Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fantasy Races for Baronial Players

My take on the classic races for my baronial setting

Appearance: Most Tuathanas are over six feet tall and have a smallish bone structure. Their hair and eye color vary, with many capable of magics that allow them to alter such things. Before the rebellion, lighter colors were popular.

Background: The Tuathanas of old were slave owning, abuse wielding, eccentric jackasses. They abused their humans slaves, using them for experiments, house cleaning, tending the fields, and cleaning up after the failed experiments.

For thousands of years, the elves and dragons ruled their respective lands. The lack of conflict bred stagnation amongst the Tuathanas. Apathy and disinterest became common in some of the elves, while others were completely overtaken by mania. Arts were taken to the extreme and magic came to rule the land. Eccentric-ism was the new normal and any elf not taking their interest to the furthest extreme was quickly cast out of social circles.

During the Age of Conflict, Tuathanas began treating their slaves better, as an owner might treat a Roman gladiator better than a field worker. The humans were needed as cannon fodder. Against their better judgment, the Tuathanas decided to teach a limited number of humans how to work Tuathanas sorcery. A collection of the best human specimens were taken away for instruction. In time, as the war with the dragons wore on, those specimens were bred with each other and with Tuathanas. The latter of which would lead to the half-elven race referred to as, “The Children of Men.”

The Age of Conflict ended with the dragon race wiped off the planet, the dwarves now enslaved by the Tuathanas and considered even lower class than the humans, and the gnomes pondering their next move. The sorcerer chantries set about learning dragon magic from the dwarves while the less magically inclines Tuathanas commanded the dwarves to begin moving the riches from the caverns and halls of the dragons into the decadent homes of the elves. Humans were appointed overseers to the dwarves, but more often than not, they simply showed the dwarves how to avoid punishment for wrongs not committed.

The Age of Strife brought the downfall of the Tuathanas as a people and nearly removed them as a race from the planet. Sensing a growing movement to revolt amongst humans and dwarves, the Children of Men put together a plan to free their relatives from the clutches of their overlords. By combining their knowledge of sorcery with the martial abilities of humans and dwarves, the Children of Men were able to strike at the heart of the Tuathanas kingdoms. Within the first week, most of the leaders were dead. However, the rebellion was not strong enough to win against an organized Tuathanas people. The rebellion's inability to close the deal in less than a month, allowed for the Tuathanas to recover, analyze, and strike back. Whole villages and armies were extinguished by single Tuathanas chantries.

Gnomes aligned with the rebellion reached out to sympathetic Tuathanas, bringing them over to the side of the rebellion. These turncoat Tuathanas were able to supply knowledge and lend magical support needed to overthrow the Tuathanas as a ruling race. In return, the gnomes cut a deal with the humans and dwarves that these Tuathanas would not be killed. Instead, they were sent to live in what would become the Barony of the Woods at the lake of glass that was once a Tuathanas city named Lanark.

For three human and dwarven generations, Tuathanas have primarily lived in Lanark. Some stayed in the chantries in which they serve, others have begun wandering the land, hoping for a better life than that which is Lanark. Lanark was once a grand city among the trees. However, during the Age of Conflict, a wing of dragons melted the core of the city with their fiery breathe, leaving only a lake of glass. The new city of Lanark is a constant reminder to the Tuathanas that they can be defeated.

Today, the Tuathanas are trusted by those in positions of power, but still feared by the populace at large. Horror stories are still told of the treatment delivered to man and dwarf by their former masters. Tuathanas do not gather in groups outside of Lanark, to ensure they do not incite fear or riots among man and dwarf.

Appearance: Half-elves tend to have small to medium body types and average near six feet tall. While their hair and eye colors can be as varied as the Tuathanas stock they have been bred from, human traits of darker colors run stronger than the lighter colors that can be found amongst the Tuathanas.

Background: The Children of Men grew out of an experiment performed by Master Magician Pyrrus. Master Pyrrus was curious as to the ability of his own race to breed with humans in an effort to create a more pure race of humans. He had already overseen experiments wherein humans were bred with the beast men, who were born from the stuff of chaos. The experiments with human and Tuathanas were successful and thus were born the Children of Men, half-elven.

Master Pyrrus would later go on to experiment on the abilities of beast men and Tuathanas to reproduce. Much to his dismay, they were able to produce viable offspring. Master Pyrrus never released the details of these experiments to the others within his chantry. He ordered all participants burned to ash. Master Pyrrus attempted the same experiments with dwarves, but found they could not be bred with other races, outside of certain beast men.

While the Children of Men were originally humans bred with Tuathanas, they would eventually be bred with each other, instead of sullying the Tuathanas blood. After all, the goal was to improve humans, not water down the blood of pure Tuathanas stock.

Before the rebellion, the Children of Men were bred to help with sorcery and the upkeep of the chantries. They were taught rudimentary magics as to be able assistants to the Tuathanas wizards. As the war with the dragons wore on, the half-elves were eventually taught how to read grimoires and cast powerful spells. Many amongst the elves did not agree with this practice, but the overall concern that the Tuathanas nation needed more spell casters in order to defeat the dragons won out. This also allowed for fewer Tuathanas to be on the field of battle, as the half-elves could replace them as war-casters

Following the defeat of the dragons, the Children of Men became the go-between from the Tuathanas and the slave races of man and dwarf. The Children of Men were no longer taught high end magic, but instead were taught how to use their magics to control the slaves. A lucky few half-elves were allowed to lead exploration parties into the old dragon caverns where they could lead as they desired and not be the whip upon their parents' backs.

In time, the seed of rebellion would be planted across the known world. Human, dwarf, and half-elf would join together in a bid for freedom. Allies amongst the gnomes were levied to gain help from sympathetic Tuathanas. The rebellion was over in under a year's time. In every major battle, the Children of Men were present, often leading the charge.

Today, half-elves can be found across the land in the same roles as their human and dwarven allies. They tend towards roles where their education in the elven chantries would prove to be a benefit: alchemists, smithing, providing healing, and as instructors.

Appearance: Most humans range in height from 4'10” to 5'8” and have dark colored hair and eyes. Their bodies tend to be from medium to heavy stock and quite muscular.

Background: Humans were brought into the world by the Tuathanas to be their slaves and play-things. They served as housekeepers, farmers, beast keepers, fisherman, hunters, laborers, and the subject of magical experimentation. There was no job too low for a Tuathanas to assign a human to perform.

Until the Age of Conflict and the war with the dragons, mankind was not allowed to bear arms or armor. When the Tuathanas discerned they would need more help to defeat the dragons and their slaves, the dwarves, the Tuathanas began to train men on the art of war. Man was never given plate armor, not instructed on how to create it. Nor was he taught how to work special metals such as the moon metal that fell from the sky. The hunters of beasts among mankind taught some of their brethren how to draw bow, but most found this unnecessary with the Tuathanas ability to support armies with spell casting.

Following the war, mankind was slow to give up the arms and armor they had been provided. They realized the potential freedom they could attain with these things formerly forbidden. Those few who had learned the ways of crafting mail and sword secretly passed that knowledge to their offspring. Mankind was given a standing above that of the dwarves. While some took advantage of this decision by their Tuathanas owners, most attempted to work with the dwarves more as equals.

No one recorded the event that led to the uprising to begin the War of Strife. Three generations later, no one cares. Humans bore the brunt of the rebellion. They were ever-present in the lives of the Tuathanas and the first to be punished by the Tuathanas. They had also been allowed to breed at will, with no checks or balances in place. This gave them number superiority in the rebellion. Yet, thousands died the first night the Tuathanas finally organized themselves and began fighting back properly.

With the dwarves providing additional martial support, the Children of Men wielding magic, and the eventual deal brokered by the gnomes with sympathetic Tuathanas, the humans were finally able to gain freedom for themselves and all other enslaved races. All Tuathanas who refused the same deal brokered by the gnomes for the sympathetic Tuathanas, were executed in public. Tuathanas took to the woods and the mountains in an effort to hide from the doom that came for them. Humans and dwarves hunted those elves down, killing them, and bringing their ears back as proof.

Those humans in positions of power today have modeled the lands and their leadership on the former models developed and used by the Tuathanas for the Tuathanas. They know it is not the best model, but it is the only model they know. Differences exist between the baronies and the barons that rule them.

Appearance: Dwarves range in height from 3'10” to 4'8” and all are of heavy stock. Their hair and eye color tend towards the dark colors seen amongst humans. Long hair and beards are common and were originally grown to help keep them warm while in the depths of the caverns or upon the mountaintops.

Background: The dwarves were created for the same reason as humans, to be another race's slaves. In the case of dwarves, it was to serve the Nathair-Sgiathach, dragons. While the working conditions were no better overall, the dragons were quicker to teach dwarves how to use rune magic and alchemy and allowed them to develop their own culture. As long as the dwarves accomplished what the dragons set them forth to perform, no care was given to any other excess they desired.

When the Age of Conflict began and the dragons went to war with the Tuathanas, the dwarves were brought into the war immediately. The Tuathanas never thought to bring their humans into the battle until being routed more than once by fields of dwarves, armed with their heavy mining tools and the scales of dead dragons as armor. The dwarves proved themselves worthy adversaries and gave as good as they got. This martial prowess and mutual respect given to their opponents, the humans, allowed for an easier than expected transition to their new masters following the deaths of the dragons.

To say the dwarves missed their former masters were be an incorrect statement. Yet, it was also be incorrect to say that they hated their former masters – they did not. They would learn to hate the Tuathanas and their treatment of dwarves and humans, alike. Moreso, they pitied the humans forced to lord over the dwarves and deal punishments unearned.

There are those among the dwarven communities that claim the dwarves provided the leadership needed to start the rebellion against the Tuathanas. Humans rarely argue this point, instead glowering over the topic and attempting to move the conversation along to other topics.

Following the War of Strife, most dwarves retreated to their caverns and mountaintop homes. Most of these communities were self-sufficient before being enslaved by the Tuathanas and they would become so once again. The most public dwarven community is the Barony of the Mountain, lead by Baron Ponoshich. The barony rests to the west of the Barony of the Woods, where they can provide an extra set of eyes upon the elven city of Lanark.

Appearance: The shortest race of people in the known world, gnomes typically stand between 2'4” and 3'8”. Their hair and eyes run the full gamut of colors, including those not found amongst human, dwarf, or elf. Their body frames are typically very slight.

Background: Gnomes are from another land, a land lost to memory and time. They entered the known world and immediately created a place for themselves as go-between for the Tuathanas and Nathair-Sgiathach. Diplomats, traders, and deal makers were the perfect role for this small, unassuming race of people. They quickly mastered the tongues of both races, finding the Tuathanas language much easier than that of the Nathair-Sgiathach. In practice, they were more likely to speak the dwarven version of the dragon-tongue, then the natural tongue of the winged giants.

A deal gone bad was the cause of the Age of Conflict, though none know this today. Diplomat Vipponah the Elder was attempting to cut a deal where he would benefit, not the elves or dragons whom he was employed by. A mis-translated word in the dragon-tongue lead to a violent display of emotion by an elf in front of his dragon host. The Nathair-Sgiathach removed all of the visiting Tuathanas via teleportation magic to a realm of chaos formerly unknown to the Tuathanas. The Tuathanas retinue fought their way out of the Chaos realm by striking deals with new demon allies. New demon allies that would supply new magics in the War of Strife.

Vipponah the Elder was imply eaten by the dragon for bringing an insulting Tuathanas into the home of a Nathair-Sgiathach.

Gnomes did their best to stay hidden during the Age of Conflict. While no one knew that Vipponah the Elder had caused the rift between their two sets of customers, the gnomes knew that to get into the middle of the elves and dragons would only result in death. Instead, they took on miniscule roles within the various kingdoms that allowed them to stay safe.

Following the Age of Conflict, some gnomes returned to their roles of old as traders and diplomats between the different Tuathanas. No longer were they the movers and shakers of dragon hordes and elven art. Instead, some tried their hands at leading raids into the old caverns and mountaintop palaces of dragons. Many of the gnomes took a liking to this life of adventure and investigation. While most lead from behind a wall of human and dwarven buffers (you never know where an old dragon trap might exist), they were none the less present in the field.

When the airs began changing and the War of Strife was beginning, the gnomes were very quick to decide which side to support. During the war, they would serve as spies for man and dwarf. They would lead explorers to old caches of magic and arms. They were able to work within the Tuathanas system and find sympathetic Tuathanas that understood the futility of fighting a war they could not win. They even went so far as to broker a life saving deal for the Tuathanas and their former slaves turned conquerors that allowed for the Tuathanas to live if they helped free mankind, dwarves, and the Children of Men.

With the end of the War of Strife and the beginning of the Age of Recovery, gnomes continue to branch out into other roles. No longer do they only serve as diplomats, traders, and deal makers. Some serve as heralds in the courts of the new world, while others study magic in the chantries, and others have decided to try their hand at farming or fishing.

Racial Modifiers
  • Movement: 10m
  • Start with Common Magic
  • Dark Sight
  • Life Sense
  • Intelligence and Dexterity can be raised as high as 21 at game start
  • Languages: Common, Elf
  • Movement: 6m
  • Dark Sight
  • Earth Sense
  • Size cannot be over 12
  • Strength and Constitution can be raised as high as 21 at game start
  • Languages: Common, Dwarf
  • Movement: 6m
  • Start with Common Magic
  • Size cannot be over 10
  • Constitution and Dexterity can be raised as high as 21 at game start
  • Languages: Common, Gnome
  • Movement: 8m
  • Start with Common Magic
  • Power can be increased as high as 21 at game start
  • Languages: Common, Elf
  • Movement: 8m
  • +10% to one combat style
  • +10% to two professional skills (non-combat)
  • Persistence +10%
  • Resilience +10%
  • Languages: Common

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