The Mudskipper Federation

The Mudskipper Federation is a loosely-aligned chain of tribes and families that spreads through the running water of the Ruby Isle. Though they spread slowly, they are far-flung, and can be found in wide, slow-running rivers and freshwater lakes (so long as they refuse to fall stagnant) throughout the Ruby Plane. Each river — and what tributaries and nearby lakes that can be settled — is governed by a tribe. Tribes, in turn, are often rife with sub-divisions, almost like a nation in miniature.

A fractuous society of amphibious beings that dwells within the lakes and rivers of the Ruby Plane.

Major City: River-Wall

River-Wall is the name given to a mighty waterfall in the depths of the Ruby Isle, two major rivers joining at the peak of a cliff, descending deep into a sinkhole. At it's base is an aquifer-linked lake. A grand Mudskipper city — their capital city, by virtue of hosting the Confederation's meeting-place — is built into the waterfall and lake. Stone and rammed-earth structures stretch out from the very peak of the waterfall, hung in sweeping cricles. The waterfall's water is co-opted to fill them, with the flow carefully controlled and managed through valves and reservoirs. The uppermost structures are for public use — they are markets, meeting-spaces, and the Federation Chamber; smaller residential spaces descend from the hanging public spaces.

The Federation Chamber are where the leaders of the various Mudskipper tribes meet to discuss the affairs of the Confederation as a whole.

Wise elders manage a library of carved tablets and carefully curated, waterproofed scrolls, and Shamans placate the major spirits of the River Wall and the watery networks that the Mud-Skipper call their home. Spreading the spiritually-hued stories of their distant past for teaching the next generation.


Mudskippers speak their own language, 'Skipper, as well as a gestural language, 'Skipper Sign.

Mudskipper Communities

Mudskippers are roughly-humanoid beings who inhabit the rivers, lakes, and subterranean aquifers of the Ruby Plane. They strongly prefer flowing water, and are well adapted to function in a current.

The Mud-Skipper prefer flowing water, to avoid the stagnant pools of the Judges. The black slime colours many of their myths and serves as a 'satan' figure — even though Mud-Skipper themselves are (slightly) more resistant than most to their influence.

The Mudskippers dwelling within the underground aquefers of the Ruby Plane may have contact with the Drahrat. This would for trade in unique and rare goods, and for the cross-polination of ideas, for travel to distant lands, and for cooperation against their enemies. Or, equally, it might lead to conflict and mistrust between the two races. Or even a mixture of both, varying from tribe to tribe.

Mudskipper towns are built underwater in the rivers and lakes in which they live — though they occasionally feature some guest rooms that open above-water for visitors. The layouts of their villages follow the flow and twist of the river; their buildings are built in a teardrop cross-section, with windows letting the river current flow through, impeded as little as possible. They avoid large structures, holding town halls and meetings in large, cleared spaces, and keeping their homes only for medicine, meals, meditation, and rest.

Though not a universal trait, Mudskippers tend to be matriarchal, and prize leadership qualities in their female young.

Mudskippers are highly devout in their offerings and worship of the spirits of the world around them, especially the major spirits governing the rivers they live in — though they are hesitant to attempt to bind or bargain with them. They are also highly reluctant to discuss the reasons for this relationship.

Why would a race so devoted to the spirits be so afraid to bargain with them? What event from their past has made them so wary? What threshold would have to be crossed for them to seek the intervention of the spirits?

These mysteries are left to the GM to supply!

The Mudskipper Federation

Most of the Mudskipper tribes have joined a loose union, the Mudskipper Federation; this is led by a council of the leaders of the various tribes, the Mudskipper Council. The Federation provides a forum for the various tribes to cooperate on large projects, or to make decisions that affect them all. The Federation does not, however, unite the tribes, rule them, or claim to speak for them — to the point that one tribe may be a Protectorate member, while a neighbouring tribe engages in a guerilla war against the Protectorate to stop overfishing.

The Mud-Skipper are fractious and intensely tribal; individual tribes may be members of the Protectorate, the Commonwealth, or even allied with Cloud-and-Foam. Obviously, this provides ample opportunity for intrigue, infighting and tribal politics.

A change in a river's path can be a political upheaval for the Mud-Skipper, on par with a civil war elsewhere. Even moreso if the change is the result of a natural event, or a spirit's whim, instead of mortal intervention.

Mudskippers and Other Nations

Generally, Mudskippers are more than happy to keep to themselves. They have limited agriculture and aquaculture, and prefer hunting and foraging throughout the watery networks of the ruby isle. Mudskippers are surprisingly willing to share the waterways that they call home; most tribes only conflict with their land-dwelling neighbors when those races threaten to spoil a river — by overfishing, for example.

A few tribes have joined the Raptor Protectorate, and a few more trade with them. The Protectorate tribes provide an alternative trade network, which serve to move goods throughout the waterways of the interior and eastern coast of the Ruby Plane, and to connect the Protectorate with distant markets. And, of course, they benefit both from the protection of the Raptors and access to their markets. These tribes have developed their own gesture-based version of Protectorate Standard for above water communication, since their throats are ill-suited to vocalisations in open air.

Mudskippers have dealt with the Commonwealth even less, with only a dozen tribes making themselves known to explorers and traders from the Commonwealth. Many among these tribes, however, have come to view the Emerald Plane as an almost mystical paradise — a whole continent of open freshwater bodies, with neither hostile goblin armies nor the mythical threat with which they endow the standing waters of the Ruby Plane. Some tribes have begung to negotiate for transport to the Emerald Plane — even go so far as to consider joining the Commonwealth. So far, though, no easy way has presented itself to transport the freshwater-aquatic Mudskippers across the saltwater ocean that seperates the Emerald and Ruby Planes.

Though a small group, the Mudskippers seeking membership in the Commonwealth pose a threat to the Goblin Empire; this is one of many ways that the Commonwealth might be pulled deeper into the affairs of hte Ruby Plane, and a war with the Commonwealth might be started before either side has adequately prepared.

With the goblin incursion into the Ruby Isle, they have been found largely wanting as slaves or servants, due to the expense of maintaining fresh water for their sleep, and their apparent clumsiness and inexperience with agriculture or industrial pursuits (especially on land). Keeping to their waterways, however, keeps them out of the way of the Goblin Empire, which has largely spared them from the predation and cruelty of the invading Goblins — for now, at least.

Mudskipper Conflicts

When forced to fight, the Mud-Skipper make their enemies join them in the water, and use their natural advantages to their benefit. If the enemy attempts to dam or alter the river, then quick raids to the shore at the construction or excavation site attempt to stop any such actions. They lack the number, or physical prowess to engage in a stand-up fight without these advantages.

Each tribe may decide it's own fate, and as such, while the tribes the commonwealth and protectorate have interactions with are friendly to explorers and visitors (Within reason), there are other tribes that will protect their isolation with force, and even rumors of members of the race seeking acceptance in the goblin empire, or Bone-spiders. Among Mud-Skipper, they prefer debate, conversation, and deliberation to handle conflicts between each other, as a result of their limited numbers and physical fragility.