Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Calibans: An Abhuman Race for Khorlhossa

While I'd initially decided I did not want any demi-human races in Khorlhossa, in thinking about reskinning elves into something more appropriate for the setting, I kept coming around to the idea of the changeling; human infants replaced by something alien, something Other, that looks human but is decidedly not.  And somewhere between lunch and my second coffee break, the following took root in my brain:

No one in Khorlhossa knows who their parents were, or who their children are.  While outwardly human, the Men of Khorlhossa are not the same as the Men of Earth.  Khorlhossans are viviparous; they're born from shiny white eggs, laid in the spring and sequestered in communal incubators with the other eggs of their tribe.  When they hatch, the newborns are likewise raised communally, each one being claimed by a woman of the tribe and reared until the age of 6, at which point they are tested by the tribe's priests and sorcerers, then segregated according to role they will play in the tribe.  From that point on, they are trained to provide for the common good of their tribe.

Sometimes, children are born that aren't quite like the others.  No one knows for sure what causes them; one egg in ten might hatch one of these children, or one egg in a million might.  Some claim that it is the result of Demonic taint in the bloodline of the mother; others, that a confluence of arcane and celestial energies cause these children to be born.

They are called Calibans, and they are the Children of Chaos.  Almost indistinguishable from other humans on sight, the sole visible difference is that Calibans' eyes shine red-green in darkness, in which they can see perfectly.  After reaching the age of 30, Calibans cease to physically age, though how long they can live no man can say; no Caliban has ever been known to die of natural causes.

They have an inborn talent for sorcery, a legacy of Demonic heritage; like their unnatural sires, they cannot abide by the touch of iron or steel, growing sick and weak upon contact with the metal; some are burned by the touch of iron, as if it were a burning brand.

Their place in the world varies according to the tribe they're born into; among the cannibal Togaro tribes, many chieftains and warlords are Calibans, seen as physical proof of their right to dominate the landscape.  Among the Drynnthi tribes, every child born has an iron coin touched to their forehead; those burned by the touch are left out to die of exposure.

Mechanically, Calibans are identical to LotFP's Elves, with the following changes:

  • Calibans cannot cast spells and take a -2 penalty to saves while touching iron or steel.  
  • Calibans have Infravision with a range of 30'.  

I'm not sure if I'm ripping off Barsoom too much by making the Khorlhossans egg-layers.  Thoughts?

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