Posts Tagged With: Khazann the Half-Goblins

Khazann, the Goblin-Kin

“You look at me like I am a barbarian. I am not a barbarian, I am a savage – bred to warfare by mages from time out of mind. Blood and fire are our heritage, and we have survived where so many other races have fallen. Out of slavery we have become free to thrive where others are weak. We respect strength and seek it out, both to serve and to test ourselves against. We despise weakness, and when we find it we do what we will and take what we want. Our lust for life is only matched by our willingness to embrace death like a lover.”

-Ulric Khazan, Huntsman in service to the Necromancer, and once Redcap of the Boneripper Tribe.

The Khazann are a race of humanoids created via fell biomantic sorceries during the Wars of Binding as a tool of chaos and terror. Mixing the races of Goblins and Humans, the Khazann breed true within themselves as well as with Humans and all races that Humans can interbreed with. In the years that have followed the Khazann have continued to live amongst both Humans and Goblins, often becoming leaders among the latter race and criminals in the former. At their most beneficent, the Khazann pursue simple bodily pleasures of feasting, dancing, and strenuous athletics. Even so the Khazann are fierce race, bred for war, and at their worst are full of bloodthirsty passions, often driven to rape and slaughter by their inherent nature. In any case, they have strong emotions and tend to be quick-tempered and prone to action rather than contemplation.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -2 Charisma

Languages: One Human Language, The Dark Tongue

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Khazan stand 4′ 10″ tall (+2d10), and weigh 140 lbs (x2d6) lbs. Their Size is Medium and their Speed is 30 feet per round. Both sexes tend to have muscular builds with greyish-greenish skin. Facially, the Khazann have the pointed ears, prominent fangs, and yellowish, cat-slit eyes. Their hair comes in various shades of brown or black and the Khazann wear their hair in a variety of styles, often mimicking their preferred culture, though various forms of decorative close shaves and topknots are popular.

Common Dress: The most common clothing for Khazann is whatever those Goblins or Humans around them are wearing, often preferring leather and furs as materials. Warriors kit of some sort is often preferred, and the Khazann seem to have a strong preference for body piercings, tattoos, scarification, and branding in addition to any other form of body decoration. Normal wear tends towards the practical for considerations of camouflage and travel, while festive wear can be among the most garish mixes of color and fabrics found among the intelligent races.

Lifespan: Khazann were designed to come to maturity very quickly. They are considered young adults at age 10, considered mature adults at around age 15, and rarely live more than 75 years of age. Identical to Goblins, there is the very rare Khazann (more rarely than occurs with Goblins) who live far beyond the normal lifespan, some reported to be several centuries old. They generally begin play at 10 + 1d4 years of age.

Common Culture: The Khazann are known to live in both human and goblin society. Those raised by goblins generally have a whole host of characteristics that make them unsuitable for living in human society – cannibalism, rape, assault, theft, are all the basic building blocks of goblin society. Those raised in human society are either lucky and blessed enough to have grown up in relatively enlightened surroundings with little prejudice (usually more rural areas, as orphans) or in situations where the full weight of human prejudice surrounds them (usually urban areas). In goblin society they often achieve roles of leadership in some way, either as chieftains or as Redcaps, or as commanders of goblin forces for a human superior. In human society the Khazann are almost invariably relegated to the Lower or Underclass, working as thieves and assassins, brigands and bravos. In both cases, Khazann invariably gravitate to groups that respect strength and physical prowess – or savagery and cruelty as the case may be. The Khazann epitomize the goblin axiom that “Nine fingers own only when the tenth is bitten off” – they are both simple and brutal in their understanding and application of any laws and their place and role in any society.

Common Backgrounds: The Criminal, Outcast, Outlander, and Soldier Backgrounds are most appropriate for Khazann.

Naming Conventions: Khazann, like Half-Elves, often have names that reference both parents in some way. For those raised in Goblin society they will reference both tribe and their nature as Khazann. For those raised in human society “Khazann” is sometimes used a surname, as well as other variants upon that (Goblinkin, Goblinson, etc.).

Common Alignments: The Khazann are plagued by their origins and their nature. They are predisposed to Chaotic ethics, and Evil or Neutral morals. This is not to say that with the proper upbringing or commitment that a Khazann cannot hew to the tenets of the Lawful Good (and there are whole communities of Khazann following the Church of the Lords of Light in Kistath), but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Common Religions: The whispers of the Goblin Court are heard in the ears of all Khazann, and those Godlings often have the majority of worship and veneration by the Khazann, with a distinctly dark version of the Old Faith having the much of the rest. That said, there are Khazann who are drawn to worship of the Great Elemental Dragons, as well as the Horned Society – in addition to those that fall to the worship of the Dearth.

Common Classes:  Preferred — Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue; Common — Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock; Uncommon — Cleric, Paladin, Ranger; Rare — Bard, Wizard; Very Rare — Monk

Common Professions: The Khazann prefer professions that promote violence, even in more intellectual or arcane pursuits. They work as mercenaries or operate as bandits most commonly, also working as street thugs, bravos, and enforcers. Some also work as a bodyguards, and some work as hunters or guides in wilderness and rural areas – rough work as they are often assumed to be willing to lead travellers to their doom. Khazann are also common as slavers, and can often find work for powerful evil humans who need someone to liaise with or command Goblins, Ogres, and Trolls.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Due to their Goblin heritage the Khazann have superior Darkvision. They can see in dim light up to 60 feet as if it were normal, bright light. They can see in darkness as if it were dim light, not seeing colors, only varying shades of grey.

Menacing: Have Proficiency in the Intimidation skill.

Hardy Constitution: Resistant to Disease and Poison.

Tireless: Khazann can benefit from a Short Rest after 30 minutes, and a Long Rest after four hours.

Bearers of Burdens: Khazan increase their Encumbrance by 150%.

Hard to Kill: When a Khazann is reduced to 0 Hit Points, but not killed outright, they may drop to 1 Hit Point instead. They may not do this again until after a Long Rest.

Savage Attacks: When a Khazann scores a Critical Hit they may roll the weapon’s damage dice one more additional time and add the result to the damage total.

Breeding Frenzy: Roughly once every four months or so a Khazan (male or female) is driven by an essentially irresistible urge to repeatedly mate (the Khazan refractory period is measured in minutes), and it is worth noting the presence of a single Khazan in their breeding frenzy tends to trigger the breeding frenzy in other Khazan. This lasts for 1d6 (+Con Mod) days, and easily (and often) results in violence if their needs are not met. Certain drug regimes (and spells) can temper this period. It should be noted that Khazan are only cross-fertile with Humans, Half-Elves, and other Khazan.

Psionics: None, they are unable to be psionic though there are always rumors of rare bloodlines that able to.

Death: Upon death, the spirit of a Khazan goes either to the Realm of the Dead or to the Goblin Court if they are powerful or holy enough. They may not be Raised or Resurrected, only True Resurrection (and Revivify) works. If Reincarnated they invariably come back as a Khazan, and only in the very rarest of circumstances as a human (or goblin).

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So, what’s different about my world..?

With D&D 5E here, especially with the Monster Manual on hand, I’ve been kind of mentally reviewing what is different about my campaign world now that I’m trying to stay as close to the party line as possible.

  • Goblins! Instead of a million different humanoids I have goblins. In addition to normal, undersized Goblin Boggarts (which are hatched from eggs, kind of like in Harn) with their chiefs and shaman I have Hobgoblins as fully-grown, experienced goblins, Redcaps are elite goblins, and Black Goblins are sterile mules that are oversized shock troops. There are also the Border Goblins of the Shadowlands and the dreaded Ash Goblins with their Barghest leaders who serve the Lords of Dearth. Lastly, there are the Khazan, the Human-Goblin crossbreeds created during the Wars of Binding ages ago that live amongst both humans and goblins, vilified by the former and often leading the latter.
  • Trolls! Yeah, instead of Hill Giants and Stone Giants, I have big trolls kind of like Tolkien’s. There are Marsh Trolls, Forest Trolls, Hill Trolls, Rock Trolls, Cave Trolls, and Sea Trolls. Rock and Forest Trolls are actually pretty civilized, while Marsh, Hill and Cave Trolls are primitive and either live in isolated family groups or live in service to various powerful personages. Trolls are often the biggest and baddest creatures that a group is likely to see – Ogres  being much more common with their noble Fir Bolg, “High Ogre” antecedents less common but not unheard of while Giants (Formorian or Mountain) are relatively rare. It’s worth noting that one can also find Half-Trolls (and Half-Ogres for that matter) also, but they are rarer than Trolls themselves given the difficulty in birthing the child.
  • Demons! My demons are elementals corrupted by exposure to the Dearth aka the Five Demon Emperors (aka Lovecraftian elder gods). So, as a result, there are Pyrodemons, Hydrodemons, Aerodemons, and Terrademons. There are also a whole variety of Dire Beasts, which are similarly corrupted animals and creatures. You want terrifying? Find out you have to fight a Dire Troll, or worse yet, a Dire Drake of some sort. Demons and the forces of the Dearth are the one thing pretty much everyone bands together to fight, good or evil. In fact, the two greatest schisms of the universe, the Fall of the Celestials (more of a Jump actually) and the Sundering of the Fae were actually rooted in practical and philosophical differences about how to pursue what is called “the War Without End” in the oldest of texts.
  • Drakes! So, Dragons in my game are evidently what other games need a Tarrasque for. Forget that, I’m a former 1E-er, I always thought Dragons were wimpy in the game (though I recognize that changed sometime around 2E, pretty much after I stopped playing). So my dragons are homebrewed awfulness that are worthy of the name while I also have Greater (Winged) and Lesser (Wingless) Drakes that fill the role needed for large reptilian creatures that hoard treasure and that threaten civilization. The Greater Drakes are the flight-capable Fire, Storm, and Frost Drakes, as well as more vestigial-winged Swamp, Sand, Forest, and Sea Drakes – and there is a whole extra ecological niche of reptilian Drakes that are domesticated – Riding Drakes, War Drakes, Hunting Drakes, Hearth Drakes, etc.
  • No Beholders, Mind Flayers, or Gith! Yeah, you heard me, none of those wonderfully iconic D&D monsters. Mostly because I just though Beholders were too weird, Mind Flayers didn’t really appeal to me (too much a copy of Cthulhu), and the Githyanki/Githzerai just seemed a bit off to me. But I did like some of the ideas involved – but wanted something that was even more terrifying – and so was born the Ichneumon Vorre, a horrific psychic, parasitic race that roams the Astral Space that reproduces like an Ichneumon Wasp, and also creates thralls by infecting them with their blood and creating a horrific, blood-sucking beast. They look like a cross between a Predator and an Alien. Then there is also the Old Race, a cannibalistic race of psychic proto-human hunters that roam the Astral in search of the Ichneumon Vorre, who consider everything else either beneath notice or worthy of hunting – and anything worth hunting is worth eating. The Old Race is human, but long changed by their travels in the Astral.
  • No Drow! In my world, there is essentially a vague analogy to the Seelie and the UnSeelie Courts of the Fae. During the Sundering, the Sh’Achtar broke with their kin, and essentially created the Shadowlands to take the War Without End as close to the borders of the Dearth as possible. Or, after the cosmic upheaval that created the Shadowlands, the Sundered (as the term Sh’Achtar translates) took up residence there because of the differences they had with their brethren in Faerie. They are pale, not dark, and definitively the sort of Fae that you need to watch out for.
  • Beastmen! To one eye, my Beastmen seem rather akin to the Jaghut of the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steve Erikson. But my Beastmen (who call themselves “the Thal of Erkrath”) are rooted in the idea that the old “cavemen” from the 1E MM (obviously based on Neanderthals) were actually far wiser and far, far more than they seemed. Possessed of a powerful racial memory and orals histories that cover more history than anyone suspects the Beastmen have renounced civilization and magic as the root of all evil and live purposefully solitary and pastoral lives, far from any civilization. Despite this, and due to various Sorcerer-King liches that keep trying to be re-awoken or reborn, each tribe elects has a shaman who is burdened with learning the skills involved in magic and the like, so that various old bindings and spells can be maintained – and potential problems recognized before they become worse problems. I’ve never answered the question of what the relationship between the Beastmen and the Old Race is, but I do know that they are related, both being protohumans of a sort.
  • Yaun-Ti! Yeah, I tweaked the crap out of these as well but in some ways the least amount when it came to official game statistics. Far to the south, live the serpent-venerating (and serpent-blooded) folk of the Great Empire of Ith. Descended from the slaves of and founded on the ruins of the great Serpathian Civilization, the Pure-blood Ithians rule the Empire, with their degenerate kin are hidden away. A culture of cults and intrigues, they are feared in much of the Known World and have a civilization to rival the Kistathians in historic and cultural richness but rival the Shadowlands in cruelty.

There is more of course, but those are the ones that come to mind as I’ve been reading the Monster Manual and making sense of it.

TTFN!

D.

Categories: Campaign, Campaign Development, FYI, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Giant Among Elves… (4 Sessions so far)

And yes, Tier is – a seven foot tall, five inch (or so) tall Grey Elf.

There is a story behind that actually. Way back in Session #6 there was an Obelisk, and it ended up sending three characters off. Tier ended up in the Shadowlands, what somebody inventing the Shadowfell must have plundered from my brain while I slept – except mine is far, far cooler. In that session he gained a point of Constitution, but also four inches (taking him to a solid 6’6″) in the process.

In any case, Tier ended up captured by slavers, and after being run through his paces at the local ludus and earning the sobriquet “Cries for Blood” he was purchased by the master sh’dai swordsman known as Darkness at Noon, the Dueling Hawk of the mysterious lilim called Gyrmawlkyn, the Lord of Hali, Master of Carcosa, and Bearer of the Dread Sword of the Hyades. Taken back to Carcosa, he trained for a short period of time with both Darkness at Noon and the albino mage called Ice and after ten successive (and obviously successful) bouts was granted an audience with the odd creature who owned him.

Tier had been informed previously that the Lord of Hali had a habit of training gladiators and then sending them to the great Arena at Khazan where they would have the opportunity to fight for their freedom. His reasons for this are unknown, but it seems to play into his political machinations in the Halls of the Ebon Council and his rivalry with the dread Leo’trahh, Grand Maestra of Death, and Demi-Empress of Khazan and it’s environs. Upon his audience, Tier was granted the choice to stay in the service of the Lord of Hali or the opportunity to travel to the blood-stained city of Khazan and fight there for his freedom. Tier chose to travel to Khazan, and was told that in the event that he won his freedom he was welcome to return as he wished to take service or merely to guest for a time. Taking both his leave and a selection of advice from Darkness at Noon, Tier then traveled to Khazan and entered the Arena.

Now, understand that I have essentially a direct AD&D analog to the T&T module, rolling the same tables and having the same events and odd possibilities for non-combat resolution of various of the rolled encounters. It also gives the ability to purchase enchantments and spells for his weapons at a high cost – as well as needing to pay for healing. This certainly proved incredibly valuable for Tier, because his first two encounters were possibly the two worst in the game. All he has to do is win three battles and he’s free – and at that point gets the chance to sign up for seven more in order to try to win an audience with Leo’trahh.

The first battle was with the with a shoggoth. Yes, a Shoggoth. In T&T, this is a crazy gawd-awful creature – in AD&D it’s darn near as bad (I happen to have the good edition of Deities and Demigods) and when I combine some of the elements from Call of Cthulhu it’s certainly one of the nastiest things you can run into. But the module give the player a small chance to win the fight without even having to engage in combat, a successful Intelligence check and Luck check grant the player not only the knowledge that shoggoth’s enjoy piccolo music but the presence of a piccolo on hand! So there is one shoggoth dancing ponderously on the sands of the arena to the great amusement of the crowd – and Tier winds his first fight.

Needless to say, the odds were far against Tier this fight and he got a roll on the “Special Magical Weapon” table instead of getting a monetary award. It is worth saying that Arena of Khazan was kind of notorious for having some incredibly overpowered magical weapons as potential rewards off of this table – and when I say overpowered I mean that these would likely be considered very unbalanced artifacts in many settings. T&T was far more four-color than most games though, and I’ve always liked them. Heck, I recognize a couple of them from SD’s world – so I know how some people managed get ahold of them!

In any case, Tier was granted a “Great Kris” for his valor and luck – it is a +3 Elven Shortsword that grants the wielder immunity to 1st- through 3rd-level spells. Powerful, but not massively so compared to some of the things I could have rolled up…

So then we are on to round number two, and what does my son roll up?

A Balrog.

It’s kind of a toss-up if a shoggoth or a balrog is worse in T&T, but imagine a cross between a Type VI and a Fire Giant and you pretty much have it in a nutshell. Now, in the module, the Balrog is so sure of itself that it just stands there and lets the character strike first – actually challenges them to. Tier is no idiot, he takes his chance and runs up to the damn thing and lashes out with sword and dagger (being a two-weapon fighter). This thing has 90HP, and through a combination of pre-bought spells boosting his weapons and two fantastic rolls (I swear, his dice are blessed at times) he nails the thing for 66HP of damage – and then in the following round beat the things initiative and do the 24HP of damage needed to drop it.

If I had false teeth I would have dropped them in my lap, he’s a 4/4 Fighter/Mage with 32 HP and he just killed a roughly 20HD creature.

The crowd goes wild, and off he trots up to claim his reward – which is another roll on the Special Magic Item table. This is where I really had to sort of adapt something, so the “Bottle of Warrior Juice” (which doubles the characters Strength and Constitution in T&T) became the “Elixir of Ares” and there a 50/50 chance that it will give the player 1-3 levels in a Fighter class or grant them a +1 to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. Tier, of course, rolls the attribute bonus and given his already existing stats now has a Strength of 19, a Dexterity of 18, and a Constitution of 19.

But… I rule that this also increases his height by 1d12 inches – and he rolls a 11.

So now we have a 7’5″ tall elf.

I wish I could say that his third fight was as exciting. There was a beautiful elvish mage of some sort in a silver robe with a silvery-grey staff, after spurning the opportunity to either spare her or throw himself at her mercy – she let loose three salvos of five Magic Missiles apiece and Tier was done for (somebody forgot about his Great Kris)…

Luckily he had reserved some cash for this event and he was saved from being monster-chow, but having lost that fight, he still had to win one more before he was free.

It was a kobold.

Really.

So, with his hard-won equipment and prizes, plus a paltry 100sp tossed to him for winning his “fight” with the kobold, Tier has been released into freedom in the great city of Khazan, on the borders of the Shadowlands and Great Realm of the Dead. He’s not exactly sure how to get home, or what would happen to him when he managed to get there, but he has his freedom and a rather high level of notoriety!

We’ll see what he does next – this was kind of perfect set of crazy events for a 14-year old. Hopefully he can maintain his run of luck!

D.

Categories: Campaign, Campaign Development, Game Play, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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