Mhulak

The Mhulak are the most ancient and cryptic of the changeling born races, they certainly seem to have been the first to discover civilization, and when the men and myr were scarcely finding their feet Mhulak ships plied the seas around the two great isles and Mhulak artisan-priests learned the secrets of the universe. Today, since the descent that saved them from the Sundering the Mhulak are much changed, years under the earth has made them pale and malformed, but they are still wise and benevolent creatures.

Names

Mhulak, Dwarf-Giants (Iria and the Southlands), Deeplings (Ralstaa), Mhul (Inner Sea Basin).

Stereotypes

Dour, pragmatic, stern, insular, intellectual, mistrustful.

Potency


Visage

At first glance Mhulak look like a powerful giant, bent over with arms nearly touching the ground, immense forearms and hands, stubby legs and forward thrust heads, but not bent they have long been born to this new shape. Once tall, powerfully muscled with broad, dexterous and iron-strong hands. Once ivory-skinned and snow-white haired, their migration beneath the earth has marked the Mhulak forever. Dragged their shoulders down, shortened their legs and trunks, lengthened their already disproportionate arms, pushed their necks and shoulders down and forward, robbed them of their thick hair, and made their fair skin snow white.

They stand around the height of a man, but unfurled to their full height a man might scarcely come to a Mhulak chest. They are broad build, with barrel chests, short legs and long arms somewhat like a fully upright gorilla, with the head bent forward of the body, and all have exceptionally large hands. Most are now extremely pale and totally hairless with small, red-tinged eyes. Dense, durable and strong, they are usually very muscular. Most revered amongst the Mhulak are those rare individuals who bear with an extra set of arms below the primary, for they are set to become the Mhulak Artisan-Priests, and live for many many times as long as most Mhulak. Artisan-Priests are the seers, historians and advisers of the Mhulak race.

Aetherial

The Mhulak were some of the earliest and most practical of the magic users, and most have a distinct empathy for all things spiritual and forces magical, though they tend to prefer to push the limits of natural laws and break them only in needful times – perhaps they have the greatest respect of any peoples for the dangers of magic. They have also mastered a way to navigate the subterranean tunnels where they now make their homes without the aid of light. When Mhulak are young they are taught many songs, and when they move about in the pitch black they sing heartily. From listening to echoes with their keen ears the Mhulak can accurately map their surroundings, and move with surety even in the pitch black.

Craft


Cunning

Austerely artistic, to the Mhulak functionality is viewed as a kind of art, and naturally peaceful, the Mhulak are not so much enlightened as progressive and practical, the Mhulak were the first to conquer the seas, and once lived in enormous port-cities along the southern coasts of Allornus, however they were able to predict the sinking of the Isle of Men and precautionary moved much of their civilization partially underground into huge man-made crevasses called deepings with a huge central cavern that drained away tidal waves and other disasters that would otherwise have caused mass damage. However the majority of them would not leave their civilization, as many were totally submerged and others simply stayed in their new subterranean halls. Mhulak were some of the most cosmopolitan of all races, being the core of the Kelorn Empire, but now that their habitat is considerably less accessible they are quite isolated, retreating deeper and deeper underground, landsmen have taken over much of their old territory, but the Mhulak are somewhat over that, and are quite adapted to their ‘new’ lifestyle. The gap the Mhulak left is the major factor in the success of landsmen on Allornus.

They are an oddly pragmatic people, who do not see themselves as individuals, but as merely an independently functioning part of a whole community, and thus have no concept of personal property or family beyond what belongs to the deeping as a whole. With no concept of personal identity, the Mhulak use their job and rank to identify themselves to others, and this their "names" often confuse outsiders, as a single name will likely represent a large group of Mhulak, all doing the same task. Of course, Mhulak seldom ever leave their deepings, except by underground tunnel to other deepings, and seldom welcome visitors, so it is seldom that such confusion arises, and they are often as confused by individual names as outsiders are by theirs.

Social

Mhulak society is a complex, stratified affair. There are three divisions to Mhulak society, which symbolize the three needs and the three parts of their people: the mind, the spirit, and the body. The mind is represented by the Igrarayt, or scholars, who keep the lore of their people. They are tasked not only as historians and educators (for teaching is vitally important to the Mhulak people) but also as protectors of Mhulak secrecy, and thus they are also in a sense the military of the Mhulak, keeping contact with assassins and other agents who can be used to eliminate those who cannot be trusted to keep the Mhulak secrets, and keeping a network of spies and informants to watch the other races around a deeping, and safeguard against their prying. The spirit is represented by the Ntasag, or Artisan-Priests, the only Mhulak who can practice religion, born to the role by the odd physical deformity of an extra pair of arms. And finally the body is the Mrang, the workers, who toil in a plethora of crafts and labours to make the deeping function, and provide for its members. The Mhulak have no single leader, but rather a representative of each caste come together to govern different Jira, or paths within society in unison, each deferring to the other in matters of their individual Jira.

One's purpose is paramount in Mhulak culture, and they do not see themselves as individuals, but rather view their society as a whole as a single living entity, which is is the responsibility of the entire community to maintain and protect. Each Mhulak is merely a limb, an appendage of the whole destined for a single task, and they must act in the way that is best for the whole. Mhulak have no family, but rather they are taken to the Igrarayt upon birth, and from then forward have no familial ties to their blood kin stronger than those to any other residents of their deeping. They do not marry, but rather are placed into favourable pairings by the Igrarayt in a process similar to animal husbandry practised by landsmen, designed to breed the most optimal offspring. The Igrarayt then raise the children, and evaluate them, choosing a Jira for them once they have satisfactorily completed evaluation. This is not hurried, and a child might be assigned a Jira early in life, while another might have to wait until well into adulthood for his true path to be decided. Only the four-armed Ntasag have their path decided for them from birth, and even they receive their early education with the rest of their kind. And of course the Mhulak are a practical people, and if the Igrarayt Gigyang, or teacher, feels he has mistakenly assigned an individual a task, he will gladly remedy his mistake with no fear of being held personally accountable. After all, everyone is meant for something.

Civilization


Mhulak deepings were designed to withstand the horrors of the sundering, at least as best anything could. Built below the ground to avoid the falling mountains and forest fires, and as fortification against the savage chaos that the civilization above ground would eventually fall into. The great rifts whose sides hosted the Mhulak homes were deep, so that the waters from killer waves would surge down, past the Mhulak, and the homes were deep and accessible only by a single narrow path leading from the surface so that only deep tremors would cause collapse. Still, more than half the southern deepings were destroyed, and remain as partially collapsed ruins, where the bones of their unfortunate denizens still lie. The Mhulak had little time, relatively speaking, to relocate their entire civilization from the seaside beneath the earth, and so deepings are nearly always cramped, something the now stooped and pale Mhulak have grown accustomed to. Narrow tunnels run between neighbouring deepings, and the Mhulak prefer to travel and trade down these paths rather than venturing into the open air, which makes them nervous now - the skies reminding them of the vengeful gaze of the divh.

The Korda

The Mhulak religion is not so much a faith, as a philosophy, as it completely lacks the veneration of any Divhi. The Korda is the way the Mhulak live, almost deifying an individual society as a whole, and laying down an inflexible and detailed set of rules governing life, culture, governance, and even trade. It gives every Mhulak a clear picture of his place in society, and a strong set of ideals that he is expected to live up to, espousing hard work, not expecting thanks, pragmatism, loyalty to the whole, and above all perfectionism - for the sake of the whole rather than the individual - in one's assigned path. And of course encouraging faith in the Ntasag. Of course, being a practical people, the role of the Ntasag in society is to question the Korda, and rewrite it when it is found to be lacking, and they contemplate the Korda - their cause for being - by creating works of craft of such surpassing perfection that they cannot claim responsibility for them individually, but rather must credit the power of the Korda itself. It has to be said, however, that no Ntasag in the recorded history of the Korda has ever felt the need to change any part of it. Most explain that the freedom to make the change is more important than any actual change ever would be.

Language


Places

Fuffuz, Gadadenzedlag, Hvaviik, Hzusrifk, Kushjwarii, Mzkfoz, Thagadanzeg, Yzozrafk, Zuuf.

Names

Codalare, Colapra, Conya, Coramio, Dogmatol, Doralag, Dzigagu, Dzigo, Eyted, Hrar, Ilahreeb, Isee, Jigorasp, Lanyar, Llah, Meyando, Mondo, Monga, Ndan, Ntrod, Ntahey, Nyaraora, Nytra, Odrarao, Oganyan, Orara, Osagage, Pralonti, Randzi, Ttall, Ughrara, Ulany, Vahrg, Ytaro, Zigan, Zinga.

Statistics


Talents
Tough +2 | Insightful +2 | Wilful +2 | Strong +1 | Brave +1 | Fast -4 | Graceful -3 | Lucky -2
Unique Abilities
Dense Bodied | Deepsong | Fear the Sea | Light-blinded | Low Centre of Gravity
Ageing
Infant 0-6 years -5 to all Talents except Lucky
Child 7-22 years -3 to all Talents except Lucky
Adolescent 23-32 years -1 to Tough, Clever and Knowledgeable
Adult 33-78 years none
Middle-aged 79-118 years -1 to Fast, Hale and Strong
Old 119-138 years -2 to all Physical Talents, -1 to Knowledgeable
Venerable 139+ years -3 to all Physical Talents, -2 to all Mental Talents
Basics Variables
Morphology Bipedal Height 5'4" + Size' + 1d3' - 1d3'
Diet Omnivorous Weight 200lbs + (Sizelbs x5) + (Brawnlbs x3) + 1d10lbs - 1d10lbs
Cycle Variable Gender standard
Prime Sense Hearing

Dense Bodied

Like all of the kin of the Seafarers, the Mhulak are dense-bodied creatures, paradoxically unable to stay above water should they even fall in. Mhulak cannot swim, being almost completely un-buoyant. If their bowed legs would allow it, it would still take a powerful mount to carry them, and a stout tree for them to climb.

Deepsong

When in the depths of their underways the Mhulak don't bother to carry light, the fuel would be too great a burden. Instead they sing long, low, thrumming songs. The echoes of these songs tell the Mhulak much about their surroundings. When in an enclosed space like a tunnel or cavern Mhulak Deepsong means they can use their hearing to accurately determine the geography of the space while they sing.

Fear the Sea

The ancestors of the Mhulak fled below the ground because they knew that the sea was coming for them - coming to reclaim them. And while the Kardes have returned to the seas, and the Caliban become too degenerate to remember, the Mhulak still harbour an unreasoning, bone-deep terror of the open sea.

Light-blinded

Mhulak eyes are unaccustomed to direct light, so long have they dwelt at the bottom of their great deepings. As a result, they are easily dazzled by bright light, preferring the dancing shadows of lamplight. Direct and bright daylight can be considered a Disadvantage for Mhulak vision, especially when they come from shadow into light.

Low Centre of Gravity

The Mhulak, dwarfed and deformed as they are, might have lost much of their agility in being reformed below the ground, but they are at least gifted with a low centre of gravity. This can be used to generate Advantage when the Mhulak try to keep their feet or remain unmoved.