Friday, December 31, 2010

[LPJ Design] Races of NeoExodus: Dalrean Preview

Dalrean are a race of sentient, mobile plants.  If a treant is a thinking tree, a dalrean is a thinking flower, and indeed, the spellcasters of this race are noted for their astonishing floral ‘spellbuds.’  dalrean, who live exceedingly long lives, are closely tied to the natural cycles of Exodus.

Personality:  Dalrean are extremely social creatures, with a culture rooted in constant spore communication.  A dalrean patch is invariably tranquil and united, and under normal circumstances, individuals within it are likewise the most calm and sociable of creatures.  A dalrean separated from the society of its kind becomes morose and nervous, and a dalrean deprived of even the substitute company of other intelligent creatures may become severely, even dangerously, unbalanced.

Physical Description: Dalrean are blueish-green-skinned, eyeless humanoids, slightly less than 6 ft. in height, with a ‘fin’ running from the top of the head to the small of the back.  Some observers erroneously conclude from this that they are an offshoot of aquatic humans or elves from the deepest oceans.  Beneath its relatively conventional exterior, a dalrean’s physiology is quite unique.  Dalrean are actually plants, reproducing via seeds and deriving sustenance from photosynthesis.  A dalrean possesses floral equivalents to the muscles and skin of most fauna, but these are little more than camouflage; its physical workings operate under entirely different principles.  This difference is more obvious in the case of a dalrean spellcaster; when the creature generates brilliant flowers called spellbuds on its body.

Relations: Because dalrean custom and psychology are so alien, and their homes so isolated, other races have little contact with these intelligent plants.  Humanoids tend to see dalreansas a sort of boogie-men, equally capable of calm beneficence and unfeeling cruelty, and switching from one to the other for reasons that would seem trivial to a creature of animal ancestry.  For their part, the dalrean are mostly tolerant of their animalistic neighbors.  If a dalrean patch’s customs are violated, however, they will neither forget nor forgive.  Yet, because dalrean operate on a different timescale than most creatures, their vengeance may come countless centuries after an offender has died of natural causes, and the dalrean will scarcely know the difference.

Alignment: The vast majority of dalrean are true neutral as far as outsiders are concerned.  The majority of exceptions appear Lawful Neutral or Neutral Good.  Dalrean do not experience enough internal strife to make such distinctions; they are almost universally ‘good’ to their own patch and disinterested in the wider world, including dalrean of other patches.

Dalrean Lands: Dalrean occupy the deepest wildernesses of Exodus, from deserts to jungles, although they do favor warm lands over cold.  Each dalrean patch is a nation unto itself, unable to comprehend such notions as politics or loyalty to creatures outside spore communication.  Sages debate the origins of the dalrean race, proposing as wildly diverse suggestions as Bal, Sametia and even Ablis.

Religion: Dalrean psychology is unable to grasp the concept of a being “outside” the network of life, such as a god.  Most dalrean patches subscribe to a belief in a universal interconnectedness that mimics on a larger scale the close connection the members of the patch experience among themselves, but beyond this nebulous concept, ‘divinity’ is outside the dalrean experience.

Language: Dalrean normally do not speak.  They do have the ability to speak as normal humanoids, however they will often communicate by modulate their communications spores to elicit complex and tailored emotional responses; a humanoid “speaking” with a dalrean believes he is hearing the creature, or at least experiencing its thoughts telepathically, when his actual reactions are physiological.  Dalrean can understand languages normally.

Names: Dalrean do not have names within their patches; such divisions make little sense to them.  A dalrean forced to deal with “meat” races will adopt a nickname in the local language, usually one relating to plant life or nature.

Adventures: At intervals known only to the dalrean, individuals will leave a patch and scatter like seeds in the wind.  These wandering dalrean have trouble expressing their motives to animal-based intelligence; the best they can manage is to call their journey “spreading an oneness.”  Other dalrean are forced into a life of adventure when misfortune befalls their patch.