Priest Soldier Sorcerer Spy 3e EN:Races
Archaea, the default setting for Priest Soldier Sorcerer Spy, is home to a number of intelligent humanoids. The most common of these are described below. Future volumes of the Bog-Standard Fantasy Game System will include other character races.
"The word for 'world' is 'wind'."
- Typical height: 188-203 cm
- Typical weight: 70-95 kg
- An individual is an "alate"; plural "alates" (a tall alate, several alates)
- The descriptive term is "alate" (an alate weapon)
- Name style: Nahuatl
Alates are tall, slender reptiles resembling pterodactyls. Barring accident or illness, an alate may typically live from 200 to 300 years. Alates are hairless, and their skin is smooth and generally has the texture of tanned leather. Their limbs are long and muscular, and their heads are distinctly reptilian, with a long narrow snout filled with tiny teeth. Alates' eyes are typically yellow, green, or blue, and their skin ranges from charcoal grey to muted shades of red and blue. Alates have enormous membranous wings attached to their shoulders, just behind and below their arms. An alate's wings are leathery and surprisingly tough, considering how thin and light they are, and they are no more prone to permanently debilitating injury than any other limbs.
Alates wear little clothing. The typical alate will be found wearing an intricately beaded loincloth, and will be carrying her essentials in a series of pouches attached to a broad belt worn diagonally over one shoulder and across her body. A knife is always found among these essentials, and some alates also carry a long, narrow spear (called a "lance").
Alates have two sexes (male, female), but they are indistinguishable to most other races. Only another of her race or a human with long years of experience living among the alates would be able to determine an alate's sex by observation. Alates are solitary for most of their lives, mating only once, usually producing from three to six offspring.
Alates are "noble savages", with a matriarchal tribal structure. There are estimated to be between fifty and three hundred alate tribes -- no one but the alates really know, and they aren't telling. Brightly colored tattoos and skin-painting are common among alates, both for simple decoration and to indicate their status in their tribe.
Alates have a reputation for being aloof and unforgiving, but they treat a spoken vow as sacred.
Alates natively speak two distinct languages. The language used in everyday interaction is Haruka. Haruka is a complex tongue, and while the basic structure of the language is consistent across all of NUM, there are some variations in dialect from tribe to tribe. Alates from distant tribes may have trouble communicating with each other in Haruka, due to the differences in pronunciation and even vocabulary. Haruka may be written using a simple script, but written Haruka is rarely encountered. The alates greatly revere the spoken word, and are averse to writing anything down. Only the least important messages are allowed to be written: any message or information of importance must be spoken aloud.
The second language native to alates is Killillirukau. Killillirukau is a much simpler language than Haruka, and is used by the alates to communicate across great distances. Killillirukau has a much smaller vocabulary than Haruka, but it is syntactically redundant: the same word may be spoken six or more times in a single sentence. Two alates flying in a clear sky may be communicate with each other in Killillirukau from as far away as sixteen kilometers. Killillirukau has no formal alphabet, but it may be transliterated using the Haruka script.
- Aerial: An alate can fly at their ground speed, if they have room to extend their wings.
- Cold Adaptation: Alates are comfortable in the extreme cold found at high altitudes.
- Perceptive: Alates are observant by nature. Alates gain a bonus die on Perception rolls.
"A man's worth is no greater than his ambitions."
- Typical height: 157-168 cm (female), 172-183 cm (male)
- Typical weight: 60-85 kg (female), 75-100 kg (male)
- An individual is a "human"; plural "humans" (a tall human, several humans)
- The descriptive term is "human" (a human weapon)
- Name style: Welsh (Eidyn), Persian (Symeria), Chinese (Ilwraithe Empire)
Humans are hairy, short lived humanoids, typically living from 30 to 40 years, but extraordinary individuals may live nearly twice that long. They are noteworthy for being physically fragile, yet able to withstand terrible injuries and survive. It is not unusual for a typical human settlement to have several residents with missing eyes or limbs, lost to disease, accident, or warfare. Humans are also capable of exerting themselves for incredible periods of time with little rest or nourishment. Possibly related to their indefatigable nature, humans perspire profusely, making the smell of human settlements profoundly unpleasant for most other races.
Humans are highly adaptable, taking on a distinctive appearance based on their environment after only a half-dozen generations or so. They have skin that ranges from light tan to deep brown: lighter in cool climates, and darker in warmer climates. Their eyes are typically blue or green in cool climates, and range from amber to dark brown (nearly black) in warm climates. Their hair can be straight or curly, from pale blonde to dark brown or black (rarely red), and the men often have beards. Humans usually wear many layers of clothing, even in very warm climates.
Humans breed almost continuously, creating more offspring than almost any other humanoid race on Archaea. If it weren't for their short-sightedness, their tendency for internecine violence, and their short lifespans, they would have long since overrun the world with their progeny. Despite their prolific procreation (or perhaps because of it), most human cultures have a complex system of taboos surrounding courtship, mating, and nudity.
Unlike most of the intelligent humanoid races on Archaea, there is no single human civilization. Most human cultures are based on ancestor worship and the accumulation of material goods. In these, a small number of humans own most of the wealth, and they use their power to ensure that they and their offspring maintain their power and privilege. However, from time to time those at the top of a human society will make things so unpleasant that their peers revolt and overthrow them. Afterward, the leaders of the rebellion seize control, and the cycle begins anew.
Eidyn, Symeria, and the Ilwraithe Imperium are the largest and most stable human civilizations. Of these, the Ilwraithe Imperium is by far the oldest and largest, but it is constantly beset by outside attackers and unrest from within. The Emperor of the Ilwraithe Imperium, the most recent in a hereditary line going back thousands of years, must work constantly to maintain stability within the Ilwraithe Imperium and ensure that any external threats are defused or terminated before they become serious.
Humans have a reputation for being violent and short-sighted, but they can be honorable and hard-working when kept in small groups.
Thane, the language used by most human civilizations, is descended from the ancient runic language of the stone dwarves, but the vocabulary, pronunciation, and alphabet of Thane has changed so much over the centuries that any resemblance to the language of stone dwarves has been lost. Most humans refer to Thane as "the common tongue", or simply "common". This is appropriate, as Thane is an extremely simple language to learn, resulting in it becoming a common second language among humanoids of other races for trade and casual communication. It is commonplace for non-humans of different races to converse in Thane even when no humans are present.
- Indefatigable: Normally, a character who has been reduced to 1 Endurance can speak and take roleplaying actions, but any other action, including combat, incurs a penalty die. A character with Indefatigable is just as close to defeat, but they do not incur a penalty die for this condition.
- Tenacious: Humans are harder to kill than their size and strength would lead one to expect. When making a close combat or ranged combat defense roll, the character may substitute their Presence for their Agility or Brawn. The player may choose which attribute to use on a case by case basis.
"Real nobility is based on scorn, courage, and profound indifference."
- Typical height: 172-188 cm
- Typical weight: 60-85 kg
- An individual is an "ice elf"; plural "ice elves" (a tall ice elf, several ice elves)
- The descriptive term is "ice elven" (an ice elven weapon)
- Name style: Icelandic
Ice elves are tall, slender humanoids with delicate features, elongated eyebrows, and pointed ears. Barring accident or injury, an ice elf will live forever. Ice elves' skin is smooth and flawness, and ranges in color from snow white to pale pastel blue or green. Their eyes are large, and typically ice blue, pale green, or silver. Ice elves' hair can be straight or gently wavy, and is usually vibrant in color, such as frost white, glossy black, ruby red, sapphire blue, and so on. Some male ice elves have beards, but it is uncommon.
Ice elves wear little clothing, even in sub-freezing temperatures, but they often wear very delicate pieces of jewlery which other ice elves recognize as symbols of the wearer's status.
Ice elves have two sexes (male, female), but ice elven children are extremely rare: their population may remain unchanged for decades.
Ice elven society is ruled by the White Queen, with the support of a small number of trusted advisors. The authority of the White Queen is absolute, and that of her advisors is nearly so, but they make few demands on the rest of ice elven society.
Magic and social interaction are the two main focuses of ice elven society. Appearances are treated as reality: any decadence or vice is permitted as long as the appearance of elegance and perfection is preserved. Ice elf society is tranquil to a degree that would be stifling to most other races. Disruptions of the peace are not tolerated. This makes the ice elves seem isolationist to the point of being xenophobic -- not just because they consider all other races as inferior (which they do), but because the turmoil that other races bring is perceived as ugly and unpleasant. When forced to deal with this unpleasantness, ice elves usually try to minimize the amount of time and effort required, which makes them seem haughty, abrupt, and uncaring about the welfare of others.
Ice elves have a reputation for being xenophobic and cruel: "as cold as ice elf laughter" is a common saying.
Ice elves speak one of the oldest languages in Archaea, and the oldest one still in everyday use. The ice elven alphabet has two distinct forms: Isalfi cursive, which is written with a stylus and is used for general correspondence and record-keeping, with each letter connecting seamlessly to the next; and Isalfi hieroglyphic, which is carved into ice and used for royal or religious documents.
- Cold Adaptation: Ice elves are comfortable in the extreme cold found in the far south.
- Immortal: Ice elves are immune to the ravages of time. They never grow old or die from "natural causes".
- Night Vision: Ice elves can see as well at night as in daylight, but they can't see in complete darkness, such as underground.
- Rational: Ice elves are analytical and quick-witted by nature. Ice elves add +1 to their Reason attribute during character creation, after attributes are initially purchased.
"A khul without family is no khul."
- Typical height: 162-178 cm
- Typical weight: 70-95 kg
- An individual is a "khul"; plural "khuls" (a tall khul, several khuls)
- The descriptive term is "khul" (a khul weapon)
- Name style: Hindi
The khuls are humanoid, but have four arms (the second set of arms is attached to the shoulders just behind the first set, making for a rather complex skeletal structure). Barring accident or illness, a khul may typically live from 100 to 150 years. Khuls have bronze skin that ranges from ruddy tan to deep red-brown; their eyes are typically yellow, brown, or black. They have straight hair, from pale blonde to dark brown or black (rarely red). Khul dress warmly in winter, but dress very lightly and simply in the summer. The khuls have two sexes (male, female). A khul couple will generally produce between two and four offspring during their lifetimes.
The khuls are pastoral, practicing basic agriculture, but relying on herds of animals for the bulk of their livelihood. Most of the khuls are settled in small villages, but some members of the village move with the livestock herds from grazing land to grazing land as the seasons pass. They are skilled artisans, and fashion ornate bronze bracelets and anklets. Many khul art objects depict insects, which are considered to be (like the khuls themselves) close to the divine because they have six limbs. Among their warriors, ceremonial dance is considered an important skill. Khuls make little distinction between male and female gender roles: a khul warrior or weaver is as likely to be male as female.
Khuls have a reputation for being ferocious but honorable warriors who place family loyalty above all else.
Khuls use a simplified form of Khulthean, an ancient language from which many modern Archaean languages derive. Several religious texts are written in Khulthean, and many of the larger and more respected religious sects use Khulthean during their rituals and ceremonies, but this formal language bears little resemblance to the everyday language of the khuls.
- Extra Hands: Khuls have four arms rather than the usual two, and they are able to use all of them with equal dexterity. This allows a khul to use a two-handed weapon at the same time as a shield, or to engage in combat while carrying a burden.
- Heat Adaptation: Khuls are comfortable in the extreme heat found in the plains and deserts of Khaitan.
- Willful: Khuls are stable and resolute by nature. Khuls add +1 to their Presence attribute during character creation, after attributes are initially purchased.
"Anger and revenge are good for the soul."
- Typical height: 205-225 cm
- Typical weight: 185-215 kg
- An individual is an "ogre"; plural "ogres" (a tall ogre, several ogres )
- The descriptive term is "ogrish" (an ogrish weapon)
- Name style: Russian
Ogres are tall, massive humanoids, usually hairless, but sometimes having coarse, dark cranial hair. Ogres can live to be nearly 100 years old, but most die from injury or illness well before their 50th year. Ogres have tough, leathery skin that ranges from light yellow to dark charcoal grey. Their eyes are typically black, but may be yellow or grey. Ogres generally wear simple, practical clothing: warmly in winter, but lightly in the summer. Ogres have two sexes (male, female), but they rarely form permanent couples in the manner of most other humanoids. An ogre female will generally produce between two and four offspring during her lifetime; single births are the norm.
Ogres have no society to speak of. They may form small groups of three to six for a time, but they may also live for years without seeing another of their kind. As individuals, ogres value direct, immediate solutions. They swear fealty to no one, and they resent intrusions on their privacy. The one exception is the Warlord, who demands nothing of his fellow ogres, but who has earned their admiration and respect for his deeds.
Ogres have a reputation for being solitary and dangerous, but they are steadfastly loyal to those who earn their trust.
Ogres speak a language derived from Grundung, the language of the stone dwarves. Few ogres are literate, but those who are use the dwarven runes for writing their language.
- Frightening: Ogres find it easier to intimidate others, providing a bonus die on relevant Presence rolls.
- Huge: Ogres are larger and more massive than most humanoids: typically over 2 meters tall and weighing roughly 200 kilograms. Ogres also add +1 to their Brawn attribute during character creation, after attributes are initially purchased.
"The stone never forgets, and neither do we."
- Typical height: 132-148 cm
- Typical weight: 85-110 kg
- An individual is a "stone dwarf"; plural "stone dwarves" (a tall stone dwarf, several stone dwarves)
- The descriptive term is "stone dwarven" (a stone dwarven weapon)
- Name style: German
Stone dwarves are stout humanoids with hard, almost rocklike skin. They are long lived, but not immortal. Stone dwarves have skin that ranges from light grey to deep brown or charcoal grey; their eyes are typically blue, green, or amber. They have straight hair, from pale blonde to dark brown or red, and the men often have beards. Stone dwarves favor sturdy, practical clothing, often ornamented with traditional clan motifs. Stone dwarves have two sexes (male, female), but stone dwarven children are a rarity. A stone dwarven couple may be partnered for centuries without producing any offspring.
Stone dwarven society is organized into approximately two hundred and fifty patriarchal clans. Each clan has a traditional profession that supports the subterranean stone dwarven society, but no stigma is attached to stone dwarves who choose their own path, as long as it serves a useful purpose. The head of each clan swears fealty to the Mountain King, whose primary responsibility is to keep peace between the clans and to defend the stone dwarven civilization from outside attack.
Stone dwarves have a reputation for being sullen and stubborn, but they are also patient and meticulous artisans.
Stone dwarves speak Grundung, a harsh language heavy with consonants. The stone dwarven alphabet is an angular runic script designed for carving into stone.
- Dark Vision: Stone dwarves can see in complete darkness, using the heat of their own bodies and the objects around them for illumination.
- Deep Adaptation: Stone dwarves are comfortable in the stale air found in the deep places of the earth.
- Stone Skin: Stone dwarves have exceptionally tough skin which provides protection against most forms of damage. Dwarves add their Power Level to their combat defense rolls. Stone Skin does not stack with conventional armor.
"If I can hold it, it is mine to hold."
- Typical height: 157-168 cm (female), 168-178 cm (male)
- Typical weight: 60-70 kg (female), 70-80 kg (male)
- An individual is a "zinjan"; plural "zinjan" (a tall zinjan, several zinjan)
- The descriptive term is "zinjan" (a zinjan weapon)
- Name style: African
Zinjan are humanoids with large eyes, sharp canines, and retractile claws. Barring accident or illness, a zinjan may typically live from 80 to 120 years. A zinjan's body is covered with short soft fur in a striped black-on-white pattern, similar to a zebra or white tiger. Their eyes are typically red or gold (rarely green), and their cranial hair is usually black (sometimes white, rarely striped). Rare zinjan (roughy 1 in 1000) have ram-like horns and a long cat-like tail, which is considered a mark of divine favor. They have two sexes (male, female), but their breeding habits are sufficiently different from those of humans to cause some strained relations between the two races. They wear little clothing.
While zinjan have the same reproductive urges that humans do, for most of the year there is no chance for offspring to result from zinjan liaisons, and for this reason the zinjan do not place the same taboo on sexual activity as human cultures do. Single births are the norm, with two to three children per family usually surviving until adulthood. Only about half of zinjan form permanent mating bonds, so their population grows very slowly. It is not uncommon for a human to look on all zinjan as irresponsible and immoral.
The zinjan are nomadic herders and hunters, with almost no agriculture. They have little respect or understanding for other races' fixation on property. Zinjan make little distinction between male and female gender roles, but males are more likely to be herders, while females are more likely to be hunters.
Zinjan have a reputation for being casually violent and sexually promiscuous, but they also value a healthy sense of humour.
Zinjan speak a sibilant language which is difficult for non-Zinjan to learn. The Zinjan have no written alphabet, although they do use pictographs to record the history of their tribes and their leaders. They also use pictographs to mark dangers or leave scouting notes for other Zinjan. For example, a drawing of three spears over a wavy line indicates, "clean water may be found three spear-throws distance in that direction".
- Agile: Zinjan are flexible and have great reflexes. Zinjan add +1 to their Agility attribute during character creation, after attributes are initially purchased.
- Heat Adaptation: Zinjan are comfortable in the extreme heat found in the plains and jungles of Mrisinnia.
- Natural Weaponry: Zinjan are born equipped with retractable razor-sharp claws. These natural weapons are difficult to take away, and will re-grow if removed. A Zinjan using their claws adds their Power Level to their combat attack rolls. Natural Weaponry does not stack with conventional weapons.
- Night Vision: Zinjan can see as well at night as in daylight, but they can't see in complete darkness, such as underground.