmission & Vectors

Jormangers are dwarves who develop an addiction to mortal flesh. Like a human ogre, a dwarf jormanger can pass his or her curse onto his or her offspring. Dwarf family honor is very strong. Even if a dwarf jormanger cannot defeat his own addiction, many choose to remain child-less so as not to spread their taint to their family. That said, some jormangers are lonely and ashamed and want to spread the jormanger condition, so they can have a greater sense of family. These jormangers try to have lots of children. Second, third generation, and fourth generation jormangers develop their powers faster and stronger than first generation Jormangers. Fifth generation jormangers are essentially morlocks, effectively a new species entirely. A second generation jormanger could probably impersonate a normal dwarf indefinitely if she stayed underground and avoided sunlight. A third generation jormanger might be able to impersonate a normal dwarf for a short period of time, if he stayed underground, wore thick clothing and figuratively and literally kept his distance.   Jormangers impersonating normal dwarves take on professions that keep them away from the main hustle and bustle of mainstream dwarf society. If they are trying to mingle in human society, they will invariably seek nocturnal jobs such as night watchmen or shepherds or goatherds taking night duty. Fourth generation jormangers have no chance of dealing with normal dwarves even for a very brief duration and their only hope for long term survival is to be adopted by a clan of morlocks.

Symptoms

Jormangers very quickly have their night vision improve. Most Jormangers can see perfectly in darkness within less than two decades of contracting Cannibal Sickness.   As a jormangers' night vision improves, he or she is increasingly pained and disoriented by bright light. Whatever their original eye color, greyish red becomes their new normal.   This light sensitivity has a small upside. It comes with perfect celestial attunement. Even if they stay underground indefinitely, most jormanger exactly when sun rise and sunset are down to the minute and they always know what phase the moon in.   Jormanger's sense of smell and hearing gradually increases though not as dramatically as their change of vision.   Dwarves are usually very comfortable underground but Jormangers underground senses are enhanced. They never get lost. A jormanger can be knocked unconscious, a dumped a hundred miles away into somwhere unfamiliar and be able to find his way back to a familiar tunnel.   When above ground, jormangers can intuitively sense the direction and approximate distance of the nearest entrance to Scarnoctis.   Jormangers can hold their breath longer than normal dwarves. Very mutated jormangers or second and third generation jormanger require much less oxygen than normal dwarves.   A small number of advanced jormanger are amphibious with mutable lungs and can turn their lungs into gills and visa versa but this process of transformation takes about ten minutes and leaves the jormanger very vulnerable during the transition.   Jormangers' skin gradually get paler over time as their condition advances. Their hair becomes paler and flaxen. Most second and subsequent generation jormangers have white hair. Advanced jormangers often grow a thicker hide which provides a small level of natural armor.   In advanced jormanger stages, beards get sparser and more patchy while at the same time, body hair increases. Most third and subsequent generation dwarves cannot grow beards at all.   It is common but far from universal for jormangers to gradually develop great climbing ability allowing them to scale walls and ceilings like spiders.   Late stage jormangers gradually develop sharper, pointier teeth, though very few of them can effectively use their bite to attack enemies and prey in combat.   Jormanger retain a normal dwarves' strong constitution. A small number of advanced jormanger develop truly supernatural resistance to toxins and poisons.   Unlike ogres and wendigo, it is uncommon for jormanger develop supernatural strength, but dwarves are usually pretty strong to begin with therefore jormanger are usually pretty strong. A small number of jormanger develop enhanced dexterity.   Those adventurers and mercenaries who make it a point to hunt down mutant cannibals have noticed something disturbing about jormanger. They are terrifyingly rational.   It is very common for those Cannibal Sickness to be afflicted with some form of madness. Skopen and vultures pretty much always go mad, while ogres and wendigo have a slow but steady mental degeneration. Jormangers are disturbingly sane and rational. They don't take perverse thrill in eating mortal flesh and they don't relish the fear of their victims, they simply act.   Jormangers are no more or less prone to mental issues than regular dwarves and like regular dwarves, jormanger are pretty good at hiding their innermost shortcomings through a Façade of stoicism.   Jormangers also tend to have strong wills and relative to other cannibal mutants, they can show greater restraint. A jormnager impersonating a regular dwarf can usually refrain from eating "long pig" longer than an ogre impersonating a regular human can.

Treatment

Much like with ogres, Purification magic can temporarily suppress an Jormanger's unholy appetite but to cure Cannibal Sickness an afflicted needs to have genuine remorse, be subjected to Purification ●●●●●, and then go on a lengthy and dangerous quest while resisting the urge to eat mortal flesh the whole time.   This has only happened four or five times in recorded history. Dwarves have little tolerance for deviation from their culture norms, and they are not known for their mercy. If they treat non-traditionalist dwarves with disdain, imagine how they treat cannibals.   Most dwarves prefer to "treat" their cannibals by separating their heads from their bodies. Every jormanger that was successfully redeemed was saved by one or more very brave and compassionate kalazotz.

Prevention

The best way to not get Cannibal Sickness is to not engage in cannibalism. The same goes for jormanger's transformation. An dwarf that doesn't eat mortal flesh will never turn into a jormanger. The more mortal flesh a dwarf eats, the more likely his or her transformation is, especially if they are eating the flesh of other dwarves.

History

Dwarves make the claim that jormangers did not exist at all until the Second Unmaking.   A lot of dwarves survived the early days and weeks of the unmaking hiding behind their barred fortresses. Eventually their food stores ran low. A few dwarves roamed the surface of Scarterra looking for food but most dwarves remained underground where there were far fewer Void demons and undead but less food.   Some survivors resorted to cannibalism and became jormangers. At the start of the Third Age during the period known as the The Little Unmaking, while the elves were trying to purge skopen from their ranks, the dwarves likewise struggled against the newly formed jormanger clans.   The untainted dwarves claimed victory over the Jormanger but they didn't realized that they failed to kill them all. The jormanger clans were not wiped out, they were figuratively and literally driven deep underground becoming the first morlocks.

Cultural Reception

Dwarf honor leads many dwarves to pretend to Jormanger don't exist anymore in order to save face. Dwarf pragmatism forces many dwarves to acknowledge that starvation condition can and do create jormangers in modern times. Most dwarves reluctantly admit to outsiders that jormangers are rare, but they do exist.   Dwarf societies of all stripes are brutal and uncompromising policing their ranks for potential cannibals and slaying those found guilty without hesitation or remorse.   If an exposed jormanger tries to evade justice by traveling to non-dwarven lands, dwarf lords and ladies will send adventuring parties to hunt the fugitives down.   While it is true that first and second generation Jormanger are quite rare, morlocks are technically jormangers and there thousands of them.   Some learned dwarf scholars suspect a link between jormangers and morlocks. A few dwarf warriors and adventurers that had fought against both Jormangers and morlocks suspect that these two groups are linked.   Dwarves who have deduced that morlocks are the descendants of ancient jormangers are hesitant to share this theory with other dwarves. Dwarves won't admit this connection at all to outsiders. Even if they suspect otherwise, most dwarves publicly claim morlocks are some new monstrous race created by Greymoria, Maylar, Phidas, or the Demon Lords.  
Dwarves and morlocks view each other as enemies, but whether out of deep seated fear or deep seated shame, both sides try to avoid direct confrontation when possible.   Morlocks will sometimes adopt jormangers, but only if they show that they are strong and cunning enough to make it on their own a good while first.
by me with Midjourney

Man Dwarves with Cannibal Sickness

  Man-dwarves are pretty rare in Scarterra as a whole. Man-dwarves are most likely to be seen in the Islands of Mondert, a region of relatively abundant food. The odds of a Mondarian man-dwarf resorting to cannibalism is almost impossible.   Mondarian man-dwarves are still second class citizens of a sort. Outside Mondert, man-dwarves have an even larger problem fitting in. The fact that they are outsiders whereever they go might lead them to cannibalism but man-dwarf cannibals are still extremely rare.   About a third of them develop into ogres with very minor jormanger traits. About a third of them of them develop into jormangers with very minor ogre traits and about a third are true hybrids.   Whatever their look and powers is, man-dwarf cannibal mutants retain the huge size and strength of their untainted kin. This can be a downside in the often cramped tunnels that jormangers tend to lurk in and their aversion to bright light causes trouble in ogre circles. Man-dwarf cannibals are often true loners.
Type
Supernatural
Origin
Mutated
Cycle
Chronic, Acquired & Congenital
Rarity
Rare
Affected Species

Articles under jormangers



Cover image: young Dhorgolun by Eron12 with Heroforge

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