Saturday, May 23, 2020

4 Races of the Chaos Wastes

[1] Frooks
The Frooks are reddish skinned humanoids with flat noses and widely spaced eyes. They are taller then a man, and much stockier too. Their hair is black, gray, or white- the colors of ash. They have thick, four fingered hands and three toed feet. All Frooks are all pyrophiles; all of them have at least some love and fascination with fire. If you cast a fire spell or brandish a weapon enchanted with fire at them, they will be stunned for one round to gawk in amazement, but this only works once per combat encounter against the same Frooks.

Frooks have a relatively simple tribal society, and are also the most well developed and neutral of all the races of the Chaos Wastes. They're also the only one that cooks their food. To be a race that loves and needs fire and live in a place with almost no vegetation means you need to have some kind of organization, or else you'll burn those little resources. They cultivate some small farms for briers and weeds used exclusively for fires, along with tiny stunted squash plants and flytraps for food- the flytraps are farmed for their fleshy pads; waste is piled around these plants to attract flies. They wear loincloths in their villages, but give tunics to their samurai.

They live in small semi-permanent dwellings, which are called Odos. These are half buried houses made of adobe. Frooks live the majority of their lives outside, in tents or under the stars, but nursing mothers, old village elders, weapon-makers, wandering samurai, and young men on their birthdays get to live in the Odo. This is also where they keep the simple clay tablets that contain their primitive writing system; each house has a library of 2d6 tablets detailed debts or heroic individuals who have lived there. 1 in 8 chance for a tablet to contain a protospell.

Like many of the primitive and chaotic races, they learned how to work metal before they learned the arts of farming or animal-husbandry, and even with their low weak fires they can sculpt iron into rough shapes and simple weapons; these are excursively for the samurai, as it takes quite a lot of firewood and reeds burnt to create a basic iron weapon. Samurai are usually armed with a square, pointless hatchet or a short iron poker spear. Villagers carry stone and bone tools and weapons instead, the most popular being a stone adze for digging in the harsh rocky soil and cutting tough roots.

Frooks are not ruled by entrenched lords but instead by their samurai. These are wandering men are granted a weapon, flint and tinder, and some cloth as badges of office. They are trained in ancestral law and common sense, and travel around the Frook-owned lands. They collect taxes by just demanding things of the locals, and settle any disputes or slay nearby monsters that people are suffering from whenever they pass by as duties of office. Samurai can become quite burdensome and abusive if allowed to stay and leech off a community for too long, which is when the Frooks gang up on them to beat them out of town. For a tough, violent race like them, this is a pretty efficient method of governing. Becoming a samurai is considered an honor, but samurai often are forced to fight other creatures of the chaos wastes or fight each other to represent various factions; it is a dangerous life.

Finally, Frooks are among the most neutral of all chaos races, and if you approach a town with no weapons drawn and in small numbers they will not be hostile. Frooks do not trust humans, but are willing to trade. They desire metal tools and armor as well as alcohol, which is becoming a favorite drug, and will give food and water in exchange. Due to lacking the “funds” to trade high value items with you, they will instead craft a samurai tablet, which binds a wandering Frook samurai to serve and protect you for up to a maximum of three years. These tablets have records of what village made them- The samurai are bound by service to honor these tablets, but may betray the contract since they aren't exactly getting paid for it. The samurai can just extort the village back what value they lost from fulfilling the tablet, and keep them as receipt of services rendered.

HD- 2+1
AC- 9
Morale- 11 (13 in the Odo)
Numbers- 1d6 on village outskirts, 2d6 in Odo
Attacks- Meaty Fists at 1d4 or Stone Tools at 1d6
Abilities- None

The Frook rabble are just the villagers and capable adult Frooks that rise to defend their home. They are usually carrying bundles of weedy sticks for firewood or clay pots that they throw down when a fight starts, but some carry stone axes that they will bring to bare. Frooks are a bit dimwhitted and enjoy fighting, so they have higher morale then most normal people. If they are heavily outnumbered, the rabble will still yell out for any nearby samurai to help them.

Frook Samurai
HD- 3+2
AC- 11
Morale- 12 (14 if defending Odo)
Numbers- 1d2 in a village, 1d4 in wandering band
Attacks- (+1 to hit) Crude weapons at 1d6
Abilities- First Strike, First Aid

Frook Samurai have been trained in the art of war and are well fed, larger then most adult male Frooks. They wear cloth sashes and tunics, granting them a little protection, though some very prosperous villages may have Samurai that wear proper armor, imported from other races. Frook samurai are taught all the known secrets of statecraft that the Frook people know, and even know how to bind up wounds and cure acid burns by applying cool ashes. This takes a turn of downtime, and heals 1d6+1 hit points to a friendly target, as long as they have the materials.

On the first round of combat, Frooks gain an extra attack by performing an advanced drawing technique with their weapon. This attack deals the same damage on a hit as a normal attack, and must still roll to hit- this special move can only be performed if the Frook was not surprised.

[2] Cro
The Cro are opposite orcs. It is usually pronounced just as “Crow”, which is also a nickname given to them from the black cloaks they wear. Orcs are green, so Cro are reddish-violet. Orcs are strong, so Cro are weak. Orcs are warriors, Cro are spellcasters. Orcs have tusks, so Cro have dumb little sabertooth cat fangs. Orcs are muscular, so Cro are thin with pot bellies. Orcs wear nothing but loincloths, so Cro wear long robes that cover almost all of their body. Orcs have honor, so Cro are craven. That's basically what a Cro is like. Some believe their race was once one; the Orcoc or Coroc, but nobody is sure. Oh, and all this is assuming you're using Chaos race Orcs, the green skinned ones who live in generic fantasyland; not real orcs that are pig people who live underground.

The Cro rarely make settlements on their own. They don't live in the badlands as stoic wanderers, as a respectable Orc might. Instead, the Cro try to nestle themselves into a city or village of a different race. This allows the Cro to band together and fulfill their need for backstabbing and cowardly manipulation without turning on each other as would be in a Cro settlement. The Cro prefer to subsist on the charity of other races; infesting themselves into social circles and towns, begging and pleading, and manipulating others both for their food, wealth, and supplies. In places where they are dominant, or in places where it is legal, they prefer to take slaves and make them perform all of the labor for them as they lay back and get fat on the fruits of their labor.

The Cro are not strong warriors. They do not use weapons and their spindly arms and legs can barely support their own body weight, much less the weight of weapons or armor. Instead, they use the bodyguards made from their slaves or hired servants, and magic. The Cro love magic and wish to get their hands on it as much as possible. If your setting includes “psionics”, then the Cro are all naturally talented in the art. If not, then the Cro just have an innate “mind blast” power coming from their race's magical aura and bloodline.

This race has little empathy- they care not for their children or servants. Compounded with their treacherous nature, cooperation between them is also strained and forced. The only way they get along with each other are through magical vows, as they lack the honor to honor agreements. These vows can be done by anyone, including non-Cro, simply requiring hands to be held and words spoken. These vows deal 2d6 damage to a person if they break the vow; and the vow can also be nullified through a remove curse spell. The Cro make these vows to ensure their survival with each other, but will gladly and constantly seek to weasel out of them. Powerful beings can simply live with the consequences of breaking the vow, but most beings must follow the vow or perish.

HD- 1-1
AC- 8
Morale- 4 (12 if standing behind guards and laughing evilly)
Numbers- 1d2 counselors, 2d6 coven
Attacks- (-2 to hit) 1d4 claws
Abilities- Mind Blast, Spells

The Cro never fight alone and are easily overpowered if they do so. They prefer to hide and use their powers at a distance. Each Cro can use a Mind Blast only if they have not taken any damage, their pain resistance is too low otherwise- they scream and cry like babies if even hurt by 1 hit point. The Mind Blast deals (1d6 minus the target's Intelligence modifier) more damage to stupid targets. Many Cro also learn magic spells- 1 in 3 chance the Cro knows a 1st level magic spell. If they know a level one spell, there is a bonus 1 in 6 chance they know a 2nd level spell in addition to the first.

Slave Warriors
HD- 1
AC- 14 (armor)
Morale- 18 (cannot break their vow)
Numbers- 2d6 Bodyguards
Attacks- (-2 to hit) Spears at 1d6-1
Abilities- Magic Vow, Unwilling

These are slave warriors. Unfortunate runaways, orphans “adopted” by the Cro in the cities, mercenaries tricked into signing long contracts, etc. They are all sworn to protect their Cro masters, and it is very likely they will die if they break it, as such they are very loyal and will not break rank. However, the slaves despise their masters and will seek to undermine them at every step they can; they cannot attack their masters nor allow them to be attacked without breaking their vows, but especially if fighting against members of a good race they will attempt to undermine without breaking their magical contract. Ignoring sounds at the back of camp during the night watch, throwing down their weapons seconds before a fight begins so they must pick them up first, keeping their weapons poorly maintained and so on. The slaves also know that when their Cro who owns them dies, they will be free, and eagerly await someone who can kill their master without harming them as well.

[3] Bladelings
Short, thin, and agile. This race has very smooth, dark black skin that forms into body-hugging plates, similar to an exoskeleton. Along their limbs and joints are dark black grooves, which are natural weak points. The bladelings do not need to wear clothing due to their tough skin, but still do for the sake of modesty and ornamentation. They have darty red eyes sunk into their eyesockets, which hint at their violent nature and killer instinct.

The bladelings are a race of beings that live in the Chaos Wastes; usually crowding around natural caves and rock formations, as well as stony fields and other places with natural cover, as they do not build their own homes. They are exclusive carnivores, and subsist both on the flesh of people who wander into their territory as well as their limited domestication of the dark brown lizards that sun themselves on the rocks near their homes. Bladelings like to strip the flesh from the bones, then leave out the bones for these lizards to crack and eat.

The Bladelings collect anything sharp, as well as bones, shafts of wood, and stones for knapping and sharpening into knives. While they can't forge iron, they recognize the value and strength of metal tools and gladly steal them from any travelers they manage to capture and eat. Examination of Bladeling tools shows that they sharpen these stolen iron weapons even further on stones; sometimes breaking the blades to make wicked points or sharpening to such a degree the weapons become brittle and fragile. They break longer swords in half and make two daggers from the ends. They are obsessed with these knives and rub them against their lips and their smooth armored skin.

Aside from knives, Bladelines have also been noted to use spiked clubs, simple axes, spears, bear-trap like weapons that are thrown from the hand, and razor whips. Older Bladelings who are slowing down and getting on in years are more prone to learn many knots and tricks of rope, which the Bladelings strangely also have an innate knack for, and tie a strip of animal or plant fiber around several metal splints to create a simple razor-whip weapons. This is about the limit of sophistication that their weapon reaches, but is also one way for the weaker members of their society to still remain competitive in hunting.

They have short, brutal lives, and as such each one is expected to either kill for or craft their own weapons; they are granted nothing by their parents. Very limited information is spread between them, and kindness is almost foreign. Their society is very simplistic in this way, and only the strong and fast will survive into adulthood. They are not above cannibalism; Bladelings sometimes carry the teeth of their fallen fellows and sharpen them into dart-points, but it is unknown if this is just pragmatism or a type of reverence for the dead. Bladelings wear clothing made of raw animal and human skin, cut from the corpses, and tied into simplistic togas. They don't preserve these and only wear them until they rot. They have no interest in trading with people and would much rather trap them to eat later.

Bladeling society is very simplistic. They don't seem to have a hierarchy beyond the best knife fighter and hunter, who gets the majority of the meat and deals with rival tribes. Despite never being able to use a large number of their collection of sharp stones and knives; Bladelings instinctively hoard them as a type of wealth or to attract mates. They even show some respect for warriors of other races who carry great longswords or curved weapons on their belts, bowing their heads before going in to slash at an artery. Rarely a Bladeling will find a piece of a magical material, or a bone of a dead magical creature that is made into a very powerful knife. These Bladelings become tribal chieftains and can expand the territory of the Bladelings by uniting several families and outcast individuals and making war against other Chaos races or invading into border-states with the lawful races. Even though these leaders are usually killed at some time during the campaign and new leaders are shifted along with the ownership of the magical knife, the resulting wars leaves stragglers and outcasts who start families in the new rocky crevices and caves along the campaign trail; leading to small but steady expansion over the generations unless steps are taken to cull their numbers.

HD- 1
AC- 14
Morale- 8
Numbers- 1d6+1 hunters, 2d6+2 in cave
Attacks- (+2 to hit) 1d4+1 knife
Abilities- Speedy, Weakpoints

Bladelings fight to get food, but aren't very brave and prefer fast ambushes. Bladelings are not above racing into a camp, slicing off a few fingers from a sleeping person, and then running back out as a hit and run just to avoid starving; though more numerous raids will try to actually kill everyone and feast on their bodies. Bladelings are quick which makes them difficult to escape from; you'll have to trick them through false tracks or have horses, or else they will chase you down, especially through rocky difficult terrain that they make their home.

However, Bladelings do have a weakness. If you use a dagger against them yourself, or are a Rogue, you will strike into their weak points on an attack roll of 20. This causes them to yowl in pain, being stunned for one round, and deals double damage.

Bladeling Elder
HD- 1+1
AC- 12
Morale- 9
Number- 1d2 in caves, solitary if outside
Attacks- (+3 to hit) 1d4+1 razor-whip
Abilities- Weakpoints

Bladeling Elders retain leadership for as long as the young upstart adults care to listen to them bark. They are known to use razor whips, which are longer reaching weapons that can wrap around an arm or leg, dig into flesh, and bind that limb in place. The Elders are also a bit grayed, losing their natural speed and dexterity, as well as their armor getting thin and cracked from old age.

[4] Commock
These are a tree-dwelling people. They look like sloths, with curly tan fur that gets whiter with age. Beyond having snippy muzzles reminiscent of a hunting dog and huge thumb-claws, they don't look especially strong or aggressive. They spend all their time lazing around in trees. They don't do much of anything except eat insects, scrap bark for water, and conserve their energy all day long. The Commock are however well known in the world because they can talk. Not just speak, but talk. Sometimes about garbage and babbling on about nonsense, but sometimes about history, art, philosophy, magic, and much more. They can hold a conversation for hours, and can lure you right into their trap. Those who sleep under a Commock's tree will find themselves torn apart by its roots.

The Commock live in trees, which are a rarity in the chaos wastes. As a slow, weak race, the Commock would be easy targets for enslavement. Both of these are the reasons as to why the Commock have developed as they are. Before even meeting one, you will learn of the Commock. The rumors around them are so thick as to be nearly impregnable. You will hear how they can fly at will, or how Gods bow down before them. You will hear how they hold no treasure and only wish to share knowledge, and that they only pretend to be naturalists and hoard gold under their tree roots. The conflicting nature of these lies and rumors will stun you, and the Commock add to them every day. In addition, they don't just perform this type of subterfuge with outsiders, but also amongst themselves. They build empires with words, and the most powerful Commock are just the ones whose ideas and names have spread the furthest, and taken the most followers.

The Commock have many fake powers and abilities they say they possess, but there is one rather useful one that they truly do have. Their large claws on their thumbs are magical. They can pierce them into a tree and manipulate its movements- the more who do this the stronger the effect. One Commock can make a branch bend back and whip someone as an attack, two or three can command the tree to stretch upwards to avoid arrow fire, and a whole troop in a tree can make the tree walk on its roots as a mobile battlestation. This effect mostly just works on regular plants, but if a Commock stabs a treant or xyloid with their claw the target must make a save or be affected as though under a Charm spell for as long as the claw remains inside of them.

Whilst interaction with other races is common, the Commock very rarely perform any useful labor or trading. The Commock are very untrustworthy of other beings; they don't trust other Chaos races for their aggressive and warlike societies. They don't trust elves because they think they'll chop off their thumbs to bring back to their forest houses. They don't trust humans and dwarves because they cut down trees for fire and shelter. They pretty much don't trust anyone, though sometimes when migrating between canopies the Commock may hire guards and mercenaries to defend their shambling, mossy white forms as they take slow and plodding steps across the hot wasteland sand.

Commock Lounger
HD- 1
AC- 7
Morale- 10
Number- 1d6 in tree, 1d3+1 migrating
Attacks- (-2 to hit) Claw at 1d4 OR Atlatl at 1d4+1
Abilities- Slowness, Plant-Claw, Woodwarping

The average Commock is not a powerful fighter and could be defeated one on one by most warriors with ease. They always go second in combat, and are slow enough that their attacks are relatively easy to dodge. Their only special power is their thumb-claw which causes a Charm effect if it strikes a treant or intelligent plant person.

Very rarely a Commock will use or carry a atlatl, a primitive ranged weapon that befits their slowness. By hooking their claw into the stick about to be launched, they can give it commands as it is fired to make it wrap around a target, spear into their flesh and deal extra damage, or bend as a boomerang to return to sender. Only a few Commock will carry these weapons, which is basically just a pair of sticks.

Commock Tree-Titan
HD- 6
AC- 16
Morale- 13
Number- One while alone, 2d2 if besieging
Attacks- (+1 to hit) Two Branch attacks at 1d8
Abilities- Slowness, Weakness to Fire

This is not a single monster, but instead a collection of Commocks controlling a huge tree. By hooking their claws into it, it will move to their commands collectively, acting as a weapon and mount. The Tree-Titan is quite large and intimidating; it is a tree that swings its branches as sweeping weapons and is as tough to damage as any tree; you will require an axe or similarly tough clever to deal damage to it. You can also kill off the Commocks riding the tree to weak or stop the tree- each Commock rider (stats as Lounger) cannot retaliate due to having their claws inside the tree; each one that is killed or pried off from the tree-titan lowers its HD by two. If the tree runs out of hit points, it falls over and deanimates.

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