Talislanta Races S-Z

Written by Martin K.

Part A-G | H-R | S-Z


RaceStrConDexIntWisCha
Sarista     +2 +2    
Sauran +2 +2        
Sawila         +2 +2
Shadinn +2 +2        
Shan       +2 +2  
Sindaran       +2 +2  
Stryx   +2     +2  
Sunra       +2 +2  
Sun-Ra-San +2       +2  
Thaecian       +2   +2
Thane (Black Savant)       +2 +2  
Thiasian   +2       +2
Thrall +2 +2        
Ur +2 +2        
Vajra +2 +2        
Verdir   +2       +2
Xambrian   +2     +2  
Yassan   +2   +2    
Yitek   +2 +2      
Yrmanian (Wildmen) +2 +2        
Za +2   +2      
Zandir     +2      +2

 

 

Sarista

saristaThe Sarista are built along slender proportions, and have skin the color of topaz, dark eyes and jet black hair. They are partial to such forms of ornamentation as ear bangles, facial tattooing, and all types of gaudy raiment. The men sport colorful capes, berets, tight-fitting hose, sashes and high boots; the women: all manner of sultry and provocative attire, also of a colorful nature.

The Sarista are a people of diverse qualities. Some are loners who make their living as peddlers, mercenaries or vagabonds. Others, notable for their skill at witchcraft, live in secluded wilderness regions. The majority of these folk are more gregarious in nature, preferring to travel in loose-knit tribal groups, carrying all that they own in brightly painted wagons. Sarista families are close-knit—”as thick as thieves”, according to some Talislantans—and often quite large. Young males attract wives by acts of courage and daring; an offering of gold coins to the wife’s parents seals the deal. Their children are raised in liberal fashion, and travel with the tribe. Sarista caravans roam the Western Lands from Silvanus to the Seven Kingdoms, stopping in cities and villages along the way. In such places, the Sarista are renowned for their talents as folk healers, fortune tellers and performers—or as mountebanks, charlatans and tricksters, depending upon one’s point of view.

The history of the Sarista consists of a baffling collection of anecdotes, fables and bawdy ballads. From these, scholars have theorized that the Sarista are descended from the Phaedrans, and related to the Aamanians and Zandir. Others believe they are kin to the Dhuna witch-covens of Werewood. The tribes do not keep written records of any sort, but rely upon their elders to teach their offspring the secret lore of their people. These studies consist primarily of minor magics, herb lore, local geography and “Sarista culture”, a euphemism held to be roughly equivalent to the less flattering term, “thievery”. By age seven, a Sarista child will know every woodland trail in Silvanus by heart, and will have an alarmingly comprehensive understanding of Sarista culture.

The Sarista religion revolves around two obscure demigods: Fortuna, lovely but fickle goddess of luck, and the grim entity known as Death. The Sarista revere Fortuna, but mock Death, whom they strive to cheat at every opportunity. Many Sarista dabble in magic, and some become quite accomplished in the arcane arts. The womenfolk all seem to be adept at making folk remedies, potions, and minor magic charms, and at telling fortunes. Sarista dress the dead in bright raiment, adorn their bodies with baubles, and bury them standing-up; a final act of defiance in the face of Death.

Backgrounds

Street performer, master pick pocket, seer of Fortuna, herbal mixture peddler, charlatan wizard, gold digger, goad herder, tribal mediator

Sarista Racial Bonus: +2 Dex or +2 Cha

"Sarista culture": Regardless of your class, treat the following rogue talents as class talents: Smooth Talk, Swashbuckle, Thievery and Tumble.

Let Fortuna decide (Racial power)

Once between quick rests, instead of rolling a d20, choose heads or tails and throw a coin. If you win, treat it as a natural 20, if you lose, as a natural 1.

Champion feat: If you win, you regain this power at the start of the next scene or combat round.

Epic feat: If you lose, you can spend a recovery to repeat the coin thrown, but be careful; Fortuna does not like to be cheated. Now, each coin toss you lose until the end of the day counts as a failed death save.

 

Sauran

lizardman brute by ancorgil-d6qa9o4Standing up to seven feet in height, Saurans have clawed hands and feet, scaly hide, and powerful jaws lined with rows of sharp teeth. They wear abbreviated garments of furs and hides, red iron bracers, and dragon icons.

Saurans are believed to be descended from the Drakken, a race of giant reptilian-humanoids who ruled the continent long ago. Following the defeat of the Drakken by the early Archaens, many of the survivors are fled Talislanta to some distant land far to the south, crossing over a landbridge that later collapsed during The Great Disaster. The few Drakken who remained in Talislanta eventually evolved into a smaller and more mobile species: the Saurans.

The Sauran tribes live in walled stone enclosures scattered among the Volcanic Hills, where they subsist primarily on wild durge, land lizard, and megalodont. Saurans have a predominantly matriarchal society. Females choose their mates based on strength, courage in battle, and intelligence, and if desired, may have more than one mate. Sauran young hatch from eggs, developing from quadrupedal hatchlings to bipedal adults within five years. Females raise the young and lead the clan, while the adult males serve as workers, hunters, and warriors.

Though perceived by many other peoples as primitive savages, the Saurans nonetheless have adapted well to their surroundings. Utilizing volcanic mounds as natural forges, they make crude armor and weapons, mostly of low-grade red-iron alloys. The clans have domesticated certain other reptilian species, such as land lizards and land dragons.

Backgrounds

Land dragon rider, hatchling teacher, freed gladiator, volcano smith

Sauran Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Con

Thick Hide: You gain a +1 bonus to AC when unarmored. Regardless of class, ignore the attack penalty for light armor.

Adventurer feat: Your hide can change color at will.

Cold-blooded: Gain resist fire 12+ and vulnerability to cold.

Strong metabolism: Gain resist poison 12+.

Champion feat: Increase the above resistances to 18+.

Tail Slap (Racial power)

Your tail is a melee weapon with a d6 damage die. Once per battle, you can attack with it as a quick action.

 

Sawila

SawilaBorisArial lifted you upon Her wings and settled you gently upon this island of Fahn. She taught you to worship Her through your voice and your movements, in imitation of Her avir children. For your faith and your worship, She grants you protection against those who would harm you and take you to less peaceful lands. When the slavers come your people join as one to weave the ancient spell-songs and summon the Goddess. Then the gentle winds grow fierce, and the seas churn in anger. Sometimes the slavers escape, and sometimes they take a few of your people. But they have come to fear the wrath of Arial, and they do not come to Fahn often. And so you and your people raise your voices, to sing the ancient spell-song of thanks to the Goddess.

The Sawila have pale white skin and a mane of colorful plumes running along the head and neck. Slender and comely to the eye, they attire themselves in costumes of bright feathers, combs made of sea dragon’s scales, and necklaces of seeds and shells.

Sawila claim to be descended from a race of avians that migrated across the eastern seas to Talislanta sometime after The Great Disaster.

The inhabitants of Fahn are a peaceful and simple people who live in communal settlements, typically located at the center of a grove of fruiting trees and shrubs. They make their home in graceful dwellings fashioned of woven grasses, and suspended from the boughs of towering deodars; the resemblance to the nests of certain avian species has been noted by more than one Talislantan naturalist. Wind chimes of many fanciful shapes hang from the branches of these trees, filling the air with their gentle and melodious sounds.

Sawila subsist upon fruits, seeds, and blossom nectar, making such garments and implements as they require from rattan, woven grasses, and feathers. They mate for life, generally producing one or two offspring. Children are raised with great affection and taught the lore of their ancestors by the elders.

Sawila revere all feathered avian species as avatars of their god, Arial, and will never do harm to another avian creature. Thousands upon thousands of avir migrate to Fahn each year. These migrations coincide with certain of the Sawila’s spell-weaving rituals, leading some Talislantan scholars to speculate that the lifestyle and customs of the Sawila may well be holdovers of their ancient avian ancestry.

The Sawila practice a form of natural magic called spell-weaving, which consists entirely of verbal and somatic elements. They worship Arial, an elemental spirit of the wind whom they envision as a winged Sawila of great beauty, and her consort, Makk, spirit of the sea. They claim to have derived their spell-weaving abilities from Arial and her avatars – the winged creatures known as avir. It is said that the Sawila are able to employ their subtle magics to speak to all creatures of the air and water, and even to effect changes in the weather. Sawila cover the bodies of their dead with fragrant blossoms and sea shells, then cast them out to sea on bowers of woven branches.

Backgrounds

Chosen of Arial, spellsinger, bird breeder, island guard

Sawila Racial Bonus: +2 Wis or +2 Cha

Spellweaver (Racial Power)

You gain the bard's Spellsinger talent for free. If you are not a bard, the song you learn is your only song. You also gain the ritual caster feat for free to represent the joint songs of your people.

 

Serparian

Serparians are Zandir who mostly live as beggars.

 

Shadinn

shadinn executioner by lane01-d2yh4w8Several other nomadic tribes, referred to collectively as the Virds, make their homes in tent settlements scattered across Rajanistan. They include the Aramut, the Zagir, and the giant Shadinn. All originate from the same root stock as the Rajans, and have similar cultures. They share a common language, homeland, and nomadic background. Conquered by the Rajans long ago, they have been assimilated into the ranks of Rajan society.

Your people are the strongest of the Rajan races. Once rulers of the southern deserts, you are now subjects of the Rajan Empire. The past is gone. You serve the Rajans, and their dark god, Death, is now your god. So be it. You have served in the Khadun’s army. You rode into battle atop your massive steed, wielding your great war axe and trampling the Rajans’ enemies. In Irdan, your axe has had other purposes. Here you serve as Executioner under the priests of the Nihilist Cult. It is your job to send infidels and traitors to the next world, to meet their fate at the hands of the dark god. You do your job well, and give them a clean death. The priests say you will be rewarded in the next world. Perhaps they are right. But in this world you must serve the Rajans.

Backgrounds

Tribal warrior, mercenary leader, cult enforcer, executioner

Shadinn Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Con

Executioner (Racial Power)

Once per battle, deal triple damage with a critical hit.

Champion feat: You can use this power twice per battle.

 

Shan (Wanderers of Ashann)

ashann wanderer p d breedingThe Wanderers are the last of a race of mystics known as the Shan, whose civilization was destroyed during the Great Disaster. Tall in height and angular of build, the Wanderers dress in loose-fitting, white robes, which completely hide their features, including their eyes. They are usually seen carrying a magical staff engraved with the symbol of a single eye set in the center of a silver pentacle.

The Dracartans of Carantheum claim that these strange folk once provided aid to their nomadic ancestors. According to them, the Wanderers are sightless, and must rely upon their magical staves in order to see. with little desire to interfere in the affairs of others, the Wanderers will answer if addressed, but seldom initiate a conversation or prolong any discussion by more than stricly necessary.

Even among the Dracartans, the full extent of the Wanderers' mystic abilities is not known. It is an accepted fact, however, that the Wanderers wield great power. It is little wonder, then, that the Wanderers are shunned by most Talislantans, who-like people everywhere-fear that which they cannot comprehend.

The scholar Thystram said: "The barbaric Mazdak, while still extant, believed that it was not the Wanderers who were alive, but their staves. According to the black magicians of these people the Wanderers themselves were but lifeless cadavers, given a semblance of sentience and impetus by the staves, which the Mazdak protrayed as devils in transmogrified form." Privately, it was said of Thystram that he believed the Mazdak tale, but was afraid of publishing it in his book lest the Phaedran authorities have him confined to a place such as was commonly reserved for lunatics.

Backgrounds

Lone wanderer, seer to the young races, desert oracle, cloud reader, mystic teacher

Shan Racial Bonus: +2 Int or +2 Wis

Blindsight: You are blind. You perceive your surroundings by a mystical ability, which is kept secret among your people.

Force field (Racial Power)

By focusing their mystical energies, you are able to keep hostile creatures or beings from your presence, or render ineffective even the most potent spells and incantations.

Once per battle, create a force field around you as an interrupt action. The force field can either block an enemy from engaging you, or block an attack.

If you block an engaging enemy, make an easy save (6+). On a success, the enemy can't engage and loses it's move. On a fail, it still engages you.

If you block an attack, make a normal save (11+). On a success, you negate the attack completely. On a failure, you negate the attack's non-damage effects but take half damage.

Adventurer feat: The field deals force damage to the target equal to your level.

 

Sindaran

sindaraneSindarans bear little resemblance to any other humanoid species native to the continent. They stand over seven feet in height, emaciated in build, with wrinkled, sandy-colored skin. All Sindarans have a row of horn-like nodules running from the crown of the head to the back of the neck, and a curved spur of cartilage protruding from beneath the chin. They dress in cloaks, loincloths, and sandals, with earrings, wrist bracers, and ankle bracers for decoration for both genders. Sindarans are dual-encephalons; they have two brains, each capable of independent function.

The Sindarans are descended from the Neurians, a race that is alien to Talislanta and originated from another world or dimension. Long ago a Neurian vessel accidentally arrived in Talislanta, possibly through a gate or rift created by the sorcerers of ancient Archaeus. Stranded in a strange world, the Neurians settled on a distant continent, where they lived until the coming of The Great Disaster. They attempted to escape the destruction of their adopted homeland in a great sky-spanning ark, but met with disaster and crash-landed on the continent of Talislanta. After a period of wandering the survivors settled in their current home, where they became known as the Sindarans.

Sindaran culture is influenced by the concept of Duality, or the attraction of opposites. The ability of Sindarans to follow two lines of thought simultaneously is both alien and somewhat disconcerting to most Talislantans. Further complicating matters is the propensity of Sindarans to argue both points of any issue before arriving at a single decision. Sindarans may lose their dual-encephalic abilities through accident, injury, or attempting to practice magic. Individuals who have suffered such a fate often become irrational and unpredictable, and are called “Sindra”, a respectful yet condescending term meaning “demented one”.

Sindarans have two passions: trivarian and collecting. Trivarian is a test of skill that requires an exceptional degree of intellect and abstract reasoning, and is virtually impossible for anyone but dual encephalons to comprehend. Sindarans say that it is inaccurate to refer to trivarian as a “game”, as it is much more that. The physical components of trivarian include a pyramid-shaped crystal, which is suspended above a Orbs of colored crystal, engraved with complex symbology, are inserted into various slots in the pyramid, producing patterns of colored light which have great significance to the contestants. Trivarian tournaments are held throughout Sindar, and are considered events of great importance by the Sindarans. Wagering is popular, the odds often wildly fluctuating with each turn.

Second only to trivarian is collecting. Sindaran collectors are completists who find it difficult to resist indulging in their obsession. One should never touch a collector’s cherished wares unless specifically invited to do so, as this may be construed by a Sindaran as attempted theft.

Background

Book collector, trivarian master, seeker of the ark, Sindra, structuralist philosopher, fanatic dualist

Sindaran Racial Bonus: +2 Int or +2 Wis

Dual-Encephalon (Racial power)

You possess the ability to use both sides of your brain independently. You can concentrate on two different subjects at the same time and you are ambidextrous. You can avert the need for sleep by resting one brain at a time, but when one brain is resting you take a -4 penalty to Int-based skill checks. Even if you sleep, you do not dream.
When making a save against mind-affecting effects, such as daze and confusion, roll twice and take the better result.

Fully developed Dual-Encephalon (Talent)

By working your two brains in perfect synchronization, you are able to complete mental tasks that are beyond other mortal races. Increase your Intelligence score by 4. However, any attempt to cast spells disturbs this perfect balance. If you were to attempt to cast a spell, you are hit by confusion for at least a day.

 

Stryx

stryxAn avian race, Stryx would stand over six feet tall if they didn’t tend to be hunchbacked or stoop-shouldered. Their angular bodies are covered with dark grey or black feathers, and typical specimens have a wingspan in excess of twenty feet. They have clawed talons, horns, and misshapen features.

The Stryx are a mutated species of Aeriad that has degenerated over the course of several thousand years. They are believed to have come to Talislanta long ago, from a distant land.

Stryx make their homes in caves dug into the sides of sheer cliffs and mountains. Most live in clans that may number as many as sixty adult males, as many adult females, and about half as many young. Males and females mate during certain weeks of the year; at other times they exhibit no interest in each other. Two out of every five hatchlings are stillborn; the rest are as deformed as their parents. The old and infirm are slain to provide food for the other members of the clan. Stryx feed on carrion, and upon creatures weaker than themselves. Despite their unhealthy appearance, they excel at gliding, and can remain aloft for hours without difficulty. Stryx have superior night vision, but see poorly in daylight.

Stryx culture is centered around death: the more dead creatures there are, the more the Stryx have to eat. Thus, misfortunes that affect other species — such as war, disease, and death — are regarded as fortuitous by the Stryx. As might be expected, this outlook has won the Stryx few admirers among other Talislantan peoples.

Each Stryx clan has its own chieftain – typically, a male warrior who has shown an ability to locate sufficient carrion to feed the members of his group. When he grows old, or should he fail to obtain adequate supplies of carrion, the chieftain will be challenged by another warrior. The victor earns the right to be chieftain; the loser is offered to the clan for its next meal, illustrating the victorious chieftain’s ability to provide food.

Stryx Necromancers revere Taryx, the “Scavenger of Souls”, a creature purported to be a minion of the entity known as Death. The so-called “Servants of Taryx” consider carrion to be a gift from their dark patron. The dead are served-up as “offerings” from Taryx, and eaten by the rest of the clan. Stryx shamans practice a crude form of necromancy, and perform grisly sacrificial rituals in honor of their morbid god.

Backgrounds

Cadaver collector, necromancer, Taryx priest, bone oracle, chieftain's daughter

Stryx Racial Bonus: +2 Con or +2 Wis

Flight: While unarmored, Stryx can fly and stay airborne over longer periods. They are vulnerable to attacks and take a -2 penalty to their own attack rolls while in the air. In light armor, they must succeed at a DC 10 strength or constitution check to remain airborne at the end of each turn. In heavy armor, the DC is 15.

Adventurer feat: You don't take an attack penalty while flying (but you are still vulnerable). The DC to fly in light armor is reduced to 5 (while a natural 1 is always a failure).

Carrion Eater (Racial power)

After combat, you can gain one free recovery from feasting on the bodies of your fallen enemies. You can only use this power if the enemy left behind a body of fresh meat (that is, not a construct, undead and the like).

 

Sunra / Sun-Ra-San

sunrasThe Sun-Ra-San are a semi-aquatic race. They have silvery skin, covered with fine scales, and deep blue eyes. The Sun-Ra-San resemble their “civilized” brothers, the Sunra of the Kang Empire, but in general are larger and more muscular of build. They wear armor of sea dragon scales and boots of rainbow kra’s hide, and carry spears and daggers made from the bones of sea dragons.

The Sun-Ra-San are the descendants of an ancient race of seafarers who once spanned the waters of the Far Seas. They may also be related to the Batrachians, a race of amphibious creatures now thought to be extinct. The tribes escaped from the Eastern Lands in time to avoid subjugation by the Quan, and fled to the Scimitar Isles, where they now live much as their ancient ancestors did before the time of The Great Disaster.

Sun-Ra-San live in castles carved from giant mounds of coral. The primary unit is the extended family, or clan. Sunra couples mate for life and beyond, swearing eternal faithfulness even in the afterlife; the marriage ceremony is called a “merging of souls”. Children are raised by both their parents and grandparents; training in the art of hunting and in Sun-Ra-San culture begins at age two.

The Sun-Ra-San are hunters of sea dragons and other large aquatic carnivores, whom they kill for meat, hide, scales, and bone; nothing is ever wasted. Sea dragons provide food and the raw materials required to make all that they need. Their ship’s hulls are made of dragon rib bones, with the hide being stretched across the framework to form the hull. Sea dragon scales are used to make armor, weapons, tools, boots, and garments.

The Sun-Ra-San worship an elemental sea deity named Aqus. They have a great love of the sea, and revere the Moonfish as an avatar of their elemental deity. Priests of the sect are practitioners of aquamancy. Like the Sunra, the Sun-Ra-San bury their dead at sea, believing that the spirits of the dead will be reborn as moonfish.

The majority of the Sunra population is housed in the Coral City of Isalis, as subjects of the Kang. They live in graceful dwellings carved from great mounds of coral and decorated with shells. They subsist primarily on kelp and algae, which the Sunra serve in soups, broths, and stews–Sunra food is always high in liquid content and very salty. The combination of fluids and salts enables Sunra to function out of water for extended periods of time without experiencing discomfort.

Sunra society is centered around their extended family groups. Sunra couples mate for life and beyond, swearing eternal faithfulness even in the afterlife; the marriage ceremony is called a “merging of souls”. The Sunra have a great love of learning. Their children are taught to read and write at an early age, and are given basic training in the various crafts and professions practiced by the Sunra people, such as sea-farming, astromancy, ship-building and piloting sea craft. Once this general education has been completed, Sunra schools allow students to concentrate on a preferred subject or subjects, as they wish. Sunra have long wished to regain their freedom, but for the present they remain subjects of the Empire.

Sunra believe that the souls of their ancestors reside within Moonfish, and so will never harm these creatures. They believe that anyone who captures or kills a Moonfish will suffer a terrible curse; in fact, the Sunra say that this is what happened to the Quan, who once kept Moonfish as pets. While many scoff at these claims it should be noted that, not long after the Silent Insurrection, the Kang forced the Quan to release all their Moonfish into the River Shan, and thereafter made it illegal to own or eat Moonfish.

Backgrounds

Sun-Ra-San: sea dragon hunter, free pirate, astromancer, navigator, deep sea fisher, initiate of Aqus

Sunra: historian, trade fleet mariner, slave of the Imrians, algae farmer, shipwright, freedom fighter, moonfish guardian

Sun-Ra-San Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Wis

Semi-aquatic: You can breath under water for up to twenty-four hours; you can survive out of water for indefinite periods without discomfort.

Sea Dragon Hunter (Racial power)

You gain a +1 bonus to attack against large and huge creatures.

Adventurer feat: You gain a +2 bonus to your critical threat range against large and huge creatures. This bonus lasts until your first critical hit in a battle.

Sunra Racial Bonus: +2 Int or +2 Wis

Semi-aquatic: You can breath under water for up to twenty-four hours; you can survive out of water for indefinite periods without discomfort.

Educated (Racial power)

Once per battle, spend a quick action to study an enemy. Add your Intelligence or Wisdom modifier to attack and damage on your next attack against it. Describe a story or essay that you heard or read which provided this insight.

Adventurer feat: You keep the bonus against the chosen enemy until you miss it with an attack.

 

Tanasian

See Cymrillian.

 

Thaecian

thaecian butterfly hair by lilastudio-d4pjfp0Thaecians are slender and graceful in stature, with silvery complexions and hair a deep blue color. They dress in diaphanous robes of many hues and styles.

Thaecians live in fanciful pavilions constructed of a translucent fabric called gossamer, artfully stretched over frameworks of silken cords. They build no cities, but simply erect pavilions wherever they wish to live. As such, small “colonies” of Thaecians are scattered across the main island and certain of the smaller isles. The single settlement of noteworthy size is Caprica, site of the “Festival of the Bizarre”.

Thaecians prefer the freedom to change partners as they desire. Thaecian families are loose-knit units at best. Children are raised by their older siblings and extended families, who dote upon their young charges with great joy and affection.

The Thaecians are devout pleasure-seekers who enjoy indulging in all manner of stimulating pastimes. Like the Muses of Astar, they show an aversion to hard work of any sort. The pursuit of various romantic confluxes, and the study of certain forms of magic, occupy much of their leisure hours. The folk of this isle are partial to the nectar of rainbow lotus flowers, a secret distillation of which is used to create “Thaecian nectar”, a drink noted for its exotic flavor and exhilarating properties.

Thaecians revere the entity known as Creator, but practice no formal religion, build no temples, and have no clergy. To these folk faith is considered a subject for private meditation, rather than public observance. Thaecians enchanters and enchantresses are renowned for the creation of wondrous images and illusions, which they capture within glassine spheres called Thaecian orbs. By placing these devices to the forehead, the holder is able to experience unequaled panoramas of color and sound. Thaecian orbs can also be used to store spells, which can be released by breaking the orb.

Backgrounds

Gifted enchantress, magic sculptor, illusion painter, fireworks maker, carnival performer, wizard school dropout

Thaecian Racial Bonus: +2 Int or +2 Cha

Minor Enchantment (Racial Power)

You gain the Wizard's Cantrip class feature. Regardless of class, you can spend a class talent to gain Cantrip Mastery. If you are a Wizard, you gain this talent for free.

 

Thane (Black Savant)

Black Savant by Adam BlackThe Black Savants stand nearly seven feet in height, and are stoop-shouldered and gaunt in appearance. Their traditional costume includes boots, gloves, cloak and robes of satiny black cloth, hooded and veiled so as to obscure their features. Only their eyes are normally visible; cold, unfeeling orbs like twin shards of onyx. The morbid appearance of these folk becomes understandable when one realizes that they are not truly alive, but are the reanimated forms of a people who lived long, long ago.

The Black Savants are the descendants of the Thane, a reclusive people whose black hulled vessels once plied the waters of the Midnight Sea and beyond. Learning in advance of the coming of The Great Disaster, the Thane made preparations to ensure the survival of their race. They constructed a vast necropolis in northern Khazad, in which the entire population of Thanatus was interred in stasis, awaiting the day when the effects of The Great Disaster had passed. Unfortunately, something went wrong: most of the Thane souls were lost among the lower planes, and only a handful of their people awakened from their long slumber. These folk are today known as the Black Savants.

After leaving Khazad, The Black Savants established a sanctuary on the island of Nefaratus. They have remained here ever since, seeking some way to bring their people back from the dead. On the island of Nefaratus, the Savants live in onyx towers, each edifice housing a single “cabal” (an old Archaen term, meaning a group of magicians working together in concert to achieve a single goal). Each cabal is charged with a specific task: the exploration of a particular region of the lower planes, the interrogation of certain lower planar entities, the search for some obscure magical tome or artifact that might contain a clue about the location of a lost soul. Some use obsidian mirrors as view ports — or perhaps gates — to other dimensions. Others perform strange experiments involving the concoction of volatile essences and reagents. Their efforts are said to have but single goal: to bring their people back to life.

The Black Savants rarely associate with other peoples, a situation which most decent folk find quite acceptable. Some few have been known to serve as advisors to kings and tyrants, though seldom for any great length of time, and usually only to suit their own purposes. Neither do they perform physical labor of any sort, leaving such tasks to demons, whom the Savants capture and bind to their service.

Backgrounds

Reawakened necromancer, tomb guard, demon negotiator, lower planes traveller, black ship captain, cabalist secret-keeper

Thane (Black Savant) Racial Bonus: +2 Int or +2 Wis

Reawakened: While you have a reentered your former body, it no longer ages, or requires any other means of sustenance such as food, water, rest or sleep.

Astral sight: You see invisible and astral presences within range of sight.

Champion feat: You gain a +1 bonus to attacks against demons, undead and other supernatural creatures.

No vital organs (Racial power)

Once per battle, turn a critical hit against you into a normal hit. 

 

Thiasian

thiasiansThiasians have violet skin, black hair, and comely features. Lithe and slender in stature, they dress in garlands of flowers, sashes, or abbreviated sarongs. Those who have been taken to civilized lands prefer silkcloth and other finery.

The Thiasians are believed to be descended from the same root-stock as the Thaecians, their neighbors to the south. The two peoples have had close relations for centuries, and if Thiasian legends are to be believed, may share a common ancestor: a figure known only as the Enchantress of the Shoals, who lives on the island of Cella.

Thiasians are hunter-gatherers who live in fanciful dwellings constructed of woven vines, sea shells, and bits of colored coral. Each communal abode houses a single extended family. These dwellings are well-hidden and scattered about the isle, in order to discourage raids by Imrian slavers. Thiasians subsist on a diet of provender plant, fruit, and nuts, liberally flavored with extracts of the spice tree, which grows here in profusion. To outsiders, Thiasians food often seems to be too heavily seasoned. Conversely, to Thiasians, all other types of food are bland and tasteless.

A flirtatious and promiscuous people, Thiasians never marry, and change partners frequently. Mothers raise their children for the first month or so, then tend to grow bored with the responsibility and allow the older members of the tribe to take over. Young children aged five and up are often unsupervised, and allowed to run free about the island.

The Thiasians are renowned for their exotic dances and performing talents, but are said to lack interest in most practical matters. This is generally true, though Thiasians are not quite so shallow as they may seem. Though generally non-violent, they are known to throw tantrums if frustrated or angered. Thiasians are extremely emotional, and give vent to their feelings without apparent restraint. All manner of behavior is tolerated by these folk, so long as no one is injured.

The Thiasians have a rich culture, and express themselves through dance rather than words. Their performance art is used to celebrate, mourn the loss of a beloved friend; to express love, anger, frustration, boredom, or any of a dozen emotions. It is customary for their performers to wear expressionless white vizards that conceal their features, as facial expressions are considered irrelevant to movement, song, and music.

Backgrounds

Carnival dancer, string puppet performer, coast fisherman, fish bone craftsman, shell carver, thief-acrobat

Thiasian Racial Bonus: +2 Dex or +2 Cha

Acrobat: Add your Dexterity bonus to disengage checks.

Evasive (Racial power)

Once per battle, force an enemy that hits you with an attack against AC or PD to reroll the attack.

Adventurer feat: If the reroll is a miss, you can pop free as a free action.

Champion feat: The reroll has a -5 penalty to the check.

 

Thrall

thrall   talislanta by nathanrosario-d3vba4i cThralls are uniformly tall and muscular of build. Hairless and devoid of pigmentation, they are distinguishable only by sex; otherwise, all Thralls look exactly alike. In defiance of this inbred genetic trait, Thralls decorate their bodies from head to toe with elaborate tattoos, thereby attaining some degree of individuality. Males dress in sandals and loincloths; females in vest, loincloth, and sandals.

A hybrid race created long ago by the sorcerers of some ancient and forgotten kingdom, Thralls were bred to serve as an army of slave warriors. After The Great Disaster they were freed from servitude, and spent many years wandering in the Wilderlands of Zaran. They eventually settled in the jungles of Taz, and later joined the Seven Kingdoms confederation.

The Thralls of Taz live in settlements ringed by high palisade walls constructed of cut stone blocks. Each village is a fortified camp, with sheds for supplies and provisions, stables for mangonel lizard mounts, a foundry for making weapons and armor, and communal barracks. Thrall society is based upon the military chain of command. The family is like a platoon; a settlement comprised of many families operates like a division, while the race of Thralls functions like an army. Males and females form “alliances” rather than marrying, remaining steadfastly loyal to each other until death. Their young are raised in separate training facilities, and learn to fend for themselves quickly (by eight years of age Thralls are fully-grown). Thrall children forge a strong sense of duty from their common link to the division to which they belong.

Bred for combat, Thralls know no other way of life. While their talents are limited to martial abilities, they have developed a unique culture that sets them apart from from the other warrior peoples of Talislanta. Unlike the Kang, Thralls excel both at offense and defense, and are never ruled by their passions. Unlike the Danuvians they have no elite units, and never discriminate on the basis of gender. Thralls are skilled strategists and careful planners. The chain of command is rigidly adhered to, and their troops are always disciplined and highly motivated. Thrall units are never demoralized or routed; if required to retreat units always do so in an orderly fashion. Thralls are skilled tacticians who possess an instinctive ability to grasp even the most complex military strategies. Conversely, Thralls have little interest in other skills and professions, which they generally do not comprehend. The highly specialized nature of Thralls has led some folks to assume that they are dull-witted or ignorant. However, it is a grave mistake to underestimate a Thrall.

Backgrounds

Master strategist, weaponsmith, tattoo artist, military historian, unit leader, logistics expert, gladiatorial champion, elite mercenary, stable master, disabled veteran, borderlands farmer

Thrall Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Con

Bred for Combat (Racial power)

You gain a Fighter talent for free. Choose between Power Attack, Skilled Intercept and Tough as Iron.

Adventurer feat: Once per battle, roll twice on an Intelligence skill check regarding battle tactics and take the better result.

Champion feat: While staggered, you gain bonus to saving throws equal to your Constitution modifier.

 

Ur

ursStanding between seven and eight feet tall and weighing upward of five hundred pounds, the Ur are frightening to behold. They have leathery hide of a yellow-green color, curved fangs, and facial features of a most unendearing sort: furrowed brows, pointed ears, and deep-set black eyes. Necklaces of teeth and bone, pieces of hammered plate armor, and filthy garments made of fur and hide constitute the typical Ur clansman’s wardrobe. Rings of black iron are commonly employed to restrain their hair, which the Ur wear in double or triple topknots.

The Ur are a savage race who settled in the region after being driven from southern Narandu by advancing hordes of Ice Giants. Talislantan naturalists of the New Age theorize that they are an offshoot of the Kharakhan, a race of giants who hail from the Wilderlands of Zaran.

Ur live in crude fortresses of stone and earth, which they optimistically refer to as “castles”. There are three main Ur clans, each of which resides in its own settlement. These folk subsist on a diet of roasted beast-flesh, tubers, and a type of sour and foul-smelling cheese made from spoiled erd’s milk, called uryan. It is considered an acquired taste at best. A type of grog, brewed by Darkling slaves from tubers, is the favorite drink; the cheaper and stronger, the better.

Ur mate indiscriminately, the dominant males choosing whatever females they desire. Females must often attempt to repulse the advance by force if they are not interested. Ur children, referred to as “brats”, are wild and undisciplined. They roam all over untended and must make do with whatever scraps of food they can find. In any Ur settlement the adult males eat first, followed by the adult females, and lastly, the young. Brats learn quickly to fight for food or starve; a useful lesson in Ur philosophy, and about the only training or education an Ur child can expect.

The Ur are a warlike folk who rule by force of arms. They are crude and vulgar, with the manners of swine, and are prone to outbursts of violence. Ur believe that only the strong survive, and the weak follow orders or perish. Ur admire strength and power; it is the only thing they respect. Whenever possible, Ur use their ability to read emotions to gain advantage over their enemies and rivals.

Each clan is ruled by an Ur-King. Next in line are his Warlords, commanders of the armies of the Ur clans, which range far and wide across the ravaged terrain of Urag. Ur shamans serve as advisors to the Warlords and the King. The Ur Kings makes whatever laws he sees fit for his clan. Individuals who have committed an offense are cruelly punished or put to death.

The Ur have no gods, but prostrate themselves before immense stone idols. The nature and origin of these monstrous effigies is unknown, even to the Ur themselves. Scholars believe they were fashioned long before the Ur clans settled in Urag. Icons depicting these three-eyed idols are sometimes worn by Ur shamans, and are said to have magical properties. However, the shamans of Urag are generally regarded as charlatans, most seemingly incapable of performing any but the simplest hoodoos and charms. The Ur dispose of their dead by dumping them into a moat or well.

Backgrounds

Veteran of the ice giant wars, eating competition winner, hermit stone idol worshipper, false shaman, fortress builder, warband leader, wresting champion

Ur Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Con

Read emotions: Once between short rests, roll twice on a skill check to read emotions and take the better result.

Dominance (Racial power)

Once per battle, when you hit a staggered enemy with a melee attack, deal double damage.

Adventurer feat: The enemy is also hampered until the end of its next turn.

 

Vajra

vajrasThe Vajra are short and squat, with barrel-like torsos and heavy limbs. Their bodies are covered with overlapping orange-brown plates, which form an effective natural armor. They dress in loinclouts and wide belts, donning cloaks for ceremonial occasions. Their tough, scaled hide renders them impervious to cuts and abrasions, and serves as a natural form of armor.

The ancestors of the Vajra once dwelled beneath the Opal Mountains and Vajran Hills, in the northern part of what is now the Kang Empire. They were originally subjugated by the Quan, who captured a large clutch of hibernating Vajra young and threatened to kill them unless the adults surrendered. Fearing that their species might be driven to extinction should such a catastrophe occur, the Vajra acceded to the Quan’s demands. Following the Silent Insurrection of 611, the Vajra became subjects of the Kang.

The Vajra once lived in subterranean settlements that resembled intricate tunnel-mazes, designed, excavated, and polished with meticulous attention to detail. The passageways and caves were illuminated by globular masses of phosphorescent fungi, suspended from the ceilings. These settlements resembled underground hives, with separate chambers for the hibernating Vajra young, the Queen, the workers, and the soldiers. They population subsisted on a simple diet of mosses, lichen, and mineral-rich water from underground streams, springs, and lakes.

Since their subjugation, the Vajra have been forced to live in tunnel-complexes built into large mounds and hillocks. In order to ensure the loyalty of their workers, the Kang hold hibernating Vajra young captive in locked iron vaults until they have hatched. The Kang employ Vajra engineers as miners, road workers, and builders. They are paid a nominal wage, but are often treated like slaves.

Vajra regard their entire race as a single family; the propagation and protection of the species are vital concerns to these folk. Vajra males court the females, who may mate with as many males as they please. In Vajra society the ability to have many offspring is highly valued. Females give birth to a clutch of up to four fetal young, each resembling a scaled impling enclosed in a translucent but durable egg-sac filled with nutrient fluids. The young remain enclosed with their egg-sacs for a full year, slowly growing and developing into young adults. During this period of so-called “hibernation” that Vajra young are extremely vulnerable. At the end of the year the hatchlings claw their way out of the sac, emerging as fully-developed "young adults”.

Vajra are normally quiet and introspective by nature; “as solid and enduring as stone”, as they say. Stoic and exceedingly durable creatures, they can tolerate considerable physical and emotional stress without complaint or apparent ill effect. However, there is another side to the Vajra psyche that is rarely seen by outsiders, called the Dark Fire.

Vajra revere the earth goddess, Terra, whom they regard as the Great Elemental that dwells within the world of Archaeus. Prior to the subjugation of their people, Vajra would gather together in great numbers and offer prayers to their goddess. Now, such practices are forbidden by the Kang. Even so, Vajra priestesses are said to still hold services in secret underground shrines. Vajra bury their dead deep in the earth, their ancestral home.

Backgrounds

Miner, stone mason, sculptor, resistance fighter, Terra priest, slave keeper, shock trooper

Vajra Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Con

Plated Skin: You gain a +2 bonus to AC in light or no armor, and +1 in heavy armor.

Nearsighted: You take a -1 penalty to ranged attacks.

Acute Hearing: Once per scene, roll twice on a hearing skill check.

Dark Fire (Racial power)

Like stone, Vajra strive to be placid, enduring, strong, resolute. Like earth and soil they strive to be fruitful and nurturing, providing a medium for growth and new life. But there is another side to the Vajra, about which little is known. For deep in the subterranean realms of their homeland, where the light of the twin suns never penetrates, is a place of perpetual night and burning, smouldering magma. This is the Dark Fire, a molten heart of darkness that exists not only at the center of the world, but also in the soul of every Vajra.

In Vajra culture, the Dark Fire is neither good nor evil. It simply exists, as do all things in nature. Vajra keep the Dark Fire deep within in them; they say that it warms their hearts, illuminates their souls, and prevents them from losing their way in the darkness.

Under normal conditions the Dark Fire is always hidden and kept under control. However, if subjected to prolonged periods of severe stress or torment a Vajra may lose the ability to control what lies within. Like a volcano, he or she may erupt in a frightening display of violence and destructive force: clawing through stone, breaking free of the strongest restraints, exhibiting an almost elemental power. During such times a Vajra may kill or destroy without remorse, perform feats of incredible strength, or suffer grievous wounds and injuries without apparent effect. The Dark Fire lasts but a few moments, and often less than this. Once it is over the Vajra’s energy is spent and he or she will lapse into unconsciousness. Death usually follows soon afterward, for once the Fire is extinguished, so too is the Vajra’s life force.

 

Verdir

verdir SwampThingCv22 eric powell

 Verdir are tall and somewhat gangly in appearance, and have skin the color and texture of new grass. An elongated cranium decorated with a mane of yellow-green leaves is typical of members of this unusual species. Verdir wear loincloths of woven grass, with bracelets and necklaces of woven vines. The females augment this costume with garlands of meadow blossoms in a variety of hues.

The Verdir are believed to be related to the Green Men of the Dark Coast, though their people may have been “mutated” or altered in some respects by The Great Disaster or some other phenomenon.

Sentient plant-folk, the Verdir tribes live in villages made of living plants, set atop the giant flowering lily-pads that grow in the lakes and ponds of this region. They make useful tools and implements from woven vines, leaves, gourds, and roots, and have domesticated a species of water-bug known as cibants, which they employ as steeds to carry them to and from their floating settlements. Verdir subsist on sunlight, rainwater, and minerals derived from certain plants, roots, and tubers. The ingredients are mixed with water to form a paste that is served either as a type of porridge, a liquid collation, or—when dried in the suns—as wafers. Verdir do not use fire as it terrifies them.

Verdir reproduce via a strange combination of humanoid and plant activity, involving the transfer of pollen from male to female. The process is apparently pleasurable, as Verdir spend much time either preparing to mate or actually participating in the act. Dedicated pleasure seekers, male and female Verdir mate often, and prefer variety in their choice of partners. Verdir young begin life as seeds, growing together in a pod-like protuberance that forms on the back of the impregnated female. When the pod is approximately a foot in length it is gently removed, planted in the soil, and watered regularly for a period of seven days. At the end of this time a dozen or more young “seedlings” emerge from the soil. They remain rooted for another two weeks, feeding on sunlight and water and growing like weeds. At the end of this time the young uproot themselves and begin to walk about.

Verdir are hedonists who take their pleasure in the here and now. They love music, art, and romantic conclaves, and engage in these favored pursuits as often as possible. Verdir seem to have a feast or “lustral rite” for every occasion, from the blossoming of a favored flower to the various positions of the twin suns, and visitors are always invited to take part. It is the custom of these folk to partake in various intoxicating plant-mixtures, considered an important preparation for their traditional fertility and nature rituals. Most popular is the substance known as sashesh, a powerful hallucinogen derived from a type of local fungi, which the Verdir regard as sacred. Verdir foragers regularly venture into the Wild Wood in order to obtain quantities of this fungi, despite the dangers.

Verdir have no formal religion, though they recognize a being known as “the Kagan” as their Great Creator.

Backgrounds

Woodland guardian, apprentice druid, fey friend, green poet, pipe musician, sashesh brewer

Verdir Racial Bonus: +2 Wis or +2 Cha

Plant: Once between short rests, roll twice on skill check for stealth in the wilderness and take the better result.

Gust of Pollen (Racial power)

Once per battle; quick action

Target: One nearby enemy

Attack: Constitution + Level vs. MD

Hit: The target is dazed until the end of its next turn.

Vird

Several nomadic tribes, referred to collectively as the Virds, make their homes in tent settlements scattered across Rajanistan. They include the Aramut, the Zagir, and the giant Shadinn. All originate from the same root stock as the Rajans (and use the same racial template).

 

Xambrian

dragonqueenXambrians have bone-white skin and long, raven-black hair. Their customary mode of dress includes a cape, high boots, and breeches of black strider hide, but they are most easily recognized by the ornate spirit blades they carry.

The ancient Xambrians were a peaceful people who were all but exterminated by a cult of black wizards known as the Torquarans. At their hands, untold thousands of Xambrians perished in the Firepits of Malnangar. A few Xambrians escaped into the Wilderlands and went into hiding. Assisted by unknown benefactors, they somehow managed to survive The Great Disaster, disease, and starvation. To the spirits of their ancestors they swore an unbreakable oath, to find and bring to justice the murderers of their people. The last of their descendents, the Xambrian wizard hunters, can still be found scattered across the Talislantan continent.

The few remaining Xambrians are consumed by one goal: to hunt down and bring to justice the reincarnations of their ancient enemies, the Torquarans. The Xambrians have no homeland, no clans, and no families. They do not marry, yet they can mate only with another Xambrian. Unable to bring infants with them while undertaking such dangerous work, Xambrian females are often forced to abandon their offspring; usually to a family or individual whom the Xambrian has come to know and trust. No matter how they are raised, Xambrian children are doomed to grow up as outcasts. They look, act, and feel different from others, and are subject to protracted periods of depression. During their early years they may hear “voices” in their heads, or experience hallucinations of varying duration and severity. As they get older they begin to develop strange powers, for which there seems to be no logical explanation. Then, on the eve of their thirteenth birthday, young Xambrians receive a vision from an ancestral spirit, who explains the Xambrians’ heritage and the reason for their existence. From this point on the child is a Xambrian wizard hunter, and will receive spiritual guidance and training from the ancestors, until he or she is ready for “the Calling”.

Backgrounds

Wizard hunter, mercenary, demon slayer, substance addict, dread pirate, inquisitor, skull mountain pilgrim

Xambrian Racial Bonus: +2 Con or +2 Wis

Counter Magic (Racial power)

Close-quarters spell; Once per battle; Free action to cast

Trigger: A nearby creature you can see casts a spell.

Target: The nearby creature casting a spell.

Attack: Intelligence + Level vs. MD

Hit: The target’s spell is canceled, and the caster loses the action they were using for the spell. If the spell had a limited use, that use is expended if your natural attack roll is even.

Champion Feat: You can now cast counter-magic twice per battle.

The Xambrian can use this ability against magic attacks by monsters that are not "spells" as a Wizard would define them. If in doubt, it's the DM's call.

Spiritforce / The Calling (Talent)

At any time following the first spirit vision, a Xambrian may receive “the Calling” — a summons from the spirit guides, letting the Xambrian know that one of the enemies of his people has returned to Talislanta in the form of a reincarnator, and directing him to travel to the place called Omen, the mountain of skulls. Once here, the ancestor-spirits will tell the Xambrian how to locate the reincarnator, and will invest the wizard hunter with a portion of their spiritual strength. From this moment on, the Xambrian will not rest until he or she has carried out the vendetta. Abilities acquired through Spiritforce last only as long as the Xambrian needs them to track down and bring to justice the reincarnator he was called to find. Once the spiritquest is completed, the additional abilities disappear until the next time the Xambrian receives “the Calling”.

When a Xambrian receives the calling, he gains the following bonuses:

* Gain the ability to detect the presence of magic, extra-dimensional entities, or danger. You can sense the direction you must go to pursue your target.

* +1 to MD and PD, +5 to death saves

* no need for sleep, rest, or sustenance

* Infuse a melee weapon of your choice as your Spiritblade. This blade becomes a true magic item of your current tier. It attacks ignore any damage resistance or immunity. It deals extra damage equal to your level against the intended target.

Xambrians who have not received their calling at the start of their career can gain this talent later by switching out another class talent.

 

Xanadasian

The Xanadasians, including the Chroniclers in the Temple of the Seven Moons, are related to Mandalans and use the same racial template.

 

Yassan

yassans-2a8d862The Yassan are a short and stocky people, with metallic grey skin, flat features, and six-fingered hands. They dress in hooded yellow tunics and breeches, with heavy leather boots and gloves; a costume well-suited to their preferred line of work.

The Yassan are thought to be descended from a race of neomorphs created by the ancient Archaens. Displaced during the aftermath of The Great Disaster, the Yassan spent many years wandering in the Wilderness of Zaran. Eventually they were found by Dracartan desert scouts, and their clans granted sanctuary within the walled settlement of Nadan.

Yassan are artisans by trade, skilled in the working of metals, stone, and glass, and adept at building, repairing, and maintaining, most types of mechanisms and structures. While certain aristocratic Talislantans denigrate them as “commoners” or “manual laborers”, the Yassan are highly intelligent and possessed of an independent spirit. They are arguably the most skilled artisans on the continent, and can build or repair just about anything.

The Yassan know no ancestral homeland, nor do they know much of the origins and history of their people. Despite this, they have created a unique and diverse culture, which emphasizes hard work, honesty, and a respect for craftsmanship that is unsurpassed by other peoples. Since being taken in by the Dracartans, the majority of Yassan now reside in Nadan. Most live in Dracartan dwellings, modified to suit their needs and decorated to their tastes.

Yassan are devoted to their clans, or family units. Couples bond for life, and may produce as many as ten offspring – large families are favored by the Yassan.

Backgrounds

Glassblower, airship mechanic, independent alchemist, artillery officer, techno-terrorist, mining engineer, arcane plumbing repairman

Yassan Racial Bonus: +2 Con or +2 Int

Manual Dexterity: Once per scene, roll twice on skill check that require fine manipulation, such as picking a lock.

Technomantic Craft (Racial Power)

Once between short rests, raise the enchantment of one item of your choice by one tier until the next short rest. If you use the item yourself, the item still counts as its base tier for the purpose of item limits.

Champion feat: You can enchant two items this way.

 

Yitek

campaigner by butterfrog-d5xosbj cA desert people with dark brown skin and hair, Yitek are thin, wiry, and active; there is no such thing as a fat Yitek, for their people are constantly on the move and are well-adapted to a nomadic existence. The customary mode of dress includes loose-fitting robes, cape, and veiled headdress. The latter affords protection from sandstorms, and also provides the wearer with a modicum of anonymity — a useful function, given the Yitek’s line of work.

Like the Dracartans, the Yitek are among the many Talislantans whose ancestors were displaced by The Great Disaster. The Yitek claim to be descended from the folk of ancient Ashann, and say that they were once rulers of a great and powerful kingdom. Others regard the Yitek legends with skepticism, stating that their tribes have always been as they are now: wandering vagabonds whose only talent is tomb-robbing.

The Yitek are nomads who traverse the Desert Kingdoms and Wilderlands regions in small-to-medium-sized bands. There are two main tribes: the Notas (northern Yitek) and Sutas (southern Yitek), named after the general regions in which they are found and which each claims as their respective territories. The two tribes are usually on good terms with each other, though territorial disputes are not unknown. Yitek bands are highly mobile, carrying everything they need and own on the backs of their aht-ra. Most prefer the three-humped tatra, which, though not as swift as the one-humped ontra, can carry heavier loads. This is an important consideration, as the typical Yitek mount must bear water, provisions, weapons, sleeping tent, tools such as winches, chisels, pry-bars, a musical instrument or two, and even the rider’s offspring.

Like their rugged mounts, Yitek require little in the way of food and water, and so are able to venture into areas considered uninhabitable by other Talislantans. They earn a livelihood by scouring the Desert Kingdoms and Wilderlands for ancient ruins, using old maps, legends, artifacts, and their own instincts to guide them. Yitek are particularly adept at locating sites and structures that have been lost beneath the shifting sands, or deliberately hidden in order to protect their contents. Ancient burial grounds and crypts are among the most coveted finds, due to the riches that such places may contain — hence, the Yitek’s reputation as tomb-robbers.

The Yitek are known for a morbid or “dark” sense of humor, a trait that is perhaps essential to their trade but that other folk sometimes find distasteful. Indeed, the nature of the Yitek’s profession is such that many Talislantans prefer to avoid prolonged or unnecessary contact with them.

Yitek males may take as many wives as they can afford to keep, a large number of wives being regarded as a sign of status among these folk. Marriage contracts are customarily arranged by the father of the bride. Prospective suitors strive to outdo their rivals by offering the richest gifts, thereby earning the father’s favor and his daughter’s hand. Yitek offspring are doted upon by their mothers, but otherwise ride with the band and are expected to contribute their fair share to the group as soon as they are old enough to gather food, get water, and tend the band’s beasts.

Yitek bands operate as small communes, with everyone contributing to the group’s welfare. Each band has a nominal chieftain or leader, generally the oldest and wisest male of the group. The chieftain’s main responsibility is to locate favorable sites for excavation, to negotiate the sale or trade of recovered goods and artifacts, and to distribute the profits fairly. Among the Yitek, stealing from or committing violence against another member of the group, hoarding food or water, or coveting another’s spouse are considered serious crimes. Should a member of the band be accused of such an offense, the chieftain may be called upon to judge the offender’s case. The punishment for all but the most trivial offense is expulsion from the group — Yitek bands are close-knit, and will not tolerate untrustworthy persons in their midst.

Backgrounds

Grave robber, coin exchanger, fence for ancient crafts, artefact historian, aht-ra breeder, water prospector, outcast, cursebreaker

Yitek Racial Bonus: +2 Con or +2 Dex

Work-related risk: Yitek gain a +1 bonus to defenses against undead.

Adventurer feat: Gain a +1 bonus to all attacks against undead.

Sidestep (Racial Power)

Once per battle, when you are missed by an attack, the attacker makes a second attack roll against a nearby enemy.

 

Yrmanian (Wildmen)

boris vallejo 201Bestial in appearance, the Wildmen and Wildwomen of Yrmania have sharp fangs and dark, deepset eyes. They wear their shaggy hair in braids and dredlocks daubed with colored pigments. For clothes, the Wildmen employ rude loincloths, with arm- and leg-wrappings made from strips of hide.

Talislantan scholars believe that the Yrmanians are direct descendents of the original tribes that once roamed Talislanta and still appear just as their ancient ancestors did ages ago. The Yrmanians are primitive hunter-gatherers who subsist on a diet of wild mountain berries, fresh game, leafy plants, and just about anything else that could be construed as edible. The Wildmen have no permanent settlements, but simply travel about from place to place. Their tribes range in size from small groups of four-to-six individuals to large clans numbering as many as several hundred.

Wildmen are prone to fits of seemingly mindless behavior — in the heat of battle, Wildmen have been known to leap off cliffs or rock ledges, turn upon each other, or simply attack anything in their path, including trees, bushes and inanimate objects. This sort of erratic behavior is attributed to the Wildmen’s use of Skullcap, a bone-white variety of parasitic mushroom. A lethal toxin when ingested by most Talislantans, the mushroom does not seem to harm the Wildmen, who have evidently developed an immunity to the substance’s deadly effects. Under the influence of this drug, Wildmen are totally without fear, and seem to be immune to pain, continuing to attack with savage blood lust though riddled with scores of wounds.

The Wildmen of Yrmania revere Manik, “the Mad God.” Little is known of their religion other than fanciful speculation, such as reports that Wildmen shamans mate with the hideous creatures known as yaksha. Some scholars have suggested that the Mondre Khan and Beastmen races may have originated from such strange couplings. Wildmen shamans are said to be even more unstable than their tribesmen, and may or may not possess any magical abilities.

If faced with a potential threat, the tribe will take up arms and attack. When set on battle they are dangerous opponents, bereft of fear and unaffected by exhaustion or, evidently, logic. In combat, the Wildmen wield the r’ruh, a sharpened stone blade affixed to a long leather thong. Swung over the head at great speed, r’ruh emit a “singing” sound that is intended to strike fear in the hearts of the Wildmen’s foes. Rival clans sometimes fight each other, a situation that has proved useful in keeping the otherwise prolific Wildmen population within reasonable limits.

Backgrounds

Tribal warrior, mushroom collector, shaman of Manik, weapon trader, mercenary leader, exotic harlot, battle drummer, plains hunter

Yrmanian Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Con

Immunity to Skullcap: You are immune to the poison of the skullcap mushroom.

Skullcap Frenzy (Racial Power)

When entering battle, roll a d6. When the escalation die is equal to the number rolled, you enter a battle frenzy. In frenzy, you are immune to fear and you keep fighting even if you fall below zero hit points. You still roll death saves and you die immediately if your total falls below negative half, but you don't become helpless or unconscious.

Adventurer feat: You can spend a recovery as a free action when entering the frenzy.

Champion feat: You die if you reach your negative hp total instead of half of it (even when not in Frenzy).

Epic feat: The recovery when entering Frenzy is a free recovery.

 

Za

zasThe Za are lean and muscular, most standing at or just under six feet in height. Their skin is a pallid yellow in hue, leathery in texture and lined with creases and wrinkles. Za shave their skulls, and forgo all but the most abbreviated attire. Necklaces of hammered black-iron disks are favored, as are bands of reptile-hide worn on the head and upper arms. Males generally wear long, braided mustaches; females, two long braids, one above either ear.

The Za believe that all the primitive peoples of Talislanta are descended from a single race: the Landborne, or Wild Races. In ancient times vast tribes of Wild Folk held sway over the entire continent, and once fought the ancient Archaens to a standstill. Divided by war, pestilence, and finally The Great Disaster, the Landborne split into numerous smaller groups and factions. The Za are perhaps the largest such group.

Nomadic bandits who range far and wide throughout much of the central Talislanta, Za are the bane of the Wilderlands of Zaran. Their clans can range in size from small scouting parties to great raiding bands of as many as three or four hundred individuals. They prey upon merchant caravans, landarks, and travelers of all races. Za carry their possessions with them on the backs of their mounts and in carts drawn by older greymanes or land lizards. Contending that the Wilderlands region rightfully belongs to them, Za rationalize that they are justified in robbing and murdering any who trespass in “their” territory.

Though females are an integral part of the clans, Za society is male-oriented. Za males may take as many wives as they can attract; skilled warriors and successful bandits carry the most esteem among Za women. Wives who possess skills that the Za deem useful – such as riding, swordsmanship, bowmanship, hunting, robbing, etc. – are most favored. The first wife generally wields the most influence over her husband and the other wives. Wives of lesser status must help raise the young; if no such persons are available, then older women must suffice. Za subsist on wild game, root, and tubers, in addition to whatever foodstuffs they are able to obtain in raids.

The Za have great faith in the ancient legend of the Tirshata, a great chieftain who once ruled over all the Landborne tribes during the time of the Archaens. According to the tale, one day the Tirshata shall return to unite all the wild tribes once again. At the designated hour, “the Tirshata shall be revealed, and the Za will rise up and smite their enemies, until they alone rule the lands from east to west.”

Backgrounds

Master archer, nomad storyteller, tribal defender, prophet of the Tirshata, tribal outcast, gladiator slave, caravan robber, first wive, reptile leather tailor, bandit leader

Za Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Con

Blood for Blood (Racial power)

Once per battle, when an enemy hits you with an attack, gain a +2 bonus to your critical threat range against that enemy until the end of the battle.

Adventurer feat: After you have chosen your enemy, increase the critical threat range by 1 each time you score a normal hit against him or her.

 

Zandir

zandirs-2a8d891The Zandir are a handsome folk with copper-colored skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. They enhance their features with vividly colored pigments, adorn their hair with silver bands, and dress in flamboyant apparel—velvet blouses and trousers, capes of silken brocade and curl-toed boots or slippers.

Like the Aamanians, the Zandir are descended from the Phaedrans, a people who ruled the Western Lands during the early part of the New Age. A dispute over religious views caused the Phaedrans to split into opposing factions, who proceeded to wage war on each other for nearly four hundred years. One of the factions that participated in these Cult Wars became known as the Aamanians; the other became know as the Zandir.

In the capital of Zanth, the Zandir live in copper towers and minarets. In smaller settlements they live in stone cottages, and in the coastal fishing villages they live in thatch huts. The Zandir diet is diverse, and consists of roasted meats and poultry, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, ales and wines.

Zandir are amorous and hot-blooded, and find it difficult to control their passions. They marry young, and often foolishly; both males and females have numerous affairs and trysts, and are quite flirtatious. Zandir are polygamous; males may have as many wives as they can afford, and females may keep as many male consorts as they can afford. Children are allowed considerable freedom, particularly as regards the expression of emotions.

The Zandir are a people diametrically opposed to the folk of neighboring Aaman. Where the Aamanians are conservative, Zandir are liberal, or even radical, in their views. Aamanians dress in colorless smocks; Zandir favor the most colorful attire. Aamanians believe in one god, while the Zandir believe in numerous luminaries, pagan gods, woodland spirits, and saints. It is little wonder then that the two are enemies, for they can agree on almost nothing.

The womenfolk of Zandu practice the quaint custom of hiding their faces behind decorative fans, giving the impression that they are shy and demure. This is hardly the case, as male visitors to Zandu often discover. Zandir men are even less subtle, and in other lands are widely regarded as lechers and philanderers.

Zandu is ruled by a Sultan, who wields absolute and unquestioned power over all his subjects. All citizens are theoretically equal, and therefore equally subject to the whims and moods of the Sultan of Zandu, which sometimes run to the extreme. Unlike the Hierophant of Aaman, the Sultan is far from celibate. Zandir custom allows men to take as many wives as they can afford, and the ruler of Zandu is a very wealthy man.

The Zandir are Paradoxists who profess to be mystified by the nature of their own existence. The tenets of the Zandir “religion” are perhaps best explained in the Paradoxist text, The Book of Mysteries, a lengthy tome filled with over 100,000 questions, and no answers. Paradoxist seers, widely regarded as charlatans by other folk, are well-liked in Zandu. Some possess actual magical abilities.

Backgrounds

The population of Zandu includes numerous minority groups and factions.

Causidians: legal advisors, diplomats, and scribes.

Certaments: professional duelists, many of whom are skilled both in magic and swordplay.

Serparians: professional beggars who wander the streets in rags, asking for alms.

Zann: fishermen who bear a wide reputation as the most steadfastly contrary folk in all of Talislanta. They rarely agree with other peoples, and are extremely opinionated.

Other backgrounds: Paradoxist preacher, street peddler, vezir advisor to the sultan, silk merchant, professional gambler, sea mercenary

Zandir Racial Bonus: +2 Dex or +2 Cha

Passionate sverve (Racial power)

Once per battle, when making an attack against your opponent's AC or PD, attack his or her MD instead.

Adventurer feat: If the attack hits, you can use this ability again this battle, against a different opponent.

Zandir Swordsmanship (Talent)

You are trained in the flamboyant style of the Zandir Swordmasters. Choose one of the following benefits.

* Add your Charisma modifier (x2 at 5th level, x3 at 8th) to damage on an odd hit with a melee attack.
* When wielding a weapon in your off-hand, gain a +1 bonus to AC against melee attacks while you are not staggered.
* Once per battle, increase your natural attack roll with a melee attack by 1.
* When you use passionate sverve with a melee attack, increase your critical threat range by 3 for the attack.
* Once per battle, after casting a spell, make a melee attack as a quick action at a -2 attack penalty.

Adventurer feat: Gain a second ability from the list.

Champion feat: Gain a third ability from the list.

Epic feat: Gain a fourth ability from the list. 

 

Zann

The Zann are Zandir fishermen.


Part A-G | H-R | S-Z


 

Image credits:

Sarista: Benjamin Carré - La Esmeralda and Djali

Sauran: Ancorgil - Lizardman Brute

Sawila, Yrmanian: Boris Vallejo

Shadinn: Lane01 - Executioner

Shan: P.D. Breeding (Naturalist's Guide to Talislanta)

Sindaran, Stryx, Sunra, Thiasian, Ur, Vajra, Yassan, Yitek, Za, Zandir: Pulpe de Poulpe (Talislanta French Edition)

Thaecian: Lilastudio - Butterfly Hair

Thane: Adam Black - Black Savant

Thrall: Nathan Rosario - Female Thrall

Verdir: Eric Power - Swamp Thing Vol 4 22 cover

Xambrian: OnJedone - Nemi

Yitek: Butterfrog - Campaigner

 

 

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