Rorian

To most, the sea is a giant desert: nothing to eat or drink as far as the eye can see. To the Rorians, it is home.
  The Rorians are the Gnomes of the sea. Most of the Rorian populace lives on the eponymous Rorian Sea.  

Floating Communities

  A typical Rorian seastead looks like someone took a Forroran settlement and merged it with several ships. They are a jumble of wooden hulls, chambers, tunnels and platforms, all tied and fastened together and floating on the ocean currents. Rorian construction follows the same three dimensional thinking as their land-dwelling brethren: A steading features chambers several feet underneath the waves, as well as higher placed rooms with crows nests on top. This design philosophy gives steadings the general air of icebergs made out of wood and metal.   Even though such a loose bundle of constructions might look hardly seaworthy to an outsider, this couldn't be farther from the thruth: Each individual "building" in a seastead is watertight and can be separated from the other compartments by sturdy hatches. When a seastead cannot avoid a particularly heavy storm, the inhabitants will close all the hatches and hunker down in their rooms. In the unlikely case where a section is ripped off the steading, this is not fatal to the gnomes inside. After the weather has passed, such a loose building can quickly be converted into a moderately effective vessel in its own right. The gnomes on board will then attempt to find their way back to the steading, safe in the knowledge that a search and resque party is already on it's way.  

Bounty of the Sea

  The wealth of the Rorian Sea is the main reason why the Rorians decided to live on the water. This sea has high concentrations of various minerals and metals, which the local plants use and store. The Rorians, in turn, cultivate these plants and extract the concentrated valuables out of the plant matter.  

Food

  Rorian cuisine leans by necessity heavily on seafood, featuring many types of fish, algea, a bunch of underwater plants, like Seawheat, and even the occasional jellyfish. Some of the valuable-collecting plants also have parts which are safe for Gnomish consumption.  

Drinkable Water

  Seawater is not drinkable, even to the most determined of persons. Some of the sweet water supply of a Rorian community is collected from rain, but this only fullfills the needs of the smallest of seasteads. To make up for the difference, the ancient Rorians used Solar Distillation to create poteable water out of the sea itself. They also sometimes traded for water with coastal communities whenever they got close to shore. However, when the population grew and the seasteads became larger, solar distillation was no longer enough, especially in long periods of overcast skies.   The Rorian Gnomes, always inventive, came up with the more complicated, but much more space-efficient, process of Enchanted-Carbon Filtration. The technique was quickly shared between the seastead, and these days most Rorian communities have at least one EC filtration plant somewhere in the seastead. Gnomes are never wont of discarding a functional backup however, and even today some of the water needs are still fulfilled by solar distilleries.  

Natural Swimmers

It is said that most humanoid babies have a rudimentary ability to swim. Rorians know this to be true, and instead of neglecting this interesting quirk of nature, they nurture the ability. Most Rorians above the age of four are known to be exceptional swimmers and generaly at home in the water.   Rorian babies are known to start swimming "lessons" very quickly after birth, sometimes only after three days. These lessons consist mostly of basic motion exercizes, where a parent, or professional, places the baby in water and slowly moves their limbs in motions akin to swimming. This will trigger the childs natural swimming reflex, who will start making the motions on their own. When done well, the child will enter a sort of meditative state, in which they will slowly propell themselves through the water, with the parent only needing to support their head and body to keep it above the water.   General swimming lessons continue up to the age of two or three, when, though gnomes are then still considered to be babies, they are generally really good swimmers. Some Rorians then decide to learn under a professional swimming teacher, to learn skills like deep diving or how to save drowning creatures.   Even those Rorians who have decided to live on land continue to hold by this custom. Because at some point in time they are going to visit their homesea, and they want their children to be able to hold their own in the waters. There has even been an account of a gnome family giving their child swimming lessons in the Simnian Desert.
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