Thousands of years ago there were hundreds of types of exotic and intelligent creatures of magic in the world. The Debacle annihilated all of them in less than a month. In the modern world, however, four races have been reborn. And although some Incubans may have brought a handful of individual spirits from other extinct races into the present, these rare nonhumans number less than a few dozen.
Most characters will be a member of one of the four races that were brought back by the Requiem, and the first part of the Second Requiem -- the elves, dwarves, valkyrja, and djinn. These are the only races that have been reborn in the 20th century whose numbers are large enough to have organized.
Even though they are referred to as "dominant" races, this is not entirely true. If a human happened to mate with a Majestati, the most likely race of offspring would be human. There is a small possibility of the child being a full-fledged Majestati, but this is truly rare. Of course, once a person with a Nexus completely disqualifies the existence of magic and loses his faith in his nonhuman self, he'll become entirely human and will be completely unable to pass on Majestati blood.
For all their similarities, the four races of Majestati do not communicate very well with each other. They are wholly independent organizations (which barely qualify as being "organized" at all) with no official contact with each other. Recently, the elves have made a conscious effort to reach out to the other races; they have been moderately successful, and the elves, dwarves, and valkyries now inform each other about major events and plans. The djinn, however, are somewhat of an enigma. Because the elves, dwarves, and valkyries share a common cultural heritage through the first Requiem, the djinn do not fit in very well with the others. The djinn care little about the other races, and most efforts to establish ties with them have failed.
It has been confirmed that the Incubans have created the Nexuses of other races. However, because the Incubans no longer cooperate with each other, and in some cases hate each other, they have not been able to bring back a massive influx of new nonhumans to the world. The Majestati have deemed this a good thing, as a lot of the individual nonhumans brought back by the Incubans have been decidedly unfriendly towards the Majestati. The Incubans are more preoccupied with fighting their own personal wars with nonhuman pawns than bringing any sort of unity in their creations.
The only currently known recessive races are the ogres, the grendel, the berserks, and the jotuns. There is strong evidence for the existence of leprechauns, goblins, gnomes, and even lycanthropes.
For every legendary creature, there is a possibility of one existing in the modern world. The Incubans, for whatever reason, have not brought back any of the truly "monstrous" races -- dragons, minotaurs, wyverns, barrow wights. The Majestati do not believe that any of these powerful magical creatures could survive in a mana-dead world, while others think that the Incubans haven't found a subtle way to bring them back yet -- a dragon could hardly be birthed by a human mother, though a komodo dragon could probably handle it. A few Majestati believe that the Incubans just haven't thought of doing it yet...
If a GM wishes to allow a player character as a member of a recessive race, he should carefully come up with templates for the race (GURPS Fantasy Folk is a good source for ideas), as well as some inborn Talents the race can use. Of course, most of these recessive races will be alone in the world, with no brethren to rely upon or aid them when in danger.
The Incubans have not only been bringing back nonhuman races. Several elves swear that they have seen dangerous supernatural creatures roaming the streets of the modern world. One elf swears that he has been attacked by a bloodsucker, and several valkyries have sworn to have been stalked by a Child of the Fenris wolf. There's a chance, of course, that these creatures have always been here on Earth, not needing magic to survive at all.
GURPS Vampire: The Masquerade, GURPS Bloodtypes, and GURPS Werewolf: The Apocalypse are good sourcebooks for including vampires and werewolves in the world of GURPS Requiem. If the GM were to allow player character vampires and werewolves, he would have to make sure that they are not unbalanced with the other races of Requiem.
Each race detailed in this chapter has two separate templates, all constructed using the rules from GURPS Fantasy Folk, 2nd Edition.
The first template, the Majestati template, details the basic, non-magical differences between an ordinary human and the nonhuman. These changes can be thought of as mostly genetic; elves are always weaker than humans, but more dexterous. Anybody born with a Majestati Nexus will have this template, regardless of whether or not they know it. These advantages and disadvantages are always present, even when a Majestati is not connected with his Nexus. GMs should not allow PCs to "buy off" any of the inherent advantages or disadvantages of this template.
The second, full-nonhuman template represents the changes that occur when a nonhuman character connects with his Nexus. All of the advantages and disadvantages are immediately accessible to that character while he is in his Nexus form.
Every Majestati holds two beings within him; two beings that are not concrete entities in and of themselves. A Majestati is not an djinni "werewolf," able to switch between two very different human and inhuman forms at will. Instead, a Majestati's forms are intertwined, feeding off each other and supporting each other. Some Majestati eventually choose to discard one form and live the life of a single being, but this is a difficult path.
The Majestati were born as humans to ordinary, human parents. Their souls, however, are the souls of ancient nonhumans that once lived in the world, but were the victims of genocide when the Incubans cast the Debacle.
The typical Majestati doesn't look too much different from most humans. Elven Majestati may be a little thinner, dwarven Majestati might be the kids who could grow beards in seventh grade. Volsunga are handsome, big men, their sisters the valkyrja are strong, intelligent, and beautiful women. There is always something special about a djinn, even in human form, though it's hard to put a finger on exactly what it is. Even though most Majestati look a little like their nonhuman forms even when they are ordinary human, it is very difficult to pinpoint one based on their appearance.
It is far easier to identify a Majestati once their personalities are known. Though a Majestati in their true form might be a bit more "alien" to humans, their personalities do not change radically from one form to another. Majestati personalities are those of nonhumans bred in a human society. Though they may share many of the same values as ordinary people, they think a little differently and act a little differently. Elves are artisans of one form or another, dwarves gruff and stubborn, valkyrja courageous, and djinn are always... unique.
Majestati are, "by default," humans. It takes a great amount of effort and faith to connect the human mind to the nonhuman soul -- the Nexus -- and use the magic contained within the Nexus to transform the body and mind into that of a nonhuman.
To connect to a Nexus and begin the transformation, a Majestati must spend a turn to concentrate. This concentration costs the Majestati 1 Fatigue. At this point, he may roll against his Nexus to transform:
|Nexus Level||Magical form||Duration||Human form|
Thus, for a Fourth Kayanari to transform into his true elven form, he must roll a 9 or less on 3d. He can stay in that form automatically for an hour. After an hour, he must roll again to stay in the form. This roll is mandatory; a Majestati will not automatically revert to human form after the Duration is complete.
If he decides he wants to become a human earlier than that, he must roll a 12 or less on 3d. The roll to return again to human form can only be made once in the given duration. So, if a Second Nibelung transforms into a dwarf on Monday, and fails to transform back when he tries to become a human on Tuesday, he must wait the entire week before trying again. This is the reason why powerful Majestati can almost never leave their magical forms.
The transformation from human form to Nexus form is instantaneous. Therefore, if after spending a turn of concentrating the Nexus roll succeeds, the character may begin the next turn in his true form.
This is an odd sight to see, but because it is so fast, many people fail to notice the transformation itself. Still, none of the nonhumans can avoid notice once they are in their true forms. Elves look like the men and women from fairy tale books, dwarves are short and hairy, valkyrja and volsunga radiate their power and beauty, while djinni gain odd, inhuman characteristics.
Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves--William Shakespeare, The Tempest
And ye that on the sands with printless foot
Do chase ebbing Neptune...
The elves, or the ylphi, as they call themselves, are by far the most organized of the Majestati. The elves are an extremely active and busy race. Upon finding a new elven Majestati, the new elf will be assigned a given task to complete right away. While these tasks are rarely urgent, and often must be completed within a span of a decade, most elves take their goals very seriously.
Although the elves seem to be the epitome of efficient organization, especially when compared to the other Majestati most elves know that they are not; more and more problems are developing in the infrastructure of elven organization as they discover more and more of their own.
There are five "lineages',' or sub-species of elves. There are some physical and mental differences between the various lineages, but these differences cause little problems between the ylphi. Most ylphi appreciate their kin's differences and celebrate their own.
Elves have always been fascinated by prophecy and destiny. This is not surprising, simply because elves are such a long-lived race, that it's natural to want to know what the next half-millennium will provide.
When the elven civilization was at its height, several elves become seers, specializing in foretelling the future. Hundreds of seers existed within the elven people, and every time a child was born, these dozens of men and women would scry what the future held for the newborn child. The child's destiny was written down (mostly in books and scrolls, though the dark elves would scrawl these destinies on the walls of their cities) and eventually taught to that person when he grew old enough to understand.
The elves, being an old and wise magical people, became very skilled at seeing into the future. In fact, most of the time, a child would end up fulfilling his destiny. There are only a few rare cases in the elven history where an elf failed to do what had been foretold, or perhaps accomplished more than his destiny would allow.
The elven seers, of course, died with the rest of the elves when the Debacle struck, though there's little doubt that several Nexuses of these seers probably exist today (see the sidebar for more information on incorporating seer powers into the campaign). What is more important, however, is that the destinies of the various elves that lived centuries ago still hold true today. That is, an elven Majestati born in the 20th century will still have the same destiny as he had over a thousand years ago.
Unfortunately, it has become extremely difficult to discover what these destinies are, as most of the elven books and scrolls with the seers' writings on them have long since turned to dust. Still, a few elves have discovered their destiny, and wonder how it will be carried out. Many times these destinies are vague enough to be interpreted in a variety of different ways, but several elven Majestati have found that they have very specific destinies -- such as killing a dragon -- which seems to be impossible in the modern world...
Many elves strive to discover their destinies and see what the future holds for them.
Elven mythology holds that thousands of years ago, centuries before the Debacle itself, the elves foretold a prophecy that magic would disappear from the world. Elven sages and wizards took this quite seriously, and set about trying to find a way to prevent this. The most powerful of the elves concluded that only by casting a delicate spell to adjust Nature herself would this Debacle be avoided.
How, exactly, to magically adjust Nature became a great point of controversy among the ylphi. Several intellectuals argued that the magic of trees and forests could prevent the Debacle, others said that it was the sun, or the moon, or even the oceans. Over the centuries, these debates grew fierce, and the elven nation split into several different factions. These different factions would become the elven lineages, each devoted to its own variation of nature magic. One lineage refused to have anything to do with the others, believing that the very concept of a "Debacle" was ridiculous. These elves went north, to the ice-covered mountains of what is now Scandinavia, and eventually became known as the cryari -- the ice elves.
For several hundred years, the lineages feuded with each other. There was never open war, nor even a thought of it, but the elves of each lineage did not associate with each other at all. Each lineage was determined to find an answer to the Debacle by itself, and save all the ylphi.
Of course, they never did. The elven lineages had grown more concerned with feuding and besting the other lineages than actually researching the future disappearance of magic. So concerned with bickering and researching magic, the elves -- the nonhuman race most likely to see the rise of the archmages and the Incubans -- never bothered to look outside their secluded glades and forests. The Debacle hit, and magic was soaked from every elf, regardless of his lineage, and the elven race became extinct.
The ylphi split did nothing except to make each lineage more specifically attuned to a certain type of magic. Over the hundreds of years between the split and the Debacle, they formed their own cultures, beliefs, ideologies, and magical talents. Each lineage became truly distinct, and they remain so to this day.
Before the Debacle, a few elves dared to dream that the lineages would come back together and form a unified people. Having mastered the magic of all aspects of nature, the elves might transcend this world and become a part of Nature itself. Now, it appears to be an empty dream, as magic is gone and the elves reborn into this world retain all the quirks of their lineages.
Two lineages thought the idea of a Debacle ridiculous. The first was the cryari, who not wanting to get involved at all, and saddened at the split of the elves, secluded themselves far to the north. The second, the ulti as they became known, or "high elves," were the aristocracy of the elves. They ridiculed the lineages, and many of them actually warred on their brothers, killing other elves who dared to split from the elven nobility. Like an imperial government, the ulti's policy was simple -- come back to the elven nation, or die. Eventually, as the elven lineages fled, the ulti grew lazy. While the lineages were busy researching various aspects of nature magic, and growing stronger by that research, the ulti learned nothing new. They practiced mundane magic to let them sing and dance all day. Many went into human settlements and learned about money, and greed, and power.
The ulti died with the rest of the elves, and like the others, they were brought back by the Incubans. However, the ulti were brought back without their magic. They can grow to look like elves, act like elves, but they cannot use any Talents whatsoever. Their magic, so concerned with trivial matters, was not strong enough to survive the rebirth into the modern world.
The ulti still exist in the modern world, and are still very much dedicated to destroying the other elves. For some, it is a hatred that was carried over with their Nexus; for others, once they learned that they were elves and could not use magic, they grew angry and more determined to eliminate the elves from the modern world. Well aware that faith fuels magic of the Nexus, the ulti are determined to obliterate all faith in the elves of the modern world.
Luckily for the other elves, the ulti are not well organized. The most organized of the ulti have banned together to lead zealous human religious groups in a crusade against this "Satanic" magic. As a result, many of the people that work for the ulti cause have no understanding what they're actually doing.
A few ulti rebel against their brethren and help the elves, acting as spies and infiltrators. These high elves are extremely rare.
The ylphi have two advantages over the ulti. First, the ulti do not appear to know exactly how organized the elves are. The ulti have no idea about the elven councils, or their locations. The ulti work on a case-by-case basis. "Look, there's an elf. Get him."
Secondly, the ulti are aware of only four of the elven lineages. In fact, knowledgeable ulti have an incredible amount of information on these elves, and how best to approach them, deal with them, and even murder them. However, the ulti have no knowledge of the kayanari, and cannot even identify them as elves. As a result, the Elven High Council uses kayanari to infiltrate the ulti. The kayanari supply vital information to the elves about the ulti, allowing other ylphi to avoid notice.
The elves completely avoid the ulti -- to openly war with them would be a losing battle, as the ulti, combined with their followers, greatly outnumber the Majestati. Only rarely do the two groups directly confront each other. Rather, the elves prefer to find and identify their own Innamorati before the ulti do.
Many times the elves do not reach their Innamorati before the ulti. Very few Innamorati ever discover their Nexus after the ulti reach them. They are carefully prepared to disbelieve in magic, or to believe it "Satanic," thus destroying the person's Nexus. This ulti "attack," however, occasionally backfires and the ulti end up accidentally unveiling the Innamorato. Instead of disbelieving in magic and his ancient past, the Innamorato ends up believing in it more strongly. These few are often killed immediately. Some escape, and these are the ylphi that later despise the ulti and actually look to destroy them.
Many victims of the ulti end up joining them. Either way, whether or not the Innamorati disbelieve entirely or join the ulti, it is a profound loss to the elves.
No one is quite sure how many lineages were formed after this split, but five of them can definitely be found in the world today. The sylphi, wood elves, are by far the most numerous, followed quickly by the ssazanthi (dark elves) and the aquari (sea elves). Slightly less numerous are the cryari (ice elves), and there are barely more than a hundred kayanari ("whisper" elves).
The sylphi consider themselves the leaders of the elves, which doesn't really bother any of the other lineages who don't want that responsibility. They have assembled a high council of elves, located in Ponthieu, France. The High Council consists of a representative of four of the lineages. The kayanari have not sent a representative to sit on the high council. It is this Elven High Council that ultimately determines the goals and politics for all other ylphi Majestati.
The sylphi also have their own council, in Ponthieu as well. The aquari have their own council near Los Angeles, and the cryari have organized themselves in northern Greece. The kayanari are too small a lineage to have a council, and the ssazanthi insist that they have a very well-organized and powerful council somewhere, but no dark elf knows who's on it, where it is, or what it actually does.
Despite not having any information on their council whatsoever, or perhaps simply not willing to divulge anything, the dark elves are extremely helpful to the sylphi. It is a well-known fact that the High Council decides what it wants done, and then often leaves it to some reliable dark elves to figure out how to actually get it done. How the ssazanthi get these objectives done is unpredictable, random, and usually very inefficient and indirect, but they get results, if given enough time.
The aquari are more loosely organized. They simply don't take things as seriously as the sylphi would like. The aquari are happy to be themselves and to be different from everybody else in the world. Still, they're much more reliable that the cryari. Many cryari still blame the entire Debacle on themselves. Their logic, though flawed, is that because their lineage left to go north, rather than staying in central Europe and watching the humans, they were not able to prevent it. This thought has bred itself into most cryari, making many of them cynical and sarcastic, yet eager to make up in any way they can to their brethren.
The kayanari, discovered only recently, tend to be very confused. Most kayanari, even when they discover that they are truly elves, withdraw into the wilderness, content to live their lives in peace. A handful of kayanari have gone on "vengeance strikes" against the Ulti, while many try to cooperate with the other lineages as much as they can.
Although the sylphi have organized the elves into a government of sorts, the differences in the lineages cause some tension, and a lot of confusion. The age of feuds between the lineages is over, but they're not quite sure how to deal with each other. After all, the elven lineages could not sort out their differences in a magical world. The Debacle split the elves, and the Debacle is now drawing them together.
The Elven High Council works closely with the other three elven councils. For the most part, these councils are concerned with discovering the gray lineages (see sidebar), finding new evidence for elves, discovering their past, and dealing with the occasional large problem caused by the Incubans.
The council appoints individual elves throughout the world to handle matters in specific geographic areas. Called "pontiffs" (named after the official title of Mallori Cotehardi, the bishop who rediscovered Elfhame) these elves usually supervise a small area, such as a U.S. state or small European country. For the most part, these pontiffs are sylphi, aquari, or ssazanthi. These leaders usually have a single responsibility -- finding more elven Majestati and showing them their true heritage. Many of these pontiffs, however, are not experienced and well-trained elves, simply because so few of those actually exist. Most pontiffs are college students or high school teachers, not elite elven warriors or sages.
The pontiffs maintain some contact with their respective council, and are occasionally contacted by the High Council, though many pontiffs have gone years without hearing from anybody. When emergency events come up, pontiffs often request reinforcements from other nearby elven leaders. Any serious request to the elven councils is seldom denied.
The elves have recently discovered an ancient prophecy, which has become extremely important to them lately. The prophecy is part of the original prediction of the Debacle, which, of course, was very accurate. The prophecy then goes on to divine that after the Debacle, an elf referred to only as "the Lion" will be the savior of the ylphi. The Lion will be a great leader to the elves prior to the time that magic returns, but the child of the Lion will cause magic to return to the world and will go on to be the greatest and wisest ruler of a unified elven nation. Through this child's actions, the elven lineages will unite once again in eternal peace and harmony.
To many elves, this prophecy is simple. The child of the Lion will slay the Incubans, thus re-releasing magic in the world. The elves, though truly a peaceful race, cannot think of any other way of retrieving magic.
After doing considerable research, the sylphi discovered that thousands of years ago, there were two families -- the Kahrman, a sylphi family, and the Durhann, a ssazanthi family, -- who were known as "the Lions." What's more, there are four known Majestati today who have the Nexus of these families. The two Durhann's, Joanna and Kaelan (see sidebar on p.00), are twin brother and sister, both young adults. They are Fourth Ssazanthi, and are in full knowledge of the Prophecy. The two Kahrma's, father and daughter, are in a difficult situation. The daughter, now in her early-twenties, does not know that she is an elf. Furthermore, her father, Daniel, is a Third Sylphi who has completely separated himself from the world to hunt down and kill the ulti. He has not spoken to his daughter in years, and has not been heard from in just as long.
The Elven High Council strongly believes that one of the three younger ylphi is the "Lion" spoken of in the prophecy; because the prophecy appears to point to a male, the most likely candidate is Kaelan Durhann. The Council immediately placed a high-ranking elf, Xaviar Danuvarius, to befriend and guard Kaelan from harm. The three Lions are perhaps the greatest secret the ylphi have, and one that they will fight to protect.
The elves are much like their mythological origins. Tall and beautiful, quiet yet resolute, the rest of the elven personality greatly depends on their lineage. Elves, above anything else, are creatures of nature. Whether it's the icy mountains, the wooded glades, or the azure sea, all elves love nature. Many elves are staunch environmentalists, determined to prevent mankind's destruction of the world.
Most elves prefer peaceful solutions to their problems, though if provoked to violence, they are a deadly foe. Swift, unforgiving, and always subtle, elves can make dangerous enemies. Fortunately, there needs to be a very good reason to provoke elves.
Elves are also talented artists -- sculptors, actors, painters, poets, writers, and architects. It doesn't matter what the medium, it's the thought of creating something from nothing that appeals to the ylphi.
When two elven Majestati have children -- an event which is just beginning to occur as the original Majestati brought back by the Incubans are reaching their mid-twenties -- the child will be an elven Majestati. These newborn elves are the first new elves the world has seen in almost two-thousand years.
Now that the lineages are being to mix and share blood, the elves were surprised to discover that elven lineages are distinct and do not combine. In fact, the sex of the child determines the lineage. If a ssazanthi father and a cryari mother were to have children, any daughters born would be dark elves, and any sons would be ice elves.
However, in the modern world, many elves -- even those who know about their Nexus -- end up marrying humans. Very rarely will this produce a full-fledged Majestati. More often, it produced a half-elf.
Not as potent with their Talents as full ylphi, the High Council has decided that, nonetheless, these half-elves should be welcomed into the elven community. They are told of their heritage, taught to use their powers, and encouraged to find elven or half-elven mates.
The elves have given their half-elf cousins a name, which the High Council carefully researched in the ancient elven language. For females, "yi-" precedes the lineage name, and for males, "ni-" precedes the lineage name. In addition, the last "i" is cut off of the lineage. So, a half wood elf might identify herself as "Laurissa Jaana, third yi-sylph," while a half dark elf would be "Laertes Daniels, fourth ni-ssazanth."
Only a handful of elves are fluent in the ancient ylphi language. Many who reside in Elfhame know and try to use the language, and an average elf in Toronto may know a few words, but for the most part it is still a dead language, though the elves encourage its study. It is similar to Latin, and many elven scholars think that the Roman version evolved from the elven language; ylphi, however, sounds much smoother, closer to modern day French or Italian pronunciation. As a written language, the letters are not Roman.
The ssazanthi, when they branched off from the other ylphi, increased the vocabulary of the ylphi language almost a hundred times. The ssazanthi are proud to admit that their version of ylphi has almost triple the vocabulary of English! Not surprisingly, it's very confusing, much to the liking of high-ranking ssazanthi. Still, not many ssazanthi have learned to speak the language, though they are all taught a few key words.
Ylphi is a Mental/Average language; Ssazanthi Ylphi is a Mental/Very Hard language, which defaults to Ylphi-2.
The sylphi are "wood elves," the elves that believed that to stop the Debacle, they had to tap into the magic of the forests and woods.
Sylphi Majestati have ST-1 (-10 points), IQ+1 (10 points), and DX+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of Appearance: Attractive (5 points), Longevity (5 points), and Charisma+1 (5 points), Combat Reflexes (15 points), Acute Vision +2 (4 points),
A pure sylphi has a total DX+3 (30 points), Enhanced Move (25 points), Life of Centuries (10 points, replacing Longevity), Perfect Balance (15 points), Catfall (15 points), Speak with Animals (15 points), Speak with Plants (15 points), Magical Aptitude (15 points), Appearance: Beautiful or Handsome (15 points), and an additional level of Charisma (5 points). They have the disadvantages of Curious (-5 points), and Sense of Duty towards Nature (-10 points).
The Sylphi Council is located in the Ponthieu Woods, France. The forest is a deep one, and buried amongst dense trees and twisting trails lies the largest and oldest elven stronghold known to modern elves. Built thousands of years ago, Elfhame contains not only the Sylphi Council, but the Elven High Council, and several resident elves who wish to train and learn under these elite leaders of the elves.
The Incuban Prospero was the one that rebuilt Elfhame, which had collapsed almost to dust ages ago when magic left its beams and walls. The young French bishop Mallori Cotehardi rediscovered Elfhame, and helped set up the Council system known today.
Elfhame is strong in magic, and elves have an easier time using their Talents here. All Majestati in Elfhame remain in their true, Nexus forms.
There are several legends about Elfhame, some of which may be true. Recently, stories of a dragon named Aria discovered to be sleeping under the stronghold have circulated amongst the high-ranking ylphi. This story has not been verified, but if the dragon does exist, the elves agree that it could not survive outside the magical citadel for long, so nobody should expect to see her flying outside of Detroit anytime soon.
Another legend is that a clan of goblins was discovered to be living at the bottom levels of Elfhame. This rumor is questionable, as no one can find a good explanation on how they got there, or who put them there. Some elves maintain that when Prospero rebuilt Elfhame, he accidentally resurrected the corpses of dead goblin prisoners who were in the bottom of the complex. Rumor has it that these goblins now help the elves by scouting in the wood, alerting the ylphi to the presence of nearby humans. Again, if this is true, the elves of Elfhame aren't saying.
The sylphi are the Great Communicators of the elves. Through their leadership and inspiration, the elven lineages tossed aside most of their differences to work together. Sylphi are taught to be negotiators and natural leaders.
Calm yet quick-thinking, the sylphi are very much bonded to the forests and glades. No sylphi will tolerate needless harm to the environment, and many have started their own crusades for the natural world. Most, however, are content to coexist peacefully with nature, and enjoy long hikes in the mountains or weekend camping trips.
The sylphi are lightly built elves, usually very fair with blond cascading hair and bright green or blue eyes, both of which grow with preternatural light when they are in their true forms. Like the other elves, they have high cheekbones and a graceful frame, along with pointy ears, which vary in size.
Because the sylphi are naturally bonded to forests and woodlands, all sylphi receive a +1 to connect to their Nexus when in such natural areas. Placed like Central Park are probably not "pure" enough to benefit a wood elf, though Yellowstone National would.
"For nature, crescent, does not grow alone--Hamlet, I, iii
In thews and bulk; but as this temple waxes,
The inward service of the mind and soul
Grows wide withal."
The ssazanthi are the "dark elves," those who believed that the magic of darkness itself would hide the ylphi from the Debacle.
The ssazanthi are the strangest of all elven lineages. The ssazanthi were the first lineage to separate themselves from the other ylphi after the prediction of the Debacle. For a long time, the ssazanthi enshrouded themselves in secrecy. Their ancestral leader, Ssazantha, believed that the best way for the dark elves to stop the Debacle was to allow all of the dark elf sorcerers and sages to develop their own unique solution to the problem for two hundred years. They would then spend the last century before the Debacle combining the solutions. In order for her plan to work, these magical solutions had to be kept totally shrouded, so that they would all be completely different with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Each dark elf family worked in complete secrecy, always trying to make their solution the most elaborate.
This might have worked, but the dark elves never gathered together to share their secret solutions. Instead, they concealed their magical solutions and worked on them until the very end, when suddenly magic was gone. To this day, the dark elves treasure their privacy and their secrecy above all other things. They thrive on confusion and elaborate plans.
Ssazanthi have ST-1 (-10 points), IQ+1 (10 points), and DX+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of Longevity (5 points), Charisma +1 (5 points), Appearance: Attractive (5 points), Acute Hearing +2 (4 points), Combat Reflexes (15 points), Night Vision (10 points),and the disadvantage of Seclusive (-5 points), though many Ssazanthi Innamorati have Shyness (-5 points) instead.
Pure ssazanthi have DX+4 (45 points). They have the added advantages of Life of Centuries (10 points), an additional level of Charisma (5 points), Perfect Balance (15 points), Catfall (15 points), Magical Aptitude (15 points), Polarized Eyes (5 points), Dark Vision (25 points, replacing Night Vision), Shadow Form (55 points), Stealth at DX+3 (8 points), and the disadvantages Machiavellian (-10 points), and Intolerance to non-elves (-10 points).
Experienced ssazanthi claim that there is definitely a Ssazanthi Council. However, because the ssazanthi thrive on secrecy, no one knows where it is, who's in it, or what it does. The Elven High Council occasionally receives communiqués from the Ssazanthi Council, though the couriers who bring these short messages claim that they have no idea who gave it to them. Knowing the dark elves, this is probably true.
Ssazanthi know only one goal of the Ssazanthi Council -- to find the legendary cities of the ssazanthi. According to dark elf lore, the ssazanthi once built three large cities where they did their magical research. The largest was Ssazantha, named after the founder of the lineage. According to legend, Ssazantha was so big, that the dark elves who lived there could go days and not see each other. Kirsjanin was so confusing that even the dark elves who resided there would get lost for days. And every location in Kaeljaana was connected with a dozen dark underground tunnels. No archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of any of these three cities. Of course, the dark elves argue, this is obvious, because they would be so well concealed, it would be impossible for any human to ever find. Unfortunately, now lost to the centuries, they seem impossible for any dark elf to find.
Because these cities were created by magic, they probably fell to the ground with the Debacle, much like Elfhame. The dark elves maintain that if the Incuban Prospero rebuilt Elfhame, he probably also rebuilt the dark elf cities. And if he didn't, the ssazanthi are going to desperately convince him to do so.
Ssazanthi thrive on confusion. They are very subtle, manipulative, and always have secret goals and plans. Neonate ssazanthi are less secretive, but all elves find the secrecy of the ssazanthi lineage fascinating. Other races call it bureaucracy raised to an artform rivaling the Sistine Chapel. Surprisingly, the ssazanthi are remarkably reliable in accomplishing their goals, even though only a select few actually know those goals.
Despite their secrecy, the ssazanthi are the most trusted and honorable of elves. When a ssazanthi says that he will accomplish something, he will do it, though it might get done in the strangest way imaginable.
The ssazanthi appearance is very contrasting. They are lightly built, usually with pale skin and dark hair; as they age their hair turns stark white or silver. In ancient times, this change would take place when the elf passed into old age. Nowadays, most dark elves will find their hair turning silver very fast. Ssazanthi eyes are also dark and large, usually with flecks of other colors in them, especially green and gray.
The Ssazanthi are inherently bonded to darkness. They seem to absorb it, and highly magical Ssazanthi seem to have little trouble moving or seeing through it.
All ssazanthi gain +1 to connect to their Nexus form when they are in exceptionally dark places (a night of the new moon, Mammoth Caves, the New York sewer system).
"I have been studying how I may compare--King Richard II, V, v
This prison, where I live, unto the world:
And, for because the world is populous,
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it."
The cryari, or "ice elves," is the lineage that refused to believe in the Debacle, and as a result, they think that they helped to cause it by not being around to prevent it. The sheer complexity of this belief says much about the cryari.
The cryari are the loneliest and quietest of all elves. Thousands of years ago, their ancestors did not believe that the Debacle would strike, and instead of trying to stop it, they returned to their icy Northern homes and ignored their brethren's pleas for help. They secluded themselves and would not see the rise of the Incubans or the coming of the Debacle. Legend has it that the cryari did find out that the Incubans were working on a spell of destruction. The ice elves, near to the place where the Incubans performed the Debacle, never bothered to investigate or tell any other elf about these powerful, immortal mages. When they realized what the Incubans intended, it was too late.
Cryari have IQ+1 (10 points), and DX+1 (10 points). They have the advantages Appearance: Attractive (5 points), Combat Reflexes (15 points), Longevity (5 points), Strong Will +2 (8 points), Magical Tolerance +2 (8 points), Toughness (10 points), and the disadvantages of Seclusive (-5 points), and an Odious Personal Habit (-5 points; usually sarcastic, non-talkative, or just plain rude). They have the quirk, "body usually feels cold to the touch." (-1 point).
Full cryari have a ST+1 (10 points), HT+1 (10 points), DR+1 (5 points), Ice Vision (8 points), Life of Centuries (10 points, replacing Longevity), Magical Aptitude (15 points), Move through Ice (10 points), Regular Regeneration (25 points), Temperature Tolerance (cold only; 6 points), a total Magical Tolerance +4 (16 points), and the disadvantage Fatalistic (-10 points) and Intolerance to non-elves (-10 points).
The Cryari Council consists of three second cryari who reside in a small mountain town located in Northern Greece. High atop a mountain lies a large and abandoned cryari citadel, almost totally engulfed in ice, snow, and evergreens. The cryari use the ruined city as a training ground for new cryari elves, though most Council meetings are held in a basement in the small town.
The cryari are still devastated that they could have prevented the Debacle. This humility has been practically inbred into the cryari, as many reborn cryari seem to share a remorse. As a result, all cryari are quiet, thoughtful, and yet determined to help the elven cause in any way. However, the cryari are also known for their cold, biting sarcasm, which can cause anybody -- ylphi or human -- to think twice before confronting them. The majority of cryari feel that because they did not help to stop the Debacle, they should not reap the benefits of the sylphi organization. The sylphi must carefully watch the cryari to make sure that they are finding and explaining this new world to their own elves. Many elves believe that the cryari are hopelessly fatalistic.
Cryari are pale elves, usually with either very dark, or very light hair. They are stronger than most elves, but every bit as quick and intelligent.
Cryari are bonded to cold and ice. Interestingly enough, many cryari actually dislike the cold that they are now magically bonded to. After all, they believe that it was their icy retreat from ylphi society that helped to cause the Debacle, so though they accept their talents now, they often dislike to use them. Cryari are at an additional +1 to connect to their Nexus form when they are in especially cold areas -- upstate New York in the winter, the Alps, et cetera.
"You know neither me, yourselves, nor anything."--Coriolanus, II, i
The aquari are the "sea elves," loosely organized, energetic, and much more casual than their counterparts.
The aquari are the most boisterous and lively of all the elves. Indeed, many of the other elves believe that the aquari are too lighthearted. Still, the aquari believe that thousands of years ago, before the Debacle, the elves were gleeful and merry, and there's no reason they shouldn't be even after the Debacle.
Although lighthearted, the aquari are extremely reliable. If another lineage needs help, they're usually the first ones to offer it. The aquari suspect that there are almost as many of them in the world as there are sylphi, simply because the aquari have much greater fortune in finding their own and convincing them of what they really are. Roughly 75% of aquari actually believe in their magic after they're told.
Aquari have ST-1 (-10 points), IQ+1 (10 points), and DX+1 (10 points). They have the advantages Acute Hearing +2 (4 points), Appearance: Handsome or Beautiful (15 points), Charisma +2 (10 points), Combat Reflexes (15 points), Longevity (5 points). They have the disadvantage Overconfidence (-10 points), or Impulsiveness (-10 points). All aquari have the Swimming skill at DX (1 points).
Pure aquari have DX+4 (45 points) and normal ST. They have the added advantages of Life of Centuries (10 points), Pressure Support (15 points), Nictating Membrane (10 points), Gills (10 points), Magical Aptitude (15 points), Speak Underwater (12 points), and a total of Charisma +3 (15 points). They have the disadvantage Short Attention Span (-10 points). They also have Breath Control at IQ+2 (6 points), and Swimming at DX+3 (8 points).
There are ten second aquari on the Aquari Council, which is actually located in two different locations. Both are in constant contact with one another and rarely disagree. The main seven-member body is located in Southern California near Sierra Madre. The other is located in the Canary Islands. At this location, the aquari have uncovered a small underwater castle ruin, which takes considerable effort and skill to approach (as well as expensive scuba gear for inexperienced aquari!).
The aquari are fun-loving and lighthearted. They don't take the Incubans nearly as seriously as the other elves, and can often be found having fun on beaches, swimming in the ocean, or sailing on the high seas. The aquari have very few Lost Children, probably because their Innamorati already love the water and the sea, and have no problem accepting it as a source of magic.
Because their very magic comes from the sea, they hate to see it damaged in any way. Water pollution enrages the aquari more than anything else, and they have no qualms in dealing swift retribution to those that cause it.
Aquari look a lot like the sylphi, but are usually tanned more from their exposure to the sun and sea. Almost all of them have blond hair, fair skin, and a shimmering sparkle in their eyes.
The Aquari are naturally bonded to water, especially sea water. Aquari are at an additional +1 to connect to their Nexus form when they are near any large source of water (the Pacific, the Mississippi, a small Greek island).
"I still pour in the waters of my love,--All's Well That Ends Well, I, iii
And lack not to lose still: thus, Indian-like
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun, that looks up his worshipper,
But knows him no more."
The kayanari call themselves the "silent ones," or the "whisper elves." Extremely rare in the world, they are the lineage that believed that it was the magic of noise and sound that could prevent the Debacle.
There were very few kayanari reborn -- the few high ranking kayanari believe that there are only a few hundred in the world. The kayanari was a small lineage to begin with, which is why they remain small. Of the kayanari reborn, perhaps only a hundred know what they are. Because the kayanari are such a small lineage, and are spread out all over the world, it is thought that they will not survive for another generation. Though perfectly aware of the odds against them, the kayanari are quietly determined to make a difference in the world.
The methods that the kayanari use are varied. Many kayanari are content to live away from their brethren in the wilderness, or a lonely apartment in the city. When asked for help, these kayanari hermits will often offer it. Others prefer to live on the edge of "reality" and the true magical world -- hunting down the ulti, vigorously searching for other elves, and going into the most dangerous situations first.
Kayanari have ST-1 (-10 points), IQ+1 (10 points), and DX+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of Acute Hearing +3 (6 points), Charisma +1 (5 points), Combat Reflexes (15 points), Longevity (5 points), Magical Tolerance +2 (8 points), and Voice (10 points). All kayanari have Stealth at DX (2 points).
Pure ssazanthi have DX+3 (30 points) and normal ST. They have the added advantages of Charisma +2 (10 points), Life of Centuries (10 points), Magical Aptitude (15 points), Magical Tolerance +5 (20 points), Silence +5 (25 points), and Ultrahearing (5 points). They have the disadvantage of Seclusive (-5 points).
Because the kayanari are such a small lineage, they have no official council. The kayanari have expressed their interest in forming a kayanari council and joining the Elven High Council, but no kayanari has stepped forward to lead.
The kayanari are as widely varied in personality as the humans. They can be deadly-serious, or wisecracking, friendly or intimidating. But whatever the kayanari's personality, it's always quiet. The kayanari are not a boisterous people -- they don't laugh out loud, they smile. They don't yell or scream, they talk with a steady voice, or whisper when they are emotional.
Of course, this does not mean that the kayanari are an unfeeling lineage. Just the opposite, the pain of knowing that there are only a few handfuls of their kind left cause many to be angst-ridden and pained, while it has made others extremely compassionate and caring for their fellow elves.
Kayanari look a lot like the other elves, but considerably more "average." They usually have brown hair, fair skin, and somber eyes that can often tell more about the kayanari than their words.
The kayanari are naturally bonded to the peace of silence and the quietness of being alone. Kayanari are at an additional +1 to connect to their Nexus when they are in a quiet place (no factories) and not near more than one or two other quiet people. Other kayanari, of course, don't count.
"But when I came to man's estate,--Twelfth Night, V, i
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain :
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day."
"Get you gone, you dwarf ;--William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
You minimus, of hind'ring knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn."
(also a favorite dwarven farewell)
The dwarves are proud to be disorganized. Broken up into dozens of distinct clans, each with its own "king," the dwarves rarely agree on anything. The only thing that they do agree on, is that they built most of the modern world, and they deserve some of it back. Some non-dwarves ask how, exactly, an extinct race built the modern world. To this question, the dwarves answer that the humans stole dwarven technology. Obviously, they found a stash of dwarven engineering right before the Industrial Revolution, which started the whole thing.
Old dwarves know their true name to be the nibelungs, an ancient Norse word. Most modern dwarves, however, can't even pronounce the word, and simply call themselves dwarves.
The dwarves originated in the mountains and valleys of the North, fashioning metal weapons and armor long before humans knew how. The Vikings knew of the dwarves, and sometimes did business (and war) with them in the years before the Debacle and before Ragnarok.
When the elves warned the dwarves of the Debacle, the dwarves simply shrugged. Like their northern human counterparts, the dwarves accepted the notion of Ragnarok -- an apocalypse -- and this "Debacle" that the elves ranted about sounded much like Ragnarok, an event that was simply unavoidable anyway. Besides, the dwarves believed that they were very much non-magical, and that their abilities with their craftsmanship and their engineering were purely based on their superior intelligence.
Ragnarok and the Debacle were very much connected, and most wise dwarves know that shortly after the legendary Norse gods started fighting each other, the Debacle hit. The dwarves were only moderately involved in Ragnarok, and were busy hammering away at a giant chain meant to recapture the Fenrir wolf. The Incubans cast the Debacle, and the dwarves were killed, along with the giants, valkyrja, and volsunga.
The dwarven halls, however, were not created with magic, so after the Debacle killed the dwarves, the halls still stood. Several of these ancient mining complexes have been rediscovered by modern nibelungs, and several of them have begun to be repopulated.
Each dwarf king has a copy of the Dwarven Clanbook, a document that goes back thousands of years. There are a few handwritten, antique copies around, but most copies are quickly-typed, stapled several dozen times, photocopies.
The Clanbook lists every clan that has every existed in dwarven history, as well as its leader and its members. There are thousands of clans, some large, some small, some ancient, some very new. Also included in the book are the official rules for forming your own clan, the only rules that the dwarves follow. Of these four thousand or so clans, only about twenty of them exist today, though many more are in the process of reforming.
As any dwarven Majestati can explain, the clans have been the traditional way of dwarven life for centuries. Thousands of years ago, a dwarf would officially choose his clan after puberty. Today, dwarves choose their clan shortly after becoming Fifth Nibelung dwarves, though most dwarven Innamorati choose to stay with the clan that found them.
Before the Debacle, all of the clans were ruled by a single Nibelung King. The last such king was King Andvaranaut, who ruled during the Debacle itself.
Today, there are about twenty dwarven clans, three of which were around before Debacle. The rest are new, modern clans, very much unique to the 20th century. These three clans are the only clans that actually have worldwide membership. All of the other clans are geographically based.
Clan Blackforge is perhaps the oldest and largest of the dwarven clans. Composed of steel and iron workers mostly, this clan has always prided itself as the creators of fine metals. For all intents and purposes, Blackforge is a worker's union. It's members actually negotiate with factories and steel mills; of course, the managers of these factories have no idea that they're really dealing with dwarves. Iron willed and ruthless in negotiation, this dwarven clan is perhaps the most visible of the Majestati in the world.
Clan Obsidian is the mining clan, and like Blackforge, its members have formed themselves into a trade union of sorts. Most of Obsidian's members are coal, oil, or gem miners from all across the world.
Clan Zurich is composed of rich bankers and market traders. An extremely wealthy group, Zurich is quick to point out that they are not to be confused with the Gnomes of Zurich. According to Clan Zurich, the Gnomes are a very real and very secretive group that is in competition with them. Rich, miserly, and greedy, Clan Zurich is hard-pressed to do anything with its money. When pressed, Clan Zurich jokes that they are saving their hard-earned money because they plan to bribe the Incubans into bringing magic back into the world. No doubt, many Clan Zurich dwarves have actual given the idea considerable thought.
There are slightly more than a dozen Geographic Clans, each one based in a very specific geographic area. The seven largest include:
Clan Verazano is based in the United State's Northeast. They are infamous among the Majestati for their extreme stubbornness and fickle nature. They always have something to boycott; currently, it is New York City itself. No Verazano dwarf will voluntarily enter the City because of this boycott. This is much to the frustration of the elves, who often have to find and send dwarven Innamorati outside the city so that the dwarves can tell them what they really are.
Clan Natchez is based in the United State's South. Thought to be rednecks and country folk, most of them actually are. Others, however, are rich businessmen with an extraordinary amount of connections and always willing to help out their fellow dwarf. They are much less friendly to outsiders.
Clan Andvari is the main European dwarven clan. These dwarves communicate with the elves and valkyrja fairly frequently, and are just as concerned with finding their heritage as the other Majestati. Clan Advari dwarves are the most respectable nibelungs, at least in the eyes of the other races.
Clan Tchiakovski is named after the famous Russian musician, whom the dwarves claim had pure dwarven blood in him. ("He used cannons in his music! How can he be anything but a dwarf!") Based in Russia, members of this clan are hearty and very willing to help Clan Andvari, though they are much less communicative with the other Majestati.
Clan Napolitano is located in Italy, and is often thought to be a Union Clan, simply because most of the members of Clan Napolitano are dock workers. Spending half the time on strike, and the other half complaining about their jobs, these dwarves are not especially reliable to outsiders. They take care of their own very well, however, and have been known to help other Majestati in strange, extremely indirect ways.
Clan MacGregor is a Scottish clan of dwarves. Hot-tempered and very good with their axes, many of these dwarves supposedly live in the highlands and forego modern conveniences to get back to their roots. No one hears from them long enough to know if this is true.
Clan Thor is located in Norway and is the single dwarven clan responsible for the extreme annoyance that the valkyrja have towards Nibelungs. Concerned with nothing more than finding Northern dwarven history that contradicts valkyrja history, these dwarves are not on great terms with any group of Majestati. Still, the information that Clan Thor has gathered about the dwarves before the Debacle is extremely rare and useful to the other clans, so most dwarves grudgingly admit the usefulness of Clan Thor.
Clan Zughb is based in Saudi Arabia. These dwarves are products of their Islamic culture. In addition to following the laws of Islam, these dwarves provide one of the only links to the chaotic world of the djinn.
Several clan's members are entirely composed of a specific type of worker. Much smaller than the Geographic Clans, the Union Clans are often more powerful and can effect the real world easier than any other clan or Majestati race. These clans rarely have more than a few dozen members.
Clan Detroit is composed of automotive workers in Detroit. According to these dwarves, "Detroit" is actually a dwarven word meaning "donkey cart." These dwarves also believe that Henry Ford stole their plans -- blueprints which were over two-thousand years old -- for the first car.
Clan Biohazard, as they like to call themselves, is a very new clan. Composed mostly of very knowledgeable scientists and engineers, Biohazard likes to think of itself as the "brainpower" behind the dwarves. Biohazard's members are few, as there are only a handful of dwarves that are able to integrate both science and magic into their view of the world.
Clan Tolkien is, obviously, named after the famous writer of Lord of the Rings. This small but active clan wants all dwarves to become the typical "Tolkien" dwarves. They keep their beards long, collect actual gold, and practice axe combat constantly. Even though historically the dwarves were very similar to Vikings, many of the other clans applaud Clan Tolkien's efforts.
Clan Blackgold's members are oil miners in Texas. It doesn't take much to get these dwarves angry with somebody or something.
Clan Anvilwheel is a relatively new dwarven clan, but growing rapidly. Composed of truckers, Anvilwheel doesn't really have a geographic center, though its members keep in touch more than any other dwarven clan.
Clan Firerider is also a new, though smaller dwarven clan composed entirely of bikers. Although less than a hundred of these dwarves exist, they are highly mobile.
Each clan is lead by a "king," a high-ranking dwarf. The biggest qualification for this position is that the dwarf king's Nexus must actually be that of an ancient dwarven king. Dwarves are very strict about this rule, that only a true dwarf may lead the clans. With this rule in effect, and once magic someday returns, the dwarves can claim that their royal blood was untarnished throughout the Debacle.
Even though this is a very strict law among dwarves, it has come out recently that several dwarven Clan Kings do not really hold the Nexuses of historical dwarven rulers . Most of these clans fell apart shortly after their leader was revealed to be a common dwarf, but some of these clans -- most notably the Fireriders and Clan Biohazard -- continued to gather members. The elder dwarven clans, greatly upset at this lack of respect towards tradition, look for worthy "true royalty" dwarves to replace the "false kings" of these clans.
Many dwarves were very annoyed to discover the existence of "half-dwarves," Majestati who mixed with human blood that their natural magical talents are limited. The dwarves refuse to let these half-breeds into the main body of clans, forcing them instead to form their own clan.
Most half-dwarves belong to Clan Bragi. As a result, half-dwarves are simply called the bragi. A loose organization, the half-dwarves are actually more concerned with their dwarven heritage than many of the other true dwarf clans. Resourceful, and more than willing to maintain communication with all of the other Majestati, this clan actually gathers more dwarven Majestati than any other clan.
The bragi are the only dwarves who do not receive a Ring of Andvaranaut, though many have managed to get their hands on one, either through money, brave deeds, or thieving fingers.
The dwarves are probably the least organized of the Majestati, simply because they really have no communication with each other outside of the individual clans. Despite their chaotic nature, the dwarves are a rapidly growing group. While the other races lose over half of their Innamorati to Unfaith to become Lost Children, the dwarves only lose a quarter. This may be because the dwarves tell their new Innamorati that they are smarter than humans, work harder than humans, and will make a lot more money than the humans. Who wouldn't want to admit he's a dwarf after getting a lecture like that? Besides, most dwarves make it a point to befriend new Innamorati way before explaining the Debacle to him. It's a lot easier to believe you're a dwarf when all your friends admit that they're one too.
The dwarves do not gather their own for any large, glorious cause. Rather, they gather their own to outdo the other clans. Because the Clanbook is listed in numerical order, with the largest clans being named first, the dwarves want nothing more than the honor of being listed first in the Clanbook. As a result, the dwarves are constantly looking for new clan members.
With the occasional exception, the dwarves could really care less about the elves, valkyrja, and djinn. The dwarves want to mind their own business, and want the other Majestati to mind theirs.
As dwarven Majestati are accepted into a clan, they are each given a Ring of Andvaranaut. These rings were crafted before the Debacle by the greatest Clan King shortly before the Debacle. King Andvaranaut melted down his own magical ring of leadership and made thousands of smaller rings, which he never distributed because of the Debacle. Many dwarves believe that these rings are still enchanted.
The stash of these rings was found in the Factory, the largest home of the dwarves, which was once an ancient dwarven city. The dwarves of Clan Andvari then distributed these rings to the various dwarven clans.
There is a particular group of dwarves, the Gudruns, who believe that if all the rings are gathered together and forged back into a single ring, the age of magic will return and the dwarf who gathered the rings will become the mightiest king since Andvaranaut.
Gudrun is not really a clan, because most of the believers in this theory are selfish loners, who want to gather all the rings themselves. Although a few of these dwarves try to gather rings by talking to other dwarves, most of the Gudruns will forcefully take the honorary rings from other dwarves, killing them if necessary.
The Gudruns have only recently become a problem, when one Gudrun wiped out an entire small clan of dwarves by himself and collected all the dead Majestati's rings. He then went on to kill one of the few peaceful Gudruns and looted all the rings he had collected in his lifetime. The identity of this dwarf has not been discovered yet.
The dwarves evolved alongside the Vikings, giants, and gods of old. Mountain creatures by heart, the dwarves were, and still are, skilled and determined workers. Blacksmiths for hundreds of years, modern day dwarven Majestati are still usually manual laborers, mechanics, and miners. Some things never change.
Dwarves have also earned their fantastic reputation well. Often stubborn, greedy, foul-mouthed, and hot-tempered, many humans can't even stand these Majestati when they're indistinguishable from normal men and women. Of course, for every archetypal dwarf in the world, there is also a gruff but kind father who enjoys nothing better than playing football with his five year old son on the weekends.
The dwarven language seems to be an amalgam of German and ancient Norse languages, simplified. Harsh and guttural, the dwarven language is rarely spoken. All Clan Kings are supposed to know and use only this language, but in reality only the major Clan Kings do.
Many of the bragi as well as Clan Thor know the dwarven language, because both clans do considerable research on the ancient history of the dwarven clans.
Dwarvish, or Nibelungen, is considered a Mental/Average language.
Dwarves, or nibelungs, are descended from the legendary mountain creatures of Norse mythology. Fiercely loyal to their own individual clans, and ready to tackle the problems of the Debacle headfirst, the dwarves are the least secretive of all the Majestati.
Dwarves have ST+2 (20 points) and HT+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of DR+1 (5 points), Longevity (5 points), Strong Will +2 (8 points). They have the disadvantages Miserliness (-10 points), and Stubbornness (-5 points). They also receive +3 to all Craft skills (9 points) and all mechanical, Scientific skills (9 points).
Nibelungs have ST+4 (45 points), HT+2 (20 points), and Extra Hit Points +3 (15 points). They have Chameleon +2 (14 points), DR+2 (10 points), Life of Centuries, Patron: Clan (15 points), Night Vision (10 points), and Sensitive Touch (10 points). They have the disadvantages of Reduced Move (-8 points) and Sense of Duty to Clan (-5 points).
Most clans give their new members a special dwarven gift. Built by the best dwarven craftsmen, the nature of these gifts vary, but they will always be very fine tools.
Antiquary and Geographic Clans usually give gifts of dwarven weapons, tools, or armor, though these won't be great axes and breastplates. Usually, a small knife, wrench, or a medallion is given. Clan Thor always gives a hammer, Clan MacGregor a hand-woven kilt, and Clan Tchiakovsky a musical instrument.
Union Clans have much more specific gifts. The Fireriders give their new members a specialty motorcycle, modified to be "ultra-cool," while Clan Biohazard gives special scientific equipment.
Because the gifts are so carefully made, they will always confer a benefit to the player character. Firerider motorcycles will be the fastest, most maneuverable bikes on the road; a Clan Blackforge wrench may give +1 to all repairs; a Clan Thor hammer may be lighter and do more damage than an ordinary hammer.
Andvaranaut was the greatest dwarf clan king who lived during the time of Ragnarok, which the dwarves believe occurred right after the Debacle. He gave a ring to the valkyries and volsunga, which eventually led to the huge battle of Ragnarok.
When Andvaranaut finally got his ring back, he believed it cursed and melted it down. Andvaranaut then created several thousand rings from the metal before the Debacle, his clan members crafting and blessing each and every one. Many of these rings survived to the present day, and the dwarves give one as gift to every dwarven Majestati of Fifth Mana Generation or better.
The dwarves believe that these Rings of Andvaranaut store magic in them from before the Debacle, and that dwarves can draw from this magic. While they have some magic in them, the great faith and respect that all dwarves have for the rings gives them a +1 to connect to their Nexus form while wearing them.
Much of a dwarf's personality will depend on his clan. See the sidebar for additional information on the various dwarven clans. Many dwarves are greedy, picky, vengeful, and always ready for a good fight in a bar or at the union bargaining table. Others are intelligent scientists who live for their work. And still others are grinning grandfathers running after their grandchildren on the playground.
Stout and brawny, dwarven Majestati are often the easiest to identify. Their appearance did not change that much after the Debacle. Many dwarves look like taller versions of their fantasy counterparts, though usually not nearly as rude and ornery. Dwarves enjoy a good Armani suit as much as the next businessman, though many dwarves have to get them custom-made.
The dwarves are still fantastic craftsmen and workers, and so much of modern machinery holds the very essence of dwarves. As a result, any dwarf in a mechanical work area -- especially a contained work area -- will receive +1 to connect to their Nexus, magical form. Examples may include a coal mine, a factory, the subway system, a boiler room, et cetera.
"Little again? Nothing but low and little?--A Midsummer Night's Dream, III, ii
Why will you suffer her to flout me thus?
Let me come to her."
Jove is my brother-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Challenge of Thor"
Mine eyes are the lightning
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder.
He could barely hear the electric crackle of the street lights as he raced through the alley, as his hollow breathing and thumping footsteps assaulted his ears. He spun around a corner and stopped, his heart beating loudly in his chest. Louie knew he should have exercised more. He hadn't planned for anybody to see him at all. Neither had he planned for a ten-block marathon with over a dozen cops after him.
Louie spun around and found himself looking down the barrel of a gun. He blinked several times and then found the courage to look up at the wielder of the gun. She was a young woman dressed in cop-blue. Her blond hair was tied in a tight knot behind her head. Louie froze and backed up against the cracked wall. He had no idea how the police found him -- he had been running for what seemed like hours.
Louie nervously raised his hands. Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of something moving behind the cop. He smiled. His escape was coming up right behind the police-chick. It was Big Bobby.
The huge man swung at the woman from behind. Bobby was a silent one; he could sneak up behind anyone. The large man caught the woman off-guard and she went sprawling against the brick wall, her gun scraping along the concrete floor.
"Hey, Bobby," Louie said cooly, now smiling at the cop.
"Hey. Thought you needed help," responded the large man in his deep voice, pulling his trademark sawed-off shotgun from his overcoat. "We gonna take her, or should I mix her with the concrete"
"Yeah, she's been givin' me some trouble."
The woman sprang up with lightning speed. Unfortunately, Bobby already had the shotgun pointed towards her. A crack pierced the silence of the alley and the police officer went flying back against the wall, her body pierced with the metallic shards of the shotgun blast. She slid weakly against the wall and stared up at Bobby.
"You're going to wish you hadn't done that," whispered the woman between clenched teeth as she closed her eyes.
Bobby looked at his buddy and started laughing. Both of them laughed at the woman who clutched her bloody wounds with her eyes closed.
Suddenly, she was gone. The alley was silent.
The two men looked at each other, at a loss for words.
"Where'd she go?" whispered Bobby, stumbling over his own words.
Bobby felt a hand on his shoulder. Surprised, he turned around, only to see a shining sword whip towards him. He tried to dodge, but the sword was too fast. In less than a second, his body fell to the ground, followed by his head.
Louie tripped and stumbled backwards, drawing out his .22 pistol. He didn't see anything. Bobby just seemed to collapse, his head separated from his body. What was happening? Was he going insane?
Suddenly, a form materialized in front of him. It was the cop, except that she was wearing some sort of silver armor. A winged helmet sat upon her head, with long, flowing blond hair streaming down her shoulders. She looked at him coldly, a bloody sword in her right hand. He fired his gun, emptying every round into the form's body.
Nothing happened. The bullets sparked on the wall behind the warrior-woman. The man shrieked in terror as the image faded away. He clutched his face as he felt himself grabbed by what seemed like a dozen men. He glanced down to where Bobby's body lay, except that it wasn't there. Completely gone.
He was hauled to his feet; his hands were forced behind him as he felt chains clamp on to each wrist. When he opened his eyes, he found himself surrounded by four cops who were hustling him into a waiting squad car. His eyes caught one of the cops -- the same woman that he had just seen, except that she was back in the same police-blue uniform as when he had first seen her. Someone addressed the woman.
"You okay, Farley? We heard gunshots after you sped ahead of us."
"I'm fine. Those clowns couldn't hit anything." She punctuated her statement with a piercing glance at the cuffed man.
"Clowns? We only found this one. Was there another?"
"No, just this one."
Louie screamed one last time as he was thrown into the back of the squad car.
According to Norse legend, the valkyrja were the servants of Odin. Powerful female warriors, the valkyrja were charged with bringing great heroes to Valhalla, the great otherworldly battleground of the gods.
The volsunga were the sons of the great Norse hero Volsung. Powerful warriors and heroes, they led the human armies during Ragnarok, the great battle between the gods.
The valkyrja and the volsunga have gathered together under a single cause. Their mythology is identical, as are their gods and their history. This relationship, however, is not entirely equal, as the valkyrja have established themselves as the dominant matrons of the technically different races. Volsunga are expected to be subservient to the valkyrja, simply because the valkyrja maintain that they were once otherworldly warriors, while the volsunga were "merely," immortal, glorified human heroes. The volsunga do not seem to mind this relationship, because they know that they are just as powerful as their sisters, and every bit as useful in gathering others. Besides, most volsunga could care less about organizing the race and would rather be active in the world, fighting and convincing others to join them.
The past of the valkyrja and volsunga is unsure; the valkyrja insist that they were once the god's handmaidens, able to travel between this world and Valhalla, assisting in battles and carrying dead heroes from this world to the next.
The valkyrja also have a slightly different opinion as to what happened to the magic in the world. According to the valkyrja, Ragnarok occurred around 800 A.D., and the gods of old were destroyed in a huge battle that lasted for weeks. It was Ragnarok that weakened the mana in the world enough so that mortals could take it, and Ragnarok continues to this very day, and will continue until the surviving gods take their rightful place in Asgard.
Dwarven scholars argue against this theory, saying that they were around when Ragnarok happened and they know exactly what happened. The Incubans and their Debacle caused the powerful Norse gods -- the Aesir -- along with the valkyries and volsunga, to lose all of their magical powers and to die. Afraid and angry, the mortals that once worshipped these gods raised their armies and started fighting -- Ragnarok. The volsunga, valkyries, and Aesir lost their magical talents long before the valkyrja's supposed apocalypse. Elven and djinn scholars tend to agree with the dwarves -- Ragnarok was simply the battle that followed the Debacle in the Northlands.
Now, the valkyrja and volsunga have joined together and are considered members of the same race -- the valkyrja. The volsunga do not mind this arrangement, or being called by their sisters' namesake. This union makes a lot of sense to both races. Even the children of valkyrja and volsung marriages turn out to be new Majestati of one or the other race.
Regardless of the chronological differences between the Debacle and Ragnarok, the valkyrja believe that several of their gods -- the Aesir -- survived Ragnarok and are still present in the world today. Norse mythology makes it very clear that Vithar, Odin's son, survived Ragnarok along with six other Norse gods -- Balder, Hoder, Hoenir, Magni, Modi, and Vali.
The valkyrja adamantly believe that Vithar and the other six gods are waiting to be discovered, so that side by side they can wage war on the Incubans, defeat them, and magic will return to the earth. Ragnarok will finally be over, and a new golden age will dawn.
Christianity, however, has not left the valkyrja's faith in their old gods untouched. Most valkyrja Majestati find it hard to believe in the Norse gods of old. Alfadur the Almighty, once the master of the gods themselves, has been replaced by the one Judeo-Christian God, and many valkyrja believe that the Aesir are simply powerful immortals that once led the Norse. And these immortals hold the key to the defeat of the Incubans and the return of magic.
In a small town in Norway, seven powerful valkyrja make the important decisions about the valkyrja Majestati. Extremely strict and well-organized, they are quick to dole out tasks to their high-ranking valkyrja attendants. As a result, the valkyrja and volsunga more than a hundred miles from the Matron Council rarely hear anything from them.
The Matron Council is dedicated to two tasks -- finding the lost Aesir, and hunting down and destroying the ancient Norse enemies who still exist in the world. As a general rule, they do not communicate with the other races' councils, unless they can help them accomplish one of these two goals.
The elves constantly try to establish better communications with the Matron Council. Though its valkyrja attendants are very willing to organize with the elves, the Matron Council itself is usually uncooperative.
The dwarven clans around the Matron Council -- especially Clan Thor -- like nothing better than to antagonize the Matron Council. They constantly send brave dwarves to bother the powerful valkyrja matrons. Most of the time, these dwarves bring overcomplicated arguments to prove certain valkyrja theories on Ragnarok incorrect; other times, the dwarves will tell them that they've found and captured one of their Norse gods and have him chained to a Ford; sometimes, the dwarves simply challenge them to a good brawl. This annoys the Matron Council to no end, but they know that they're still on the same side as the dwarves, and no serious hostilities has yet to occur.
Once a year, several volsunga meet to decide what needs to be done in the months to come. There are no official members of the Order. Rather, any volsung that wants to attend the meeting may do so. Like a giant convention of brawny lumberjacks, the volsunga meet, drink, brawl, and decide what needs to be done and who needs to do it.
Temporary leaders are elected (though the volsunga process of election usually involves arm-wrestling, throwing barrels, or brawling) to carry out certain, very specific objectives. Common objectives include finding one hundred more valkyrja or volsung in a given area, finding and destroying a known enemy, or building a new meeting place for next year's Order. Many of the objectives are presented in the form of challenges or dares -- "Hey Bjorn! I bet you can't bring me the head of three grendel next year!"
Immediately following the "business," the volsunga head out to the nearest open area to have "Valhalla Day." Here they fight for an entire day, usually using padded "boffer" weapons so they don't kill each other, and have a giant feast afterwards. The rules for Valhalla Day combat have gotten quite complex in the last few years, and make any roleplaying game combat system look simple by comparison!
The valkyrja do not attend the Order of the Volsung, and most of these women don't take it seriously anyway. Still, the Order creates a sense of brotherhood amongst its members, especially its new ones, and reinforces their faith in themselves.
To all of the other valkyrja and volsunga in the world falls the task of finding and unveiling other valkyrja Majestati. The Matron Council has very little to do with this; they simply expect that the lower-ranking valkyrja will accomplish this important task.
According to the beliefs of the valkyrja, there were other survivors of Ragnarok besides themselves and the volsunga. In fact, there are three rare opponents of the valkyrja race -- the grendel, the jotuns, and the fenrir. The other Majestati believe that these creatures were actually accidentally brought back to the earth during the first Requiem.
The grendel are descendants of the man-eating beast killed by Beowulf. Though of a different mythology than the valkyrja, the few grendel that have been found seem to have an inborn hatred towards the valkyrja and volsunga.
Because of the Debacle, the grendel are not the huge, slavering beasts they once were -- at least not most of the time. They are simply burly, ugly men. Those few that exist seem to be somewhat aware of their differences, and they seek out valkyrja and volsunga to rape, torture, and eventually kill. No one is quite sure how many grendel there are in the modern world, for surely they are not a dominant race. Still, more and more grendel are being discovered, and more valkyrja fall to them every year. The most famous of the grendel was one called Skar (see sidebar on p.00).
The jotuns were giants who once ruled before the Aesir. The deadliest foes of the valkyrja, the jotuns seem to be immortal even in this mana-less world. The Matron Council has declared that there are only five jotuns left in the world, but because they are almost impossible to kill, it seems as if there will be five for a long time. The jotuns no longer have a physical form -- they have been reduced to a shadowy essence, which can possess and inhabit the body of any Majestati, though they usually take on the forms of volsungs, and occasionally valkyrja. In these physical forms, the jotuns completely destroy the victim's own personality, and usually go on a destructive conquest to kill all other Majestati. Because the jotuns only knew elves, dwarves, and valkyrja ages ago, the djinn seem to be immune to the effect of the jotuns. Usually, the jotuns only concentrate on the valkyrja anyway. The only way to defeat a jotun, of course, is to destroy his host body. If the host is slain while the jotun is in it, the jotun will die. Unfortunately, the jotuns leave the body seconds before death, wandering off to possess another Majestati.
The fenrir are uncommon, and more importantly, unintelligent. It seems as if several ordinary wolves have received the Nexus of the great Fenris-wolf and are now extremely savage and bloodthirsty. Bigger than normal wolves, the fenrir recognize Majestati and will attack on site.
Because the dwarves love to antagonize the valkyrja, simply because they share the same past, these two races are not on the best of terms. They constantly bicker, disagree, and can't stand the other's company. Still, when they need to work together, they will, and they usually end up making an effective team.
The valkyrja don't pay much attention to the elves. Even though the elves originated in the Northlands, when the elven lineages split, they were unseen for centuries. As a result, the valkyrja don't see the elves as sharing the same past. Recently, the Matron Council's valkyrja attendees are trying to organize and cooperate more with the elves.
The djinn and the valkyrja rarely communicate, as their cultures are so very different.
The valkyrja were once the female attendants of the Norse gods, powerful warriors and heroines from Valhalla. The daughters of the gods themselves, but mingled with human blood, the valkyrja are alive and well in the modern world today. Naturally, only female characters may be valkyrja Majestati.
Valkyrja Majestati have DX+2 (20 points), and HT+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of Combat Reflexes (15 points), Alertness +1 (5 points), Appearance: Beautiful (15 points), Strong Will +3 (12 points), Longevity (5 points), Magical Tolerance +2 (8 points), and Faith +2 (6 points). They have the disadvantage of Stubbornness (-5 points).
Pure valkyrja have ST+1 (10 points) and the advantages of High Pain Threshold (10 points), Valkyrja Immortality (40 points), Return to Valhalla (35 points), Temperature Tolerance (cold only; 6 points) and Unaging (15 points). They have the disadvantage of Sense of Duty: Other valkyrja and volsunga (-5 points) and Obsession: Find the seven lost gods (-5 points).
The valkyrja were once the servants of the heroes in Valhalla, and they mixed a fantastic brew of magical goat's milk. Today, the valkyrja have managed to assemble many of the same ingredients of this once magical mead.
Making the Mead of Heidrum requires the Alchemy skill (M/VH). Like all magical skills, however, Alchemy will be at a penalty, depending on the valkyrja's current Faith. If successfully brewed, however, the mead will heal 1d points of damage and imbue the subject with ST+1 and DX+1 for 1d hours. It takes one week and costs $150 to make a single batch of three such elixirs.
The valkyrja generally do not learn or use magic. Instead, they rely on their god-given Talents and natural prowess.
Some valkyrja, however, follow in the footsteps of the Norse wise-woman Volva, who was able to tell Odin the past, present, and future.
All valkyrja may obtain the Blessed advantage (p. B174) with the ability to learn the Divination spell. This must be done at character creation.
The valkyrja are not a subtle race. Strong, beautiful, and always willing to take action, most valkyrja and volsunga in the modern world are police officers, teachers, and athletes. Always strong-willed, the valkyrja feel a strong sisterly bond to their own kind. They even call each other "sister," and call the volsunga "brother." They respect each other, and are always willing to risk their lives for each other.
Lone valkyrja are rare. Usually, the valkyrja travel in pairs, both for support and protection.
The valkyrja are strong women, though many don't appear that way. Often tall and "big-boned," the valkyrja are rarely fat; others are slim and in good shape. Most have typical Northern features -- blue eyes and blond hair, though a few have fiery red hair.
The valkyrja are very dedicated to each other, and draw many of their magical powers directly from one another. As a result, the valkyrja receive an additional +1 to connect to their Nexus form when in the company of their sisters.
"For I am armed so strong in honesty,Julius Caesar, IV, iii
That they pass by me as the idle wind,
Which I respect not. . .
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts,
Dash him to pieces!"
The volsunga are all descended from Volsung, a powerful Norse hero of legend. Because only males carry the lineage of the Volsung, all volsunga must be male.
Volsunga have ST+2 (20 points), and HT+2 (20 points). They have the advantages of Toughness (10 points), Alertness +1 (5 points), Longevity (5 points), Strong Will +3 (12 points), Magical Tolerance +2 (8 points), and Faith +1 (3 points). They have the disadvantage of Stubbornness (-5 points) and either Impulsiveness (-10 points) or Overconfidence (-10 points).
Pure volsunga have ST+4 (45 points) and HT +3 (30 points). They have the advantages of Combat Reflexes (15 points), DR+2 (10 points), Speak with Animals (wolves and birds only; 10 points), Starkadhr (10 points), Temperature Tolerance (cold only; 6 points) and Voice of Gjaller (15 points).
Like their valkyrja sisters, the volsung are dedicated to whatever cause they are attached to. Strong-willed and often impulsive and hotheaded, the volsung also feel a strong fraternal bond to each other. Like the valkyrja, they call each other "brother," and valkyrja "sister." They are both loyal and protective of their sisters, and have often been known to gather to avenge the death of a loved valkyrja.
Tall and muscular, the volsung look a lot like the old Vikings -- blond hair and bright blue eyes, a strong jawbone, and a big frame. Due to their build, many volsunga pursue careers in professional football, swimming, or even wrestling.
The volsunga are fiercely dedicated to each other. Their deep brotherly friendships help them accomplish many heroic feats. The volsunga receive an additional +1 to connect to their Nexus form when in the company of their brothers.
"But that I told him, the revenging gods--King Lear, II, i
'Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend;
Spoke, with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father..."
"He created man from potter's clay and the djinn from smokeless fire. Which of your Lord's blessings would you deny?"--The Koran, 55:13-15
The djinn, or jinn as they are sometimes called, are the mythical beings that originated in the sands of the Middle East. Long a part of Eastern lore, the djinn were supposedly created from "smokeless fire" by Allah, and have spent centuries living alongside mankind.
Ancient djinn were powerful creatures of magic, who could assume animal shapes as well as any human shape, and who could trick mankind extraordinarily easily. Feared by many, the djinn were creatures of vastly different powers and demeanors, and they remain so even in today's world.
The djinn are composed of four different races, and have been since the beginning of time. The djinn do not know why there are four sub-races, nor do they care. As far as they know, there have always been four different types of djinn, just as there are four winds. This analogy has been used for millennia, and as a result, the djinn call their sub-races "the four winds of the djinn."
The jann have always been the ordinary, hardworking djinn that could most easily blend in with human society and influence it in subtle ways. Of all the djinn, the jann interacted with humans the most; this holds true even today.
The ifrits were the warriors of the djinn. Physically bigger and stronger than the other djinn, the ifrits could be found defending djinn land in ancient times, fighting in the Crusades, and eventually in the Arab-Israeli wars.
The marids were the leaders of the djinn. Intelligent, strong, and magically potent, the marids ruled with an iron fist and led with great justice.
The shaitan, or imps, are sometimes called the "ignoble djinn." In the past, they could instantly be identified as djinn, because they usually had a single inhuman characteristic -- sometimes horns, occasionally yellowish skin, golden eyes, or small, needle-like teeth. Today, due to the Debacle, their appearance is not so unnatural, though when they are connected to their Nexus form, they can easily scare ordinary humans! The shaitan are the tricksters of the djinn, capably of duping the most intelligent of humans.
Thousands of years ago, the djinn were as organized as any human government. Much like the Arabic society they evolved with, djinn culture was extremely stratified and dedicated. Thousands of laws governed the djinn, each with its own harsh penalty to be extracted. The marids were the born leaders of djinn society, and they could command any other djinn in the East.
The ifrits were the enforcers of djinn law, to both other djinn and to man. Break a djinn decree, and an ifrit would be assigned to extract punishment. Punishments included verbal warnings and fines of gold, but more often the punishment would be banishment or death.
Unlike their human counterparts, the djinn did not have one great purpose. The Koran decreed that no djinn could gain admittance to heaven. While many djinn understood this to be an explanation of a djinni's near-immortality, most djinn took it literally, and could care less about Allah's laws or rituals. Many djinn became the bane of mankind, waiting to rob them in the desert, or ransack their ships in the sea. Others lived in human civilization, content to be a hardworking individual that could enjoy a very long life of pleasures. No matter what a djinni decided to do with his long life, they all followed the laws of the marids.
The djinni history is slightly different from the other races. Unlike the elves, dwarves, and valkyries, the djinni actually survived the Debacle!
When the Debacle struck the djinn lost their magical powers, but were not slain due to it, unlike the other Majestati. According to djinn legend, a giant storm came one night from the stars themselves, lasted three days, and when it was over, magic was gone. Regardless of the truth of this myth, this was devastating to djinn society. With a single storm, all of the djinn became equals. The marids were no longer the most powerful of the djinn, and were unable to continue leadership of the djinn.
Most jann and shaitan were living in human society before the Debacle, and they had no reason to leave after it. Shrugging off the loss of their mystic abilities, most jann and shaitan continued to make a living with what they had been doing all their lives. After all, most of these djinn were very good at what they did -- years of experience made them experts -- and they could continue their lifestyles without their powers.
The ifrits and marids were greatly affected by their loss of magical status. The ifrits, being elite warriors to begin with, challenged the marids for the leadership of the djinn. A great war broke out between these two Winds, and when it was over, neither side had won. After a century of warfare, the ifrits and marids had reduced their numbers to mere handfuls. By this time, the jann and shaitan seemed to have disappeared entirely, and neither of the two Winds wanted the leadership. The marids and the ifrits went to human civilization and blended in, forgetting about their heritage quickly.
The djinn effectively disappeared for a thousand years. It was not until the Incubans' Requiem did the djinn reappear and finally begin to reorganize.
The djinn share a common story about their resurfacing. An ancient djinn, whose name is not known, fought a powerful human sorcerer shortly before the Debacle. Most djinn believe this sorcerer to be Nebuchennezzer's brother, named Rafaj who was meant to be the eighth Incuban! The djinn call their unnamed hero the Humblest One, and it is not known whether he was a marid or a member of another Wind. The Humblest One found the Rafaj en route to the Marid Kingdom, where he planned to capture all the djinn and use them as slaves. The sorcerer had a powerful ring with which he could perform this evil magic. The two fought in the desert for two weeks, until finally the Humblest One was victorious. He threw the corpse of Rafaj hundreds of yards into the sand, but then he forgot that he did not retrieve the evil magical ring. He dove into the sand to get the ring, but moments after finding it, he heard a terrible storm raging above. He knew that he was witnessing the Debacle, and he also knew that soon he would lose all of his magical powers.
Knowing that the ring was a powerful artifact of magic, he used it on himself. Instantly, he became a captive of the ring and was trapped. However, the ring's magic was so strong that he retained his magic even through the Debacle.
Centuries later, during the casting of the Requiem, the Humblest One found the strength to free himself from the ring and resurface in the desert. He was horrified to find that no djinn remained in this world, and that his magic was weaker than it used to be.
The Humblest One set out to find the any remainders of the world that he left. He was visited by Imhotep the Incuban, who told him that the djinn were coming back, but that Nebuchenezzer was angry at the djinn and would seek to destroy them. Imhotep instructed the Humblest One to gather the djinn. The Humblest One followed his instructions carefully and secretly gathered the strongest Majestati he could find -- four jann. He told them about their glorious history and their wondrous powers. He then told them that they had to find their own kind and restore their glory, though, like times of old, they had to do it secretly.
These four jann become the Prophets, and the called the Humblest One their sultan.
The four Prophets were Majestati of greatly different demeanor. They each interpreted the djinn's past in a different way, and each of them went about to gather djinn of their own beliefs and personalities. This happened less than twenty years ago, and the Prophets are still very much alive today. Though they will not quarrel with each other, the members of their groups have no problem warring and working against each other. This has caused considerable confusion and chaos amongst the djinn, because the four Winds, all of whom have their own distinct personalities, have been further subdivided into four political factions. As a result, it is rare to find djinn that are willing to work together and cooperate.
Both of these factions seem to coexist peacefully. Their only main difference is that the Air Prophets believe that they are still an important part of Allah's plan, and that they must still carefully abide by God's rules.
Water Prophets, on the other hand, believe that they have been forgotten by Allah, and that they are their own people. They do not abide by the laws of Islam, or of any religion whatsoever. Called blasphemers and heretics by both the Fire and Sand Prophets, the Water Prophets are mostly loners.
Both the Fire and Sand Prophets are radical factions. Both are very religious, though they use religion in completely different ways.
The Sand Prophets believe that they are in Allah's service to destroy all magic, which they believe is inherently evil. They believe that the Incubans are devils incarnate, and once they are destroyed, magic will be destroyed with them, which is fine for the Sand Prophets. Their definition of magic, however, even includes themselves. They are martyrs. Only by destroying all magic in the world can they be at peace.
Fortunately for the Majestati, the Sand Prophets have very strict rules regarding who they should destroy first. Foremost, they believe that evil magic must be destroyed. Once all evil magic falls, they will wage a holy jihad against themselves and the other Majestati. Some Sand Prophets, however, have decided to skip doing away with evil magic first and work on destroying all magic, all at once. These Majestati are deadly. They destroy elves, valkyrja, dwarves, and even other djinn on sight. Usually, they spare other Sand Prophets, waiting to kill each other only after everybody else is gone.
The Fire Prophets are much more in tune with modern human society. Their Prophet has reasoned through enough of human history to decide that Christianity caused the Debacle. Because the rise in Christianity seems to coincide with the rise of the Incubans, Fire Prophets believe that if Christianity is destroyed, or weakened significantly, magic will return. Fire Prophets use this as a reason to dislike Christianity and all Christian nations, though most Fire Prophets do not openly attack Christians. Still, several Fire Prophets have declared a holy jihad against Christianity, and it is these djinn that assault, terrorize, and assassinate Christians.
Fire Prophets also believe that technology is a tool of Christians, which further serves to weaken magic in the world. These djinn resist the Americanization of Middle Eastern countries violently, and refuse to use all but the most basic of technology. Advanced sciences are considered to be an incarnation of evil to most of these djinn, and will destroy it in the name of God.
Both the Fire and Sand Prophets are considered an annoyance to other djinn, and most of the other Majestati races know them to be plain dangerous.
A decade ago, some Water Prophets separated from the main group of djinn to start their own religion. They resurrected the ancient Egyptian gods -- Ra, Set, Osiris, et cetera -- with the belief that the true gods have temporarily left this world. If they are worshipped again, magic will return, and these old gods will return and bring gifts to those who believe in them. These Water Prophets, now called the Pharaohs, are the only known independent group of djinn. Most of them reside in Egypt, where they dig up ancient artifacts and books of Egyptian sorcerers. Supposedly, these djinn have the full support of the Incuban Imhotep, who once served these gods and wouldn't mind seeing them return to the world in all their former glory.
Rumor also has it that these djinn have resurrected several mummies, who guide them in the dark sorcery of ancient Egypt. Most Pharaohs themselves have no idea whether this is true, and the elder ones are content to say nothing, hidden in their dark halls.
The jann are by far the most numerous of a djinn. It is suspected that three-quarters of all djinn are from this stock. Intelligent, clever, but most of all hardworking and dedicated, most jann are Water Prophets or Air Prophets.
Several jann, however, have completely forsaken the four Prophets, and are leading a movement to return to the old way of life under the marids. Most of these "nomads," as they are called, are looked down upon, especially by the ifrits. Of course, the marids don't seem to have a problem with this, and a handful of marids have left their Prophets to lead the nomad jann..
Jann Majestati have ST+1 (10 points), IQ+1 (10 points), and DX+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of Alertness +1 (5 points), Longevity (5 points), Magical Tolerance +2 (8 points), Common Sense (10 points), and Absolute Direction (5 points). They have the disadvantage of the Worker's Code of Honor (-5 points).
It costs 58 points to be a jann.
Pure jann have the additional advantages of Form of Smoke (40 points), Life of Centuries (10 points), Magical Aptitude (15 points), See Invisible (15 points), Speak with Animals (15 points), and Temperature Tolerance (heat only; 6 points).
The jann are very much like humans in their personality. They are varied, adaptable men and women who are usually hard workers and dedicated to their brethren. Most take their work as djinn very seriously, and will usually never work against another djinn, or refuse to aid one.
The Worker's Code of the jann is straightforward -- always finish a job once it is started, never cheat an employer or employee, and always put the maximum effort into your work.
Very human looking in all aspects, jann are very difficult to recognize. Usually muscular, athletic, and always energetic, the one feature that distinguishes jann from humans in their eyes. Their eyes have a very distinct, energetic look. Some jann eyes glow, others are strange colors, and still others are shaped like a cat's.
Like all the other djinn, the jann can still draw their magic from their homelands. If they are ever in the Middle East, or in an area that is large Islamic or Middle Eastern, the djinn can connect to the Nexus form at +1.
Also, the jann receive a +1 bonus when in very hot, dry areas -- Phoenix, Mexico, Nashville in the summer. This bonus can be combined with the above Bond of Arabia bonus. In other words, a djinn in a heatwave in Cairo will receive a +2 bonus to connect to his Nexus form.
" Now, by heaven, My blood begins my safer guides to rule ; And passion, having my best judgment collied, Assays to lead the way!"--Othello, III, ii
The ifrit were once the elite warriors and leaders of the djinn. Hot-tempered and intolerant, most ifrits are members of the Flame Prophets or Sand Prophets. Although these are perhaps the rarest djinn in the world, they are also the most active and the most unafraid to use their magical Talents.
Ifrits have ST+2 (20 points), DX+2 (20 points), and HT+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of Alertness +1 (5 points), Combat Reflexes (15 points), and Longevity (5 points), Magical Tolerance +2 (8 points). They have the disadvantages of Bad Temper (-10 points).
Pure ifriti have the additional advantages of Form of Fire (20 points), Form of Smoke (40 points), Life of Centuries (10 points), Magical Aptitude (15 points), and Temperature Tolerance (heat only; 6 points). They have the disadvantages of Bloodlust (-10 points) and Intolerance: Humans and other weak creatures (-10 points).
The ifrits have always been known for their foul temper, warlike attitude, and intolerance for the weak. Many ifrits are nasty, sadistic warriors, while others are perfectly cool assassins, showing little emotion.
A handful of ifrits actually show prudence in their nature, and these ifrits can be very wise, calm, and still very deadly. Unfortunately for the other Majestati, there are too few of these around.
Ifrits are very tall and muscular. In their true forms, they can tower over 10 feet tall! Ifrit eyes burn with hot fire. When they are angered, their eyes can be seen to ignite with tiny flames, even when they are in a human form. True ifrit's eyes look like they are the essence of fire itself, all the time!
Ifrits' skin color is generally darker, or often redder, than an average human's.
Like all the other djinn, the ifrits can still draw their magic from their homelands. If they are ever in the Middle East, or in an area that is large Islamic or Middle Eastern, the djinn may connect to their Nexus form at +1.
Also, the ifrits receive a +1 bonus when in very hot, dry areas -- Phoenix, Mexico, Nashville in the summer. This bonus can be combined with the above Bond of Arabia bonus. In other words, a djinn in a heatwave in Cairo will receive a +2 bonus to connect to his Nexus form.
"Then everything includes itself in power,--Troilus and Cressida, I, iii
Power into will, will into appetite ;
And appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And, last, eat up himself."
The marids were once the most powerful of the djinn, and were given the responsibility of leading and making the laws for the djinn. Intelligent, yet also very powerful, there are only a small handful of marid Majestati reborn into the world. The marids are usually Air Prophets, Water Prophets, and occasionally Sand Prophets. Many marids still see themselves as the leaders of the djinn, and do their best to communicate with the Majestati of different races.
Marid Majestati have ST+2 (20 points), IQ+2 (20 points), and DX+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of Alertness +2 (10 points), Longevity (5 points), Magical Tolerance +3 (12 points), Common Sense (10 points), Intuition (15 points), and Absolute Direction (5 points). They have the disadvantage of Vow: Never to Lose Their Temper (-5 points).
Pure marids have the additional advantages of Empathy (15 points), Form of Smoke (40 points), Life of Centuries (10 points), Magical Aptitude (15 points), See Invisible (15 points), Speak with Animals (15 points), and Temperature Tolerance (heat only; 6 points). They have the disadvantage of Sense of Duty: Other djinn (-5 points).
Marids are born leaders, with the physical power to back up their laws. Calm beyond belief, the marid are exceptionally proud of their code that forbids them to lose their temper. In ancient Persia, it was said that this code was created because if powerful marids lost their temper, thousands of men died and cities crumbled. Of course, today's marids are much less powerful, but they are taught to be at peace with each other and the world. Powerful marid often spend their time meditating, learning martial arts, and playing the game of the djinn- chess.
Marid are tall, muscular humans, who, like the other djinn, usually have a mysterious glint in their eyes. Usually, a marid's eyes are much more sparkling, like a waterfalls, rather than the burning fire of ifrits.
Marid skin color is also slightly different from a humans, though this can vary in many different ways. Some have a green tint, others a blue shading, still others have been seen to have flecks of gold in their skin.
Like all the other djinn, the marids can still draw their magic from their homelands. If they are ever in the Middle East, or in an area that is large Islamic or Middle Eastern, the djinn can connect to their Nexus form at +1.
Also, the marids receive a +1 bonus when in very hot, dry areas -- Phoenix, Mexico, Nashville in the summer. This bonus can be combined with the above Bond of Arabia bonus. In other words, a djinn in a heatwave in Cairo will receive a +2 bonus to connect to his Nexus form.
" The time approaches, That will with due decision make us know What we shall say we have, and what we owe. Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate; But certain issue strokes must arbitrate: Towards which we advance the war."--Macbeth, V, v
The shaitan are the tricksters of the djinn. Small when compared to their brothers, the other djinn call the shaitan "imps." Usually intelligent, quick-thinking, and extremely clever, the shaitan are second only to the jann in sheer numbers. The shaitan are evenly split among all the Prophets.
Shaitan Majestati have IQ+1 (10 points), and DX+1 (10 points). They have the advantages of Alertness +2 (10 points), Charisma +1 (5 points), Longevity (5 points), Lightning Calculator (5 points), Absolute Timing (5 points), and Absolute Direction (5 points). They have the disadvantage of Appearance: Unattractive (-10 points).
Pure shaitan have IQ+3 (30 points). They have the additional advantages of Form of Smoke (40 points), Life of Centuries (10 points), Magical Aptitude (15 points), Night Vision (10 points), Empathy (15 points), Speak with Animals (15 points), and Temperature Tolerance (heat only; 6 points). They have the disadvantage of Appearance: Ugly (-15 points).
The most clever of the djinn, the dwarven clan Zughb say that only the legendary leprechauns could give the shaitan a run for their money. Although most shaitan make their living as thieves, beggars, and merchants on the streets of their home town, some shaitan are now becoming international businessmen and diplomats, able to use their magical cunning to aid the djinn both politically and financially.
Compulsive Lying, Stealing, and Carousing are common disadvantages to the shaitan.
Shaitan are small by djinn standards. Usually not bigger than five feet, many shaitan remain boyish in their appearance through adulthood. In ancient days, shaitan were instantly recognizable as djinn -- horns, fangs, or reddish skin gave them away quickly, as they still do when they are in their Nexus forms. Shaitan in their human form have features which usually include gangly limbs, sharp teeth, and disproportional heads, though most of them could pass for ugly humans.
And, like the other djinn, shaitan eyes are usually distinct. Most shaitan eyes look like animal eyes -- often slit like a cat's or very black like a dog's. One powerful shaitan has eyes like a shark's -- pupiless and milky black.
Like all the other djinn, the shaitan can still draw their magic from their homelands. If they are ever in the Middle East, or in an area that is large Islamic or Middle Eastern, the djinn can connect to their Nexus form at +1.
Also, the shaitan receive a +1 bonus when in very hot, dry areas -- Phoenix, Mexico, Nashville in the summer. This bonus can be combined with the above Bond of Arabia bonus. In other words, a djinn in a heatwave in Cairo will receive a +2 bonus to connect to his Nexus form.
"I will buy with you, sell with you,--The Merchant of Venice, I, iii
talk with you, walk with you, and so
the following; but I will not eat with
you, drink with you, nor pray with you."