Tomes in Amber
The term “rugmen” is a derogatory term used by humans to denegrate the goblinoid/orc/gnoll/kobold races, whom they feel are inferior. “Rugmen” typically live in less civilized groupings and still use arcane magic, a form of magic long ago abandoned by humans, who consider it crass.
“Rugmen” is a broad category representing a variety of races. Some races included in this umbrella term have further specific names applied to them.
Goblins are also called ruggy greens, marsh rats and mosskin.
Orcs are also called rugbrutes, stumpeaters and dumps.
Gnolls are also called Furgs or Houndies.
Kobolds are the original rugmen and are ususally refered to as such, although some villages have local names for them.
Rugmen in Society
The majority of Rugmen live well outside the major cities in small tribes located in isolated areas or in special reserves, generally on marginal land, set up by the Lustrators. It is believed that by thus isolating the Rugmen their magical influence on society can be minimalized and potentially even eliminated. There are legends of a city of Rugmen but it is never spoken of by Rugmen, at least in the presence of non-Rugmen. The most common reference to it is as a taunt by a non-Rugmen to a Rugman; i.e. “If the poor Furg doesn’t think the food is good enough he can just move away to Ruggytown.” If such a place were actually discovered it is certain that the Lustrators would quickly move to control it.
Those Rugmen who either choose or are forced to remain in the cities form a near-slave caste for the general citizens. It is estimated that Rugmen make up to a quarter of the population of many cities , for although the official mandate is the banishment of arcane magic, ironically much of the current quality of life is maintained through the physical labour and minor magic Rugmen provide in exchange for a few coppers, a heel of bread, or a stable to sleep in. However only the most minor of magic is allowed, and the practice of any magic rituals or of the possession of a spellbook is punishable by death.
Of the various races Orcs and Gnolls tend to survive as labourers due their great strength. Magic is less common among them, but those who can summon light in the deepest mines are always held in great regard by their peers. Goblins are the janitors, wash women and chimney sweeps for the cities, work which is made possible through the use of cantrips of which nearly all Goblins know at least one or two. Kobolds serve a similar role but are held in slightly higher regard than Goblins—perhaps because magic is not quite so common among them. As a result a Kobold will often serve as overseer to a group of goblin workers or as a manservant in households unable to afford a human servant. The latter task forms the etymology of the word “Rugman”, as a “Rugman” was originally a Kobold hired to stand on the rug beside his master’s table or to sleep on the rug at the foot of his bed so that he would always be there to attend to his master’s needs.