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1  Santharian World Development / Miscellaneous / Jumping Drum, Brownie Drum or "Brownie Bouncer" on: 02 September 2014, 03:10:37
The Jumping Drum or Brownie Drum, which is also sometimes referred to as a "Brownie Bouncer", is a musical instrument developed by the Llaoihrr of the Brownie Vale.  Rather than hitting the drum with implements, the Brownie musicians use the springiness of the skin to jump high into the air, striking the drum with feet, hands and any other part of their anatomy.

These instruments are often very simple, with a wooden frame supporting a tightly-stretched animal skin.  Sizes vary from about 15 nailsbreaths across to a ped, although these larger drums might be played by more than one Brownie at once.

Both the base and the skin are decorated with simplified representations of plants, animals, or other objects that the Brownies may wish to emulate with their music.  Professional Drummer'rs from the Drummer'r clan will normally have a pattern or theme they use to decorate all the instruments in their band to identify them - perhaps a XXX fly to suggest the buzzing of the wings or a pun on the bands name.

The basic design for these instruments is incredibly simple - an animal skin is tied to an open-topped, wooden cylinder and pulled taut.  The base is traditionally made of a piece of horn from the XXXX goats/sheep that live in the Mountains.  A section is sawn off the very base of the horn, forming a large circle which the skin is then stretched over to create a drum large enough for one Brownie musician. 

However, killing one of these creatures is a rare event and as the drums have become more popular Brownies have started using carved wood instead.  This in turn has allowed the drums to be made large enough for several Brownies to use at once, making "team" performances more and more common. Like any device exposed to the ingenuity of the Llaoihrr Brownies for any length of time, new designs and materials are always being tried and tested. 

What makes the drum a "Jumping Drum" is more the way it is used than anything in the design.  Of course the instrument does have to be large enough to allow jumping, and the skin must be stretchy enough to allow for the bounce.

Playing these instruments is not just a case of achieving the correct sound and rhythm; players must also be able to execute spectacular jumps and flips whilst doing this.  Skilled players can control their jumps and twists, and therefore also control the time between jumps and the rhythm they beat out with their feet.  Extremely skilled players can add beats from arms and hands, which have a slightly different tone, and therefore vary the beats they are able to produce.

Compared to other percussion instruments, the sounds the Jumping Drums can produce are fairly limited in pitch and tone.  The skin needs to be springy enough for the Brownie to bounce high, which dulls the sound of the hits and means that the most you can really get out of these drums is a mono-tone "boom", or a lighter "fswat".  However, these instruments were developed for use at large Brownie festivals with thousands of onlookers.  Such subtleties are lost over the chatter of tiny voices, but the acrobatics can be easily seen. 

The skill of the players is also measured by their precision and synchronicity, as the only way to get the sound louder is to have more drums.  Teams of 20 drummers are ideal for large gatherings, which is why these instruments are most prevalent amongst large, well-off Brownie settlements who can afford to support this many individuals.

These drums are most common in the Vale of Brownies for large festivals and events where teams of "Jumpers" perform together.  They are often accompanied by small reed flutes and whistles.  The effect of this performance is more about providing a festival atmosphere with plenty of noise and commotion, rather than producing beautiful music. 

Origin and History
These instruments were originally made from the horns of the XXXX, on the rare occasions that a group of Brownies managed to hunt and kill such a beast.  This was in the days before Brownies had tamed and trained the Brownie Owls they now use as mounts, making it a long and dangerous trip into the high mountains.  Exposed above the treeline with no flying lookouts to keep predators away, Brownies would have been in constant danger of becoming a delicious snack.  However, large kills provided such an abundance of meat and fat for food, and leather, bone and horn for buildings and machinery, that the benefits would be felt by every Brownie in the settlement.  Such a kill would be cause to celebrate and to give thanks to the Goat Spirit, and drums made from the base of the horns would be used as the focus of this impromptu festival.

Nowadays most of the materials that would be gained through a goat kill are traded for instead, and some settlements have got so large that any festival takes months of preparation.  Festivals are now regular events throughout the year, but they still include the Jumping Drums at their centre.  Performances are often very lavish with up to 20 musicians performing together at the Council Tree's Harvest Festival.

The drumming of a Jumping Drum has always been associated with giving thanks to the Spirits (please see Brownie Beliefs for a full detail of this Brownie religion).  There place will always be at the centre of a festival, leading the celebrations.
2  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Library / Essllee Squisher and the Rampaging Vines - WIP on: 15 August 2014, 20:24:53
Essllee Squisher and the Rampaging Vines
A Cautionary Tale for Young Brownies

This tale is told to every Brownie youngster born or trained at the Council Tree to remind them of the importance of working together.  The phrase “a right Essllee” is often used to mean someone whose recklessness and determination to strike out alone means they get themselves into danger and need to be rescued.  This is probably the closest thing Browniin has to a “damsel in distress”.

Essllee Squisher was a young life mage who was used to being the cleverest and the best at all his studies. He was always the first in his class to master a new technique, and could always do it faster and bigger than all his classmates. He always wanted to be moving on to the next challenge and the next and the next, whilst his classmates were still struggling to master the first one and refused to work with them on joint spells and projects.

One day his teacher, a wise old professor who had been teaching for many years, called him to one side.
“Essllee”, she said, “You are a great student. You learn quickly and are as hungry for knowledge as a XXX is for XXXX. But you’ll never be a life mage unless you learn to work with others.”

Essllee’s normally pale rose skin flushed to scarlet in a mix of embarrassment and anger. “I am stronger and faster than any of the other students.” He stated proudly. “I don’t need them, they only slow me down!”

“No one life mage can succeed alone. It takes hundreds working together to keep the Council Tree alive, and even changing one tree requires a group of three of four. You know this, you have seen how we work. If I do not see conclusive proof that you can work with your classmates before the leaves fall, then I will not allow you process with them in the spring.” Her bright green eyes bore into him, suddenly harsh and firm.

If Essllee was angry before, now he was almost bursting with indignation and range. Unable to concoct a suitable argument through his anger, was only able to mutter viciously to himself as she showed him the door: “I’ll show her. I’ll show her. I can do the work of FIVE mages myself!”

He grabbed his school things and stormed out of the classroom, heading for his favourite thinking spot – the top of the Diamond Falls. Throwing his things onto the ground he slumped onto a convenient rock and began to throw stones down into the falls, seeing how far he could get them before they fell into the torrent. The fire of his rage slowly abated, turning into a dull huff of determination. What could he do that would show her? That would show them all?

He picked up his potted XXX Vine, something that every life magic student uses when first learning their art. It was a strange, warped thing, twisted by the many test spells that had been wreaked upon it.  Yes, that was it!  That would show them!
He began pouring lifeforce into the specimen, urging it to grow as big and tall as it could.  He would show them that he could channel just as much power as FIVE mages put together! The tree nearby withered and leaves began to drop as he stole it's lifeforce and pushed it into the potted Vine, concentrating harder and harder and harder and harder.  He screwed up his eyes and clenched his fists, looking very much like he had a bad case of XXXX.  The vine grew and grew, faster and faster, it's limbs flailing in the wind like a giant sea monster.  Suddenly, with a crack like a whip, Essllee was thrown to the ground.  He looked up, clutching at the welt on his face, and saw a large vine tendril curling back toward the plant.  He scuttled back on his bottom, away from the circling vines.  The plant looked...well, menacing was the best word.  Did it know it had hit him?  With another large crack, the pot restraining the plant burst and long roots uncurled beneath it.  It lurched towards Essllee, and suddenly fear overtook him and he turned to flee, only to be greeted by the steep sides of Diamond Falls.

Excellent!  It would never be able to follow him down here, thought Essllee.  Quick as he could, he began to scramble down the rocks by the side of the torrent.  They were slippery, but tiny hands only require small cracks and Brownies learn to climb at a young age, so it took him no more than a few minutes to scramble down to a convenient ledge.  
3  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: A couple of new pics to consider integrating on: 15 August 2014, 20:22:51
I think there will be few paragraphs to add to the Llaoihrr entry to bring it up to date with all the recent (ok, not recent at all, but comparatively recent) work.  I'd like to do add in the paragraphs about all the other Brownie settlements in the Vale (which I started here ages ago) and that's probably going to take a bit of time to check through and make sure I haven't contradicted anything else.

So I've started the short story - I'll post the beginning (I'm about 2/3 through but away this weekend so hopefully next week).  I've written it about a life magic disaster so that the picture could be added into the life magic entry as well.  Maybe with a caption like "When life magic goes wrong - Essllee Squisher and the Rampaging Vines" and then linked to the story?
4  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: New external Santharian artist 3: Reegen on: 14 August 2014, 07:20:29
Yes, when the Chieftan is searching for the Sorceress (but before she's made the Darkwoods really overgrown).  The idea for that area was that it would be wild and entrap travellers so they'd get lost and disorientated.  The trees in the picture look exactly like they're just waking up and turning on the intruder!

I've pmed Irid to see what she thinks too.
5  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: New external Santharian artist 3: Reegen on: 13 August 2014, 18:19:49
This one - The Last Immortals  might be a good fit for Irid's Sorceress' Peak Story (at least the start before the Vale gets so overgrown).
6  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: A couple of new pics to consider integrating on: 13 August 2014, 18:03:43
I can definitely find a home for the Underground tribe - I know the people are human, but you can't really see much detail or skin colour so I can pretend they're Brownbarks quite easily!  It'll either be the home of the Vale Brownies who live in the cliffs near the Gate (I'm hoping to add a short paragraph about them into the Llaoihrr entry, which could then be expanded later into a full settlement/tribe entry), or it could be one of the Aohu'o tribes which haven't been written yet - whichever gets done first.

"You have to catch it" has also given me an idea for a story for a life magic experiment gone wrong - the mages live at the top of the diamond falls so it'd be ideal.  Again, the person at the bottom of the falls doesn't have too much details so I reckon it could be a Brownie.
7  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: The Vardýnn Monster Map (work in progress) on: 04 September 2013, 06:44:08
Are those tiny little hobbit holes?  They're so cute!   I love the highlighting too - the rivers and mountains look like they've just caught the sun.  cool
8  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: Online Colour Challenge on: 16 June 2011, 05:44:23
I got 0 - Perfect colour vision.  So although my eyes cannot focus without glasses more than about 15cm away from my face, they can do colour :P
9  Santharian World Development / People of the World of Caelereth / Re: Gratcha Swath on: 15 June 2011, 06:24:57
I think the others comments pretty much say what I was feeling too  grin

One FYI - 12 nailsbreaths is *very* short for a Brownie, probably the shortest I've ever seen one.  It should be possible, but as I say, she really is a short arse!

I love the Rat Brownie descriptions - particularly the "potting soil".  It's a nice city-dweler-ish touch :)

I'm not sure about calling the Prominant Mountain Rat Brownies "Thieflings", as there is already a type of monkey with this name: Thiefling Monkey.  Where has this come from?  I love your expantion on the tribe idea though :)

"One morning, the Codommas of Milkengrad awoke to find a small, crumpled Gratcha fast asleep at their door step."

"Even though they received wide spread critique, Gratcha’s observations of the Ghostlings, as published by Kirsa, are still commonly used as one of the only factual sources of information on the tribe.  Thus, the Milken’s observations remain a staple in the coursework of rising researchers of Ghostlings and scholars of the Mists, ensuring the Swath name will continue to be commonplace in the field for quite some time."

"As such, she has unsurfaced a number of new artifacts, skeletons and other objects for study."  Ooooo, I hadn't thought of that.  *goes into happy thinking-up-artifacts daze*

It's a really believable, logical, and fascinating account of her life, with plenty of little amusing bits.
10  Santharian World Development / Miscellaneous / Re: Ihehihaheh, Brownie Wood Soothing Tool on: 10 June 2011, 06:24:57
Coolio, looks good!
11  Santharian World Development / Miscellaneous / Re: Ihehihaheh, Brownie Wood smoothing Tool on: 10 June 2011, 05:38:29
Hey Drasil,

Thankyou for another brilliant Brownie addition - it's great to see these random little gadgets come to life!

I've just had a read through - just typos and spellings mainly I think.  Although the Browniin does translate as "Wood Soothing Device" without the "m", because the dictionary only has a limited number of words and I liked the name.  If you do decide to change it to Wood Smoothing, then you'll need to get it changed in the Brownie Beads Entry too, otherwise it won't link correctly.  Up to you though :)

The ihehihaheh’s barrel is almost always fashioned from a nailsbredth or two long segment sawed off of a rather thick branch.  The inside is then hollowed out using chisels to create a cavity to for a bead-in-progress to rest

Once the device gathered enough momentum, it was found that it would send the now extremely dizzy Brownie mounted on its top flying along with the sand.

“…On a side note, this is thought to be the starting point for the children’s “Spin-Around”, a slightly dangerous toy which causes a pleasant (or sometimes unpleasant) dizzy sensation.  Some older younglings are known to experiment with these whilst wearing their Lleeterrs too, which is a constant source of annoyance for the already busy Life Magic Healers.”

Just a random suggestion…and it gets two more links in *evil grin*

So frequently did this occur that it was not uncommon for half of the Hamm’rer Clan to be unable to work because of their broken bones, cuts, bumps and bruises.

Ermm, half the Hamm’rer clan is….probably around 10,000 Brownies.  Possibly not that many :P

While there are few stories concerning the Wood Smoothing machine in Brownie mythology, the device does occasionally make an appearance in Browniin sayings.  For example, it is not uncommon to hear an exhausted young Llaoihrr mother tell a child who is exceptionally dirty that she will turn him in an ihehihaheh in order to get him clean.

Hehe, I like it.

The smoother barrels of the ihehihaheh are rumored to be excellent at relieving persistent itches and removing dead skin.  As a result, many a desperate and foolhardy Brownie, particularly those suffering from a bad case of Sunblood, have though it clever to try sticking an appendage in the whirling machine to relieve their pains.  Unfortunately for these individuals, this method has proved quite ineffective as the quickly spinning sand seems to tear at the flesh rather than gently rub it.

Argh!!!   jawdrop

Hope that helps, and take an aura point as a big thankyou from me  thumbup
12  Organization and General Discussions / The Southern Sarvonian Continent / Re: Sarvonian Dawn on: 08 June 2011, 15:56:06
Ahh, ok.  I'll look for some more info on the Carmalad Battle then and make sure that one all fits in.

13  Organization and General Discussions / The Southern Sarvonian Continent / Re: Sarvonian Dawn on: 08 June 2011, 06:51:43
So the final battle against the Dark Hoard was 203 b.S.?  Was this victory fought for in Carmalad?  Just double-checking the facts as I think I might have to do some rejigging of the Llaoihrr history - they're supposed to have fought in the last battle and I've got that down in Carmalad in 288 b.S.  But the Brownie history needs a bit of a rehaul anyway.
14  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: Rat Brownie riding a City Rat pic on: 08 June 2011, 04:25:13
Sorry Azhira, it's true that there is a tendancy to think all Brownie development falls under my scope, whilst in actual fact both you and Garret have made huge contributions to the race's development.  I'll drop you a pm - maybe we can think of some easy ways to reajust the perspective?  :)

I was trying to think of some easy ways to make the rat look more like a diseased city rat (which I was trying to get into my comments) - do you reckon giving the fur a bit more of a dirty look?  Perhaps the tail less shiny and more....icky?  Or is it simply that it seems too plump?
15  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: Rat Brownie riding a City Rat pic on: 07 June 2011, 01:55:18
He's awesome!  I don't know how you've managed to capture that wonderful expression on his face - it's brilliantly evil and mischevious, just so exactly how i'd imagine a Mud Rat Brownie expression.

I like the suggestions from Talia and Alt: i.e. making it more dawn/dusk time and having that human face at the window.  However, if either of them detract from that expression on the Rat Brownie's face, then I reckon leave it as it is!  You could also, as Talia suggests, pop in some reins or a collar for steering the rat - maybe a collar would also allow you a bit more scope for defining the fur, as it would ruffle up the dirty hairs? (This could help make the rat look a bit more malnorished too?) Completely up to you though, as it could be steered by leaning to one side or by voice commands instead.

Could you just mention that this is a Mud Rat Brownie somewhere (it can be in the picture caption rather than the title if easier) - there are a few different types of Rat Brownie and they can look like anything really.



Have some aura from me and another Brownie point too!
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