Claws of the Dragon
Listen to the rocks of the earth. Those around you want to hurry, for they listen to the waters of their blood and the fire of their hearts. You are hewn from living rock. Listen to the rocks of the earth. The call of those around you is the call of the volcano. The fire of other hearts burns hot enough to melt your world around you. Listen to the rocks of the earth.
—Saying from The Liferock, dwarf translation
Obsidimen are a race whose very tissue is stone-like in appearance. Obsidimen are sexless, though they often adopt a gender; they are born of their Liferocks, large stone formations inhabited by powerful elemental earth spirits, and usually found in Barsaive’s wild areas, especially in mountainous regions. Obsidimen from the same Liferock call themselves a brotherhood and usually resemble each other and the Liferock in both coloration and texture of skin, as well as in spirit. Regularly, they travel home to meet with their Brotherhood and merge with the Liferock in communion. While many who meet their first obsidiman assume he is made of stone, obsidimen are creatures of flesh and blood like any other, although they are quite resilient to the effects of weather and injury. They tend to be slow when approaching mundane matters, and the hastiness of some other races unsettles them, as they prefer to take their time and make careful decisions. Though when angered–which only regularly happens if someone insults their Liferock or threatens innocent life–the strong obsidimen are a terror to behold.
Obsidimen are tall, reaching an average height of 7 feet 3 inches. Seen from a distance they seem squat, because their massive average weight of 900 pounds offsets their height. Their craggy skin and bodily tissue incorporate the properties of stone, and the most common coloration is black or gray. The skin of a few obsidimen shows veins of semi-precious stone, such as tourmaline. Obsidimen are mostly hairless and have internal ears completely covered by a thin layer of skin. Their blood, unlike that of most Namegiver races, is a bluish gray.
Obsidimen mature over the first century of their life, which they spend attached to their Liferocks. During this time, the obsidiman communes with the elemental spirit of his Liferock and the other obsidimen attached to it in a state called the Dreaming. After this learning period, he is given his Name, and is free to travel the land as he wishes. Obsidimen will return to their Liferocks from time to time to share their experiences with their Brotherhoods. As they age, obsidimen spend more and more time attached to their Liferocks; they may spend decades showing no sign of being aware of their surroundings, then emerge again in a time of crisis. The average obsidiman has a lifespan of approximately nine hundred years, but many of an obsidiman’s later centuries will be spent attached to his Liferock.
Starting Attribute Values:
DEX 8, STR 18, TOU 13, PER 9, WIL 10, CHA 9
Movement Rate: 5 • Karma Modifier: 3
Obsidimen possess the following racial abilities:
Increased Wound Threshold: Add +3 to the Wound Threshold of obsidimen to represent this race’s inherent resistance to damage from their stone-like skin.
Natural Armor: Obsidimen have very tough skin, which serves them as armor. Obsidiman skin has a Physical Armor Rating of 3. Obsidimen can only wear other types of living armor, which add their protection to the character’s Natural Armor.
Special Rules and Other Considerations
Obsidimen refuse to use most blood magic, making an exception when using blood pebble and living crystal armor. An obsidiman only rarely swears a blood magic oath with another Namegiver. Because such an oath magically connects the True Patterns of the participants and because all obsidimen in a Brotherhood are of the same spirit, connecting the True Pattern of one obsidiman to another Namegiver automatically connects the oath-swearer to the entire Brotherhood.
Such a deed is anathema to the Elders of most Brotherhoods and also to the Council of Four, whose members act as the guardians of obsidiman ways and traditions. Only under certain rare circumstances is it appropriate for an obsidiman to swear a blood magic oath with a member of another Namegiver race. In addition, all obsidimen know that they may one day be called to serve as an Elder of their Brotherhood, which would force them to violate any lifelong oaths sworn with any not of their race.
Obsidimen use a unique ritual to swear blood magic oaths among themselves. The participants merge and remain together in the Dreaming for five days, during which time they swear oaths of blood magic to one another. In game terms, this ritual has the same effects as normal blood magic oaths, but it can only so bind two obsidimen.
Liferocks and Brotherhoods
The profound loyalty an obsidiman feels toward his Liferock and Brotherhood affects game play in specific ways. An obsidiman character will do anything to protect his Liferock and Brotherhood, even sacrificing his life in their defense. If an obsidiman’s Liferock comes under attack, the Liferock sends a call for help to all the members of its Brotherhood through the elemental spirit they all share. Every member of the Brotherhood must respond to this call in whatever way possible. Those in close proximity to the Liferock must return to it immediately and defend it, and even those several days’ travel away must return as soon as possible. In the same way, an obsidiman must aid any member of his Brotherhood who needs his help.
When a player character’s Liferock is threatened or a member of his Brotherhood dies, the player character must make a Perception (4) Test. If the test succeeds, the obsidiman hears the call of his Liferock and knows that it is threatened or that one of his Brotherhood has died. An Excellent or better result tells the character which of his brothers has died.
If the test fails, the character will receive the call (and learn the Name of his fallen brother, if applicable) sometime within the next two days. As a penalty for his failure to devote a sufficient part of his awareness to his Brotherhood and Liferock, the player character should hear the call at the most inopportune time; say, in the middle of a battle. No obsidiman can say why such a call always seems to interrupt some other important event, though some consider it punishment exacted from an obsidiman too involved with his own affairs to hear his Liferock.h5. Armor
While any obsidiman would be perfectly able to wear any suit of armor (provided it was tailored to his size), most of them generally refuse to do so, for the same reason that obsidimen prefer to wear as little clothing as possible.
Most obsidimen feel that surrounding their bodies with dead material puts a barrier between them and nature, which is the reason why they prefer to wear only living armor that is a part of nature due to being alive. Most obsidiman consider stone armor close enough to the earth to be worn in times of need, but some brotherhoods may as well consider it lifeless, as the stone has been cut out of the earth.
Obsidimen receive their Names during the Awakening, given to them by their Liferock. Over the course of two decades, the Awakened learns about the world from fellow brothers, and during this time he discovers the Name that was given to him.
Amaltham, Belarus, Cedrok, Domnur, Erathun, Forr, Gothus, Haralayelus, Imodun, Jarralak, Korum, Laramanus, Monuk, Nostrus, Ophranim, Physt, Quaron, Redurus, Sogun, Torukor, Uhnar, Voltor, Wethysor, Xamdar, Ygasu