Monday, February 25, 2008

Empire of the Stag & Sovna (Culture, Race, & Sphere)

We wanted some potential henchmen and brutesquads for the baddies in our Everway campaign, but didn't want to go with the generic goblins or orcs - I wanted something more exotic and unique. So I designed this Realm/Culture/Race/Sphere/Empire/etc.

Empire of the Stag & Sovna (Culture, Race, & Sphere)

This land is ruled by a fiercely competitive Sultan. His people are thin lizard-like non-human nomads. They ride creatures that are a sort of blend between elk and amphibian. The preferred weapon of the Warrior Caste in this realm is the Sovna, a short spear with a long slashing (as opposed to piercing) blade. their unusual amphibious cavalry tactics make this one of the premiere military forces in the universe.

Usurper Force: The Shark
Normal: Predatory Cunning
Inverted: Unable to Stop or Slow Down

People: The people of this Realm are not human. They have cold blue, green or grey skin, sometimes with pale yellow freckles. their bodies are unusually thin and wiry, causing many to underestimate their strength and hardiness. their mouths are wide, and their double-pupiled eyes bulge almost comically.
But you dare not laugh at them. They call themselves the Sovnabearers, for the ritual weapons that every child of their culture is trained in the use of. They call themselves Stagbrothers for the strange creatures which they ride and spend their lives with, the Water-Stags. They are a fierce nomadic peoples, and they refuse to bow to any but the Sultan of their own kind.

Biology: The Stagbrothers are believed to be cold-blooded amphibians, but they rarely allow themselves to be studied or captured, so little is known of their biology. They must consider Onions a delicacy, as plants of the onion family are always the first thing in captured storehouses to be depleted by the conquering Sovnabearer armies.

Economy: These nomads prowl the swamps of their world, living off the land and sometimes raiding across Realm boundaries or through gates. Most tribes are largely self-sufficient, only needing to raid on rare occasions.
Either some few bands deep in their realm have the necessary metal-working skills to build the Sovna’s which they use as status symbols and weapons, or else they have some other source for the weapons. It could be there’s another Gate in the Empire of the Stag & Sovna that leads to someplace they trade with for metal.

Military: A few times in their history the Sultan has organized his people into a great army and conquered many nearby Spheres. Each time after a few generations his people return to their homeland en masse, leaving the conquered Realms suddenly and surprisingly liberated. Sometimes this results in tribes wandering the worlds instead of heading home.
In battle, the Sovnabearers are vicious and cold. They and their mounts are equally happy on broken ground as well as murky water. They employ ambushes and lightning raids, striking by surprise and then withdrawing before resistance can be organized.
Each Stagbrother is armed with their trademark horselance, the Sovna, and often they carry other weapons as well such as throwing blades and sharktooth swords. They wear shirts lined with sharkteeth into combat to discourage those who would try to close ground and overpower them.

Ecology: This Tropical Realm is mostly flooded and swampy. Sharks prowl the waters, and feed off the weaker members of the Water-Stag herds. The Sovnabearers prey on the Sharks and protect the web-footed herds from which they draw their mount-brothers.

The Swamp Rose: These pale yellow roses have a stinging scent like an onion. The stagbrothers eat the blossoms. They also rub the buds on their skin to repel the leeches of the swamp.

Gates & Bordering Realms: Thankfully, there are only a few Gates to and from the Empire of the Stag & Sovna, all of which have seen the business end of a Sovna in the current generation.

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