Monday, February 16, 2009

Intelligent Non-humans

As I said earlier, there are no non-human characters. That doesn't mean that non-human intelligences don't exist. There are some unspeakable horrors and intelligent undead monsters, for instance. But more importantly, there are intelligent beings in Zamora... but they are alien and mysterious.

The most common are the Dromians. Standing about three feet tall, these reed-like, insectoid creatures walk on four legs and have two "arms" ending in hands with three prehensile "fingers" evenly spaced around the ends of their arms. They are strong as a full-grown man, have leathery grey carapaces, and have expressionless heads with six multi-faceted heads, long antennae, and three tentacular probosci that they use to eat nectar and pulped fruit. The Dromians seem to communicate through a series of clicks, chirps, and musky scents, though hey also seem to understand human speech. They dress in conical hooded robes, and serve the Overlord of Zamora as quiet, cold and dedicated laborers who maintain the city and the tunnels under it.

The next most common are the Vat Men, constructs of the Sorcerer Vog-Mur the Necromancer, made in his laboratories deep below the city. The Vat Men regenerate at a frightful rate, are physically superior to ordinary men, and have great muscular frames. Their faces, however, have small, close-set eyes, a mouth frozen in a perpectual rictus, and upturned noses. They seem strange charicatures of humanity, and fight without fear or hesitation.

The last intelligence race are the Hssu, desert traders who travel beyond the land of the Five Kingdoms. They trade in the drug Ssharru, an opiate-like substance known for both its addictiveness and its tendency to cause strange, vivid, and often prophetic dreams. The Hssu are alien creatures, with conical bodies ending in four thick tentacles. The top of their cone ends in four eye stalks and four trumpet-like ears. They have four prehensile tentacles mid-way through their bodies which end in mouths with two long "lips" that can be used to hold and manipulate items. The Hssu speak through their tentacular mouths, and speak the common tongue as well as their own. They are not expressive, and are treated with some trepidation by humans, though they are welcome by anyone seek Ssharru.