Despite it's harsh conditions, the Al-Kabir teems with life, both monsterous and intelligent
The Faydakeen are the largest and most powerful group of humans living in the desert. See the Al-Kabir, The Desert Nation page for more details.
Build: The Fayd tend to be tall and slender compared to other Mannish races. The average male is 170 pounds and six feet tall, woman 120 pounds and five and a half feet tall.
Coloring: Uniformly dark, with cafe au lait skins, black hair, and black eyes. Sometimes a Faydakeen will be born with red hair, which the rest of the community views as a bad omen and the unfortunate soul will be subject to a life of prejudice. Culturally, red hair is the sign of an evil soul.
Endurance: Exceptional for Men. Fayd are capable of going without sleep for two days and up to four days without food. They are more resistant to disease and natural heat than other Mannish races.
Lifespan: 90 to 100 years.
Special Abilities: None
Clothing and Decoration: Social status among the Faydakeen is marked by clothing. Peasants wear simple linen skirts to below the knee and nothing else. The middle class will often wear linen shirts and skirts, while middle class women will wear maxi-skirts. The wealthy wear several layers of brightly dyed linen. Jewelry is highly prized and favored, appearing in the form of piercings, earrings, necklaces, chokers, and bracelets. Hair that is braided or corn-rowed and scented with perfumes or fragrant oils is common among women of social status.
Slaves are easily recognizable by a lack of decoration of any kind and no raiment other than a leather belt around the waist.
Regardless of social status all Fayd are fond of circling their eyes with kohl in a variety of colours. Kohl serves two purposes: to emphasize the eye and to protect the eye from glare from the sun.
Women often go topless. Nudity is not taboo in Fayd culture, which often comes as shock to outsiders.
Fears and Inabilities: The Faydakeen are a very superstitious people, often reading signs and omens into even the most innocuous events or circumstances. This tends to make them wary of new experiences or situations and they often proceed with extreme caution. They will become polarized if they see a death omen and will refuse to go further at such signs.
Lifestyle: Because of the extreme heat of the desert, especially during the summer months, the Faydakeen have become a nocturnal people whom sleep during the day and become active at night when it is much cooler. They live by fishing, cattle and sheep rearing, and farming. They are fond to the point of obsession with knowledge and many social activities or free time is spent is research and study.
The Fayd put extreme emphasis on education, so all children are schooled and taught to read, write, and do mathematics. They are accomplished teachers, artisans, and scientists.
Marriage Pattern: Monogamous. Marriage is for life and the line is traced through the male. Family units tend to be large, with up to five or six children.
Religion: Greatly focused, with emphasis placed on daily rituals or services dedicated to the family god or gods. Of all the Mannish races the Fayd are the most religiously observant. The Faydakeen are very religiously tolerant and welcome all manner of worship, even outside gods or pantheons they find pleasing. The year will see up to thirty religious holidays, where work is set aside and great open aired feasts held.
Demeanor: Faydakeen tend to be thoughtful, introspective, inquisitive, and curious. They are soft-spoken, and extremely hospitable. Politeness is the social norm and courtesy is extended to all, even outsiders. Because of their obsession with death, they tend to be a little spooky.
Language: The primary language spoken among the Faydakeen is Aramait, and most Faydakeen also learn two or more additional languages.
Prejudices: Faydakeen hate all evil species. Non-Mannish races make them curious. They are fascinated by Elvish species, have no opinion on Nain, and tend to disdain the Kraati as second class citizens. They are quite fond of Mattimeo and have a deep respect for the Sardukai.
Professions: Fayd are great seekers of knowledge and tend to drift toward Caster professions. They claim (correctly) that they were the first species to use Qi for purposes other than Elementalism and they are proud of this accomplishment.
Foriegn Relations: The Faydakeen are generally viewed as spooky and a little creepy, owing to their preoccupation with death and it's trappings. They are generally stereotyped as death worshipers, which is far from the truth. All in all though they are viewed with respect for their scientific advances and achievements.
Faydakeen Package Deal
As a culture, all Faydakeen are Men. They are exceptionally knowledgable about death rites and rituals. All Faydakeen are knowledgable about their cultural traditions, beliefs, and way of life. All Faydakeen are literate, and speak their native language of Aramait. All Faydakeen begin play with a vocational skill of choice, which is generally ( but not always) centered around knowledge or science. All Faydakeen characters are intimately familiar with their own home city and know their way around without difficulty.
The Sardukai are canid humanoids, possessing jackal heads atop human bodies. They have learned to survive in the desert to such an extent that they are the desert. They are a people wise in the ways of the desert and have a deeply spiritual connection to it. They are highly sought after as guides by parties traveling the desert but will only accept such consignments when the reward will benefit the entire clan.
Build: They are strong and solid, with males averaging six feet tall and 200 pounds. Women tend to be five feet nine inches tall and weight 140 pounds.
Coloring: All Sardukai have dark tanned bodies, with short black fur covering their heads. Eyes are gold.
Endurance: Exceptional. The species is all but immune to fatigue poisons, enabling them to run for three days before needing rest. They are very light sleepers, requiring only three hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.
Lifespan: 70 years.
Special Abilities: The Sardukai have exceptional hearing, able to hear sounds that are out of human range. Their large, mobile ears allow them to pinpoint sounds with perfect accuracy, enabling them to fight while blind or otherwise visually incapacitated. Their sense of smell enables them to identify and track scents.
They have a natural affinity with weaponry, and their skill at fighting has made them a species that very few others would willingly make war against.
Clothing and Decoration: Minimal. They tend only toward clean white pleated linen kilts and skirts, with bikini-like tops worn by women. They are quite fond of heavy gold and obsidian pectoral necklaces and bracelets.
Fears and Inabilities: The Sardukai fear going underground and won't do so except under extreme duress or they absolutely must. Sardukai myths and legends are filled with all manner of horrible creatures and evils lurking in the deep places of the world, which terrifies them.
Lifestyle: They are a nocturnal species, dwelling in minimalistic stone villages and subsist by trade and farming; the entire species is vegetarian and find the consumption of meat barbaric. Special emphasis is placed on the family, children are especially adored and cared for. They tend to keep to themselves but welcome strangers and entertain themselves with song, stories both verbal and written, and music.
Marriage Pattern: Monogamous. The line is traced through the female.
Religion: Somewhat formal but subdued. They have their own small pantheon of desert gods. Because religion is seen as between the worshiper and his deity they do not prosetlyze and discussing religion is strictly avoided.
Demeanor: Quiet, introverted, and somewhat shy. Outsiders make them a little nervous though this anxiety stems from fear of saying or doing something offensive to the guest. They are slow to anger but once roused are furious fighters.
Language: Among themselves they speak a barking language called Bassat which is impossible for outsiders to learn because they lack the proper vocal chords though other canid species such as gnolls or Jagrafan could learn it. Most of them also learn Aramait and some will also learn Imperial Common.
Prejudices: Sardukai especially hate Jagrafan and will attack them on sight.
Professions: Those members of the species that decide to explore the world often take up Man at Arms or Servitor occupations. They produce no Qi users, Ministers, or Zealots.
Opinions of Other Races: The Sardukai are viewed as a peaceful and shy race, and good. The Faydakeen in particular enjoy a good relationship with them and members of either species can often be found dwelling happily in the towns of the other.
The Twilleth are an Elfin race with a strong resemblance to the Spriggan of the Western Empire. It's very likely that the Twilleth are an off-shoot of the Spriggan though no direct evidence linking the two has ever been discovered.
Build: The Twilleth are streamlined in build, with defined muscle tone and minimal body fat though they are still slender than Mannish races. Males average six feet six inches in height and weigh 200 pounds. Females average five feet ten inches tall and weigh 120 pounds.
Coloring: The species uniformly has light or dark grey skins with platinum blonde, light grey, or white hair. Eyes are icy blue, lavender, or white.
Endurance: Tremendous. Like many other Elfin races they do not require sleep. They are impervious to all manner of terrestrial disease and are not affected by alcohol or narcotics.
Lifespan: The Twilleth are immortal. They only die by acts of violence or when they choose to leave the world.
Special Abilities: The Twilleth can see in darkness, even total darkness, as if it were the middle of a summer afternoon. They are also unaffected by magical darkness and are not susceptible to illusions. They have superb hearing, allowing them to eavesdrop on a whispered conversation at 200 feet.
The hands and feet of the Twilleth are covered in nearly microscopic setules, which allow them to scale sheer surfaces like a spider. They have perfect balance, which allows them to run along narrow spaces, even rope, without fear of falling. They do not stumble or trip.
Clothing and Decoration: The Twilleth are fond of exquisite patterns and detailing with silk, satin, or fine linen materials. The species as a whole tend to appreciate the form as the ultimate work of art so often show as much skin as possible: males will go topless whilst females wear designs similar to one and two piece bikinis. Both genders are fond of piercings and elaborate tattooing.
Fears and Inabilities: The Twilleth fear death. They have no real concept of an afterlife and see the end of their worldly lives as the end of their existence permanently. When they are in true danger of dying the often flee if possible, which has given them something of an undeserved reputation of cowardice.
Lifestyle: The Twilleth build large communities deep underground. Twilleth cities are built from the ground up rather than spreading out so their homes and buildings are always multistoried and chiseled out from the cave rock itself. They subsist less on hunting and gathering and more on farming, putting aside large plots for the cultivation of edible fungus and lichen, fish farms, and insect and snail pens. They rarely trade with outsiders, preferring to avoid situations which may lead to conflict. The society is matriarchal, with the eldest female of the community establishing laws and religious rites and ceremonies; because personalities and outlooks differ very few society laws are identical from community to community.
Leisure time is spent pursuing art, music, and attending concerts and theater. They are a very cultured and refined people which sometimes causes them to be perceived as snobbish.
Marriage Pattern: Monogamous and for life. The line is traced through the female.
Religion: Very ceremonial, with rites and rituals that revere their deities through song, dance, and other forms of artistic expression. They do not accept gods from other cultures, having their own pantheon of four that are revered. They have no belief in any manner of afterlife and so funeral services tend to be long, with friends and family of the deceased being eulogized with protracted speeches.
Births are celebrated with great joy, the Matriarch of the community naming the new children and dictating his or her place in society. Birth ceremonies are commemorated with a great feast that the entire community enjoys. Because the Matriarch can't spend a great deal of time on birthing duties owing to her other obligations to the community all children born in a specific month are gathered together on one day to be named and celebrated.
Demeanor: Cautious, introspective, alert, and sober. The Twilleth take little for granted and observe everything carefully, which has given them a reputation of shrewdness. Because of the fear of death they have a rather unfortunate reputation of being cowards, and their profound love of art has caused others to consider them arrogant or condescending.
Language: Their language is called Netholyr, and is a fantastically beautiful spoken language; lilting and musical and almost chant-like. The written form of the language is also beautiful, with arcing strokes and grand flourishes.
Prejudices: The Twilleth are suspicious of outsiders, nominally because of how often they are mistaken for the more onerous Spriggan. They don't trust easily or make friends quickly but once they do friendships are made for life and are unshakable. They hate most evil underground races such as Spriggan and Illithid and will muster to drive such creatures out of their areas.
Professions: Twilleth, being lovers of art, tend toward professions that are or can be made into forms of artistic expression such as man-at-arms swordplay or casters gestures and flourishes. They rarely select rouge professions other than scoundrel. Twilleth scoundrels make excellent spies, smugglers, and bootleggers.
Foreign Relations: Those that do make the distinction between Twilleth and Spriggan find the Twilleth beautiful, alluring, and fantastic friends and allies. The Twilleth get along remarkably well with Men and other elves, and have shown a particular fondness for Mattimeo.
Other Races of the Al-KabirEdit
Although the races mentioned above comprise the greatest number of intelligent species prevalent in the Desert, they are not the only ones. Each of the Al-Kabir's regions are host to races both benevolent and hostile.
There are three distince Nain clans that dwell in the Kandador Mountains. The Ironhands, the Firehearths, and the Warhammer Nain clans all make magnificent cities in the mountain range, and have taken it upon themselves to act as sort of de facto guardians of the region, helping to keep the roads free of bandits, trolls, and other dangers to travellers. Like all Nain the three clans aren't overly friendly, but show proper respect to those travelers whom, of course, show them proper respect. All in all, about 1200 Nain call the Al-Kabir home.
A very small number of Salaquendi also dwell in the beautiful acres of the forested section of the Kandador Mountains. With a population of 750 looking to the Salaquendi Earl Ninthe Listrel, the Salaquendi share resources with the few Faydakeen lumbering towns in their area. For the most part the Salaquendi prefer to be left alone, but never fail to provide hospitality to visitors.
3. True Fae.
The portions of the Kandador that are inhabited by other bigger and noiser races, the True Fae have found serenity. Sidhe, redcaps, woodcarvers, sluagh, and other types of fae dwell here, guarding their areas vigliantly from hostile races--which to them is any non-fae. Al-Kabir natives that travel through areas inhabited by True Fae are always very careful to show proper respect for the environment, for to do less is to invite the wrath of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts both.
Trolls are the most common of the hostile monster races found in the Al-Kabir. The Kandador Mountains are studded with the warrens of Forest, King, and Hillside trolls. But since trolls are such solitary creatures, not even able to abide their own company for long, their overall total numbers are probably less than 200. With vigilant Nain, Salaquendie, and Faydakeen guarding passes and highways the trolls of the Desert have learned to move deeper into the desert, where such races won't bother them. Desert, Cave, and Deep trolls are found in greater numbers in the Inlands and Deep Desert.
Newcomers to the Desert are often surprised to find small settlements of Brahman along the Rocky Coastline and the Inlands. Like their cousins that dwell in far greater numbers in the Maktatui Jungle, the Desert Brahman are a deeply spiritual and reclusive people.
6. Pizkie and Mattimeo.
Like elsewhere in Paradigm, large numbers of Pizkie and Mattimeo can be found in Faydakeen cities and habiations.
7. The Womaw.
The Womaw, or Southrons, are a very dangerous culture of Men that have sparse settlements in the Inlands. In the Outer Rim Territories, the Womaw rule uncontested. Considered a race of evil Men and often (wrongly) seen as barbaric and uncivilized, the Womaw are a culture of warriors and fighters. They have traditions, habits, decorations, and a language that are completely distinct and alien to other Men of the desert. They have been counted as about 10,000 strong.
8. The Dunlanders.
Inhabiting a very small independant nation located in a region right between where the Inlands and the Deep Desert begin, the Dunlanders are beyond question evil Men, worshippers of the Dark Powers. Where the Womaw are warriors, the Dunlanders are shamans, mystics, and qi users. They are extremely hostile to all other species, and because of this there have been very little studies made of them so they are as alien to the Faydakeen as a species from another planet would be. Their numbers aren't even known.
9. Kraati and Feresi.
Like Nain and Pizkie, the Kraati and Feresi can commonly be found in Faydakeen cities, or in quaint towns and hamlets on their own. They are very populous within the Outer Rim, where they seem to be engaged in constant conflict with the Womaw.
Unlike the Western Empire, where Thane are a constant scourge for Mannish cities, the Thane don't do well in Faydakeen cities because of the vigilance of the Men so most Thane have taken up residents in the Outer Rim. They have a fair number of small settlements and habitations where evil races and evil Men can go to find shelter, food, and employment.