Vul

Vul
Pronounced: Vul



Medium-sized Winged Monstrous Humanoid

  • Hit Dice: 3d8
  • Speed: 30ft/60ft(Fly)(Average Maneuverability)
  • Armor Class: (+3 Natural)
  • Base Attack: +3
  • Face/Reach: 5ft/5ft
  • Damage: Beak 1d8, Wing-Claws 1d6, Talons 1d3, By Weapon
  • Special Qualities: Acid Urine (Ex), Vul Scent (Ex), Vul vision (Ex)
  • Abilities: +2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con, -3 Wis, -3 Cha.
  • Racial Skills: (2+ Int) Climb, Craft, Hide, Intimidate +3, Listen, Search +3, Spot +3
  • Starting Feats: Typically Flyby Attack or Wingover
  • Bonus Feats: Hover, Multiattack, Track
  • Special Abilities: Pin and Strike (Ex)
  • Saving Throws: Fort +3, Ref +3
  • Alignment: Almost Always Evil
  • Weapon Proficiencies: All Simple
  • Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor, + Light Shields
  • ECL: +3

Acid Urine (Ex):
Vul urine is highly potent and acidic, as it is sourced from their powerful stomach acids that are capable of digesting carrion. It functions as a weak acid doing 1pt of damage when applied to flesh, wood, stone or metal (except for forged masterwork steel, adamantine or mithral). Vul Urine can be detected by scent at twice the usual range.

Flight (Ex): Vul are some of the strongest flyers on Sion. For Vul flying requires no more exertion than walking or running. A Vul can fly with no penalties while carrying a light or medium load, but may only carry a heavy load for a number of rounds equal to their Constitution modifier (minimum 1 round) and be exhausted at the end of that flight. A Vul can cease or resume flight as a free action.

Vul are experts at dive attacks. A dive attack works like a charge, but the Vul must move a minimum of 40 feet and descend at least 20 feet. If the attack hits, it deals double damage. A Vul can use the run action while flying, provided they fly in a straight line.

If a Vul becomes unconscious or helpless while in midair, their wings naturally unfurl and powerful ligaments stiffen the wings. The Vul descends in a tight corkscrew and takes only 1d6 points of falling damage, no matter what the actual distance of the fall.

  • Gliding (Ex): A Vul can use their wings to glide, negating damage from a fall of any height and allowing 30 feet of forward travel for every 10 feet of descent. Vul glide at a speed of 30 feet (poor maneuverability). A Vul can glide while carrying a heavy load, and also hover, but they will tire at twice as fast if they do so.

Hover [Monstrous Feat]

  • Prerequisite: Fly speed.
  • Benefit: When flying, a Vul can halt its forward motion and hover in place as a move action. It can then fly in any direction, including straight down or straight up, at half speed, regardless of its maneuverability.

If a Vul begins its turn hovering, it can hover in place for the turn and take a full-round action. A hovering Vul cannot make wing-claw attacks, but it can attack with all other limbs and appendages it could use in a full attack. The Vul can also cast a spell instead of making physical attacks, if it could normally do so.

Multiattack [Monstrous Feat]

  • Prerequisite: Three or more natural attacks.
  • Benefit: The creature’s secondary attacks with natural weapons take only a -2 penalty.

Pin and Strike (Ex):
Vul are skilled at attacking their prey and pinning it with the large claws on their wings so they can strike with their primary attack more easily. If a Vul succeeds in striking a target with both their claws, their opponent is considered pinned (-4 AC) while the Vul makes an additional attack with their beak or hand held weapon at their maximum attack bonus. (Note this ability is not the same as pinning an opponent during a grapple, although a Vul can attempt to use this maneuver while grappling instead of a full attack action. Normally, opponents cease to be pinned by this attack after the Vul attempts its additional attack, but if the Vul uses this during a grapple the opponent will have to break the pin as per normal grappling rules.)

Track [Feat]
Benefit: To find tracks or to follow them for 1 mile requires a successful Survival check. Vul must make another Survival check every time the tracks become difficult to follow.

Vul move at half their normal speed (or at their normal speed with a -5 penalty on the check, or at up to twice their normal speed with a -20 penalty on the check). The DC depends on the surface and the prevailing conditions.

Vul Scent (Ex):
Vul have a keen sense of smell allowing them to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

Vul can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 60 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 120 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 30 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

Smell allows a Vul to detect a creature’s presence but only its general location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. If it moves within 30 feet of the scents source, the Vul can pinpoint the source.

Vul can follow tracks by smell, making a Survival check to find or follow a track. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10. The DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Track feat. Vul tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.

Vul can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

Water, particularly running water, ruins a scent trail. False, powerful odors can easily mask other scents. The presence of such an odor completely spoils the ability to properly detect or identify creatures, and the base Survival DC to track becomes 20 rather than 10.

Vul Vision (Ex):
Vul have keen eyesight that is so sensitive to light that they can see four times as far as normal in dim light. Vul Vision is color vision. A spellcasting Vul can read a scroll as long as even the tiniest candle flame is next to them as a source of light. Vul can see outdoors on a moonlit night as well as they can during the day.

Vul Vision also allows them to spot scent markings from the air, by use of the ultraviolet spectrum, with a successful Survival check. The difficulty for tracking a scent trail from the air is twice that of tracking it normally with their scent ability.


Description

Vul are an avian race roughly resembling bipedal vultures with arms in addition to their wings. They stand between 6-8 feet tall. Their head and neck are covered by tough mottled hide lacking feathers. Rough, armored scales cover their lower arms and legs ending in four taloned fingers and toes. Roughly speaking, their wingspan is about thrice their height making them excellent flyers. Their wings also feature a large hooked grasping claw they use to hang from high places, leaving their hands free to hold weapons or cast spells. Their beaks are very powerful, specialized for biting ahold of and ripping off dragon scales giving them an opening to plunge weapons into flesh.

Vul hide and feathers are drab earthy shades well suited for camouflage. Their eyes appear black and opaque in daylight but reflect light brightly after dark. The Vul have superb vision (lowlight, and ultraviolet which they use to spot scent markings from the air). Their bony skulls feature a singular large nostril opening providing an extraordinary sense of smell. They also have very powerful stomach acids, capable of digesting carrion, which makes their urine also highly acidic.

Vul are instinctual predators. Their desire to hunt whomever, or whatever they wish is their greatest motivation. Indeed once their bloodlust is piqued it is difficult for them to concentrate on anything else. In the past this trait made them largely ignorant of worldly knowledge. They did not respect other races who feared them enough to learn much about them, beyond what they could observe about them.

On average Vul are not especially long lived. Their lifespan roughly matches that of humans. They have a ferocious appetite for meat, and little taste for anything else, except fruits and wine.


History

Rookery of Vulmek on Mount Sumeru – 1,044 Years Ago

Very rarely, an albino Vul hatches with white feathers and red eyes. Such a Vul is considered very inauspicious for the rookery, and they are largely shunned and disrespected. One thousand years ago an albino Vul named Vulkh was hatched. Unable to find a mate, Vulkh was banished from the Vulmek rookery on Mount Sumeru.

Kingdom of Summara – 1,024 Years Ago

He came to reside in the great city of Ayutthaya in the Kingdom of Summara and lived amongst humanity learning their language and observing their culture. He learned that many of them were forced into labor by King Hamza to build great monuments in his honor. Vul would never live as laborers, willingly or not. And Vulkh realized this was the biggest difference between their races. However, the lifestyle of the rich had appeal to Vulkh, especially having slaves.

Vulkh spent several years acquiring wealth and making contacts within the city. Being a Vul had its advantages in business. Few dared to threaten him and fewer still could manipulate him. As long as he remained in careful control of his body language people could not read his emotions and none could read much expression on his fearsome beaked face. To start with Vulkh hired himself out as a scout for trade caravans, and then made partners with several merchants to form a large trade organization.

He used many slaves in his business, curious how they might react to taking orders from a Vul. It seemed it was actually easier for them then taking orders from another human, because it was easier to swallow that a Vul thought of themselves as their betters then another human. Vulkh learned that humans were willing to put up with a great deal of hardship and suffering if they had a family, slave or not. Another difference between their races. Vulkh learned to appreciate humanity, weak as they were individually because as a whole they could accomplish much. The grand city of Ayutthaya itself was a constant reminder of this.

The Land Dragon Attacks – 1,001 Years Ago

One day news of a great dragon responsible for the death of many laboring slaves spread through the streets. Based on the description of the beast Vulkh recalled its identity from the lore he studied at the rookery. It was a female Land Dragon by the name of Khetsara-Akular, which means “Mother Terror” in Akhenatens. The people were clamoring that the king take action and destroy the dragon. Vulkh himself was curious how the king might accomplish this, because the Vul were the only race he believed capable of the task.

King Hamza Summons Vulkh -1,001 Years Ago

The king also believed the Vul were the only ones who could slay the great Land Dragon Khetsara-Akular and summoned Vulkh to his palace. It was clear to Vulkh after meeting the king, that he cared not for the loss of his subjects so much as the delay of his great monuments. King Hamza did fancy himself a great hunter, but he was not up to the task of taking down a dragon. He would not admit this to his people however. He was proud and attached to the admiration of his subjects.

He was also too greedy to consider paying others to destroy the dragon for him in secret. In the kings mind there was only one solution, he would have to find volunteers to destroy the dragon for him but also allow him to take the credit. Thereby regaining the respect of the people at little cost or danger to himself. And that was why he asked to meet Vulkh, in the hopes of gaining the help of the Vul.

Vulkh realized the disdain the king had towards his subjects was not much different than the Vul had for mankind. It seemed in that case, that it would make little difference if the Vul themselves ruled and Vulkh liked that idea. A plan began to form in his mind. He had no great love for his race until now, but he believed they would learn to appreciate him once he delivered them into a life of luxury.

The first step of that plan was volunteering to destroy the dragon for the king. He said that he would beseech his people to hunt and kill the great dragon for him in exchange for weapons and items. He then took his leave of the king but before he made his way back to the rookery on Mount Sumeru he collected most of his personal fortune and visited with his business partners and contacts.

He began by warning them that the king would soon bring a great calamity upon the city. He then gifted them a portion of his personal fortune and urged them to quietly but quickly gather all the mercenaries and sellswords they could hire as additional protection. Finally, he promised that they would be greatly rewarded if they supported him in a bid for power. He then left the city bringing two of his slaves and what remained of his fortune in gems.

Vulkh Returns to the Rookery of Vulmek on Mount Sumeru – 1,001 Years Ago

Vulkh returned to Vulmek, the Rookery of his birth on Mount Sumeru. The Vul were quite surprised to see him again, but no less hostile for it. They would have killed him on sight if it were not for the gift of gems he had to present to the elders. Vulkh informed them of his arrangement with King Hamza in return for slaying the great Land Dragon Khetsara-Akular who was known to have wyrmlings. He then presented his plan to the elder council and the specifics of it were as follows.

A flight of Vul would infiltrate the dragons lair and capture one of its wyrmlings leaving evidence that it was King Hamza who did so. They would then deliver the wyrmling to King Hamza outside the city as a gift under the pretense that they killed the mother, when in fact they had not. If the king required further proof, they would present one of their own trophies of a slain Land Dragon claiming it belonged to Khetsara-Akular. The king himself would then take the wyrmling into Ayuthaya, proclaiming himself their savior and a Dragonslayer.

Soon thereafter, Khetsara-Akular would attack Ayutthaya seeking its lost wyrmling proving the king to be a false hero. The Vul would allow the dragon to kill the king and do some damage but then they would spring upon it and vanquish it. Vulkh would then declare himself king. Vulkh emphasized the importance of appearances among humans.


I have lived among the humans of Ayuthaya for several years and am well established there. The fact that I would be king would not bother them as much as the idea of so many other Vul living among them. You are considered wild and dangerous to them, with few of what they call scruples.
Me they might trust, you they would not. From their point of view Vuls in general cannot be trusted because they are not friendly with mankind, and they have never been shown to take a risk on their behalf. Slaying the dragon for them is important in that regard. Them believing that I am your leader is also important in that regard. They believe I respect them, so if you are shown to respect me then it will seem you at least respect that I respect them.
Vulkh


Vulkh assured the elders that he would be king only in public, privately of course he would obey the will of the elder council. The elders had many other questions about his plan mostly about what would occur after he declared himself king. Where would they live? Why would Ayutthaya be a better home than the rookery? What would they do with the humans?


Once I declare myself king the first order of business will be dealing with surviving members of the royal family who have a claim to the throne. I have supporters among the humans who can provide armed assistance. They are more familiar with the city then you are, so we will have to rely on them to root them out for us. As for other more direct threats, like other lords making a public display of opposing us. I am confident we can defeat them. The city guard outnumbers us, but the shock and awe of the battle with the dragon will make them think twice.
Once we have seized power, we will occupy the fortress, which has many high towers you will find to your liking. It is hard to imagine the lifestyle that awaits you. The wealth and power we have will only be matched by the comfort and ease of luxurious living. All the humans that are already slaves will remain so. It will make little difference to them, I have proven this for myself with my own slaves.
Nor will the merchants complain, I have already promised them that their profits will increase under my reign. Those who relied on the old king for status and prosperity may oppose us, but there are always others willing to take their place if we offer them the same. We have to be careful not to show too much favoritism, but I do not think that will be a problem for us. We are free to be harsh, as long as we are fairly harsh to everyone.
I feel that our kind will be well suited to this new lifestyle, and the humans will have a much harder time removing us from power then we did them because they cannot get us to turn on each other so easily. As for what we will do with the humans, the answer is we can make them do almost anything we like, as long as we make them believe it is for their own good. The current king has many of them slaving on building monuments in his honor. Monuments they will be happy to destroy and replace with monuments for us when we have ended his reign.
Vulkh


Kingdom of Vulkh – 1,000 Years Ago

The elder council agreed to Vulkh’s plan and saw it through, thus establishing the Kingdom of Vulkh in place of the Kingdom of Summara. Vul kings here have since created the Vulkyrie, an elite military force of Vul that patrol the skies. And the Vulfear, a group of assassins, enforcers, informants, and spies that investigate threats against the Vul and their king and also ensure the king gets a kingly share of all the wealth in the realm.


Society

Vul have always been an arch enemy of Dragons on Sion and their territories will never overlap for long. Once a dragon has been sighted in their territory a Flight of Vuls will pursue it together as a group. Larger more powerful dragons may require a Great Flight. Dragons are sometimes known to band together to destroy a Rookery, and their magical powers and capacity for trickery are never underestimated by the Vul. It was because of dragons that Vul learned to practice magic by deciphering Draconic, the language of dragons.

Vul are very fond of collecting trophies of their victories against dragons. Each rookery collects the items, bones, and treasure of their vanquished foes and places them on display.
Vul are also very fond of collecting weapons, through scavenging, theft or murder.

Vul rationalize this with the belief that anyone who owns a weapon should be willing to raise it in their own self defense. If they cannot protect themselves with it, they don’t deserve to have it. Some Vul are also willing to kill for other valuables, but too much banditry creates powerful enemies for the rookery so the elders expect to be consulted before such action is taken.


Religion


Hierarchy

Vul society appears disorderly on the surface, full of violent squabbles and infighting but in fact they observe a rigid hierarchy of seniority. Elder Vul have the right to be demanding and harass the young, thereby keeping them busy and productive. Younger Vul harass each other hoping to impress the elders.

Elder Council

It is one of the primary goals of an Vul Elder Council to search for an anticipate threats from dragons. Typically there is not much communication or cooperation between rookeries unless they are sharing news about dragons. Messengers from other rookeries are always sheltered and accorded respect, their messages copied and forwarded by each rookery to the next. Visits by other elders are rare, but sightings, rumors, lore and conjecture about dragons are discussed in quorum without qualms, even with visiting elders from other rookeries.

As such, the Vul race are usually more aware and better informed about dragons both near and afar then other races. Indeed it was the need for record and lore keeping in this regard that led to the adoption of draconic as their written language. Their own primitive written language is still useful and sufficient in circumstances when they have to leave markings that no one else can read.


Taboo’s

Young Vuls must never insult or harm an elder. To do so usually automatically invokes a death sentence. Defying an elder individually, or an edict of the Elder Council can also be punished with death. Young Vuls are free to kill each other in public before witnesses with sufficient cause.


Law

Vul society appears disorderly on the surface, full of violent squabbles and infighting but in fact they observe a rigid hierarchy of seniority. Elder Vul have the right to be demanding and harass the young, thereby keeping them busy and productive. Younger Vul harass each other hoping to impress the elders.

Murdering another Vul in secret is risky, and such killings are usually investigated. Killing another Vul who is currently undertaking a task, or otherwise following orders from an Elder, in any fashion is frowned upon. That Elder has cause to punish the one responsible for interfering in their plans.


Customs, Kinship, and Marriage

Female Vul mate for life, and may lay 3-6 eggs at a time, but their offspring are not their responsibility. The rookery frowns on family attachments beyond mated-pairs, preferring the young are raised together in a central nursery. This is done because the young are thought of as an expendable resource for all the elders. This is also why Vul do not have family names.

Female Vuls are smaller and weaker than the males, but no less cunning or cruel. Their role as loyal mates supersedes all others. If their mate dies, they may choose another, or failing that they can take up duties for the elder council, usually as a teacher or nursery caretaker.

Acquiring a mate is an important part of adulthood for Vul. It demonstrates commitment towards Vul society and the rookery. If for whatever reason, a male Vul is undesirable or unfit to find a mate they may be banished. Vul history is full of examples of males going to great lengths to prove their worth to the rookery and a prospective mate by undertaking brave quests. The most famous of these tales, is that of King Vulkh, the first king among {background:black}.|%


Professions

Vul are intelligent, skilled craftsmen and trapmaker’s. But they also loathe physical labor. Vul are instinctual predators. Their desire to hunt whomever, or whatever they wish is their greatest motivation.


Lands


Economy

Vul are capable of trade and bartering when they must, though they have no currency of their own. Vul are intelligent, skilled craftsmen and trapmaker’s. But they also loathe physical labor. As such they do not spend a great deal of time beautifying a rookery. A Vul rookery, depending on its age, usually resembles little more than a natural network of caves on a mountaintop.

The Vul of the Kingdom of Vulkh are much shrewder and proficient in business matters than the average Vul. They have their own currency, customs and laws.


Interracial Interaction


Vul

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