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Offline Scrasamax

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Race: The Kitjan
« on: September 21, 2004, 07:04:22 PM »
In the spirit of the Hsantex, Urwhor, Duerga, and the Lyrans, here is another spin on a classic fantasy race, the Elves. To develop a replacement race, one must first realize the strenghts of the old race that made it first viable, and then the weaknesses that made them believable. Secondly, the race must be examined for its cliches and the things that are overdone.

The elves are immortal or nearly so. They are also somewhat detached from the more base concerns of humanity. How many are protrayed as having dull or boring jobs, laboring to pay their taxes and tithes and tromping down to the temple to make their prayers? Not very many. In a metapsychological sense, the elven ideal is the ideal of what we ourselves would like to be. Forever young and in the health of life, unburdened by the menial tasks of life, free of the restraints of hard labor and endless toil.

They are also a deeply driven people who are centered around passion. An elf defends the woodlands with everytihng he has, loves with everything he has, and when he makes a mistake, it is whith everything. They are also prone to becoming tragic figures as they, consumed with their arrogance, or the meting out of their justice are often blinded to the deeds of their own hands. So we have the good, and the bad, now for the ugly.

The traveling ranger/musician/sorcerer is cliche, along with the near omnipresent reliance on the bow as a primary weapon. They can all sing, they can all dance, they are all painfully beautiful and have tragic lives and are all the same green painted plastic elf. BORING!


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Offline Scrasamax

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The Kitjan
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2004, 07:14:52 PM »
Drawn from several different sources, I present to you, the Kitjan.

Physiology
The average kitjan is a bipedal humanoid in the five to six foot range. They are often thin to the point of looking emaciated, but this is a misconception, they are muscular and lean in the manner of the greyhound, with equally thin, but sinewy arms and legs. The legs deserve a moment of attention as the kitjan are digiplant, they walk on their toes in the manner of the therapod dinosaurs, or large landbound birds. This makes them exceptional runners and powerful lifters. The average kitjan can carry 1.5 times as much weight as the average human.

Each hand ends in three fingers and a thumb. The head is normal in regards to the placement of eyes, but the kitjan lack a nose and have no olfactory sense. They also do not have a mouth. Their physiology is unique in that they consume food through a mouth like orifice in the abdomen, and find it rather disgusting and disturbing to see the other normal races eating with their mouths.

The Kitjan have a sixth sense to counteract the loss of the olfactory sense. In the manner of electricity sensing sharks, the Kitjan have an array of glans across their forehead that allow them to sense the mental energy of living organisms. This ghost like sense allows them to see hidden prey or predators, and make them hard to ambush. They communicate via this sense in a manner that would be best described as telepathy, but it is non-magical in nature.

The kitjan are secretive and their means of reproduction are unknown (will post later) and their technology and magic (will post later) are beyond anything known to the mortal races. They remain aloof and enigmatic, and see the humans as at best little brothers to benefit from their experience to a pest that should be erased.

The Kitjan are potent warriors, but their once glorious society has been all but decimated by civil warfare, and interclan conflict. Their homeland across the ocean has been savaged by wild magics and unleashed weaponry, and rendered uninhabitable in a conflageration that destroyed all of the cities, and killed four out of every five kitjan.


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Offline Scrasamax

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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2004, 12:15:23 AM »
Kitjan Society

The basic model of the Kitjan is the caste system, with the castes having been modified over the centuries to be better suited to their assigned roles in the greater community.

The Kalai
The Kalai are the priests, managers, and arbiters of the Kitjan. Members of the priest caste lack the developed musculature of the the warrior and laborer castes, but instead have their psionic abilities at a greater level of developement. They seldom enter battle, but when they do they use their mental powers to project hallucinations and phantasms at their foes. These phantoms look and to all appearances are real, but never work against other kitjan as they do not possess a psychic imprint of their own, but instead are echoes. The Kalai can also attack individuals with potent mind blast attacks that cause paralysis, and temporary chemical imbalances in the brain.

The Milari
The Milari are the lords and warriors of the Kitjan. They stride into battle wearing plate armor made of a brass like alloy. The metal is light as steel, but has the sheen of brass, or gold, depending on the Kitjan tribe who made it. Each tribe has a slightly different alchemical formulae for developing the metal of their armor and weapons. The most common weapon of choice is paired short swords that are used in thrusting and parrying attacks. Given the strength and speed of the kitjan, these attacks are powerful, and are able to penetrate most non-plate armors with ease.

The Yuthi
The Yuthi are considered the lowest caste. The yuthi are the laborers and workers, but not in the sense of a peasant or commoner. The yuthi are the skilled laborers and form the bulk of the population, as well as a disproportionately large part of the refugee population as warfare claimed a higher percentage of the warrior and priest caste. Yuthi on occassion pick up weapons and serve as auxilliaries to the Milari. They will use heavy tetsubo-like staves to fight.

The Unnamed
The least caste are the unnamed. Criminals, heretics, and traitors make up this caste of untoucheables who live as outlaws. Some Warriors hone their skills by hunting the unnamed and dispatching them with a prayer to the god Khalai that they be bettered in reincarnation.


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Offline Scrasamax

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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2004, 12:24:47 AM »
The High Art of Soul-Forging

The Kitjan practice a strange form of magic that is equal parts enchantment and necromancy. Since their numbers remain small, and the kitjan psyche does not allow for their own kind to be relegated to the status of a slave, they developed the art of soul-forging.

The Kitjan build automatons of their peculiar brass-like metal with innards of crystal and wire, complex and confusing to any unfamiliar with the processces of magic and automata. The automaton is later the focus of a ritual where a sentient being, after being properly trained in the servant tasks of the Kitjan, is sacrificed and his spirit bonded into the metal shell of the automaton.

Not every slave or captive taken is given this treatment. Only the most promising of slaves are given this. The prospective slave is conditioned and educated in the kitjan psionic language, and with the vagaries of the tasks that are to be expected of him. After several years of such conditioning, the slave is bonded to his new body, and mind-slaved to the collective will of the Kitjan.

There is a cult of warriors who go through the same process, but only after they have been critically wounded in battle, and are either permanently lamed, or wounded to death. These proud warriors are bound into warrior-bodies. Golem like constructs the size of warstriders, and armed with weapons to large for the normal kitjan to use. These megalithic warriors served as the elite shock troops of the Kalai, and as such, none have come in the wave of refugees. It will be some time before the artisans begin crafting new warstriders, and neotic automata.


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Online EchoMirage

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yucky elves!
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2004, 03:14:56 AM »
so far, they seem pretty repulsive to me, to be honest. Due to having no mouth and nose, how the heck do they breathe? As well as that, they'd need no jaw, thus, their heads would just be round balls with two eyes in front, and ears by the sides - losing mimics, as well as any attractive facial traits (okay, perhaps except the eyes, but still ... I'd be scared facing a creature with beautiful eyes, but no face. This would make for SOME communication difficulties with the other races.
I also strongly reject the idea of elves dividing themselves into castes... given their free-spirited nature, this is actually an anathema.

You know, they somewhat resemble the Starcraft Protoss - just eyes in their faces, psionics, even the leg structure is the same, and the Protoss too encase their crippled warriors in the protective shell of a Dragoon, a giant warwalker.
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Offline manfred

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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2004, 05:55:23 AM »
I agree with Echo, and propose a change, though it may be too big for you:

Give them a mouth!
 - unless they breath by perspiration or what is it called (through their skin), or have gills, they should breath through something else. Why don't give them a mouth, to make them less alien (and right, disgusting) ? The mouth may be on the expected place, and even have the expected form, but...
 - The breathing and digesting is separated. Some problems virtually never show up (like choking on food, etc).
 - Their mouth needs no teeth (the visible mouth at least, the other mouth is probably covered most of the time). "Elves don't bite" may be a favourite saying, two-edged as it reports of their peacefullness, but also of their other, manipulative ways with the  "lesser races".
 - Surprisingly, they may be immune to some poisons, especially those based on cyanid (that react with the stomach's acids, but enter the organism through the lungs).
 - Their mouth probably lacks a tongue. Because their main form of communication is that magical thingy, their vocal chords (if any!) are probably atrophied. But they should be able to produce sounds. Ironically, the beauty of elven songs is now clearer: a combination of telepathy and vocals impacts the listeners doubly.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline Scrasamax

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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2004, 10:29:40 AM »
The Protoss were certainly a very strong influence, the main influence actually. It took a little thought to modify their heavy use of robots and automation into a fantasy game setting, but some aliens from Star Wars I cant remember their names, gave that answer with the soul-forging thing.

As for the castes, I dont think it is a bad idea because it delegates authority to each member of the species. The Laborers dont have to worry about the burdens of leadership, or the constant training and vigilance of the warrior. The warriors do not need to make their own weapons, or tools, and the leaders are not burdened with civil unrest. It was hoped that the division of labor, and responsiblity into the castes would make for a frictionless society. Since there is a degree of long term breeding into the castes, it would be unnatural for a laborer to want to lead, and for a leader to want to fight, or for a warrior wanting to be a worker to the exclusion of all else.

As for the matter of the mouth. I imagined that respiration would be handled in a gill-like manner, the kitjan breathing through a number of apperatures, likely in the torso.  No choking, and they would have incredible stamina, but would likely suffer the effects of airborn posions several times stronger than normal mouth breathers. I was thinking of adding a pheremone aspect where despite their monsterous appearance, they would be precieved as attractive in a strange and exotic way. I thought that they would be disturbing and intense. I will have to take your suggestions into consideration, and think them over some.


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Offline MoonHunter

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Hmmmm.
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2004, 03:05:09 PM »
I get more of a science fiction vibe off of these people. Unless the rest of your world is as strange of Tékumel or Jorune (www.tekumel and http://www.jorune.org/ ), these critters would be out of place.  They are just fairly ... alien in comparison to the rest of the world. Unless you make many of the monsters with similar odd ingestion and sensory abilities, they will be OOPS victims (OOPs= Out Of Place syndrome, where something that does not seem part of the continuity of the setting is just stuck there). So intergration is important (or explanation on that they came from somewhere else... far.. far... away).  

Now, they are an interesting race.  I just don't see these people filling the same campaign nitch as Elves, but that could be something that would be coming.
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2004, 04:40:23 PM »
MoonHunter gave me an idea...
Sci-Fi Elves... They would be kind of scary if they ran all across "that new spaceship of yours".

I think I will include them in my post-apocalyptic science fiction setting. I sorely need someone in the role as "The Strangers"(As the Nomadic tribes of Yemen call them. Yep, I am running a game occuring in Yemen  :shock: ).

I think my players will get the "OOPS" feeling when they discover that the race call themselves Elves, but that is perfect for the setting =)

Thanks for the idea Scras and Moon
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2004, 05:08:51 PM »
I will reserve judgement, for now, though I must point out that they are a bit on the Protoss side. All you would need is to add a bundle of leathery nerve-brain extensions to the back of their heads- bam, instant Protoss.
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my Warhammer cost 40k
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2004, 02:09:52 AM »
as for some scifi elves, check warhammer 40k... while there may be loads of excrement in the backgrounds generally, the Eldar are made quite well ... okay, for starters, some of the minis rule...
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Offline Scrasamax

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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2004, 07:05:20 AM »
Along the Warhammer 40K lines, I think the Tau were also an inspiration, being slightly more humanoid. Perhaps the Kitjan might be more feasible if they followed more along the lines of the Tau than of the Protoss.


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Offline MoonHunter

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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2004, 09:23:31 AM »
Quote from: "Ancient Gamer"
MoonHunter gave me an idea...
Sci-Fi Elves...


Ummmm  Vulcans?

Actually Vulcan or a Vulcan like species would be an interesting addition to a fantasy campaign. They are "almost Elves". They are alien, yet familiar enough that people will understand them. You could have Barbarian Vulcans and highly civilized logic driven Vulcans who practice an odd form of magic.  File off some serial numbers, adapt to the new genre, and there you go.

Inspiration comes in many forms

(EEEK The Minbari are Elves!!!!! Just think about it. They fill the same cultural/ campaign role as Elves do in most fantasy games.

In my Confederation Space background, Elventi are the primary race in Known Space. Most of the Elventi are of the environmentally sensitive (as the Elventi eventually adapt to any biologic environment within three generations and have open green spaces in their ships), a long natural lifespan extended by medicine, and have an "British Empire bringing culture and civilization to the universe" world view (18th and 19th century British).  They speak of honor, duty, and "the way of civilization" without a smirk. Then along come these upstart Humans who have been in space for a century and nearly beat their pants off in a war because of their unprecidented technological skills (but that is another story).  

The Chemmen are an Elventi species (as Elventi DNA was dispersed throughout this quadrant). These being are adapted to urban/ buildings.  They have strong overpowering emotions which must be tempered by a strong code.  Long ago, there was an Chemmen star spanning civilization, that got wracked by a civil war and collapsed.  Now the remmenants of tha civilization are in the Confederation and the Chemmen Order.  In The Order, the Chemmen have a strict military discipline, with a strong martial orrientation, to run a military state that has police state overtones.  It is very Roman in its views.  In the Confederation, the Chemmen have a religious mindset, following a complex religion of duties, relationships, and meditation (religion was everywhere in the original Chemmen civilization).  The Order wants to reclaim its lost bretheren. The Lost Bretheren want to soften and save The Order. The Confederation wants to protect itself (and the Bretheren) from the Order and the Empire.  

Well this could go on for a while... but you get the idea.
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for the glory of man ... uh, sentient-kind
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2004, 12:04:05 PM »
Now, the question is ... how dedicated to bringing the civilization, or, to contrast with it, patronizing or even exploiting would the Elves/Lyrans/whatever be?
If you are superior, and have made the mistakes the "newbies" are making millenia ago and overcome them, it is easy to disregard the worldview and opinions of the young ones, for you know better, right? E.g., nurture vs. smother. If you follow the mindset of 'recieving your reward for teaching the savages', you easily come to the conclusion that you can ask a few 'favors' for giving the savages your culture - resources, labor, even military service (particularly likely, as the 2.385 year old Elf would not be too eager to risk his life, but would be more than glad to send a hundred 18-yo humans to do the job).
Thus, the question would be: how truthfully do the Elves/whathaveyou adhere to their stated ideals? They could play god, making themselves seem enigmatic and supernatural. They could play the role of an elder sibling, who helps along because he can, but lets his little bro get his own bloody nose because that's the best way he can learn. They could be like strict parents, or even dreaded overlords, terrible dark looming figures, ominous and unassailable. All in the name of civilization.

Of course, the campaigns would be different as well: discover the nature of the Elves... or a light hearted campaign where, when you fumble up, some Elves drop by and save your lame [insert body part]. A military campaign where you fight a war instead of the elves... or teach the elves to respect their children ... or topple them from their throne.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2004, 04:02:03 PM »
The Protoss, the Mimbari, the Vulcans (and Romulans by default) Do indeed all fill the same cultural role as the Elf. That is being the superior life form, longer lived, more resistant, and also wiser and more profound in thought than we rash and foolish humans. They, being more matured cultures do not lend them selves to the almost youthful venture of Imperialism. I think this has something to do with an echo of us (USA)remembering being an Imperial colony at one point.

From what I remember of the Silmarillion, Tolkiens elves took we meager humans under their wings and tought us to read and write, and how not to be savages, but also conscripted we humans into levies and auxilliaries of their armies as we could replenish our numbers quickly. The loss of an elfin lord would be lamented, and his accomplishments could echo on for millinia while the Men of Brethil who died to the last man to protect Lord Fingon(?) are only remembered once, and for their bravery to protect him, afterwards they are all but fogotten.


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2004, 09:53:33 PM »
If you want to think of Elves as ancient (almost 'first race' level), aloof beings who know many secrets of the world, you could also look at the Vorlons for inspiration.

A couple things- psionics never seemed, to me at least, to fit very well in fantasy worlds. I admire people for trying to make it fit, but, to my eye, it just doesn't work.

So far, you haven't really provided us anything that connects the Kitjan with Elves. The Kitjans must have some sort of connection with the old Elves if they are to be a viable new spin.
A way to remedy this- give them the Elven flavor. That is, they are ancient, powerful, patronizing, aloof, you know, generally elf-like. So far, there is no mystery to the Kitjans- they have no magic to them.
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« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2004, 09:59:52 PM »
I agree with the capt'n on psionics.
Actually I use psionics in my sci-fi setting (humans have to have an implant to use it), and I use priestly, shamanistic and sorcerous magic in my fantasy setting.
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Offline Scrasamax

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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2004, 07:26:10 AM »
The concept of it sounded good at the time seems to have some relevance here. I dont know, maybe it all just seemed to fit together better in my own head, and didnt pan out the way I planned when it hit text.

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C'est la vie


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Offline Ancient Gamer

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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2004, 09:02:39 AM »
Heh, usually it only takes more work to make it good...
I am a little envious, people actually comment your stuff  :lol:
And your stuff IS mostly top notch Scras!  :D
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Uhhhhhh... no.
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2004, 09:09:20 AM »
If you simply call psionics "mind magic" it can work. Mercedes Lackey, Marion Zimmer-Bradly, and others have incorporated something that could be psionics successfully in a fantasy world.  You are still learning spells, they are simply skills you use to utilize your natural gifts. Heck GURPs and other systems make individual spells (or classes of spells) skills to be honed. (This view is more accurate to real world magics.)

If you make magic an inborn talent that needs to be developed, then you have psionics by another name. Technically CHI powers are psionics, innate abilities honed by skill, yet you don't normally think of them as psionics. Why, because we label them differently. Jorune utilizes a magic system that is vaguely psionic. In a low magic world, magical effects are normally the same as psionic ones. There is really no difference between psionics and magic in the real world, psionics merely directly utilizing the metaphysical muscles that magic uses. The only reason it is different in most gamer's mind is that they are in a different section than magic and might utilize different rules. (Your DnD roots are showing CP).

Do not fall prey to label-ism. Choose what effects you want. Choose a mechanic that best reflects what you want for "power use" in your world. Call it what you want.
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« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2004, 10:51:13 AM »
Quote from: "MoonHunter"
(Your DnD roots are showing CP).

TSR actually invested quite some energy into psionics. At one point, their monk class was some sort of psionically endowed hermit with several levels of mastery.

<rant>
Labelism or not; Now WoC has made the monk class some sort of new age, kinetic energy, uber-killer martial artist, and in my opinion they defeat the entire purpose of "sword and sorcery".
What is the point of swords and magic when it is useless against such an overpowered class anyway?
</rant>
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Race: The Kitjan
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2004, 04:46:28 PM »
I will have to take some time and redo the Kitjan, see about de-protoss-ing them so much, and adding more of a refined elven feel to them. I will definately ponder on their magics, perhaps also make their evolution more avian than simian. Perhaps some still had atrophied feathering, and ancestral myths of flying and somesuch.

Well, that will have to wait for a few more days. *sigh*

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