The Molochii (singularis: Moloch) is a fully sentient, humanoid race found in the foothills of the Thunderhead Range, several hundred miles north of Locastus.
They closely resemble humans in general appearance, but stand on average 7’6" (225cm) tall, and with a body mass that makes them seem squat, despite their great height. Their skeletal structure is sturdier, and their bone density greater than an average human´s, in order to carry their vast weight; an adult male Moloch averages 495 pounds (225kg), with the females some 10% lighter. Other than the weight and corresponding bulk, the sexes differ little.
A Moloch of either sex has a visage that can easily be taken as bestial by human standards; their brow is massive, overhanging deeply set, yellow eyes, their nose is broad and flat, and their cheekbones prominent. The jaw is typically squarish and heavy, with a protruding lower mandible bone twice the thickness of a human´s.
The skin tone is usually dark bronze, and gleams with the pungent, natural oils the Molochii extrude. These oils give the Moloch a strong, musky odor, not unlike that of a tiger, overpowering but not entirely unpleasant.
The head hair is black and coarse, not unlike horse hair, and usually worn in a long, swept-back mane, matted together in thick dreadlocks or braids, and decorated with a multitude of fetishes, leather straps, beads and colored strips of cloth interwoven with the hair.
Facial hair is only seen in males, and only extends to long, matted muttonchops or sideburns. Molochii never grows moustasches or chin beard. Body hair is also rife, especially in males, where the head hair continues along the back of the neck and onto the shoulders. The slightly pointed ears, too, are tipped with a fine tuft of hair.
The Molochii upper body is well developed, with excessively broad, sloping shoulders, long, apish arms and broad back. The Trapezius, Latissimus and Deltoid muscles are prominent and oversized, as are the muscles of the forearms. The hands and feet are large, with thick, splayed digits, and the legs comparatively short and stocky. Scarification is common, usually to the face and hands, to signify rites of passage and individual achievements.
The Molochii has a remarkably fast rate of healing, good oxygenation properties and excellent resistance to cold. They can, however, have a problem withstanding a warmer environment, as they are built to withstand the harsh storms on the sides of the Thunderhead Range.
Molochii of both sexes usually dress in soft buckskin pants, moccasins and vests or jackets made from the fur of bears, bison or wolves. Most wear an intricately decorated medicine bag around the neck for protection against the fierce spirits of the mountains. The shamans often wear a headdress made from the skull of a cave bear, painted with mystic symbols.
Warriors and hunters regularly wear trophies sewn on their vests or their belts, and fight honor duels with great bone clubs. Women sometimes sew the fossils of small sea creatures, common in these remote regions, to their vests, or stick colorful feathers in their hair
The traditional weaponry of the Molochii includes flint-tipped spear, a 6-foot longbow and a club made from a cave bear femur. Nowadays, with the trade with human settlements becoming more and more common, many Molochii carry steel knives and axes, as well as steel-tipped arrows.
While on an intellectual basis, Molochii are comparable to humans, they seem to lack the integral human drive for development. New ideas and inventions take a long time to take root within Molochii society, and the old ways are hard to change.
Usually, Molochii also have a slight impulse-control problem, which makes them bad planners and strategists. They seem suited to live in the moment, and quickly become stressed if faced with too many impressions at once.
All in all, these characteristics makes the Molochii seem childish and barbaric in the eyes of the average, civilized human, although this is not the whole story. The Molochii are deeply spiritual and honorable, strictly adherent to their traditional code of conduct and with an integral sense for justice. They will react strongly against anyone being unfairly treated, and outright aggressive when confronted with the oppression or exploitation so abundant in civilized society.
The traditional lands of the Molochii are located high up in the foothills of the Greater Thunderhead Range, where the pine-forested hills meet the icy rock of the mountains proper. The area is inhospitable, riddled with crevasses and chasms, and rife with dangerous wildlife, such as the great cave bears and the mountain lions. The area just below the tree-line is rich in caves, in which the Molochii makes their homes.
Recently, their habitat has been invaded by human prospectors, drawn there after the discovery of rich veins of ore near the frontier town of Broken Tooth, situated further down the mountain. This encroachment has resulted in a shrinking of the Molochii´s hunting grounds, and, though they do profit from trading furs and wood with the settlers, it has resulted in a profound change in their lifestyle.
The Molochii has been inhabitants of the rocky, pine-covered Thunderhead foothills since before recorded history. Living in extended families of up to 50 individuals, they have a primitive, yet surprisingly profound culture, shaped and molded by their harsh habitat. Culturally, the Molochii currently stands at a hunter/gatherer-agriculture milestone, beginning to culture wild grasses and tubers, but still sending out hunting expeditions for long treks to bring back game. They traditionally make their weapons out of flint or obsidian, although iron has become a more and more common feature since the arrival of human settlers.
Their preferred form of dwelling is one of the many caves that riddle the Thunderheads, although each family group has, within its territory, several caves to between which they migrate depending on season. Each group is led by a Spirit-Talker, or shaman, usually an elder with some degree of Talent.
The family groups are arranged into septs, which denote the traditional lands in which each sept hunts and lives. There are three major septs in the Thunderheads, namely: The Fire and Salt Sept; the Stone and Ice Sept and the Bones and Ashes Sept. The septs differ slightly in cultural variables, such as religion, art and philosophy, but not as much as human nations. The septs are ruled by a circle of senior shamans, the strongest of Talent.
Now, with the influx of human settlements in the traditional territories of the Molochii, their society is slowly starting to change. Many young Molochii, having tasted civilization in the mining camps and frontier towns, leave their clans to go to the great city in the south, working as bouncers, laborers or bodyguards. While still considered a novelty in Locastus, it is estimated that some 8000 Molochii now resides outside their traditional lands, as well as substantial numbers of Molochii half-bloods. The clans, on the other hand, are slowly dying, their new blood drained away by the vampiric city, and their land slowly taken over by humans.
The Molochii are accomplished carvers of soapstone, bone and wood. They make small, intricate totems and fetishes from these materials, surprisingly small considering the size of their hands. Cave paintings play a major role in Molochii life, both as an offering to their (surprisingly gentle and undemanding) pantheon. Transplanted Molochii, for example those in Locastus, still draw intricate paintings in the walls of their dwellings. One can be certain that one is entering a Molochii neighborhood if the walls, exterior and interior, are covered in primitive, monochrome artwork.
The Molochii have no written language, so their cave paintings also serve as a repository for their history, a support for their strong oral tradition, passed down via their Spirit-Talkers.
The Molochii´s faith is an animalistic, mystical tradition. They worship the spirits of the hunt, of the rock and of the weather. Their pantheon is gigantic and chaotic, but, surprisingly, not very demanding. The spirits of the mountains have been known to help the Molochii even without coercion, and willingly enter their weapons, investing them with arcane power.
Molochii in Locastus
Since the Thunderhead Mining Company opened the train line between Locastus and the mining town of Broken Tooth, there has been an influx of hill tribes and Molochii to the city. While universally poor and gullible, the immigrant Molochii has fared better than their human counterparts. It´s never a problem for a Molochii to get a job as a bouncer, bodyguard or strong-arm in a city like Locastus.
There´s also a certain clandestine demand for Molochii in the brothels that cater to the tastes of the decadent women of the aristocracy, who has become extremely interested in some of the hidden..err…traits of Molochii men. Many, however, has fallen to the lures of the Red Honey or other narcoticums, or to the temptations of the criminal underworld.
These guys are inspired by the Thelomen Toblakai from Steven Erikson´s books, Terry Pratchett´s Detritus the Troll, as well as a bunch of things from the real world (as I´m sure everyone has already noticed). I created them for use as a playable race, but they might be a bit too powerful for that, depending on the campaign. Use them as you will; I mainly use them as comic relief, having them break fragile human-sized things and barging off into situations their simple, straightforward minds cannot comprehend.