Humans may raise any of their skills to 5, instead of 4 like most races. This is up to 6 for champions. They also start with an extra 3 skill points.
Humans were made by the Creator as the original race. Many of the other races are adapted from humans.
They're humans. Presumably you're one as well. You should be able to figure this one out.
Beastmen get an extra gift that fits with their animal nature.
When the tribe of Matrean intruded upon the pools of Cora, she cursed them, saying "Like animals you have acted and so like animals you shall become." Every man and woman took on the nature of a beast; some lions and jaguars, some voles and hares, and others tortoises, birds, and fish. These came to be known as the beastmen.
Birth and DiscoveryEditBeastmen are born appearing fully human, their cursed nature not immediately apparent. Until puberty, they will take after their parents' human appearance only. Once they reach their coming of age ceremony, they are drawn by mystic forces into the wilderness to spend time with their motif animal. This is a ritual they must undergo alone, and interfering with it will cause the child agony and sickness, and then eventually death.
The child is drawn into the wild and will be drawn to his or her motif animal, and the motif animal will be drawn to the child. They will meet and go on a journey where the child will watch the animal as it lives, sleeps, hunts, and plays. Then, the animal departs and the child undergoes a painful metamorphosis, growing fur or scales or feathers to look more like his motif animal. The transformation often results in a change in ears, tail, and other superficial and sometimes deeper changes. She returns to the village an adult, and her new form will determine how others see her and her place within society.
Children usually take after their parents. A child of a leopard and a lynx will likely be one of those animals, or else part jaguar, tiger, or similar animal. But it's not unheard of for a child to take after a completely different animal than the parents. No beastman ever takes on the traits of an insect, but animals, fishes and birds are common.
The beastmen hold that your motif animal is a reflection of your character, personality, and talents. Different animals lend themselves to different places in society. This has led to a caste system where the animal whose characteristics you take on determines your position. Generally, larger animals dominate over smaller ones and predators over prey. There are generally seven castes, with innumerable sub-castes and permutations within a caste:
Carrion eaters are the lowest caste. This small minority is considered to be untrustworthy and immoral by nature, or else they would have become a better form of animal. Carrion eaters are not allowed into sacred
This group includes crows, ravens, rats, and the like.
These are commoners, doing common work. Four out of five beastmen are lesser herbivores, mostly farmers, but often miners, servants, lumberjacks, and day laborers.
Lesser herbivores include hares, small monkeys, voles, mice, and other small creatures.
Middle herbivores sometimes do menial labor, but they usually take up trades such as carpenter, smith, tailor, mason, or artist.
Middle herbivores include pigs, deer, tapirs, and other similar creatures.
Greater herbivores are the priestly caste, having many ceremonial and religious duties. They are often gifted with magical energies.
Greater herbivores include elephants, rhinoceroses, and a few other animals.
Lesser carnivores are occasionally leaders, but usually take up merchant trades such as buying and selling goods or moneylending. Lesser carnivores are often criminals, whether they run scams, steal, or even commit worse crimes, often with money as a motive.
Lesser carnivores include foxes, hawks, most fish, badgers, and ferrets.
Middle carnivores act as managers and leaders, whether it is the owner of a small business or the mayor of a city.
Middle carnivores include dogs, wolves, some large cats, many fish, sharks, and great eagles.
Greater carnivores are the cultural elite. The oldest of the family owns an estate and always has some measure of political power, usually a great deal. The younger members who are physically adept turn to warfare. Outfitted with the best equipment and pursuing training as a full-time job, they are a terror on the battlefield. Other greater carnivores focus on intellectual pursuits such as learning, magic, or philosophy.
Greater carnivores include lions, whales, dolphins, and bears.
In theory, all castes are of equal value in society and all beastmen equally valuable, despite different roles. There may be as many as 5 people within the beastmen kingdom who actually believe this. The rest put them in an order that goes from least to greatest, least moral to most moral, and least valuable to most valuable. The above guide is a vast oversimplification of beastmen casts and there are numerous exceptions. For example, the ibex is a greater herbivore while other deer are middle herbivores.
There are two major competing philosophies among the beastmen.
The first philosophy is called humanism. Humanists believe that the curse is something to be fought against and seek to reinforce their human side. They seek out intellectual activities especially history and the arts, and participate in religion. They have strong moral principles they try to stick to, principles that animals wouldn't, and while they may disagree on many points of morality they all agree it is important. Carnivore humanists are known to stick to vegetarian diets.
Opposed to them are the bestials. Composed largely of young adults, though with some older ones, bestials dislike society and form small packs that operate on the fringes. Bestials like their animal sides and emphasize them. They eat what their animal forms would naturally eat, wear little clothing, and generally stick with other beastmen of a similar animal type to their own. They live a primitive existence. Bestials also stick with what they call "natural morality" which is basically do whatever they feel like. They think much of morality is absurd, self-righteous artificial constructs. They sleep with whomever they want, defecate where they please, and generally do what they feel like. Bestials are hated by most of society as much as they hate it.
Some beastmen who go insane, and many bestials who reach the ultimate end of their philosophy, become ferals. Ferals' animal nature takes over, and they grow to look more like animals than men. Ferals don't wear clothing or use tools. They are wild, dangerous animals although often more vicious. They often even frighten bestials.
"Like a rat." Beastmen often describe people's character and personality based on animals. The most degrading animals are skunk, rat, crow, catfish, raven, and pig.
"You cannot argue with the Creator." A beastman proverb, indicating that the situation you are in is the result of the Creator's will, and therefore something you deserve.
"...gone feral." This means, figuratively, that the person is becoming inhuman or insane.
Stong, tough, and skilled in fighting, Hytherians get +1 to all combat skills.
The tribe of Hytheria made their homes on the slopes of the Mountain, sacred to Arthos. Arthos had blessed the mountain so that all living things living upon it would slowly grow in strength and stature and health. The mountain was home to glorious bounties of massive fruits and humongous green, not to mention terrific hunting of the great creatures that dwelt there. But the riches came at a cost, for horrible beasts dwelled there, mighty giant creatures that were fearsome to slay. As the Hytherians dwelt in the mountain, the blessing of that place came upon their line. They are now half again as tall as normal men and are proportionally stronger and heartier.
Hytherian children must be born and raised on the Mountain by their law, or they are not legitimate members of the tribe. Chilren who do not grow up on that mountain are normal humans, without the great strength of their people. Conversely, any human couple may travel to the mountain, and if the father can pass the test of valor they are allowed to stay to raise their child to adulthood, who will then be accepted as a member of the tribe.
Hytherians may leave the mountain after they reach adulthood. But, should a woman become pregnant, she returns to the mountain until she gives birth and her son reaches adulthood at the age of 15 or her daughter at 17.
The mountain gave the hytherians the size and strength of a giant, but what it gave in might it took in life, for hytherians died of old age after forty years. Arthos, proud of his race, pleaded with his mother Adara to extend their lives that they may experience their glory for many years. She agreed after sending him on a quest in which he learned there was more power in creation than in destruction, for to unmake is easy, but to make the greatest of difficulties. However, she told him that she had only the power to extend the lifespans of one of the genders, not both. Realizing that women, who could create life and bear incredible pain in doing so, were the stronger, Athos chose to have them given longer life. And so the men of the tribe live to only twoscore years while the women last twice that.
The women of the tribe have the time to master skills, becoming the best tradesmen, artists, and scholars as well as the tribe's priests. The men journey off in warfare, raiding other towns and villages and fighting for conquest. Many an army have assumed that the Hytherian hometowns would be undefended only to realize that the women's skill extended to combat prowess, and that whatever forces could reach a village after being torn apart by the great beasts of the mountain would be decimated by the female defenders.
Individual villages are led by the village father and village mother. The father is the political leader and the mother the spiritual one. While the father has final say in all decisions affecting the village, he is to consult the mother in all matters of importance. The tribe father need not be the most intelligent, so long as his huerzfa is pure. "Huerzfa" is a word of unknown origin and nearly impossible to translate, but it means something like "intuition," "heart," "conscience," or "instinct." A man who walks the narrow path and does what is right keeps his huerzfa pure. But a man corrupted by alcohol, loose women, bloodlust, anger, greed, or other vices has a huerzfa that leads him astray.
A Hytherian proverb states "The woman with grey hair is a treasure to the tribe, but it is a shame for a man to die of old age." Dying valorously is an accomplishment for Hytherian men, be it death in battle, in the hunt, or doing a legendary feat. Among the young and reckless, this often translates to "death by stupidity." And more than one Hytherian's last words have been "watch what I can do!"
Hytherian men inherit from their friends. When a man dies, his closest companion inherits all his worldly goods as well as his wives and children, and is expected to care for all of these as if they had always been his.
A Hytherian Burial: This means to charge into the midst of enemies and viciously attack while surrounded on all sides until you are killed, burying yourself in the bodies of your enemies.
Son/Daughter of the Mountain: A Hytherian.
Mountain Father: Another name for Arthos.
Mother of Life: Another name for Adara.
Husband of One Wife: A hytherian who only has one wife, usually young. Refers to the fact that the person has had little adversity in his life because he has had no friends die and leave him wives. Alternatively, implies that the person has little adversity because he only has to put up with one wife. Also implies that the person has yet to earn much treasure or glory from overcoming adversity.
Melias get +1 to all charisma skills.
The Melias are the creations of Saliska, who for three years wept over the humans' destruction of the Chulaman forest. In the first year, she determined to have vengeance; but she repented of that. In the second, she determined to take all the forsests of the world to her realm; but she repented of that. In the third year, she was lost, until Aquillus came to her and advised her to create a race of her own from the trees, that they might show humanity the way. And thus, she made the Melias from the trees of her orchard, but they had no life. And she pled for three more years with the Creator and He breathed the breath of life into them.
Melias are head and shoulders taller than most other races, with the exception of the Hytherians. They have a humanoid form and green skin. By day they soak in the rays of the sun to energize themselves, and by night they sleep by rooting themselves in the ground to draw nourishment from the earth.
Melias express themselves through both words and scents. They can exude dozens of smells in limitless combinations to get across feelings and sometimes more complex concepts. These work on a subtle level to influence the emotions of any creature nearby, especially an intelligent one, and even humans. These scents help them communicate with each other and get their feelings across. Melias can understand the speech of plants, although trees usually have little to say other than if a nearby tree is being attacked by parasites or needs water or sun.
Melias can either be male or female. While they may occasionally wear bits of clothing for decoration, they cannot feed with their skin covered and so are usually unclad. The exception is during spring, when they wear hats to cover the flowers which sprout from their heads. Letting your flowers be seen by anyone other than your mate is obscene.
Melias reproduce when a male and female head into the woods to "watch the bees." A pregnant female will begin to bear fruit after a month and around fall her fruit will drop after which she will plant it in the ground, usually in the community nursery. The sapling will grow for ten years before reaching adulthood, still rooted in the ground though able to move its upper body, look around, and talk. When a sapling can uproot itself and move around on her own, she is considered a junior adult, though she won't produce flowers for a few more years.
As a Melia ages it begins to get stiff and has greater trouble moving. Around seventy years of age a Melia goes through a process called "replanting" where it once again returns to being rooted in the ground. Melias do not die of old age, but they become less and less active, and the great elders are known to only speak a sentence or two in a year. The rest of the time is spent sleeping or in hibernation.
Melias follow Saliska and therefore cultivate farms and gardens, even though they do not eat plants. They export food and medicinal herbs and import minerals since none of them are miners (the underground is without sun, and thus they detest it). Melias also garden for decorative purposes. Their expertise on growing all manner of plants is sought by people from all nations, and many travel to teach the wisdom of Saliska and help farmers care for their crops and lumberjacks know how to harvest trees without devastating the forest so that future generations may prosper.
You Speak with the Breath of a Melia: Used by other races but not by Melias to mean someone who is great at talking people into things.
I Smell You: This is how the Melias say "I understand you" or "I feel what you feel."
Why Are You Getting Pungent?: Melias use the same words for scents and emotions, so only from context can you determine whether a particular word refers to a smell or a feeling.
Beeseller/Beekeeper: Euphemisms for melias of loose morals, implying they engage in obscene acts. Often hyperbole.
SpecialEditWatchers' avian companions allow them to sneak and perceive more easily, giving them +1 to all stealth skills when working with at least one bird. All birds are automatically friendly to them.
The watchers were a group of humans who secretly fought for freedom against the tyrannical reign of King Metapraxus. They used a secret code of song they taught the birds which they used to communicate with each other in secret. The watchers stole weapons, supplies, and food when they could, preparing for revolt while helping the people survive. They broke wrongly convicted prisoners from their cells or the torture chambers. They assassinated the worst of Metapraxus' overlords. But mainly, they watched. Their network of eyes, as they called them, kept the citizenry informed of the doings of Metapraxus' soldiers. These brutal enforcers would find their suspects already fled and any taxable goods missing. After decades of Metapraxus' brutal reign, Orrin finally managed to convince Aquillus of Metapraxus' evil and Aquillus struck the man dead. He turned over the ranks of enforcers to Rephath, who meted out harsh punishment. Aquillus, in admiration of the watchers' honor and faithfulness, promised that all birds from now on would be loyal to the watchers and anyone they accepted into their ranks. Watchers would be able to see through the eyes of birds and sends messages through them. Any bird can also carry a prayer directly from a watcher to an archon.
In just about any bar you'll find someone who claims to have unravelled the secrets of the watchers and will tell you all about it after a few drinks, sometimes even without the drinks, and always without your asking. (No one ever asks.) But few actually know what the watchers are truly doing these days. Supposedly they disbanded centuries ago, but no one believes this. The following are some of the more credible of the alternate theories:
- The watchers have replaced most kings and magistrates with their own puppets, shaping events to their master plans.
- The watchers seek to assassinate all leaders and institute something they call "democracy."
- The watchers seek a way to kill an archon.
- The watchers want to empower one of their own to become an archon.
- There are several groups of watchers each competing against each other.
- The watchers have secret rites that allow them immortality.
- The watchers never existed, and all legends pertaining to them are a means of control to distract people.
- The watchers regularly practice human sacrifice, unspeakable acts with animals, and other things best not talked about, but that are talked about anyway.
- The watchers worship a secret archon that only they know the existence of.
- The watchers are actually human puppets of the birds who wish to overthrow humanity.
- The watchers spy on behalf of the archons.
"You never know who might be watching." Parents often tell their children to behave, and that watchers report their bad behavior to the archons. This is not true. Probably. Maybe.
"May the ravens eat your flesh." A common curse from a person against someone in greater authority, invoking the watchers against tyranny, or implying that the person actually is a watcher and will ensure such a downfall.
"On the wings of birds." Said in response to the previous statement, meaning it is so true that it should be carried to the archons by a bird.
Spiritborn are naturally energized and have some influence over their respective elements. As such, they get +1 to all labor skills.
Spirits shape and are shaped by their environment similarly to the way a person can shape his body and yet is subject to its demands. Spiritborn are connected to the spirits, and as such the spirit and host generally tend to find their personalities merging until they are indistinguishable. Yet some spiritborn maintain the duality, arguing with their spirits or seeking advice. The spirit usually acts as an identical twin, but is sometimes an annoying sibling one is unable to get away from.
Spiritborn generally enjoy the environment their spirit would have been tied to, partly because the spirit can influence that environment, reducing the discomfort and aiding long-term actions that take place there. The spiritborn also generally wear clothing that is colored and tailored to be reminiscent of that environment, as well as to be practical in that environment if they spend much time there (and they inevitably do).
Because of the connection, a spiritborn connected with a lake spirit will find his fishing and sailing going smoother while a plains spiritborn can till the earth and grow crops from it easier. The influence is subtle, and not easily noticed. But applied day after day, month after month, the difference between a spriritborn working with the land and an ordinary individual fighting against it becomes quite obvious.
Lorekeepers store knowledge in crystals and can pass it down from generation to generation, giving them +1 to all lore skills.
The archons first taught to the races of men many wondrous and noble things, from the taming of animals to the purification and forging of metals to the secrets of love to the depths of wisdom and the heights of magic. All this they learned, but the Law of Rephath they forgot. Their wickedness increased and soon the great wars were begun, with the secrets the archons had taught them used to bring terrible destruction.
The archons fought in these wars, but eventually they realized the folly of the destruction and brought an end to them.
One group of men hid in the caves to escape the wars and tried to preserve lost knowledge. They especially cared for the Law of Rephath and taught it to future generations. Rephath met with them and offered them gifts of knowledge and long life, and a deeper connection with her domain of earth. They accepted and became the lorekeepers, blue-skinned peoples that can live two centuries or more and pass on knowledge through crystals.
Lorekeepers are born with a single blue crystal growing from the crown of their head. It begins small but grows in size as the years pass. This crystal can hold knowledge that the lorekeeper chooses to store in it, glowing when that knowledge is stored or accessed.
Upon reaching adulthood at the age of 19, a lorekeeper is given his father’s or her mother’s lore crystal. The crystal is surgically removed from the parent’s head and a hole is cut in the young adult’s scalp and skull and then the crystal is fastened on until it grows into its new place, forming a connection with the new host’s mind.
Naturally, this allows only one inherited crystal per parent, but upon death lorekeepers’ crystals are distributed as their wills see fit, and this allows lorkeepers to amass quite a few crystals. The oldest lore crystals contain ancient wisdom passed down through the generations, with each new bearer storing comments on the old knowledge while adding new wisdom and experiences. Bearing one of these ancient crystals is considered a great honor in recognition of the bearer’s wisdom (but not necessarily knowledge). It is also a responsibility; the bearer is expected to share wisdom with all who ask. Lying is a terrible sin in lorekeeper culture.
The king of lorekeepers is distinguished by the crystal he wears on his head, one that has been passed down from age to age from king to king. This crystal not only symbolizes his right to rule, it is the object that allows him to rule, and without it he is not the rightful king. His head is adorned with many other lore crystals and with all this knowledge he has the wisdom and learning that is required for his duties. Other races often make crowns of gold adorned with jewels in imitation of lorekeepers to signify the monarchs' wisdom and right to rule.
Sharing of Knowledge
The lorekeepers value knowledge and do not spout it casually. However, during the sun festival held at midsummer, lorekeepers gather to share knowledge, wisdom, stories, history, poems, songs, instructions on carrying out a trade, and other things from their stored memories or of their or creation. Festivals are held in every lorekeeper village and town, but those that can travel to the Solar Plateau for the great festival. This is where the lorekeepers with the best talents and the largest lore crystals are given podiums to teach from, and crowds come to hear what they have to share. Despite being festival celebrating the rays of the sun and the light of truth, the gatherings often continue long into the night, which have little darkness with glowing crystals everywhere as lorekeepers are constantly remembering and storing memories for future generations.
The highest jobs among the lorekeepers are teaching positions and positions where great knowledge is required. The king is called not so much to lead, although he does that, but to teach his people the right way. However, the learner is expected to seek knowledge, and the teacher is only expected to grant it if the learner has earned it. Sometimes the compliment of asking for knowledge is sufficient. Sometimes there is a payment of money or gifts. Sometimes apprenticeship or years of service are given for the continual sharing of knowledge.
“That’s Common Knowledge.” Knowledge is seen as very valuable to the lorekeepers. And the pursuit of it is seen as the duty of every thinking being. But common knowledge is the sort of thing that everyone should know, and having to share it with an adult is seen as demeaning. It would be like reminding someone you meet that he forgot to wear clothes today.
“Deep knowledge is given for the prosperity of all.” This saying, one that every lorekeeper has stored in a crystal, means two things. Firstly, if you have deep knowledge, you are obligated to use it to benefit others. Secondly, you have an obligation to share it if that knowledge is sought from you.
“You did not seek knowledge.” This is a common response to an accusation of someone not sharing knowledge they were obligated to.
Animals were made by the Creator and imbued with some intelligence. They have no souls nor have they free will, but they go about their lives with a certain amount of cleverness and emotion.
Animals get up to 2 extra gifts, though the GM may not give them so many, and they may raise any skill to 4. Animals may not use magic, but some monsters are simply normal animals given the ability to do magic.
Among some of the animals the Creator chose to be great animals, beings that were once beasts but were given souls and made capable of speech and creative thought and most things that man was capable of. These are called great animals.
They are distinct from normal animals by their faces first, faces which show intelligence and are different by the changes necessary to allow them speech. Great animals are also one or two tenths larger than their comparable unsouled kin.
Great animals are identical to beastmen mechanically, but somewhat different in a roleplaying sense.
Monsters are unnatural creatures, created by an archon, not by the creator. They may be horrendous, mysterious, or even kind. Monsters are fantastic creatures often imbued with magical abilities.
Monsters get 1 extra gift of any type that seems fitting and may or may not have souls, human speech, and cognition.
Spirits are intangible beings tied to the land. They can exert a matter of influence over their environment, but they are in turn shaped by it. Modifying the land can change the nature of the spirits tied to it. These diaphanous beings care little for the material world. They are like the air, fully present almost everywhere, but quick to escape notice and not something most people concern themselves with. And since people come and go and die in a matter of decades while spirits are tied to the place they watch over and can go on for eons, the spirits rarely see reason to interact with humans or go out of their way to be noticed.
Spirits are intangible, and can neither affect the material world nor be affected by it. They are affected by magic and my cast magic to affect the physical. Spiritborn are able to directly interact with spirits, damaging them with melee attack or healing them with medicines, and are also capable of being affected by spirits in like manner.
Types of SpiritsEdit
There are as many types of spirits as there are types of terrain, but the following are the most common:
These are generally kind and friendly. Spirits from the rapids might be playful tricksters, sometimes even vicious while spirits of meandering areas tend to be more laid back and indifferent.
Stubborn and strong, mountain spirits are almost impossible to get to do anything. But once they are roused to action they are nearly impossible to stop.
No two storm spirits are alike. Some are wrathful, some playful, some wishing to grant merciful rain and others eager to sow malicious destruction. The chaotic nature of these spirits is tied to the chaos of the storm itself and each one begets the other.
Spirits are impacted by changes to the environment, and frequent interactions with humans create very humanlike spirits. If one family lives in the home for a very long time, the spirits start to take on the character of that family. Many house spirits treat the family as an environment to be cared for, and aid in cleaning, chores, and protection of the household. Others resent the change in identity and try to drive the dwellers out. This is especially the case for families full of strife. House spirits are known on occasion to even talk to other humans and seek out interaction in some instances, something spirits almost never do.
The spirits of the city are as varied as the cities themselves. Spirits in the palaces and manors in the center will act out of nobility and pride. Spirits in the slums search for victims to take advantage of. When a being entrusted with caring for the environment ends up with an environment that consists mostly of people... well, odd things can happen.
These woodland spirits are caretakers of the plants and animals of the forest. They generally mix a long, patient outlook with curiosity and energy producing a personality few humans can relate to.
Spirits of the Dead
In many ways and for various reasons a person's soul and spirit can attach itself to the material world instead of moving on to the next. These ghosts haunt a particular area, often influencing it in a powerful way. Some spirits of the dead haunt items instead of places, and a few manage to even haunt people. Those who were powerful in magic and in spirit become spectres of great power, often terrible and fearsome power. Without a mind to store their thoughts and keep order, spirits of the dead slowly drift into madness. And sometimes the process isn't that slow.
Usually, structures stay in one place and don't do things, while living things do move and act. Sometimes, though, you'll want mobile structures with some abilities. Examples include ships, siege towers, walking houses, vimanas, kaiju, and more.
Mobile structures are damaged by destroy instead of melee or ranged. They may be affected by social skills differently, or not at all and instead have some other way of controlling them. You'll need to build the follower as a follower and the structure as a structure and then combine them into a single thing.