Intelligent Species
City/ Ruin
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January 2, 2011, 9:49 am

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The Ska'ag


 The Ska'ag warrior lay in his hide, watching the intruders.

“The Makers,” he thought. It had been many generations since the last one had died, but there was no doubt. They were back. “I have to warn the People.”

The Background

Once there was a renown school of magic. It was in a magical convergence and the school tunneled down into the mana-rich rock. Around the magical convergence was a Faerie convergence. (In my world, a convergence is a place where one of the Planes of Magic, of Divine, of Infernal and of Faerie intersect with the Mundane world. Travel between these convergences is limited but can be done. The really rare thing about this convergence is that the Magical Plane intersected with the Mundane, and around it was a second convergence, a Faerie convergence. This made the magic in the school very powerful indeed.)

The High Priest of Feneris, the Father of Evil, invaded the Faerie convergence and desecrated it, torturing the dryad who's home it was and leaving her nailed living to her tree. Since dryads only die when their tree is cut down and are otherwise immortal, this desecration warped the Faerie convergence and cut it off from the rest of Faerie. The wizards in the magical school went lethally insane.

The Ska'ag

One of the mages had several cages of weasels. She was trying to create a small, fast, agile and lethal creature that would obey her commands. However, unknown to her, the weasels' intelligence was magically enhanced due to the raw ambient magic of the place. The weasels, calling themselves the Ska'ag, or the People, escaped. They lurked and hid, learning of the ways of the ones they called the Makers. They learned of fire, of tools, of language and many other things. They also began to differentiate, a small group of them became known as the Shapers. They were the ones with the most magical potential in their bodies, and they could Shape stone, metal, and other solid objects, softening them to a claylike consistency so they can dig or shape them. But that came at a terrible cost. The lifespan of the ska'ag was only eight to ten years. When the Shapers worked their shaping, it drained their lifespan. Most Shapers died before their fifth or sixth year, wizened and enfeebled by their gift, but it did let them tunnel through the rocky walls of the school and shape bits of stolen metal into weapons.

When the Faerie convergence was warped into a Faerie/Infernal convergence, the mages went lethally insane and began to kill each other off. The Ska'ag watched in terror as mage-fires swept the halls, summoned monsters lurked and hunted, undead roamed the corridors and the fabric of reality was rent by the mages' spells. When it was over, all the Makers were dead.

Why were we spared, the Ska'ag wondered. No-one knew, although the best answer was that, since they were Awakened animals, and other animals were also unaffected, the Great Madness did not affect those of animal minds. Or perhaps the Source of Awareness to which they prayed decreed it thus. No-one knew.


The Ska'ag are weasel-like creatures standing about two feet tall on their hind legs, covered with a fine plush fur of white, grey or brown. Their only clothing are belts to hold their pouches and weapons. They are good swimmers and can hold their breath for several minutes. This is useful because the lower levels of the school are now flooded with water. They have prehensile paws that can hold tools and weapons. They cook their food, mostly over magical stones liberated from the Makers that radiate heat on command. They hunt rats and various other creatures for food and raise mushrooms. They reach maturity in one year and die of old age by nine or ten. Their eyes are nearly all pupil and they can see in nearly total darkness. To them, a candle flame would light a room, and most have never seen the sun. They can also see the BodyGlow of other living things (e.g. infrared vision). Their weapons are swords (read 'big knives'), small shields, spears and shortbows.

There are several hundred of them by now. They occupy the middle levels of the school, with the lower levels mostly flooded. They are working their way up towards the upper levels of the school, and some of the more adventurous scouts have actually been outside. The Shapers are working on eye coverings for the scouts when they go outside; so far, they have come up with goggles made of dark wood or stone with a tiny horizontal slit, much like the Eskimo use to prevent snow blindness which work adequately, turning daylight from intolerably, painfully bright to merely very bright.

Plot hooks

Eventually someone (i.e. the PCs) will make it through the Faerie/Infernal convergence in an attempt to find out what happened to the school of magic, or to loot it. They will come across to the Ska'ags as things from their worst nightmares, more Makers. The Ska'ag can't stand up to the PCs, but the school is riddled with tunnels a foot across and the Ska'ag are good guerrillas. Hard to sleep wearing your armor.

Or perhaps the PCs can soak up the damage without retaliating long enough for the Ska'ag to realize that these are different from the Makers, for all that they look like them. One of the Ska'ag will venture out to talk to them. If convinced, the Ska'ag would make good guides and scouts, if they were properly rewarded. Lots of good role-playing potentials here.

Perhaps a curious mage, fishing around where the school used to be using Summoning spells, catches a Ska'ag. Does he kill it, capture it, or talk to it?

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Comments ( 6 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted olontur
October 25, 2010, 16:18

not overly original, but has a nice flavour.

Voted Cheka Man
October 25, 2010, 19:38

Well done *claps*

October 25, 2010, 20:08
Thank you, sir. Your perspicacity is exceeded only by your appreciation. (Or in other words, glad you liked it!)
Voted Dossta
October 25, 2010, 22:33

Interesting critters.  They fit very well into your campaign setting, but would need some finagling to set within a more traditional one.  Me likes.

Voted Murometz
October 26, 2010, 19:12

Light-sensitive, brainy weasel clans living below the old mage school. Can be played for laughs or straight. Surprising the PCs with the fact that the weasels are smart is key. Not bad!

Voted valadaar
October 28, 2010, 13:22

I get a feeling of the Secret of Nimh on this one and that is good one, for that was awesome.  


To adapt it to other worlds would in my opinion not be too bad, you simply substitute some other magical disaster overtaking the makers.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Castoria, Land of Shattered Stars

       By: Veretrix

Castoria was once a thriving and prosperous nation, a rich trade center for the surrounding lands. This all changed when, on one fateful night nearly a century ago, the Mist of Eternity rolled in and surrounded the land, obscuring more of the outside world as days and nights passed.

By the time the Mist blocked out the sun, a new light shone during what was assumed to be daytime: The Starpoint Spire, a mysterious place atop Castoria's highest peak in the northern-central region. Some say that there is some sort of building atop the mountain shining the dim "sunlight" onto the land, but it is only ever too bright or too dark to fully make out any structure, not to mention the mountain's immense height.

Not a month after the Spire's light lit up, the stars fell. Flaming rocks and debris from far-flung edges of space plummeted downward onto the eastern region of Castoria. Once the shower subsided, a strange energy from within the fallen stars transformed the eastern lands in what are now known as The Voidwastes, a barren gray land littered with craters and strange alien creatures (these can vary, but I had Pathfinder's Akatas in mind).

To the south, strange mechanism of eldritch origin are again at work after aeons of rest in the Ruins of Kchuthngnl, an ancient city of non-human creation that is estimated by scholars to be no less that five millennia old.

To the west, the once peaceful and serene forest, now known as The Plagued Woods, has been experiencing corruptions of the wildlife and humanoids living there. Some humans have reported creatures that appear not unlike a halfling, except that they can open their mouths to massive proportions to swallow creatures the size of an ogre.

When adventurers and citizens alike try to make an escape from Castoria, they are never seen again, and it is utterly unknown whether they found hopeful sanctuary or agonizing death withing the Mist's depths.

What is unknown to all residents of Castoria is that all of these events occurred because of the actions of a secret but powerful cult loyal to the Elder Gods who call the space between the planes their abhorrent home. The cult still lives on, larger than ever, and their plan is for the alien horrors to incubate and thrive within the dome of mist that now envelops Castoria, so that when the Elder Gods return as the cult's prophecy foretells, they will have an army of blasphemous creation at their disposal that they will use to make war with and enslave the denizens of the Material Plane.

Ideas  ( Locations ) | August 4, 2015 | View | UpVote 3xp

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