Post by ancientempathy on Feb 3, 2008 13:48:59 GMT -5
Regions: Amn, Calimshan, Dragon Coast, Lake of Steam, Nelanther Isles, the Shaar, Tethyr, Vilhon Reach, Western Heartlands, Calishite. Racial Feats: Calishite Elementalist, Genie Lore, Harem Trained.
Since the fall of the great genie empires that once ruled south of the Marching Mountains, humans descended from the slaves of the genie lords have ruled the successive empires of Calimshan. From the shores of the Shining Sea, Calishites have migrated northwards in large numbers as far as the Fields of the Dead and the Nelanther Isles, and eastward into the Lake of Steam, the Border Kingdoms, Lapaliiya, and the Shaar. Some fled disasters in their homeland or sought new economic opportunities, but most came as conquerors under the banner of the Shoon Empire. Outside their homeland, Calishites form the primary racial stock of the Border Kingdoms, the Lake of Steam cities, and the Nelanther Isles. Calishites also comprise a large fraction of the population of Amn and Tethyr. Calishite ancestry, language, and culture have influenced all the lands nearby.
Calishites regard themselves as the rightful rulers of all lands south and west of the Sea of Fallen Stars, a birthright passed down to them by the genies who once ruled the lands between the Marching Mountains and the Shining Sea. Calishites point with pride to the unbroken line of Calishite empires dating back thousands of years. With the notable exception of the Mulan, whom they consider their equals, Calishites consider themselves culturally superior to the hordes of “unwashed barbarians” that dwell beyond their lands.
Although often perceived by other cultures as avaricious, lazy, and corrupt, in truth most Calishites seek nothing more than a lifestyle of comfort and the respect of their peers. Calishites hold the circumstances of an individual’s birth as equal in importance to his or her achievements. The class system is strongly ingrained in most Calishites, as is the ideal of a life of pampered luxury. Money is simply the means by which one achieves idleness. Calishites place great stock in pride—in one’s own achievements, family, city, and culture. Family and the role as host are likewise held in great esteem. Magic use is ubiquitous, rivaled only by the natives of Halruaa, and genies are both highly respected and feared.
Although all natives of Calimshan are known as Calishites, only those whose ancestry dates back to the slaves brought from other worlds thousands of years ago are considered members of this ethnic group. Calishites are a bit shorter and of slighter build than other humans. Their skin is dusky brown, and their hair and eyes are most commonly of that shade as well.
Calishites make skilled rogues, fighters, and wizards, and the legacy of ancient genie bloodlines ensures that many are powerful sorcerers as well. Religious fervor and monastic devotion are largely absent among most Calishites, except among the clerics of Ilmatar who minister to the poor, and the Tyrrans who uphold justice.
The history of the Calishite people is largely the history of Calimshan, detailed in the Forgotten Realm Campaign Setting. -----So therefore, from the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting manual…----
Calimshan has long been the dominant power of southwest Faerun, with a tumultuous recorded history spanning nine thousand years. It has always been a hot, damp, verdant land, suitable for growing olives and dates and grazing by huge herds of livestock. Its forests are filled with fragrant carving woods, and its and sandbars and coastal shoals bristle with oysters, crabs, edible fish, and rocks harboring both gems and metals. In short, Calimshan has always been a land worth fighting for—and so there has been much fighting for it.
In ancient times, the great forest Keltormir cloaked the region and was home to warring giants and elves. Humans also lurked in hiding among the trees, and the dwarves founded Deep Shanatar and flourished beneath the earth.
Then came the mighty djinn from “otherwhere”, geniekin and their halfling and human slaves led bt the djinni Calim. They founded the Calim Empire, clearing trees from the lands south and west of the Marching Mountains, slaughtering or driving out dragons, and establishing a domain whose borders correspond with the Calimshan of today.
The djinni ruled over humans in the Calim Caliphates for a thousand years before an efreeti of great power, Memnon, arrived from another “otherwhere” and established the realm of Memnonnar. The two empires broke into all-out war in the Era of Skyfire, a protracted struggle that so damaged the land that the elves used a form of great high magic to bind the spirits of Calim and Memnon into the ground and air, leaving them to struggle to this day in the sandy waste of their endless battle: the Calim Desert.
Humans and dwarves overthrew the few remaining geniekin in mere decades. Coram the Warrior founded the realm of Coramshan over the ruins of the genie empire. Riddled by intrigues and dynastic strife, it soon fell under the sway of evil human priests, but arose again as the reunited realm of Calimshan.
Ylveraasahlisar the Rose Dragon conquered Calimshan and ruled for over a century before being slain—whereupon beholders seized power. Humans drove the beholders out and established colonies across western Faerun, but plagues weakened their empire. Tethyr and the Vilhon Reach shook off Calimshan’s rule and became independent.
Human power in Calimshan peaked under the Shoon dynasty of a thousand years past. In more recent times, Calimshan has seen a Rage of Dragons (1018 DR), a Black Horde of orcs that slew its ruling Syl-Pasha (1235 DR), and the Time of Troubles (1358 DR), when the criminal underworld of Calimport was rocked by the death of all Bhaal-worshiping assassins.
The current ruler of Calimshan, Syl-Pasha Persakhal, has made an alliance with Tethyr. He hopes to study its ways—and then annex the land.
Calishites believe their culture is the only bastion of civilization on the Sword Coast and Shining Sea, if not the entire surface of Faerun. To the descendants of a 7,000-year-old empire, the shortlived “barbarian” cultures of the northern lands are barely worthy of notice. Calishite arrogance is nurtured and codified in the class and gender divisions within their society, with a person’s station at birth playing an important role in how he or she is measured. Although few speak of the class system in Calimshan or the lesser status of women, most Calishites live out their lives according to their station, risking death or enslavement if they do not. Calishites dwelling in the old Imperial lands view themselves as superior to non-Calishites and often act as if the Shoon Imperium had never fallen. Likewise, Calishites dwelling within the borders of Calimshan view themselves as superior to their provincial cousins.
Calishites are typically drawn to adventuring in hopes of quickly amassing a great fortune that will allow them to retire to a life of idle luxury. Those of lower birth often see the life of an adventurer as a way to escape the structures of their station in distant lands where the status of their birth is unknown. A few Calishite adventurers see themselves as guardians of an ancient culture and commit themselves to recovering ancient Calishite treasures that have been lost amid the unwashed hordes of the northern realms.
Magic has long played a role in Calishite culture, making both wizards and sorcerers commonplace. The latter group consists largely of Calishites who can trace their ancestry back to the genies who once ruled the Calim Empire and Memnonnar. The influence of various faiths has waxed and waned in Calishite culture, but clerics and monks have rarely played an important role. Whereas monks located elsewhere on Toril have strong martial and mystic traditions and are responsible for the preservation of the lore of fallen realms, the monks of Calimshan devote their energies to relieving the suffering of the lower classes.
Perhaps the most common classes among Calishites are rogue, fighter, and fighter/rogue, for the history of Calimshan and the states it once dominated is strewn with bloodshed, corruption, and thievery. Calishite barbarians are almost unknown, except among the nomads of the Lands of the Lion. Likewise, bards are rarely seen outside Calishite harems, and there is no druidic tradition within Calishite culture. Calishite paladins are almost unknown outside the church of Tyr and the city-state of Saelmur. Prestige Classes: Calishites have a long tradition of assassination as a tool of political influence and personal vendettas, so the assassin is a common prestige class in Calimshan. Secretive guilds of lower-class rogues sometimes study the mysterious arts of the shadowdancer, or more commonly take up the guild thief prestige class. Powerful Calishite wizards often choose to become archmages.
Traditional Calishite culture varies little across Faerun, even among Calishites who dwell outside the borders of Calimshan. Although exceptions exist, Calishites strictly adhere to the traditional roles of their social class. In ascending order, those classes are slaves, the labor class, the skilled labor class, the merchant class, the military, the advisor class, and the ruling class. From birth, Calishites are raised to recognize such class distinctions and treat others accordingly, even though many class distinctions are lost upon outsiders. Hard work and thriftiness are not held up as ideals, although many successful Calishites got that way through such “vices.” Instead, luxury and pampered idleness are seen as the ideal, and many Calishites will do whatever it takes to acquire such a lifestyle. Calishite culture has long harbored a fascination with food and magic, particularly magic that reduces the need for labor, so meals and frivolous magic items play a large role in Calishite daily life.
Calishites revere their immediate family and show more loyalty to their kin than they do to their deities or employers. Men are expected to enter into business and support their family’s standard of living. Women are expected to maintain the home, raise the children, and manage the funds. Children are always educated in the home unless they have a strong aptitude for magical schooling. Those parents who can afford them employ tutors and wizards. Upon reaching the age of majority (15 years), children are expected to marry and establish themselves within five years. Only women may marry above their social class. Those who fail to marry are disgraced and must either live with their parents in shameful charity or be ejected from the household (many Calishite adventurers active in other lands once fell into the latter category). Children are also expected to care for their elderly relatives and to give them an opulent funeral upon death.
Social moves are particularly scrutinized within Calishite culture, engendering an emphasis on maintaining one’s personal and familial pride. Saving face demands that a Calishite treat others as they present themselves, regardless of whether such facades bear any resemblance to the truth. Once a person or family loses face, they also lose status and may be relegated to a lower class. Privacy is a most precious commodity, for it allows an individual to act as he or she wishes without needing to save face. Calishites also place great stock in hospitality, with strictly defined responsibilities for both guest and host. Guests cannot inflict harm on their host while receiving his or her hospitality. Likewise, hosts must display as much generosity as they can afford and protect their guests from harm, for to do otherwise is to lose face.
Language and Literacy
The native tongue of Calishites is Alzhedo, a language derived millennia ago from Midani (the language of Zakhara) and Auran. Alzhedo is one of the two major root tongues of both Thorass (“Old Common”) and Common. Alzhedo employs the Thorass alphabet, a set of characters used to represent the trade tongue that came into use thousands of years ago along the shores of the Lake of Steam. Most Calishites also speak Common, particularly the singsong Calant dialect. Those who trade with or live in the Realms Below prefer Undercommon, the trade language of the Underdark.
Given their extensive contacts with geniekind, Calishites often learn Auran or Ignan. Other common second languages include Chultan, Halfling, Lantanese, Shaaran, or Tashalan, languages spoken by many who dwell along the shores of the Shining Sea. Few Calishites learn other nonhuman tongues.
All Calishite characters are literate except for barbarians and commoners (that is, characters with the commoner NPC class described in the DMG), who must spend skill points to acquire literacy.
Calishite Magic and Lore
Calishites have a strong arcane spellcasting tradition, in part a legacy of the genies who once ruled the lands now claimed by Calimshan. Many Calishite wizards and sorcerers favor the school of Evocation, mastering a great number of fire and wind spells. Although rare, necromancers are not unknown as well, a spellcasting tradition dating back to the court of the Necroqysar, Shoon IV. Shadow weave magic, although still largely unknown, is attracting an increasingly large set of adherents. The divine spellcasting tradition among Calishites is essentially restricted to clerics, who also favor spells of air and fire.
Calishites favor spells that ensure personal comfort or defense, summon creatures from the elemental planes, or otherwise unleash the elements. Despite the widespread use of magic throughout Calimshan, Calishite spellcasters are not well known for creating new spells, except for a brief surge of experimentation during the Age of Shoon. Some scholars attribute this cultural characteristic to the traditional Calishite penchant for indolence, while others claim it derives from a reverence for tradition at the expense of innovation. Spellcasting Tradition: The study of arcane spells harnessing the power of the elements is the highest form of the Art in Calimshan. Many Calishite sorcerers and wizards consider themselves air or fire elementalists. The Calishite Elementalist feat, described in the appendix, reflects this tradition of magic. Unique Spells: None.
Calishite Magic Items
Magic is an important aspect of Calishite culture, and many mundane objects are crafted to pamper the whims of Calimshan’s idle rich. Doors and gates that recognize those allowed inside and open automatically for them, clothing that sheds stains and dirt, torches that extinguish and relight automatically as needed, or levitating feather fans to keep air circulation constant and cool are all examples of Calishite arts of this sort. Weapons are generally crafted with flaming, keen, shock, and spell-storing special abilities, reflecting Calishite culture’s longstanding fascination with magic and the elemental natures of geniekind. Common Magic Items: Commonly manufactured Calishite items include carpets of flying, efreeti bottles, horseshoes of the zephyr, pearls of power, pearls of the sirines, rings of djinni calling, rings of mind shielding, and slippers of spider climbing. Due to the prevalence of these items in Calishite society, they may be purchased at a 10% discount in any large city in Calimshan. Iconic Magic Items: The scimitar of the sirocco is made in Calimshan. This weapon is highly prized by Calishite nobles and adventurers. Many warriors of Calimshan wear Calishite mail.
Various Calishite faiths and religious practices have waxed and waned in popularity since the Time of Genies. At various times in history, the Calishite religious tradition has included the worship of dark, forgotten deities, the veneration of genies as divine beings, and the belief in a single sun god. In modern times, Calishites worship the deities of the Faerunian pantheon, and the folk of Calimshan pride themselves upon accepting all creeds and religions. Although Calimshan contains major temples to the lion’s share of the deities worshiped in Faerun, ten faiths have long been prominent in Calishite society, suggesting that some or all those deities may have once formed the kernel of an ancient Calishite pantheon. Those deities include Tyr, Azuth, Talos, Shar, Ilmater, Savras, Sharess, Siamorphe, Umberlee, and Waukeen.
Relations with other Races
Calishites have poor relations with members of all other human ethnic groups, particularly Tethyrians (who are generally viewed as members of the lower class, regardless of birth) and Illuskans (who are seen as the epitome of the unwashed northern barbarian). Only the Mulan receive any measure of respect from Calishites, as their culture is nearly as long-lived as that of Calimshan.
Despite their disdain or dismissal of other human cultures, Calishites have decent relations with members of other races. Dwarves and gnomes are valued for their skill in metalworking, although many shield dwarves have not forgotten the role Calishites played in the fall of Shanatar. Elves and half-elves are both distrusted and envied. The former status derives from Calimshan’s long history of animosity with neighboring elven nations, such as long-vanished Keltormir. The latter stems from the inherently magical nature of the Fair Folk, which magic-crazed Calishites cannot duplicate. Halflings have long been enslaved by Calishites, and, as a result, most Calishites classify all halflings as members of the lower class. In turn, halflings (at least those who dwell along the Sword Coast and whose ancestors fled Calimshan) regard Calishites with suspicion, viewing all humans of this ethnic group as potential slavers. Curiously, half-orcs often receive better treatment from Calishites than they do from other human societies. Although they are invariably seen as members of the lower class, in that respect they are seen as no better or worse than Calishites of low birth-status.
Calishites favor loose-fitting, airy clothing appropriate for hot climes. Almost all adopt the traditional keffiyeh (headcloth) that covers the head and hangs down the neck.
Arms and Armor
Due to the scorching heat of their homeland, Calishite warriors do not often wear medium or heavy armor. They favor chain shirts, and shields are common. It necessary, well-off Calishites wear full chainmail, but even then the ever-present heat means that this is reserved for situations in which battle is imminent. Calishites favor curved blades and view the scimitar as the perfect weapon, a deadly and beautiful blade well suited for mounted combat against lightly armored foes. Daggers are even more common, especially the jambiya (hooked dagger) and the katar (punching dagger). Calishites employ shortbows as missile weapons, a martial tradition adopted from the elves of long-vanished Keltormir. Common Items: Chain shirt, scimitar, falchion, composite shortbow Unique Items: The jambiya, a hooked dagger worn by almost all Calishite men.
Animals and Pets
Calishites favor small creatures of a magical nature as pets and familiars—the more exotic the better, such as shocker lizards and tressyms. Mephits, particularly air, dust, fire, and steam mephitis, and small elementals, particularly those drawn from the Elemental Planes of Air and Fire, are commonly summoned by Calishite conjurers.
Among animals, trained falcons and dogs are most common. For steeds, Calishites employ camels in the vicinity of the Calim Desert and horses elsewhere. They favor light warhorses, as few Calishite warriors wear heavy armor or rely on clumsy weapons such as the heavy lance in battle. Flying steeds, including hippogriffs griffons, and pegasi are highly favored by those who can acquire them.
Most characters of Calishite descent choose the Calimshan character region, which reflects a character from the sophisticated cities of the country. The Calishite region described here embraces Calishites from the wild hinterland of the country, such as the lands west of the Alamir Mountains or the Lands of the Lion, east of Tethyr’s forest. Preferred Classes: The Calishite region is preferred by bards, fighters, sorcerers, and wizards. A character of one of these classes may choose a regional feat and gain his choice of the bonus equipment below as a 1st-level character. A Calishite character of any other class may not select one of the regional feats here and does not gain the bonus equipment at 1st level. Automatic Languages: Alzhedo, Common. Bonus Languages: Auran, Chondathan, Elven, Ignan, Shaaran, Tashalan, Undercommon. Regional Feats: Bloodline of Fire, Genie Lore, Harem Trained, Magical Training. Bonus Equipment: (A) Scimitar* or jambiya*; or (B) chain mail*; or (C) scroll with one 2nd-level spell and six 1-st level spells.
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008 16:22:01 GMT -5 by ancientempathy
Post by ancientempathy on Feb 3, 2008 14:32:05 GMT -5
Regions: Chondalwood, Cormyr, Dalelands, Dragon Coast, Great Dale, Impiltur, Moonsea, Nelanther Isles, Sembia, Silverymoon, the Vast, Vilhon Reach, Western Heartlands, Waterdeep, Chondathan. Racial Feats: Caravanner, Chondathan Missionary, Plague Resistant.
Chondathans are hardy folk, not afraid to take risks, travel, or settle new lands, and are always looking to better themselves and their families monetarily. As Chondathan culture has taken root in so many distant lands, Chondathans are comfortable in most human societies. Many Chondathans are merchants of one sort or another, selling their skills and the fruits of their labors for coin. Although Chondathans make skilled mercenaries and cunning rogues, Chondathan culture has not encouraged study of the Art or great religious fervor. Notable exceptions exist, particularly in the study of the Art among the Netherese-influenced Chondathan cultures that lie north and west of the Inner Sea.
From the cradle of the Vilhon Reach, Chondathan emigrants have settled most of the western and central Inner Sea region as well as much of the Western Heartlands. Outside their homeland, Chondathans form the primary racial stock of Altumbel, Cormyr, the southern Dalelands, the Dragon Coast, the Great Dale, Hlondeth, and the north shore of the Vilhon Reach, the Pirate Isles of the Inner Sea, Sembia, and Sespech. Thanks to far-wandering Chondathan traders, the Chondathan tongue is spoken even in regions where the number of pureblooded Chondathans is small or nearly nonexistent. Chondathan ancestry, language, and culture form a significant portion of Damaran, Vaasan, and Tethyrian heritage.
Chondathans are slender, tawny-skinned folk with brown hair ranging from almost blond to almost black. Most Chondathans are tall and have green or brown eyes, but all builds and hair and eye hues may be seen. Those Chondathans who dwell north and west of the Sea of Fallen Stars (except in Sembia) are more likely to have blue eyes and have fairer complexions and darker hair than those born in the South, evidence of a significant Netherese heritage. In Chondath itself, particularly in the lands bordering Sespech, a significant Shaaran influx in recent centuries has given many natives of Chondath more of an olive-skinned hue.
Chondathans regard themselves as having come to dominate central Faerun almost by accident; they have “conquered” more land through trade and settlement than with armies. They show little arrogance and only a small amount of pride regarding the predominance of their language and culture. Likewise, Chondathans are more apt to identify themselves by their national origins (such as Cormyrean, Dalesfolk, or Sembian) than by their ethnic group. If Chondathans do have a common vice, it is perhaps their cultural focus on wealth and its acquisition. Among Chondathans, prestige and influence are often directly tied to wealth, and it is no accident that the merchant nobility plays a strong role in most societies influence by Chondathan culture.
Chondathans trace their ancestry back to the Twelve Cities of Swords in ancient Jhaamdath, founded around -5800 DR by the great warrior-king Jhaam. Jhaamdath lay north of the Chondalwood along the south shore of the Vilhon Reach, with outposts stretching from the Dragon Coast to the Akanal. Only the great Chondalwood defied Jhaamdath’s dominion, the human armies and axes held at bay for many years by the wood elves of Nikerymath.
In -5032 DR, Jhaamdath clashed with the Kingdoms of Mir and Coramshan over control of the Lake of Steam, precipitating the unification of Calimshan. After several decades of fighting, Calimshan and Jhaamdath agreed to a truce in -5005 DR. In the millennia that followed, Jhaamdath sank into stagnation, its inhabitants becoming increasingly xenophobic and withdrawn. Jhaamdath even fell under the sway of Unther from roughly -1500 DR to -1069 DR. Not until -276 DR did Jhaamdath’s inhabitants turn outward once again, after Jhaamdath’s last warlord seized power and called for a building of a strong navy to sail out upon the Inner Sea and conquer new lands. Such ship-building required the felling of many trees, a move that reignited war between Jhaamdath and elven-ruled Nikerymath and led to the elven realm’s destruction.
Seeking vengeance, four High Mages of Nikerymath unleashed a gargantuan tidal wave that roared up Jhaamdath’s bay, smashing the Twelve Cities of Swords and reshaping the topography into what is known today as the Vilhon Reach. The actions of the High Mages were not without consequence, however, for their Art precipitated the fall of the sea elven empire of Aryselmalyr and unleashed an inexorable tide of humanity that eventually displaced most of the elven realms of northcentral Faerun.
Many of those who survived the Year of the Furious Waves (-255 DR) set out to colonize lands that would later become known as Impiltur, Thesk, and the Vast, in a vast tide of pragmatic prospectors, elf-hating soldiers, merchants, and a sprinkling of peaceful scholars and farmers. After occupying much of the northcentral Inner Sea region, the descendants of Jhaamdath began migrating westward from Impiltur in the year 1 DR, settling the Dalelands and the northern shore of the Dragonmere. The latter group founded the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr in 26 DR under the rule of House Obarskyr.
Back in the Vilhon Reach, those who remained established new cities around the year 50 DR, including Iljak, Mussam, Samra, and Arrabar. After suffering yet another plague and again incurring the wrath of the elves of Chondalwood, the cities united to form Chondath in 139 DR. Chondath has existed ever since, although it was reduced to little more than a collection of city-states during the Elfblade Stand of 877 DR and the Rotting War of 900-902 DR.
A third wave of Chondathan migration occurred in the 380s DR, when settlers from Chondath established the colonies of Chancelgaunt (later Selgaunt) and Chondathan (later Saerloon) along the coast of what would later become the Merchant Kingdom of Sembia. Hostilities with the elves of Cormanthyr led to defeat at the Battle of Singing Arrows (884 DR) and led Chondath to renounce the governance of its far-flung colonies in the aftermath of the Rotting War. This in turn led to the founding of Sembia, the Land of the Silver Raven, in 913 DR.
Traders from Sembia and, to a lesser extent, Cormyr and the Dalelands continued west and northwest in smaller numbers in the centuries that followed, spreading Chondathan culture and language from Tethyr to the Savage Frontier. The rise of Silverymoon as a center of magical study in 659 DR precipitated the migration of a small, but influential, number of Chondathans to Silverymoon and established Chondathan culture and language in a land that had only been reached by a handful of Chondathan merchants until that time.
Today, Chondathan culture and language dominates much of central and western Faerun. Thorass, the alphabet that arose from interactions between Jhaamdath and the Old Kingdoms of Calimshan, is commonly employed as the alphabet of most human tongues. Moreover, Common, the trade language of Faerun, is simply a modern version of Thorass (“Old Common”), which in turn was largely based on Jhaamdathan (“Old Chondathan”) and Alzhedo, the language of Calimshan. While the Calishites, and the Imaskari, the Mulan, and the Netherese may have each forged the greatest human empires of Faerun in their day, it is the Chondathans whose culture now predominates, an empire spread by commerce and coin, not by sword or staff.
Chondathans measure others by how much wealth and influence a person or family has acquired. To a Chondathan, all things are for sale, assuming one can agree upon a price. Intrigue and covert manipulation are simply means to an end, but unnecessary bloodshed is destructive and wasteful. Chondathans have found that power inevitably swings to whoever controls the purse strings, not whoever carries the biggest sword, and set their aspirations accordingly. Fierce competition in all walks of life is the guiding rule of Chondathan society, and those raised within its confines are used to seeing fortunes won or lost, with commensurate gains or losses in stature. Chondathans expect each individual to look out for himself or herself, and they are often surprised when others act selflessly.
Chondathans are drawn to adventuring for one of two reasons: Some take up arms and spells to defend that which they hold most dear, a tradition harkening back to the early Chondathan settlers. Others are drawn to a life on the road by the same impulses that send Chondathan merchants into unfamiliar lands in search of trading opportunities, a hunger to search for wealth in the unknown. Most Chondathans who adopt adventuring as a career are drawn to the potential of acquiring great wealth by looting some long-forgotten tomb or recovering some fabulous treasure from an ancient ruin.
Chondathans typically make good fighters, drawing on their culture’s long-standing mercenary tradition. Likewise, many Chondathans find their calling as rogues, a product of their culture’s emphasis on the acquisition of wealth and the wide range of skills. The most common multiclass combination among Chondathans is fighter/rogue. Chondathans are rarely barbarians, sorcerers, or wizards, as no sizeable group of Chondathans has ever reverted into barbarism; ancient Jhaamdath had relatively few relations with dragons, social or otherwise; and wizardry has long been associated with the unleashing of plagues in Chondathan folklore. Those Chondathan sorcerers who do exist usually hail from lands north and west of the Inner Sea and have one or more High Netherese ancestors in their heritage. Prestige Classes: Chondathans often take up the study of the divinely inspired prestige classes, such as arcane devotee, divine champion, divine disciple, divine seeker, and hierophant. Chondathans worship evil deities as well as good, so blackguards are not unusual among evil-aligned members of this ethnic group. Many Harpers are of Chondathan heritage, so the Harper scout prestige class is also common. Similarly, the folk of Cormyr are largely of Chondathan descent, so many Purple Dragon knights are Chondathans.
Chondathan culture varies widely across Faerun. Compared to other cultures, particularly Calishite and Mulan, Chondathan societies have relatively weak class divisions. Hard work and good fortune have been enough to catapult more than one member of the lower classes into the merchant nobility. Commerce plays an important role in all Chondathan-dominated cultures, giving rise to the maxim that everything is for sale at some price. Chondathans honor their word, although not for moral reasons. One’s reputation is like a purse fixed number of coins that, once squandered, is costly to repurchase.
As Chondathans place a high value on book learning, many receive some amount of schooling while growing up. Chondathan youths are apprenticed to a master by the age of 12 and are expected to learn a trade during their apprenticeship. Chondathans have little patience for able-bodied indigents, and all adults are expected to earn their own keep in whatever field they were trained. Wealthy persons are afforded great respect in Chondathan societies, and those who squander money foolishly are looked down upon. Chondathans are expected to work until no longer physically capable or until death. Even those too infirm to earn a living often pass their days at their former place of works, offering advice to those who have replaced them.
Outside Chondathan-dominated lands, Chondathans strive to integrate into the local culture, even if that means learning a new tongue or converting to the worship of the local gods. Of course, such integration strategies do not interfere with sharing Chondathan necessities and customs with the local populace, a practice that over time slowly subsumes the local culture. Chondathan minorities usually organize themselves into merchant houses or trading costers for protection and to maximize their opportunities for profit.
Language and Literacy
Chondathans speak Common and Chondathan, two closely related tongues. Chondathan, one of the root tongues of Common, is the modern form of Jhaamdathan (“Old Chondathan”), which was one of two root tongues of Thorass (“Old Common”). Chondathan employs the Thorass alphabet, a set of characters used to represent the trade tongue that came into use thousands of years ago along the shores of the Lake of Steam.
As many Chondathans dwell amid other human cultures (or at least have extensive trade contacts with such societies), many individuals learn the local tongue or the language of their nearest neighbor. Commonly learned second languages include Illuskan if the individual in question lives in the Western Heartlands or the North, Damaran if she lives in northcentral Faerun, Shaaran if she lives south of the Vilhon Reach, Turami if she lives on the northern shore of the Vilhon Reach, or Alzhedo if she lives along the shores of the Lake of Steam. Spellcasters, particularly those who dwell in Cormyr or the Dalelands, usually learn Netherese and Elven in order to acquire magic from old sources. Few Chondathans outside those areas learn Elven, a legacy of generations of conflict and a likely contributor to future conflicts. All Chondathan characters are literate except for barbarians.
Chondathan Magic and Lore
Chondathans do not have a strong arcane spellcasting tradition, nor do Chondathan bloodlines include the ancestry that gives rise to a great number of sorcerers. However, many Chondathans are drawn to the divine and become clerics or druids. In their great diaspora of a thousand years past, the Chondathans carried the worship of many of their gods to all corners of Faerun; it’s sometimes said that Chondathans conquered a continent with their gold and their gods.
Spells and Spellcasting
Chondathans who study wizardry remain generalists, become transmuters for the wide spell selection, or learn the abjurer’s art for the protection such spells afford. Spellcasting Tradition: Chondathans have strong divine spellcasting traditions, especially among those devoted to deities attuned to nature, including druids and rangers. Any spell that helps travel across the far-flung Chondathan lands is appreciated, whether it’s a lowly rope trick for a safe evening’s rest or a powerful wind walk spell. Also favored are divine spells that assist in commerce, such as zone of truth, sending, tongues, and mark of justice (to enforce contracts). Among Chondathan clerics charged with spreading the faith, the Chondathan Missionary feat is common. Unique Spells: The widespread nature of Chondathan culture, combined with the lack of an arcane spellcasting tradition among Chondathans (except where introduced by Netherese refugees), has ensured that few spells are uniquely associated with Chondathan culture. The plague magics of ancient Jhaamdath, such as mass contagion and plague carrier, are much feared for their fell effects but are fortunately recorded only in long-hidden tomes.
Chondathan Magic Items
Chondathans favor magic items that provide personal protection or comfort, facilitate travel, guard against theft, and enable the surreptitious gathering of information. Swords and daggers are commonly crafted with defending, keen, and speed special abilities. Armor is typically crafted with arrow deflection, fortification, and spell resistance special abilities, reflecting Chondathan culture’s long-standing fear of elves and rogues. Common Magic Items: Hand of the mage, hat of disguise, Heward’s handy haversack, gloves of arrow snaring, Murlynd’s spoon, and periapt of proof against poison. Due to the prevalence of those items in Chondathan lands, they may be purchased at a 10% discount from the normal price in any large city in Cormyr, Sembia, the Dragon Coast, or the Vilhon Reach. Iconic Magic Item: Again, thanks to the influence of Chondathan merchants, there are a few magic items unique to Chondathan culture that have not been widely disseminated across Faerun. One exception to this rule is the catseye brooch, a good luck charm worn by many well-to-do Chondathans, who view cats as good luck and defenders against the threat of disease.
Chondathans honor the deities of the Faerunian pantheon. Such is the magnitude of the Chondathan diaspora that no deity is particularly favored by the majority of Chondathans across Faerun. In fact, Chondathans have traditionally adopted the deities of other cultures, incorporating them into their sprawling pantheon. Gods and goddesses venerated in regions inhabited primarily by Chondathans include Azuth, Chauntea, Deneir, Eldath, Helm, Kelemvor, Lathander, Lliira, Loviatar, Malar, Mask, Mielikki, Milil, Mystra, Nobanion, Oghma, Selune, Silvanus, Sune, Talos, Tempus, Torm, Tymora, Tyr, Umberlee, and Waukeen.
Ancient Jhaamdath was one of the first human cultures to develop the written word, and, as such, literate. Chondathans have long honored Deneir, the Lord of all Glyphs and Images. The church of Deneir has spread to other cultures as Chondathan traders spread the trade tongues of Common or its antecedent, Thorass, bringing with them the Thorass alphabet. At present, the church of Deneir has its greatest influence among those literate Chondathans who dwell in Cormyr and Sembia.
Similarly, ancient Jhaamdath’s wars were fought with horrible magical plagues, so Talona has been a part of Chondathan culture since the rise of that culture. The church of Talona is widely feared and reviled among modern-day Chondathans, despite the activities of other faiths that have wreaked far greater devastation across Faerun in recent years. Nevertheless, a small number of Chondathans turn to the Mother of All Plagues precisely because of the fear and misery she has engendered and in hopes of acquiring the ancient plague-spawning magic her cult is said to control.
Relations with other races
Chondathan history is replete with clashes with various elven realms, and, as a result, few Chondathans (with the exception of some Cormyreans and most Dalesmen) had good relations with the Fair Folk or their half-elven brethren. Likewise, Chondathans have traditionally regarded the planetouched with a great deal of suspicion, as Chondathan culture has never had a great deal of interaction with outsiders and most planetouched they have encountered were representatives of rival cultures (such as the air and fire genasi of Calimshan, or the aasimar and tieflings of Mulhorand and Unther). Half-rocs are considered little better than their full-blooded brethren by most Chondathans. They are seen as little more than raiding scum intent only on disrupting the flow of trade and pillaging the farms of hardworking settlers.
Chondathans have good relations with dwarves, gnomes, and Halflings, for all have proven to be good trading partners and have traditionally dwelled in small enclaves within Chondathan societies. Among human cultures, Chondathans get along best with Calishites, Damarans, Shaarans, Tethyrians, and Turami. Relations with the Mulan have never been warm, Illuskans are regarded as little better than orcs, and other cultures are largely unknown.
Through centuries of commerce, Chondathan merchants have spread their culture’s trade goods across Faerun, making their favored weapons, forms of armor, and other equipment the norm throughout the region, not the exception. Similarly, Chondathans have adopted the most useful items of other cultures as their own, making them commonplace across Faerun. As such, the equipment lists found in the Player’s Handbook can be seen as reflecting the Chondathan norm.
Arms and Armor
Chondathans do have some distinct equipment preferences. Favored weapons include crossbows (except in the Dalelands where longbows are the norm) and all manner of blades, including the longsword, the short sword, and the dagger. Commonly employed forms of armor include leather armor, studded leather armor, chain shirts, chainmail, breastplates, half-plate, and shields of all kinds. Heavier forms of armor are more commonly employed in the cooler climes to the north of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Common Items: Chainmail, chain shirts, longswords, and crossbows can all be purchased among the Chondathans for 10% less. Unique Item: Somewhat broader in the blade than usual for longsword, Chondathan steelswords are favored by mercenaries and merchant guards.
Animals and Pets
Chondathans favor small felines as pets and hunting companions, particularly in the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr. Tressyms are highly favored by those who can afford them, as are lynxes. Dogs are owned to a lesser extent and consist primarily of guard, herding, and hunting breeds. Horses play an important role in Chondathan society, but those who can afford them also employ hippogriffs, particularly along the shores of the Vilhon Reach and in the service of the War Wizards of Cormyr. Associated Creature: In Hlondeth, serpents are the norm, with flying snakes imported from the Mhair Jungles achieving widespread popularity in recent years.
Chondathans hail from a variety of different lands and typically choose the region matching their homelands. The Chondathan region described here reflects the mobile population of merchants, mercenaries, and sailors from the lands around the Inner Sea. Preferred Classes: The Chondathan region is preferred by clerics, druids, fighters, rangers, and rogues. A character of one of these classes may choose a regional feat and gain her choice of the bonus equipment below as a 1st-level character. A Chondathan character of any other class may not select one of the regional feats here and does not gain the bonus equipment at 1st level. Automatic Languages: Chondathan, Common. Bonus Languages: Alzhedo, Chessentan, Damaran, Goblin, Orc, Shaaran, Turmic. Regional Feats: Caravanner, Mercantile Background, Plague Resistant. Bonus Equipment: (A) Heavy mace* or longsword*; or (B) breastplate*; or (C) large steel shield*, or aspergillum, and 4 flasks of holy water.
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008 16:23:05 GMT -5 by ancientempathy
In the aftermath of Narfell’s fall, scattered groups of Nars, Rashemi, and Sossrims struggled to survive as a wave of Chondathan emigrants settled in the lands of the Easting Reach. In time, these four populations gradually coalesced into a relatively new ethnic group known as Damarans, so named for the first human realm to be founded by this integrated population. After centuries spent battling the horrors unleashed by the ancient magics of Narfell and Raumathar, Damarans are proud and stubborn folk who refuse to buckle in the face of unspeakable evils and whose worldview leans toward moral absolutes.
Although Damaran folklore derives from the ancient traditions of Nar, Rashemi, and Sossrim tribal groups, Damaran culture evolved under the civilizing influences of Chondathan immigrants and dwarven traders, and primarily reflects the mores of both these influences. After centuries of ever-expanding settlement, Damarans now make up the primary racial stock of Damara, Impiltur, Thesk, and the Vast. Damaran settlers have tamed one land after another and form a significant fraction of the human population in Aglarond, Altumbel, the Great Dale, and the Moonsea region, and Narfell. Most Damarans make their living as farmers, loggers, or miners in a harsh and unforgiving land. They make indomitable foes when angered.
Damarans are of moderate height and build, with skin hues ranging from tawny to fair. Hair is usually straight brown or black, although sandy blond is not unknown. Eye color varies widely, with brown being most common. Damarans who dwell south of the Earthfast mountains more closely resemble their Chondathan cousins, while those who inhabit. Vaasa have a significant Sossrim heritage. Along the eastern shores of the Easting Reach, Rashemi heritage predominates, except in Aglarond proper, where builds are slighter thanks to a significant amount of wood-elven heritage.
Damarans see life as a series of unending challenges to be overcome, many of them legacies of the hubris of long-fallen empires. For a typical Damaran, there can be no compromise with the forces of evil even to serve a greater good. Trust must be earned, and only those deserving of trust are to be respected. Even those who inherit titles of nobility must prove themselves worthy of their inheritance. History is not something to be cherished or exalted, but rather it is an object lesson as to the folly of unchecked power.
The vast forested territory between the Easting Reach and Lake Ashane are the traditional tribal lands of the Nars. First encountered by Mulhorandi scouts during that empire’s northward expansion nearly 1,500 years before the beginning of Dalereckoning, the Nars did not rise to prominence until after the Orcgate Wars of -1075 DR to -1069 DR. Like other tribal peoples to the east, the Nars were hired to fight in Mulhorand’s northern armies during the Orcgate Wars, and they returned home intent on building an empire of their own. Over the course of the next two centuries, the Nars established a series of petty kingdoms, the most prominent of which were Ashanath (along the western shore of Lake Ashane) and Tharos (at the head of the Easting Reach).
In -970 DR, the reigning Nentyarch (king) of Tharos constructed the great tree-lined fortress of Dun-Tharos in the heart of the Rawlinswood. Some claim he forged a pact with a powerful demon lord, possibly Orcus, in exchange for a fell artifact that came to be known as the Crown of Narfell, while others attribute his rise to a combination of fortuitous events and personal charisma. In any event, after donning the Crown of Narfell, the Nentyarch proceeded to conquer one petty kingdom of the Nars after another, the last of which was the kingdom of Ashanath. The Nentyarch’s army literally wiped out Ashanath’s capital city of Shandaular, reducing it to little more than myth and scattered piles of rubble long the western shore of Lake Ashane. By -900 DR, the empire of Narfell stretched from the uplands of Impiltur to Ashanath, and from the eastern slopes of the Giantspire Mountains to the northern bank of the River Umber.
In the centuries that followed, Narfell’s rulers set their sights on the Priador Plateau (now the Plateau of Thay), home only to nomadic tribes of centaurs and gnolls following the retreat of Mulhorand. The centuries-long struggle for control of the Priador Plateau between Narfell and Raumathar is recounted in greater detail in the history of the Rashemi. In brief, early successes by Narfell were reversed after -623 DR because of an ill-conceived invasion of Mulhorand and a surprise attack by Raumathar’s army. In order to reverse their empire’s decline, the rulers of Narfell turned to demonic aid to learn the art of sorcery, prompted by fell whisperings of the Crown of Narfell. In -150 DR, centuries of warfare culminated in a great conflagration that consumed both empires and left all manner of summoned beings to stalk the lands the empires once ruled. In the aftermath of Narfell’s collapse, the Nars retreated into tiny enclaves, sorely beset by the demons they had unleashed.
The reestablishment of civilization along the shores of the Easting Reach had its roots in the destruction of Jhaamdath in -255 DR (further detailed in the history of the Chondathans). A vast tide of Chondathan settlers sailed across the Sea of Fallen Stars to settle the lands that lay between the Dragon Reach and the Easting Reach. These early settlers founded such cities as Proeskampalar (later Procampur) in -153 DR, Lyrabar in -118 DR, and Chessagol (later Tsurlagol) in -72 DR. From Lyrabar, settlers advanced up the western coast of the Easting Reach into the uplands of Impiltur. Within fifty years of the settlement of Lyrabar, the first king of Impiltur had been crowned. Impiltur, led by the aggressive and newly enthroned Mirandor Dynasty, moved quickly to claim the vacant territory of fallen Narfell.
As Impiltur’s population continued to expand, scattered tribes of Nars and migrant Sossrims from the southern tip of the Great Glacier were either assimilated into the settler population or driven north into the lands they hold today. With the backing of Impiltur’s royal family, lesser nobles not in line to inherit land of their own were encouraged to settle new lands. Successive waves of Impilturan emigration led directly or indirectly to the settlement of the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr in 1 DR, Altumbel in 163 DR, the city of Milvarune in 535 DR, and the Vast (after the fall of Rodilar, the dwarven Realm of Glimmering Swords) in 649 DR.
Impiltur’s eastward expansion was not without cost, for the settlers who blazed a trail through the Great dale inadvertently awakened a host of slumbering evils. Long-buried demons, half-fiends, and tieflings began to stalk the borderlands of Impiltur, and in 726 DR unleashed their waiting armies in a campaign that brought proud Impiltur to its knees. Many citizens of Impiltur fled the region, taking with them stories of horror and terror that moved many to action.
Over the next few years, noble knights from as far away as Amn and Calimshan heeded the call of the Triad Crusade proclaimed by the churches of Tyr, Torm, and Ilmater. The Crusade lasted two years before the last demon army, led by the balor Ndulu, was overwhelmed in a great battle at a site known as the Citadel of Conjurers. The battle turned in favor of the Triad’s followers after the paladin Sarshel entered the Citadel and shattered the Crown of Narfell within. Once Orcus’ power over the artifact was broken, the demon-led army was forced to retreat and the number of demons in the region finally began to decline. The heroic Sarshel was crowned king of Impiltur.
In the centuries that fallowed, Impiltur grew wealthy, ruled by a series of benevolent kings and protected from the buried horrors of the Demonlands by orders of fearless paladins. Settlement of the surrounding regions continued, and Impilturan settlers played a role in the found of Aglarond in 756 DR and Telflamm in 926 DR (followed by the other cities of the Golden Way). Impiltur’s golden age came to an end after a plague decimated the royal house in 924 DR. The ensuing struggle between the various noble houses of Impiltur plunged the kingdom into civil war and eventually reduced the once-great land to a handful of squabbling city-states.
The Year of the Spreading Spring (1038 DR) brought great changes to the Easting Reach. The Great Glacier began to retreat, uncovering the lands of what is today Vaasa, Damara, and northern Narfell. The glacier’s retreat prompted a vast northward migration from Impiltur, the Great Dale, Thesk, and Aglarond into the promised land of Damara (“Earth Under Ice” in the local dialect). It is from the time of this migration that scholars began to view the humans of the Easting Reach as a distinct ethnic group. Damara became a kingdom in 1075 DR, with the founding of Heliogabulus by a Sembian noble named Feldrin Bloodfeathers. House Bloodfeathers ruled Damara until the death of King Virdin Bloodfeathers in 1347 DR in battle with the armies of the Zhengyi, the Witch-King of Vaasa. The lich’s grip on Vaasa and Damara lasted twelve long years before he was overthrown by a band of adventurers led by the paladin Gareth Dragonsbane in 1359 DR. Gareth then assumed the throne of Damara and set about reuniting and restoring the kingdom.
The glacier’s retreat opened the way for a huge horde of hobgoblins to attack Impiltur in 1094 DR. Ironically, it was the threat of the hobgoblin invasion that enabled Imphras, War Captain of Lyrabar, to unite his forces with the human armies of Hlammach, Dilfur, and Sarshel, wood elves of the Gray Forest, and dwarves from the Earthfast Mountains. Once the horde was dispatched, Imphras was crowned King of Impiltur in 1097 DR, establishing the royal house that still rules today. Rilimbrar, the fourth son of Imphras II, died in 1338 DR, and the throne passed to Queen Sambryl, the widowed wife of Imphras IV (who never ruled).
Although the first wave of Impilturan settlers reached Aglarond in 756 DR, it was not until 870 to 880 DR that a wave of adventurers cleared the Yuirwood of its most dangerous monsters. In the decades that followed, the Yuir elves intermarried with humans who came to their aid in battles with drow and trolls. Their descendants began skirmishing with the humans of the coastal kingdom of Velprin, culminating in the Battle of Ingdal’s Arm in 1065 DR. The victorious half-elves crowned their war-leader Brindor Aglarond’s first king. Those humans who refused to make peace with the folk of the Yuirwood migrated to Altumbel.
Philaspur, grandson of Brindor, died fighting the Thayans in the Battle of Brokenheads, in 1197 DR. He was succeeded by his twin daughters Thara and Ulae, more commonly known as the Gray Sisters. The Gray Sisters died within a few days of each other in 1257 DR and were succeeded by Ulae’s son Halacar, the first full-blooded Damaran to hold the throne of Aglarond. Halacar mounted an invasion of Thay and paid for his folly with his life in 1260 DR at the Battle of Lapendrar. Halacar’s sister Ilione succeeded him, and ruled until her death in 1320. As Ilione had no heir, she left the throne of Aglarond to her apprentice, known only as the Simbul.
Damarans respect those who demonstrate heroism and self-sacrifice and stand unflinchingly in the face of evil. Damaran society is intolerant of weakness or selfishness, viewing deeds in stark black or white. The moralistic nature of their society strongly shapes Damaran youth. Most youngsters follow in the path of their parents, subscribing to their strong moral fervor. Others rebel against the strictures of Damaran society and flee its constraints. The latter path accounts for the neverending tide of settlers emigrating to the borders of human settlement, the large numbers of Damarans who have made their way west into Chondathan-held territories, and the small number of Damarans who turn to the worship of demons.
Damarans have a long adventuring tradition, reflecting the generations-long battle to reclaim the lands of the Easting Reach from the demonic legacy of Narfell. Many youths, particularly those of noble blood, take up adventuring for a few years in order to prove themselves worthy of their titles. Those not in line to inherit great estates also do so in hopes of winning new lands and wealth for themselves, or in response to the crusading zeal of Damaran society. The good-aligned churches of the Easting Reach have a long tradition of funding expeditions into the mountains or the depths of the great forests to smite some ancient evil or another.
Damarans typically make strong paladin and monks, for the discipline and self-sacrifice required of both professions resonate strongly with Damaran morals. Many Damarans find their calling as clerics or, to a lesser extent, druids or rangers, for the appeal of serving a divine-entity is strong. Fighters and rogues are less common in Damaran culture than elsewhere, for there is neither a strong mercenary tradition nor a strong mercantile presence along the Easting Reach. Notable exceptions do exist, including the city of Teflamm, where a strong thieves’ guild holds sway, the Galena Mountains, where a secretive brotherhood of assassins is said to have a hidden stronghold. Arcane spellcasters of all sorts are rare in Damaran society, reflecting a long-held suspicion of magic powers that are not bestowed by a deity. While wizards are generally accepted, sorcerers are looked on with suspicion, for the sorcerous arts are thought to be a legacy of demonic heritage. Prestige Classes: Like the Chondathans, Damarans are drawn to prestige classes with divine associations, such as the divine champion, divine disciple, divine seeker, or hierophant. The Shadowmasters of Teflamm naturally include a number of rogues who take up the assassin and shadowdancer prestige classes.
Damaran society is lawful, except in Aglarond, where a strong elven influence plays a role, and the Vast, which is much more in line with Chondathan mores. Religion plays a central role in Damaran life, yet there is by no means a universality of belief. Although religious fervor is admired, individuals are judged by how they conduct themselves and the strength of their personal moral code. Class divisions are less noticeable than elsewhere in Faerun, but those who have been judged morally unfit are strongly shunned by their peers.
Damaran city-dwellers are usually educated in church-run schools, while itinerant priests minister to those who dwell in wilderness regions. Many Damarans learn their trade during an apprenticeship at a church-run school before setting out into life, while others join a religious order, directly pledging themselves to the service of the church. As they grow old, Damarans often return to the church of their youth, tithing much of their wealth to its coffers and living out their last years in service to their patron deity.
Damarans retain strong cultural ties to their Chondathan forebears and easily integrate themselves into Chondathan-held lands. There has been little Damaran migration elsewhere in Faerun, but those Damarans who do stray far from their homeland associate themselves with a local church of their faith.
Language and Literacy
Most Damarans speak Common and Damaran, two closely related tongues. Damaran employs an alphabet of Dethek runes, a legacy of early cooperation between the inhabitants of Impiltur and the dwarves of the Earthfast Mountains. The exceptions are the inhabitants of Aglarond and Altumbel, who speak Common and Aglarondan, a tongue closely related to Damaran that incorporates many Elven words and uses the elven script of Espruar.
Common second languages in Impiltur include Chondathan, Dwarven, Aglarondan, or Chessentan. In Damara and Vaasa, second languages frequently known include Chondathan, Dwarven, Orcish, or Uluik. Many Nars can speak Rashemi or Uluik, and Tuigan is becoming increasingly popular. The inhabitants of the Great dale are most likely to learn Rashemi, although some learn the Thayan dialect of Mulhorandi. In southern Thesk, Aglarondan is the most popular second language, while Chondathan and Turmic are the preferred second tongues along the coast around Telflamm. In Aglarond, most inhabitants also speak Elven. Other common second languages include Damaran, Chessenta, Sylvan, or Mulhorandi.
All Damaran characters are literate except for barbarians, commoners, and warriors.
Damaran Magic and Lore
Damarans favor magic that discerns between friend and foe, and spells that protect the good from the evil. In the north, magic that affects the weather takes increased prominence, as do fire effects that are especially damaging to the cold-adapted monsters that haunt the wilderness.
Spells and Spellcasting
Damarans have a strong divine spellcasting tradition, particularly in the clerical vein. Because of their suspicion of the arcane arts, Damarans have few arcane spellcasters, the rare exceptions stemming from the buried legacies of fallen Narfell. Damaran bloodlines that give rise to powerful sorcerers tend to be demonic in nature and are often accompanied by a trace of tiefling ancestry. Damaran wizards are usually abjurers or diviners, with the study of necromancy or conjuration strongly reviled. Spellcasting Tradition: Damarans favor spells that ward off the forces of evil or drive them from this plane, although spells that assist survival in a harsh climate are common as well. Commonly favored spells include banishment, dismissal, magic circle against evil, protection from elements, protection from evil, and resist elements. Spells that call extraplanar creatures, such as planar ally, and planar binding, are met with suspicion even when they’re used to call obviously good creatures. Good-aligned Damaran clerics often take the Lightbringer feat. Unique Spells: The widespread suspicion of arcane spellcasting in Damaran culture has ensured that few arcane spells of Damaran origin have become commonly known. In contrast, the “common cause” mentality of religious institutions in Damaran culture has ensured that divine spells of Damaran origin have quickly become widely known. A few paladin spells are uniquely Damaran, including lawful sword.
Damaran Magic Items
Damarans favor magic items that provide protection against the harsh natural environment or the unholy horrors of the Demonlands. Swords and daggers are commonly crafted with outsider bane, defending, holy, or lawful special abilities. Maces are commonly crafted with disruption, holy, or lawful special abilities. Armor is typically crafted with cold resistance, ghost touch, invulnerability, and warming special abilities. Common Magic Items: Boots of the winterlands, candle of invocation, horn of goodness, phylactery of faithfulness, quiver of Mielikki (Ehlonna), and ring of warmth. Due to the prevalence of these items in Damaran lands, they may be purchased at a 10% discount from the normal price in any large city in Impiltur or Damara. Iconic Magic Item: Fiendhunter two-bladed swords, though rare, are identified strongly with Damaran heroes who ride from place to place, battling demons and devils wherever they may be found.
Damarans honor the deities of the Faerunian pantheon. They favor lawful and good deities, except for cultists who turn to the worship of chaotic evil demon princes. Along the Dragon Reach, commonly venerated deities include Chauntea, Eldath, Mystra, Tempus, Torm, Tymora, Umberlee, and Waukeen. To the east in Impiltur, favored deities include Ilmater, Selune, Tymora, Valkur, and Waukeen. In addition to the church of Chauntea, Thesk’s reliance on trade along the Golden Way has brought the churches of Shaundakul and Waukeen to prominence. Likewise, the church of Mask has grown strong in Teflamm preying on that same caravan traffic.
In Aglarond, Chauntea is venerated by farmers, while fisher-folk venerate Valkur and Selune. Although Umberlee is acknowledged, she is widely held in great disdain. Aglarondans also pay homage to the Seldarine, particularly in their guise as the gods of the Yuirwood elves. The Great Dale has long been home to followers of Silvanus the Oakfather, locked in bitter conflict with the disciples of Talona. The church of Ilmater dominates Damara, while Vaasa has long been home to the cult of Orcus. Tempus is venerated by barbarians dwelling along the edge of the Great Glacier and among the tribes of Narfell.
Of all the deities, Ilmater represents the enduring spirit of all Damarans and occupies a central place in Damaran culture. Ilmater’s church is effectively the state church of both Impiltur and Damara, with paladins of Ilmater proving to be regular occupants of both thrones. Most Damarans along the Easting Reach pay at least token obeisance to the Crying God or one of his many saints on a daily basis. Most churches of Ilmater are dedicated to at least one of his saints, with the followers of Saint Sollars the Twice-Martyred being most prominent in Damara.
Relations with other Races
Damarans have long and abiding ties with shield dwarves and are favorably include toward the Stout Folk (with the notable exception of the Duergar). Halflings are rare in Damaran lands outside Impiltur, but are viewed quite favorably by most Damaran communities. Gnomes are regarded similarly to dwarves, although they are less well known in Damaran lands. Elves and half-elves are almost unknown outside Aglarond and the Gray Forest, and are regarded with some amount of suspicion. Dark elves are not unknown in the Galena Mountains, and have earned the enmity of those native to the region. Half-orcs are regarded with a great deal of suspicion, although their numbers make them a tolerated minority in Vaasa.
Damarans have long struggled with the evils unleashed by Narfell’s sorcerers, leaving them quite hostile to the progeny of demons such as tieflings. Fire genasi have long been associated with the Red Wizards of Thay and are thus equally disliked. Other planetouched are rare in Damaran lands, and hence viewed as objects of wonder.
Among human cultures, Damarans get along best with Chondathans and Turami thanks to extensive trading contacts. Nars and northern Rashemi are tolerated, if looked down upon to some extent, while Mulan and Thayan Rashemi are viewed with a great deal of suspicion. Lingering memories of the Horde prevent the establishment of good relations with the Tuigans. Finally, due to the notorious Bloodstone Wars of a few decades back, most Vaasans are regarded as demon-worshiping reavers, even those who happen to be of Damaran racial stock rather than Vaasans.
Thanks to extensive trade across the Sea of Fallen Stars, Damarans share much in common with Chondathans, including commonly employed forms of weapons and armor. As such, the equipment list found in the Player’s Handbook can be seen as reflecting the Damaran norm.
Arms and Armor
Damarans favor medium armors that combine good protection with a reasonably low weight, and weapons that can fend off feral beasts or bloodthirsty demons armed with tooth and claw. Favored weapons include spears, longspears, glaives, halberds, and greatswords. Commonly employed forms of armor include studded leather armor, chainmail, breastplates, and splinted mail. Common Items: Chainmail, splinted mail, longspear, halberd, greatsword. Unique Items: Perhaps the most unique weapon in Faerun is the heavy aspergillum, found only among the Ilmaterans of Impiltur.
Animals and Pets
Damarans favor large canines as pets, particularly in mountainous and arctic regions. Most breeds are working dogs, bred to serve as pack animals or sled dogs. Since the retreat of the Great Glacier, Damaran working dogs have been bred to serve a variety of other uses, including herding and hunting. Most retain a distinctive thick coat. Horses also play an important role in Damaran society. More exotic mounts include griffons, employed in Damara and Vaasa.
While the folk of Impiltur are comfortably mercantile and sophisticated, from Vaasa to Thesk the typical Damaran lives in a frontier town guarded by a lord’s keep or fortified abbey, surrounded by vast tracts of dangerous wilderness. Preferred Classes: The Damaran region is preferred by clerics, druids, monks, paladins, and wizards. A character of one of these classes may choose a regional feat and gain his choice of the bonus equipment below as a 1-st level character. A Damaran character of any other class may not select one of the regional feats here and does not gain the bonus equipment at 1st level. Automatic Languages: Damaran, Common. Bonus Languages: Abyssal, Chondathan, Dwarven, Giant, Goblin, Orc, Rashemi Regional Feats: Forester, Lightbringer, Luck of Heroes, Strong Soul. Bonus Equipment: (A) Heavy mace*, or longsword*; or (B) breastplate*; or (C) large steel shield*, aspergillum, and four flasks of holy water.
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008 16:24:23 GMT -5 by ancientempathy
Post by ancientempathy on Feb 5, 2008 13:07:44 GMT -5
Regions: High Forest, Moonshae Isles, Nelanther Isles, the North, Silverymoon, Waterdeep, Illuskan Uthgardt. Racial Feats: Ancestral Spirit, Arctic Adaptation, Jotunbrud, Oral History.
Illuskans, also known as Northlanders, are the seagoing, warlike people of the Sword Coast North, the Trackless Sea, and the Dessarin river valley. Although their ancestors founded Illusk, one of the earliest human civilizations in Faerun, as well as the great city of Waterdeep, Illuskans have long been seen as a barbaric people, having barely risen above the status of orcs in the eyes of many southerners. Illuskans are more than just barbarians, however, as their culture has given rise to powerful runecasters, fearless sailors, and legendary skalds. They also farm, fish, and mine their rugged lands, trading their goods with southern merchants. However, long-fallen elven empires, barriers of geography, and a cultural emphasis on raiding over trade have conspired to ensure that Illuskan culture and bloodlines have not taken root in other lands.
Illuskans are tall, fair-skinned folk with eyes of blue or steely gray. Those who dwell among the islands of the Trackless Sea and in Icewind Dale are largely fair-haired, with blond hair predominating over red and light brown. Those who dwell on the mainland south of the Spine of the World are more prone to raven-black hair, an indication of significant Netherese heritage.
Illuskans regard themselves as a strong, proud people forged by the harsh environment in which they dwell. They feel they have earned, through strength in battle, the right to claim the lands they have settled. Illuskans regard most southerners as weak and decadent, two much-despised traits. However, they are fair-minded and always willing to make exceptions for those who have proven otherwise. Illuskans themselves are bold and impetuous, given to proud boasts, the consumption of prodigious amounts of mead and ale, and quick tempers.
Although it is unclear when humans first settled the islands of the Trackless Sea, the first Northlander migration to the northern Sword Coast occurred before -3000 DR and led to the initial founding of the realm of Illusk by hunting clans and fishing villages along the coast. The capital of Old Illusk is believed to have been a city of the same name located at the mouth of the River Mirar, where Luskan, City of Sails, stands today. At the peak of its influence, Old Illusk held the Sword Coast from the Sword Mountains to the Spine of the World, cut off from the rest of Faerun by the elf-held woodlands of Illefarn. The early Illuskans learned rune magic from the giants of Ostoria during this era. The first incarnation of Illusk fell in -2103 DR, when a horde of orcs, led by giants and their ogre generals, crushed the realm. The few survivors of Old Illusk reverted to barbarism and migrated north and west to what is now Icewind dale, where their descendants are known as the Reghedmen.
In the century leading up to the beginning of Dalereckoning, the ancient Illuskan kingdom of Ruathym was wracked by intertribal strife stemming from a population that had grown too large for the island’s limited resources. Illuskan dragonships set sail for the other islands of the Trackless Sea, including Mintarn, the northern Moonshae Isles, and the Whalebones, where various Illuskan tribes established new colonies. The Illuskan emigrants settled the mainland of Faerun as well. Another tribe vanished through a portal that led to the Council Hills of the Eastern Shaar and populated the land of Dambrath in the South. In 95 DR, a Ruathym thane by the name of Uthgar Gardolfsson sailed east in hopes of finding ruins of Old Illusk hinted at in the skalds’ songs. Instead, Uthgar discovered that Netherese survivors had built a city on the site. Uthgar’s armies sacked Netherese Illusk and overthrew the ruling magocracy, but the inhabitants of the city fought back by burning the Illuskan dragonships and driving Uthgar’s army inland. Uthgar and his men survived, joining with the barbaric Netherese tribes of the interior. Uthgar died in 123 DR in battle with Gurt, Lord of the Pale Giants, on the site now known as Morgur’s Mound. By defeating the giant king, Uthgar broke the power of the frost giants and before his death claimed the lands between the Spine of the world and the Evermoors for his followers. By his deeds, Uthgar won the favor of the god Tempus, who elevated him to the rank of demigod. The descendants of the “Son of Tempus” are known as the Uthgardt barbarians
The Illuskans of the Sword Coast prospered and began expanding their holdings. Some migrated up the Delimbiyr Vale, settling the Barony of Steeping Falls (where the town of Daggerford now lies) in 133 DR and Athalantar (which lay between the High Forest and the River Delimbiyr) in 183 DR. Others migrated up the coast to settle the plateau above Deepwater Harbor (which later grew into the city of Waterdeep) in 52 DR, the city of Eiggerstor (now Neverwinter) in 87 DR, and Uthtower and Yarlith in what is now the Mere of Dead Men in 146 DR.
Athalantar fell to an orc horde from the High moor in 342 DR, and its inhabitants eventually joined with the Blue Bear Uthgardt tribe. (The Blue Bear tribe is now extinct, although its bloodline continues in the Tree Ghost tribe that broke off from the corrupt Blue Bears in 1313 DR.) The vale of the Delimbiyr was abandoned in 302 DR, when its chief city sank into the Lizard Marsh. Although Delimbiyran would be reborn as part of Phalorm, the Realm of Three Crowns, in 523 DR, Tethyrian and halfling migrants from the south quickly subsumed what remained of the Illuskan populace.
In comparison, Illuskan dominance of the northern Sword Coast collapsed quite suddenly. Netherese Illusk fell once again in 611 DR, as did Yarlith, to the illithids-led Everhorde of orcs. In 615 DR, battles between the Horde of the Wastes and the armies of Phalorm led to the inundation of Uthtower by the sea, forming the Mere of Dead Men. Phalorm collapsed later that year, in the wake of its army’s defeat. The founding of Mirabar by prince Ereskas of Amn and his largely Tethyrian followers in 626 DR marked the nadir of Illuskan influence. Moreover, it served to further segregate the Uthgardt tribes from their Northlander cousins along the coast.
An Illuskan renaissance began in 806 DR, with the establishment of the coastal realm of Stornanter by Laeral Silverhand, Witch-Queen of the North, with Port Llast as its capital. Laeral realized the importance of refounding Illusk and initiated a campaign to do so that led to the reestablishment of the city in 812 DR. Although the Realm of the Witch-Queen collapsed in 841 DR with Laeral’s abrupt disappearance, the city of Illusk and Stornanter’s former territories continued to prosper. Once again Illuskan dragonships ruled the waves, and Illuskan tribes seized control of the Dessarin river valley from the less warlike Tethyrian settlers of the region. In 882 DR, an Illuskan named Nimoar the Reaver vanquished the Bloodhand tribes dwelling on the plateau above Deepwater Harbor and established Nimoar’s Hold.
In the centuries that followed, Nimoar’s Hold grew in power and influence, with the name Waterdeep coming into common usage around 940 DR. Eiggerstor became known as Neverwinter, the Chondathan translation of its Illuskan name. Although Illusk fell to another orc horde in 1244 DR, it was rebuilt as the city of Luskan in 1302 DR and is now greatly feared for the presence of the Arcane Brotherhood.
Today, Illuskans dominate the northern islands of the Trackless Sea and the coast north of the Mere of Dead Men, as well as the Dessarin river valley and its tributaries. The Arcane Brotherhood represents the continued influence of the Netherese arcane tradition over Illuskan culture. An increasingly large fraction of Mirabar’s population is of Illuskan heritage. Waterdeep and Neverwinter reflect the best of both Illuskan and Tethyrian culture, and the establishment of the Lord’s Alliance reflects the common purpose of Illuskans and Tethyrians alike to oppose the endless wave of orc hordes that threaten civilization in the North.
Illuskans take their measure of another person by assessing strength, martial prowess, valor, and honor. From an early age, Illuskans are tested by their elders, their peers, and their juniors, and their response to such challenges are reflected in their status within the society. To an Illuskan, there is a natural pecking order in life, and those who are weak in any fashion do not deserve to hold a position they have not earned. Deceptions, lies of omission, and trickery are despised, while straight speech and forthrightness are to be admired.
Illuskans are typically drawn to adventuring for one of two reasons. Some Northlanders hope to prove their strength, valor, and martial prowess, earning them respect in their eyes of their kin and inspiring bard’s takes for generations to come. Others seek conquest and plunder, hoping to make up for the meager fare and wealth their homeland provides.
The Uthgardt and the Illuskans of the sea isles are renowned barbarians, and many find their calling as fighters or rangers as well. Bards, known as skalds, play important roles as lorekeepers and poets, giving inspiration to Illuskan warbands. Clerics and adepts play an important role in tribal life. Although Illuskans have little tolerance for thievery, many Illuskan sailors and pirates are actually rogues with a maritime orientation to their skill. Druids, paladins, and monks are almost unknown in Illuskan culture. Wizards and sorcerers are rare but not unknown, particularly within the ranks of the Arcane Brotherhood that rules the City of Sails. Prestige Classes: Illuskan clerics often study rune magic and become powerful runecasters. Evil Illuskan reavers are sometimes drawn to the way of the blackguard, but good Illuskans of the settled North have a strong tradition of supporting the Harpers and often take up the Harper scout prestige class.
Illuskans have little concept of class divisions, considering such artifices as an example of the weakness inherent in southern cultures. Honor and prestige in Illuskan society are earned through displays of strength and martial fortitude. Both magic and commerce are regarded with suspicion, for both are seen as upsetting the natural order of things.
Illuskans are expected to be self-sufficient from a young age. Those who must rely on others are treated well but not respected, although the elderly accorded the respect they earned before the debilitating effects of age set in. Those who hire strangers to do a task rather than do it themselves are considered suspect. Book learning is admired but not expected. Those who die an honorable death are burned in funeral pyres, preferably aboard a small ship pushed out to sea. Such ceremonies are believed to free the soul from its mortal tether.
Illuskans often have difficulty adapting to other cultures, particularly societies where battles are fought indirectly through words and gestures rather than openly with axes and war cries. Most expatriate Illuskans eschew the worship of “weak” local gods, and few can be bothered to learn local languages. Instead they find odd jobs, usually as mercenaries of some sort or the other, and then join their fellow expatriates in nightly drinking bouts in which prodigious amounts of alcohol are consumed.
Language and Literacy
Most Illuskans speak Illuskan, a language derived largely from Old Illuskan (spoken by the folk of Old Illusk) mixed with a smattering of Netherese. They usually speak Common as well, but few are literate. Along the northern coast of the mainland, particularly in the city of Waterdeep, many Illuskans speak Chondathan, the language of their Tethyrian neighbors. Although Old Illuskan had an alphabet of its own, today it is only found in the ancient tomes of the Green Library in Ruathym and in ancient fragments of lore stored within the Host Tower of the Arcane in Luskan. Although rarely put in written form, the modern Illuskan tongue uses the Thorass alphabet introduced by Tethyrian migrants.
Illuskan Magic and Lore
Wizards are rare in Illuskan society. They are widely feared and assumed to be in some way affiliated with the Arcane Brotherhood. Of those who do study wizardry, perhaps the most common specialization is the school of Evocation. Sorcerers and bards are more common among Illuskans, as many Illuskans have a trace of draconic ancestry in their heritage. Unlike other arcane spellcasters, bards (generally known as “skalds”) are widely respected for their role as lorekeepers and poets. Among divine spellcasters, clerics and adepts are most common, with many adopting the runecaster prestige class. Druids and rangers are rare, and paladins almost unknown.
Spells and Spellcasting
Illuskans favor spells that enhance their martial prowess, give rise to great emotions, or summon the fury of nature, including bull’s strength, call lightning, control winds, emotion, endurance, and storm of vengeance. Spellcasting Tradition: Much of the Illuskan divine spellcasting tradition was adopted in the form of rune magic from dwarves and giants. Many of the powerful spellcasters among the Illuskans are runecasters. Some take the Eldritch Linguist feat, which focuses on the power of the written and spoken word. Unique Spells: Illuskans are not known for the creation of new spells. Much of the Illuskan arcane spellcasting tradition was introduced by Netherese survivors who lived long ago. As a result, most Illuskan spellcasters employ spells widely known throughout the region and do not create their own.
Illuskan magic Items
Illuskans favor magic items that provide morale bonuses in combat and that aid sailors and their ships. Weapons are commonly crafted with chaotic, frost, icy burst, keen, speed, and thundering special abilities. Armor is commonly crafted with arrow deflection, bashing, fortification, and warming special abilities. Common Magic Items: Illuskan runecasters produce a large number of such items as boots of winterlands, gauntlets of ogre power, horns of fog, horns of Valhalla, potions of heroism, and wind fans. These items may be purchased at a 10% discount from the normal price in Luskan, Neverwinter, or on the isle of Ruathym. Iconic Magic Items: The lack of a strong arcane spellcasting tradition (aside from that passed down from Netherese forebears in the vicinity of Luskan) has ensured that most magic items wielded by Illuskans were seized from other cultures and not crafted from scratch. Nevertheless, there are a few items unique to Illuskan culture, including the axe of the sea reavers.
Although the inhabitants of Old Illusk venerated a pantheon of beast totems and passed this tradition down to the Uthgardt, at present most Illuskans worship the deities of the Faerunian pantheon. Illuskans largely adopted the gods of the Netherese pantheon in the mixing of cultures that occurred following Uthgar’s sack of Illusk, and then adopted the rest of the Faerunian pantheon as it grew beyond the ranks of the Netherese deities. The eight most prominent faiths in Illuskan society include the churches of Auril, Mielikki, Mystra, Oghma, Talos, Tempus, Umberlee, and Uthgar. Other churches with significant followings, particularly in areas where Illuskans and Tethyrians live alongside one another, include Eldath, Lurue, Malar, Milil, Selune, Shar, Shaundakul, and Valkur.
Auril, the Frostmaiden, has long demanded and received veneration in the cold climes in which most Illuskans dwell. She is seen as the bringer of winter on the world, to be appeased with offerings of food and strong drink placed upon rafts set adrift at sea during autumn and winter. The church of Auril is strongest among those Illuskans who dwell in the Frozenfar (the region of the Sword Coast north of the River Mirar), but a large temple to the Frostmaiden known as the Winter Palace stands in Luskan.
Patron of the Uthgardt tribes, Uthgar is worshiped through the veneration of a beast totem unique to each of the various tribes. Even non-Uthgardt Illuskans find the worship of the Tempus-son attractive, as the heroic virtues of Uthgar’s battle-won kingdom are still celebrated in the long sagas of the Illuskan people.
Relations with other Races
Illuskans judge members of other races and ethnic groups by the same standards by which they judge themselves. In other words, they respect strength, martial prowess, and the strength of one’s word. Illuskans get along well with dwarves, although the two groups have been known to war over disputed territory. Gnomes and halflings are seen as weak and given to trickery, inspiring scorn in most Illuskans. Similarly, elves and half-elves are seen as weak and overly reliant on magic, although dangerous nonetheless.
Illuskans of the mainland harbor a deep and abiding hatred for orcs, and few are willing to view half-orcs as any better than their porcine kin. Illuskans have nothing but scorn for humans from the South, particularly Calishites. Tethyrians, particularly those born in the North, are regarded with cautious respect, for the two groups have lived alongside one another and fought with each other for generations. Chondathans are viewed similarly to Tethyrians in the Silver Marches region, although their “southern” ties are considered more suspect. Planetouched are regarded with suspicion for, like elves, they seem to be creatures of magic. In particular, tieflings are seen as little better than fiends, though earth genasi are respected for their strength. Other humans are regarded with suspicion, for few Illuskans have ventured beyond the cold climes of northwestern Faerun except to raid and plunder, and fewer still have any knowledge of other cultures.
Illuskans favor heavy hides and warm wool, cloaks appropriate for cold climes. Metal armor is rare, as few Illuskans can afford to make or purchase it, and because heavy armor is ill-suited for battles at sea.
Arms and Armor
Hide armor is common, as are spiked shields (large or small, wooden or steel). Most chieftains and well-off warriors prefer chain shirts for personal protection during a raid. The Illuskans favor axes of all sorts, a legacy of their long-standing association with the dwarves of the North, who often armed Illuskan heroes. Common Items: Hide armor, chain shirt, large wooden shield, battleaxe, greataxe, handaxe, and throwing axe. Unique Item: The horned helmet is a symbol of the Illuskan sea-reaver.
Animals and Pets
Illuskans are not inclined to keep animals as pets, companions, or familiars, as relatively few species are native to Ruathym or nearby islands. Goats, sheep, and geese do better in the cold Illuskan lands than do cattle, swine, or chickens. Illuskan lords of the northern Moonshaes have adopted Moral moorhounds, originally bred by the Ffolk, in increasing numbers of late. The Illuskans are not riders and rarely employ horses, although ponies are sometimes seen on the islands of the Trackless Sea.
Settled Illuskans from the Sword Coast are reflected by The North character region. This region reflects the sea-reavers native to the isles of the Trackless Sea. Preferred Classes: The Illuskan region is preferred by barbarians, bards, clerics, and fighters. A character of one of these classes may choose a regional feat and gain her choice of the bonus equipment below as a 1st-level character. An Illuskan character of any other class may not select one of the regional feats here and does not gain the bonus equipment at 1st level. Automatic Languages: Common, Illuskan Bonus Languages: Alzhedo, Aquan, Chondathan, Dwarf, Giant. Regional Feats: Blooded, Survivor, Thug Bonus Equipment: (A) Battleaxe or greataxe*; or (B) chain shirt*; or (C) large steel shield* and large hound
The Uthgardt are more nomadic and insular than the Northlanders of the coast or the sea isles. Preferred Classes: The Uthgardt region is preferred by barbarians, druids, fighters, rangers, and rogues. A character of one of these classes may choose a regional feat and gain her choice of the bonus equipment below as a 1st-level character. An Uthgardt character of any other class may not select one of the regional feats here and does not gain the bonus equipment at 1st level. Automatic Languages: Common, Illuskan Bonus Languages: Chondathan, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Orc, Sylvan. Regional Feats: Blooded, Forester, Treetopper. Bonus Equipment: (A) longsword*; or (B) hide armor* and large wooden shield*; or (C) 50 arrows*.
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008 16:25:57 GMT -5 by ancientempathy
Since the fall of ancient Imaskar, the Mulan have dominated the eastern shores of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Led by two pantheons of deities, the ancient Mulan empires of Mulhorand and Unther conquered at various times Ashanath, Chessenta, the Eastern Shaar, Murghom, Rashemen, Semphar, Thay, Thesk, and the Wizards’ Reach cities that lie south of the Yuirwood. In their wake, these empires have left ruling elites composed almost exclusively of Mulan. After millennia of rulership, the Mulan have become arrogant, highly resistant to change, and wholly convinced of their cultural superiority.
The Mulan are firmly wedded to the use of magic, with the only major point of disagreement being whether to pursue the arcane or divine tradition. For many generations the god-lings, powerful avatars of the Mulhorandi and Untheric deities long resident on Toril, ruled both empires as incarnate gods. The somnolent rule of the god-kinds permitted the development of a powerful priest class in Mulan cultures that has long struggled with practitioners of arcane spellcasting for power. Their heavy-handed clerical rule prompted repeated rebellions by wizards and sorcerers, leading to the dominance of Thay by Red Wizards of Mulan descent.
Mulan are generally tall, slim, and sallow-skinned with eyes of hazel or brown. They lack much body hair, and many, including all nobles, shave any hair that they do have. Hair color on an unshaved Mulan ranges from black to dark brown. The lower classes of Thay, Mulhorand, and Unther often have significant Rashemi or Turami blood, leading to darker complexions. The folk of Chessenta have long mixed with the nearby Chondathans, and pure Mulan features are rare there.
The Mulan have a long and proud history, viewing both their society and their culture as eternal. Rapid change is regarded with suspicion, and the arcane arts either warmly embraced (Thay) or viewed with deep distrust (Mulhorand and Unther). Mulan believe themselves to be more civilized, more prosperous, more creative, more powerful (should they choose to be), and in all other ways superior to all other ethnic groups. Even in the face of evidence to the contrary, Mulan are dismissive of other cultures’ accomplishments and openly arrogant with respect to their own.
The history of the Mulan is largely the history of Mulhorand, Unther, Chessenta, and Thay, as detailed in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. ((The listed places shall have their history posted in my Geography thread, in the near future.))
The Mulan believe in order and discipline and are strongly resistant to change, the legacy of millennia of undying rule by the god-kings of Unther and Mulhorand. They haughtily believe that they are either the chosen of the gods (in Mulhorand, Unther, and Chessenta) or above the gods (in Thay) and hold their culture above all others. Unlike most other human cultures, the Mulan believe they dwell in an earthly paradise, where stability and security shall reign for all eternity. The afterlife is merely a mirror of the mortal realm. In Thay, such beliefs have been twisted to regard undeath as the mirror of life, while in Unther the centuries-long tyranny of Gilgeam made a horror of both this world and the next. Mulan are indoctrinated from a young age to revere their cultural traditions, to respect the law, and to honor the servants of the gods (or the Red Wizards, in the case of Thay).
Although not drawn to adventuring, the Mulan seen outside their traditional homelands are usually adventurers of one sort or another. Some have fled enslavement or been driven into exile due to differences with the local authorities, whether they be mercenary lords in Chessenta, cultists of Tiamat in the remnants of Unther, bureaucratic priests in Mulhorand, or autocratic Red Wizards in Thay. Others are sent abroad as agents of one of the Mulan realms, serving as representatives of a Thayan enclave, tracking down relics plundered from a Mulhorandi tomb, fighting in a Chessentan mercenary company, or spying on those who have designs on Unther’s carcass.
Mulan typically make good fighters, whether trained in the mercenary armies of Chessenta, the church armies of Unther and Mulhorand, or the wizard-led armies of Thay. The road to power in Mulhorand and, until recently, Unther lies in the various priesthoods. As a result, many Mulan in those realms are clerics of one of the Mulhorandi gods, Hoar, or Tiamat. Chessenta has its fair share of clerics as well, many of whom serve various Faerunian deities, but only the churches of Kossuth and several evil Faerunian deities are strong in wizard-dominated Thay.
In Mulhorand, good-aligned deities with strong martial traditions employ many paladins in their service. Wizards and clerics are well established in Chessenta, Mulhorand, Thay, and Unther, although their efforts are much restricted in Mulhorand by the bureaucracy of priests. Bardcraft, brought back by Chessentan mercenaries from western Faerun, is held in high esteem in Chessenta but is otherwise almost unknown in lands dominated by the Mulan. Monks are found in large numbers only on Mulhorand, where most orders are integrated into the church of Thoth. Rogues are common in the teeming cities of Mulhorand and Unther, where priests are more corrupt than pious. Mulan are almost never barbarians or druids, as they have always lived in cultures established by the god-kinds and their clerics. Likewise, Mulan rarely find their calling as rangers, for the Mulan dwell in long-settled lands with few forests or other areas of wilderness. Prestige Classes: Many Mulan take up the divine prestige classes of arcane devotee, divine champion, divine disciple, and divine seeker. Assassins and blackguards devoted to evil deities are not unknown in Mulan societies and are especially prevalent in Thay and Unther. In Thay, almost all Mulan wizards of sufficient skill eventually choose to join the ranks of the Red Wizards.
Despite the fragmentation of the Old Empires of Mulhorand and Unther, the Mulan have changed little despite the passage of centuries. Strict class divisions segregate Mulan society into the nobility (including all clerics and arcane spellcasters), the commoners (farmers, merchants, and skilled craftsman), and slaves (everyone else). Although upward and downward mobility is possible in Mulan society, primarily by joining the clergy or studying the Art, the Mulan discriminate against most other human ethnic groups and races and preserve strictly defined class roles.
Despite the centuries-long presence of the god-kings, the Mulan are not particularly reverent, nor are they overly interested in commerce. The Mulan aspire to power, preferably backed by magic, and engage in endless intrigues to accumulate personal power no matter what the cost to ideals to which they nominally ascribe.
Mulan place great stock in education, and all members of the nobility and middle class receive some amount of instruction as a child. Many youths are apprenticed to a powerful wizard (Thay) or join the church of one of the god-kings (Mulhorand and Unther) at a young age and are raised apart from their families. As adults, the Mulan are expected to serve their role in society and not make waves. Death is a lifelong obsession for most Mulan, who spend their entire lives preparing themselves for the afterlife. The Mulhorandi epitomize this obsession, planning every detail of their journey into the afterlife.
Outside Mulan-dominated lands, Mulan keep to themselves, forming isolated enclaves apart from the local society. Thayan enclaves are simply the latest such example of the Mulan holding themselves apart from and above other races and human ethnic groups when dwelling in foreign lands. Of necessity, some cross-pollination of cultures does occur through trade contact with neighbors, but expatriate Mulan prefer to limit such contacts whenever possible. Mulan from the Old Empires almost never venerate deities other than their homeland’s pantheon, and most Thayans can hardly be bothered with any gods. Few Mulan see the point of any languages other than the local dialect of the Common tongue.
Language and Literacy
Depending on their homeland, Mulan speak one of the various tongues of the Rauric language family--all derived, at least in part, from the slave argot of ancient Imaskar. The language of Unther is Untheric, while the language of Mulhorand, Murghom, Semphar, and Thay is Mulhorandi. Untheric employs Dethek runes for its alphabet, suggesting a strong tie between the gold dwarves of the Great Rift and the early inhabitants of Unther. Mulhorandi is rendered in the Celestial alphabet, first introduced by a manifestation of Thoth.
In Chessenta and the Wizards’ Reach, Chessentan, a tongue closely related to Untheric with strong Chondathan and Shaaran influences, has largely supplanted Untheric. The folk of Chessenta have long used the Thorass alphabet in addition to Dethek runes, and Chessentan is almost exclusively written using Thorass characters. Both Thay and the cult of Set render Mulhorandi in the Infernal alphabet, consciously repudiating the rule of the current god-kings.
Common is less frequently spoken in Mulan-dominated lands than elsewhere in Faerun, but it still widely known nonetheless. Mulan who learn second tongues often choose one of the other Rauric languages mentioned above, Aglarondan (among the cities of the Wizards’ Reach), Chondathan (Chessenta), Durpari (southern Mulhorand), Rashemi (Thay and the Wizards’ Reach), Shaaran (southern Unther), Shou (Semphar), and Turmic (Chessenta and Mulhorand).
All Mulan are literate except for barbarians (very rare among this ancient race), commoners, and warriors.
Mulan Magic and Lore
To the Mulan, magic is a tool for intrigue. Divination and illusion magic are particularly valued, for they facilitate the subtle plots that Mulan spellcasters employ.
Spells and Spellcasting
The Mulan have strong traditions in both arcane and divine spellcasting, the former a legacy of ancient Imaskar and the latter the result of the millennia-long residence of the god-kings among them. These two spellcasting traditions have long been at odds with one another, manifested most clearly in the separation of Thay from Mulhorand.
In Thay, nearly all arcane spellcasters aspire to join the ranks of the Red Wizards, where specialization in a school of magic is taken to an extreme not seen elsewhere in Faerun. Of those spellcasters who are of lower rank, wizards outnumber sorcerers, and bards are almost unknown. In Mulhorand and Unther, where the practice of arcane magic is much restricted, most spellcasters are clerics of one of the many Mulhorand god-kings. Paladins are found in greater numbers than in other cultures, but rangers and druids are all but unknown. In Chessenta, bards outnumber other practitioners of the Art, and clerics of both the Faerunian and Mulhorandi pantheons are common as well. Spellcasting Traditions: Mulan favor spells that ensure personal defense and enable one to learn a deity’s will. Combat spells, particularly those of an elemental nature, are also common. In Thay, arcane spells of elemental fire are much preferred. In Mulhorand, Murghom, and Unther, spells that safeguard tombs of the dead or inflict curses upon the living are much favored. Commonly known examples include augury, bestow curse, commune, fireball, glyph of warding, and symbol.
With their history of god-kings and powerful magic, Mulan spellcasters cast spells somewhat differently than their counterparts elsewhere on Faerun. Those with the Southern Magician feat are able to occasionally cast arcane spells as divine spells, or vice versa. Unique Spells: Although Mulan spellcasters have created large numbers of spells, both arcane and divine, various cultural influences have combined to ensure that few are widely known. The priesthood of Thoth has long striven to keep arcane Mulhorandi secrets hidden from the outside world. Infighting between individuals as well as the various schools of magic in Thay has kept most Red Wizards spells from becoming widely known, even among their fellows. In Unther, the now-dead god Gilgeam kept very tight wraps on all new spells, seeing them as a threat to his continued rule.
Mulan Magic Items
The Mulan have traditionally discouraged the creation of arcane magic items, in large part for the same reason that they study of the Art has been discouraged--to preserve the power of the priests. While such cultural discouragement of magic item creation continues to hold true in Mulhorand and, to a lesser extent, Unther and Chessenta, it has been wholeheartedly rejected by Thayan Mulan. As indicated by the burgeoning number of Thayan enclaves scattered across Faerun, the Red Wizards are responsible for a large fraction of the widely known types of magic items in use in Faerun today. The Red Wizards have created many unique magic items as well, but they jealously hold such secrets for themselves.
Various magical staffs are quite common as well, as the quarterstaff is the original symbol of authority in the lands of the god-kings. Khopeshes, scimitars, and swords are commonly crafted with brilliant energy, ghost touch, holy, throwing, thundering, wounding, and unholy special abilities. Whips are often given the wounding special ability. Quarterstaffs typically receive disruption and holy special abilities. Armor is typically crafted with cooling, fire resistance, or lightning resistance special abilities. Common Magic Items:Incense of meditation, necklaces of prayer beads, oil of timelessness, phylacteries of faithfulness, scarabs of protection, rods of rulerships, staffs of healing, and vestments of faith. The numerous priests in Mulan lands produce enough of these items that they may be purchased at a 10% discount in any large city in Mulhorand or Unther (due to the Thayan rejection of religion, this discount does not apply in Thay). Iconic Magic Items: Among the more powerful magic items in many a Mulan spellcaster’s arsenal is the ankh of ascension, which makes all her spells function better.
The Mulan are the last major human ethnic group to venerate a pantheon of deities other than the dominant Faerunian pantheon. Until the Time of Troubles, the Mulan of Mulhorand, Murghom, and Semphar venerated the Mulhorandi pantheon, while Unther, Threskel, and parts of Chessenta venerated the Untheric pantheon. Following the deaths of Gilgeam and Ramman during the Avatar Crisis, the Untheric pantheon effectively vanished, its last members (Tiamat and Assuran) absorbed into the Faerunian pantheon. The Mulhorandi pantheon finally awoke to its own dire position. Today, the Mulan of Mulhorand, Murghom, Semphar, and Unther venerate the Mulhorandi pantheon, while those who dwell in Chessenta, the Wizards’ Reach, and Thay largely venerate the Faerunian pantheon.
Assuran, the Lord of Three Thunders, is known as Hoar in other lands. He is a deity of justice and vengeance, venerated by Mulan of Unther and Chessenta, although his cult is strongest in the cities of Akanax and Mourktar. Hoar’s church has declined in influence in Unther as Anhur’s has grown, but it remains strong in Chessenta where Hoar, in his guises as Assuran, is venerated as a god of storms and regarded as one of the celestial patrons of the country.
Horus-Re, the Lord of the sun, is worshiped primarily by Mulhorandi who govern and administer. Although his faith is strongest in Mulhorand, his church has attracted an increasing number of adherents from the ranks of the fallen Untheric god Gilgeam who have renounced their formerly wicked ways. Clerics of Horus-Re rule vast estates in the name of their deity, and control an immense amount of wealth and power in Mulhorand. Women in Mulhorand and Unther have long worshiped Isis, the Bountiful Lady, known as Ishtar in Unther. She has a very strong following among good-aligned arcane spellcasters.
Before his death the Untheric god Gilgeam blamed Tiamat for all Unther’s ills, driving many Untherites who opposed his harsh rule into her embrace. The Dragon Queen earned her moniker as Nemesis of the Gods when she slew the Supreme Ruler of Unther during the Time of Troubles, an act of liberation that has earned her church large numbers of adherents, even among nonevil Mulan. In neighboring Chessenta, Tiamat has many followers as well, for there she is known as Tchazzar, the red dragon Father of Chessenta. In time, her church is likely to contract when Tiamat’s true nature is finally revealed.
Relations with other Races
The Mulan view members of other human ethnic groups with disdain. The Turami minorities of Mulhorand, Unther, Threskel, and Chessenta are generally tolerated, (except in Unther, where they are almost universally despised), but they are always considered members of the lower class. North of the Wizards’ Reach, the Rashemi form the bulk of the lower class of Thay. The Red Wizards nominally restrict their ranks to Mulan wizards and sorcerers, but many look the other way if they find a Rashemi spellcaster skilled in the Art and willing to pretend to be a Mulan, although powerful Rashemi wizards can dispense with the charade.
The Mulan get along with the gold dwarves of the Great Rift, thanks to centuries of trade, and are inclined to view all the Stout Folk in similar light, although arctic dwarves and wild dwarves might prove an exception. Rock gnomes are largely unknown, so the Mulan view them as little dwarves. Halflings are similarly rare, as the largest nearby concentration of then hin lies in far-off Luiren, and are generally treated much like dwarves as well. Elves and half-elves are almost unknown to the Mulan and the subject of great superstition, stemming in large part from the frustrations Unther’s armies experienced long ago while attempting to subjugate the Yuirwood. In Mulhorand and Unther, the Fair Folk are seen as wizards by the bureaucracy of priests, and thus are regarded with the same combination of fear and loathing as Red Wizards of Thay.
The Mulan despise half-orcs, a legacy of the Orcgate Wars handed down for centuries. Western Chessenta is a notable exception, particularly in the city of Airspur, where half-orcs are tolerated. Of the nonhuman civilized races, Planetouched, particularly aasimar, are the only race looked up to by the Mulan. After millennia of intimate involvement with the god-kings, aasimar of Mulan descent are seen as descendants of the gods and thus worthy of great respect. Tieflings engender fear rather than reverence, for they are seen as the spawn of Set and Sebek. Genasai are scarce, although fire genasi of Mulan descent are treated as full-blooded Mulan in Thay and welcomed into the School of Evocation.
Mulan favor simple, unadorned clothing, such as white tunics, black headdresses, belts, and sandals. In colder climes, more colorful garments may be worn, but the fashion is for clothing to remain plain, a tradition originally begun so as not to challenge the majesty of the god-kings. Tattoos are the most common form of adornment, often depicting stylized representations of various beasts and monsters, cryptic runes, and abstract designs.
Arms and Armor
In ages past, Mulan employed bronze weapons, typically khopeshes or scimitars, and many relics fashioned of bronze are still in use today as ceremonial attire or because they bear powerful magic. Modern-day Mulan favor steel swords, introduced after the gold dwarves passed on the secret of forging steel, and composite bows, which were used to great effect during the Orcgate Wars. Most other weapons employed in western Faerun, with the exception of longspears and other pole arms, are employed to varying degrees by the Mulan as well. Quarterstaffs are favored in Mulhorand, particularly by clerics, and whips are the weapon of choice of many Red Wizards. The armor of choice of most Mulan is scale mail, although they have adopted chain mail and breastplates in recent centuries. Heavy armor is almost unknown, possessed only by the greatest warriors. Common Items: Scale mail, banded mail, scimitar, khopesh, light mace, heavy mace, shortspears, composite longbow.
Animals and Pets
In lands ruled by the god-kings, the Mulan revere felines as divine agents, reflecting the lingering influence of the Cult of Bast centuries after that minor Mulhorandi goddess evolved into Sharess. Horses are highly prized in greater Mulhorand, particularly in Murghom and Semphar. Perhaps because of its large population of centaurs, Thay is not particularly known for its horses. Instead, black unicorns form the heart of Thayan cavalry squadrons. In Thay, arcane spellcasters of Mulan descent employ imps, quasits, shocker lizards, stirges, tiny snakes, and toads as familiars. Members of the Order of the Magi in Mulhorand prefer animals associated with their patron deity, particularly hawks and ibises.
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008 16:27:05 GMT -5 by ancientempathy
Concentrated in the harsh and dangerous northeastern reaches of Faerun, the Rashemi are tough and sturdy, undaunted by extremes of weather or human cruelty. Despite their relative isolation from the rest of Faerun, most Rashemi are surprisingly well versed in the affairs of other nations, for many travel extensively as youths as part of a coming-of-age ritual known as a dajemma. Although Rashemi barbarians and rangers are widely known across Faerun, members of this ethic group also make skilled wizards, sorcerers, and clerics.
Descended from the nomadic tribes that fought and won the Orcgate wars and later built the empire of Raumathar, the Rashemi are the most numerous human ethic group on the Priador plateau and in the lands that border Ashanath, the Lake of Tears. Outside Thay and Rashemen, Rashemi minorities are also found in Aglarond, Damara, the Great Dale, Impiltur, Mulhorand, Narfell, the Wizard’s Reach, Mulhorand, Semphar, Thesk, and Unther. Although not widespread, Rashemi culture has had a significant influence on both Damaran and Tuigan culture, and in its day the Rashemi empire of Raumathar rivaled the power of Mulhorand and Unther.
Most Rashemi average about five and a half feet in height, with stout and muscular builds. Most are dusky of skin and dark of eye, with thick black hair. Rashemi males are unusually hirsute and often sport bushy black beards. Although handsome, many seem almost ursine in nature. Baldness is almost unknown among Rashemi males, although inhabitants of Thay are known to shave all body hair in imitation of the ruling Mulan. Female Rashemi wear their black hair long, often in elaborate braids.
The Rashemi display little of the cultural arrogance common to other major human ethnic groups whose ancestors once ruled empires. Instead, they see themselves as inhabitants of a harsh but beautiful world ruled by place spirits, and cherish their strong and abiding ties to the land. Most Rashemi identify themselves by national origins (for example, Rashemmar, Thayan, or Theskan) rather than ethnicity, although centuries of harsh rule by the Mulan of Thay have done much to strength sympathies between the Rashemi of Thay and the inhabitants of Rashemen. Little emphasis is placed on the acquisition of wealth or ancestry, as each child is expected to earn his or her own place in the world.
The Rashemi arose from various tribal peoples who lived in the land of Rashemen long before the fall of Imaskar in -2488 DR. They were warlike and insular, fighting against the efforts of more numerous tribes to claim parts of Rashemen for their own. They fiercely resisted Mulhorandi efforts to tame the lands north of Lake Mulsantir. Since the Rashemi could not be pushed aside, the Mulhorandi who governed the northern frontiers of their empire employed them as mercenaries against other tribal peoples in the area.
The opening of a large portal on the Priador Plateau in -1076 DR and the subsequent arrival of a vast horde of orcs marked the end of the First Empire of Mulhorand. During the Orcgate Wars of -1075 DR to -1069 DR, the Nars, the Rashemi, and the Raumvirans, the Sossrims, and other tribes all served as mercenaries in the vanguard of Mulhorand’s armies. Although the orcs were eventually defeated, Mulhorand’s hold on its far-flung northern provinces was broken.
Although most of the northern tribes returned to their ancestral lands and traditional way of life, both the Raumvirans and the Nars saw the collapse of Mulhorand’s northern provinces as an opportunity to establish empires of their own. Over the course of the next two centuries, the Raumvirans gradually conquered much of the Endless Wastes while the Nars extended their rule south and west along the shores of the Easting Reach. By -900 DR, the Raumvirans established the empire of Raumathar with its capital at Winterkeep, stretching from the northern tip of Lake Ashane to the western shore of the Great Ice Sea and from Sossal to the Lake of Mists. The Nars established the empire of Narfell from the uplands of Impiltur to Ashanath.
Both empires turned their attention to the Priador Plateau, populated by nomadic tribes of centaurs and gnolls. Raumathar saw the Rashemi tribal lands between Lake Ashane and the Sunset Mountains as a corridor through which it could settle the Priador Plateau, while Narfell saw the land of Rashemen as a natural chokepoint to contain its rival’s ambitions. The two empires fought many battles on the eastern shore of Lake Ashane, leading to its appellation as the Lake of Tears. The Rashemi clans divided into three camps: allies of Narfell, allies of Raumathar, and those who struggled to remain independent.
In the centuries that followed, battles between the conjurers of Raumathar and the sorcerers of Narfell became increasingly common, turning the Priador Plateau into a sprawling battlefield fought over by Rashemi mercenaries in the employ of both armies. Matters came to a head in -150 DR, with the summoning of numerous powerful monsters and minor deities that consumed both empires in a great conflagration. The city of Kensten (modern Bezantur) was consumed by an avatar of Kossuth, while an army of fiends led by the demon lord Eltab invaded Rashemen.
In the wake of their mutual defeat, the surviving inhabitants of Narfell and Raumathar retreated into tiny enclaves, leaving the surviving summoned beings as the only real power north of the Alamber Sea. Both Unther and Mulhorand quickly sent armies north before the Summoned could establish their own realms. In -148 DR, the southern armies defeated an alliance of the Summoned, and Mulhorand reoccupied the Priador Plateau. In Rashemen, however, the demon lord Eltab and his minions still ruled the land.
Eltab’s rule came to an end in -75 DR, following the emergence of the Witches of Rashemen. The earliest witches were of Raumviran descent, a secret sisterhood formed in the dying days of Raumathar to preserve that empire’s magical lore. The alliance of the Rashemi and the Raumviran witches finally liberated Rashemen from demonic rule. The hero of this conflict was a warrior named Yvengi, who wielded a great magical blade named Hadryllis against Eltab, severely wounding the demon lord and forcing him to flee.
Yvengi declared Rashemen a free and sovereign land, defying machinations by the Mulhorandi to extend their rule north of the Priador. Undeterred, Mulhorand launched an invasion of Rashemen in -45 DR. Rashemen would have most likely fallen to the invaders if not for the continued alliance of the witches and the berserker lodges against this common foe. Rashemen’s defenders sent Mulhorand’s imperial army fleeing back across the frontier, forever cementing the land’s independence. The battle won, the witches once again retreated into the shadows, leaving Rashemen to the allied clans of the Rashemi. All the leaders of the sisterhood asked in exchange for their assistance was the right to select Rashemen’s Iron Lord, or huhrong.
In the years following Rashemen’s defense of its independence, the Rashemi were effectively split into two populations. Those who dwelt on the Priador served the ruling Mulan and adopted the laws and mores of the Mulhorandi, while those who dwelt in Rashemen slowly claimed much of fallen Raumathar. At various times, Rashemen has held territory spanning from the Icerim Mountains to the northern shore of Lake Mulsantir and from the eastern shore of Lake Ashane to the eastern slopes of the Sunrise Mountains.
In 922 DR, the Red Wizards sacked the Mulhorandi provincial capital of Delhumide, sparking an insurrection against the Mulhorandi god-kings that led to the establishment of the magocracy of Thay and the subjugation of the Rashemi inhabitants of the plateau to a new set of masters. After centuries of complacency, the Rashemi inhabitants of Rashemen found their land under attack by Thay’s new rulers in 934 DR. Once again the Rashemi battled a Mulan-led army marching north through the Gorge of Gauros, and once again the Witches of Rashemen proved instrumental in repelling the invasion.
In the centuries since, the armies of Thay have attempted to invade Rashemen no less than twenty times, each time without success. Each time the Rashemi berserkers and witches have met the armies of gnolls, centaurs, and Thayan Rashemi beneath their Mulan masters, the Fangs of Rashemen have prevailed. The most recent threat to Rashemen unfolded in 1359 DR, when the Tuigan horde swept westward from the Endless Wastes. After overrunning Citadel Rashemaar and marching across the northern reaches of the Sunset Mountains, the Tuigan horde swept into Rashemen’s territory, supported by a Thayan army poised to strike from the Gorge of Gauros. Aided by a fierce winter storm that pinned down the Thayan army, the Rashemaar eventually drove the Tuigans across Lake Ashane into Thesk where they were defeated by an alliance led by Cormyr’s King Azoun IV.
The Rashemi view life as an unending series of challenges to be faced and overcome. They place a strong emphasis on strength, whether it is physical strength among the folk of Rashemen or magical prowess among the Thayan Rashemi. Respect and status must be earned, and a great deal of emphasis is placed on individual accomplishment. Childhood among the Rashemi reflects this cultural outlook, as youths are subjected to greater and greater tests as they mature. Admittance into the ranks of their elders must be earned.
The most common reason for adventuring among the Rashemi is the coming-of-age ritual known as the dajemma. Rashemi youth are encouraged (required, in the case of males in Rashemen itself) to go on a yearlong journey to see the world, after which they are accorded the status of adults. Naturally, some fall into a life of adventuring during such a trip, although most eventually return home and settle down. The Witches of Rashemen have their own reasons for setting out into the world, including the recovery of ancient magics hidden across Faerun and the effort to oppose the machinations of the Red Wizards of Thay.
The Rashemi have a long-standing warrior tradition dating back to the Orcgate wars, and barbarians, rangers, and fighters play a prominent role in Rashemi society. Likewise, the Rashemi hold arcane spellcasters in great respect, including the mysterious wychlaran and the greatly feared Red Wizards. Clerics, druids, paladins, and monks are relatively rare, for the Rashemi do not have a strong tradition of organized religion outside the Witches of Rashemen. Rogues are almost unknown, for the Rashemi have never placed a strong emphasis on the accumulation of wealth. Prestige Classes: The most common prestige class for Rashemi is, of course, the hathran, although a small number of Rashemi wizards living in Thay become Red Wizards.
Rashemi culture varies widely from Rashemen to Thay to Thesk, although each society exhibits some common traits. In Rashemen, contests of physical and martial prowess are common, including snow-racing, skiing, wrestling, drinking, and the like. In Thesk, most contests revolve around the accumulation of wealth through skill at trade. In Thay, the influence of the Red Wizards has raised magical prowess above all other forms of contests. The Rashemi of all three lands share a common suspicion of excessive civilization, which is often seen as soft or weak, and place little emphasis on inherited titles or wealth.
The Rashemi have never placed a strong emphasis on schooling for a variety of reasons. In Rashemen, the land is continually beset by outside threats that require warriors, not scholars. Those who do study as children are usually tutored by one of the mysterious witches. In Thay, the ruling Mulan have long been suspicious of academic inclinations among the lower classes and discourage the lower class (specifically, the Rashemi) from excessive study. Rashemi youths are given to carousing and competing with their friends. As adults, the Rashemi are expected to settle down and contribute to society, although industriousness is not as highly respected as it is in other lands. Elderly Rashemi are respected for their wisdom and their mental strength, even if their physical faculties have faded. Their past accomplishments are not forgotten, even if they no longer can perform such feats. Death is seen as a time of celebration, for it is then that a Rashemi’s deeds enter into legend.
Outside their native lands, the Rashemi congregate in groups of fellow exiles. Their nights are spent wandering from tavern to tavern, challenging the locals to contests. Few find steady work except as mercenaries, and those who do quickly spend their meager con on their fellow expatriates.
Language and Literacy
Rashemi speak Common and their national language, whatever that may be. The Rashemi language, derived from Raumvira and the dead language Halardrim, uses the Thorass alphabet introduced by Chondathan traders traveling along the Golden Way. The Rashemi tongue is commonly employed only within the borders of Rashemen. In fact, more Rashemi speak the Thayan dialect of Mulhorandi as their mother tongue than speak Rashemi. Other languages with a significant number of Rashemi speakers include Aglarondan, Chondathan, and Damaran.
The most common secondary language among the Rashemi are Mulhorandi (particularly the Thayan dialect) or Rashemi, depending on whether they live in Rashemen or Thay, respectively. Those Rashemi who dwell farther west often learn Chondathan, Damaran, Aglarondan, Chessentan, or Untheric.
All Rashemi characters are literate except for barbarians, adepts, experts, warriors, and commoners.
Rashemi Magic and Lore
The Rashemi have a strong Spellcasting tradition, stemming from the twin influences of Raumviran and Mulan culture and the plundered lore of Narfell, Raumathar, and Mulhorand. Rashemi bloodlines often give rise to powerful sorcerers of an elemental nature, derived from a small amount of Raumviran ancestry. In Rashemen, female Rashemi spellcasters are usually wychlaran, adopting the hathran prestige class as they rise in level. Male arcane spellcasters of that land often focus primarily on the crafting of magic items. In Thay, those few Rashemi who aspire to wizardry usually specialize in one of the eight schools of magic and then adopt the Red Wizard prestige class if allowed to.
Spells and Spellcasting
The Rashemi favor spells of conjuration or those that enhance their personal fighting prowess, although spells that aid survival in a harsh climate are common as well. Favored spells include bull’s strength, cat’s grace, endurance, endure elements, magic weapon, Tenser’s transformation, and the various summon monster spells. The Witches of Rashemen are more inclined toward spells of concealment and charm, drawn primarily from the schools of Enchantment and Illusion, while Rashemi Red Wizards favor spells from their school of specialization. Spellcasting Traditions: The dominant spellcasting traditions among the Rashemi are those of the Hathran and the Red Wizards of Thay.
Rashemi Magic Items
Among the Rashemi, the art of crafting magic items is the preserve of the vremyonni (the “Old Ones,” or male wizards) of Rashemen. Many of the items the Old Ones create are designed for use by the female witches or by the land’s fabled berserkers. The Witches of Rashemen favor magic whips and various magic masks. Items commonly crafted for Rashemi warriors include armor with the warming property, and greataxes, swords, and scimitars with the berserker property. Common Magic Items:Amulets of natural armor, bracers of armor, boots of the winterlands, gauntlets of ogre power, and rings of wizardry. The folk of Rashemen jealously guard items made by their vremyonni, but in other Rashemi lands these items are commonly available at a 10% discount on the purchase price in any small city. Iconic Magic Item: Rashemi berserkers and champions sometimes wear the mask of implacable, which grants its wear bonuses against foes who gravely wound her.
Traditionally, the Rashemi venerate “the Three”--Chauntea, Mielikki, and the Hidden One (Mystra), a trio of goddesses introduced centuries ago to Rashemen by the folk of Thesk. They also venerate a host of local place-spirits and spirit-heroes little known elsewhere in Faerun. The spirits of Rashemen do not have names, but express their actions through miracles, omens, and by dispatching servitors. Outside Rashemen, many Rashemi nominally venerate the deities of Mulhorand as well. However, centuries of persecution by the Red Wizards of Thay have ensured that such worship is confined largely to the home. Small cults of the four elemental deities, particularly Kossuth, exist as well, legacies of Raumviran influence over the culture of the Rashemi.
Relations with other Races
Northeastern Faerun is largely devoid of nonhuman civilizations, leaving the Rashemi generally ignorant of nonhuman cultures other than the centaurs and gnolls of the Thayan Plateau. Dwarves are perhaps the best-known race, as the dwarven kingdom of Siremun in the Firepeaks to the east has long traded with Rashemi traders in the markets of Almorel. Elves, half-elves, and halflings are viewed as objects of wonder, long associated with the fey creatures of the North Country. Gnomes are also regarded as creatures of magic. Half-orcs, tie flings, and genasi are regarded with long-standing suspicion, the legacy of centuries of folklore that have grown up around the Orcgate Wars and the conflagration unleashed by Narfell and Raumathar. Aasimars are closely associated with the various Mulhorandi priesthoods and treated accordingly. Among human cultures, the Rashemi get along best with the Nars and the Sossrims. Despite the close proximity in which many Rashemi and Mulan dwell, relations between the two cultures are tense at best, with hostility (usually cloaked) the norm.
Centuries of interaction with the cultures of the east have led to the infiltration of many Tuigan and Shou influences in Rashemi tools, weapons, and gear. Rashemi often wear warm clothing of leather, buckskin, hide, and fur, making the best use of the materials at hand.
Arms and Armor
Favored armor in the colder reaches north of Thay includes thick hide armor, often made from the pelts of bears or snow tigers, and large steel shields. Northern Rashemi warriors employ all manner of weapons, including greataxes and shortspears. They favor curved swords such as the scimitar and sabre. Rashemi native to more temperate climes are more heavily influenced by the East and favor nunchaku, sianghams, and spiked chains. Common Items: Hide armor, studded leather armor, nunchaku, siangham, spiked chain, sabre. Unique Items: Rashemi from colder climes sometimes use ice axes as weapons (treat as light picks, but they deal both slashing and piercing damage).
Animals and Pets
Rashemi favor large canines and small felines as pets. The Rashemaar favor big working dogs with heavy coats, bred to serve as pack animals or sled dogs. The Witches of Rashemen favor ravens as familiars, although owls and cats are not unknown. Rashemi dwelling in warmer climes, such as Thay, evidence the same reverence for cats as do the Mulan. Equines also play an important role in Rashemi society. Less commonly employed steeds include the black unicorns of Thay.
Rashemi native to the land of Rashemen should choose Rashemen as their character’s region. By contrast, the Rashemi region reflects a character from Thesk, Thay, or Mulhorand, where Rashemi tend to be an underclass ostracized by their neighbors. Preferred Classes: The Rashemi region is preferred by barbarians, clerics, fighters, monks, and sorcerers. A character of one of these classes may choose a regional feat and gain her choice of the bonus equipment below as a 1st-level character. A Rashemi character of any other class may not select one of the regional feats here and does not gain the bonus equipment at 1st level. Automatic Languages: Common, Rashemi Bonus Languages: Centaur, Damaran, Gnoll, Mulhorandi, Orc, Tuigan Regional Feats: Aftersight, Mind Over Body, Saddleback, Stealthy. Bonus Equipment: (A) sabre*; or (B) hide armor* and light warhorse; or C wand of cure light wounds (20 charges).
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008 16:28:22 GMT -5 by ancientempathy
The Sword Coast has long been home to native human tribes who intermingled with wave upon wave of immigrants, whether they arrived as conquerors or refugees. In recent centuries, these disparate groups have gradually coalesced into a relatively new ethnic group known as Tethyrians, occupying a vast territory stretching from Calimshan to Silverymoon and from the Sea of Swords to the Sea of Fallen Stars. After centuries of enslavement and oppression by one group or another, Tethyrians are fiercely independent, protective of their freedoms and suspicious of threats posed by powerful kingdoms and empires. Given their disparate ancestry, Tethyrians have never developed a unique language of their own, instead adopting the language of the latest wave of conquerors or refugees. Today most Tethyrians speak Chondathan.
As Tethyrian culture is a melting pot of Calishite, Chondathan, Illuskan, and Low Netherese, Tethyrians are tolerant of and comfortable with members of other ethnic groups, with the notable exceptions of upper class Calishites and, to a lesser extent, Mulan of Thayan descent. In Calimshan, Tethyrians compose the bulk of the lower classes and have long been discriminated against by the largely Calishite upper classes. Outside Calimshan, many Tethyrians are craftsmen or caravanners, while others find employment as mercenaries in the employ of other realms. Tethyrians make skilled fighters and rogues, reflecting the struggle to survive successive waves of conquest and generations of warfare. Tethyrian culture has a long tradition of bard craft, reflecting the absence of a Tethyrian empire at any point in history and the corresponding reliance on itinerant bards to preserve and spread Tethyrian oral history.
Tethyrians are of medium build and height, although taller and broader in build than most Calishites. Their skin tends to have a dusky hue, although on average they are increasingly fairer in complexion the farther north one travels along the Sword Coast, reflecting a decreasing fraction of Calishite heritage and an increasing fraction of Illuskan and Low Netherese ancestry. Tethyrian hair and eye color varies widely, with brown hair and blue eyes being most common.
Most Tethyrians are proud of their multi-ethnic heritage, seeing their society as having defeated all would-be conquerors through assimilation rather than empire. Tethyrians are suspicious of remote rulers and large realms, a cultural bias reflected in the predominance of city-states over kingdoms and empires in Tethyrian-dominated regions. If Tethyrians have a common weakness, it is their reluctance to come together in common cause with those who are not their immediate neighbors.
The history of humanity along the western coast of Faerun is largely of assimilation, conquest, and slavery, but it begins with primitive tribes dwelling in relative isolation, their presence tolerated by the great empires of other races. Fragments of elven lore dating back to the height of Shantel Othreier and Keltormir speak of small tribes of humans dwelling beneath the boughs of the great forests that once stretched from the Spine of the World to the Shining Sea. Likewise, fragments of dwarven lore dating back to the height of High Shanatar also indicate that scattered human tribes dwelling in what is now Tethyr and Amn swore fealty to the rulers of House Axemarch as well.
The first migration into the western tribal lands began with the establishment of the Calim Empire in -7800 DR. The djinn brought with them human slaves, the progenitors of today’s Calishites. In -6100 DR, these Calishite forebears established the human-ruled nation of Coramshan, absorbing the native human tribes that dwelt south of the Marching Mountains into the lower class of Coramshan.
The establishment of the First Kingdom of Mir in -5330 DR marked the beginning of High Shanatar’s decline and the northward-spreading influence of humanity. By the fall of High Shanatar in -2600 DR, Calimshan had become one of the great centers of human civilization in Faerun, and the human tribes that once dwelt peacefully under dwarven rule in what is now western Tethyr had been enslaved by their new Calishite rulers. By the end of the Third Age of Calimshan in -900 DR, Calishite hegemony extended into the Calishar Emirates, lands that would become eastern Tethyr and Amn.
The first stirrings of rebellion among the human tribes that would in time become known as Tethyrians began during the Nigh wars, a series of incursions by the drow that weakened Calishite control over the local dwarven and human populations. By -650 DR, these regions were largely free of Calishite control, although surrounded by Calishite territories. Inspired by this rebellion, revolts among enslaved humans became common in other Calishite territories between -670 DR and -370 DR. The clans were forced to defend their independence on numerous occasions, culminating in the crowning of Tethyr’s first king in -212 DR.
The Age of Shoon began in 27 DR, when Qysar Amahl Shoon III inherited the crowns of Tethyr and Calimshan, thanks in large part to the scheming of his great-great grandfather. In the centuries that followed, the Imperium’s reach extended around the Shining Sea, deep into the Shaar, and north into Amn. The armies of Qysar Shoon VII pushed north beyond the Cloud Peaks in 361 DR, where they were in turn met by the armies of Cormyr, which marched west and then south into the heart of Tethyr. Although neither the Shoon Imperium nor the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr formally claimed the region north of the Cloud Peaks and west of the Sunset Mountains, their activities leg large waves of settlers into the region.
Since the fall of the Shoon Imperium, Tethyrians have slowly spread throughout the Western Heartlands and north along the Sea of Swords, settling new lands and establishing powerful city-states. One major group of Tethyrians migrated west to the Moonshae Isles in 467 DR, where they intermarried with the native human tribes, known as the Ffolk. Another major wave of Tethyrian migration helped found the kingdom of Phalrom in 523 DR after the fall of the older Illuskan-ruled realms of the Sword Coast North to the ever-worsening orc hordes. The Realm of Three Crowns collapsed in 615 DR in the face of unrelenting attacks by orcs and the withdrawal of elves and dwarves from the alliance. In the aftermath the largely Tethyrian population established Delimbiyran, the Kingdom of Man, in 616 DR. Delimbiyran collapsed in 697 DR after the royal house died out, but lesser successor states continued to occupy the lower Delimibiyr river valley for centuries thereafter. Meanwhile, Tethyrian settlers pushed north along the Dessarin river valley, eventually reaching the cities that now make up the Silver Marches.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Tethyrian history since the collapse of the Shoon Imperium is the utter absence of any large empires in its annals. Even Waterdeep, perhaps the most powerful Tethyrian-dominated city-states, has never attempted to forge a Tethyrian empire.
Tethyrians view life as a struggle to be survived through ties to family, clan, and tribe. To a Tethyrian, freedom is the most precious gift, and the enslavement of another is the greatest sin. Although an individual may guard his or her freedom through skill at arms or the accumulation of wealth and status, these are merely different means to a far more precious end. Loyalty to one’s kin and neighbor and generosity to those in need are considered far more lasting than the fleeting favor of Lady Luck. Although it has been many generations since the majority of Tethyrians dwelt in tribes, the cultural tradition of loyalty to those held dear is as strong as it ever was. Where a Tethyrian lacks kin or clan, his loyalty is transferred to settlement, guild, company, band, or other organization from a young age.
Tethyrians usually take up a life of adventure in hopes of redressing a wrong to family, clan, or tribe, or in search of the freedom to chart their own course in life. Many would-be adventurers are inspired by tale of the legendary Tethyrian heroes of yore, whose exploits have been recounted for generations by traveling bards. A Tethyrian adventurer would rather wield a blade carried by his ancestors than have a new one forged, and would rather spend his last coin on a bard’s tale than a pint of ale.
Bards occupy an honored role in Tethyrian culture, and many aspire to the rank of master bard. Fighters and rogues are common in civilized regions, while rangers flourish among outlaw communities. Clerics and, to a lesser extent, druids are quite common as well, as the intermingling of cultures has produced a great deal of theological strife in centuries past. Wizards and sorcerers are also commonplace, although they rarely work in concert together. Monks and paladins are rare among Tethyrians, as adherence to a code of conduct rarely stands the test of family, clan, and tribal loyalties. Prestige Classes: From their dim origins many centuries ago, the Tethyrians have a dark legacy of shadow magic, so more than a few Tethyrian rogues become shadowdancers. Tethyrian rogues also dominate lands such as Amn and the Western Heartlands, so the guild thief is common as well. The paths of the lore master and archmage are both attractive to Tethyrian wizards. Good-aligned Tethyrian heroes often become Harper scouts, while those native to Cormyr frequently serve as Purple Dragon knights.
Although the cultures of most major human ethnic groups exhibit regional variations, Tethyrian culture exhibits much greater regional variation than most. Tethyrians dwelling in Calimshan, Tethyr, and Amn share much in common with their Calishite neighbors. Similarly, Tethyrians dwelling in the North hold much in common with Illuskan culture, and Tethyrians of the Western Heartlands exhibit many culture traits shared with the Chondathans who dwell to the east.
Nevertheless, Tethyrian culture does exhibit certain unique characteristics. Tethyrians place a high value on personal freedom, and regard kingdoms and empires with a great deal of suspicion. Noble minded rebels are much admired in Tethyrian folklore, ensuring that many common bandits of Tethyrian ancestry refer to themselves as “freedom fighters.” Tethyrians despise class divisions based on heritage, as they have long been subject to prejudice by their Calishite neighbors to the south. However, class divisions based on wealth and personal accomplishment play a strong role in many Tethyrian societies.
Aside from bards, Tethyrians have not traditionally had access to book learning, although those who do are much esteemed by their peers. Childhood is short, with even the youngest children expected to contribute to their family’s way of life. Adults earn their keep practicing the same trade as their parents, and many have the same surname as their profession. Familial, clan, and tribal bonds require that adults look out for one another, so the elderly and those who cannot earn their keep turn to relatives and friends for support. In death, the body is buried quickly and simply. The person is celebrated through stories and songs, their memory preserved and maintained through bardcraft.
Outside Tethyrian-dominated lands, Tethyrians usually form an insular underclass, welcoming of others yet holding themselves apart. Tethyrians have little resistance to adopting local deities, languages, and dialects, but their traditional ties to other Tethyrians serve to isolate them from their non-Tethyrian neighbors. Tethyrians usually organize themselves into extended clans and guilds, dominating one or two trades in the surrounding culture.
Language and Literacy
Most Tethyrians speak Common as their primary language, usually a singsong dialect known as Calant that is heavily influenced by Alzhedo and popular along the Sword Coast. They employ the Thorass alphabet. As Talfir and other languages of the original western tribes vanished long ago, there is no ancestral “Tethyrian” tongue. Instead, Tethyrians have always adopted the languages of the latest wave of immigration. Today, most Tethyrians speak Chondathan, a legacy of the mercantile invasion from the east in recent centuries, although a few speak Illuskan or Alzhedo instead.
All Tethyrian characters are literate except for barbarians, commoners, and warriors.
Tethyrian Magic and Lore
Tethyrians have strong arcane and divine spell casting traditions. Bardcraft is revered, and many master bards are of Tethyrian stock. The varied nature of Tethyrian heritage has produced many sorcerers as well. Likewise, the strong influence of Calishite and Netherese cultural traditions has echoes in the large numbers of Tethyrian wizards, although most learn their craft through a traditional master-apprentice relationship, not by attending a formal school.
Spells and Spellcasting
While their numbers are small in total, both incantatrixes and shadow adepts form a proportionately larger fraction of the Tethyrian spell caster population than in any other human ethnic group. The clash of competing cultures and faiths has given rise to a large number of clerics among the Tethyrian population, and the absence of kingdoms has permitted both druids and rangers to flourish. Spellcasting Tradition: Tethyrians favor spells that shield them against mind-affecting spells, enable one to escape imprisonment, and facilitate travel, including find the path, freedom of movement, Leomund’s tiny hut, nondetection, and whispering wind. The burgeoning reliance on the Shadow Weave across Faerun is reminiscent of a Tethyrian tradition called Talfirian magic, dating back to the reign of Verraketh Talember the Shadowking. Talfirian songs are still known to Tethyrian bards. Unique Spells: Many commonly employed arcane and divine spells were created by Tethyrians, although such achievements are often attributed to other cultures. One spell still little known outside the Tethyrian population is Verraketh’s shadow crown.
Tethyrian Magic Items
Tethyrians favor magic items that facilitate survival when traveling, allow discreet movement, shield against divinations and enchantments, and enable one to escape from captors. Edged weapons are commonly crafted with flaming, keen, and throwing special abilities, while bludgeoning weapons are often given disruption, ghost touch, and holy special abilities, reflecting the ever-present dangers of trolls and the undead hordes that issue forth from countless battlefields in Tethyrian-held lands. Armor is typically crafted with ghost touch, shadow, and silent moves special abilities, gain reflecting the omnipresent threat of undead as well as the long history of Tethyrians employing guerilla tactics against invading armies. Common Magic Items: Hats of disguise, horseshoes of speed, Murlynd’s spoons, rings of mind shielding, and vets of escape. These items are prevalent in Tethyrian lands and can be purchased at a 10% discount in any large city in Tethyr, Amn, or the Western Heartlands. Iconic Magic Items: As Tethyrians have tended to co-opt the magical devices of other cultures rather than invent their own, there are a few magic items unique to Tethyrian culture that are not of Calishite, Chondathan, Illuskan, or Netherese origin. Those that do exist tend to be variations in form of well-known items such as those listed above. Perhaps the most uniquely Tethyrian magic item is the figurine of wondrous power (blue quartz eagle), much favored by Tethyrian caravanners and Tethyrian bandits alike.
The melting pot nature of Tethyrian culture has ensured that most deities of the Faerunian pantheon are venerated in Tethyrian-occupied lands. Tempus is believed to have been a Talfirian deity who defeated the Netherese god Targus (Garagos). Netherese refugees brought with them the faith of Amaunator (reborn as Lathander), Chauntea, Talos, Mystryl (reborn as Mystra), Selune, and Shar. Illuskan invaders introduced worship of Auril, Mielikki, and Oghma. Calishite armies introduced the faiths of Ilmater and Tyr. Chondathan merchants carried with them the teachings of Deneir, Helm, and Waukeen. Newer deities have arisen and been adopted as well, including Cyric, Kelemvor, and Siamorphe. Other deities that enjoy large Tethyrian followings include Eldath, Milil, Shaundakul, and Torm. Six of the most prominent churches in Tethyrian-occupied lands include the faiths of Cyric, Helm, Ilmater, Kelemvor, Oghma, and Siamorphe.
Siamorphe is originally a Tethyrian goddess, worshiped primarily in Waterdeep, Baldur’s Gate, and Tethyr. Her church has waxed and waned in centuries past as waves of idealism and cynicism have swept the nobility, but Siamorphe is currently ascendant. The church of the Divine Right is most popular among the nobility, although Siamorphe is also seen as a guarantor of just rule by many commoners.
Relations with other Races
Tethyrians hold the Proud Peoples (elves and dwarves) in high esteem, bordering on reverence, for Tethyrian folklore contains stories harkening back to the age when their ancestors dwelt in the shadow of the great dwarven and elven empires. In Tethyr, however, where elves and Tethyrians still come into regular contact, the Fair Folk are regarded with a fair degree of suspicion and hostility. Tethyrians get along well with Halflings, reflecting the large number of Small Folk who dwell in Tethyrian-occupied lands and their shared history of migrating northwards along the Sword Coast to escape the grasping reach of Calimshan.
Tethyrians are indifferent with respect to gnomes, paying the Forgotten Folk little heed, even though they dwell in Tethyrian-held lands in relatively large numbers. Tethyrian reactions to tie flings and half-orcs are sharply split. Those Tethyrians who dwell north of the Cloud Peaks and have had to battle innumerable hordes and the devilspawn of Dragonspear Castle despise those with monstrous blood running in their veins, while southern Tethyrians view them in sympathy with the Calishite perspective as simply members of the lower class. Genasai are regarded with suspicion, seen as little better than the genie-worshiping Calishites, but aasimar are often mistaken for elves or half-elves.
Among human cultures, Tethyrians view Illuskans as overly warlike and Chondathans as overly greedy, but they usually get along well with members of both ethnic groups if they live in close proximity. The Mulan are despised as slavers, although that sobriquet is more properly reserved for Thayans. True hatred is reserved for Calishites, an enmity bred from familiarity and the product of centuries of discrimination against and enslavement of the various Tethyrian tribes. Other cultures are largely unknown in Tethyrian-held lands, but human immigrants, no matter how exotic, are usually welcomed and then assimilated within a generation or two.
Through centuries of assimilation, Tethyrians have adopted the best arms, armor, and other equipment of other cultures. As such, the equipment lists found in the Player’s Handbook can be seen as reflecting the Tethyrian norm. Regional variations do exist, with Tethyrians of the South favoring Calishite arms, armor, and equipment, Tethyrians of the North being partial to Illuskan equipment, and Tethyrians dwelling along the western shores of the Sea of Fallen Stars following the lead of Chondathan culture.
Arms and Armor
Despite adapting to local conditions, Tethyrians do share some preferences. Favored weapons include blades of any sort (the bigger, the better--that’s why they call it “the Sword Coast”), lances, maces, and short bows (adopted from the Calishites who adopted them from the elves). Tethyrians wear the heaviest armor practical for a task, which can range from chain shirts and bucklers to spiked chain shirts and bucklers to spiked full plate and a large steel shield. Moreso than most human cultures, Tethyrians have a strong knightly tradition, and the typical Tethyrian soldier is a mounted one.
Animals and Pets
Tethyrians are partial to canines, particularly those bred for herding, hunting, or working. Falcons (treat as hawks) and swamp ferrets (treat as weasels) are commonly employed in hunting and often serve as familiars. Ravens are also favored as pets or familiars, particularly in the vicinity of the High Moor.
Horses are especially prized by Tethyrians as steeds and draft animals; when they go to war, the mounts are as heavily armored as the soldiers. Flying steeds, particularly griffons, hippogriffs, and pegasi, are highly prized as well, and are often available for sale in Irieabor.
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008 16:29:38 GMT -5 by ancientempathy
Post by ancientempathy on Feb 13, 2008 15:38:23 GMT -5
Other Human Ethnic Groups
Faerun is home to dozens of distinct nationalities and ethnicities beyond the so-called major human ethnic groups. Many more peoples have vanished into the mists of time, remembered only by a few scattered ruins, musty scrolls filled with indecipherable writings, or perhaps the legacy of an arcane spell or some forgotten god.
The Bedine are nomads of Anauroch who migrated from Zakhara via a portal shortly after the fall of Netheril in -339 DR and intermingled with a handful of Netherese survivors. The Bedine retained the spoken language of their ancestors, Midani, but lost all knowledge of the written word. Centuries later, traders from the surrounding lands sought them out and introduced the alphabet of Thorass. The Bedine adopted the gods of the Netherese and continue to venerate At’ar (Amaunator, a dead Netherese deity reborn as Lathander), Elah (Selune), Kozah (Talos), N’asr (some say Cyric, some say Kelemvor), Shaundakul (actually Beshaba), and many little gods as well. The Bedine are found primarily in the southern, sandy reaches of Anauroch known as the Sword.
The Jungles of Chult are home to tall, ebony-skinned humans who migrated north to the Chultan peninsula millennia ago from a great island in the southern seas of Abeir-Toril southeast of Maztica and southwest of Zakhara. Two millennia ago, there were many tribes in Chult, although the Chultans and the Eshowe were the most powerful and influential. A bloody way raged between the Chultans and the Eshowe from 1800 years ago to 1500 years ago, ending only after the latter group was wiped out. The Eshowe were destroyed after unleashing a great evil known as the Shadow Giant on their enemies, only to see it turn on them after being repulsed by the Chultan defenders. In the centuries that followed, unchecked by any rivals, the Chultans assimilated most of the remaining tribes of the peninsula into a single Chultan culture, sharing a common language and somewhat uniform social structure.
The Durpari are the relatively short, dark-skinned inhabitants of Durpar, Estagund, Veldorn, and Var the Golden. The Durpari have dwelt along the shores of the Golden water since before the rise of the Imaskari empire. The fall of Imaskar precipitated the fall of the Durpari kingdoms and two millennia of barbarism. During this period, the Mulan of Mulhorand often slaughtered or enslaved the Durpari tribes. In -623 Dr, the first Durpari kingdoms after the fall of Imaskar arose along the shores of the Golden Water, as Mulan influence over the region ebbed in the face of the burgeoning threat from Narfell and Raumathar. With the exception of Estagund, which was briefly conquered by the armies of Dambrath during the reign of Reinhar I in 551 DR, the Durpari have remained independent ever since, trading among themselves and with their neighbors.
The Durpari speak a language of the same name---derived from a mixture of Draconic, Mulhorandi, and Rauric---and employ the Thorass alphabet brought back from the west. The Durpari venerate a small pantheon of deities known collectively as the Adama, and thought to include Selune, Oghma, Gond, Torm, and Waukeen.
The native inhabitants of the Moonshae Isles call themselves the Ffolk, although only faint vestiges of the original human tribes who bore that name still remain. Today, the Ffolk are essentially an isolated group of Tethyrians, descended from a large wave of immigration from the Western Heartlands in 467 DR. The original Ffolk had already conceded the northern Moonshae isles to the Illuskans centuries before the arrival of the Tethyrians, yet the Illuskans are still considered the invaders by the Ffolk.
Unlike their mainland cousins, the Tethyrian Ffolk speak Illuskan, but they still employ the Thorass script. They are governed by a strong druidical tradition.
The Gurs, also known as “Selune’s Children” or “the people of the highway,” are the nomads of the Western Heartlands. Most Gurs are members of extended family groups that travel together from settlement to settlement in motley caravans selling cheap cast-offs and working odd jobs. Others have settled in the poorest quarters of cities such as Baldur’s Gate, Elturel, and Irieabor, where they struggle to survive in the face of ancient prejudices. Among those few scholars who have studied their culture, the Gurs are thought to be primarily of Rashemi descent. Although they have certainly intermingled with members of other ethnic groups, they strongly resemble the natives of Rashemen. As fragments of lore dating back to the erection of the Standing Stone refer to the nomadic Gurs, it is thought that they fled their ancient homeland during or immediately after the cataclysmic battle between Raumathar and Narfell.
During the fall of the ancient empire of Netheril, most of the land’s inhabitants fled west from the spells of the phaerimm, settling the North. But some of Netheril’s folk, led by the archwizard Raumark, fled far to the south by means of great flying ships. Raumark’s followers settled the sheltered basin of Halruaa, intermingling with the small population of native Tashalans in the region. There they founded the wizard-ruled realm of Halruaa, determined not to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors. Traces of Netherese alphabet are strong in Halruaa, including the Draconic alphabet once employed by speakers of Netherese and Loross. The Halruaan tongue is simply a modern dialect of ancient Netherese. However, worship of the Netherese pantheon has gradually involved into the veneration of deities such as Mystra and Azuth, to a much lesser extent Savras, and, recently, Velsharoon.
Early in Halruaa’s history, a small band of dissidents who venerated Leira, goddess of illusions, migrated westward to the distant island of Nimbral. Although the two realms share a love of magic and the Halruaan tongue, interactions between the two peoples are few and far between. The church of Leira was the state religion of Nimbral before the Time of Troubles, but the current state of religious worship in the Land of the Flying Hunt is unknown.
The Imaskari are the legendary inhabitants of the lands now swallowed by the Raurin Desert and the Plains of the Purple Dust. Vilified by the Mulan, the artificers of Imaskar were mighty wizards who built great portals to other worlds in order to carry off thousands of slaves from distant planes. Little is known of the Imaskari, except what the Mulan chose to preserve of their ancient masters. At one point the Imaskari Empire held sway from the Endless Wastes to the Golden Water and from the Alamber Sea to the very frontiers of Kara-Tur. Ruins of tremendous antiquity in the Plains of Purple Dust may be the remains of Imaskari cities.
The Imaskari spoke Roushoum, a precursor of such varied tongues as Durpari, the Rauric family (Chessentan, Mulhorani, and Untheric), Raumvira, and the various Tuigan dialects. The Imaskari alphabet has wholly fallen out of use, and is only found inscribed on a few ancient artifacts and the walls of Imaskari ruins.
The Lantanna inhabit the isles of Lantan, Suj, and Orlil off the northwest coast of the Chultan peninsula. Known for their large green eyes, copper hair, and parchment-colored skin, the Lantanna are rarely encountered outside their native isles except aboard merchant ships. They trade along the shores of the Trackless Sea as far north as Neverwinter, the Shining Sea s far east as Lapaliiya, and the Great Sea as far east as Halruaa. The homeland of most Lantanna is the nation of Lantan, named for the largest island it claims.
Speakers of Lantanese, the Lantanna employ the Draconic alphabet used by most cultures descended from Netheril. As the Lantanna are not believed to be in any way descended from ancient Netheril, some scholars suspect that early Halruaan or Nimbrali traders introduced this alphabet to the Lantanna. The state religion of Lantan is the faith of Gond, and many believe that the Lantanna introduced the Wondermarker into the Faerunian pantheon.
Maztica is a far-off land that lies west of Faerun, beyond even fabled Evermeet. Tethyrian explorers from Amn discovered Maztica just over a decade ago, and Maztican immigrants are now found in very small numbers in Amn, Baldur’s Gate, and Waterdeep. Faerunians lump all inhabitants of Maztica into one group, but in truth there are seven known human ethnicities in that land: the Azuposi, the Dog People, the Green Folk, the Metahel, the Nahopaca, the Nexalans, and the Payits.
The Nexalans are the only group to have journeyed east to Faerun, so all Faerun-dwelling Mazticans are speakers of Nexalan, the language of the nations of Pezelac, Huacli, Kultaka, and Nexal. The Nexalan tongue is written using the Draconic alphabet. Nexalans are relatively tall, with long, lean physiques and beardless, angular faces. Nexalans are generally reddish-bronze of hue.
Descended from the survivors of Narfell’s cataclysmic destruction, the Nars consist of twenty of more nomadic tribes that inhabit the dry grasslands east of the Giantspire Mountains and north of the Rawlinswood. Further details of their history may be found in the descriptions of the Damarans and the Rashemi.
Nars are short and stocky, with darkly tanned skin tones and straight, raven black hair, usually worn to the shoulders. They are some of the finest horsemen in Faerun, and famed breeders of the legendary Nar heavy horse. Although they once spoke Narfelli, a forgotten tongue strongly influenced by Abyssal, the Nars now speak the Damaran tongue common to lands near the Easting Reach as well as a smattering of Common. As most Nars can be considered barbarians, few can read or write, but those that do employ the Dethek runes adopted by speakers of Damaran.
Perhaps the best-known and most influential of the humans who built Faerun’s ancient civilizations were the Netherese of ancient Netheril. Netheril was founded in -3859 DR by dark-haired, fair-skinned humans who dwelt along the shores of the Narrow Sea, a body of water now lost beneath the sands of Anauroch. At its height, Netheril encompassed all the lands now buried beneath Anauroch, with colonies stretching westward to the Trackless Sea, and floating cities high above distant lands. The cities of the Narrow Sea came to be known as Low Netheril, while the civilization of the clouds was known as high Netheril, famous for magic of surpassing power.
Although all Netherese used the Draconic alphabet, the language of Low Netheril, and the commoners of High Netheril was Netherese, while the nobles of High Netheril spoke Loross. Both groups venerated the same pantheon, which included gods such as Amaunator (Lathander), Jannath (Chauntea), Jergal, Kozah (Talos), Moander, Mystryl (Mystra), Selune, Shar, and Targus (Garagos). The clergy were far more influential in Low Netheril than in the arcanists’ soaring cities.
High Netheril collapsed after Karsus destroyed Mystra in -339 DR, and all but four of High Netheril’s ancient floating cities were destroyed. There of those—Anauria, Asram, and Hlondath—were saved by the influence of Mystra and landed safely just west of what are now known as the Desertsedge Mountains, where they founded surface realms of the same names. Asram fell victim to a plague spread by the goddess Talona in -33 DR. Anauria fell to an orc horde in 111 DR, and Hlondath was consumed by the sands of Anauroch and abandoned in 329 DR. Inhabitants of these eastern “Netherese survivor states” eventually migrated south into Cormyr and east into the Moonsea region. Their descendants were largely absorbed into the burgeoning Chondathan culture of the eastern Heartlands and are now accounted as northern Chondathans or Vaasans.
The fall of Low Netheril had less to do with Karsus’s folly and more to do with the ever-encroaching lifedrain spells of the phaerimm. As the pace of desertification increased, starting around -461 DR, most of the inhabitants of Low Netheril gradually migrated westward. Most scholars divide the westward-bound Netherese migrants into two groups. The southwestern group founded realms in the river valleys of the Winding water and the River Chionthar, while the northwestern branch formed isolated city-states scattered across the Savage Frontier. Little evidence of Netherese culture remains among the descendants of either branch, for both groups were later subsumed by immigrants from across the sea to the west (the Illuskans) or by the native tribes of the region (the Tethyrians).
Four small groups of pureblooded Netherese are believed to survive in the present day. The Marsh Drovers of the Farsea Marshes are thought to be descendants of Anauria who were never absorbed by the Chondathan inhabitants of Cormyr. The Tunlar barbarians of the Plains of Tun are believed to be descendants of the Rengarth barbarians (cousins of the Low Netherese) of southern Netheril. The nomadic barbarians of the ride north of the Moonsea are believed to be descendants of the Angardt barbarians of northern Netheril (also cousins of the Low Netherese). Finally, the fourth floating city of High Netheril, known as Shade, survived the fall of Netheril by vanishing into the Plane of Shadow. Shade reappeared in 1372 DR, after generations of warfare with the malaugrym in the shadow-plane. Shade now rests on the northern shore of the Shadow Sea, which was once the Shoal of Thirst.
Descended from the inhabitants of the great empire of Raumathar, the Raumvirans retain little of their former glory. Their history is described under the Damaran and Rashemi ethnic groups.
In the present day, Raumvirans are concentrated along the shores of the Lake of mists and the city of Almorel. Physically, Raumvirans bear a close resemblance to the Rashemi, indicative of centuries of close ties between the two groups. Although taller on average than their western neighbors, the Raumvirans are also generally stout and muscular, with dark eyes and thick black hair. Raumvirans are generally of lighter hue than the Rashemi, evidence of significant Sossrim heritage dating back to the height of their long-fallen empire.
Members of this ethnic group speak Raumvira, a tongue closely related to Rashemi, Dwarven, and a northern dialect of Imaskari. Raumvirans employ an alphabet of Dethek runes taught to them before the founding of Raumathar by the Siremun dwarves of the Firepeaks, a range of mountains to the east of the Lake of Mists.
The grasslands of the Shaar are home to nomadic tribes of long-faced, yellow-skinned humans. Conquered by the armies of Calimshan at the height of the Shoon Empire, the Shaarans of the eastern grasslands reverted to their nomadic ways once the Shoon Empire collapsed, while those who dwelt along the shores of the Shining Sea and the Lake of Steam settled in cities and founded such realms as Lapaliiya and the ever-changing Border Kingdoms. Today, Shaarans are found as far west as Calimshan and as far north as the Vilhon Reach. The inhabitants of Sespech are largely of Shaaran descent, having been brought north to serve in Jhaamdath’s armies centuries ago.
Speakers of Shaaran employ an alphabet of Dethek runes, adopted from the gold dwarf traders of the Great Rift before the rise of the Shoon Empire. If there ever was a Shaaran pantheon, it was long ago subsumed by the more powerful Jhamdaathan and Calishite cultures. Little record exists of Shaaran culture before it was assimilated by its more powerful neighbors, for the Shaarans have long maintained a nomadic way of life and an oral history.
The Shou are but one of many human ethnic groups in far-off Kara-Tur, albeit the most numerous and powerful. Similar in appearance to the Tuigan, they are yellowish-bronze in hue, with black hair and broad, flat features. At its height, the Shou empire extended as far west as the eastern shore of Brightstar Lake. Today, Shou traders are rarely seen west of Semphar, although their emperor has recently established an embassy in Elversult and made use of a ship-size portal that opens somewhere on the Sea of Fallen Stars. The Shou worship a pantheon of deities known as the Celestial Bureaucracy and employ the Draconic alphabet to represent the Shou language.
The Sossrims are the inhabitants of distant Sossal, a frozen land that lies between the Great Glazier and the Great Ice Sea. With skin as pallid as snow and hair with the fine, silver tint of an icicle, the Sossrims have completely adapted to their arctic environment. Sossrims speak Damaran and use the Dethek runes. They are believed to venerate the gods of the Faerunian pantheon, although the worship of relatively benign aspect of Auril seems to be predominant.
During the Orcgate wars, the Sossrims fought in the armies of Mulhorand alongside the Raumvirans and the Rashemi. After the followers of Gruumsh were defeated, the Sossrims retreated to their northern lands, where they established the isolated kingdom of Sossal. The Sossrims briefly fell under the sway of Raumathar at the height of that empire, but they have otherwise retained their independence. Before the retreat of the Great Glazier, Sossrim traders were seen as far south as northern Impiltur, but now they rarely venture beyond Vaasa or the northern reaches of Damara, Narfell, and Rashemen.
Elven writings dating back to the Crown Wars mention a dark-haired, fair-skinned human tribe in the heart of the great forest of Shantel Othreier. The Talfir were the original human inhabitants of the Chionthar river valley in the Western Heartlands. Speakers of Talfiric, a long-lost human tongue based on the Draconic alphabet, the Talfir gradually disappeared over a thousand years ago, their culture overwhelmed by refugees from Low Netheril, Calishite settlers from the south, and Chondathan settlers from the Dragon Coast. Several deities of the Faerunian pantheon are believed to have first been worshiped by the Talfir, including Tempus, who vanquished the Netherese god of war.
The Talfir left little in the way of ruins or artifacts, although Irieabor lies atop the ancient crypt of the Talfir monarch known as Verraketh the Shadowking, who mastered shadow magic. Talis, a ruined city of the Talfir, lies in ruins along the banks of the River Reaching in the depths of the Reaching Woods.
Uncounted thousands of years ago, the human tribes of the Chultan peninsula, now known as the Tashalans, were enslaved by the saurian Creator Race. As with all things, the saurian civilization eventually collapsed and their human slaves won their freedom. However, many members of this black-haired, olive-skinned race took to venerating the snakes they once served, leading to the rise of the yuan-ti. Others, however, turned away from their dark masters, seeking to forge their own realms on the peninsular between the Shining Sea and the Great Sea.
Today Tashalan culture is largely confined to the middle of the Chultan peninsular and the isle of Tharsult. Over the centuries the Chultan tribes drove the Tashalans out of the Jungles of Chult, the Halruaans and Dambrathan drow assimilated the native Tashalan cultures of those lands, and the yuan-ti enslaved those Tashalans who contested their control of the Mhair and Black Jungles. Most Tashalans are natives of Tashalar or the realms of Samarach, Thindol, or Tharsult. Tashalan traders may be found in Calimshan, cities on the shore of the Lake of Steam, and Lapaliiya, as well as Halruaa, Dambrath, and Luiren.
Tashalans speak Tashalan and employ the Dethek alphabet. They venerate both the Faerunian pantheon and the gods of the yuan-ti, with the followers of Talona and Savras being most prominent.
The nomadic tribes of the Endless Wastes and the Quoya Desert are known as the Tuigan, although that name is actually the name of but one of fifteen major tribes who wander the wasteland between Faerun and Kara-Tur, tribal members are yellowish-bronze in hue, with black hair and broad, flat features. Each tribe has its own dialect, derived in varying degrees from the old empires of Shou, Raumvira, and Imaskari, each of which conquered or extended its influence over the Endless Wastes at its height. The tribes of the Endless Wastes adopted the alphabet of Thorass from traders passing eastwards along the Golden Way to Kara-Tur long ago. The tribes are believed to worship Akadi, the elemental deity of air, and Grumbar, the elemental deity of earth, as well as several beast totems (Horse and Tiger).
Since the defeat of the great Tuigan horde in 1360 DR, members of the Tuigan tribe have been found in small numbers in western lands such as Semphar, Thay, Thesk, Narfell, and Rashemen. It is this group of immigrants who are best known to the inhabitants of Faerun.
After their gods precipitated the fall of the Imaskari Empire in -2488 DR, the slave-race known as the Mulan migrated westward to the shores of the Alamber Sea. This migration in turn displaced the native Turami, who were driven westward along the southern coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars until they reached the coastal basin now known as Turmish. Generally tall and muscular, with dark mahogany skin, flat faces, and curly hair, the Turami are the primary inhabitants of Turmish, although they form minority populations in Chessenta, Unther, and Mulhorand as well.
Speakers of Turmic, the Turami adopted the Thorass alphabet from Calishite and Chondathan traders. No historical evidence exists suggesting the existence of a Turami pantheon distinct from the Faerunian pantheon commonly venerated today, although that does not mean that one did not exist. Turmish, the homeland of most Turami, dates back to the founding of Alaghon in -37 DR.
Although the Ulutiuns have long inhabited the polar reaches of Faerun, these short, dark-haired, broad-faced humans with light-brown skin are actually migrants from the northern reaches of Kara-Tur who moved westward across the polar icecap millennia ago. Speakers of Uluik, a tongue that only in recent centuries acquired a written form based on the Thorass alphabet, the Ulutiuns are divided into two major groups.
The Sea of Moving Ice, the Ice Peak, and the Cold Run (as the icy reaches of the northernmost Sword Coast are sometimes known) are home to the Ice Hunters, the westernmost group of Ulutiuns. Believed to predate the arrival of both the Netherese and the Illuskans, the Ice Hunters venerate nature spirits and are led by shamans, not unlike the more warlike Uthgardt tribes and the barbarians of Icewind Dale. In the east, the Great Glacier is home to the majority of Ulutiuns, including the Iulutiuns, the Angulutiuns, and the Nakulutiuns. They favor hide armor and weapons such as battleaxes, garnoks, hand axes, harpoons, iuaks, light picks, nets, ritiiks, shortbows, throwing axes, and tridents.
Vaasans are the descendants of two waves of humanity who settled the Moonsea region. Refugees from the Netherese survivor states of Asram, Anauria, and Hlondath fled east toward the Moonsea to found realms such as Teshar (which was founded in -87 DR and fell in 469 DR) Yulash, and Northkeep (which fell in 400 DR). In later centuries Chondathan immigrants from Sembia, the Dalelands, and the Vast joined the descendants of these early settlements and established the Moonsea city-states of Zhentil Keep, Hulburg, Melvaunt, Mulmaster, Phlan, and Thentia. Vaasa proper was settled from the Moonsea region after the Great Glacier began its retreat, a couple of hundred years ago. While this ethnic group is sometimes referred to as Tesharans, Tharrans, or Yuls, the name of the last land they settled has become the name by which they are most commonly known in other lands.
Vaasans are typically fair to olive-skinned with dark hair and thick beards. They speak Damaran and employ the Dethek alphabet, legacy of long-standing trade ties with the nations of Impiltur and Damara. Vaasans venerate most gods of the Faerunian pantheon, although Bane and, to a lesser extent, Cyric and Auril receive the bulk of their prayers.
Far to the south and east of Faerun, beyond the fabled lands of the Utter East, is Zakhara, the Land of Fate. Zakhara is considered a continent in its own right, not unlike Faerun or Kara-Tur, although all three continents are physically connected. The Lands of Fate is home to the Zakharans, relatively short, brown-skinned, dark-haired humans who speak Midani. Zakharans born in the Land of Fate are rarely seen outside their homeland, although Zakharan traders are not unknown in the southern-most reaches of Faerun. However, at least two groups of Zakharan humans have migrated to Faerun by means of portals and are found in large numbers in the western lands in the form of the Bedine and Calishites.
((This information was quoted from, and can be found in; "Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Accessory: Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun"))
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2008 16:30:34 GMT -5 by ancientempathy
Post by sandcastles on Jun 10, 2011 19:10:41 GMT -5
The Bedine Nomads of the Anauroch
"Enslave the Bedine? They would find it easier to cage the wind." - Bhadla of the D'tarig, From The Parched Sea
"The Bedine are always more concerned with vengeance than with what is wright - and always is far too often for any folk to live long, or live untwisted." - Elminster of Shadowdale Commented in Interview.
"The Bedine do not plan everything out in advance" - Rhua of the Bedine From The Parched Sea
Few in the Realms have even heard of the Bedine of Anauroch. Fewer still know the true nature of Bedine society.
Legends speak of fierce men who dwell in the dry, sun-baked sands of Anauroch, swathed in long robes against the sun. These ruthless men ride camels, force their women to cover their faces, and wage endless war on each other with scimitars, for possession of camels and women (who may change hands hundreds of times in their brief, brutal lives). The Bedine hate magic, and kill all wizards they discover. When they need magical aid, they call on the gods - and often, the gods answer them directly.
More reliable sources (such as sages) tend to believe that Bedine live in nomadic tribes, ruled by rival sheikhs, and that their male-dominated society is warlike, hardened by the harsh desert life. They are experts on living in conditions that swiftly kill those not used to the perils of Anauroch. These Bedine are cruel, backwards people (after all, they choose to live in a harsh desert, and fear and avoid using magic). They dwell in tents, wear loose, flowing robes, and cover their heads against the sun, cover the faces of all the women, herd camels, and butcher each other (and, with even more enthusiasm, any intruders unlucky enough to come within their reach) with scimitars. Except when they are fighting, Bedine move slowly, and are very lazy.
What more can be learned, with the aid of Elminster's library, Harper contacts, and his years of snoop - er, exploring the Realms?
The Nature of the Bedine
An outsider's view of any people is often distorted. This is especially true of the Bedine, for few folk of Faerûn know enough of harsh desert conditions to understand why Bedine are as they are, and do as they do.
Bedine are brown-skinned, proud, warlike humans, who live in a nomadic, tribal existence in the Sword, the hot "sand sea" which makes up the southernmost part of Anauroch. They dwell in tribes who will freely share food and water with those in need, but who otherwise carry on endless, deadly rivalries.
The largest known Bedine tribe is about three hundred men, women, and children strong. There are over a hundred Bedine tribes; some of them have never even heard of each other, let alone seen each other in the vastness of the Great Desert.
Most Bedine have brown eyes, and almost everyone has black or brown hair: blonde hair, blue eyes, and white skin are great rarities, making outsiders or "outlander blood". The apparent laziness of Bedine is due to a practice of wise desert-dwellers: to avoid excessive water loss (sweating) or "the heat-faints" (sun-stroke), never run in the heat of day. To shield themselves from the baking sun, Bedine of both sexes wear loose robes, known as abas, cover their heads, and dwell in tents.
Women of almost all Bedine tribes cover their bodies (except for hands, feet, and eyes), unless they are alone, or with only their husbands, in their tents.
Most Bedine consider honor more important than life. They see much death, and believe the gods measure Bedine by their behavior in life. Among the Bedine, ending a man's life is not considered much different than killing any other animal (save that a man's family may avenge his death, so one must be more prudent in killing).
This pride and ruthlessness is balanced by a pragmatism usually voiced by the harsh tongues and long memories of the elder women of a tribe - an attitude reflected by Ruha, heroine of The Parched Sea, when she says, "You do what you must to survive, and I will do the same." Bedine live in the Mother Desert by choice, and understand little of other lands, or those who come from them. How could other places be better - or different - than the great Mother Desert? Tales of vast stretches of water, of trees so thickly grown that one cannot see through them, stretching for a day's walk or more - all of these may well be purest fancy. If they do exist, they must be the twisted result of magic or the work of evil gods, turning the land into an unnatural state. A place without sand and the fierce heat of At'ar (the sun, worshiped by the Bedine as a goddess) is a strange place, where things are not as they should be, and men who dwell there become perverted and soft. Bedine dealings with outlanders reinforce this belief; the outlanders they encounter tend to be gentle, foolish in judgement and in the ways of the desert, and to trust overmuch in cursed magic.
Something of the character of Bedine can be gleaned by quoting some of their sayings: "A careful warrior will make a wise elder." "It is honorable to help a stranger, but remember that no friend is ever a stranger."The enemy of my enemy is a friend." "If strangers speak with the honeyed tongues of bees beware: their bite may carry the venom of the scorpion." "I would rather die with my enemy's blood on my blade, than live slave." "With Kozah's wind, we drove the enemy before us like gazelles before the lion." A Bedine compliment: "You think like a camel thief."
Rank, Status, and Rule
Bedine live in tribes, ruled by sheikhs. In Bedine society, men rule and dominate. In many tribes, a man may have more than one wife at a time (so long as he can support every woman he claims as his own).
The organization of tribes varies, but most work something like this: the word of the sheikh is law, so long as he stays within fairly strict limits of "tradition," which outline a code of what a Bedine (sheikh or child) can and cannot do.
Important decisions are made by a council of the tribes elders (in practice, these are almost always exclusively male warriors of the tribe, but older women exert much influence on their mates, and their words are often voiced by their husbands in council). There are typically six or so elders, but in a large tribe there may be twice that many. A council, traditionally held in the sheikh's tent and guarded so that women and strangers camped with the tribe cannot get close enough to hear, is usually one long-drawn-out argument.
If the elders cannot decide on a matter, the sheikh's duty is to decide for all. The sheikh's word is law, so long as he breaks none of the important traditions of the Bedine (these rules by which all live include, for example, the requirements that water must be given to the thirsty, and that oaths must be kept). Non-Bedine guests, at the sheikh's option, may be exempt from some Bedine traditions - such as a warriors' challenge: a fight to the death over possession of a woman.
The sheikh's ultimate threat to secure obedience to his will is banishment from the tribe. If a sheikh uses this unwisely, the tribe will dissolve, as all who disagree with him leave. More than one sheikh has been left alone (or accompanied only by family members or a few loyal retainers) after judging the extend of his authority or the wisdom of his judgements. A good sheikh always thinks first of the welfare of the tribe - but that phrase has been the refuge of many a foolish, indecisive, or overcautious sheikh, down the long, dry desert years.
Most sheikhs function as generals in battle, directing their warriors from a vantage point, or from the rear, or in the center of their forces - but many have been known to lead charges (often dying in the process, as every enemy warrior wants to be the first to slay a rival sheikh, and risks all to bring down the enemy).
For men, success in Bedine society is measured in honor (battle-prowess), and wealth is measured in camels - or wives. A woman's status is linked to that of her husband, augmented by any additional influences she may have in the decisions of a tribe due to special regard for her, or for knowledge she possesses. For example, a woman who has fought well as a warrior will be regarded more highly by male warriors than other women; a woman who carries the memories and desert experiences of great age is given more respect than even the most desirable young woman of the tribe - and a sheikh facing a beast that he has never seen, or a problem he has never faced, will defer to the judgement of any woman of the tribe who knows more about the matter at hand.
Bedine Dealings with Others
The Bedine are concerned with survival; their daily existence is a long struggle with the desert, with a Bedine victory being a chance to see the sun rise over the desert tomorrow.
Most Bedine know that Anauroch is vast indeed, and gives way in the north to a land of hard-baked earth and wind-scourged stone. used to desert ways and life, they believe that this Stone Sea is more lifeless and desolate than the sands of the Sword. Few Bedine have ever ventured far into it - and even fewer have seen the world outside the desert: the Lands of Many, Many Men, and Savage Beasts. Bedine know that such a place exists, because the various light-skinned and strangely-garbed intruders must come from somewhere - but most Bedine would flatly deny that any land is water-rich enough that people could always dwell in one spot, farm crops from the land as well as pasture animals, have enough water to waste it in ornamental fountains or to bathe freely, live amongst trees so plentiful as to block one's sight - or could be as numerous as the intruders say; if hundreds of Bedine ever lived crowded together in a space as big as a large dune, they would soon all perish for lack of food and water - or slay each other in desperate bids to gain these necessities for themselves.
Bedine tend to judge other lands by the outlanders who have come to Anauroch - who tend to be desperate outlaws or reckless adventurers, schemers with plans of their own for the Bedine (such as the ruthless Zhentarim and the grasping D'tarig), or lost and feeble madmen. Few of these berrani know all that much of desert ways, and few impress the Bedine. It is not surprising that few Bedine think much of the world beyond Anauroch's sands, or want to see more of it.
Among Bedine who have not fought them, or detected their magic yet, the Zhentarim or "Black Robes" are considered rich, polite, very useful merchants: traders who always seem to have just the things that the Bedine need most. More than one Bedine sheikh has acquired a magnificent scimitar as a gift from a Zhentarim "lord": a magic weapon that will influence him to evil ways, or even allow a Zhentarim mage to directly guide his actions through mind-altering magic.
The Zhentarim have spent much time, and many lives, in pursuit of the goal of establishing a trade route across the desert, either with Bedine aid, or with the Bedine exterminated or serving Zhentarim masters. (They have been countered by a few brave Harpers and the meddling archmages of Faerûn, such as Elminster of Shadowdale, The Simbul of Aglarond, Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun of Waterdeep, Vangerdahast of Cormyr, and the like.) It is a measure of the stubbornness and savage strength of the Bedine that the magically-aided Zhentarim, working against a people largely without magic of their own, have not yet succeeded in making Anauroch their own.
In turn, the Bedine tribes have never gathered enough strength to menace Cormyr, the Dales, Hill's Edge, and other lands settlements within their reach because they are always fighting among themselves, and because of the harsh desert winters.
Each winter, when the Snowwings (great, howling fall snowstorms) come, every tribe has to invade one of the Subterranean "buried kingdoms," or perish before the fury of winter. Most of these subterranean areas have inhabitants already, or contain predators who are waiting for the expected arrival of mobile food (the Bedines).
Every year, the Bedine must fight these monsters - beholders and worse! - for shelter, or perish. With death at their backs, they succeed more often than not, but the endless warfare saps their strength.
Bedine speak of men they have no respect for as "jackals," and especially despise smooth tongued, deceitful tricksters or dishonest traders: "jackals with tongues of sugared water." They see enemies among other Bedine tribes as often as among outlanders - and it seems very unlikely that an "oversheikh" or "emir" would ever arise to unite more than a half-dozen tribes. Most tribal army gatherings (as opposed to temporary alliances, or non-aggression-pact friendships) have been made in response to specific "outside" threats, such as Zhentarim-lead or lamia attacks, laerti invasions, and the like.
Bedine privately consider outlanders to be strange in their ways, sometimes dangerous, but at heart weaker than Bedine. As a result, they give non-Bedine a chance to surrender where they would not expect a Bedine to do so; men who have no honor cannot lose it. At the same time, Bedine tend to keep an open mind; an outlander can acquire honor in their eyes by his words and deeds.
The Noadic Existence
Very few places in the Sword are verdant enough to support permanent residents - and the few places that are (such as the oasis of Elah'zad) tend to be held sacred by all Bedine, and the property of no single tribe. Safety is another reason for the nomadic Bedine existence: a tribe that is always in one place can easily be attacked by rival tribes or by predators, who always know exactly where to find them.
A Bedine camp at peace is generally a circle of tents, their entrances facing inward. (A few tribes, such as the Ruwaldi, pitch their tents in a series of parallel rows, the mouths facing inward, to confront each other across a narrow corridor. They believe this more orderly arrangement is more secure.) In all cases, a Bedine camp is a guarded stronghold against desert perils, such as predatory monsters and rival tribes.
In a peaceful camp, the youngest children run about between the tents or wrestle within the circle. The older girls watch them, or help their mothers spin camel's wool, repair carpets, boots, and robes, and do other domestic work - such as gathering camel-dung (consisting almost entirely of very dry plant fivers), which is shaped into patties, and later lit with flint and steel and little tinder, such as torn cloth, to make cooking-fires. Visitors are welcomed by the women whistling from beneath their veils; this sound also serves to alert everyone in the circle that intruders have arrived.
Young boys practice fighting, stalking, or caring for weapons. Older boys hunt for desert game and scout outside the camp, learning landmarks and watching for intruders.
The men take turns keeping watch, posted all around the encampment, well outside. They carry warning horns to signal danger or their need for aid, and need not be within sight of each other or the camp. Warriors not on watch practice with their weapons, attend to the sheikh and elders, and act as go betweens, running messages, reports, and comments between the sheikh's tent, the tents of waiting warriors, and those keeping watch. The "waiting warriors" (those sleeping after watch, or too sick or wounded to serve on watch, or merely "extras" not needed at present for such duties) may spend their time in gambling, chatter, and tale-spinning, but they are ready to act as needed, to defend the camp, hunt for game, or carry orders.
A typical Bedine tent is conical, made up of thick-woven camel hair, and is held up by wooden tentpoles, with (if the owner is wealthy enough) one or more additional "fly" pieces erected over it, to shade and cool the tent as much as possible, and to deflect blown sand from the tent itself. These extra tent sheets are called "flies" by most merchants of Faerûn, but are known as rihba'ids ("wind=aways") to Bedine. Tents are usually dyed with henna, rubbed coffee-grounds, or other juices, and may be decorated with patterns or (rarely) with tribal symbols.
A tent has a ground-carpet (a sheikh's is very richly colored), to keep as much sand as possible out of everything. Tents are encircled by nabat-shef-habls ("Plant-sword-ropes"), or thorn-girdles. A thorn-girdle is made of thorns, sharp bones, metal scraps too rusty to use, glass shards, sharp twigs, and the like, woven into a string of vines, cloth scraps, or rope. It is put all around the inside of a tent, to keep out scorpions, snakes, and other small desert wanderers.
Inside a Bedine tent, one generally finds cushions to recline and sleep on, blankets, a low table *used while sitting, kneeling, or reclining), and several packs. Most Bedine women set up their ground-looms and get out their cooking pots at every opportunity. Weapons and garments are hung from hooks on the tentpoles - the garments high up or around the edges of the tent, and the weapons within easy reach and near the center.
Most Bedine sleeping tents are triangular in floorplan, the overlapping swen "skins" of each tent held up by three upright corner poles, linked by a triangle of floor-poles (to which the ground-carpet is hooked, lashed, or pegged) and another triangle of ceiling-poles.
Blankets and garments are sometimes hung to create viewblock "walls" within a tent, to permit some privacy, or to conceal belongings or disorder from visitors. Folk of more than one family (such as a group of unmarried warriors) who are sharing shelter typically sleep six to a tent, their sleeping-carpets in a rough circle with their heads at the center, using kerabiches as pillows.
The most precious belongings in any tent are the skins of milk and water hanging from the poles in the center of the tent. When the Bedine are camped at an oasis with a pool or stream of water, as many skins as possible are submerged, to keep them cook and make the skins themselves thoroughly damp (so as to stay supple, unwithered, and resistant to punctures, a while longer).
Even in summer, nights can be cold. Bedine who lack a tent or time to safely erect one (for example, when raiding another tribe) customarily dig out a little room, walled and roofed with their shields, in a dune. This sleeping-shelter is known as an asan-shurr, or "sand-shelter". In contrast to the simple sand-shelter is the grand tent of a sheikh. A rich sheikh has a large pavilion, usually made of blonde camel's woo. It has several "rooms" separated from each other by tapestries, so that a council can be held in one, cooking can go on in another, and women can meet in a third, with yet another used for storage, another for dressing and wardrobe, and another for private one-to-one discussions, separate from the larger council.
When necessary, a tent is illuminated by butter-lamps, which provide a dim, flickering light. Rich Bedine may tint or scent their lamps with oils, perfumes, and the like, or even have tinted, shutter glass oil lamps, used for special occasions. A sheikh holding a feast may even have a central smoke-hole open in the roof of his tent, and roast the meat for the feast in a hearth under it, inside the tent. This is a common way for one sheikh to entertain another, when tribes meet in friendly circumstances.
A Bedine encampment is lit by campfires by nigth. Each campfire resembles a "star" of branches, the fire burning at the center; as they burn away, the branches are carefully pushed inward, towards the center. Those planning to sneak up on an encamped Bedine tribe are warned that the sentries are posted well outside the reach of the firelight, where they can be part of the night, and not targets outlined by the light or blinded by it.
When Bedine are searching for someone after dark, or an attack is underway, they use torches. These are long, resin-coated branches, deliberately placed to project from the star shaped campfires, to give an easy handhold, and to keep them from burning away too quickly.
Pulled out, they are used to give light, and thrown as weapons against robed attackers. If their light endangers their wielders, torches are quickly smothered by burying the blazing ends in sand.
Bedine campfires must be constantly tended to prevent their going out, but this is better than wasting any more precious wood than is absolutely necessary. If a fire is left untended during a battle, it often burns outward until all that is left is a circle of ash, encircled by a ring of smouldering woody ends.
Bedine keep camels (the most important desert animal to them) and splay-footed sand-running dogs. Bedine dogs fight off jackals and snakes, warn of intruders with their keen noses and loud barking, and help herd camels; they are not regarded as pets.
Bedine have little medicine (and no magical healing, thanks to their discomfort with magic in general). Their lack of dentistry and hard lives makes many of them toothless in middle ages and elder years.
There are too few pages in this book to explore all the complex, half-remembered Bedine customs, which often vary from tribe to tribe, so this section presents a handful of common Bedine customs likely to be used or important in play.
The first custom to affect visitors to a tribe are those surrounding the treatment of guests. Only a sheikh can offer strangers full guest-right, which includes the right to sleep within the tribe's encampment. Guests are asked to share black tea or (if they are honored, and it is the evening) hot salted coffee. A Bedine typically makes such drink in a battered, blackened pot (metal is scarce; such a thing might cost as much as two camels), and serves it in a carved wooden cup; a sheikh may serve drinks to honored guests in silver cups.
In early evening, when the sun is down, Bedine men like to sing ballads to the accompaniment of their plucked rebabas, sitting outside their tents in small groups, while their wives serve them hot, salted coffee.
Bedine do not express gratitude for food and water. They regard these two essentials as the property of whoever needs them at the time. To "civilized" outlanders, this may seem a strangely charitable custom for a people who think it praiseworthy to kill a man in order to steal his camel.
Honor dictates that the sheikh banish or execute anyone who assaults his guests (unless the assault is justified by another Bedine custom or tradition - such as a warrior attacking a guest who tries to use magic against the sheikh).
Any warrior f a tribe has the right to enter the sheikh's tent without announcement. Women and guests do not, unless bidden to do so by a warrior.
Only men can welcome guests to a tent. The traditional greeting is: "Has somebody come to my khreima in need of help?" Wives must remain silent; if they are alone, and another man asks for entry, most women sing one of the traditional Bedine songs, to signal that the husband is not present - and, if they wish )by choice of song and lyrics), to tell the man outside if he is welcome to enter, or not, what is happening within, or where the husband is and what he is doing.
Angry, sly, or hostile Bedine women may comment aloud (pretending that they cannot heard by the man outside) on what they or their husbands are doing, or about strangers or unwelcome guests who come calling, or something of the sort - without ever acknowledging or directly replying to the person outside the tent. If they are unmarried, it is permissible for them to call, "Is there someone at my door?" Bedine women wear the veil from puberty (or in some cases, earlier), and once veiled, are not supposed to come close to men of another family, even when riding camels; such behavior is considered "brazen". Men however, are free to approach women closely, although an unwelcome advance causes anger on the part of the woman's family. A woman should not speak to a man of another family without either several other men present, or in the hearing of a man of her own family; unrelated men and women should not have secret conversations together.
It is common for cousins and more distant relatives to marry each other. Both women and their fathers have a veto over marriage choices in most Bedine tribes, and women seldom have any chance to get to know men of other families. Families already related by marriage are likely to be friendlier together, giving men more opportunities to court women.
Fathers typically arrange matches for their daughters. Bedine men who court women without the approval of the family are usually challenged by men of the woman's family. The fight is to the death; the winner gets the women (or retains possession of her as a free woman, in her own family). When a match is made, the husband-t0-be (or his father or tribe) pays a bride-price to the father, typically in camels. There is a wedding feast, at which the couple drinks together from a marriage cup filled with honeyed camel milk by the groom's father.
This system often results in stormy marriages, where the husband and wife only really get to know each other after they are wed. There is a "honeymoon" period after marriage know as purdah, in which the new bridge is confined to her husband's tent. She is forbidden to speak directly to any man except her husband, and must stay in the tent unless brought fourth by her husband, or at the orders of the sheikh (conveyed through elder women of the tribe), but the custom probably arose to stop frightened bridges from trying to flee back to their fathers' tribes.
A Bedine man is obligated to care for a dead brother's wife for two years, after which time he has the choice of sending her away or marrying her himself.
Aside from the requirements of both personal and family honor (such as caring for a brother's widow), Bedine men have far more personal freedom than their women - when they aren't scrambling to obey the orders of the sheikh, as warriors must. Although many men resent the orders of sheikhs who are foolish, or confused by age, only veterans dare to question orders - the younger men gain rank within the tribe only through eager obedience and splendid battle-performance, and find hesitating over orders hard, as it goes against their childhood training.
Boys are trained to obey orders, use weapons, and learn the ways of the desert as soon as they are old enough to understand what is happening around them. They are schooled to fight, and fight well. Even young boys are taken on raids, expected to stand watch (with a veteran warrior, as his message-runner), and to help in any fight when the tribe is attacked, usually by protecting the camels and the women. After a boy kills his first man, he undertakes a solitary camel raid on another tribe, the el a'sarad, as a rite of passage.
Bedine are sometimes labelled "superstitious" by outlanders. They ascribe storms, disasters, and all strange happenings, as well as everyday desert conditions to the whims and stills of the gods.
The Bedine gods are detailed in "The Gods of Anauroch" chapter, (in the deities section) and are worshiped by prayer, ritual sacrifices (usually of camels), and by obedience to what the Bedine know is favored behavior. The Bedine tribes have "holy men," wise in the lore of the gods and at interpreting divine will through natural signs, but they are no Bedine spell-wielding priests. The Bedine are so concerned with daily survival that they have no time for divine aims and precepts; their relationships with the gods is generally one of fear and appeasement.
Most Bedine have seen too much hardship and death to be anything other than fatalistic towards the gods - and even if one avoids the wrath of the gods, there are always the djinn. The djinn are feared as evil spirits who roam Anauroch, and who have the power to shape-shift or turn invisible, move with uncanny silence, cast dangerous spells, and devour living men even as jackals will fall on a dead or badly wounded one.
Djinn are evil, but they are not always cruel or predictable; they may aid one person on a whim, or merely cause "impossible" things to occur in a sort of entertaining chaos, to stir things up for their own amusement. This makes appeasing a djinni impossible, and avoiding crossing them in an encounter a matter of luck - and rather short luck, at that.
The Bedine tend to respect, but not fear, most desert predators. Those that they are afraid of include lamia, laertis (whom they call asabis or "the Evil Ones Below,") a fell, magic-using race that most Bedine know only as a name - and the reason why, they are told in childhood, they must never dig too deeply. These are the Phaerimm, but their true name and powers are unknown to all Bedine alive today.
Perhaps through unconsciously resisting the mind-influencing spells of the buried Phaerimm for many generations, Bedine loath the very thought of slavery, and tend to fight on in helpless situations, preferring to die with honor rather than suffer the shame of defeat. It is not unknown for such bravery to be admired by rivals; an elder warrior of a tribe, or a sheikh, may offer an embattled rival the chance to become one of the tribe - a warrior with the same rights and duties as all others.
It is dishonorable to beg for this - but not at all shameful to agree, if it is offered. The embattled one kisses whatever weapon he or she bears (his open hand, if he has no weapon), and lays it at the feet of the sheikh, who kisses the embattled one's forehead, offers him wine, and into it introduces a few drops of blood from them both. They share the cup together, and the embattled one is thereby considered a new member of the tribe. He is now duty-bound to fight those of his former tribe to the death, and is not well regarded by anyone if he changes alliances again (ways of achieving this with honor include being the last survivor of the new tribe, free to take up with anyone, or in convincing members of the tribe one wishes to rejoin that one was persuaded to join the new tribe through "evil magic").
Bedine fear magic, and shun or cast out "witches" who wield it. Beyond small, useful or healing effects ("the favor of the gods"), magic is regarded as treacherous against friends and wielders, and a dishonorable weapon to use against enemies. Even the most fearless Bedine are wary of those who can work magic, either by spell or item. A being must be insane, very brave, or very evil, to touch or even willingly draw near a magical item.
Most Bedine want to become rich and acquire much honor, have many descendants, and perhaps to discover a rich oasis, found a tribe, or become a sheikh. These aims usually fade into the background in the daily struggle to survive - and the aim of most Bedine, in the end, is to die honorably, or to be respected and cared for, in old age. Few Bedine want to leave the desert, although there is the occasional one who wants to explore to the ends of the earth.
Some Bedine women want more independence, and there are rumored to be all-female, or female-dominated, Bedine tribes (these rumors are true; the Shaara and the Liithai are tribes of female warriors, who subjugate men and herd camels - but these tribes are small, isolated in the northern Sword, and remain mere talk to most Bedine).
Although love is a luxury in Bedine society, many Bedine are romantics at heart, and dream of the perfect passion between a man and a woman "made for each other by the gods," who will share a splendid life in the desert together.
Bedine have few days dedicated to the gods, but some tribes hold annual feasts to commemorate great battles, or the founding of the tribe, or the birthday or anniversary of ascension of the current sheikh.
When Bedine die, their relatives bathe them, sacrificing precious water so that the deceased can meet the gods cleansed and at peace. Bodies are stripped of useful gear, and buried deeply, with rocks atop them if possible. Enemies and non-Bedine are simply left for the vultures.
Sugar + Spice + [everything]Nice Illusionist.Waitress.Scholar.Student
"The fine line between valuing traditions and social slavery is marked by an individuals right for freedom of choice without prejudice."
Post by sandcastles on Jun 10, 2011 19:11:12 GMT -5
Continued from previous post
Everyday Bedine fare consists of camel-milk, a handful of bitterleaf grass, and "sand stew," a slow-cooked broth of palm-leaves , sand-grass roots, desert lizards and bats. Onionlike root tubers are also dug up from the sand and eaten.
Meat of any sort is a delicacy. Roast hare and figs is a fine meal; a gazelle buck basted in honey and spices is a rare feast. Apricots and milk are another "special meal." Camel-milk and water are carried in skins; butter travels in tubes made of dried lizard skins. Bedine women prize their cooking pots - which they clean by scouring with sand - highly. To give a Bedine woman a new, strong pot is to bestow on her a great gift.
Garb and Adornment
Burnooses (hooded cloaks) are not unknown in the desert, nor are turbans, but most Bedine cover their heads with flowing head-scarves (keffiyehs), held on by brow-bands. Bedine can tell the tribe of another Bedine by the color and pattern of his keffiyeh, which may for example have red and white checks, green stripes, blue lightning-flashes, lines of red spots, or be solid brown or black.
There are exceptions to this "norm" : some northerly Bedine tribes wear trousers, loose shirts, and vests, not abas. There are even Bedine tribes (who dwell in the eastern central stretches of the Sword) whose men wear turbans and cover their faces with scarves, and whose women go without veils.
Many Bedine wear their wealth as finger rings, or jewels adorning their sword scabbards (to a nomad, wealth that is not portable is worthless).
Bedine have no way to forge or refine metal, and must trade frankincense and myrrh (both tree gums) to get it. Metal is therefore valued highly - even a rusted, useless pot may be fashioned into an ornamental necklace of medallions.
Bedine women of some tribes tattoo their cheeks for personal adornment, or paint their hands and cheeks with henna. Many use frankincense as perfume. Its sweet odor can pervade entire tents on festive occasions when a few grains of powdered frankincense are cast on a fire or lamp-flame.
Skilled Bedine dye or paint themselves and the cloth of their clothing and tents; some make "sand-pebble-scenes," usually when telling tales.
Bedine preserve much of their tribal lore in songs that are chanted together. Some of these tunes are eerie and mournful, telling of the dead, lost love, or disaster; there are also war-songs and feast-songs (such as )Tlinlyn, Fool of the Desert") full of jokes and rollicking choruses that all join in on.
Slaves are not kept by the Bedine - to become a slave is regarded as a "fate worse than death" by Bedine. Bedine take pleasure in slaying out-landers whom they know to be slavers. Freed slaves are left to wander in the desert, or - if they fight well - are offered a place in the tribe. time the Bedine travel near the edge of Anauroch (for example, to trade with the D'tarig). Such "guests" of the tribe are expected to work for their food by carrying packs of belongings when the tribe is traveling, for example.
Those who are obviously unhappy, or who are a burden to the tribe, are cast out the next time the Bedine travel near the edge of Anauroch (for example, to trade with the D'tarig). Such "guests" of the tribe are expected to work for their food by carrying packs of belongings when the tribe is traveling, for example.
Magic and the Bedine
No tribe of the Bedine has abided magic in all the generations (there have been at least twelve, and probably many more, but the Bedine have lost count) since the Scattering.
Bedine myth holds that there were once Three Ancient Tribes of Bedine. The sheikhs of these three tribes dreamed of ruling all the people, and so they had their sorcerers summon N'asr's djinn to make war upon each other.
The war destroyed the land and gave birth to Anauroch. It took the gods themselves to set the world right again, and some of them died before the carnage could be stopped. The surviving gods scattered the Three Tribes to the corners of the world and forbade them ever to use magic again.
That is why the Bedine think ill of any who use magic. Any member of a tribe caught working magic must leave the tribe; honored guests must leave the tribe's encampment.
Even if a user-of-magic aids a tribe, tradition is clear: witches and sorcerers are to be outcasts. If they are consorted with, the gods will surely deliver the Bedine who do so into defeat and slavery. Magic is for the gods, not men.
Bedine women, in particular, are feared if they wield magic - men rightly see them as a threat to the "peace of the tribe" (i.e., the status quo social order, with men on top). As "witches," they are driven out of the tribe to make their own way in the desert. The desert is expected to kill them; they are not expected to flourish alone, nor to someday return to work vengeance on those who cast them out.
This seemingly unlikely survival happens all too often; many a sheikh sends his best warriors out soon after a witch has been driven forth, to hunt her down and kill her before her night raids and food thefts cause his fearful tribe to question his decision or his competence to rule. (Typically a witch who is stalking a tribe attacks one tent a night, slaying its inhabitants with magic, and taking what goods can be had.) There are many tales of a "shunned women" taking revenge on those who harmed them or drove them out - and Bedine always keep watch for the "lurking magic" of bitter, insane, or desperate "witches and wizards of the sand" (Bedine cast out for using magic).
Bedine mages employ a strange mixture of spells gained from intruders and developed for desert needs. To avoid being cast out, Bedine mages try to conceal any magical powers they may have, often sewing their written spells (the runes burned or scratched into scraps of hide) into their abas, between two lairs of cloth.
Most well-made abas are reversible, with a darker side, for night concealment, and a lighter, dun-colored side, for use by day. Scraps of hide or cloth are sewn into high-stress areas (elbows, cuffs, and shoulder-yokes) for extra thickness and durability - and all but the finest [i[abas[/i] have been patched and mended a few times - so a spell or six can be readily hidden by any Bedine skillful with a bone needle in this way.
A Bedine mage openly casts spells only to avoid certain death, or when death seems inevitable. In all other cases, magic is worked "on the sly," so that results can be attributed to the capriciousness of a djinni, the aid of the gods, or some other explanation.
As always with the Bedine, there are exceptions to this abhorrence of magic. There are tribes whose sheikhs have come to tolerate magic; tribes who have found magical weapons and items uncovered by the sands, and see no wrong in using these "gifts of the gods" so long as they don't cast spells and seek to learn magic; and bands of Bedine wizards, such as the Asheira ("Shunned Ones").
Bedine use scimitars, daggers, lances and arrows (all of which may they may employ from camel-back) in their struggles against each other and other desert predators. Desert wind and heat shimmer (by day) and poor visibility (by night) limit the usefulness of archery at long range; most combat is decided at swords' points. Most fighting occurs at night - not only does darkness allow attackers some concealment, but the lack of a blazing sun makes it more likely that anyone can survive the exertions of combat. Battle is usually marked by loud battle-cries; raiding is usually silent and deadly. The use of magic is frowned upon, even in battle.
Most fighting between Bedine tribes occurs when one tribe tries to raid another, to seize camels, wives, and food and other goods. This typically occurs in the coolness and concealment of night, and although there is something in the practice of recreation and even (for younger, hurt, or low-status Bedine) of "proving one's manhood," it is often a matter of desperate necessity: a tribe must take the food and water it needs, or perish.
"Waterless summers" (droughts) are all too common in the Sword. Settlements outside the desert but near enough to be reached, and weak enough for Bedine tribesmen to successfully raid, are nonexistent. So one Bedine tribe must attack another. Although most Bedine accept raiding as inevitable, years of bitter fighting between certain rival tribes have built up feuds that may cause battle at any time, whenever a tribesman of either side encounters the other.
The only reason that all the Bedine tribes are not constantly at each other's throats in an unending desert war is because of the custom of paying a blood price for any Bedine slain by friendly or allied tribes - a price, in camels and goods, or in the life of the murderer, given up to the other tribe - too high for most Bedine to want to pay.
Many Bedine have perished in hopeless fights they enter knowing death cna be escaped only by some miracle. They go in, and die in vain, because it is a matter of honor for the entire tribe. This bravery makes them deadly foes - but is also foolishness that allows non-Bedine opponents, such as the Zhentarium, to lead the Bedine into disaster and defeat, over and over again, once they have learned how the Bedine think and act.
Bedine Names and Language
Names Bedine do not use surnames; if there is a possibility of confusion between two individuals of the same tribe, who share the same name, nickname, "son of" or "wife of" designation is added to one's name by the elders, in everyday speech - or if two people concerned are of greatly differing ages, "the Yong" and "the Old" may also be used.
A Few Words in Uloushinn The Bedine tongue, called "Uloushinn" by sages (a form of Midani), though the Bedine themselves seem to have no name for it, is old, and boasts a large vocabulary. A few words are given here, for the use of "spicing up" the speech of Bedine. This is not a grammatical guide to Uloushinn.
[/size]. Fadda: Silver. Fagr: Dawn, day-brake. Fahim: Understand. Fakha: Fruit. Fulquu: Above. Gab: Bring. Gazma (plural gizam): Boot. Gedid: New. Gemel (plural gimal): Camel. Ghani: Rich. Ghashim: Foolish. Ghazal (plural ghozlan): Gazelle. Gooud (plural goouds): Mature Camle (not to be used to describe any other short of camel: means a full-grown, trained riding variety, the 'top quality' animal). Gu'an: Hungry. Habib: Bad. Habl: Rope, tether. Haddad: Bring (a person). Hagar: Stone. Haouadjejs: Elaborately decorated box shaped camel-litters (used only by the wealthiest Bedine families for their women and baggage to travel in relative comfort). Haram: Forbidden. Harr: Hot (to be). Hat: Give (to me). Heya: Up (also "get up"). Hiram (plural ihrima): Blanket. Ibn awa: Jackal. Ibn Haram: Rascal (son of thieves). Ibriq: Jug. Ihteres: Be careful. Ila: To. Inzil: Dismount get (or go) down (from there). Jambiya: A curved, double-edged dagger, worn in a belt scabbard by both sexes (customarily the only weapon of a woman). Jellaba: A "night cloak", or heavy camel's wool robe worn by Bedine over their abas. Kalam: Talk. Kasar: Break (kesser: broke; kessrin: broken). Kebir: Large. Keffiyeh (plural: keffiyehs): a head-cloth (usually white to soak up as little of the sun's heat as possible; worn by Bedine when outside their tents). Khabbir: Tell. Khowwan (plural khowwans): Tribe; "people of". Khreima: Home (tent). Kitab (plural kutub): Book. Ksur: Fortress. Kuerabiche: A shoulder-sack or carry-sack of hide or heavy woven camel hair (large enough to carry a water skin and some food). Lahaq: Overtake, catach. Laqa: Meet. Leben: Camel Milk. Leben-gemel: Milk-camel (she camel). Lebenla: Milk not from a camel. Lel: Night. Ma': Go. Mamlaha: A small,flat-bottomed valley left when a lake dries up. Maessa: Evening. Marid: Ill. Ma: Die. Matar: Ram. Meyit: Dead. Min: From. Misik: Seize. Mot: Death. Mova: Water. Nabat: Plant. Nar: Fire, light. Negm: Star. [li]Osbur: Stop. Qadim: Old. Qafal: Shut. Qahwa: Coffee. Qam: Begin. Qarib: Near. Qasir: Short. Qawi: Strong. Rasal: Send. Rebab (plural rebabs): Plucked (stringed) Bedine musical instrument, resembling a lute (with a long, thin, triangular shaped body). Rih: Wind. Sa'al: Ask (a question). Safr: Copper. Saham: Friend. Salam: Safe (to be). Salla: Basket, container. Sanduq: Box. Saraf: Waste. Sed: Hunt, hunting. Shef: Sword (other than scimitar). Shemal: To the left, on your left. Sheta: Winter. Shugl: Task, business. Shurr: (shifting or loose) Sand. Sirrag: Lamp. Tabbakh: Cook. Ta'ala: Come. Talab: Seek, search, ask for. Tariq: Road, path, or known route. Tayyib-Kher: Good. Tefaddal: Please (teffadil: pleased). Tu'ban: Snake. Turab: Dust. Ulugarr: Outlander (intruder, elf, or other being from outside the desert). Ulutarr: Banished or outcast one. Uskut: Be silent. Wadi: Dry wash or gulch. Wuish: Face. Yalla: Go quickly. Yed: Hand. Yemin: on the right, to your right. Zaba: Grave. Zad: House (temple of a god or goddess) or inhabited building. Zahg: Husband. Zahgat: Wife. Zoba'a: Storm. [/ul]
A Few Handy Phrases:
Betefattish ala ey? : What are you looking for?
Betefattish ala ev? : What are you arguing about?
El-moya kulle yom betin-qus : The water gets less every day.
Esh el-kalam da? : What is the meaning of this?
Esh te'mal? : What are you doing?
Fahimtush entu kelami? : Do you understand what I said?
Hatuh hena : Bring him here.
Ibqu tesduqu : Speak the truth.
Ma tes'alnish : Do not ask.
Ma teshrab min el-moya da : Do not drink of this water.
Sallim nefsek irmi silabeck : Surrender. Lay down your arms.
Sugar + Spice + [everything]Nice Illusionist.Waitress.Scholar.Student
"The fine line between valuing traditions and social slavery is marked by an individuals right for freedom of choice without prejudice."
Post by sandcastles on Jul 6, 2011 21:43:54 GMT -5
Please note that the DM team has determined Deep Imaskari is not a playable ethnicity on FRC.
Secret and few, the deep Imaskari are heirs to the lost empire of Imaskar. One of the earliest human empires, Imaskar rose in what is now the Dust Desert and Plains of Purple Dust. Wizard-kings of heady power, the Imaskari were destroyed by the slaves they had abducted from other worlds (who eventually became the folk of Mulhorand and Unther) and the machinations of unusual creatures of their own creation (the phaerimms). The Imaskari faded away into history as their empire crumbled, leaving behind nothing but mysterious ruins. A secret few, however, charged with epic wizardry, managed to preserve themselves and their kin. Fleeing deep into the bowels of the earth, they sealed themselves away from both the knowledge and the recriminations of the surface world.
The deepest fissures of the earth have long hidden an ancient secret: The descendents of the Imaskari still live. Thousands of years of isolation combined with purposeful magical modifications have transformed these deep Imaskari into a human subrace adapted to life underground. The deep Imaskari have long managed to conceal the existence of their hidden kingdom even from other Underdark races by enforcing complete separation.
Now, however, deep Imaskari isolation is coming to an end. The magical seal that so long protected the kingdom of Deep Imaskar has been breached, and a few deep Imaskari have begun to wander the deep ways of the world that their ancestors fled long ago.
Deep Imaskari are guarded and detached, keeping an unconscious watchfulness in all their interactions. Their one passion is magical experimentation -- their enforced isolation did not change their basic fascination with magic and research in arcane lore, though they have lost much of the knowledge their race once possessed. They see all outcomes of magical research as mere data points, so they rarely get upset when a particular experiment turns out badly.
One sure way to gain a deep Imaskari's friendship is to gift her with a spell she doesn't know or some other secret of arcane lore. Deep Imaskari are fascinated with magic -- how could they not be? Their very bodies were altered by an epic spell cast long ago to conceal their ancestors from their former slaves.
A deep Imaskari appears mostly human. Her skin looks pale and stonelike, as if expertly sculpted from the finest veined marble, though it is as soft as human skin to the touch. (This stonelike appearance is a remnant of the magical alteration that all the Imaskari underwent to survive in Deep Imaskar.) Otherwise, a deep Imaskari is tall and slender -- a typical male stands between 5-3/4 and 6 feet in height and weighs around 160 pounds, and a female is about half a foot shorter and 40 pounds lighter.
Deep Imaskari typically wear elaborate greatcoats, under which they sport elegant black shirts, trousers, and boots. They delight in dark rings, especially magic ones.
The deep Imaskari have taken pains to keep their existence secret from every other race of Faerûn, so they have little real experience with humans, dwarves, and other races. Deep Imaskari encountered outside Deep Imaskar are curious and excited to meet members of other races, though they tend to view humans from Unther or Mulhorand in a suspicious light.
Alignment: While the Imaskari of ancient times are generally regarded as evil, abomination-creating, devil-dealing people (which was probably true), the folk descended from the survivors in Deep Imaskar are mostly neutral. The Great Seal that kept Deep Imaskar separate from the rest of the Underdark was opened recently to begin the process of reengaging in commerce and communication with the world outside, not to enable any sort of deep Imaskari conquests.
In ancient times, the Imaskari wizard-kings deemed no gods worthy of their worship. Although the deep Imaskari have come to venerate the oldest and most fundamental of Faerûn's deities (including Chauntea, Grumbar, Kossuth, Mystra, and Shar), they still have few clerics and little religious tradition.
Deep Imaskari speak an ancient language known as Roushoum, which uses the Imaskari script. Virtually no one outside Deep Imaskar comprehends this language anymore, so the modern deep Imaskari also study Common so that they can better observe and interact with the world around them. Since they don't often speak this language and have little opportunity to hear native speakers, their Common tends to be stilted and thickly accented. Those deep Imaskari who venture out of their hidden kingdom usually pick up two or three other Underdark languages, including Elven (the drow dialect), Terran, and Undercommon.
The deep Imaskari have generally retained the naming traditions of their surface ancestors.
Male Names: Qari, Ghari, Machuruna, Anciano, Taita, Hijo, Hawachuri.
The Deep Imaskari are finished with isolation and hiding. Having decided that they know far too little about the world from which their ancestors took refuge, they shattered the Great Seal that kept Deep Imaskar isolated for so long, and a bold few ventured forth into the deepest layers of the Underdark.
But those who choose the path of exploration do so at a cost: They must turn their backs forever on their homes behind the Great Seal. The location of Deep Imaskar is magically excised from the brain of any deep Imaskari who chooses to leave, so that even should she run afoul of mind-reading creatures (as many have), the race's final redoubt will remain safe.
Virtually all deep Imaskari grew up in the hidden realm of Deep Imaskar and choose that region.
Deep Imaskari Racial Traits
Deep Imaskari have the following racial abilities and characteristics.
Please note that Deep Imaskari are not playable on FRC
[/i]: Because the deep Imaskari have studied magic for ages on end, a certain facility with magic has seeped into their blood. Once per day, a deep Imaskari can recall any 1st-level spell that she has already prepared and then cast. The spell is then prepared again, just as if it hadn't been cast.
+4 bonus on Hide checks when underground: A deep Imaskari's marblelike skin helps her hide in underground terrain.
Automatic Languages: Common and Roushoum. Bonus Languages: Aquan, Dwarven, Elven, Terran, and Undercommon (or by character region).
Favored Class: Wizard. A deep Imaskari loves magic above all else.
Bonus Equipment: (A) 300gp; or (B) wand of light or wand of detect magic; or (C) 2nd-level spell scroll and 3 thuderstones.
Deep Imaskari Culture
Government of the City of the Great Seal (Deep Imaskar) Deep Imaskar is ruled by a High Lord (or Lady) Planner, who controls the city through a body of wizards known as the Planners. These individuals debate the long-term policies and growth of the city and its government.
The Lord Apprehender and the Lord Enacter directly serve the High Lord Planner. The Lord Apprehender oversees all information and resource gathering in the city, and his servants also maintain the city's magical defenses. The Lord Enacter is charged with executing the Lord Planner's dictates, and her organization enforces the laws of the city. Though the High Lord PLlanner rules alone, the Apprehender and Enacter may block his decisions through inaction if they both disagree with High Lord's decree.
The government has been relatively free of corruption for the last 600 years, but recent events have put the three rulers at odds. The High Lord Planner was firmly against opening Deep Imaskar and sending deep Imaskari out into the world. However, Lord Apprehender Naramixna decided that it was time to learn what might be won from the world beyond the seal, so he broke it and sent out agents into the Underdark with the tactic approval of Lady Enacter Selovan.
Society Military profess has nearly been forgotten in Deep Imaskar. Weapon proficiency has developed into a stylized form of dance that is practiced only in live theater. When force is needed to apprehend the occasional violent criminal, the enactors (Deep Imaskar's constables) use magic.
Deep Imaskar's vast magical gardens support crops but not livestock. Thus, all deep Imaskari are vegetarian, and animals (including familiars) are rare to the point of being bizarre. Most citizens have at least one permanent unseen servant (known as an uskara) that performs basic chores and labor. Water grows like fruit from special magical plants kept in every household. Droplets of water roughly 2 inches in diameter swell from the leaves of a mature plant every day and can be carried in a basket like oranges. These droplets burst only when pierced with a sharp object (such as a tooth). Air is magically filtered and freshened through long, brightly colored sheets suspended from the ceiling of the cavern.
When deep Imaskari wish to leave the city, its existence is wiped from their minds to prevent anyone else from learning of Deep Imaskar's existence and location. Once outside the seal, deep Imaskari cannot return unless they are specifically recalled through powerful spells, although some make arrangements to be recalled after accomplishing a particular mission or simply after the passage of an agreed-upon amount of time. In the interest of self-sufficiency and the protection of Deep Imaskar, those who choose to leave take with them only those magic items that they have personally created, to prevent anyone from suspecting that a larger community of deep Imaskari exists.
In -2488 DR, the Imaskar Empire was tottering. Its cities were engulfed in flames, and it's armies had been defeated by the incarnate gods of their rebellious Mulan and Untheric slaves. Many of the greatest wizard-lords of the realm battled to the last, but a powerful lord named Ilphemon chose to abandon the falling empire. Leading a small number of his family members, apprentices, and retainers, he descended into a wild and uncharted corner of the Underdark, hoping to escape the wrathful Mulan slave armies.
Ilphemon and his retinue sought out a large cave imbued with powerful faezress and discovered the vault that would become Deep Imaskar. After driving out the monsters that lived there, Ilphemon sealed the passages behind his people. The wizard-lord and his apprentices labored for many long years to lay the groundwork of the Great Seal and make their cavern home into a living garden, illuminated by brilliantly radiant light.
Ilphemon's descendants ruled Deep Imaskar for many centuries as kings and queens. In -634 DR, a cabal of arrogant, evil necromancers overthrew Ilphemon's heir and slaughtered his family, bringing and end to the line of the ancient Imaskari lord. For more than a century, Deep Imaskar suffered at the hands of these ruthless necromancers, but in -511 DR a charismatic champion by the name of Chaschara led a revolt against the necromancer-lords and freed Deep Imaskar. Chaschara refused to claim the throne, instead declaring herself Lady Protector of the Realm. She selected officers for the new posts of planner, apprehender, and enactor, and those offices have continued to the present day, even though the protectorship was eventually abolished.
Deep Imaskar has flirted with expansion on several occasions, most notably into the more hospitable reaches of the Elemental Planes. The city's protectors conquered several small regions of the Elemental Planes of Air and Water and bound their empire together with great planar gates. However, in 799 DR the Imaskari lost their holdings int he Plane of Air to an assault of chichimecs. These terrible abominations invaded Deep Imaskar itself through the planar portals and caused great destruction before they were driven off. I n the aftermath of that conflict, the city's Lord Protector Stilofyr was exiled and the protectorhship abolished, and the planar gates were dismantled.
For the last five centuries, the folk of Deep Imaskar have chosen to live simply among themselves, seeking neither to rule nor to be ruled, but to live well in isolation.
Sugar + Spice + [everything]Nice Illusionist.Waitress.Scholar.Student
"The fine line between valuing traditions and social slavery is marked by an individuals right for freedom of choice without prejudice."
Post by sandcastles on Jul 6, 2011 21:49:28 GMT -5
The People of Shade, descendants of Netheril
The shades are here, and they mean business. Their appearance has greatly troubled the councils of the wise and learned, and hardly a city in Faerûn does not hear rumors about these mysterious strangers. Who are these enigmatic beings? They are nothing less than a piece of living history, torn from Faerûn's half-forgotten past. Their ancestors and their flying city departed Faerûn over 1,700 years ago just as their homeland, the Empire of Netheril, was annihilated by a cataclysmic tragedy born of a desperate attempt to save the empire from the ravages of its greatest enemy. The most advanced arcane nation of its time, Netheril boasted magical knowledge not seen on Toril since its destruction - until now.
The city escaped the destruction thanks to great magic that shifted the city and all its people into the Plane of Shadow. Safe from the disaster, the refugees (who call themselves Shadovars) maintained their culture and society throughout the centuries that followed. Free to practice their arcane spells and experiment with the stuff of shadow, the city's noble rulers became suffused with the dark energy of their new home. Already wizards and sorcerers of considerable ability, they grew ever more potent as they mastered the tenebrous substance of their new environment.
The City of Shade returned to Faerûn abruptly in 1372 DR, appearing in the sky over the Dire Wood and then proceeding directly to Anauroch, where it has remained since except for brief forays into neighboring lands. Basing their home high over the Shoal of Thirst, the Shadovars lost no time in establishing the Empire of Shadows. They have made it clear that they consider the entire expanse of the great desert to be their rightful territory, and the disappearance of several Zhentarim caravans from the southern portion of the wasteland is considered testimony to the Shadovar claim. Thus far, the new masters of the Anauroch have not deigned to take action against the Bedine, the nomadic peoples who inhabit the desert, considering them beneath notice. Their attitudes towards races and cultures beyond Anauroch have ranged from aloof to curious, and from disdainful to aggressive. With an agenda and goals known only to themselves, the Shadovars represent one of the most intriguing mysteries - and greatest dangers - in Faerûn today. Many eyes are turned towards Anauroch and the strange city that looms in its sky, hoping for some sign of the Shadovars' intent, and for sufficient warning to react should the city's return prove the prelude to a war of conquest.
While the Shadovars make no secret about their connection to Faerûn's past, they have been reluctant to reveal the entire extend of what they know about their own - and Toril's - history, except when doing so has advanced one or more of the High Prince's specific goals. The Shadovars prefer that none realize they themselves do not possess all the answers to these questions, and that one of their primary goals is to learn as much about Netheril as possible.
A single flying city miraculously escaped the catastrophe unscathed, purely by happenstance. The city's ruling noble, a powerful arcanist, had for some time been experimenting with movement between Faerûn and the Plane of Shadow. His studies eventually enabled him to move not only himself freely between the two, but other people and objects as well. In the weeks preceding the cataclysm , the arcanist - known to the City of Shade only by his chosen sobriquet of Lord Shadow - had already contemplated the feasibility of moving an entire flying city into the plane to which he had been traveling for some time. He gave the order for the city to prepare itself for the experiment mere days before Karsus cast his spell. On the very eve of the disaster, Lord Shadow transported his entire city, and all its inhabitants, to the plane of Shadow. Once there, he was pleased to see that his predictions were correct. The city and its citizens suffered no immediate ill effects from the journey. However, he was concerned and dismayed by the discovery that, for reasons he did not yet understand, he was unable to move the city back to Faerûn.
Unraveling this mystery took weeks, and when the city returned to Netheril its inhabitants could only gape with horror at what it found. For days the city journeyed across the ruins of Netheril, searching desperately for survivors, to no avail. Presuming this hideous revelation to be the work of the hated phaerimms, the Netherese thirsted for revenge. Lord Shadow realized, however, that a single flying city was no match for the phaerimms. moreover, he considered it likely that the Netherese dwelling in his city might well be the last of their race. He concluded that he could not afford to risk losing his city and subjects as well. Vowing that one day the city would return to Faerûn to reestablish the rined empire, the arcanist transferred his city back into the Plane of Shadow, where, through unforceen circumstances, it remained far longer than he had originally planned.
Headquarters: The City of Shade, normally located floating above Anauroch just off the northeast coast of the Shadow Sea. Members: Approximately 500 shades among the approximate 25,000 shadovars. Hierarchy: Militaristic Leader: Telamont, the High Prince of Shade Religion: Shar Alignment: NE, LE. Secrecy: Medium Symbol: The shades neither possesses nor use a symbol to represent their city or society as a whole. Each of the twelve Princes of Shade and High Prince Telamont employs his or her own individual heraldic device. These sigils were first used in the Netherese Empire, and have long since passed out of common heraldic lore and experience. A knowledge (history or nobility) check against DC 24 is required to recognize that the symbol is Netherese in origin, and a second Knowledge check (DC 30) is required to correctly identify the exact Netherese noble family.
The Shadovars have a discrete culture and civilization. They do not constitute an organization in the generally accepted sense of the word. But because the actual number of shades is small (about five hundred shades dwell in the City of Shade), and because they guard their privacy and motives so zealously, they are functionally similar to a secret society.
The shades make up only a small percentage of the flying city's population. The remained of the city inhabitatns are of two types: Normal humans who are the descendants of the netherese who entered the Plane of Shadow over 2,000 years ago but who did not become shades, and humanoid slaves that the Shadovars have acquired both in the Plane of Shadow and in Faerûn.
The Shadovars dwell in what is best described as a mobile city state ruled by a government that combines features of a monarchy, meritocracy, and magocracy. The city is ruled by its High Prince, Telamont, a powerful arcanist and shade. His power and authority are absolute. All Shadovar live and die by his command. Telamont has been the High Prince of Shade for as long as anyone living in the city can recall. Only his sons and trusted associates know that he is as old as the city itself and has ruled since it was first built at his direction.
Serving the High Prince as extensions of his authority are his twelve sons, the Princes of Shade. Like their father, the princes are shades and arcanists. Competition among this circle of archwizards is simultaneously fierce and regimented, much like Shadovar society.
The Determinists Centuries of survival on the Plane of Shadow taught the Shadovars that survival is accomplished only when every member of the society understands his or her role and works for the betterment of the city as a whole. Thus, Shadovar society is strictly hierarchical, but it is also a meritocracy. Everyone is expected to work for the security and survival of the community, to the best of each person's capacity. This capacity is determined by a specialized battery of tests administered to each free citizen shortly after he or she reaches the age of ascension (13 years old). The tests are administered by Prince Lamorak's circle of Determinists. Once the Shadovar's aptitudes are known, he is trained to develop them until he reaches the age of majority (18 years old), when he enters his profession full-time. Occasionally a Shadovar exhibits such dramatic improvement in skill or aptitude over time that the Determinists administer a second round of resting and sometimes alter the Shadovar's original designation. These instances are rare, however, due to the sophistication and accuracy of Prince Lamorack's assessment methods.
Typical Determinist: NE male ahde Wiz 8 / Sha 5.
The Arcanists Below the royal family, but far above the average Shadovar in authority and importance, are the wizards and sorcerers of the City of Shade. Taking their name from the ancient Netherese term for wizard, the arcanists are the magical backbone of the city. They staff the institutions of learning, train the talented in the secrets of the Art, and support various missions as the twelve princes command. There are approximately one thousand arcanists living in the city, of whom roughly two hundred fifty are shades. The shade arcanists are by far the more powerful representatives of the group, and they hold the positions of highest authority among the arcanist assemblies and organizations.
Typical Arcanist: LE human Wiz 4/ Sha 3. Typical Senior Arcanist: Le shade Wiz 8 / Sha 7.
The Military Some Shadovars who demonstrate only minimal magical aptitude find a respected place in the city's military. Most begin as low-ranking soldiers, but ample opportunity exists for the able and intelligent to earn promotions into the ranks of the officers. The City of Shade suffered innumerable attacks from a variety of hostile creatures during its long sojourn in the Plane of Shadow, and the army bore the brunt of these offensives. Now that the Shadovars have come back to Faerûn, the High Prince has ordered that the military's numbers and readiness increase as swiftly as possible.
The City of Shade's army currently numbers approximately three thousand soldiers. The bulk of these numbers are human descendents of Netheril, while about two hundred are shades (including all the officers above the rank of lieutenant). The High Prince is the commander of the army, but he relies on a triumvirate of generals - Shelkar, Vadebryth, and Tyrrollus - to develop and implement military strategies on all but the most dire of occasions. Each general commons roughly one thousand troops, and there are many specialized squads and divisions within the army. Some of these groups vie with one another in rivalries that range from mostly friendly (such as that between the First Expeditionary Division and the Royal Scouts) to dangerous (such as that between the High Prince's Personal Guard and General Shelkar's Black Swords).
Typical Shadovar Soldier: LE human Ftr 1 / Sor 1. Typical Shadovar Lieutenant: LE human Ftr 3 / Sor 1. Typical Shadovar Captain: LE shade Ftr 5 / Sor 3.
Commoners Shadovars who show no aptitude for spells higher than 0 level or for warfare are assigned ot one of the common ranks of society. These folks make up the bulk of the inhabitants in the City of Shade. They know their places and understand that they city's survival depends not only on their ability to work hard for its future but also in their obedience to their society's structure. The Shadovar commoner is loyal to his princes and devoted to his city. The rare citizen who displays behavior or commits acts that may undermine the city's safety or security are discovered, often by the nobility's paid informants, and put to death.
Typical Commoner: LE human Com 2.
The City of Shade requires constant maintenance, due to the stresses it endures while moving through the atmosphere. There are hundreds of crafters in the city, each specializing in one of a number of trades (masonry, paving, carpentry, metalworking, leatherworking, and similar tasks). Many have managed to learn one or two arcane spells (0 level) to help ease their labors. These spells are typically mage hand, mending, open/close, or prestigidation. All crafters are human. They and their families expect reasonable treatment from their betters, and their wages are sufficient to allow them to live comfortably if not luxuriously.
Typical Crafter: LE human Exp 4.
Merchants Even in the treacherous and strange Plane of Shadow, the City of Shade maintained an economy. Its merchant class was skilled in obtaining raw materials and other goods from the places the city visited in that dark realm, and making them available to their fellow citizens. Prices are strictly controlled, as is the minting and distribution of currency. Thus the economy is artificial, intended more as a means of regulating supply and demand than allowing anyone to earn a profit.
Typical Merchant: NE human Exp 4.
Servants Those citizens who show no aptitude for magic, religion, crafts, or any other useful employment join the ranks of the personal servants. These folk are assigned primarily to domestic roles such as maid, valet, messenger, and street cleaner. While they have no hope of bettering their lives, many hope and dream that their children fare better.
Typical Servant: LE human Exp 2.
Slaves Slaves occupy the lowest rung on the Shadovar social ladder. Some slaves are Shadovars who exhibit absolutely no useful skill or talent; others are citizens convinced of non-capital offenses. The majority are humanoids captured by the Shadovars on a slaving expedition or acquired from slave traders.
The slaves of the Shadovars expect nothing better than lives of menial labor and drudgery. How a slave is treated is left entirely to the individual slave owner. Some, particularly among the aristocratic segment of society, prefer to regard slaves as favored pets, but there is no recourse for a slave whose master decides to treat him with brutality. The slaves of the city know better than to attempt revolt or flight, however. Their masters possess power at least several orders of magnitude higher than that of the typical slave. Worse, the Shadovars have no reservations about simply slaying rebellious slaves out of hand and acquiring more later.
Typical Slave: LE orc Com 1.
Appearance and Personality
The physical traits of a shade are described in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Shadovars who are not shades are identical to their outsider masters, but lack the distinctive gray cast to their skin.
The Shadovars dress in clothing that seems (to other residents of Faerûn) outdated to the point of antiquity; their courtly attire may appear outlandish and alien. They favor dark colors such as black, burgundy, charcoal gray, dark green, and midnight blue. members of the upper class wear a great deal of jewelry; gems and jewels are also often cunningly woven into their ensembles. They are also fond of gilt, gold thread, and cloth-of-gold accents. Common folk wear simpler garb as befits their trade, and slaves are permitted only serviceable, unadorned clothing that is only marginally better than simple homespun.
Having lived in a magical society for generations, the shades are completely comfortable with magic, and most have at least some magical ability. Because of their isolation and aloofness, their mannerisms and equipment are exotic and old-fashioned. Ruled by powerful wizards and sorcerers, the shades have access to an almost unlimited number of potions, scrolls, and minor magic items.
Shades were once humanoids, but they have traded their souls for the essence of shadowstuff.
Most shades appear as humanoids of their former height and appearance, but with grayish or nearly black, dusky skin and veiled eyes. They are often thinner than normal for their races. They favor somber clothing and wear armor if they so desire.
Source: Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting: Shades
(The Netherese whom the Shadovar descend from are described as dark-haired, fair-skinned humans)
Source: Forgotten Realms: Lords of Darkness.
Sugar + Spice + [everything]Nice Illusionist.Waitress.Scholar.Student
"The fine line between valuing traditions and social slavery is marked by an individuals right for freedom of choice without prejudice."
Post by sandcastles on May 21, 2012 1:01:07 GMT -5
The Uthgardt barbarians (named for Uthgar, their legendary founder) conform closely to the barbarian character class defined in Unearthed Arcana, and gain that class's benefits.
The Uthgardt are a black-haired and blue-eyed people - large, hardy folk descended from a mixture of Northmen fugitives, Netherese refugees, and a few savage tribes, including the Beorunni (folk of Beorunna); who live by raiding, hunting, gathering, and farming.
The Uthgardt are divided into 10 tribes (at the present). Sometimes there are more, sometimes less. The tribes are named for the beast totems which Uthgar conquered- Black Lion, Thunderbeast, Red Tiger, Blue Bear, Great Worm, Sky Pony, Tree Ghost, Blackraven, Griffon, and Grey Wolf. Although civilization has come to the north in waves throughout history, much of the land is wild and untamed, the unbounded home of the Uthgardt. Their tribal lands extend north into the Spine of the World, south as far as The Stone Bridge, east to the Cold Wood, and west to Neverwinter Wood. They avoid cities, the High Forest and the lands around Hellgate Keep.
Although some tribes have embraced agriculture and fixed habitations, the Uthgardt have few stable villages. Most tribes wander the wilderness in small clan or family groups and live within a few weeks travel of their ancestor mounds, their holiest of holy grounds.
History & Tribes
The Uthgardt are a group of tall, black-haired and blue-eyed humans who have lived in the North for many generations. Each tribe has its own opinions on its exact ancestry, but none of these tales agree with the others. Loremasters speculate that, given the members' similar characteristics, they must stem from common progenitors, most likely a mix of Illuskans, Netherese, and perhaps one or two other more primitive and savage tribes that once roamed the high country of the North. Most of the tribes are semi-nomadic, wandering through various stretches of the North while spending the harshest winter months in one place, most often a winter camp. A few tribes have broken with this tradition and established permanent settlements. With the exception of the Black Lions and the Griffons, the Uthgardt survive by hunting, gathering, and raiding across the territory.
While each tribe has its distinct characteristics and idioms, all venerate one of the beast totems of Uthgar. The barbarians believe that they take their name from Uthgar Gardolfsson, a famed warrior of Ruathym who became known for his triumphs on the field of battle. Yearning for greater challenges, Uthgar Gardolfsson set out to conquer the now-lost civilization of Illusk. While Uthgar succceeded in pillaging Illusk, the other civilized folk of the Sword Coast hastily mustered an army to counter the Northlander's Invasion. These forces attacked his camp and destroyed his ships. Cut off from the sea, Uthgar and his followers retreated inland; the Illuskans did not follow, content to believe that monsters would devour the barbarians in the frozen wilderness.
Despite the hardships they faced, Uthgar and a sizable portion of his army survived. The barbarians sustained themselves by raiding settlements in the northern interior. He gained new followers from among the folk of the region he raided. Some were impressed with his battle prowess; others simply preferred to join that which could not be easily defeated. Eventually his forces grew so large and powerful that he was able to exact tributes from many of the northern communitites, and most would pay rather than face the fury of his barbarian horde. Uthgar and the last of his Ruathym followers grew wealthy on the coins and goods they extracted by threat of force.
As evidenced by the descendants of his great army, Uthgar was a strong traditionalist and possessed a streak of savage nobility. He considered the villages and hamlets that paid him tribute to be under his personal protection, and it was this notion of feudal obligation that would eventually kill him. During the later years of his life, an orc horde swept down out of the Spine of the World. Uthgar and his horde met the creatures in a battle still remembered in the tribes' oral histories and war chants. Uthgar and many other warriors died in the battle, but they stemmed the tide of advancing orcs so effectively that few remained to flee back into their mountains.
Uthgar's followers buried their fallen chieftain, along with an honor guard of seven others who died on the battlefield. They piled the ground high above his body and covered the mound with stones to protect it from foraging beasts and hungry crows, and then placed a single gigantic stone atop the completed mound. The location of this sacred spot is believed to be what is now known as Morgur's Mound; it marks not only the resting place of their founder but the start of a tradition of burial that has endured to this day.
Source: Forgotten Realms - The Silver Marches 3.5
Tradition is the centerpole of Uthgardt life. Yet it is blind devotion to tradition that keeps them savages. Strength is everything and civilization is a weakness not to be tolerated. Among the Uthgardt, men are warriors and hunters, and women tend to food gathering and family needs. They have no written language and little art beyond geometric carvings and clothing decoration. Their religions and philosophies focus on war, plunder, and survival in a harsh land.
They are superstitious, with a paranoiac dislike of magic. To reveal oneself as a magic-user to an Uthgardt warrior is to ask him to kill you.
The Uthgardt barbarians have little to do with city folk, other than to treat them as prey. Lone traveler or large caravan, both are ripe fruit for plunder (still, some Uthgardt have made beneficial "civilized" alliances).
Though the Uthgardt prey on civilized folk and frequently fight among themselves, they are quick to unite, even with non-Uthgardt, against their common ancestral enemy: the orcs.
Clothing and Appearances
Most Uthgardt show the strong Netherese bloodlines in their dark hair and fair skin, like the folk of Silverymoon and Sundabar. From Northmen ancestors come mighty physique and blue eyes. The barbarians dress in fringed leathers and furs. They love bright colors, gaudy jewelry, and ornamental decoration - everything they own is embellished with complicated designs and geometric patterns interwoven with designs representing their tribal totems and other beasts. The men of the tribe tattoo their cheeks with simple images of their totem, and the women are the showcase for their warriors victories, wearing captured booty proudly.
Tribal Weapons and Proficiencies
In addition to the hand axe, knife, and spear, the Uthgardt favor the battle axe, atlatl and javelin, and the long bow. The most common Uthgardt armor is leatherand shield (AC 7). Some warriors possess studded leather and shield (AC 6). A tribal chieftain may possess chainmail and shield (AC 4). In most cases, the shield is a spiked buckler (which can be used as a weapon).
The Uthgardt possess all the primary skills known by barbarians (survival, first aid, outdoor craft, and tracking) and know the following tertiary skills: long distance signalling, running, and snare building.
Religion in the Tribes
Within the Uthgardt, all deities are allied to a central religion focusing on beast totems. Each tribe has its own totem. All other deities, including adopted "foreign" gods, are secondary and subservient to the beast gods. This includes Tempus (the Uthgardt war god) and Chauntea (the earth goddess, although she is worshiped exclusively by tribal women). Uthgardt legend tells that Tempus is the father of Uthgar, founder of the tribes (while other legends claim Uthgar's descendency from Beorunna). Chauntea is worshiped as the "grandmother," whose daughters (fathered by Uthgar after he ascended unto the halls of Tempus) are the wives of the beast gods.
These nonbeast gods are represented among the tribes by shamans of lesser power (rarely above 4th level). Chauntea's clerics are always women.
"Southern" gods are occasionally found in tribal strongholds, tolerated only because they or their clerics provide something valuable to the tribe.
The Uthgardt religion is close to nature and is tied to the change of the seasons. The holiest time of year occurs during the autumnal equinox during the month of Eleint (coincides with the festival of Higharvestide). At this time, all tribal clans converge on the tribe's ancestral mound for the annual Runemeet. These huge earthworks mounds, often shaped like the totem beasts, are sacred burial grounds, where only the greatest shamans and chiefs are interred. Here the Uthgardt worship their gods, set tribal policy, perform marriages, celebrate births, formalize adoptions, and mourn deaths.
During the Runemeet, youths desiring to be adults and warriors of all ages participate in the ritual of the Runehunt, in which those involved seek victory over one of the tribe's ritual enemies - usually orcs.
The Uthgardt Tribes
Taken as a whole, the separate tribes form the Uthgardt people, yet they have individual distinctions that divide them and quash any possibility of unity as a people. This diversity is expressed as cultural variances, devotion to their unique totems, and tribal goals.
Each tribe has an ancestor mound where they worship their totems (and other gods) each fall during the Runemeet. Several share mounds with other tribes, while some mounds are lost or abandoned.
Each tribe is ruled by a chieftain, who may also style himself as king. The chieftains are barbarian class fighters, usually of 8th to 13th level.
Chief shamans are the most powerful in their tribe, usually 7th level or better and normally accompany the chieftain. Other shamans of lesser or even equal power exist within each tribe.
The ritual enemy is a foe whom young barbarians must challenge and overcome in order to become adults. It is also the focus of ritual hunts during the annual Runemeet. Orcs are the common ritual foe of all Uthgardt, but each tribe has its own personal enemy.
Black Lion Tribe Ancestor Mound: Beorunna's Well Chieftain: Alaric the Strong Cleric: Patreveni Onehand Shaman: Bogohardt Blackmane Ritual Enemy: the tundra barbarians (tribes beyond the Spine of the World). Beast Power: Lion's Roar. Deafens foes for 1d6 turns if they do not make a saving throw vs. spells. Only Bogohardt can still wield this power.
The black lion is long gone from the north, yet the tribe that bears its name lives on. Chief Alaric's badge of office is said to be a cape made of black lion skin (those who claim to have seen it recall only a mangy scrap of dirty black fur).
Nestled in the wide valley that separates the North from the glacier beyond is the small village of Beorunna's Well (mostly small huts, long houses and a few tents), which stands a respectful distance from the watery pit that is its name-sake. Here, the complacent Black Lions have forsaken tradition to become farmers and herders. Hunters still roam the wilds, but the tribe no longer depends upon them for survival. Agricultural success lets them trade with others for their needs.
In forsaking their barbarian traditions, they have also cast aside their tribal totem. Most folk of Beorunna's Well worship the Tyr alliance of Tyr, Torm, Ilmater and Helm.
The Black Lion Tribe Update
Although this tribe retains its beast totem name, its members no longer revere the Black Lion or Uthgar. Abandoning their former wander lifestyle, the Black Lions constructed a permanent settlement near Beorunna's Well. Likewise, they have turned away from raiding and hunting as their primary means of support and towards a combination of agriculture, herding, hunting, and gathering. Tribal clerics now serve Helm, Ilmater, Torm, and Tyr. One cleric of the tribe (Patreveni Onehand) still serves Uthgar, but his pleas and warnings to his fellow tribespeople fall on deaf ears. They have had enough of constant warfare, and they long for a less violent and destructive way of life.
Most of the other Uthgardt tribes, particularly the Red Tigers, are contemptuous of the Black Lions' decision to abandon tradition. The tribe's rationale for undergoing this marked change is explained by their chieftain, Andar Heartwood: "War with the orc king is coming. Every day it grows nearer. When it finally arrives, it will sweep everything before it, like the waters of the spring flood. The Black Lions, too, will perish unless we plan for our future."
To this end, the Black Lions have started to trade with other folk, especially Quaervarr and Sundabar. Where once the sight of Black Lions walking the streets of a trading city would be considered rare at best, now it is merely uncommon. Thus far the tribe's economy is small, but agricultural and herding success have allowed it to grow rapidly. It is the chieftain's secret hope - shared with no one thus far - that he may be able to prevail upon the signatories of the Silver Marches to accept the Black Lions as a new member, giving the tribe powerful allies when the orc horde attacks.
Source: Forgotten Realms - The Silver Marches 3.5
Blackraven Tribe Ancestor Mound: Ravenrock Chieftain: Ostagar Tenfeather Shaman: Pureheartman Ritual Enemies: Griffon tribe and foreign merchants and clerics Beast Power: Shapechange. The wily raven gives his shamans the power to assume the form of any natural animal (not dungeon monsters) native to the North.
Of all the Uthgardt, the Blackraven are the most conservative, holding tightly to the old ways and reacting violently to the new. Pureheartman and his assistant, Wulphgehar, are the only shamans tolerated by the tribe. As far as the caravans who ply the north are concerned, the Blackravens are the worst of the tribes. Blackraven warriors are renowned as bandits, gaining this reputation because they prey on those whom they despise the most foreigners, especially merchants and missionary clerics. They seek to destroy that which may threaten their way of life. The tribe is aided in their quest by their totem, the gigantic ravens of Ravenrock. The raiders sit astride massive ravens, swooping down out of the sky to rob and terrorize caravans. The Blackravens have little respect for tribes who dwell in towns (particularly the Thunderbeast and Griffon tribes), since those tribes have adopted foreign ways. In return, they are enemies of those tribes. King Gundar Brontoskin (Thunderbeast chieftain) offers a bounty for the destruction of the Blackravens' eggs.
Because their raiding spoils are tainted with foreign influence (including gold, jewelry, weapons, fabric, etc.), these items are sacrificed to the Blackraven and secreted away in Blackraven shrine, near the Ravenrock ancestor mound. The Blackravens protect their shrine closely and do not welcome foreign intrusion. Woe betide the person who is caught searching for (let alone robbing) the tribe's treasure-laden shrine.
Blue Bear Tribe Ancestor Mound: Stone Stand Chieftain: Hlutwig Long-throw Shaman: Tanta Hagara Ritual Enemy: Civilized farmers Beast Power: Bear fury. The recipient of this power grows claws, increases in strength and can claw and bear-hug attack like a cave bear.
This tribe is evil, a pawn of Hellgate Keep. The Uthgardt tribes stand united in their enmity towards the infamous Blue Bear tribe. No longer a mere spirit, the blue bear totem has become demonlike due to the tribe's association with the evil within Hellgate Keep. Likewise, the tribesfolk have degenerated and become brutal, possibly even more savage than orcs.
Tanta Hagara is not human; she is an annis, a haglike giantess from Hellgate Keep. She seeks Grandfather Tree, the tribe's lost ancestor mound. She has a unique way of dealing with the tribe's captives... she eats them.
Elk Tribe Ancestor Mound: Flintrock Chieftain: Zokan Thunderer Shaman: Berchtwald Bandylegs (Elk totem), Trothgar Grunald (Auril) Ritual Enemy: "The ancient ones" (any old ruin, tomb, or evidence of ancient civilization qualifies). Beast Power: Horns of Wisdom. This is the same as the clerical spell commune, except that it causes elk antlers to grow from the skull of the shaman. Each use causes additional horn growth.
The Elk tribe's normal range includes the Evermoors, the plains east of the Dessarin and the Dessarin and lower Surbrin river valleys. Of all the tribes, they are the most arrogant, surly and self-indulging. Considered by many to be little more than bandits, they often raid other tribal settlements for food, women, and sport. They have loose ties with the rulers of Luskan but are unwelcome elsewhere. Chief Zokan Thunderer is regarded by most as a vulgar thug. Under his rule, clerics of the Talos alliance have gained a strong hold on the tribe.
Great Worm Tribe Ancestor Mound: Great Worm Cavern Chieftain: Bardawulf Boldheart Shaman: Elrem, called "The Wise" Ritual Enemy: Evil creatures Beast Power: Breathe fire three times as a red dragon of same hit dice.
The most notable feature of this tribe is its chief shaman, Elrem the Wise. Imagine a gigantic, bat-winged snake with the head of a red dragon and you will have a picture of this tribe's mythical totem and its elder shaman. Unlike most other tribal shamans, Elrem is not human. He is a great worm, possibly the only great worm in existence (though tribal legend states that he was once human and may be one of Uthgar's sons). Elrem sleeps year round in the depths of Great Worm Cavern, waking once each year at the Runemeet to prophesy of the future, based on his dream travels.
Through Elrem's guidance, the tribe has chosen evil creatures (orcs, giants, creatures of Hellgate Keep, etc.) as ritual enemies.
Grey Wolf Tribe Ancestor Mound: Ravenrock Chieftain: Alrik Tenstone Shaman: Clovis Greenteeth Ritual Enemy: The orcs of Gauntlgrym Beast Power: Lycanthropy. Regardless of the phase of the moon, the shaman may assume wolf form, or awaken latent lycanthropy in another tribesman.
Though they are not the most numerous or the most powerful, this is the most feared of the Uthgardt tribes. Long ago, the tribe adopted human refugees from the lost city of Gauntlgrym. The evil that had possessed the city caused the tribe to be cursed with lycanthropy. Any tribesman who possesses Greywolf blood becomes a wolf under the light of the moon (although those who are adopted by other tribes slowly lose the curse). On moonlit nights, the entire tribe roams the wilderness in search of prey.
During Runemeet, the Blackraven tribe tolerates the Grey Wolves at their shared ancestor mound of Ravenrock - so long as the moon is not full.
Griffon Tribe Ancestor Mound: Shining White Chieftain: Kralgar Bonesnapper Shaman: Adalfus Stormgatherer Ritual Enemy: The cities of the North Beast Power: Griffonbeak. The spell target's head becomes a griffon head, capable of biting for 2d8 damage.
Chief Kralgar Bonesnapper is a popular man of great charisma, and even greater ambition. Since assuming leadership, he has pushed his people towards greater accomplishments, making the Griffons foremost among the tribes in power, skill, and learning. His great goal is the conquest and possession of one of the northern cities. To this end, he has declared ritual war on the cities. Unallied clans seeking either plunder or the benefits offered by cities have joined the Griffons, swelling their ranks.
Even so, Griffon's Nest, the primary tribal encampment, rivals some of the smaller northern cities. Without realizing it, Kralgar may accomplish his goal within his lifetime as Griffon's Nest slowly changes from camp to city.
While the tribe wages incessant warfare against the cities, they welcome contact with outsiders, considering all as potential allies in their quest.
Red Tiger Tribe Ancestor Mound: Beorunna's Well Chieftain: Adalwulf Longfang Shaman: Garinen the Maker Ritual Enemy: Blue Bear tribe Beast Power: Shapechange to tiger, as the 7th level druid ability.
Like their totem beast (which is also called the snow cat, since its fur changes color in winter), this tribe is wild and solitary. They hunt in very small family groups and roam widely, primarily in the Cold Wood. They are wary of all strangers and would sooner avoid contact with things or folk which they do not know. The tribe has few shamans and no shrines other than Beorunna's Well. The men of the Red Tiger tribe are strictly hunters, leaving gathering and trading to the women, elderly and children. The Red Tigers believe that the true test of a hunter is the ability to bring down prey unaided. Often, their only weapons are "tiger claws," short wooden handles embedded with three sharp stone daggers. The hunter holds these so the daggers project between the fingers like claws.
The Red Tigers are loyal to King Gundar Brontoskin of the Thunderbeasts, who won their respect during a Runemeet Runehunt by bringing back a leucrotta, slain with only a pair of tiger claws.
The Sky Pony Tribe Ancestor Mound: One Stone
Sky Pony Tribe Update
Members of this Tribe seem to be constantly on the move, riding their shaggy mountain-bred horses from their ancestor mound at One Stone (in the eaves of the eastern Moonwood) westward across the North as far as Icewind Dale. A few legendary warriors of this tribe acquire pegasus mounts; a common quest for a true Sky Pony hero is to seek out such a mount. Unlike most of the other Uthgardt barbarians, the Sky Ponies perceieve their beast totem as a manifestation not of Uthgar, but rather his frequent ally Tempus. This does not seem to anger Uthgar, perhaps because the Lord of Battles has never espoused a dogma in which Uthgar could not see merit. As a sign of its devotion to the deity, the Sky Pony tribe makes war on the orcs of the North whenever possible, often tracking them high into the mountains in order to destroy their homes and erase their threat to the southern lands.
Source: Forgotten Realms - The Silver Marches 3.5
Thunderbeast Tribe Ancestor Mound: Morgur's Mound Chieftain: King Gundar Brontoskin Shaman: Kierkrad Seventoes Druid: Wisteria Borsdotter (Silvanus) Cleric: Sigurd Gandolfsson (Tyr) Ritual Enemy: Wolves Beast Power: Cause skin to temporarily become tough and gnarly like dinosaur hide (AC 5). As the recipient of the spell walks, the ground shakes.
The Town of Grunwald on the edge of the High Forest is home to this most civilized of the tribes. Although, he wields no official power over the other tribes, King Gundar has the charisma and respect necessary to call the tribes together into a horde.
The tribe takes its name from the apatosaurus (brontosaurus), which in ancient times roamed here. Tribal shamans claim that thunderbeasts still dwell in the High Forest. The clan's hearth at Morgur's Mound is surmounted by an apatosaurus skeleton. It said that in time of great need, the tribal shamans can animate the skeleton to fight in the tribe's defense.
In addition to the Beast Cult shamans, the Thunderbeast tribe in Grunwald has grown civilized enough to tolerate priests of other religions, primarily the druids of Silvanus, and the clerics of the Tyr alliance.
Tree Ghost Tribe Ancestor Mound: Grandfather Tree Chieftain: Gunther Longtooth Shaman: Chungred Ghostheart Ritual Enemy: Evil undead creatures Beast Power: Druid magic. The shaman may perform any one druid spell up to 4th level (may be different each time).
The Tree Ghosts are wanderers who search for Grandfather Tree, their lost and abandoned ancestor mound. At Runemeet, they worship at whichever ancestor mound is most convenient before resuming their wandering again.
Unlike the other Uthgardt tribes, the Tree Ghosts totem is not a beast. The Tree Ghost is a woodland spirit, similar in some respects to an elemental, but drawing life, energy and intelligence from the forest and giving back its energy to the forest as a caretaker and guardian. Supposedly, each forest has a Tree Ghost whose power depends on the size of that forest. The elves disclaim the existence of such beings, but the Tree Ghost tribe stands firm in its belief in their tribal totem and are able to draw on the spirit's power.
The Tree Ghosts are cordial to foreigners, but will not ask for outsiders' help in their holy quest for their ancestor mound. Although as a rule the barbarians hold the civilized folk of the north in disdain, the Tree Ghost warriors owe allegiance to High Lady Alustriel of Silverymoon and would die to a man for her.
Source: AD&D: Forgotten Realms: The Savage Frontier
Uthgardt Ancestor Mounds
These huge earth-and-stone mounds are the holiest of sites to the Uthgardt. The mounds are the tribes' sacred burial grounds, and it is here that they inter the bodies of their greatest chieftains, most heroic warriors, and most venerated spiritual leaders. Most tribes also believe that the bones of their founders rest beneath their respective ancestor mounds, and it is this belief that makes the sites the center of Uthgardt spiritual life. Many of the tribes return to their ancestor mounds at specific times of the year in order to celebrate their holy days. Some make their winter camps near these sites, so that they may enjoy the protection of their ancestors during the most trying and dangerous time of the year.
All the ancestor mounds are constructed in a similar manner. Two outer rings built from rocks surround a single, larger altar mound. Both the outer rings and the central mound function as cairns, and the tribes bury the bodies of their honored dead beneath each. The outer cairn rings are for the mighty warriors who merit burial at an ancestor mound by virtue of valorous deeds. The altar mound is reserved for the great chieftains and clerics of the tribe. Normally, only tribal clerics know the exact location of the remains interred within the mounds, and this knowledge is guarded jealously. The burial rites themselves vary from tribe to tribe. Among the Black Lions, for example, the entire tribe participates in the burial service, while among the Red Tigers, only the clerics may perform the sacred burial rites after the rest of the tribe has paid its final respects to the dead.
Most folk living in the Silver Marches give the ancestor mounds a wide berth. Tales and legends concerning the grisly fate of those who foolishly attempted to violate an ancestor mound serve to heighten the aura of mystery and danger that surround these sites. It is commonly believed that vengeful spirits and ghostly forces guard the mounds against would-be intruders or tomb robbers. In truth, the only guards at an ancestor mound are those placed there by the tribe. In some tribes, such as the Red Tigers and the Black ravens, defending the ancestor mound against possible defilers is an honor.
Source: Forgotten Realms - The Silver Marches 3.5
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Post by sandcastles on May 21, 2012 1:01:45 GMT -5
Vital Statistics for Human Ethnic Groups
Random Starting Ages
¹ The simple classes are barbarian, rogue, and sorcerer. ² The moderate classes are bard, fighter, paladin, and ranger. ³ The complex classes are cleric, druid, monk and wizard.
¹ -1 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha ² -2 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis and Cha. ³ -3 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Random Human Height and Weight
Base Male Height
Base Female Height
Base Height Mod
Base Male Weight
Base Female Weight
Base Weight Mod
x (2d4) lb.
x (2d4) lb.
x (2d4) lb.
x (2d4) lb.
x (2d4) lb.
x (2d4) lb.
x (2d4) lb.
¹ Use the chalishite entry for Durparis and Zakharans. ² Use the Chondath entry for Mazticans (Nexalans) and Turami. ³ Use the Damaran entry for Halruaans, Lantannas, Netherese, Shaarans, Shou, Tashalans, Tuigans, and Vaasans. ˆUse the Illuskan entry for Chultans ˇUse the Mulan Entry for Sossrims ˚Use the Rashemi entry for Gurs, Nars, Raumvirans, and Ulutiuns • Use the Tethyrian entry for Fflok.
Source: Player's Guide to Faerûn
Sugar + Spice + [everything]Nice Illusionist.Waitress.Scholar.Student
"The fine line between valuing traditions and social slavery is marked by an individuals right for freedom of choice without prejudice."