4
Apr

Frontiers – Skagar

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom   in Frontiers

Broad, bold, and hard to kill, the troll-like humanoids called the skagar are typically between six and half to eight feet tall. Their skin tones range from an elephantine gray to deep forest greens and earthy browns, with their oily hair in a darker shade. Their long-fingered hands can vary in the number of digits, typically from three to six, one of several common mutations that occur as a byproduct of their regeneration. Their power of regeneration is slower than their theorized trollish cousins, but still extraordinary when compared to other civilized humanoids. Skagar can regrow severed or shattered limbs, cling to life in the face of disastrous blood loss, and even recover from trauma to the brain and heart that does not kill them outright. Not only does their hypernatural capacity for recovery make them hard to kill, it allows their bodies to accept alchemical and mechanical augmentations much more easily than other humanoid species.

When the invading orcish hordes from Ber-Tud were rebuffed at the Battle of Collerophon, they left behind legions of their slave soldiers, drawn from the human, goblin, and skagar tribes native to their dark continent. The goblins, enraged by their shamans’ rites and jungle alchemy, fought to the last man. The humans and the skagar, on the other hand, turned on their orcish slavedrivers and surrendered to the Legions that threatened to annihilate them. The Empire claimed them as slaves, as was its practice with conquered peoples, but permitted them to earn their freedom through service to the Empire. The humans were assimilated and eventually offered citizenship, but the skagar, their frames and features more monstrous than the magistrates were willing to freely accept, were not. The skagar were kept at the fringes of society, forced to put their strength and resilience to work in perilous, backbreaking work in dangerous construction, grimy sanitation, and the bloody arena. While skagar were accepted into mercenary companies chartered and contracted by the Empire, they were forbidden from entering the Legions and earning the citizenship and legitimacy that comes with a veteran’s discharge.

When the halflings of the Lost Clan arrived from Dasago, displaced by the great golden dragon that had fled the Empire’s draconic massacre, they found similar difficulties to the skagar in acclimating to the native culture. Their response was to adopt a nomadic lifestyle. Finding kinship with the lonely skagar, they began inviting them along. Thousands of skagar traveled and still travel with the halfings in their slow circuits of the Old World, happier to tend and guard caravans among fellow outcasts than to labor as an underclass. The skagar and the halflings have a friendly dichotomy that puts lie to the discrimination the skagar face from humans and elves for their perceived brutishness. Halflings and skagar that turn to adventuring often do so in pairs, a clever halfling’s nimbleness complimenting her skagar partner’s stout brawn and hardiness.

Since the fall of the Empire, most Old World countries have maintained the Imperial custom of denying skagar full citizenship, prompting many skagar to pull up stakes and move across the ocean to the now-open New World. Gnoss, desperate for loyal soldiers to help fight their civil war against Dnass, was the first to allow skagar to vote and own property in the year 503. Not to be outdone, Dnass followed suit two years later, creating the conditions that allowed the rise of the Tödbilder family and their weapons production dynasty. Life in the anarchic province of Treb is just as chaotic and difficult for skagar as for anyone else, and the Konetti Federation still deny skagar adoption into their merchant houses. Skagar face a tough time in Siea, where the ruling elves have difficult enough relations with their native human neighbors. In Nebre, the dwarves proudly consider themselves hardy enough for their own difficult labors, but frequently invite skagar mercenaries to help fight the invaders from deep underground, while the aboveground socialist revolutionaries espouse equality among humanoid species as one of their tenets.

Skagar often turn to adventuring and mercenary work as a way to find their fortunes and escape lives of persecution. Skagar are as intelligent and inventive as other humanoids, as proven by the success of the Tödbilders, but their natural talents for brawn and recovery lead them into roles as bruisers, holding the line with a sword or axe, soaking up damage with their tough bodies while their strong arms deal it out. Their propensity for close-range combat biases them towards shotguns over rifles, and their bodies’ tolerance for invasive surgeries allows them to implant armor and weapons into their flesh and anchored to their bones. Early in their adventuring careers, skagar often grapple with resentment for their softer-bodied compatriots, who expect them to keep their fast-healing selves between the group and danger. As they settle into their roles, that resentment gives way to pride in their species’ unique strengths, and pride in the respect they’ve earned.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2011 at 6:37 pm and is filed under Frontiers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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