The Marcas have small, hunched statures, brownish skin, and large eyes, that's about all there is to note. Given their paranoid, fearful ways, and their tendency to observe others from distance, most quickly assume them to be primitive thieves. That at least is wrong.
Size: two or three feet at most, possibly even smaller. But a more developed belly and behind.
There was a time when the Marcas could have ruled the world. They certainly had the power, their magic and technology was unrivaled by anyone. Luckily (or sadly) for the barbarians around, the Marcas were a philosophical people, content with being dominant, far above leading useless wars, for the barbarians around had nothing interesting anyway. Eager after knowledge and good life, they could even prolong their expectancy for a few decades.
But no matter what their magic and technology would work, they could not seem to cheat Death, could they? They have tried.
If a whole advanced race concentrates on a single task, all of its great resources pooled together, there is little that cannot be done.
It is, it seems, impossible for an organic body to stay alive forever; eventually it will fall to the dangers of time, accidents if nothing else. The Marcas could avoid many of the risks, but not all. And so they have... changed.
The new Marcas:
Combining their vast knowledge of the natural and the supernatural, the Marcas have changed their bodies as well as their spirits. Gone are their tall, beautiful bodies, and much more than meets the eye.
Biologically, from mammals they have become egg-layers. This extreme change, along with numerous other changes in the internal organs, has crippled their magical abilities. But such a price, they reasoned, was little to pay for the great benefit of immortality. They would still keep their technological edge.
A Marcas is a living, breathing being. It needs to eat, to drink and sleep. During its life, he (or she... doesn't make quite sense for hermaphrodites) can - and likely will - lay eggs. These eggs are actually dead, and can stay so for a long period for time. They lay them into safe places, to wait untill they are needed. They can still mate, but most choose not to. The reader shall be spared of this detail.
The Marcas do also die... and their spirits leave their dead bodies. But then, the biggest change of all becomes apparent: their spirit does not leave where the spirits of other 'mortals' do. It stays in this world, and finds the object that it is supernaturally linked to it: its own egg. This it inhabits, and awakens to life. Given enough food, another modification comes into play: they grow rapidly, in the matter of three months into a full-grown adult.
In this new body they grow, they can get old, and die again. And their spirit can travel to another egg... and another... and another...
Note: as a side effect of their many lives, they can will themselves to die, if the situation is desperate enough.
And then came History
All they had to do was to preserve even a small part of their technology, to stay fed and somewhat safe. With their immortality they would have gained all the things they dreamed of - like enough time to understand and learn all there is.
They have failed at this perilously easy task.
Immortality is a great boon. It needs so little to stay in comfort, and many have reveled in the new-found solitude. No need to depend on others, it is enough to pick the few friends for eternity, and discuss with them for at least a half of it.
However, their advanced technology depended deeply on the many occupations and skills of a large folk; the infinite interactions between many people have made it possible in the first place. How good is a wondrous machine, if there is no one to create a small replacement part, or to mine the ore for it? How to keep advanced agriculture running, without the myriad of tools and materials needed, which again in turn depend on other tools (and people)?
As could be expected, births of new children went dramatically down. There were few to learn, and few to teach. And as accidents happened - even the art to stay immortal has to be learned - some have died. Some have simply chosen to pass away, after the gift failed to deliver what it promised.
Worse things have happened - some have drifted into insanity, and became serial killers of unimaginable dimensions - they killed other Marcas over and over, until their last chance has been lost. Some tried to further change their physiology in private experiments, and mutated into horrible creatures. Most of these misfits are by now (permanently) dead.
And slowly, unavoidably, important pieces of knowledge have vanished, and their whole civilisation has been falling apart. And the Marcas, little trusting foreigners before, do not trust their own folk now, too.
The Marcas of Today
They are really immortal. However, in changing their bodies and spirits, and keeping a desperate hold on to their life, they have lost most of their former power and/or technology.
Now, they are living in the ruins of their civilization, keeping hold of the last functional bits, tending to their eggs and storing resources for the moment of need...
Ironically, they are now more vulnerable to the barbarians that live around, than they were before. As their society has collapsed, they have found themselves to be transformed into hunters and gatherers.
The barbarians around have legends of a great and powerful folk that lived in these parts, wanting to achieve immortality and dieing on it - because they destroyed themselves in the attempt, waged a suicidal war for the secret, or were cursed by the very gods for this blasphemy. To a degree, the legends are true.
Now, as nobody connects the midgets with former overlords of the area, they could get into contact with other races. Living with them may be actually safer than their own home.
And so they live for centuries and even millenia, ever afraid that they could die and their new young form will not find enough food... eventually starving, then switching to another body and possibly suffering the same fate.
They have what they wanted, what _anyone_ would want, badly enough to kill. It is a prize they cannot let go.
Personnally, they are fearful and paranoid, and distrust everything and anyone. By this time they already need contact with other races; what they cannot hunt or gather, must be traded.
With centuries of thinking, they have accumulated much wisdom. Of course, they do not know everything (besides, many of them are specialists in obscure and not anymore usable fields). Also, they go the HighLander route, and forget chunks of their past at a time, until they need to recall it. Thus they are not burdended by memories (and skills). Thanks to MoonHunter for this tip.
A Marcas will have detailed and precise knowledge of its enviroment, up to dozens of miles from his lair (there are always several lairs). Afraid of thieves, they do keep little property, for that could spell their doom. Sometimes they allow themselves to be hired as guides for their surroundings. Some could take adventurers on a trip through the ruins of their own civilisation, and share a few invented stories; taking care they do not find anything dangerous or functional.
And while we are at it:
Despite all the setbacks, there is something the Marcas have been successful at: they succeeded in keeping their immortality a secret, reasoning the barbarians would destroy them out of sheer envy (OK, it has to be admitted the primitives developed a little in the past few thousand years).
So far this hasn't been noticed by other races. The Marcas are a bit loony, but get older and die as others... just the issue with birth is a bit unclear.
And anyway, they look all the same. While there is some variation between individuals, others have a great diffilcuty discerning them. Plus, very few live in the civilised lands.
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? Responses (8)-8
I like the basic concept of these creatures.
I would make their physical forms a bit tougher than the norm for an intellgent race. They should have redundent organs, resistance to many toxins and illnesses, resistant to various environmental issues (they have a problem with cold or hot within normal environmental ranges, they can ignore wet from rain or dew), they do not need as much food or water as one would expect, their senses are probably enhanced (night vision, telescopic vision, parabolic hearing, etc), and so on. These things would seem 'advantagous' when you are immortal.
(They are still damagable, so trauma and structural damage does the job, there is just no 'shock' or 'ow effect' to the damage. )
However, this lack of need and immunities are actually part of their end. They do not feel pain or discomfort (thought they will register damage done to their form). Since they immune to pain and discomfort and do not have many needs (they only need to eat and drink infrequently), they actually have no motivation to do much. They can sit in their 'place' and think... contemplating their own logic and philosphy. They seldom have to do anything else. This has led to the Lethe (the forgetfulness) that unburdens them from anything but the 'now'. So once they have stashed their eggs in various places, they can sit/ stand/ or hang out, doing absolutely nothing except think and meditate.
They are not bored, they are being 'eternal'. They contemplate their own thoughts and can tune out the rest of the world. So the world is falling apart, they do not care. They can 'live on'. Sure the technology is failing, well it is not really a problem. And if it is, someone else will do it.
Given their forgetfulness and madness, they no longer have access to their knowledge of technology (they might know something they need, but they might not remember they do.) The lack of 'new blood' and new ideas has stagnated their drive.
Sure they are scavengers/ hunters/ gatherers, but this does not effect the eternal truths they deal with. They are beyond most petty concerns.
A tougher body is definitely a plus, just not to the extreme. More resistancies, and a stronder immune system, yes.
Resistance to pain is not really good (because pain IS useful), maybe it is just dulled to a degree, but they can feel it. Not a few of them have died the true death because they ignored this important feeling... some could be freaks that actively search for it.
It is the psychical aspect that splits them into another subgroup - some of them go one way (towards desperation and paranoia), others in turn become living Buddhas, taking little notice of anything.
manfred: I think it is a way how to add an immortal race to the game world, without upsetting matters too much.
MoonHunter: Yes. It is a very valid way.
MoonHunter: Imagine, one of these guys are hanging around your party... you are all desperately trying to track down this piece of history,....
MoonHunter: then somewhere along the way, they go... 'oh, that. I know where that is... Garth has it...'
manfred: *nods* Which could have been hundreds of years before. Or more.
MoonHunter: I could see the comments, 'oh. This place has gotten quite run down over the centuries... '
manfred: *picking up an unindentifiable shard* I guess this was a richly ornamented vase of the 'Thong' period, used for storing fine red wine, but that is just my guess of course.
manfred: *licks his lips in memory of the wine*
MoonHunter: But since his new body can eat anything organic, he no longer has a 'taste sensation' just a chemical breakdown.
Immortality is not what it is cracked up to be. These people are a classic case of 'be careful what you wish for, you might get it.'
I found this one hidden in the randoms. I like it a great deal. I liked it so much I HoHed it.
We should all do minor race write ups like the ones in the related scrolls. Not everything needs to be epic and detailed, simply a complete thumbnail will do... especially if it is marked as a minor race and put in that scroll.
Very good beginning, but the sub became more of a summary towards the end. Did you rush it?
Pssst. People didn't notice until now. :)
In other words: guilty. A more complete view on their current state would be in order. Ideas?
Those poor things. :( *pets them*
Yes Cheka - they would make good pets for someone of power should they manage to figure out what they are/were :)