View Full Version : Planets of Magic - "Other" Races - WIP/PEACH

2013-02-07, 02:07 PM
This is the second part of what is likely to be a very long series describing the campaign setting I've been playing around with for the last few years. I'm trying to break it up, to prevent anyone from having to read too insanely much text.

As always, if anyone knows a better format that I should be putting this in - or another site where I could host stuff like this - please let me know.

Yesterday's topic covered the semi-normal races in Planets of Magic; todays revolves around the "Other" races - more rare, more dangerous, and more esoteric.

Basic Overview
"Planets of Magic" is a fantasy setting set across multiple worlds. The civilized - and less civilized - peoples of the cosmos use enchanted ships to travel between the starts.

The "Other Races"

Chaos Tribes
At the seven corners of the cosmos rest the great Chaos Nebulae - the living bodies of the Chaos Gods themselves. Corrupted and insane, each of the Chaos Gods is defined by one of the seven deadly sins - Wrath, Sloth, Gluttony, Greed, Envy, Lust and Pride. These nebulae are among the most dangers regions of space, second only to the very center of the cosmos.

Strange creatures populate the myriad planets of the nebulae, and leviathan beasts swim the misty void between stars. The Gods themselves prey upon any explorers unwise enough to enter their domains, and use their vast powers to turn the minds of such explorers inward, corrupting them with the same Sins that define the gods themselves. No one leaves the Nebulae unaltered, and few leave alive.

Those that do report wonders unseen in the rest of existence; the perfectly-preserved ruins of entire civilizations, hidden gateways between the nebulae, entire regions of space where time runs faster or slower than in the rest of the cosmos.

At the edges of these Nebulae, the Chaos Tribes live a migratory existence, traveling between the worlds at the borders of the maddening mist, or floating in space aboard their myriad ships. Descended from the human slaves aboard the single Dwarven Clan-Ship to brave the Nebulae, these tribes are kept almost as pets by the dark gods they orbit.

In the earliest, long-forgotten days of the Tribes, the Chaos Gods taught them how to work enchantments into the dying bodies of animals, a feat even the Neyferi cannot boast. Doing so requires performing the rites as the animal dies, and binding its own natural magics to more permanent, human enchantments. When the ritual is complete, the skeleton becomes animated and bound to whatever Tribesmen performed the rites.

The Tribesmen use this process to create the skeletal ships that make up their fleet; regular hunting parties are led into the Nebulae, and anyone who kills one of the great creatures that swim between the stars may claim its body as his ship. The size and strength of a Tribesman's ship determines his standing in the culture; anyone without a ship is considered a child, barely above a slave in the eyes of the Tribe.

At the very top of this hierarchy exists the great Kracken ships, built from creatures so large that their orbiting bodies may be seen from a planet's surface, and capable of carrying entire armies on their back. The rarity and might of these beasts is so great that they are only taken once every several generations. When they do, whatever Tribesman killed them - thereafter known as the Kracken - assumes leadership not only of his own tribe, but of every tribe, and is expected to lead a bloody crusade across the stars. Vast in scope and devastating in brutality, these Crusades only end when the Kracken himself is killed.

Apart from and above this order, a the tribes are also governed by a priesthood. The vast majority of Tribesmen prefer to minimize their contact with the Nebulae themselves; while the Gods refrain from actively driving their pets to insanity, simply being exposed to the matter that forms their bodies is enough to alter human minds, and every tribe is flavored with the Sin of their Gods. The Priesthood, however, is seeped in it.

Priests spend almost all of their days deep inside the Nebulae, worshipping, meditating and communing with the incomprehensible minds of the Gods. The Priests emerge only to pass the will of the Gods onto the tribes themselves - mostly, this means directing them to hunt down and destroy any Tribesmen who dared flee the Nebulae for a saner existence, closer to the core.

The Fey
The Fey exist across a hundred worlds, living in groves and gardens and half-ruined palaces. While Fey exist in almost every climate, they invariably prefer scenes of great natural beauty - though some of them have taken up residence in the ruins of humanity, living in wrecked castles or villages in the process of being reclaimed by nature.

Physically, Fey are far too varied to be classified as a single species. The most powerful usually take on something akin to human form, but lower echelons exist as trees, animals, floating lights or disembodies music. Whatever magics Fey have access to, they're beyond the current level of Human or Neyferi society; Fey routinely and idly perform actions that the most learned mages would swear were impossible.

Fey culture follows a strict hierarchy, with lesser Fey owing alliegance to their greater and more powerful superiors. These relations seem to be more than political in nature; "Master" fey often have complete knowledge of events seen or heard by their underlings, and on the rare occasion a greater Fey is killed, its underlings often vanish with it (Though there have been documented cases of a particularly powerful lieutenant taking the place of their master.)

The historical record on Fey is frustrating to the point of being maddening; no Fey ships have ever been sighted, but records exist of the same distinctive Fey appearing on different planets, long before the rise of Human space flight. Adventurers have sworn to have killed powerful Fey, only to find them alive again years later, with no memory of the encounter even having transpired.

Personally, Fey are are wild and capricious as their name suggests. While most are not exactly cruel, they often have a sadistic sense of humor, and an almost childish recklessness. Conversations with Fey often devolve in frustrating streams of rhymes and riddles, and making the Fey understand the severity of any situation is often an exercise in futility. Despite this, some mortals have managed to foster a connection with specific Fey, even being welcomed into their holts and courts. No human should ever consider themselves truly secure in their friendship with a Fey, however- some of the longest human-Fey friendships have ended with the Fey adamantly denying ever having met the human.

The origins of Fey are as obscure as their natures. Fey have often been heard to reference a home city or planet by the name of "Avalon", with tones of alternating love and grief; some privileged humans have even been invited to visit, though none who accepted these invitations have ever returned. Across all conversations with the Fey, one line pops up repeatedly - "When Avalon fell, the Stars themselves sang our dirge."

Orcs are native to (and blessedly contained on) their home planet of Anesidora. The wealth of resources available on that planet has led to numerous attempts at colonization and exploration, attempts that have provoked a violent and effective response from the tribal Orcs.

Physically, Orcs are among the largest and most robust sentient races in existence, second only to dragons. An adult Orc stands 9-11 feet tall, with a surprisingly lithe frame and developed musculature. In the jungles that cover much of their home planet, Orcs are dark green, with stripes and splotches of black that form excellent natural camouflage. However, the tribes living in the deserts of Anesidora are generally tan and red, and it is believed that Orcs coloration adapts to their surrounding environment over a period of months.

As a race, Orcs possess almost no proclivity towards magic, with a few rare and puissant examples among the elders of the tribes. However, Anesidora is blessed with a staggering array of magical resources, and Orcs have learned to use these to their advantage; Orcish weapons, in particular, often have a few anti-magical properties, allowing them to break through the magical defenses of other races.

Orcish society is divided into tribes, each numbering a hundred or so adults. These tribes spend their days in a state of constant warfare with one another; the aims of these wars, however, are unknown, as the victors never seem to claim tribute or territory. If one tribe loses in enough of these conflicts it may disband, and its members will integrate into other, more successful tribes; particularly strong tribes will also dissolve, and join with weaker ones.

Almost all of Orcish culture is defined by combat. Orcish children spend their days sparring with one another almost non-stop, using dulled weapons and weak bows against one another. As they reach adolescence, these sparring matches become group activities, with gangs of earth fighting one another, often in complicated ambushes and hunts that last for several days.

The surface of Anesidora is spotted with ruined temples, usually built in the shape of ziggurats. Interestingly, these temples do not appear to be of Orcish construction, although Orcs are fiercely protective of them, and the Temples feature prominently in the few Orcish religious services. Baa-relief images carved into the walls of these temples depict a race of humanoid reptiles, with heads and faces similar to alligators. Theories abound as to the fate of this race; some speculate that they were conquered by the Orcs, while other claim (based on some of the images) that they in fact created Orcs to guard themselves against some unknown threat - a task at which the Orcs, apparently, failed.