Dark Days in Sion
- Hit Dice: 1d8 then same as class
- Speed: 30ft.
- Base Attack: +1 then same as class
- Face/Reach: 5ft/5ft
- Damage: By Weapon
- Special Qualities: Low-light vision
- Abilities: +1 Str, +1 Con, -1 Wis, -1 Charisma
- Racial Skills: Climb, Craft, Hide, Intimidate, Listen, Use Rope, Search, Spot, Swim
- Starting Feats: typically Improved Grapple
- Bonus Feat: None
- Special Abilities: Cannibal (Su)
- Saving Throws: Fortitude +1
- Alignment: Always Evil
- Weapon Proficiencies: All Simple, plus one Martial Melee weapon of your choosing and Non-Composite Bows.
- Armor Proficiencies: Light and Medium, no shields.
- ECL: +1
- Cannibal (Su): Anytime an Angul gorges on the flesh of another humanoid they regenerate health. They may recover 1HP for every minute they spend eating. Once they have eaten their fill, they must wait another 8 hours before they can feed again.
- Low Light Vision (Ex): Angul can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Anguls share the same size and build as the typical Ahuran, but their skin is deathly pale and their eyes have white pupils instead of black. Angul vision is superior to humans in low-light conditions. They take advantage of this often attacking human settlements right before dawn or at dusk.
Kingdom of Croesus – 750 years ago
The northern pole of Sion is actually a large continent named Ahura, frozen over by huge glaciers at the start of the Second Ice Age 400 years ago. It was not always thus. 2,500 years ago at the end of the 1st Ice Age it was populated by a great civilization of men called Ahurans.
Then 750 years ago a mysterious and powerful being appeared who called himself Angul. He became a leader for dispossessed mankind in the region, gathering tribes together. Exceptionally long lived, Angul fathered many children spreading his genetics into several generations. After a sizable number of them were recognizable in his image he revealed their hidden strength. They were natural cannibals. By feeding on humans they could heal themselves and gain strength. It was also made clear to them that his children were only capable of procreating with his other children.
The Anguls as they started to call themselves believed they were superior to humans and Angul encouraged this. The more they distanced themselves from their former cousins the easier it was to prey on them. After a hundred years of plotting his followers made their move and undermined the Ahuran theocracy which ruled Ahura. Angul declared himself Emperor and defeated the local warlords.
The Anguls have three important customs. The first is slavery, of those people they conquer which they use mostly as a labor force. The second is ritual burial. The Anguls believe in an afterlife but they do not have a god who safeguards their souls. In order to reach the afterlife their bodies must be entombed after all the proper funeral rites.
The third is willing Angul sacrifice, to honor their fallen ancestors. Those Anguls who die without being entombed have no hope of reaching the afterlife. Instead they are doomed to exist as spirits, named Necroguls, living in constant hunger. What’s worse, they can only feed on the flesh of their own kind. If not given willingly the spirits will go mad with hunger and take it by force. A spiritual order of Gulshamans was created to oversee sacrificial ceremonies, funeral rites, and appease and communicate with the Necroguls.
The Anguls spent centuries establishing Angul Colonies in the farthest reaches of Sion forming an Empire. Anguls’ heir became emperor after his death and his dynasty continued for 250 years.
Age of Decline of the Angul Empire – 400 years ago – present
The last “true” emperor died four hundred years ago with all his heirs when Ahura froze over again at the start of the Second Ice Age. It happened very suddenly in the form of a massive winter storm. Since then the scattered Angul Colonies have not come to a consensus on choosing a new emperor. Thus began the rapid decline of the Angul Empire. False emperors rose up and began to compete and war with each other.
Massive battles are sometimes fought between these false Emperors that are more devastating to the Angul race as a whole than those against other foes. Once Anguls began to hate each other, no quarter was given about proper funeral rites. Over time, this has led to a much larger Necrogul-to-living-Angul-ratio which means even more living Anguls are expected to offer themselves up in sacrifice to appease them.
Without satiation, the Necroguls will do their own killing and if one colony of Anguls completely wipes out another, the Necroguls of those slain ancestors have no choice but to take revenge and feed on those Anguls who did the killing.
If the colonies cannot decide on a new emperor and the wars continue like they have, it may become impossible to sate the bloodthirst of so many Necroguls. In which case, they would both be doomed because if the Necrogul ancestors of the Angul wipe out the living generation there will be no one left for them to feed on.
Anguls are bloodthirsty cannibals and brutal killers who have no respect for life beyond their own kind. They enjoy enslaving other races almost as much as eating them. Their lifestyle is all about their next meal because their unnatural hunger is harsher and harder to cope with. Anguls will not actually starve any sooner than men do, but they can lose their sanity after three days without flesh and slip into a mad, murderous rage. (DC 15 Will Save after three days, +1 cummulatively each day thereafter). Anguls are complete carnivores, and have no taste or desire for other kinds of food (except spices) even though they can digest it. Without flesh they may still slip into a rage even if they eat other types of food to avoid starvation.
Anguls have a taste for the macabre in their jewelry, dishes and tableware. Chutneys made from blood and teas mixed with powdered bone-marrow are commonly popular, as are bowls and drinking mugs fashioned from human children. Human teeth are used for beads, and finger bones commonly adorn necklaces, with the most fashionable featuring the same rings the hands owner wore before he was butchered.
Anguls speak Ahuran as a common language and typically pick up the vernacular from other peoples surrounding their colonies. However literacy is not as important in Angul society as it is in others with only one in three typically learning how to read and write. An even smaller percentage learn to be fluent in the alien Angul tongue passed on from their creator. It takes Gulshamans several years of rigorous study to master it, as a requirement to learn the prayers, spells and rituals they perform. Some wealthy Anguls are known to learn it also, only because they can afford the exorbitant fee charged by tutors.
|High Lord||Greater Battlelords||High Officials||Greater Gulshamans||Greater Slavemasters|
|Lords||Great Battlelords||Officials||Great Gulshamans||Great Slavemasters|
|High Merchants||Battlelords||Low Officials||Gulshamans||Slavemasters|
Each Angul Colony is ruled by an Overlord, (with a few even calling themselves Emperors). Overlords are revered as the strongest leaders in the colony but they come into power through many different means including force, bribery, extortion and manipulation. Any would-be overlord has to be “approved” by the Gulshamans before they can depose the current one. Ostensibly this approval requires the Gulshaman to consult the Necroguls who speak for the spirit of Angul himself. In reality their approval is usually bought, but in some cases if the Overlord candidate actually does displease the Necroguls they will not allow them to accede into power.
Any Angul besides a Gulshaman can become an Overlord in theory, man or woman, but it is usually those on the upper steps of the political ladder that are successful because they have the most support. Overlords cannot inherit the title, or choose their successor, but they can serve for life if they can manage it. Overlords have the final say in matters of economy, law, or war, but may not speak in place of the Gulshamans who are masters of history, religion and ritual.
Overlords rule from the capital of their colony which is usually a conquered city, or perhaps a new one being constructed by slaves. The surrounding land is divided into fiefdoms ruled by High lords. High Lords own the land in the name of their families and are responsible for its governance, tax collection and trade. They are permitted to keep and train a modest force of warriors for its protection.
- Greater Battlelords
Greater Battlelords are generals for the Battlesworn, professional warriors who swear absolute loyalty and obedience to the Overlord. Angul Battlesworn are the highest trained and disciplined Angul warriors, but they are still wild and fierce compared to other races. They march together in formations, but rarely stick to them in actual combat.
- High Officials
High Officials are responsible for the collection and expenditure of taxes, records, and communication for the colony.
- Greater Slavemasters
Greater Slavemasters oversee all the construction, logging, farming and mining for the colony, which is always done through slave labor. Great demands are placed on them by the Overlord and the High Lords to complete a variety of improvements and projects throughout the colony. This post requires the least number of qualifications in Angul government to aspire for, but it also has the highest turnover rate.
Angul slaves, captured by Battlesworn through constant expansion, are dived up between the Greater Slavemasters and the most successful ones are usually those who ensure the biggest share of new slaves for themselves. All Angul’s have the right to keep and capture slaves, but Slavers are naturally the most proficient at it. They buy, train and sell slaves for a living.
Angul law is highly specialized for the variety of roles and positions that are kept in Angul society. Different castes have different rules. A great deal of corruption and bribery exist as well to facilitate the spread of wealth. It is actually common custom to bribe lords, officials and Gulshamans for preferential treatment.
Murder in itself is not the worst crime in Angul society. Trying to get away with murder in secret is, because by law any Angul that kills another has to pay for all the proper funerary rights to ensure they don’t become a Necrogul. Planning a murder in advance, even going so far as to plan for the victims funeral and providing for their children is considered lawful if the Angul has the proper cause or motivation to do so. Slaves have no rights, so they cannot be murdered per se. But if you kill another Anguls slave, it is polite to pay some restitution for them depending on the offense.
Angul criminals are treated very harshly, and are often publicly humiliated, brutalized or mutilated as an example to discourage crime. Assault, Rape, theft, insult, kidnapping, vandalism, even slander are punishable by law. Anguls do not have many law-enforcers however. Public order is more or less maintained by the threat of severe punishment for law breaking. Criminals are hunted down like dogs by legal enforcers of lords and/or officials, or by independent bounty hunters if they manage to flee from the area.
|Customs, Kinship, and Marriage|
In general Anguls maintain a modicrum of manners and decency with their friends and immediate family, and reserve their cruelty for their enemies and their slaves. Anguls do not dote upon their children as much as humans typically do. Angul children are harshly disciplined and expected to be obedient. It shames the parent a great deal for their offspring to misbehave in public, and if they were to ever actually commit a crime or insult a grown stranger, their parents would be held accountable.
Anguls marry more for the sake of partnership and companionship then actual love, but love is not unheard of and sometimes it is even praised. Anguls are considered adults by the age of 17, and are then free to marry and start a life of their own. About half the time, Angul parents arrange a marriage for them earlier than this and the child will shame their parents if they do not actually go through with it. Angul females who are free to marry whomever they will, shame themselves if they are not married by the age of 20, unless they are widowed, in which case they are not forced to remarry.
Angul males are expected to choose a profession by the age of 20. Those who wish to be artisans or merchants should begin an apprenticeship, join a trade school or guild, and if they can afford it receive a higher education by a private tutor. Academic institutions or colleges, are rare among Anguls except for the grand temple complexes of the Gulshamans, which are very rich and exclusive.
Gulshamans adopt many orphans into their priesthood as children, and initiate other acolytes who are 20 years or younger. Any Angul older than that is rarely accepted unless they are considered very special. Once you take your vows as a Gulshaman, you must remain one for life and carry your secrets to the grave with you, and beyond.
Battlesworn recruit young men primarily, but are not as picky about age as others. Women are not unheard of in their ranks, though they are usually relegated to the periphery and do not bunk with the men. Once they have taken their vows Battlesworn are expected to serve the Overlord dutifully and follow their orders to the grave. Early retirement from injury is no dishonor, and neither is elected retirement from old age. (Though this is rare)
Battlesworn have many duties besides attacking territories outside the colony. They enforce the Overlords will, no matter what it is. That includes harassing or butchering Angul citizens no matter who they are if the Overlord fears an uprising. Most Battlesworn would hesitate to attack other Battlesworn, or especially a Gulshaman, but otherwise serve well as trained killers.
Slavers are usually misfit Anguls with the worst reputation and past. Many are former criminals, but there are some highly respected slavers as well who provide help almost exclusively to the lordly estates. Slavemasters usually manage things from an office, and send other slavers in training out to do the dangerous work of capturing more stock.
Many wars with Anguls begin because a group of slavers go out and incite the colonies neighbors to attack. Some overseers do their best to control slavers and slavery through regulation and oversight but none can outright ban the practice, as every Angul citizen has the right to keep and capture slaves.
- Angul Adventurers, Bodyguards, Explorers, Mercenaries, Scouts and Spies
Anguls who seek their fortune abroad are regarded with mixed respect. Lands beyond the colony are supposed to be free for the taking, but some Overlords discourage exploration and antagonism of foreign lands without their say so, patrolling their borders to keep slavers and adventurers in as much as attackers out.
Successful, wealthy adventurers are treated like celebrities. Lords invite them to social functions to share stories and display strange, exotic items.
Bodyguards and Mercenaries walk a fine line under the law, because some would argue they are responsible for the souls of Anguls they kill regardless if they were paid to do so. Most bodyguards and mercenaries contend their employer should be responsible for the burial of their Angul victims and many refuse to work for anyone who won’t.
Explorers are rare, but there are a few who become famous for their discoveries.
Scouts are common, employed to explore, or search for all manner of people, places and things outside the borders of the colony.
Spies are also common, but universally hated if they operate within the borders of the colony. It is considered shameful and despicable to be caught spying on a fellow Angul. Being paid to spy, or paying someone to spy, are illegal and dangerous to both parties. Spies who are caught, are sometimes publicly executed along with whoever paid them as an example to discourage the practice. (In reality the practice is widespread, and it is only those of lesser station who are punished for it by those of higher station who do not wish to be spied upon.)