The Gelb


Fast Facts

The Gelb is a gnome-majority culture, although other species are certainly citizens - particularly halflings and humans, plus the Equika families and enclaves which seem so widespread.

Settlements range in size from small hamlets to large towns, but isolated dwellings are rare as the Gelb are a social culture and like to work and relax together.

Quick Reference

  • Demonym: Gelbish (or sometimes Gelban)
  • Languages: Gnomish, Common (Almost universal)
  • Justice: Juries, selected by and from the Gelbmeet
  • Policing: The Townguard
  • Military: The Force of the Gelb. (No standing army, but all are expected to train and keep up their skills)

High Reachers

Every Gelb settlement will have at least one structure reaching above the treetops - a rare thing on Eleath. For a hamlet this might be as simple as a tall “mast” fixed to the tallest tree. More commonly it would be three beams forming a “pyramid”, again mounted from a tall tree. Usually one of the beams will feature some form of wooden ladder, and a “crows nest” platform near the top is common, too. In larger or richer towns the High-Reachers, as they are known, might be ornately carved spires, or defensible towers, or whatever works of art or practicality the inhabitants can dream up.

These High-Reachers serve as markers of identity, and their base is generally a public meeting point, but they do also serve practical purposes: it is only between Gelb settlements that a message on Eleath can be relied upon to travel faster than a person as mirrors and lanterns are used to signal between the towers. This network is not reliable for message transmission over long distances, however, as the anarchic nature of the Gelb means that agreements on when to be on the watch for signals are often only made on a local basis.

They also serve to give a unique viewpoint, and their existence means that most of the lore and language surrounding the Night Sky on Eleath comes from The Gelb as only they routinely get above the canopy for a clear view of it.

Anarchic Local Democracy

Each Gelb village is very much a law unto itself, with a village “Gelbmeet” called when decisions must be made. Sometimes groups of villages form themselves into a canton, and extend the structure over a larger area, but even the largest cantons would only include perhaps a dozen small settlements around one or two larger towns.

A meeting similar to a village meeting may be called over a larger area, with each village sending a representative (for example in times of war), but matters must be serious and clear for such meetings to lead to concerted action, so fiercely defended is the independence of Gelb settlements. However, if a rogue Gelb settlement begins to be too aggressive towards or exploitative of its neighbours then a Gelbmeet of interested settlements nearby will usually find a way to rein it in - by persuasion, or force, or some more concealed method and so while there is uncertainty while travelling in the Gelb an expectation of basic law and order is generally reasonable.

Gelb settlements can have a very different feel, depending on the preferences of their inhabitants, and therefore their ruling council, but most share a love of new and different things, especially clever mechanisms and devices.

Rumours have recently emerged of a self-appointed King of the Gelb moving to take control of a number of settlements, and of strange bubbles many times the size of a gnome being tethered to a number of High-Reachers deep within the “king’s” territory, but these remain rumours only.


Gelb-dwellers love to share their food, but the idea of having exactly what you will eat dictated in every detail by your host goes against the grain, so most public meals take a form where a number of elements are available, but each person makes up their own final dish.

Typically, strips of roasted meat, ribbons of cooked or raw vegetables and sliced cheeses (grilled, fried or simply cut from the wheel) are served with acorn-flour wraps, peculiar hollow rolls known as Birdsbeak Rolls, or baked, hollowed-out vegetables. Each person fills their own with foods of their choice - not forgetting spicy pickles or creamy sauces to top it off. And thus the desire to both share together and to control your own path which is so particularly Gelb is satisfied.

This Gelb repast is taken to its highest art at formal dinners where every morsel is cut to precisely the same length and width, such that a fixed number of them will fit exactly within perfectly shaped cases (such as square wraps or perfectly cylindrical rolls). At such dinners great notice is taken of the combinations which known gourmands select - then everyone tries to better them! Some unctuous morsels and some almost inedible combinations are the inevitable result!

How To Insult A Gnome...

To those outside the Gelb lands, their inhabitants are often known as “Glebs” or “Glebbers”, a deliberate mispronunciation which is considered extremely insulting.


A number of speciality products come only from Gelb lands, including gelbrope. This cordage is the finest in all Eleath and its production is a closely guarded secret centred in the north west of Gelb lands. Normally sold in 100 foot coils, such is the lightness and fineness of gelbrope that such a coil weighs only the 5 pounds that 50 feet of other silken rope normally weighs. Understandably prized, the price of such a coil is typically around 80 silver hawks! (See Trade and Money)

Page last modified on January 29, 2024, at 12:33 PM
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