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Author Topic: Icathian Races and History  (Read 4958 times)

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Offline manfred

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Icathian Races and History
« on: January 30, 2003, 04:17:25 AM »
The World of Icathia has the well-known basic set of fantasy races. While I have no uniques of my own design (I can still possibly add some), at least I made a few changes to THAT traditional background. Ideas welcome!


OK, gods built the world with the usual features, created some life on it and were content. For a while at least. Then they came up with the idea of creating some lesser creatures, to have the same fun with the world they have, and to provide some amusement for the gods themselves. Countless worlds created by RPG fans show this is a bad decision. :wink:
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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Icathian Races and History
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2003, 04:19:39 AM »
The gods came together to create new, thinking creatures. Elves were these beings called of old.

Elder and Elven History

When the Elves woke up, the world was still young and beatiful, and this beauty still remains with them. The world was never easy to live in, and they learned how to survive. They bred fast as the Humans now do, and while they sometimes fell prey to animals and other threats, they also found they do not die of old age, like all the other living beings do. This made it easier to collect wisdom and settle the world.

What the gods surely did not plan, was that their powers invested remained in some form within the Elves. The power to change the world only with one's mind, called Magic.

The Elves soon found this power of their kind, and being useful, they learned all they could greedily. Knowledge grew and Magic was widely employed for all needs. Indeed, any Elf could master it, unlimited life span giving the time. But spending time on one matter gives little time for other things. Any young Elf could see the Power one can attain, and strived to learn it from childhood. The society changed: for all were too concentrated on what one can do with Magic, few sought lasting partnerships. Although having fun was acceptable, children were generally considered a burden. Magic solved also this problem with birth-control, and the number of births dwindled dramatically.

A race that feels it can control anything in its life, or will sooner or later find the right spell, has no need for gods. Gods liked the Elves at first, helping them to grow, teaching and admiring the baby's first steps into the big world. But the children grew up and lost the need for their parents. Gods soon abandoned these children.

Once developed,a parental instinct is strong, even gods could not resist for long. They decided to create new races, intelligent but never so powerful with Magic as Elves are, for only with their hands shall they change the world. So were the Dwarwes born, and the Humans, Orcs and maybe others. The teaching began anew.

In the meantime the Elves formed a rigid society, and grew bored of all that magical toys. Then they found those new young races, talking oddities walking the world they deemed to know. A plaything most popular! They were so weak, so easy to surprise, and so short-lived. A child that always gets new toys does not value any. The Elves already adopted certain
views on the world, being a place one has to arrange according to his wishes.

Time passed.

The toys became boring, and Elven society gained new qualities, leading to new comfort and fun:
slavery, gladiator games, working in mines, bed-time companions, you know it...

...some more time has passed. The inevitable break-up followed, a revolution. All Races united themselves against uncaring Elves. Some Elves were actually killed. Others decided to erase anyone of non-elven origin, thus being secure forever. But gods intervened, and Elves had to let them go. Races have spread freely and Elves live even now in their kingdom, separated by vast mountain ranges.

Thus ended the First Age. (Seen that name somewhere, huh?)
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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Icathian Races and History
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2003, 04:23:20 AM »
The Elves
(Note: these times are they called The High Elves or The Right Elves or Those Bloody Elves.)

More Elvish than any other race, easiest to recognize after overhelming physical beauty and arrogance. Little love for them, accept other races (like Humans, Dwarwes, or Orcs) only as slaves. Actually used them as slaves for a long time.

Long-living, maybe immortal, great talent for magic. For these reasons are even lone individuals respected and silently hated. Consider themselves direct descendants of Gods and behave like that. A High Elf is the only master of its land, surrounded by comfort and servants, living and magical. Lives in very small closed communities. Very few births and deaths alike.

Important note: should be considered highly dangerous. Reasons?
- like to experiment with magic, may result in sudden destruction of vast territory, or something worse
- few want to harm people directly, but are VERY moody
- often see people as interesting bugs (some are collectors...)
- sometimes they settle away for a time (a few centuries), may be in the middle of other races territory, to have some privacy
For all this reasons it is wise to evade them. Secure distance is estimated at about 100 miles.

Are born with great magical powers, that grow through the ages. Have a reputation everyone evades them for (even Orcs). Racists absolute, unwilling to adapt to anything not 1000 years old

Last Note: Not available as a PC race. Period.


The Humans

The humans are one of the first races. Humans claim to be peaceful, eager to explore new things, adventure-loving and able to settle everywhere. They also claim to be tolerant to other races, freely sharing their living space. Besides adventurers, they like to be seen as merchants. Humans have more sub-races (I may detail them later).

It is important to note that religion has from all the races the biggest place in a humans' every-day life. They are often superstitious.


The Dwarwes

The Bearded Folk, another old race. Strong and independent, even the High Elves could not conquer them completely. Dwelling underground, known as experts with stone and metal. They have a strong sense for pride. Do not haggle for prices, they take it or leave it, but demand quality.

Besides that, dwarwes are usually organised in clans, and are very family-oriented.


The Orcs

Last of the old races. For being even uglier than Humans, the Elves made them slaves. The original orcish society was matriarchy, one of hunters and gatherers. Formerly peaceful, they abandoned old ways and favoured the strong over the wise, man over woman. Became a major military power, and still would be if they stayed united. Few live the original way of life now, most tribes must steal to survive, or be mercenaries.


The Elves

The Lower Elves, or only Elves, as they are known, are a fairly young race. Because the High Elves liked to have fun with Humans, they often produced offspring. Elven parents did not care, so it were Humans who raised them.

They had problems of many cross-breeds:
Distrust to outright hostility of others, problematical inheritance of their parents and physical frailty. Would probably not survive, were it not for their magical potential.

All this leads to certain psychical problems, and are even now known for that. Elves began to cure their instability with the help of Nature. Contrary to the High Elves - nature is to be shaped according to the mood and whim - Elves enjoy Nature as wild and unrestrained.


The Hobbits

Contrary to popular belief, the happy-go-lucky Hobbits are not some mysterious offspring of Humans, as all seems to indicate. In truth, they are Dwarwes changed by the High Elves, as they could not find another way to insult them. The weakened instinct for living underdground makes them live in holes. There the similarity (except for the size) ends.

Thus the average proud and self-assured dwarf gets a bit unsure around hobbits. See The Hobbit, where a band of Masters of the Deep in a way recognizes a Hobbit farmer as their leader. Hardly possible with a Human.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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Icathian Races and History
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2005, 06:36:39 AM »
Lycanthropes

It is not sure if this is a race in itself, a racial subtype, or simply a group of monsters. They certainly can breed with "normal" people, but after three or four generations of interbreeding the descendants show no trace of their origin.

Creation

You may want to see the parts on High Elves and Afterlife first, but the main point in short is this:
 - the High Elves are immortal, and have no Afterlife, simply cease to exist when dead
 - the mortal races are indeed mortal, but after their death spend a long time (up to centuries) as spirits. While they are in the same world as before, it is not the same to them, and they see and learn more of the world than they could in their life. But slowly, unavoidably, they expire and become nothing.


Obviously, while having no desire to die themselves, the Elves envied the mortals, and wanted what was denied to them. If not experienced personally, then at least seen and understood how it works, and what can one learn in that Afterlife.

The primitive tribes of mortals were for a long time in contact with their ancestor spirits. The research was unfortunately disrupted as their society collapsed, absorbed by the splendid, powerful and advanced High Elves. With no tribal identity to flock to, the spirits went their own ways after Death.

Those practicing shamanism found a way to preserve their powers: they started to worship powerful natural spirits, those they could understand and accept. The research renewed, the "coolest" were the potent spirits of predators. Given the natural order of things (always new being born, and always some dieing) they were permanently present in the Spirit World. The unrestrained freedom of a wild animal combined with with sharp supernatural senses, and something resembling an intelligence were irresistible to the Elves. They had to see it, they had to FEEL it...

...and so they made experiments. A shaman has contacted its chosen spirit, the powerful magic of Elves has made the contact permanent. While the poor man or woman stumbled on the brink of insanity, the researchers had a great time reading his or hers mind, and feeling the wild emotions. In the end, the experiment became a popular pastime, and stayed so until the revolution. But that's another story.


Lycanthropes

As a race, they are long-living, some known to live over five centuries and still able-bodied. With such a strong ally of their protecting spirit, physical damage harms them little. On the other hand, once they are dead, they are dead forever: their animal part returns to their Spirit, their mortal part expires nigh to immediately.

Personality-wise, they all dislike being bound to a place or under command. It must not be forgotten they are strongly influenced by their Spirit. A young lycanthrope has serious problems to stay in control, and responds to strong stimuli like an animal would.

The older ones have lived for some time with the Spirit. While their body gets slowly weaker, their wisdom is great, and their knowledge of the spirit world and the natural world is deep indeed. Becoming calmer, and strongly in control, some choose to study and record history of their kind and other fields of study. They even record the history of other races, and (given their long life span), it is quite accurate. It is said the truly old ones loose their scent, and can move freely between the animal kindred, even between mortals without a trace.


While most are fierce individualists, many conflicts with other races caused them to form a half-loose alliance. Their lobbying had success, and large forested areas exist within the (former) kingdom, formally belonging to the nobles or king himself, actually under their protection. Watch out for those foresters, some may be more than they appear.


Legends claim lycantropes are secretive madmen, that need the thrill of the hunt, and fresh, bloody flesh, best ripped from a still living victim. A true hunter does enjoy the hunt, though does not necessarily attack each time. Some are content with hunting animals, some hunt humanoids for a time, but let them leave freely. Some hunt for the kill. If you find yourself in the game of Hunter and its Prey, be careful! A single wrong step can make it deadly serious.

As for the bloody flesh, meat is certainly attractive to them, but the form is of individual choice. Some tend to be neat around meat, cutting into slices and baking it, adding a bit of this spice, and a bit of those. Many, when around 'normals' ostensibly enjoy vegetables, bread and all that is not meaty.


Special: lycanthropes may be partially resistant to magic. Especially magic affecting the mind fares poorly against them, due to their unusual psyche interwined with something else.


Infection

It is all nonsense about The Disease, and The Curse. A bite or scratch itself is only as dangerous, as of any wild animal. But this is no mere animal, and what it touches can be marked by the spirit world. If you are just a helpless victim during an attack, and somehow survive, nothing special happens. But if you fight back, if you resist the violence, the fiercer, the better, the predating Spirit may recognize you as one of its own children... and call upon you.

Thus you find yourself under its influence, and slowly transform in that 'beast'. The cure is actually as simple as impossible for most: reject the spirit of a predator from your life, from your very soul. Those few that are able to do this, become monks in their own right, often hermits in their pursuit of not harming anyone. Being touched by spirits once, some may choose to become a shaman. Some will be haunted by the spirit world for the rest of their life.


As the 'change' is little controlled by the victim, society is terrified of the Disease, and seeks to cure or kill anyone infected. While there is in fact no cure, as there is no disease, the used medicine and rituals in reality try to brainwash the victim... which may lead to a success.
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline manfred

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Icathian Races and History
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2005, 06:50:33 AM »
The lycanthropes and their connection with spirits provoked a nice chat with Strolen on the spirits, and their place in the world. We didn't get very far, but at least somewhere:

[Strolen] manfred: Spirits and their sharing of skills. Is there any conflict in the spirit world?

[Strolen] I was thinking that when the spirits lend their skills to the mortals then they leave themselves defenseless in the spirit world. It is the whole balance thing again that I am looking. It should cost the spirits something to give their power to a mortal. Being defenseless when there is conflict in the world could be a huge risk for them.

[manfred] Ah, yes, very logical.

[manfred] I am not a great fan of conflicts here and there just for the sake of it, but I think where there are people, you can't avoid this, right?

[Strolen] Yeah, doesn't have to be a conflict but maybe they lose their personality or nature of self when they give away their powers.

[Strolen] The longer they don't have that power which defines them them stronger the possibility that they fade with lack of purpose.

[Strolen] So it might be possible for a mortal to 'steal' the power, kill the spirit, and keep the power for himself. permanently.

[manfred] It might be... in theory.

[manfred] Spirits don't lend just skills, they lend a part of themselves.

[Strolen] I just think if you are going to use spirits, use them! The idea is too good to let it be at an explanation for magic I think.

[manfred] Spirits are a part of the world's background, literally. Unseen... but still present.

[manfred] They should have a large impact, not necessarily noticed by those still Living.

[Strolen] I may go too far with things sometimes but I am little hooked on the spirit thing.

[manfred] The question is only, what is it?

[manfred] So what will people do when they die?

[Strolen] Ah, motivation. Yes, can't be just _there_ can they?

[Strolen] That would go far to appease my thought process too.

[manfred] One thing I imagined the people would (after the tribes have become naught), was creating some sort of an afterworld byreaucracy, that attempts that thing there ought to be after death: justice.

[manfred] Of course, it is doomed to failed...

[manfred] ...in a world when you can spend an eternity exploring blades of grass, one by one.

[manfred] But some people, I think, particularly city-people, would try this.

[manfred] Bad people shall suffer for their deeds (or get better), good people shall be rewarded.

[manfred] Many would be travellers!

[manfred] There is (?) no natural limit to travelling.

[Strolen] So, are they sentient by default or do they earn it by worshippers? I die, people mourn me so I am around a bit but I didn't do anyting special. I fade quick. Jim Morrison dies and he has worshippers all over, his spirits grows and at a point it becomes sentient.

[manfred] You are sentient, aren't you? ;)

[Strolen] There are A LOT of dead people if they all can do their thing.

[manfred] There is what you called 'purpose', or maybe calling.

[manfred] The question is how strong is the connection to the 'real' world. Worshippers would equal stronger connection.

[Strolen] Oh, some background to that. We have had discussions at work about ghosts. His thought is that ghosts are just recordings of life that get played over and over. Many spirits are a skipped record repeating past tasks. These would be the nobodies, small time warriors and such that recieve enough energy to stay around, perhaps get their powers picked at a few times, but then are forgot about. They just repeat a pattern autonomously with no sentience.

[Strolen] Then they slowly fade as the person that tapped its power dies or stops using him for somebody bigger and better.

[manfred] Oh, and (Tolkien-esque thing: ) people ain't what they used to be. Most people aren't that wonderful souls, so the low, common sorts expire much faster. So they need not be trillions of souls filling the world.

[manfred] Turning that 'record' thing around: if that special thing is your defining feature so to say, it may be the only way for you to make yourself noticeable to the outside world.

[manfred] And while you keep trying to be noticed, you slowly expire anyway... until you are really only the one memory.

[manfred] Hey, what an example: http://www.strolen.com/plots/viewplot.php?plot_id=297

[Strolen] Maybe that is the drive, for the spirits to survive. Without mortals they fade away so they must do what they can to keep their worshippers (this may have been hit on with Iain). That could be the motivation.

[manfred] The old man is slowly loosing himself, so he ends up just doing the same... until the moment when he is helped, when he regains his senses.

[manfred] Well, they could merely fade away from _us_, the Living.

[manfred] (The actual reason for their fading was my thinking about entropy - nothing runs forever, so souls can't either.)

[manfred] (The alternative is that the world from a spirit's point of view is too big handle for mortal minds, and they simply loose themselves at some point.)

[manfred] (Now I remember something from The Hitchhiker's Guide: an execution dingus that projects the whole universe into your mind, effectively erasing it.)
Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.