Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Zurian (Pseudohuman)

Zurian (Pseudohuman)
No. Enc.: 1d6 (3d8)
Alignment: (10%) Chaotic, (60%) Lawful, (30%) Neutral (But all are unstable, -2 reaction to all non-Zurians)
Movement: 90' (Passwall  Planeshift Ability*)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 3+
Attacks: 1 (Weapon)
Damage: 2d4
Save: F3
Morale: 9

Special: Use Discern WeakpointDetect Ley-Line, and Locate Portal at will. Most Zurians can use Passwall once a day per every 3 HD they have gained and they can use Planeshift by expending 2d4 hit points; some are adept at vampirically siphoning these points from enemies that they've struck in melee combat. Zurian Nobles keep a close guard on the secret to the technique of using these abilities without taking damage, mostly as a way to keep their lessers from getting into too much trouble.

Zurians are tall, athletically-inclined humanoids with vivid blue skin and dark eyes. From an early age onward the majority of Zurians are raised within a culture that spans myriads of adjacent worlds and parallel realms. The ability to traverse the length and breadth of these regions is very much taken for granted by the mainstream of Zurian society; those lacking even a rudimentary talent for slipping across the interplenal boundaries and interstitial zones of the paraverse are seen as somehow damaged or possibly morally questionable. Most such individuals somehow get stranded on some wilderness world far off from the usual haunts of the rest of their folk, either to fend for themselves or to at least have the good grace to not embarrass their fellows any farther.

The only non-spellcasting Zurians tend to be certain members of the so-called 'lost generations' mentioned above, and the War Breed who are a self-selected and modified sub-type devoted to martial prowess of the personal variety. Zurians have never had generals, nor have they fielded an army at any point in their Acknowledged Histories. Each Noble approaches their personal security and the expression of their political and military ambitions through a hierarchy of champions, agents and servitors, including summoned  xenomorphs, pact-bound spirits, specialized constructs, and enslaved non-humans. Designer insect-species are something of a fad among the ultra-elite.

It is worth noting that there is no real central authority or polity among the Zurians. They tend to clump together into loose affiliations, extended family-groups and demi-tribes, but rarely ever manage to maintain any real ties to one another that might lead to the formation of something even as prosaic as a clan. Even the most organized, orderly and ruthlessly rigid members of this pseudohuman species have not been able to weld a significant number of their fellows together, not even in the face of terrible enemies or threats of annihilation. Zurians just do not know how to cooperate meaningfully for any real length of time. They also tend to get distracted by sensory impressions filtering in from dozens of planes/dimensions/timelines at once.

Source: Zurians were inspired by some wild speculation of the best sort found in The Book of the Damned by Charles Fort, first published in 1919. You can download a copy of The Book of the Damned from Sacred Texts, or from Project Gutenberg.  There's a nifty hyper-text version of TBotD that can be accessed via Resologist's site, if that's more your speed. As an aside, the Complete Works of Charles Fort are available from Sacred Texts...which is also very handy. And yes, the Zurians really do build their castles and fortresses in such a way as to completely fuse and vitrify the outside into a dense, hardened glass-like surface by the sorcerous/technological application of great heat. They also tend to be great aficionados of heat rays as a lovely way to evaporate enemies at a distance...

Other sources of inspiration came from the depiction of Lord Shiva as having blue skin, perhaps a slight nod to the Vhadagh of Michael Moorcock, and the very real medical condition known as methemoglobinemia which produced the so-called 'Blue People of Kentucky.' All half-Zurians have a better than 80% chance to have full-blown methemoglobinemia, but all of them have bluish tinges to their skin, eyes and blood. Hair coloration in Zurians and half-Zurians seems to be randomly determined and encompasses a wide range of tints and hues beyond the 'norm.'

Violetics are specialized Zurian-hybrids. As far as anyone knows, there is no connection between the Zurians or Violetics and Lin Carter's Indigons...but who really knows?

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