Clan Dougal

There used to be giants! Imagine that! Giants roaming the snow-capped peaks near Frostmere and walking among the clouds above! What wonders the old world knew! All we have today the damn Dougals and the Butcher Yards. Curse'em all to hell!
 
The deformed, cannibalistic clan of giants that live in the northeastern marshes of Tairos. These cruel monstrosities live only to butcher and spread their own brand of twisted madness.
 

Dishonorable Origins

 
Tairos was once home to all manner of giants. The noble and elegant cloud giants, the bitter and imperious Frost Giants and the dull-witted giants of the hills. They were all the stuff of legends told by storytellers from shore to shore. Some of these giants were heroes, others conquerors and some just mysterious wanders searching for purpose to their long lives.
 
None of that applies to the Dougals.
 
The exact origin of the clan Dougal is shrouded in mystery but a number of rumors all speak to a likely possibility.The Frostmerites and Ghal Ankharan engaged in long wars with the giants of the Frozen North. They threw off the chains of giant clans like the Ghelf's or the despotic Frost Giants warrior families. One by one the powerful giant bloodlines fell. While the most stubborn remained in the north to meet their extinction with the stoic nobility that was so intrinsic to their race. Yet, many more chose to flee south into the plains and dense forests. Fragile new bloodlines were born by mixing families and mingling with other giants that had long since abandoned the north.
 
Yet one family would be shunned by these new bloodlines, one family would be ostracized and exiled even by the rest of the refugee giants. That family was the Dougals. Reviled, disgusting and dishonorable. The Dougals were known as opportunistic traitors by their kind and that reputation followed them south after the Frostmerite purge. No matter where they turned the answer was the same: no shelter here. In the end the only comfort they could find was in the cold, water-logged mires south of the Ankhar Mountains. Amid the twisted trees, mud and thorny bramble they found what they were looking for.
 

Tainted Beginnings

 
Old ruins, rotted trees and monolithic standing stones covered in claw-mark like symbols. This place was always shrouded in fog and flies that easily obscured the giants from the world around them and the rumors of what lurked here was more than enough to keep unwanted company at bay. For centuries the local populations spoke of strange lights, noises and chanting. Those brave enough to enter the swampland itself often returned bearing lesions, fevers and frantic hallucinations. While the Dougals were aware of the region's reputation they believed themselves far hardier than the fragile humanoids who succumbed to these ailments. So the forged ahead, built their ramshackle village and laid claim to whatever they pleased.
 
Their leader, August Dougal, became obsessed with the scribbles upon the stone pillars found here. He had his hut built around them and spent his days trying to decipher their mystery. At first, August was convinced that they held a secret that would offer them revenge on the other giants that had turned their backs on his family. He tasked his kin with raiding nearby communities and kidnapping their scholars, magic users and priests believing the answer to the riddles in stone could be solved by their expertise. Yet, time and again they failed to provide August the information he craved. He and his family would eat their stolen experts before moving to the next. Over and over for years on end they would repeat this endeavor and each time it would end the same; no answers and a screaming meal.
 
As the years went on it became apparent to the Dougals that they weren't entirely immune to the adverse effects of the swamps. While August's search for the meaning behind the stones' became more frenzied many of his kin began to display the same sores and debilitating illnesses that the locals had spoken of for centuries before. The only difference was the hardy nature of the giants seem to stave off the most fatal of the symptoms. Instead of perish as the humanoids had the Dougals would linger on, their bodies becoming bloated and warped by the host of nightmarish infections that beset them. Rather than succumb to clan became incubators for the virulent and evolving plagues of the swamp.
 
The Dougals also proved vulnerable to the madness the locals spoke of as well. August sealed himself away in his hut with the stone pillars and forty local villages that he had personally taken while on one of his fever-induced journeys alone. Something that was becoming worryingly more frequent as the sickness worsened. The Dougals' physical bodies became more corrupt with each passing day and their minds more... deviant. They would wander to nearby humanoid communities to devour or defile the inhabitants or sometimes both if the whim struck them so. These sinister cravings applied to some of the more monstrous locals as well. Specifically the ogres, trolls and sounders of feral boars that overpopulated the marshland. All the while they received directions from August, who took speaking with his kin only throw the shadows of a small sliding panel in his hut. The stench of death grew from within his chamber and the cries of those captured locals seemed to thin out one voice at a time, day by day.
 

Dark Genesis

 
After forty days the cries from within the hut ceased and the messages from August stopped as well. His deformed kin finally opened his hut after six days of silence from their master. What they saw confounded their already failing sanity. August was gone and a massive cocoon stood in his place. The pulsating growth was held together by the skins of the forty humanoids he took in with him, The floor of his hut was covered in their now festering organs, their flesh woven over the mass of hardened bile, defecate and scabrous tissue. The flesh still crawled. The stretched faces still leered and somehow... anguished pleas for death escaped their lips in an endless litany of pain. The last of the Dougals' sanity fled their polluted minds as they erupted in ecstatic glee upon witnessing August's transcendence.
 
After days of prayer and keeping moist the skins of August's cocoon with a cavalcade of sacrifices the first cracks began to appear in the now colossal mound. Moments later the Dougal's new master would emerge from this profane chrysalis. August had changed into something else, something truly befitting of the banal state of his clan. Now the size of an adult dragon and made of bloated, diseased flesh, what used to be August Dougal spilled forth. While his body was loathsome to behold it was the crown of gnarled bones that sprouted from his deformed skull that demanded the attention of his kin. He anointed himself as the Pallid King before announcing that all the Dougals had been chosen by by a greater power, favored above all others by Tairos' eldest god, Krutilix
 
August, now referred to by his people as the Pallid King or simply Papa, became the prophet of their new god. He shared with them the glorious paths of flesh-warping, mutation, plagues, madness and despair offered by Krutilix. He led the degenerate forces his kin had been breeding into conquering the region full. Most were taken alive and corralled into breeding pens where they were farmed like livestock. The floodwaters and stagnant reach of the swamps quickly spread and thus the region came to be called the Butcher Yards. "Farms" were built all over the Butcher Yards but to the humanoids that were brought there these places were more slaughter house, breeding kennel and harem.
 

Reign of the Pallid King

 
The nations of The Grand Concordance of Tairos all did their best to contain the giants but a coordinated effort to purge them was never mounted. More pressing threats in the form of the Ximezci, The Plague of Undeath and eventually The Autumn Queen all took priority.
 
For centuries the Pallid King directed the growth of his kin and the bloody evolution of the Butcher Yards. During the Serpent Wars he launched nightmarish raids on dwarven cities in the Ankhar mountains and against the Stormlanders. When the dead began to spread all across Tairos, Papa welcomed them into their larders as glorious treats. The Fae chose to ally with the Dougals rather than risk the giants becoming enemies. The Autumn Queen made sure to gift the Pallid King and his people with fresh livestock and in turn the Dougals would bolster the Fae's Shadow Court with the sort of brutish reinforcements they were lacking.
 
After the war and into modern Tairos there was a fear held by many that Clan Dougal would seep forth from the Butcher Yards and overwhelm the last bastions of civilization. The only nation willing to reach outside their borders to keep the giants in check was the xenophobic kingdom of Lockland. The very nature of the Giants represented a profane threat to everything they believed in. Lockland continues to commit forces toward their crusade of purification against the Butcher Yards and in turn the Pallid King pushes his people to breed the numbers needed to resist their advances. The nearby kingdoms of Ghal Pelor , Homestead, Ghal Ankhar and the Storm Lands are happy enough to let these two loathsome enemies crash against each other while a more permanent solution is sought.
 
Dougal Full
Twisted Giant by Steve Bellshaw

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

Clan Dougal speaks in jumbled version of original giantish and The Common Tongue

Culture and cultural heritage

Virtually none of the once great culture of the giants exists within Dougal culture. It is a tragic sin that they exist at all and a mockery of the honorable race they came from.

Common Dress code

While clothing choices will vary between individuals there are certain popular trends that exist. One common tread is the weaving of humanoid faces into clothing or bare flesh to emulate the cocoon that birthed the Pallid King.

Art & Architecture

Totem pole like sculptures are very commonly constructed in the Butcher Yards. They are generally made from the contorted corpses of their livestock.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

Not all Dougals are born the same way. Most come from disgusting sexual congress between members of the clan or their livestock. Others are birthed from fluid-filled pits in the earth known as cauls. Many Dougals owe their existence to the mixture of fluids and flesh magic that pool within them

Funerary and Memorial customs

Dougals eat their dead. This is one of the highest honors a Dougal can grant to his kin

Ideals

Beauty Ideals

The Dougals see beauty in that which is twisted, poisonous and diseased. Symbols of rot and pain are sacred to them.

Gender Ideals

The Dougals make no distinction between male and female. Often, the gender of an individual member of the clan is not entirely discernible
Encompassed species


Cover image: Twisted Giant by Steve Bellshaw

Comments

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3 Jan, 2019 05:12

Well that made me shiver and say "hurgh!" so I'd say that's pretty well done. I hate it, it's great, and I'm blaming you for any weird dreams I have after this.

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3 Jan, 2019 05:16

Is there a badge for that? Ademal Nightmare badge?

Forgemaster Janet
Janet Forbes
3 Jan, 2019 05:27

I think there should be :P

  • Janet Forbes (Founder of World Anvil, author, RPG designer, streamer)
  • Grab your hammer and GO WORLDBUILD!
    3 Jan, 2019 05:31

    Right?!

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