The Smallfolk Society
The smallfolk society were a group active well before the The Great War came to Zihæt. This society advanced an agenda focused on the study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of humanoids ("smallfolk") as companions. Their work has been felt long after they disappeared at the end of the Great War. It is believed amongst the longer lived races that the smallfolk society is largely responsible for the immense diversity of humanoid species and bloodlines across Zihæt, and the unusual ability to interbreed.
The smallfolk society was responsible for the proliferation of many varieties of smallfolk across Zihæt. Members (or breeders) conducted a long lasting practice of selective breeding for desirable traits. These traits in turn were determined by the ancient races which kept smallfolk as pets, companions and working animals. This resulted in the creation of many new "breeds" of smallfolk. Many new breeds were initially based solely on physical characteristics including size, color and strength. However over time this included crossbreeding for health (infusing animal characteristics for heartiness), and eventually for behavioral characteristics such as docility in ornamental breeds or aggression amongst sporting breeds. For these breeders, their projects always began with a plan. They could tell you which smallfolk they would breed together to produce their next two or three litters. This would include linebreeding of similar smallfolk to maintain and solidify traits in the bloodlines, outbreeding with other smallfolk to introduce less common traits, or specific manipulations (magical manipulation, characteristic splicing, and other techniques such as chimeras) to blend in completely new traits.
A wide variety of secret research methods and records were kept at the headquarters of the smallfolk society, and were not publicly shared. These included spellbooks with techniques for manipulating live creatures, the procedures for creating stable chimeras, and endless records of experiments and results to guide future researchers.
The beginnings of the smallfolk society were formed by a group of cloud giants seeking more aesthetically pleasing pets (smallfolk companions). Over time, this attracted the attention of elements of giant society, and then several other ancient races. Small "fan" groups of particular breeds of smallfolk began to form amongst the ancient races, and other groups began to try to determine their methods. After several particularly gruesome outcomes, the founders of their society formalized the organization and set out several ethical boundaries to prevent the worst abuses. They began to license breeders as part of the society, and clamped down on ilicit breeding activities. Eventually this settled into a system where smallfolk breeders became more of an accepted craft, overseen by the smallfolk society. The Society sponsored smallfolk shows where differing breeders could compete for the top specimens in each breed, or "best in show." These shows became large events in Giant society, and were attended by many others.
At the onset of the great war, many of the breeders were called on to participate in the war. During this period, almost all of the leadership of the society perished or went missing. By the end of the great war, almost all of the techniques held by the society were lost. In addition, the large role played by the humans in the war, as well as the influx of refugees meant that these activities were no longer considered acceptable. Most of the smallfolk escaped or set loose to form their own colonies or settlements away from their former owners. The memory of the breeders varies amongst the smallfolk. To some, they were gods. To others, demonic masters. Regardless, only a few of the more intelligent smallfolk breeds keep the legends of the Smallfolk Society and breeders alive.
The Smallfolk Society achieved the pinacle of biological and genetic understanding on Zihæt. Their discipline of research methods, magical and biological manipulation of humanoids and animals has not been matched.
The breeders held the following core values:
- We love our smallfolk companions.
- We are committed to advancing the sport of smallfolk competition.
- We are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of our smallfolk breed egistry.
- We protect the health and well-being of all breeds of smallfolk.
- We cherish our domesticated smallfolk as companions.
- We are committed to the interests of smallfolk owners.
Some smallfolk species maintain that the Society breeders were gods responsible for creating their people. As such, they are venerated and believed to have died along with the other gods at the end of the great war.