"As we stood on the reverse slope of the hill, our unit waited. The crossbowmen stood with their arbelests at the ready. In the distance we could hear the undulating war chant of the enemy growing closer and closer. The footfalls were random, undisciplined, but we had no illusions that they would be mere rabble.
It seemed both an eternity and just a heartbeat before the first enemy banners and spears appeared over the rise, revealing a broad line of the grey-skinned and red-armored warriors. They still chanted as they stepped into the range of the crossbows.
‘Loose!’ shouted the sargent-at-arms, and a flock of bolts hurtled into the red and grey wall. No screams issued forth - the first line simply dropped, stepped over immediately by their fellows who then stopped their chant and began a frenzied but silent charge towards our lines.
Only the frantic winding of the crossbowmen and their curses broke the silence as the grey horde charged our ranks…."
The Tsgara, commonly known by non-Rephatians as ‘Shark-Warriors’ carry that name for both skill in battle, and their appearance. They are the dominate member of the Warrior caste in the Tshaal and Tynarma Nations of Rephatia.
The Tsgara appear as somewhat large humans - averaging 6-7’ in height and having a muscular 200 lb frame. They have somewhat oversize eyes quite widely placed, and perpetually grinning mouths showing teeth filed to resemble sharks-teeth. Their skin has a greyish cast to it and is thick and leathery, providing some protection. They generally have long black hair which is treated differently between the two nations - a short mohawk for Tshaal, and long, tightly wound ponytails for Tynarma.
Tsgara mature quickly, reaching adulthood in a brief 12 years. They have intelligent slightly lower then human average, but much of that intellect is undeveloped and suppressed by conditioning.
The Tsgara actually bear no relationship to real sharks - the aesthetics of the Rephatians have been the prime driver in this direction. They have no special ability to swim, and the teeth are primarily cosmetic.
Though their spaced-eyes gives them greater battlefield awareness, it tends to reduce their ability to perceive depth, and thus their effectiveness with missile weapons.
Psychologically, they are close to their namesake, being especially violent and bloodthirsty. They are conditioned for battle and do not handle extended periods of peace very well. Units of Tsgara are generally kept continually on maneuvers to keep them from disrupting the peace. Bored Tsgara are known to raid even their own communities.
Tsgara have limited skills, generally the arts of warfare and survival skills. They know how to improvise weapons and build traps.
Tsgara are generally used in loose formations where individual skill at arms is more important then discipline. They favor skirmishing, forest and urban combat.
The Rephatians are specialists in organic technologies and have specially modified the native bamboo for many purposes, including creation of weapons and armor. The bamboo, specially bred and treated, has strength similar to bronze and in some cases can be as hard as iron.
The Tsgara are typically armed with iron-tipped spears, shields of bamboo and wicker, and the specially treated bamboo laminate armor. In jungle warfare, they will often use weapons made from the bamboo, as the iron weapons suffer from the humid environments.
Tsgara are universally aggressive and overbearing and it is difficult to see them in a non-combat situation. They need to be closely commanded by nobels to prevent them from attacking any non-Rephatians. Unusual specimens exist, but these attempt to hide their differences. Unauthorized mutants are culled quickly unless the variant is found to be very useful by the Breeders.
Plot Ideas/Campaign Use
The Tsgara can be used as generic goons even if the entire Rephatian race is unused. They are dangerous enemies who never take prisoners - unless under orders, of course.
A common, and cliched plot would be the atypical individual seeking to leave his repressive society and escaping to one like normal humanity.