((These “races” were created for an ongoing campain I am currently running.))
Wodan the Red (a name adopted later in life) was a noble born mage of the Raivenous family, their second born.
Physically weaker and smaller than his older brother, he perused a life of study in the magical arts. As he grew older, he realized the truth of his station in life as the second born. Greed, jealousy, and vengeance began to grow in him towards his brother at a very young age. He hated his brother with a passion unknown to most men. These feelings along with the favoritism he imagined his parents showed to his brother only drove him to learn more, and darker, arcane lore.
His brother Victor was destined to rule, and Wodan couldn’t imagine a “ lumbering idiot ” like him in control of his family’s fortune. And so he bided his time, waiting for the perfect moment to “ set things right ”. Wodan studied diligently for many years; animal husbandry, alchemy, magic, ancient languages and lore, demonology, and other “ useful ” knowleges.
Though their parents died, both brothers survived a plague passing through the land. Victor was shortly thereafter named Lord and Keeper of the family land and holdings.
Wodan grew more secluded, spending all but mealtimes in his room studying. In time he scarcely left the confines of his studies even to eat.
His brother had proved to be lucky, winning the hearts of all who met him, including Arrien, a woman of surpassing beauty and skill. Wodan secretly loved Arrien, but once again his brother stood in his way.
Victor and she were married before the season’s end, and shortly thereafter announced they were to be blessed with a child. Wodan knew his time was short.
On the night of the child’s birth Wodan set his anger into motion. Hiring a rather “ questionable ” mercenary troupe, he used his dark magic to disguise them as local villagers and set them to their task. Murder all who are in the house.
Wodan left early, telling his brother he needed to check the woods for an herb he needed to bless the child’s bed. A few hours later he returned, finding the massacre he had expected. A few of the house guards were returning from their homes when Wodan arrived. Feigning grief, he helped the guards search the house and grounds. Victor and Arrien were found dead in their room, mutilated and barely unrecognizable. Secretly, Wodan checked for the imminent child, but found she had already given birth. Arrien’s brother, a woodsman by trade, was missing also. His plan was foiled. He, however, knew opportunity was near. Quickly he announced the death of his brother and the child.
Given the title Regnant, he began his rule of the land with a weight he could not lift. The child lived, and until he could dispose of it his influence and power was in danger.
To this end he dedicated his life (and perhaps his very soul) to the pursuit and destruction of Victor Raivenous’ child.
Using the mercenaries for his experiments (captured and imprisoned while still in the guise of villagers for ” murder most foul “), he began creating man-animals capable of hunting and destroying all that would stand in his path…
(These would make interesting characters, I use them as antagonists in my current game. Any suggestions for expansion or improvement would be appreciated)
Additional Ideas (6)
It was dark and humid, and the alleyway smelled of offal and old mead. He crept slowing along, hugging the wall. The Master instructed him to listen for rumors that would lead him to Lara Raivenous and her companions. Trailing an elf he overheard in the tavern was an easy task, she had a pint or two too many and wasn’t being very careful.
It would be a simple task to dispose of her, but she mentioned meeting a small band of travelers to the barkeep, one of whom was named Lara.
Slipping from the alley, he moved to close the space between him and his mark. The elf turned a corner, leaving his sight for a moment. He pressed to the corner, looking around cautiously. Gripped tightly by the throat he was pulled around the corner onto a darkened street.
“Why are you trailing me?” the elf whispered through barred teeth, seeming quite sober.
“I wasn’t trailing you.” He hissed, trying to remain conscious in her grip.
The elf loosened her grip. It was all he needed to turn the tables. With a quick movement he stuck her hard in the face, sending her reeling back into a horse trough.
Turning to run he felt a cold, sharp pain in his side. The elf was quick, but not quick enough. Grabbing his side he turned to face her. With a slight grin he opened his mouth wide, snake-like eyes reflecting the moonlight….
An hour later he was at a tavern across town. He wasn’t getting any leads, but what he was hearing might fetch a good price from the right buyer.
Bred to be stealthy, swift, and dangerous spies and assassins Natharian appear as normal humans of stock and class. They are highly intelligent and clever. Knowing they were to be his "eyes and ears", he used the adder and other poisonous snakes in the creation of these creatures (the inherent venoms could be used discreetly and therefore keep his minions from being suspected). Under moonlight (and no other light source) their eyes are serpentine and skin appears scaly and patterned. The only other way to distinguish a Natharian in disguise is a curling serpent "birthmark" on the right arm in the crook of the elbow.
In combat they shed their disguise, appearing as scaled humans with serpentine eyes, dark amber fangs, and forked tongues. Normally clad in banded or leather armor they fight with two daggers, two short swords, or bare handed. Their blades are always coated with a special (but weak) poison. On a critical hit the poison will cause severe illness (GM defined) and makes the effected virtually useless in combat (fatigue and disorientation). In barehanded attacks they punch or rake with quick strikes for minor damage. Their bite is also poisonous (as blades above), and fast acting. They may also, once per day, spit and acidic poison from glands in their mouth causing blindness. This is normally used as an escape cover as the poison sprays over a wide area.
Upon death the corpse falls into a pile of venomous snakes and slither to escape. If one or more of these snakes are killed (and at least one is left alive) the body will reform (about one day per snake killed), bent on destroying those that killed it.
These creations only exist to serve their master (although exceptions have been reported). Living in “clutches” of three to eight, they frequent the poorer parts of cities and swamps. There appears to be no particular social structure recorded to date, although the rarely have conflicts within the “clutch” or with others of their kind.
Originally created from human adults and full grown snakes these creations have a twisted form of genetic memory, holding nothing of their former lives beyond primal instincts and basic skills. They are unable to breed with other race except humans, and only about half of those brought to term will be Natharian. Live births usually consist of two to four offspring. The lifespan is assumed to be comparable to humans, although this is not confirmed. The average life span is thought to be between thirty and forty years, although only time will answer that. Maturity is reached at fifteen to seventeen years, with full use of their inherited abilities.
The moon hung low on the horizon as the light rain fell. Shadows moved slowly along the roadside. “Move faster, you dogs!” a gruff voice growled, “We’ll never get this done by morning at this rate!”
The figures stepped from the shadow of the tree line into the pale light afforded through the clouds. Hunched by the side of the bridge the troupe peered along the old wooden planks. One stood up, his profile clearly visible. His wolf-like features twisted as he tried to speak “There, on the left” he stumbled over the words. Another man, appearing human, looked in the direction the man-beast pointed.
“I do believe, my brother, you have found what we were looking for” he snarled, a grin passing over his chiseled face.
An alcove, almost completely hidden, lay a few feet off the road.
“We’ll hide there. I’ll pretend to be wounded in the road. When the wagon stops, you attack”
“No blood” another one of the beasts growled, pointing its clawed finger at the man.
Swiftly drawing his dagger the man split the beast’s chest wide, blood spraying across him from waist to head.
“Now there is" he turned to the rest of the pack "Get ready you dogs! The supply wagon will be here soon!”
Bred to be ferocious warriors, Cùdan are a malicious, cruel, and warlike race of men crossed with wolves. Some (about 35%) look almost completely human, except for their heavily calloused hands, long unkempt hair, and elongated muzzles and teeth. The rest appear as werewolves of roughly human size. Knowing men habitually “read a book by its cover “he bred into them defenses that would serve them well.
Although they can only be hit by enchanted weapons they are, unlike werewolves, attuned to silver. Instead of causing wounds, silver weapons heal the Cùdan (equal to half the damage determined). The much more rare iron weapons however do double damage, if you can hit them (They run at the sight alone, but a morale can create a different outcome).
Those of human visage fight Florentine with dagger and long sword or two hand axes, or choose the bardiche or claymore. Bare handed, the werewolf-like of the race rake with their long claw-like hands and can bite for fierce damage.
As a failsafe, or maybe a cruel joke, upon death they always change form to that of a small, naked child of one to three years of age, imitating the prey they were bred to find. The image of their killer is reflected in their eyes until the next full moon. Destroying the corpse is the only way to negate this effect (Getting caught doing this is sure to cause problems with the locals). If burned, the smell will attract several large wolves, fearless and hungry.
These creations exist only to destroy in their master’s name (although exceptions are, although rarely, possible). Living in packs of six to twenty, they frequent the poorer parts of cities, mountains, and forests. There appears to be a pack organization, with the alpha male always appearing human. Conflict is common between packs, usually ending in the death of one of the alpha males. The packs then usually combine killing or chasing off any opposing males.
Unlike the Natharian, these creatures thrive on their primal instincts, nearly forsaking their human characteristics. Basic skills and abilities are retained to a slight degree. It is believed the Cùdan live between twenty and thirty years. They can breed with most known races, preferring elves and humans. If the father is a Cùdan, so will the offspring be. Female Cùdan give birth to either a Cùdan or the father’s race evenly, although the child is killed if it is not one of them. Litters of two to three are common, although a human looking baby will be born singly. They reach combat proficiency between nine and eleven years of age and full maturity by fourteen.
The day was near perfect. The sun darted in between clouds, the breeze light and cool. He stepped lively from the inn, intent on traveling a good distance while the weather held. Wrapping his cloak about the bedroll and gathering up his pack, he began walking.
He didn’t want to think about his purpose for the trek, just the walk to get there.
He felt a slight pull in the back of his mind and winced. He knew the thought wouldn’t let him alone until his quest was finished. His lot, he supposed, was after all a construct of his own making. His steps fell heavy as he trudged along the wide wagon road. He knew what must be done, no matter the pain it caused him.
Long ago his family was respected, even loved, by the villagers of Morulindor. And the keepers of the land, the Raivenous family, had sheltered and helped his clan for generations. But now things were different. After that fateful day seventeen years ago nothing would ever be well for him or his family. A single tear ran down his long, birdlike nose. He knew there was no atoning for what he has done in the past and must do now.
When he was out of sight of the hamlet, he shed his pack, tossing it into the trees. With a hopping start, he began skipping along the road. Within moments the change would happen, and he would be on his way.
Two children watched the strange man leaving the inn, smiling as they followed. A traveler would surely spare a copper or two for them. As they traced his footsteps, a game they would often play, he rounded the curve in the road. Loosing sight of him, the children abandoned their game in hopes of begging a few coppers. As they rounded the bend themselves, the man was gone, disappeared from sight.
They watched as a large raven swooped near the ground and flew off along the road…
Wodan enslaved this once proud family and twisted their abilities to his own ends.
Through strange and ancient spells the elders fell to Wodan easily. With the elders held on threats of pain and death, the youngsters reluctantly do the bidding of their new master. Swift, clever, knowledgeable, and possessing some minor magical abilities themselves, they do whatever is ordered of them to secure the safety of their family.
The members of this family, although well trained in the art of fencing, have no love of conflict. Choosing the path of peace, they avoid combat whenever possible, although a direct personal challenge will result in a duel to the death. They are always found carrying a satchel, rapier and main gauche (basket kilt dagger) that is enchanted to shift with them when they change form. A few, though not many, also used a buckler.
In combat they are both graceful and honorable. They strike swiftly, nearly doubling the number of a man. Through training and keen eyesight, they are known to parry several attempted strikes until a mortal blow is possible. Although the first blow is intentionally not fatal, they will always offer for their opponent to submit. If the offer is unaccepted, combat will continue until one of the duelists is dead.
Unless a duel insues, the Branid will quickly change to their other form, that of a large raven, and make every attempt to escape.
Once a noble and proud clan, the lycanthropic Branid family lived in the woods near Morulindor, the Elven name for the Raivenous family lands. Known for their ability to swiftly and discreetly deliver the most delicate and important messages, it was not long before the phrase “If a raven calls to you from the gates, a friend has sent you news” was common in the surrounding lands.
Their children are born singly, though none have ever seen a Branid younger than a year old. (The family believes it unlucky.) They live and mature as humans do, having a lifespan of nearly 100 years.
Living in tight generational family groups, both in houses and nests, they prefer life in wooded or pastoral areas.
They are primarily herbivores, eating fish only in times of need.
Wodan laid his tools across the worktable, careful to place them in their proper order. Setting four small granite bowls at the center of the table, he stepped back, pleased with his work. He called to his apprentice. “Come now child, we have work to do.”
His apprentice moved to his side silently. “I am ready, Master Wodan” he said, brushing the long auburn curls from his eyes “is it to be another man-beast or something more tonight?”
Wodan’s eyes gleamed as he turned to the boy. “Look to the table and tell me” he said, making his way to the shelf of bottles and books.
The young apprentice, perhaps sixteen summers old, smiled wickedly as he spoke. “We are to call upon the elements this night. Am I correct, Wodan-oidhche?”
Wodan smiled. He was pleased with this one. He was bright, clever, and above all ruthless. He would make a fine heir upon his passing. The fact that the child was him, made of his flesh and forbidden magic, assured him that he was to be the one to continue his work should he fail. Pulling an ancient tome from the shelf he returned to the worktable.
“You are, my child.” Wodan opened the heavily bound tome to a marked page. “Do you remember the incantations to call them?”
“Of course I do, father” the youth whispered, his face cold and blank “shall we begin?”
These are not conjured creatures, but rather sentient essences of minor elements. Through magic Wodan has molded them and enchanted them to do his bidding.
Each may take a solid form for a short time but the price is high, as they must return to their plane of origin for three days and three nights to replenish their strength.
They can posses a living host for a number of weeks, living and acting through them, before the host’s life force is consumed. Then they simply leave the body to either continue on in a non corporial form or take another host.
She watched closely as the small band of travelers entered the inn. There was a young woman, a barely clothed savage, and a rather imposing man in black. She knew these were the ones she was waiting for. Turning from the bar, she watched them as they spoke to the innkeeper. Having secured rooms for the night they took a table near the door and sat down for a hot meal and a few drinks.
“Everything alright, Councilwoman Eolianth?” the barman asked.
“Just fine, but I wonder… do you know those travelers who just came in? They seem familiar to me” she asked thinking quickly.
“Can’t say I do, why? Do you think them trouble?” the barman seemed a bit on edge.
She waited a moment, thinking of a way to turn this into a beneficial situation. She couldn’t let them rest here, or anywhere, for a few more days.
“Hadn’t you mentioned ruffians were terrorizing the next village?” she coed, a wicked smile on her face.
“Now that you mention it, they do fit the description. I better get the guard before they decide to start any trouble” the barman said blankly as he walked towards the front door.
A few minutes later she was standing in the door watching the travelers heading west on horseback, guards on their tail. The rain began to fall lightly and she smiled. They would get no good night of sleep in this weather and the next town was a day’s ride or more. She returned to the bar, taking up her drink.
“Are you sure everything is well with you?” the barman asked.
She smiled over the rim of her glass of wine. “It is now…”
These are the essence of water, and as such have influence over that element.
In non corporeal form they appear as misty ghosts of vaguely human shape. In this form they have the ability to directly manipulate water; changing the flow of a river, causing great storms, shaping water into a semi solid form, or creating a very temporary “body”.
While in a host they are indistinguishable from the host in every way; mannerisms, movement, and even speech are perfectly mimicked. They are far less powerful in this state. They have minor influence over the element of water; creating small amounts of water, lowering existing water, breathing in water, and walking on water. They move in the water as if born to it, swimming at great speeds.
They also, in either state, have certain abilities as well. Shifting planes, calling a minor water elemental, and causing rain are common while influencing emotions and manipulating moods are only seen in the more powerful ones.
While in a host, they will use armor and arms at the skill level of the host (combined with the powers noted above). Although it may seem odd to subdue their true powers, this is done to subvert and discredit strangers who oppose them.
In non corporeal form they will meld with the closest body of water to fight, creating a temporary body. The physical power of the body is determined by the size of the body of water (so a pond would be weak as opposed to a sea which would be quite powerful indeed). Crushing blows are used for combat and in conjunction with their inherent powers to help shape the battlefield to their advantage.
If they are out maneuvered or are losing a fight they use their ability to shift planes to escape to safety, coming back at a later time and a different place.
Society / Ecology
These entities live primarily in the elemental plane of water, and as such their life and social structure is beyond mortal understanding. Sages have theories, but none offer more than simple speculation.
He stood his ground. There was no way he was going to let a few bandits ruin his plans. He reached his hand to a boulder to his left. “Now you will pay for your stupidity” he said, his voice taking on a gravelly sound. Closing his eyes he concentrated. The ground trembled slightly and a small fissure opened in front of the thieves. Laughing, they drew their swords and advanced.
He was out of time, the host was dying. He had no choice, and as the body crumpled to the ground, he emerged from the fissure behind the gang of cutthroats.
Confused, they looked around, not sure if the now dead woodsman or the grating sounds of stone on stone worried them more.
A hollow laugh filled the air, like echoes in a cave. “I warned you not to interfere” the great stone creature bellowed.
They thieves turned, horrified at that which they beheld.
Standing above the fissure, nearly two men in height, was a giant made of solid stone.
Taking one in his crushing grip and a sapling tree in the other, he moved to towards the group. They scattered in all directions, most of them escaping. The unfortunate few who did not suffered little, their death coming quick. He left one alive and fairly uninjured, pinned between two large rocks.
“My trap is ruined” he grumbled, moving towards the terrified man “and I’ve not long before I must leave.”
The creature reached to a nearby tree, pulling a few branches down to the thief.
“You’ll not escape, and this should hold you till my return.” He drove hiss huge fist into the ground, revealing a small spring of fresh water.
Stepping into the fissure, he turned again to the captive thief. “And don’t die while I’m gone, or I’ll visit your family instead” he said with a maniacal grin.
These are the essence of earth, and have an uncanny influence over that element.
In non corporeal form they appear as small dust cloud with a slightly human face appearing in it. In this form they have the ability to directly manipulate earth; changing the ground slightly, causing minor quakes and fissures, shaping earth into a solid shape, or creating a very temporary “body”.
While in a host they are indistinguishable from the host in every way; mannerisms, movement, and even speech are perfectly mimicked (although a slight change in their voice is apparent, much like congestion of hoarseness). They are far less powerful in this state. They have minor influence over the element of earth; moving small amounts of soil or stone, minor shifting of existing land, and passing through thin barriers of stone. They move across land tirelessly and at great speeds.
They also, in either state, have certain abilities as well. Shifting planes, calling a minor earth elemental, and causing small land or mud slides are common while causing strong feelings of greed and manipulating base elements (diamonds from coal, etc.) are only seen in the most powerful of their kind.
While in a host, they will use armor and arms at the skill level of the host (combined with the powers noted above), preferring a host of great strength (blacksmith, guard, etc.). If a strong host of nobility is present, they always gravitate towards that person.
In non corporeal form they will meld with the earth, creating a temporary body to add strength and mass. The physical power of the body is determined by the mass of the body created. Crushing blows and natural weapons (trees, rocks, etc.) are used for combat and in conjunction with their inherent powers which they use to reshape the battlefield to their advantage.
If they are out maneuvered or are losing a fight they use their ability to shift planes to escape to safety, coming back at a later time and a different place.
They also have a tendency to considerably shorten the life of their hosts, which usually only last several days to a week.
Society / Ecology
These entities live primarily in the elemental plane of earth, and much like others of their kind their life and social structure is nothing more than simple speculation.