A faction in Krevborna
The Polnezna are vagabonds who wander Krevborna and the greater world by wagon or riverboat. Joining the Polnezna is akin to pursuing an itinerant vocation and rejecting the comforts of settlement, hearth, and home. Polnezna earn money in their travels as carnival performers, musicians, actors, and soothsayers; they are distrusted due to their rootlessness, but few do not look forward to the respite from the everyday that their roving circuses and fairs provide.
Most Polneza troupes make it their mission to travel the world and collect local history, folklore, and occult knowledge that can be used to push back against the evil that plagues the world. The Polnezna possess bardic traditions that new members are initiated into. Behind their skill for entertaining the masses lie hidden powers of persuasion, the art of illusory magic, and secret rites of healing. However, some Polneza have become corrupted in their purpose and instead act as spies for the vampires of Lamashtu.
We must keep the lore of the land from dying a quiet death.
- Collecting and preserving local history and folklore will keep the world from slipping into a dark age of ignorance.
- Although the road is hard, we must persevere.
- Only a fool would settle in this tainted land.
- Disseminate information and techniques for combating the forces of supernatural evil.
- Train others in our bardic traditions.
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Stereotypes about Romani burden depictions of "Gothic gypsies" found in the source literature and its film adaptations. One way to keep the interesting, non-offensive part of this convention is to strip away the ethnic identifier. 4e D&D did this with Ravenloft's Vistani--it became a traveling group any race could join, let alone being a specific ethnic group. (Which, grossly, was separate from "normal human" in 2e AD&D.) Unfortunately, they went back to the ethnic backstory in Curse of Strahd.
The Polnezna is my attempt at keeping what I like about the literary convention while discarding what I find distasteful. I'm not sure it's wholly successful, but all things are a work in progress. Feedback welcome: what would you add or take away from this faction?