by T.A. Saunders ©2003 v1.7
Average Height: 12 feet tall (both genders)
Average Weight: 400-500lbs (both genders)
Description: Golden skin with olive, brown or black hair and gold, amber, green, brown or black eyes.
Languages Spoken: Voraathi, Northlandic and Common (rarely).
Racial Age Limit: Roughly 80 to 100 years.
Racial Nicknames: Brutes, Rock-Diggers, Demon-Killers
Voraath by and large do not vary much in their appearance. This was done purposefully by the Shar’Vaire so Voraath would not become vain or superficial. Uniformity however, does not imply lack of impressiveness. Voraath are an immense people, humanoid in appearance but with over-large shoulders and over-thick legs to provide sturdiness when lifting and moving rock and metal. They possess six fingers and six toes for added grip and control for lifting heavy objects as well. The Voraath have stern, strong features with a slightly over-sized lower mandible that houses small tusk-like teeth that jut out just above their upper lip. Voraath also have a slight, pointed taper to their ears, but nowhere nearly as pronounced as an Elf’s.
All Voraath will always have black, olive or brown hair which can gray over the course of their life and even whiten. Voraath will almost always wear their hair in thin plaits, or shave it off entirely. Some that have had exposure to other lands do wear it unfettered though. Eyes will always be gold, amber, green, brown or black. No other colors are possible.
Likewise, all Voraath have a metallic gold skin. This has not changed over several hundred years, regardless to exposure to elements or hardship. However, to help distinguish themselves, often Voraath will tattoo themselves or wear ear, nose and hair ornamentation made from bone or stone.
Both male and female Voraath can reach an average height of twelve feet height and tend to weigh in at in upwards to four hundred to five hundred pounds of muscle mass. Finding a fat or scrawny Voraath is like finding an Elf without pointy ears; it simply doesn’t happen.
Racial Abilities and Limitations
Superhuman Strength and Endurance: The Voraath as a people are capable of epic feats of strength and endurance, including hurdling boulders, stopping charging Lasher Bulls and storming through a hail of gunfire to kill their target. (+20% to melee attack, +45% to feat of strength checks, natural -40% armor rating).
Battle Rage: A Voraath in any point in a fight may call upon the spirits of their ancestors to throw them into a battle rage, allowing them to strike twice as fast and twice as hard, while taking a great deal more punishment. Battle Rage also has a 30% chance to trigger Berserker Rage if the Voraath in question is also a Berserker (check is made once). This can be done once per day for 1d4 rounds. (+20 to melee attack rolls, extra melee attack per round, -15% to dodging checks).
Slow Regeneration: While resting or remaining only slightly physically active, a Voraath can regenerate any kind of damage, short of decapitation and providing over 40% of his or her body remains intact. Burnt Voraath do not regenerate. (Regeneration in this way takes 1d8 hours for a limb and 1d10 hours for internal damage.)
Immune to all Natural Poison and Disease: As stated, no herbal or naturally occurring toxin can affect a Voraath, nor will they succumb to natural disease. They are also highly resistant to magically-enhanced toxins and diseases. (-20% Mystic Defense bonus vs. Magic toxins and diseases).
Pain Tolerance: The Voraath’s nervous system works in such a way that pain is registered as sensory information, but it does not incur suffering upon them. The greatest act of futility one may engage in is a torture session of a Voraath — which almost always ends with the Voraath getting mad, breaking their restraints then killing the torturer. Pain just makes them angry and more determined. (75% to ignore crippling effects, immune to pain).
Inability to Use Arcane Magic: While divine power maybe called upon, no arcane power will ever work in favor for the Voraath. This includes magical items and weapons. The Voraath must enchant their items and weapons through a special ritual to the Watching Sun, Rune-Forged or weapons from divine enchantment to be able to gain any special talents or powers. (Cannot use normally enchanted weapons.)
Arcane Magic Susceptibility: Not only are Voraath unable to use arcane power, they are also weak against it. Unless heavily warded with shamanistic or druidic rituals Voraath are unusually un-resistant to magical effects and spells. Greater than normal damage isn’t scored, but it is definitely more likely to cause full effect or damage. (+25% penalty to armor rating vs arcane attack)
Death Wish: Voraath do not comprehend fear. There is caution, there is apprehension, but once a battle is joined, a Voraath will not retreat from the fight until victory is assured, he or she is killed, knocked out or if continuing with a battle will besmirch his or her honor somehow. (75% chance to be locked into combat and unwilling to retreat until all enemies are dead).
Vulnerability to the Black Scepters of Najah: Najah Vith was the mage responsible for the creation of the Voraath. With his creation he crafted nine scepters that could be used to discipline and herd the Voraath. These scepters were kept by the Shar’Vaire that were in charge of keeping the Voraath and used to maintain order amongst them. These scepters can physically weaken a Voraath merely by striking with it. They can also cause Voraath to become lethargic and less prone to put up a fight. It is unclear how many survived the Cataclysm of D’Mir, but more than one has shown up in black markets across Tal’rah.
Vulnerability to Najah’s Book of Creation: Along with the Scepters, Najah kept a book that detailed the exact methodology to create a Voraath. The book is said to contain a rite that would allow a mage or a warlock to un-make a Voraath in case of an insurrection. Najah Vith was killed in the overthrowing of the Shar’Vaire Mageocracy and the location to his Book of Creation remains unfound.
Warrior (Bladedancer, Scythe-Witch)
From the Book of Sorrows: A Shar’Vaire Chronicle
So it was the first Voraath rose from the burbling pit of foul-smelling miasma we created ‘life’ from. Is this how the Mother and Father created us? Out of unmentionable things, bits of other failed creations all mashed together and fused to live and breath by sorcery, rather than by divine womb and seed as we as children are often told? I wonder as I look at this…brute that now stands before us, obedient, passive and willing to follow our will onto death.
We were so willing to follow the Mother and Father onto death when this world was young and we were blind, so too will these abominations we have sired through magic to do our bidding, without question. I wonder if it shall also come to pass that they will rebel against us, as we rebelled against the Mother and Father?
I have no doubt these Voraath will dig deep for the Boromandite we require to continue our campaign against the Tallis-Shei. Looking at them, they look as though they could tear down a mountain! Perhaps if they prove durable enough, we’ll even send them after the Elves rather than risking our own people.
It is unknown if they will ever become more intelligent than to sustain themselves through mating and to mine the deep places for us. There will be much to-do I think if that ever becomes the case.
The Birth of The Voraath
A slave race. The ultimate expression of both Shar’Vaire power and arrogance was the creation of the Voraath. A people made to dig in the deep places of the world to bring forth the priceless boromandite ore that is used in all manner of weapons, armors and high grade tools. Not only miners but later, the strongest of them became shocktroopers for the Shar’Vaire. This race initially was obedient without question and protected their Shar’Vaire masters with ferocious vigor when they were endangered.
Then something happened. Something the Shar’Vaire thought they safeguarded against. Something they thought they ensured could never come to pass. However, the most critical lesson of life the Shar’Vaire did not learn or perhaps forgotten themselves was, that Life always grows and evolves past the intent of its creators. It was this coming into sentience that made the Voraath play a key role in the eventual collapse of the Shar’Vaire Empire.
It had been well into the War of the Eternals (the name given to the battle between the Tallis-Shei and the Shar’Vaire) when this sentience came, or at least was realized. Many a Moon Elf had all ready died to spear and blade wielded by these fearsome enemies. Standing at an average of twelve feet tall, with some Voraath reaching fourteen, these creatures were the epitome of durability and efficiency and were incredibly hard to kill either with weapon or spell.
The secret to this was the redundancy the Shar’Vaire designed into the Voraath physiology. Rather than a rib cage, Voraath had thicker ribs that overlapped one another, with cartilage in-between to maintain flexibility while still protecting the over-sized lungs and two hearts that thrummed within their giant chests.
Likewise, limbs could regenerate if severed and grievous injures could heal themselves given enough time. The Voraath’s entire skeletal structure was designed in such a way that they could survive crushing blows of rock and ore falling upon them, giving them a phenomenal durability. Voraath were also made impervious to noxious poison gases that could often be found in the deep mines they dug for boromandite ore, gems and precious metals.
The one thing these powerful giants could not do is wield magic. The Shar’Vaire made their skin this strange gold tincture that makes it impossible for them to draw magical energy within their bodies. The Shar’Vaire felt if the Voraath ever did gain sentience and learned magic of any kind that they would become a terrible threat to the Empire.
To further safeguard against such an eventuality, the Shar’Vaire controlled when the Voraath breed. The ‘ability’ to produce offspring can happen only four months out of the year and Voraath females can only give birth to one offspring per gestation period (which is six months). This ensured they would always small in number and easy to manage.
Voraath are also not incredibly long-lived. Despite having incredibly durable bodies and two hearts to keep their strange blue-tinctured blood moving, the wear on the body to keep it moving takes its toll. The oldest of the Voraath live to be around one hundred years old. while the average is no more than eighty to seventy five. This short life span was intentional to further assist in their population control.
It would have seemed the Shar’Vaire, after many complex and long experimented upon rituals had finally created a perfect slave race to serve them in times of industry and war. While Shar’Vaire warriors in and of themselves were certainly nothing to scoff at, a thundering battalion of Voraath sent down upon your enemies certain had terror-striking blow to their morale.
The Creation Battles the God: The Emergence of Voraath Free Will
There are different theories as to how the Voraath gained sentience. Largely, the Shar’Vaire accept that despite their precautions, that there had been an ‘aberration’ that did not have the natural obedience and docile behavior his or her fellows had. Perhaps smart enough to not reveal this intelligence, he or she spread their aberrant bloodline throughout the Voraath, making an eventual generation of aware and clever beasts to rise up against their sorcerous creators.
The Moon Elves tell a different tale. There is a legend amongst their few and scattered people that one of these Voraath was captured by the Elves near the end of the War of the Eternals and was pitied upon for being this unthinking thing that did whatever his cruel masters sent it to do. The Moon Elves prayed to their new matron goddess, Zorah to grant this poor creature the will to overthrow his masters and be a free creature.
This boon was granted it was said and this one Voraath was sent back to his people and mingled amongst them, freeing their minds with a divine touch, rather than some mistake the Shar’Vaire had made. As more Voraath were freed, more became aware of how they were abused and how their lives were being spent recklessly for the pleasure of their masters.
The truth of the matter has been lost in the smoke of war and the weathering of Time. What is known is that the Voraath learned how commune with Zorah and Kaal, through druidic and shamanistic practices; this allowed them to wield divine power, where any form of sorcerous power was otherwise lost to them. This lends credence to the Elvish tale of the Voraath’s uprising, but is not solid proof. The Shar’Vaire contest that Zorah and Kaal interfered directly to punish the wayward Shar’Vaire for their arrogance.
The Voraath that knew how to fight taught the other ones that were not so instructed by the Shar’Vaire themselves. Those who showed aptitude in practicing shamanistic or druidic magic were shown by those who learned themselves. Always in secret, always when the Shar’Vaire in their lax confidence were not looking upon them.
Finally the chance to strike came with the great political upheaval caused by Surik Dur`lane’s overthrowing of the Imperial Mageocracy. During the fighting between Shar’Vaire factions, the Voraath launched their own offensive on their weakened masters. The Voraath had taken up with a Kal`aire named Ma’hayre and Surik’s own brother Mourne Dur`lane. Both were opposed to both the Shar’Vaire regime and the possibility Surik might come to rule. The rebelling Voraath were convinced to trust the pair and followed them into the multi-faction civil war. After several days of fighting, D’Mir in chaos and the Voraath’s freedom assured, the Voraath, Ma`hayre and Mourne parted company to seek out their own destinies, with a solemn vow by the Voraath that they would recall both heroes in their legends.
The Exodus North
With D’Mir destroyed, Shar’Vaire in chaos and horrific infernal fiends and undead roaming the magic-wasted land at will, the Voraath had no choice but to flee. To the south they knew they would encounter resistance from the Shar’Vaire and getting to the West where Elves were told to be, as well as a possible kind hand in the Quar’Vess was too risky. There was simply too few of them left to risk Shar’Vaire who still had some Airships and still wielded terrible magic, despite the decimation of their population.
The Voraath chose the North then. The cold was of little bother to their durable bodies and the further north they went, the more likely they would not be pursued by Airships since the cold makes them more difficult to fly effectively. The road was still fraught with hardship and fighting with Shar’Vaire survivors and random demons and undead roaming at will, unchecked. Still, as hardy as they were as a people, the Voraath finally made it to the northern shores of Tal’rah.
As fortune would have it, the Voraath refuges ran across Elvish vessels that had been running the northern coast to supply the town of Edgewood which was dangerously close to the Shar’Vaire cataclysm. A deal was struck and the Elves assisted the Voraath to land on the northern continent of Zoda. Largely a forgotten land (because as a whole, the Shar’Vaire hate cold climate) the Voraath chose to settle here, away from the troubles of Tal’rah and their former masters.
It was here that the Voraath settled and took to a nomadic lifestyle in the cold steppe and mountains of Zoda. Having lived all their lives huddled up in caves or pens, these people wanted nothing more than to live out their days under the northern stars and breath the cold air of freedom.
The Voraath found food bountiful in these untamed lands, when they finally taught themselves how to properly hunt. Fishing with spears was commonplace as was chasing down and killing the wild mammoths and other beasts that could provide food, clothing and weaponry. This marked the beginning of the first Voraath tribes.
The Culture of the Voraath
Over the next hundred years, the Voraath grew as a culture in this relative time of peace. The original survivors of the Shar’Vaire cataclysm had grown strong and plenty. Traditions were formed in this time that stressed honor, vigilance, strength and reverence to their ancestors above all else. The Wild Moon (Zorah) and the Watching Sun (Kaal) were also honored for their gifts they granted the Voraath people. The Voraath language was also made in this time.
The staple form of Voraath government was also formed in this era of peace and growth. The Voraath have a tribal elder that has proven his or herself both as a spiritual individual (meaning they are either a practicing shaman or druid) and as a warrior. This elder has four other elders he or she chooses and they decide the direction of the tribe through talk and mysticism.
Voraath do not differentiate between genders; males and females are equal in all things and abilities. They grow to be the same size, they grow to have the same potential for intelligence and strength. The only difference between them is reproductive organs and the allowances to the bodily structure to carry a child. Females tend to be sleeker in build, with more gentle curves, while the males tend to be more brutish.
As stated however, this sleeker build is not a lessening of the female gender. Such is proven with both the Khash-Drahk, which is a hand to hand combat match between male and female, for the male to prove his worth to the female and the Vach-Gao, which is a wrestling match between male and female to determine head of household.
Because of the way the Shar’Vaire crafted the first Voraath, sexuality is simply not a strong sense with them…except for during the four warmest months of the Imarel year that they can mate. Women are as aggressive as men during this time to seek the affection of their mate. With sexual maturation occurring at the eighteenth year of life, most Voraath are selecting their life mates during this time as well.
Those who are without mate and end up the odd Voraath out, usually take this time to go on sojourns into the wildest regions of Zoda to prove their worth to themselves and to their ancestors. This spiritual journey is called the Jhaga. Partaking of the Jhaga is considered honorable and it is expected that many such Jhaga are to be taken in the life of a Voraath. Some will mate, some will learn, it is a time of growth and knowledge for all Voraath.
Overall there are seventeen distinct Voraath tribes across Zoda. They all live in relative peace with one another, due to having a very strict edict of no warfare with their brothers and sisters. When disputes do arise (and they do arise often enough over hunting land and other things) it is first up to the Elders of each tribe to resolve the issue.
If no resolution can be met, then each tribe chooses a champion. These champions meet in a fight to the death (though mercy maybe granted as a sign of respect). These champions symbolize the war that could have been fought between the tribes and it is taken as both a deep honor and a very serious matter.
There are two tribes of Voraath; the Vakar Nas (Crushing Fist) and the Khag-Jaht (Demon-Eaters) that do not follow this particular edict and will wage war on other Voraath and anybody else they come across. They are considered dishonorable and are given no quarter when encountered, nor is quarter given. It was the Vakar Nas and and the Khag-Jaht that assaulted the human city of Blackgate and brought it to ruin.
The majority of Voraath travelers will encounter however will be stoic and trustworthy, strong beyond measure and honorable to a fault. It is said the only thing a Voraath cannot break is his or her word of oath. There are tales of battles fought in far off lands where Voraath have stood on the battlefield alongside Humans, Elves and even Shar’Vaire once in recent past that when all other warriors had fallen or retreated, it was the Voraath who stood their ground onto death.
There are few honors greater for a Voraath than to die in combat, for one’s tribe or for one’s honor. While it is considered dishonorable for tribes to war amongst each other, personal fights of honor; even to the death are considered acceptable and even expected.
Without honor, a Voraath truly has little else and with a loss of honor severe enough his or her family may abandon them or they may be shunned from the tribe. Such Voraath are known as Khaag, or Lost. There are often great tasks one may do to remove the dishonor of a Khaag title; more than one adventuring Voraath one may encounter maybe on such a task to regain his or her honor.