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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Races of Finiens: Glaistigs

In the vibrant life-flooded world of FaeReie, an infinite amount of creatures have spawned, born from bizarre interbreeding or simply spontaneously generated by the life-giving nature of their reality or the will of the Fae Queens. Many of these creatures simply exist because they do, without specific purpose and desiring none, answering only to the whim of their own capricious nature or the moment's latest spark of intention or whimsy. However, such is not true for all; some creatures were forged with purpose, designed specifically for a task, equipped perfectly for the reason for their existence. One of these such are the Glaistigs.

The original use of the name Glaistig was unrelated to the entities that wear the title now. It was a loose but common term used for hybrids of Satyrs or Fauns and Nymphs, Dryads, or other similar breeds of fae who exemplified feminine beauty and sensuality. Most of the time, the offspring of such unions produced yet more of the same: the goat-legged pranksters and pursuers if the child was born male, the radiant beauty if female. Yet in some cases a blending of the two was born - a child that bore the physical structure of the father, humanoid from the waist up but caprine below, yet carried the mother's beauty and glamour regardless. These rare abnormalities were the original Glaistigs, but at the time the term was merely a passing reference for these sorts of hybrids; they were not a species unto themselves, but rather bred as if a member of their appropriate parent's species, producing offspring of what they could or should have been rather than more bearing their shared traits.

The spark that changed the nature of the term and the beginning of a newborn people was the arrival of the Dark Song, an alien life-form from beyond the stars, from a world anathema to Finiens itself and beyond all sight and detection. When the Song arrived, rather than allow them to ravage the unprepared Material, their hordes were deflected into FaeReie, where the natives would be more suited to battle their otherworldly nature. And battle they did - all the courts of FaeReie prepared warriors, their mettle tested against one another for eons, and set them to the new front, to wage war against the invaders from another universe.

It is theorized that Cernunnos the Erlking, Lord of the Wyld Hunt, was the one who instigated the change. Others suggest it was FaeReie itself responding to a necessity, recognizing the harm that was coming to it and making ready a force to combat the danger directly, like a body attacking disease with its most efficient antibodies. Other, more wild assumptions or propositions have arisen over the years. Whatever the cause, however, what is known is who the first true Glaistig was: her given name was Jeanne, known also as The Green Lady. Daughter of a satyr and a dryad, she had been born with her father's physique and endurance as well as her mother's beauty, penchant for magic, and bond to the land; she carried the tree she was bound to, though in her case it had never grown much larger than a small shrub, and wore it like a buckler on her arm while wielding a spear hewn from one of her mother's fallen branches.

Jeanne was taken, by whatever force and unknown if by her volunteering or against her will, and changed. Her physical appearance - hooved goat legs from the waist down, beautiful elflike woman from the waist up - was mostly unaltered, but much of her underlying nature was shifted or remade. She became hardier, sturdier, more stalwart in frame and stature. Her mind was sharpened, warded against intrusion, and toned with stubbornness and firm will. Her skin was made strong against the attacks of enemies, protected from the shedding of blood by faerie magic, only to be pierced by the touch of feybane. The changes cost her some of her mother's grace, but her hooves were made sure and nimble, and the earth responded to their touch. Her dependence on her tree and her bond to its life was severed, freeing her of the danger of death due to its harm. And - perhaps most importantly of all for the future of her kind and of FaeReie itself - she was given the ability to breed true, to produce more of her kind, making her the Firstborn of a new species, mother of a legacy, predecessor of a great undertaking.

Following her metamorphosis and the birth of her first few children, Jeanne was given her role to fill in the world: the Glaistigs were to serve as sentinels, protectors and guardians of FaeReie and its people, wardens against the assaults of the Dark Song, mortals, the Lost Court, and all other enemies of all fey-kind.

The Glaistigs fought for eons against the incursion of the Song, battling back and forth with the alien menace, taking numbers from the seemingly endless horde of musical monstrosities for each of their own that was lost, corrupted, or slain, and continuing to multiply their own numbers, train their young in the ways of defense and war, and grow to repeat the cycle. For most Glaistigs, this is their existence, and has been from the beginning of time and will be for all eternity, or until FaeReie has enemies no more.

But for some, this was merely the beginning, and something soon changed.

One of the first races of the fae to lose all ground to the Dark Song's invasion were the Gnomes. These diminutive people dwelt on the fringes of FaeReie, both its deepest and most otherworldly depths as well as the places where it was most mundane, bordering through thin veils to the Material. When the Song attacked, sent to FaeReie by agreement with its Queens to spare the Material their ravage for at least a time, it is into the Gnomes' lands that they were sent. The Gnomes fled their attackers, and the first of the Glaistigs responded, battling back the foe and allowing the Gnomes to seek refuge in other realms. This cycle would repeat itself countless times, with the Gnomes seeking new homes, the Song pursuing, and the Glaistigs battling them back while the Gnomes would once again relocate for safety, only to be chased once again.

Eventually, the chase would remove them from FaeReie entirely. A large majority of the Gnomish people's flight took them out of FaeReie, through the Twisting Paths and into the Material, stranding them in the world of mortals in the islands known as the Senkaku Archipelago. A small selection of Glaistig guardians who had been sheltering them directly were so stranded with them as well; however, the majority of the warriors whose fighting retreat covered their escape found the Ways routed them instead to a cold, bitter, rocky land - the harsh tundra known as the Ice Claw of Stormwind.

For a time, the Glaistigs thought their foe had been thwarted, and while they could not return to FaeReie - something about this new place, this mortal realm, prevented their magic from returning them home - they found that the climate was for the most part to their satisfaction. The rocky, icy lands were suitable for a race built to battle on stone and mountainside, and their skin could resist all but the mightiest of blows from any blade not forged of the deadly Cold Iron... a benefit that came greatly of use when they met their first mortal neighbors, the Orcs. Clashing between the defensive-minded fey and the battle-beloved Orc packs was inevitable, and the Orcs found themselves quite impressed with the near-indestructibility of their foes; however, they were likewise minimal, as the packs would rarely roam out of their nomadic lands and the Glaistigs, created with the purpose of protection and defense in mind, were not of the nature to aggressively approach anything but an attacking enemy force.

However, their peace was short-lived. The Glaistigs had emerged near the feet of the Mountains of Madness, the impossibly-tall towering range of peaks to the north of the Ice Claw, beyond which lay the abandoned ruins of Unknown Kadath. Whatever alien life had once dwelt in those forgotten cities and empty spires, it seemed to resonate with the melody of the Dark Song, and the horde found it could emerge from FaeReie using Kadath as a gateway. Soon battle was rejoined, when Glaistig outriders exploring the mountains reported Song pouring down the slopes in droves, seeping out of ancient caves and long-forgotten mountain passes and surging towards the life-thronged lands to the south.

To this day the majority of Glaistigs remain in that bitter land, dwelling at the feet of those otherworldly mountains and battling the impossible foe that ekes out from beyond their unfathomable walls. However, wanderlust strikes even the fae, and ever there are those who would deny their destiny and forge new paths for themselves, away from the endless battles and impossible war with the Dark Song. It is these who venture into other lands, seeking whatever might be found among mortals. Yet the essence of the sentinel never quite leaves them, and for whatever reason may call, the way of the warden is in the Glaistig's very blood and bones.


Glaistig Stats
* Ability Score Racial Traits: Glaistigs are tough and clever, but are somewhat ungainly in movement. Glaistig characters gain a +2 racial bonus to Constitution and Intelligence and take a -2 penalty to Dexterity.
* Type: Glaistigs are Fey creatures.
* Size: Glaistigs are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
* Base Speed: Glaistigs have a base speed of 30 feet.
* Languages: Glaistigs begin play speaking Common and Sylvan. Glaistigs with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aklo, Auran, Draconic, Elven, Gnomish, Orc, and Terran.
* Damage Reduction: Glaistigs have the tough skin of warrior fey, pierced only by the touch of iron. Glaistig characters have DR 5/cold iron.
* Low-Light Vision: Glaistigs have low-light vision, allowing them to see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
* Healthy: Glaistigs have tough immune systems, allowing them to live on nearly anything much like the goats they resemble from the waist down. Glaistigs gain a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves against disease and poison, including magical diseases.
* Mountaineer: Glaistigs are immune to altitude sickness and do not lose their Dexterity bonus to AC when making Climb checks or Acrobatics checks to cross narrow or slippery surfaces. Nearly all Glaistigs live in rocky or mountainous regions and they are used to traversing treacherous terrain.
* Protector: Glaistigs are the sentinels of the fey, trained from birth to battle the enemies of their people. Glaistigs add +1 to the caster level of any abjuration spells they cast, and also gain the following spell-like abilities: constant—nondetection; 1/day—faerie fire, obscure object, sanctuary. The caster level for these effects is equal to the user’s character level.
* Stubborn: Glaistigs gain a +2 racial bonus on Will saving throws to resist spells and spell-like abilities of the enchantment (charm) and enchantment (compulsion) subschools. In addition, if the Glaistig fails such a save, it receives another save 1 round later to prematurely end the effect (assuming the spell or spell-like ability has a duration greater than 1 round). This second save is made at the same DC as the first. If the Glaistig has a similar ability from another source (such as a rogue’s slippery mind class feature), it can only use one of these abilities per round, but can try the other on the second round if the first reroll ability fails.
* Treacherous Earth (Su): Once per day, a Glaistig can will the earth to rumble and shift, transforming a 10-foot-radius patch of earth, unworked stone, or sand into an area of difficult terrain centered on a square it can touch. This lasts for a number of minutes equal to the user’s level, after which the ground returns to normal.

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