Monday, September 21, 2009

Weirding Up the Intelligent Races, Part I: The Barbarian Races

Following the lead of Burroughs' Barsoom, I have made the intelligent races of Athanor essentially human, except for the weirdness of the Ghul, who are essentially Nehwon's Ghouls, as in Leiber's Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series. After reading some posts about Cactus Men of Planet Algol, though, I thought that maybe I could make the barbarian races of Athanor, the Ghul and the Throon, a bit less ordinary. Here's a draft of an alternate version of the two races, including some minimal changes for the Ghul, and a very changed vision of the Throon....


The Ghuls are superstitious, cannibalistic savages who live in small, insular clans. They are ruthless raiders who are known for not taking prisoners. They regard non-Ghul as little more than semi- or fully-intelligent animals, and consider only other Ghuls as human. They worship chaos and believe that might in combat and glory in death are the highest ideals.

Ghuls have transparent flesh and blood, with only their bones and eyes clearly visible. This is a terrifying sight to most others, which the Ghuls take advantage of. Ghuls often fight wearing only a battle harness consisting of small armored portions connected by studded leather straps. In the hands of a trained Ghul, this armor provides protection equivalent to leather armor, with a similar cost. They prefer great, curved swords.
Class Advancement
Ghuls use either the Fighter or the Rogue advancement chart. They may advance as high as sixth level.
Weapon and Armor Restrictions
As noted for class. Ghuls prefer curved, slashing swords.
Ghuls wear ceremonial battle harness that functions identically to leather armor. Ghul warriors sometimes carry shields, but most carry two-handed weapons.
Combat Frenzy
Ghuls are brutal combatants. When in combat, they may add +2 to their attack rolls, but may not wear armor heavier than Ghul battle harness.


Throon are nomadic bariarian who live as a variety of tribes. The Throon tend to fight with each other as well as with the people of the Five Kingdoms. Some act as bandits, others raid civilized outposts regularly. Still others live at peace with the Five Kingdoms. They have their own martial code of honor, but are not beholden to the ways of the Five Kingdoms.

Throon are ochre-skinned and hairless, and stand some seven feet tall. Though they are human in general form, they are actually mobile and sentient fungi, with silicate bones and thick, fibrous flesh.

Though Throon eat and drink as humans do, they also are able to absorb nutrients from decaying matter and from rich soil. Their children are born from spores that they produce once per year. Few Throon children grow to adulthood. As Throon get older, their flesh gets tougher, and the elderly become unable to move, and are settled into sacred Elder Groves.

Throon Racial Abilities

Class Advancement
Throon use the Fighter advancement chart. They may advance as high as sixth level.
Weapon and Armor Restrictions
Throon favor slashing weapons, with a particular love for axes in combat. Like any warrior, they may use any weapons.
Throon disdain the use of armor, but are protected by their own tough, fibrous flesh. This gives them a +4 to Armor Class.
Fungal Body Chemistry
The Throon process poison differently. Throon gain +2 to saves vs. poisons and toxins.
Fungal Brain
Throon gain a +2 to saves vs. charming, holding, and dominating magic.
Fibrous Flesh
Piercing and blunt weapons automaticially do minimum possible damage.