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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Races of Finiens: The Murī

Written by Ladybug/Scintillae.

As long as Wachara has been home to the refugees of Paziou, it has been the seat of conflict. Most notable is the ever-expanding kingdom of Anhur and its necromantic magic, for it holds a grudge against every other nation on the continent. Only slightly less concerning to its neighbors is the empire of Divus, the ael empire who has from the very outset focused its efforts on both magical and martial might - and with the necromancers of the North, who could blame them?

Though their armies were fearsome and varied to any task at hand, Divus still sought a decisive victory over the Anhuri. To this end, many tactics were tried, but none as truly successful as they wished. It was not until the 3200s during the twilight years of the reign of Spinae Caelestis that a method was found - almost by accident.

The ailing emperor had set his children to the task of impressing him enough to be named his heir. One of his sons, then-general of the military, focused his efforts into magical modification, partnering with entomorph mage-alchemist Quartus Fenestra. The moth mage somehow stumbled into the creation of an artifact of devastating power, enough to sunder a mortal from the weave of magic entirely, making them naturally resistant to the effects of others’ spells as well as incapable of making use of the arts themselves. This latter was deemed an acceptable side effect and with the age-old justification of a greater good for Emperor and Empire, Spinae Gereon gave the tacit order to continue the project, sequestering the altered soldiers, mostly humans from the slums of Lower Divus, in a special barracks for a eugenics program as it was discovered that the inherent resistance was something that could be selectively bred for.

It was several years before the experiment was discovered, its tracks carefully kept from the public eye until another of the royal children became suspicious, sending in a team of hired adventurers to suss out the matter. The investigation uncovered the practice, but it cost the country much - Spinae Gereon and Quartus Fenestra lost their lives, the favored heir for the succession, the knight Spinae Magnus, was irrevocably severed from the weave, and the nation found itself responsible for the ruination of several thousand lives in the name of defense.

Unwilling to commit a genocide against its own, these magically resistant soldiers - given the name Murī (originally myur-ee in Divus, later myur-eye in other areas beyond), an old word meaning “wall” in reference to their intended role as the military’s front line defenders  - were spared as their creation was no fault of their own but effectively reduced to the level of second-class citizens. Most looked upon them with, at best, pity, for Divus’ history made magic a commodity prized above all others. Thus when the aranea Cinna Lesedi departed for the other end of the continent with the vast majority of the Murī, no one felt much need to stop her.

Most Murī reside nowadays in Lesedi’s isolationist but heavily mercenary nation of Eirene on Wachara’s southeastern coast, but they can be found scattered just about everywhere.

Murī can be of any race, though the majority are human. The identifying characteristics are a streak of pure white through hair - or scales, as the case may be - and one eye mismatched from the other in an eerie blue. Though it is common practice for the race to hire out as mercenaries once separated from their adoptive motherland, it is almost an unwritten rule that their heritage must be hidden with dyes and other disguises.

As their very existence flies in the face of magic, they are heretics in the eyes of the church of Freya, Mistress Magic. The destruction of a Murī to a Freyan is taken in stride as simply as a rat by a farmer or an undead to Ireshkigal; indeed there are sects of her faith dedicated solely to the hunting and eradication of the Murī to restore the truth of Freya’s dominance over the weave to Finiens.


Murī Template

"Murī" is an inherited or acquired template that can be added to any living, corporeal creature capable of using magic (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

CR: As the base creature +1.

Type and Subtype: The base creature retains its original type and subtypes and gains the Murī subtype.

Defensive Abilities: A Murī gains damage reduction 5/magic and spell resistance equal to 10 plus their hit dice.

Special Attacks: A Murī gains the following special attack:
  • Magic Suppression (Su): A Murī can disable the magic within a weapon, armor, shield, or magic item as part of a melee attack. When struck, the target of the attack must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 Murī's hit dice + Murī's Charisma modifier) or have the magical properties of one of its visible pieces of equipment (chosen by the Murī) suppressed for one round per two of the Murī's levels. The Murī can also suppress magic in an unattended item, but this method only requires touching the item rather than attacking it. The DC is Charisma-based.
Ability Scores: A Murī gains a +2 bonus to Constitution and Charisma.

Special Qualities: A Murī gains the following special qualities:
  • Magic Healing (Su): Whenever a Murī's spell resistance negates a spell from affecting her (even if it is an area-of-effect spell or other spell effect not directly targeted at her), she regains 2 hit points per level of the spell. 
  • Magic Severance (Ex): A Murī is completely disconnected from magic, incapable of performing divine or arcane spellcasting. Even if they take a class that grants spellcasting, they are incapable of using that feature. Murī may use spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities, alchemical extracts, psionic powers, magic items, and other non-spellcasting methods of performing or acquiring magic with no further complications.
Level Adjustment: A Murī is always one level lower than its experience total would dictate, to allow for its superior power level. As the template grants the Murī abilities and limitations in addition to the traits of the base race, a Murī is usually more powerful than a standard member of its race unless it was previously a spellcaster. A character who becomes a Murī during the course of a campaign should not level up at the next time their experience total would allow them to, to adjust their power accordingly with the party (at GM discretion, of course); if the character was previously a spellcaster, the GM is heavily encouraged to allow them to rebuild into another class.

Curing a Murī: As of this time, there is only a few known cures for the Murī severance from magic, and all involve the Murī dying. A Murī who is reincarnated will have their connection to magic renewed in their new body. A slain Murī who is raised or resurrected will not be restored; however, true resurrection will allow for the caster of the spell to choose whether to restore the Murī's connection to magic or not; if the Murī does not wish to be re-connected, they can avoid being forcefully made so by making a Will save against the DC of the true resurrection. If a Murī is re-connected to magic, all properties of their template are removed (including the ability score bonuses); due to the removal of the level adjustment associated with the template, the character should be allowed to level up once the negative level penalties from the spell are removed.

There is at this time no method by which a Murī can be cured that does not involve their death, though many scholars, magical experts, and influential clergy of many churches are eagerly pursuing the issue.

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