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 The Phalbaz
After centuries of volcanic eruptions, long black winters, occasional cave explorations the Phalbaz have learned how to go on without their vision. This race of smooth-skinned beings is a bit of an enigma; an eyeless race that lives in the treacherous mountains. Their bodies are squat, about as heavy as a man but shorter and more broad; similar very much so to a dwarf, with whom were once their greatest enemies. The Phalbaz are defined by their long tapir-like face to better grab leaves and other vegetation, their lack of eyes, and gravel gray color and striking red spots along their upper back and head. Truthfully, the Phalbaz don't actually lack sight; they can see heat through their spots, which is perfect for sensing the hot rocks at your back and the cold, open air that could signal a sharp drop off a cliff right in front of you. The Phalbaz also rely on other senses; hearing and directional senses are very important, but the ability for them to smell and taste are tantamount. The Phalbaz unconsciously release mucus everywhere they go, marking territory that makes them solitary creatures and keeps their skin from drying up.
The Phalbaz are herbivores, living in a harsh place, lacking all vision, and not even responding well to others- they are not especially social. But they are highly intelligent and have a long memory. This is an evolved trait. Knowing the best hidden spots to find fruits and tubers along the mountain slope, and remembering where they are each year for gathering is vital to survival. For these reasons this species have a very special courtship; mated pairs fall deeply, madly, and permanently in love with each other. The Phalbaz mate for life and have extremely strong romantic bonds- bonds to their children or parents are much weaker once the offspring reach adulthood. Since they view the world as locations and memories; having two individuals who can trust each other implicitly lets them share their "mental map" together cutting down the painstaking effort of mentally cataloging every step and change in elevation to one's own memory in half while living on the slopes and peaks of mountains.
Culturally; the Phalbaz are a very religious people. They believe that spirits exist everywhere in nature; but in their view it is truly water that is the spirit. Even though they don't see, they can sense that water flows downwards; life giving water grows the plants they eat, they themselves are made of water. They are animists who pray and call upon the powers of water; as water already makes plants, animals, the weather, shapes the mountains and crushes its foes with snow. Dirt and stone is inanimate matter to them- and this includes the bones and bodies of the dead once all the moisture has left it. The Phalbaz's leaders are religious leaders; communing with the waters found in serene, mirror-like mountain lakes or performing perilous rituals by wading into raging mountain fjords with only a bit of twine wrapped around their smallest finger. Such proof of divine power cements these shamans as the leaders of their people.
They value, above all else, Justice. The concept of Justice is the greatest force in their society; this moral right goes beyond the bounds of family or nation. Justice is delivered by none other then the Adjudicators- religious holy paladins baptized by the water-speakers. They carry no books and keep no records; they instead memorize law and solve all disputes with exacting payments, tithes, and redistribution. The Phalbaz as a people are strangely obsessed with taxes, specifically tithes- as they do not form strong social bonds outside of their life-mates, most interactions are transactional. An insult or trespass into another's garden should be solved with an exacting gift of quality seeds or raw ores for a craftsman. Tithes to the church could involve moving ones burrow upwards on a slope or mountain if a priest requests to live where you do; as water trickles downwards, there is more prestige with living downhill of on a slope. Adjudicators may even design exact measurements; "If a handful of your mucus stains another's cloth, you will pay two chestnuts per handprint of cloth ruined."- further confusing and alienating beings of other races. To not obey these tax rules and laws or trying to avoid them is very uncommon; as obedience is something they value as well.
Because of their naturalistic religion; preserving nature is very important to them. Clean springs are the lifeblood of their religious doctrine, and their shamans and holy men pay their dues to the rest of society by keeping the water and land clean and free from taints. Priests of the Phalbaz are especially skilled at the magic of purification; and rarely do they interact with the undead, as the Phalbaz view the corpses of their people as waste once it has fully dried out; leading to cremation over burial. The Phalbaz view water as the source of all spirits- both for people as well as water itself; with more water together being more holy. The souls of men; with dry skin and prickly hair, are clearly lesser then that of Phalbaz. But even so; the soul of a lake is greater then a Phalbaz. The ocean of course is seen with immense spiritual importance; but the ocean is distant and as the water cannot be drank they see it more as the afterlife- the place where the watersouls go when they have ceased becoming rain, trickling down, and becoming life, dying, and becoming rain again.
The history of these people is fraught with a brutal war. After learning the hidden skills of iron-making from the dwarves, the religious leaders of the Phalbaz saw the dangers of these new weapons and armors to make conflict more and more dangerous. They viewed dwarves, who come from inside the mountains, as being nearly soulless being- bringing along the skills of the forge which evaporates the holy dew from ones hands or body. The dwarves are well known metal masters in the world, so it stood to reason that the more secrets they were told, the more soulless they would become, like them. In response to this, a secret council decided on a unannounced crusade, which skilled thousands of dwarves who were living in and between the mountains. This bloody war concluded with the dwarves retreating into the mountains, with an unprecedented surge of growth and unity for the Phalbaz people. The dwarves, in response, waged a war on two fronts; one from beneath from the forces of the underdark and one from above from the Phalbaz, who they named the "Sweating Toads" and vowed to get revenge on them.
In this current age; the Phalbaz are at the peak of their strength. Having used the weapons of iron but forbidding advancement in any technology that is not based on water and the silent voice of water- the Phalbaz will only be able to hang on to their territory until the day when the dwarves, humans, or other races discover and produce steel and greater weapons- and will one day smash the great united spirit of the sweating toads and reduce them to obscurity.
- Standard Body Shape (Bipedal, Two Arms, Two Legs, One Head)
- Slimy, Amphibious skin
- Short, bulky.
- Neutral colors; with a bright Red highlight
- Mountainous Homeland
- Bonus to Intelligence, Penalty to Charisma
- Value Justice above all else; Secondary values of Obedience & Nature
- Standard Tech Level (Iron Ages)
- Historical Events; Currently at their Peak, Raged a bloody war with another race.
- Weirdly Obsessed with Taxes
Living in the sea under the waves, the Tjeker are a race of fish people. They live in depths greater then coral reefs, but do not go into the deep dark of the abyss below, instead living on shelves of land or, occasionally, in great "floats" made of seaweed and the bones of various leviathans. They are in the shape of a man, but live underwater and cannot breath air- despite this limitation, the Tjeker were once the absolute terror of the waves and beaches the world over.
The Tjeker are ruled by Kings; property and status is passed down from parent to child. However; inheritance is shared equally among all children, as per the ancient rules set by the Gods, and as such every generation of Tjeker is filled with wanting, improvised young ones who seek glory. The truth is that living underwater is harsh; surrounded by enemies and extremes at all sides, metal is scarce, food is hard to grow besides hateful bland algae (which perhaps explains this race's strange obsession with very fine and well made meals- difficult underwater) and luxuries or land is even harder to obtain and keep. As such- the greatest asset anyone has is their reputation and their glory. In that regard; the Tjeker value the value of one's name and the honor one can build with it as their greatest asset.
To accomplish their goals; young Tjeker have few means but to become explorers and warriors. But hunting leviathans is incredibly dangerous and battling against the merpeople in their coral castles only invites worse retribution against their people- this lead them to find one place to raid and pillage; the surface world above! Boats, fishing villages, coastal fortresses all became enticing targets. For a time, the Tjeker were the nightmare of any fisherman or lord ruling over a coastline province; raids came and went in minutes at a time, day or night, with men and womenfolk slain quickly and all valuables taken. Metals were especially prized with the difficulty of crafting underwater; but with skill and a bit of magic these people learned how to sculpt bronze into shapes- and the fact it doesn't rust means it is incredibly useful for an ocean dwelling race. The Tjeker would return with their goods and regale their tales; claiming how many air-breathers they slayed and the wondrous sights they saw of the inhospitable world above.
But how could fish, even bipedal fish, go on land without dying? They did so with helmets and armor made of bronze, filled with ocean water, they gave them a few minutes to breath from their tank of water, just long enough to raid- not enough to conquer and subjugate. They do not carry shields into battle, and the only weapon they use is spears and short swords- meaning the only ones who survive combat are the brutal, quick, and skilled. Of course, they rarely fought anyone who was ready for them- hence most combat was a slaughter.
These raiders paid most tribute to the Gods. The Tjeker are not a very religious people; but they do worship a pantheon of Gods. First and foremost of the Gods is the God of the Sun; because before warmth comes nothing else. Even though they live under water, they know the oceans would freeze without the sun, and as such he is the first and chief deity and the creator of the world who melted the glacial ice into the ocean where they live. The Pantheon is expansive, with over ten gods of various domains, though most forward is the war god, to whom the Tjeker decorate their armor with. A portion of their raided wealth is always thrown into the black depths in tribute to this god- who they believe comes from beneath- fighting with the fury of the leviathans that live in the dark depths.
From these riches and raids came prestige and growth in rank; with newfound nobility and titles granted to the young fish who brings back a half-boyant sea bag full of treasure to a King and receives one of his daughters in return. This only accelerated the raiding more and more. With these newfound riches and property, young fish were able to becomes lords and famous heroes under the waves; many spent most of their money on preparing for the life after this one- and to keep their memory alive. Of course, the rulers under the waves were still Kings who wished to protect their own power and prestige; but their culture highly values the ambitions and daring of the individual, as well as having a long history of valuing mercy- after all, do the Gods not grant us mercy by giving us the waters to live in? So despite the trouble they caused, these adventuring raiding fishmen were allowed to keep bringing in their treasure and grow in status and glory.
One way to protect their legacy was through building great structures; a pursuit that this race became obsessed with during the days of the warrior-kings. Grand memorial tombs were built on the ocean shelf out of stone and sands, corals, and beautiful shells. The Tjeker wanted to keep their treasures safe, and would outfit these tombs with sea urchins, built dangerous eel nests inside, and would be buried within upon their death surrounded by their treasures. The Tjeker are therefore the source of many underwater adventurers in the modern era- though less often raided because of the difficulty with breathing underwater, eventually some are finding ways inside and venture to steal back the treasure to the surface world.
However, the fish men are in decline. With iron having become the most common metal on the surface world, and with no way for the sea-peoples to adapt; warriors from above have been putting up more and more of a fight. While the Tjeker are still stuck in the bronze age, the people above the waters have moved beyond them, both in terms of metal and society. The people above fortify their shipyards, boats have become too big and well-hulled for a javelin thrust to sink them.
In recent years, the Tjeker have seen the rise of a second faction. Seeing the decline and decadence of the warrior kings; these Tjeker have replaced the idea of raiding the surface with controlling the seas. They are known as the Sea Tyrants- They are more hostile to outsiders then the original Tjeker, and have split from the original culture out of minor ideological differences- the idea is to rule the lands below the waves, not the lands above. While they treat the raiders with a sense of indifference, the Sea Tyrants focus their energies inwards towards the sea. Instead of decorating their armor and weapons and paying tributes to the God of War; they adorn themselves with symbols of the God of the Sun- the chief among the fish-gods, and wish to unite the world beneath the waves under their great king.
- Animal Person = Fish
- Feudal Monarchy
- Worships a Pantheon
- Value Honor above all else; Secondary values of Ambition & Mercy
- Bronze Age Tech Level
- Historical Events; Splinter Group; Dominant During the Bronze Ages
- Weirdly Obsessed with Great Works & Really Fine Foods
This small race of people dwell in the subterranean world. While they appear similar to humans, they have a hairy tarantula's abdomen. This is also where most of their body's fat is stored, leading to their bodies being very slim; and a full abdomen being a powerful sex symbol among their people. In both height and weight they are considerable smaller then a human; which suites them fine in the cramped conditions and scarcity of their ancestral home. They have silver eyes which glow in the darkness; this allows them to see in the dark. While their name is Valisvoli; a common name given to them are the Yellow Spiders, because mostly of their favorite pastime.
The Valisvoli as a people are known to be average in body, but rational beings. They are reclusive and are not very welcome with outsiders, but have deep minds and are excellently skilled in spiritual matters. Strangely; despite their otherwise wholeness of being, they are almost all addicted to a special type of drug. This deep earth material is like yellow marble or chalk. It comes in rock formations and is broken apart into smaller pieces. It generates heat on its own, and can even set fire to baskets if piled too high, so it must be separated out. The spider people are known to insert this drug, called the Haze, into their mouth; usually under the tongue or between the lips and gums. This causes a state of euphoria as it dissolves, but a gradual yellow staining of both the teeth and eventually the whole body. Otherwise, they have neutral, dark colors to fit where they live. While most scholars agree that abusing drugs or drink shows a lacking spiritual side; this race seems more in tune with the world then most others in the dark tunnels beneath the earth. For this reason many think that this race turning to a substance in such an otherwise harsh and dark world may actually be a fulfilling thing- giving their life a goal and purpose outside of basic survival.
As a race that lives in the underworld; they take food where they can get it. They have iron stomachs; they are able to eat almost anything biological. Most common they eat giant insects or the residues they leave behind. Recycling their own spidersilk by eating it is common practice. Despite their relative advancement in technology- they don't perform agriculture or herding even in the scarcity of the underworld; possibly because of their unrestricted diets. The other reason for this expanded diet might also be so that the spider people can sacrifice proper food and drink to their spirits; powerful symbols in their society.
The Yellow Spiders are ruled by Queens. Queendoms otherwise act very similar to Kindoms on the surface world; often trading or fighting amongst themselves for more land or power. The Yellow Spiders have an interesting cultural quirk with this however; their wars are focused more on wars of the spirit then wars of weapons and magic. Valisvoli faith relies on belief in the spirits; the most common spirits invoked by their people are the spirits inside small objects; fetishes. These fetishes are almost always a collection of bones, personal items, or small crystals or shards of metal wrapped together in spidersilk. War between the Valisvoli is determined by the strength of a warrior's fetish moreso then their weapons or skill; enemies will not be able to get any sleep as they march to war, or they will see omens in the grain of the stone under the earth that hint at their coming defeat. Properly prepared fetishes will hiss or release smoke as they near an opponent; more vigorous displays of power mean a more powerful spirit- enemies will flee a fight against a powerful spirit without a weapon being drawn. These warriors rarely make these fetishes themselves; and are instead granted by the Queens and Princesses who command them- always temporarily. It should be said here that war between noble families and high-born ladies is rarely lethal; partially due to the superstitious nature of their warfare and partially because of a long cultural history of mercy; most captured or defeated enemies are simply given less prestigious holdings or ransomed back to their families. Only the warriors who fight other races or monsters that live outside of their relatively safe lands are known to kill.
As a feudal society, status and wealth is passed from parent to offspring; but the Valisvoli have important families that instead have ownership of powerful fetishes and the spirits within them. Mothers are the primary ownership class; passing on the fetishes they have created to their children. Inheritance laws and tradition limit each child to being given only one fetish from their parent- and only those in power can afford to create a empower a fetish. For this reason fetishes are highly personalized and are hotly discussed elements of their culture.
However, in recent years, a powerful new cult has risen among the Yellow Spiders. There is a religious cult that worships demons and outsider beings; trading away their souls and spiritual energy, which would otherwise go towards building traditional spirit-fetishes, and is returned in the form of dark magic, mutations, or forbidden knowledge. These cults have been cropping up among noble circles, the dark influence of these beings guaranteeing that wars will be one and their enemies slain- not merely reduced in status. In addition; they are more open to outside races and cultures interfering and trading with the Valisvoli; granting additional resources to nobles who join them. As such, these demon-worshipping cults are gaining power in the nobility and may soon become the dominant religion as the old ways are forgotten in exchange for power. These demon worshipers use the symbol of a burning hammer; the iconoclast-design symbolically smashing the fragile holy objects of the old ways.
- Smaller then a Human (3-4 ft)
- Has an Animal Tail : Tarantula Abdomen
- Iron Stomach (eats basically anything)
- Neutral Colors with a yellowish tint
- They have glowing silver eyes
- Subterranean Homeland
- Bonus to Wisdom, Penalty to Charisma
- Value Mercy above all else; Secondary values of Reason & Craftsmanship
- Standard Tech Level
- Historical Events; Religious Splinter Group (Demons & Elder Gods)
- Weirdly Obsessed with a Fantasy Drug (Used Magic Substance Generator to make it)
Few ever see the Moonhorns. They live in the deepest, darkest parts of the deepest darkest elven forests; no races other then the elves are known to interact with them. Many believe they are closely related; and it isn't difficult to see why. They are reclusive, intelligent, worshiping the powers of nature. Similar to elves, they love nature and beauty, and are somewhat physically frail. However, unlike elves, this race of beings has transparent skin. Ancient legends claim that their skin once glowed like fine silver, but was given away to the elves as tribute from the defeated- this legend is common stated to be the origin of the Elf-Craft of Glint.
Moonhorns stand at the same height of men and elves. They have four horns on their head- two on top and two to the sides, giving them a fearsome expression. They have a small tail, and only are vegetarians. They have blue eyes, with green or yellow being rare and uncommon eye colors. They live in the forests; many consider them to be just as the elves are, but only more wild and magic. You'll never find them out during the day; only at the night when their bodies sparkle and seem to glimmer with starlight.
Their society is very simplistic- they are ruled by a Stone King who gives forests to live in to his underlings, with peasants and freedmen below them. They have a Neolithic level of technology; stone and bone are their primary tools; though magic supplements their lack of technology; their bodies, weapons, and armor are simply poorly suited to it. Hence they rely on mystery and nature to keep away intruders. It almost seems as though the elves, who once defeated them harshly in a great war and seemed to force them into retreat into the deepest forests, are the ones who defend them now- their territory being a shield against outsiders. Some even believe that the elves did not value or sing to trees before this time; it was the Moonhorns who taught them this skill and taught them that trees could not only be a home, but a shield and a weapon against invaders. Their love and weird obsession with trees seemed to effect the elves fully; who are now such a nature loving race most associate them first with it above all others.
As nature worshippers; Moonhorn priests are also druids, able to commune with and call upon the powers of nature. Those who get to close to Moonhorn lands won't ever see them; you'll just run into harsh rains and floods, and then wild animals, and then a lightning strike will start a wildfire, driving you back and back before you ever see one of these reclusive souls. The final challenge will always be a word shouted from a treeline from an invisible body; a riddle. One who solves this riddle may pass into the forests beyond, but those who fail or do not try to answer the riddle will be swallowed by a mysterious fog. When, and if, they ever leave it they will have traveled leagues away from their destination. This final challenge is said to keep the dumb and savage away from Moonhorn lands; as they are obsessed with riddles.
The Moonhorns are said to be highly skilled with magic, perhaps even more then the elves are, and Craftsmanship is an ideal they value very highly. It is said that the Moonhorns, inspired by the way the stars dance along their transparent skin and blood underneath, are the inventors and created of Ioun stones; beautiful and bright shining stones which grant magical power to their users. Perhaps for this reason- the elves kept them around and let them roam free in the deepest forests of their lands; a shameful secret of high magic that they themselves cannot yet achieve.
Moreso then this however; the Moonhorns value Justice. Justice is at the core of their culture; and they believe all will pay for their transgressions some day. Woe be to those who enslave or take advantage of the poor, thin-skinned Moonhorns, for magic and fate are the tools to punish the guilty.
- Roughly human in size
- Cow Tail
- Special Body Feature = Horns (Four Horned Sheep / Jacob's Sheep)
- Albino - Skin is almost totally transparent
- Most have Blue Eyes
- Homeland is Forest
- Bonus to Intelligence, Penalty to Constitution
- Pagan Religion
- Value Justice above all else; Secondary values of Craftsmanship & Beauty
- Historical Events; Bloody Racial War, Extra Weird Obsession
- Weirdly Obsessed with Riddles and Trees