A Time of Troubles
There are two types of cannibalism: endocannibalism and exocannibalism.
Endocanibalims is cannibalism within one community. This is typically attributed to some sort of ceremony such as part of the grieving process, or a rites of passage. It is rumored that the Brown Dwarves in the lower levels of the Crooked Crags would bake portions of great leaders into pies so that every dwarf may absorb some of his/her wisdom. This practice as well others have given the Brown Dwarves the reputation of being the “Crazed Dwarves.”
Exocannibalism is the digestion of of humanoids from outside of your community. Sometimes this is used a tactic of war or a celebration of victory over a rival.
Either version is commonly viewed as “savage” and deviating from the norm. In times of great duress sometimes communities or smaller groups would turn to cannibalism for survival. This practice was equated with near-death survival. Reports of autophagia (or self-cannibalism) have also been reported.
Engaging in this practice has a few possible repercutions;
- Biologically, the subject may fall victim to Prion Disease. This affects the brain and nervous system. According to the great gnome researcher Arvark Don Due Delluise II, “The clinical signs in humans vary, but commonly include personality changes, psychiatric problems such as depression, lack of coordination, and/or an unsteady gait. Patients also may experience involuntary jerking movements called myoclonus, unusual sensations, insomnia, confusion, or memory problems. In the later stages of the disease, patients have severe mental impairment (dementia) and lose the ability to move or speak.” The cures for this have yet to be discovered.
- Arcane/Divine reactions have included diviation from your deity or circle of magic. This may prohibt access to your divine abiilties or mutation of the intended effects of transmutation spells. It has been reported that necromatic specialist have experienced a hardening of their hands much like frostbite. Magical affects may be mitigated by ending the consumption of humanoid flesh as well as a wish spell or an atonement spell.
Popular stories include the Lich King of N’ear Thuk, who lived just south of Murglewoods. The Lich King began as an average hunter who became disillusioned with his life. In his old age, he was tired of being not having a wife even though his three neighbors had wives and abused them. He worked hard to be a good person and felt as if he was never rewarded. He took it upon himself to kill all his neighbor’s children and consume them. After which he killed and ate his neighbors. He became known as the ghost who would stalk children who wandered too far away from Murglewoods, and it said that his practice of cannibalism is what caused his eventual descent into being a Lich King. It is most likely this is a childhood story meant to scare young children into staying near the village.