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Anurans

Anurans are frogfolk that live in the western swamps of Udai, in the lands claimed by the Black Dragon Lord Reoma the Wretched.  

Government Structure

Anuran society is centered around a Commune, where there is no necessary leader.   The Anurans will elect a representative every year to deal with the other nations, but they have no power to actually change the law. Instead, they will at most suggest changes which then can be voted on by the people.   The people have the power. All decisions in the Anuran Commune are made by the people, with a vote by all citizens of legal age. However, due to the spread out nature of the Anuran people, the way word of mouth travels in the tight-knit community, and the impossibility to validate every single vote, these are easily swayed.   Often things end with things being in favor of one of the more popular political factions. There are many of these, and the parties come and go.   The one of major note are the Wretched Anurans, who worship the Dragon Lord Reoma the Wretched and want to revolve society around him. The rest of Anuran society often denounces them, but they can do little else to stop their influence.
b'Os by Jarhed
 

Settlements

There are few known settlements of the Anurans in terms of named clusters, as they simply live across the Western Udaian Swamps. Their communities are hidden everywhere around the swamps, and one is likely to find them if traveling in the area.  

Mythscar

Mythscar Island is home to Reoma the Wretched. The only Anurans who live here are Wretched Anurans, the cult dedicated to him, and they only live her when they can provide a sacrifice that allows them access to the island.  

History

There are few records of Anuran Society before the Lizardfolk arrived in Udai. It is said that long ago, the Wretched Cult were at the center of Anuran life, and that all Anurans worshipped the Black Dragon Lord Reoma.   Some believe the City that now stands as the Lizardfolk capital of Grandstone was built by the Anurans, but it does not match Anuran architectural styles, nor is there any record that the Anurans had any hand in its construction.  

The Communal Life Begins

The first true records begin with the Commune, as an Anuran named b'Os rallied the Anurans as a unit to fight back the Orcs. It is said that he did not wish to lead them, but he did so for the sake of taking on their enemies.  
Once the Orcs were pushed back past the mountains, b'Os suggested a new idea, where the people would vote on what should be done, rather than leaving it to a Dragon to decide their fate.   b'Os created the position of a leader being an elected position with no power to represent the position he had against the Orcs.   b'Os mainly wanted the Anuran people to support each other. He knew this system could lead to corruption.
"Put the power in the hands of the people. There should be no one who decides what happens to a person other than themselves, and the well being of the individual will then strengthen the community.."
— b'Os
Still, he saw it as the best way to ensure prosperity for the most people. In the best case scenario, the people would support each other, and a utopia would be made around the well-being of the people.  

Corruption

The worst case scenario, of course, is always the most likely. In a society that prioritizes the self, selfish people thrive while the selfless are left to suffer. In many ways, it mirrors the exact kind of society b'Os wished to avoid.  
g'Neen by Jarhed
A man named g'Neen would eventually rise up to take that leadership position.   g'Neen had convinced many people in his time that it would be in their best interests if they should think less of the community and more for themselves. He rose on a platform of selfishness, and it worked. For it is the base desire to help oneself over others.   In his position of power, g'Neen ousted Reoma from having any major influence in Anuran society beyond the now small Wretched Anuran Cult.   He incited a purge of the Wretched Anurans, and then used his annihilation of them as a way to try and convince the people he was a sort of savior. He used poison made on his own skin to kill his political enemies, calling them enemies of the people. And when there was an enemy to rally around, the people were happy to rally behind a powerful figure like g'Neen.   g'Neen's platform was made to make the individual feel more empowered through the man who was living out the ideal of the self as the center of everything. By making g'Neen the supreme leader, the individual felt empowered.  

Arrival of the Lizardfolk

However, it would not be long before a savior came in the form of a scaley group of individuals from afar. The Lizardfolk arrived in Udai, and when g'Neen tried to make them out to be evil, the Lizardfolk quickly saw the Anurans as a threat and took their army out to take care of them.  
Beshrok by Jarhed
Led by Beshrok, the army took out g'Neen and freed the Anurans from the tyrannical rule. The idea of self prioritization stuck, and many say that it still festers in ways that do not promote the well being of the community and are as toxic as Anuran skin.   The Anurans saw the Lizardfolk that freed them, initially, as an ideal. Beshrok did not seem much of a leader, so to the Anurans, the Lizardfolk were a sign that working together was best. The way b'Os intended.  

Reframing

Surprisingly, there was one major group that did stick with g'Neen's views on the Lizardfolk. This group was not any of his supporters, but instead the remainder of the Wretched Anuran Cult. They saw his tactics and realized they were perfect to further their goals and continue worship of their Dragon Lord.   The Wretched Anurans, then, began to sacrifice Lizardfolk to Reoma. They saw they could use the Lizardfolk to their advantage, as they saw the Lizardfolk upsetting Reoma by intruding on his island without a sacrifice. And so, the Wretched Anurans began to turn the Lizardfolk people into a sacrifice.   They trained assassins to sneak in and take the Lizardfolk. For a while, this was still considered taboo. After all, sacrifice was not morally correct.  

Sacrifice is Morally Correct

That was until the Wretched Anurans managed to weasel their way into leadership, where they proposed making sacrifice of the Lizardfolk legal. The leader, b'Leetin, convinced everyone that as long as they sacrificed Lizardfolk, then the Anurans would be kept safe and out of Reoma's wrath.   He was able to either convince the majority or sway the votes enough that this did stick, and ever since, sacrifice of the Lizardfolk has been considered the moral high ground. Better for a few Lizardfolk to die than a large amount of Anurans, after all.  

Growth of the Commune

The Anuran Commune has, since, grown and evolved more overtime. But the general principles have stayed intact. Individualism, the well-being of the community, and Lizardfolk Sacrifice are the three major tenets of the Anurans.  

Culture

Ritual Sacrifices

Getoh by Jarhed
The Anuran people live in the swamps of Udai, which are lands claimed by the Black Dragon Lord Reoma the Wretched. To survive there, they present him tribute in the form of ritual sacrifices.   Initially, these sacrifices were difficult to obtain, as their only source of sacrifices were the Orcs or themselves, and they did not wish to sacrifice themselves, as the Anurans wished to show their value to Reoma as more than sacrifices.   Later, the Lizardfolk arrived, and have been used ever since as the sacrifices. Anurans train assassins to sneak into places like Grandstone, steal Lizardfolk without being seen, and bring them to Reoma for a sacrifice.  

Art

There are two schools of Anuran Art: Anuran Realism and Anuran Noncomformism.  

Anuran Realism

Anuran Art is said to normally follow the principle of Anuran Realism. This means it shows the Anuran Commune in very idealized, extremely polticized ways that paint the government in a good light. It is often lacking complex meaning beyond the political message, unless an Anuran artist can manage to sneak in more nuance under the nose of the general populace.   This sort of art was endorsed by g'Neen during his reign as a way to center the pop culture of the Anurans around contributing more to society and keeping it the way it was. If the government or community were featured in an Anuran Realist piece, it had to be favorably.   This stuck after g'Neen's death, even when most other things he did were thrown out.   Anuran Realism is said to have a positive impact on those who experience it, as it portrays both the present and future in the best ways it can. It is propaganda, but in a way that at least makes people feel good about the state of things  

Anuran Nonconformism

Anuran Nonconformism is a broad term for anything that does not follow Anuran Realism that is made by the Anuran people. This art can never be sold in the Anuran Commune, but it can be made. The most common form of Anuran Noncomformist Art is in the abstract, though others include things like Anurans writing plays in the style of Lizardfolk playwright Getoh.   This art is often practiced by runaways who live away from the Commune, as they finally have more artistic freedom. However, Anuran Realist Artists dislike hearing they have no freedom. They say, instead, they simply have a box which they must work around. Art requires limits, and they have strict ones to follow.

Trade

Anurans have little ties to the outside, and due to their harsh relations with their neighbors, they do not trade much. At most, they may receive gifts from Kenku or Tortles who happen to be in the swamps, and the Anurans will then give what they can as payment.   They do sometimes give supplies to the Lizardfolk when they need it, but often ask for more in return from the Lizardfolk for it. Due to this, the Lizardfolk even try not to trade with the Anurans.

Anuran Ethnicities

Lilith Anurans

Lilith Anurans are those who live in the swamp water and in Lily Pads. They have a culture that revolves around the communities around them in other Lily Pad homes, and living off of the water. They make food out of the plants on the sea floor and those that grow on the surface of their Water Lilies.   Lilith Anurans are most commonly fishermen, providing fish to the community, farmers who cultivate crops underwater, or divers who search the deep, uninhabited parts of the swamp for valuable materials. They are less likely to travel out of the swamp, as they don't normally live on the surface and often dislike doing so in other Kingdoms.   Lilith Anurans are more likely to sacrifice to Reoma than Trent Anurans, as their more communal mindset leads them to more cult-like worship of Reoma the Wretched.  

Trent Anurans

Trent Anurans live in the trees of the swamp, often in less permanent homes or in the nests of Aarakocra who have moved to the swamps. They jump from branch to branch, and families will often carry their small homes made of branches with them when they travel.   Trent Anurans eat the fruit that grows from the trees, or animals that live in the trees alongside them. They are often stealthier than Lilith Anurans.   Trent Anurans are more likely to travel, as they are more culturally used to moving from place to place. Therefore, they are the ones more likely to pass through other habited areas and meet with outsiders.

Architecture

Anurans live in the swamp, and therefore they build homes out of their natural surroundings.   The most common structures built by Anurans are Water Lilies, also known as Lily Pads. The sight of a Lily Pad that most people would be familiar with is simply the roof of an Anuran building, with the structure itself being made from the Water Lily, put together beneath the swampy water the Anurans live in.   The roofs of these "Lily Pads" (slang for the home or "pad" of an Anuran) are flat for one simple reason: Anurans will perch atop their roofs to chat with neighbors, or will gather atop roofs with friends to hang out. They also hop from rooftop to rooftop, from one Water Lily to the next, to get around in particularly busy parts of the swamp.   As for the Anurans who do not live in the water but instead the trees, they build nest-like homes out of sticks and branches. They have a special way to build things that makes them lightweight enough to perch atop a tree branch or a tree without putting stress upon it.   These tree homes are also not built into any foundation, but instead rely on their surroundings to keep it propped up. This means that they can be carried around anywhere, unlike Lily Pads which are rooted to the seafloor.  

Agriculture

Lilith Anurans grow plants in the swamp water and on the edge of it. Things like the Papyrus Plant, the Pussy Willow, or the Spiteful Plant, as well as some plants harvested for food like Horsetail.   Trent Anurans, on the other hand, harvest fruit from the trees, and will grow more if any trees are cut down. After all, trees not only provide food for them, but also shelter.  

Religion

The Anurans are one of the few races in Totania with no patron Gods. It is unclear who even created the Anuran people, though the prevailing theory is that they are a product of the Goddess Irkalla.   Anurans have various beliefs, being a fairly religiously diverse people. Many worship the God with the nearby temple, Kadakalan, while others instead believe in Irkalla, Melora Janus, or Avandra. There is even a sizable amount of Amoth followers.   The strangest group among the Anurans to outsiders are the Wretched Anurans. These are Anurans who worship the Black Dragon Lord Reoma the Wretched. The Wretched Anurans run a good portion of Anuran society, enough that the sacrificial rituals to Reoma are often state sponsored. The Wretched Anurans train assassins and their own priests to honor Reoma.  

Diplomatic Relations

Anurans have very little contact with the other nations. Even the nearby nations of Kenku, Loxodon, and Tortles, the most developed nations close to the Anurans, have a practice of no diplomatic relations with the Anurans, as they wish to leave the Anurans to grow on their own.  

Lizardfolk

This is not possible, though, for the Lizardfolk to do. The Anurans and Lizardfolk both live in the swamp and, therefore, have close relations.   This relationship is, however, not one of positive back-and-forths. Instead, it is a relationship built on hatred and trickery. Wretched Anurans capture Lizardfolk for ritual sacrifices, and even when other Anurans denounce this, the Owner Generals of the Lizardfolk often do not accept their apologies.   Still, they are closer to the Lizardfolk on official records than most other nearby nations. The Anurans, despite their hostilities, do not wish to go to war with the Lizardfolk. While the Lizardfolk have a strong army forged in combat with all surrounding neighbors, the Anurans are more of a disconnected, guerilla force that can't stand up to the Lizardfolk in pitched combat.   Therefore, they are officially neutral, despite the attacks done by small groups of Anurans or vengeful Lizardfolk.  

Orcs

Anurans have a few Orc clans around them, none of which are too friendly with them. The Orcs that are aware of the Anurans often make a game out of trying to find Anurans in the trees or the lily pads.   Orcs that aren't aware of the Anurans, instead, are the subject of a different game. Anurans will then hide from the Orcs and try to see how much they can do and still not be seen by Orcs. It is for this that Anurans are said to be some of the most stealthy people in Totania. The Orcs are used to train assassins.   Orcs have a fairly hateful view of Anurans, while Anurans view the Orcs as both terrifying and idiotic at the same time.

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Courtship

Some Anurans do very little to get their partners. In the communal lifestyle, they simply gather at meeting grounds and do something to garner attention. In the most basic sense, they will simply approach people they are attracted to.   However, there are some instances were people will do more to garner attention at these meeting places. This could include making art, performing a song, or doing a little dance.   These songs, in particular, often include unique vocalizations that attract their preferred gender while also serving as a competitive call that wards off their non-preferred gender. More than that, they also serve to show how useful an Anuran can be in the community. Anuran Art is, after all, meant to reflect well on the Commune, and the songs are included in that.

Traditional Anuran Courtship Song

I'm strong
I'm cool
I hang out by the pool.
I do my best
To help the rest,
And prop up current rule.   With you,
Baby,
We'd be a stronger team.
Me and
My friend,
The best Community.
If a song doesn't portray the Anuran and the Commune favorably, they simply don't get a mate. They are deemed to not be a valuable enough member of society at that point in time.   When they do find a mate, Anurans will often date for a year or two before getting married and, in heterosexual relationships, having children.  

Education

Anuran education is nine years long for the standard education, then leading into higher, university-level courses. They begin with simple classes like arithmetic, language, and writing courses, though soon other classes become sprinkled in on other topics.   These other topics include things like Lily Pad maintenence, tree climbing, how best to contribuute to the community, the importance of working together, and assassin training.   Anurans have a prestigious university in one of the areas of the Commune, though few non-Anurans have been able to find it. It's called West Coast University, leading many to believe it is a coastal location, or even perhaps underwater.  

Freediver Day

The 12th day of the fourth month, the Month of Defeat, is celebrated as Freediver Day after the Anuran p'Ees'n'Ees. p'Ees'n'Ees was the first Anuran to swim out into the ocean for a dedicated mission, then finding the Abral Archipelago and making first contact with the Tortles.   p'Ees'n'Ees inspired future Anuran expeditions out into the world, not with ships, but by simply swimming out to find more things in the world. They are dangerous missions that require places to rest, but they are endorsed by the people to discover more of the world.   On Freediver Day, Anurans gather at the coast and see how far out they can swim. Often school and work are canceled that day so more people can participate, with one exception. Lifeguards are often positioned on boats farther out to make sure Anurans don't get lost or drown.  

Biology

Height

Anurans are fairly short. The average height is about 2 to 2 and a half feet tall, while at their tallest they are said to be about 3 and a half feet tall.  

Skin

Anuran skin secretes a sticky, sometimes toxic, material produced through the skin glands. Their skin, then, is constantly moist, and must be shed at regular intervals every fortnight. Due to this regular shedding and the toxic materials, Anurans are resistant to most poisons. Some, even, have particular poison that secretes from their skin that is lethal to most people.   Anurans can absorb water through their skin as well, allowing them to breathe underwater.  

Patterns and Coloration

Anuran patterns and coloration help to tell what kind of Anuran they are, as well as whether they are poisonous or not. There are encyclopedias made by the Lizardfolk meant to identify the poison Anurans from the non-poison ones.  

Lower Body

Anuran feet and legs are designed to help them traverse their surroundings better. Due to this, their legs are elongated to help them push down on the ground, and their feet have bones that are more fused together to absorb the impact of landing.   Anurans have webs on their feet, though they are larger and more prominent on Lilith Anurans, as they help them traverse beneath the water.   Trent Anurans, instead, have sticky pads on the ends of their feet and hands, which aid them in sticking to the trees and other surfaces.  

Diet

Anurans eat the plants around them, as well as insects and other small creatures like snails. They do not necessarily have teeth and, thus, can't eat larger animals unless cut into very small, digestible pieces.  

Lifespan

Anurans live on average to be about 50 years old, but are said to be able to live up to 80 years.   They begin as eggs, and when they hatch, they become tadpoles. These Tadpole Anurans grow legs about a year (average) or two (late bloomers) into their lives. These tadpoles often must remain in the swampy water until they can grow legs, at which point they may begin to learn how to walk or jump.   Then, as young Anurans, they get more acclimated to the society around them until they become adult Anurans who are fully adapted to the land and can either live in the Lily Pads fully or climb trees.


Cover image: frog by cocoparisienne

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