Men of the Age of Dusk, Part 1.

What follows is a short and incomplete description of the different races of men that are widely known and most common within the Lands of Autumn. It goes without saying that man has always been alone upon the world, with those creatures imperfectly mimicking its divine form mere simulacra, vile shape-changers or degenerate descendants of man, not his equals or rivals.

The Men of Muir.
Characteristics: (+1 Int -1 Cha). The minds of Muirans have been honed by the thousands of intricate customs and forms of adress one needs to master in order to flourish within the Free City. However, the insufferable arrogance and borderline solipsism exhibited by even the lowest of Muirans towards all other men makes them hard to deal with. Indeed, it is said that some Muirans refuse to consider anyone who has not mastered the Muiran language as human.
Benefit: So used to living within the decaying architecture of Muir are you that you may detect unusual stonework as though you were a dwarf.
Hindrance: So ingrained within your mind are the traditions of Muir that you suffer a -1 to all rolls if you ever in a position where you are barred from wearing the correct robes the situation demands by Muiran custom(e.g when you are impersonating someone else, trying to keep a low profile, disguised etc etc.).
Starting languages: Old Sybarran. Muiran.
Suggested skills: Etiquette. Ancient History. Stoneworking. Architecture. Knowledge(any but regional). Detect Lie. Reading/Writing.
Prohibited starting skills: Knowledge(Lands of Autumn/People of Autumn). Riding. Sailing. Endurance. Survival. Navigation.
Favoured Weapons: Dagger. Khopesh. Club. Shortsword. Throwing knife. Dart.
Skin colour: Pale. Olive. Brown.
Hair colour: Black. Brown. Red. No facial hair.
Eye colour: Blue. Grey. Black. Brown.
Starting equipment: 200% normal starting gold. Must purchase finest robes. 25% of starting Rithkyasi companion. 2d4 abin(stone currency, pp equivalent only in Muir).

Characteristics: (+1 Cha, -1 Wis) Few have such a reputation for cunning and duplicity as the men of the Principalities of Gal’Alor.  Every Gal’Alorian, from the lowest commoner to the Merchant Princes themselves, wears a mask from the sixth year of age, that his true intentions may be hidden from the eyes of his rivals. The cutthroat culture of the principalities have honed your tongue but your hot-blooded nature leaves you open to impulsive and occasionally foolish action.
Benefit: Gal’Alorians are ever watchful of betrayal from even their closest companions. Reduce the chance of being suprised by 1.
Hindrance: To reveal one’s face is something one does only to one’s closest friends, intimate family and lovers. To force someone to bare their face is akin to capturing them and forcing them into slavery. To remove one’s mask for another is akin to a pledge of servitude. You will cover your face in all but the direst of circumstances(e.g immanent death or magical compulsion).
Starting languages: Old Sybarran. Karaashi.
Suggested Skills: Etiquette. Deception. Barter. Detect Deception. Sleight of Hand. City Lore. Knowledge(Lands of Autumn/People of Autumn). Knowledge(Tactics)
Prohibited Starting Skills: Survival. Ride.
Favoured Weapons: Stiletto. Longsword. Rapier. Pike. Halbeard. Crescent Moon Axe. Sling. Footman’s Flail. Hand crossbow. Shortsword(messer).
Skin colour: Olive.
Hair colour: Black. Brown. Fair.
Eye colour: Brown. Black. Green.
Starting equipment: 150% normal gold. One mask of wood(1 gp), copper(3 gp), intricately worked bronze(25 gp), Iron(10 gp) or jewel-studded gold(50 gp). 1 stiletto and wrist sheath.

Characteristics: (+1 Con -1 Int). Generations of selective breeding by their degenerate aristo masters have turned the Karaashi into a hardy race, capable of working for long hours before succumbing to exhaustion. This program has also produced men who will follow before they lead and who do not bother their betters with irksome questioning.
Benefit/Hindrance: Karaashi are stoic and stubborn men, like mules. You only take half the penalty of morale effects(fear, emotion spells etc.) but you also gain only half the benefits(bardic song, inspiring speeches, emotion magic etc.).
Starting languages: Old Sybarran, Karaashi.
Suggested Skills: Blacksmithing. Endurance. Muscle. Knowledge(Tactics). Command. Leatherworking. Stoneworking. Fletching. Riding(Tyaak[Terror Bird]). Religion(Ten Thousand Gods). Armoursmithing. Weaponsmithing. Steelworking.
Prohibited Skills: Reading/Writing. Knowledge(Lands of Autumn).
Favoured Weapons: War-axe. Lance. Chakram. Katana. Discus. Longbow. Spear.
Skin colour: Brown. Pale. Olive. Black.
Hair colour: Black.
Eye colour: Grey. Blue. Green.
Starting equipment: As normal/appropriate for caste.

H’san nomads
Characteristics(+1 Str -1 Wis). The dangerous environment of the Tempest lands and the brutal culture of the H’san has ensured only the strongest survive around the Tempest. Living under the baleful glare and reality-altering radiance of the Tempest has twisted their minds, making them prone to hallucinations or outbursts of horrendous violence.
Benefit: Once per session you may attempt to divine a kernel of truth from the visions that plague you. You may ask the GM to reveal to you a hint of truth in the shape of a vision. The Base chance for success is 50% + 5% per level of the player. Failure indicates the hint is deceptive or misleading.
Hindrance: You will accept no master but yourself and you will accept no servants. Though you may have companions and work towards a common goal, you can never have hirelings or gain followers.
Starting languages: Tzyanese. Old Sybarran.
Suggested Skills: Navigation(Sorcerous Lands). Survival. Knowledge(Sorcery). Muscle. Hunting. Sixth-Sense/Danger Sense.
Prohibited Skills: Command. Navigation(Non-sorcerous lands). Reading/Writing. Ride.
Favoured Weapons: Greatswords. Falchion. Short bow. Spear. Dagger. Garotte. Flint-tipped axe.
Skin colour: Grey/Iron.
Hair colour: Red. White.
Eye colour: Violet. Red.
Starting equipment: Restricted to single weapon, light armour and 1d4 days of food.

Characteristics(+1 Dex -1 Str). Mazhurians are wiry and quick, but their small stature does not give them the strength of the other races of Dusk.
Benefit: Mazhurians are well adapted to surviving in the desolate regions of the Glass Wastes. You may go twice as long without food or water and you always take half damage from exposure to extreme weather conditions, be it hot or cold.
Hindrance: You are all that remains of the wizard princes of Old Tzyan, and the rest of the Lands of Autumn hold you in superstitious awe or fear. Reduce the morale of any followers in a party you have attached yourself too by 1.
Starting languages: Tzyanese. Old Sybarran.
Suggested Skills: Navigation(non-sorcerous lands). Navigation(Sorcerous lands). Survival. Hunting. Barter. Knowledge(Tactics). Ancient history.
Prohibited Skills: Reading/Writing. Swimming. Etiquette.
Favoured Weapons: Atlatl. Macahuitl. Spear. Various glass tipped or obsidean tipped variants of dagger/handaxe/mace. Paired swords.
Skin colour: Pale. Olive.
Hair colour: Black. Brown. Red.
Eye Colour: Grey. Blue.
Starting equipment: 50% of normal. 15% of having steel weapon.

2 thoughts on “Men of the Age of Dusk, Part 1.

  1. What a relief from all of the faux-Vikings and faux-Mongols, and all of the thinly veiled real-world analogues. The most important fantasy book of the past thirty years is Diana Wynne-Jones’ Tough Guide to Fantasyland, which catalogs all of the crappy fantasy tropes in hilarious fashion. It’s required reading for anybody engaging in world-building.


    1. I was going to put faux mongol sea traders in part 2 😦

      Haha, i don’t mind tropes that much myself, as long as they are well executed they serve a certain purpose. We wouldn’t have so many successful and interesting works of fantasy with stinking dragons in them if there wasn’t something to them. I like novel and exotic fantasy settings but it can be harder for players to get into, thus, sometimes standard fantasy tropes can serve as a sort of anchor to ease the player/reader into the imaginairy world. And there is of course the ever popular re-imagining or re-working or twisting of the existing fantasy tropes into something different yet similar. R.Scott Baker’s Second Apocalypse series(a favourite of mine) uses tolkien-esque elements in a sort of biblical 0 AD esque setting but his take on the well-worn elements and his subversions in select places make it a fantastic read.

      I am largely going to ignore my own preferences in Age of Dusk though, we have enough worlds with elves and dwarves and dragons in RPGland and i doubt i would be able to surpass the greatest amongst them.

      Liked by 1 person

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