The following is a compilation of information from Sharon's original notes:
Nation: Trade Cities
OW Connection: humans and Cacklogallinians
Arrival Date: ???
HM Location: on the shores of Mare Foecunditatis
1) the lantern-adorned cities of men and Cacklogallinians on the shores of Mare Foecunditatis
2) the Hollow Moon's spider-folk need not hide their natures; indeed, their silken windships are greeted with enthusiasm by the trade-cities of the Cacklogallinians
3) Cacklogallinians -- A mercantile race of bird-like, flightless shysters and "con artists", these skittish creatures are the founders and champion bargainers of the eastern trade-cities. They've independently developed their own versions of many Darokinian merchant-spells (those dealing with bargaining and finances -- Count Coins, Evaluate, Trust, Crowd Summoning, Saviour Faire, Silver Tongue*, Detect Lie, Inventory, Smuggling, Accounting, Embezzle -- rather than actual caravan handling), for use in their incessant business dealings. Unlike the Gaz11 versions, many of the Cacklogallinian spells can be reversed, or otherwise applied to nefarious ends; for example, Count Coins in the hands of such a creature could become Miscount Coins, which causes its unsuspecting target to err by 10-40% when counting out coins by hand... always in the spellcaster's favour (either paying him/her too much, or charging too little).
(* - This one's designed to work on a single person, as the doting Cacklogallinian merchant puts a companionable arm across the potential buyer's shoulders ... thus providing the contact necessary for Charm-magic to function in the HM.)
4) Although werefoxes in the Hollow Moon first started out among the Cynidiceans -- indeed, more than 60% of Materan fox-lycanthropes are of that human subrace, and boast infravision (in either form) as a result -- they have since migrated east, away from hostile werewolves and were-hunters in Toroldorsk, and into the region of Mare Foecunditatis ... a far more hospitable climate, both in its weather and in its society. Indeed, Materan werefoxes took to the trade-cities immediately, enjoying the trickery and economic treachery which prevail there. The wit and prankish habits of werefoxes have endeared many individual werefoxes to the eastern cities' gnomish citizens; a few are even welcome to live openly, without concealing their lycanthropy, in the gnomes' homeland in the Taurus Mounts. The bird-like Cacklogallinians, on the other hand, consider foxes of any sort to be evil, egg-eating, chick-devouring monsters every bit as savage as werewolves (!); they hunt vulpines ruthlessly in the countryside of their own nation, and harass or even assassinate known werefoxes in cities which they control, rather than risk their dear pullets' safety.
5) The first, and most politically-significant, hybrid society on Matera is that of the trade-cities. Originally founded by bird-like entrepreneurs from the erstwhile Savage Coast nation of Cacklogallinia, these mercantile outposts soon sought independence from their motherland and threw their doors open to all comers, so long as "all comers" were willing to trade (and, in all probability, get cheated out of their breeches). Intrigued by this development -- and long frustrated in his quest to promote thievery and trade in the Hollow World -- the Immortal Asterius petitioned his old sponsor, Korotiku, to allow him to "open up" the independent trade-cities' culture, so as to encompass mercantile enterprise and profiteering in any form ... not just that of the Cacklogallinians. Having already done much the same thing with the Hollow World's Merry Pirates, the Spider leapt at the chance to create another polyglot society for the other museum-setting; working together, they altered the SoRs effects upon the cities, so that -- while Cacklogallinian customs were no longer preserved in residents' memories -- no trick, ploy, financial innovation or business technique that arose there would ever be forgotten. Not surprisingly, the trade-cities rapidly became the heart and soul of mercantile enterprise for the eastern and central Nearside ... not to mention the con-artist capital of the known universe! (Korotiku and Asterius are still patting each other on the back and chuckling, over this one.)
6) The last type of Materan lycanthrope which is definitely known to exist, as yet, is greater wererats; in yet another twist to the lycanthropic cliché, there are no lesser wererats in the Hollow Moon! Furthermore, the greater wererats all trace their origin back to a single KW family: the disgraced Rodemus noble house of Thyatis, which was disentitled for embezzlement in 968 AC and disappeared from its barony in the Duchy of Machetos, immediately thereafter. While Imperial court rumours alleged that the shamed ex-Baron Nikolaus Rodemus had hidden his family for two years, then quietly emigrated to Traladara as henchmen in the entourage of Duke Stefan Karameikos -- settling, rumourmongers whispered, in the vicinity of a certain crumbling Keep* believed to be haunted by a vampire
-- rumour was sadly mistaken.(* - When I start dropping names from the thumbnail "sample dungeon" in the old Basic red book, you KNOW I've been spending way, way too much time on this HM project! ;-D)
In fact, the entire Rodemus family had been infected with wererat lycanthropy in a massive wererat-invasion of their castle in 961 AC, as a part of a scheme by Mrikitat to gain a voice for his fellows in Thyatis' court. (Before his disgrace, Baron Rodemus had been an up-and-coming courtier with important contacts.) The Big Boss Rat had chosen the wrong family, unfortunately ... one that proved even more Chaotically-inclined and fractious in human form, than they were as wererats! Several years of infighting over who would be "top rat" in the clan left the Rodemus family worse than useless to Mrikitat's plans, the more so when Nikolaus got caught with his fingers in the cheese and lost all his court privileges. Giving up his first batch of greater wererats as a bad job, Mrikitat exiled them to the Hollow Moon -- a nocturnal setting which he hoped might help them get a handle on their "rattishness", and stop acting like *&%#@^ PEOPLE all the time!
-- from which he could recall them if they ever learned their lesson. ("Us rats can't jest go roun', fightin' each udda, till we gots sometin' ta fight OVER! Ya wanna kill yer buddies, do it 'bout lunch or yer den or da ladies, NOT yer full-o-garbage EGOS, ya fleabit rag-ears!")
It didn't work worth a damn. To date, the HM Rodemus family has fragmented into dozens of tiny clanlets, each with a half-dozen or fewer members. When they aren't feuding with each other, the groups find new excuses to break up even farther ... usually over personality-clashes or stolen wealth. The latter is more common than the former, as thievery -- not the cheery trickster-play of the laid-back werefoxes, but a brutal, profit-driven criminality with no care for who gets hurt -- is the primary enterprise of the Rodemus-clan lycanthropes. The clan's secondary industry is thuggery: Quite a few unsolved murders on record in the Hollow Moon were committed by assailants who burrowed their way to their targets through holes that seemed far too small to accommodate a human being, then shrugged off the blows of victims' bodyguards as if they were nothing but a nuisance. The least reprehensible of the Rodemuses are those whose stock-in-trade is information -- blackmail, espionage, fencing of forbidden spell lore -- anything that will fetch a good (astronomical) price.
7) There's one more group of Materans who live in hiding among other humans, and change to animal-forms on occasion... but they're NOT victims/carriers of lycanthropy. They're living descendants of the original Alphatian and Flaemish clans -- Padfoot, Woodwarder, Bruin, and War-Tusk -- which carried the genetic shapeshifting trait that modern lycanthropy is a permutation of. When the lycanthropy-plague first broke out on Mystara in 401 BC, Koryis -- the Alphatian Immortal patron of peace, and a member of the Bruin clan in his own mortal life -- realised that it would mean the end for a peaceful existence of the shapeshifter-bloodlines: their abilities, once lauded, would be suspected and fears for as long as the plague's memory lingered.
Not wanting to see his former clan OR its counterparts driven to extinction by humans' blind terrors and hatreds, he discreetly rescued a few select members of each shapeshifter-family from the plague-fearing lynch mobs of the day, and -- since three of the four clans' animal-forms are active primarily at night, and he didn't want his own Bruin-clan to lose touch with the other three -- set them down in the Hollow Moon.
Koryis made sure to place the few shapeshifters he managed to save among HM cultures that weren't hostile to strangers, and in close enough proximity to each other so that they could meet, and maintain their own, Alphatian culture, among themselves. He also altered their body-chemistry slightly, so that HM shapeshifters (which were too few to sustain a viable gene pool, on their own) could intermarry with humans of Mystaran* descent, yet not lose their special powers. Instead, when a shapeshifter and a Materan native were wed, one child in each generation thereafter would be born with the Alphatian parent's gifts. Only if both parents are shapeshifters (of any type) will all children share the ability to transform; in marriages of "mixed" shapes, daughters inherit the mother's animal-form, and sons, the father's.
8) The Trade Cities are cosmopolitan enough that they'll accept just about anyone, so that's indeed where most humans without another Materan homeland (Alphers included) would be found. The Cacklogallinians will hire just about anyone who's got a strong back and can refrain from chicken jokes.