Dance of the Goblins in a Nutshell
Months after I gave up on Dance of the Goblins, I picked it up again and skimmed it, looking for... I don't know what. But I've finally figured out how to encapsulate the humans' half of the storyline.
So basically, you have this band of twats who holed up in a castle with lots of wine and silken cushions and set themselves up as lords over the other folks who came to settle in the area, then whiiiiined because now they had to be, y'know, lords and stuff. They practiced their Very Secret religion in Very Secret secrecy while the newcomers filled the cultural void with whatever came to hand, which, strangely, had nothing to do with the morals or ethics of the Very Secret religion, which was proof of the commoners' backwardness because the Very Secret religion was right there, holed up in a big castle behind guards and titles and a huge social gulf, and the commoners could learn about it any time they liked, provided they crossed the social gulf and knew what questions to ask and the aristocrats liked them and swore them to secrecy lest the other commoners get wind of the Very Secret Religion.
So the aristocrats spent the next century or so ignoring the commoners except when they made fun of them for being so uneducated and backward and socially inept, and the commoners spent the next century or so left to their own devices except for the minor matter of taxes.
And then crisis hit, and the aristocracy was plain not there, so the commoners took care of it themselves. And the aristocracy had the vapors, because the commoners were so unaristocratic, and so unenlightened, and so not in tune with the Very Secret religion that they could have learned at any time if they weren't drunken, shrewish peasants. So the aristocrats ran around in a panic for a while, and had sex with people, and had Private Crises, and finally the leader of the aristocrats went down and beat the shit out of one of the commoners, and suddenly the commoners were happy again.
Or at least, they were willing to pretend they were happy, because the leader of the aristocrats still had that stonking huge sword.
And the leader of the aristocrats invited them all to a big party to celebrate his victory, and even though there had just been a battle with many dead and wounded, and the dead were still unburied and the wounded were still groaning in their beds and waiting to see whether they would live out the night, and the commoners had just learned that their town was infiltrated with invisible creatures that could go anywhere, do anything, couldn't be harmed lest the BIG invisible creatures come to kill you, had just killed their religious leader before their eyes, and had in the past made a habit of stealing children, and their lord had proven that he was on the side of the invisible creatures and would beat anyone who stood against him and put down resistance with the help of the aristocrats' magic—despite all that, the commoners went to the lord's party and danced.
And the lord made fun of them in private because they weren't very good at it.