The Urxen: Highly Populous, Social Order, the Greater Good.
Social Hierarchy based on family size.
The Urxen society if focused on familial loyalty. A proper urxen is loyal to one's parents primarily, and then by extension they are loyal to the tribe/the state. There is placed emphasis on the greater good, and strict social order.
Loyalty is only the beginning. Urxen must also show that loyalty through strict obedience and ritual observation. there are 5 different names each for mother and father. Three names for in the home, depending on the time of day, and two names for while in public places ... one to be used on secular days and another to be used on days of reverence or spiritual observance.
A core tenet of urxen spiritual observance is ancestor worship. Some tribes hold claim to Dragon ancestors, while others hold claim to Titan ancestors. Some clans claim they were created during a holy ritual deep within the chasms of the Calebethon. However ALL clans hold reverence for the 'revered ancestor'. It is claimed that the revered ancestor was first among the Urxen. He was created to teach the rest of the Urxen loyalty to their superiors, loyalty to the Titans. It was the revered ancestor that taught the growing peoples of the Urxen the path of virtue, through loyalty and ritual.
Back in the old days, Urxen that would cross the line of disobedience had their minds erased, and were sent into the wilds as little more than 'zombies'. These zombies however would regain some fragments of their former mind over the ensuing months (those that were not eaten by creatures of the wild), and eventually these Urxen became the wild tribes. These Wild Urxen had little memory of the customs and rituals of their origin people, only that they must be loyal to their superiors. Of course the descendants of these wild Urxen did not retain the addled brains of their predecessors, therefore they became fully functioning persons, as opposed to barely surviving half zombies.
These wild urxen would occupy all of the east in small pockets, and after the cataclysm, origin Urxen nomads would combine with the wild urxen nomads to produce healthy and plentiful society under the origin Urxen leadership. Most of these independent colonies became prime targets for slavers however ... and the Trog's hold an entire nation's worth of such peoples in their claws.
After the Titans were gone, mind-erasing was replaced by a sense of shame. Those that had shamed themselves were often ignored and dejected by former friends and family. Some were even exiled outright. Among these dejected peoples, life within proper Urxen cities became miserable. therefore once they had accrued enough belongings and followers, they would tend to venture out into the world as nomads seeking new lands.
Physical traits and the Bloodlines
The Urxen are a bit shorter than most Fallen, and even men. Their lives are relatively short, although there are some that live for extremely long periods of time. These are somtimes known (depending on the Clan they hail from), as either born of magic, born of dragons, or born of titans. Those born of magic tend to be impossible to kill, having their lineage traced back to twisted magic experiments from an age long past. Those born of titans tend to live the longest, even compared to magicborne and dragonborne. Titanborne also tend to have some increased spell resistances. Those that are Dragonborne generally have a higher intelligence, and have an easier time casting spells. Sometimes they are also physically stronger. There is ritual significance in teaching the ancestor language, a language closely derived from one of the five ancient languages (a different one than Magnar knows).
Most Urxen however do have short lives, yet all are highly fertile. Urxen are far more likely to have twins or triplets, and their society greatly encourages multiplets. (The Resolyn, for instance, take twins as an omen to be feared ... twins are always separated. Sometimes the twin is adopted into a childless family, sometimes exiled, and sometimes outright killed). In Urxen society, one's social status has close ties with family size.
The Social Hierarchy
In theory, all Urxen equal. That is, there is no caste system, and any member of society can pursue any form of career ... however there is a strict social code and social hierarchy. That is, everyone has a superior of some kind, and its not always by seniority. Seniority is generally most important during times of spiritual reflection, yet it is also very important in the thousands of small rituals one must perform daily; such as how to address one's superior versus one's underling. Technically your boss could be an underling and your employee could be a superior, although there is a cultural bias that tends to elevate the careers of those with higher status. Another realm where social ranking is very important is in politics. To become a leader, one must pass a number of tests regarding proper ritual and those in office are held to a higher standard of virtue. Those with higher social rank tend to be more educated on proper rituals, so they tend to have a better chance of passing the tests.
So, an Urxen with 5 siblings is typically equal to another Urxen with 5 siblings. The more siblings the higher the status ... however 1 virtuous sibling is worth 5 shameful siblings. Yet no matter how many virtuous siblings one has, if you yourself are shameful ... your status in society will be quite low. You will be able to work decent paying jobs, and own property, but others will look down upon you. Also, people are much less likely to hire a shameful person, or sell their property to a shameful person (its possible, but much less likely). Usually those with shame generally migrate elsewhere.
If two Urxen are both virtuous (ie loyal to their betters and following the rituals), have equal number of virtuous siblings, equal number of virtuous children, both had virtuous parents, and both had an equal number of virtuous aunts/uncles and cousins .... then the person that has lived the longest is considered the Superior (senpai). If both have lived for the same number of seasons, then they are considered full equals and likely quite amiable peers.
In the entire system of superiority, there is first virtuosity, which is of the highest value and is the most fundamental. Next is family. Having a huge family helps, but only if you are loyal to that family. While it is a black mark for one's family to be shameful, or to have black sheep, it is more important that you are loyal to your family no matter what. After that is age. Children without a family of their own always must look up to their elders regardless of family size ... however a full Adult is as important as their family. Immediate family, primarily siblings, are the most important factor when comparing families of similar prestige ... however overall family size and prestige is always important.
-----> In addition to the social hierarchy, the Urxen also have an Emperor. The Imperial family is considered the keeper of the rituals and customs of the Urxen people; often the Emperor will take on a political role as well, but primarily is significance is cultural and spiritual.
Below the Emperor is a complex system of Bureaucrats, Administrators, and Warlords. The current Warlord of Umber acts as political regent of the Emperor, and also happens to be the Emperor's grand nephew.
The Imperial family are all a special hybrid of magic borne and titan borne, and have extremely long lives. Some say that the revered ancestor (from long before the cataclysm) was the current Emperor's grandfather.
The Leader (the warlord)
The current Warlord has 10 siblings, and while he honors the customs of his people, his passion is to Quest and Campaign out in the wildlands. he is quite favorable towards the Dragons, as per custom, but its more than that. His mother was half dragonborne/ half magic borne, while his father was the typical titanborne/magicborne hybrid of the Imperial family.
excerpt:As the Imperial hybrid is not a combination of independent genes, but is instead a mutated 'double' gene that travels as a singular unit. Therefore during formation of a new Zygote, while most hybrids only pass on half of their hybridization, an Imperial hybrid passes on both sides, and leaves room for a 'second half,' however the larger gene generally nulls any expression of the second half, so the chances of a person gaining the Imperial hybrid gene AND gaining the effects of another bloodline are less than 5%.
However the Warlord Kulan fell into that 5%, and therefore while his siblings were generally either Imperial Hybrids, or magicborne, or dragonborne, the Warlord was both an Imperial Hybrid AND Dragonborne.
Due to the customs of being a Dragonborne, his mother schooled him well in the art of the Ancestor's tongue, and taught him of the importance of Dragons and their past.
Therefore the Warlord is obsessed with unlocking each of the 5 ancient languages, and he is really close to fully understanding the first of the 5.
Other than campaigning for the secrets of Dragons however, Warlord Kulan obviously, as his namesake implies, seeks the satisfying crunch of his vast armies obliterating lesser people.
[anecdote for what the Urxen, generally considered the least of the fallen, consider a 'lesser people' to be]
--> By Urxen standards, those with smaller families, and those who are ignorant of the rituals and customs of the Urxen. This would very much include the Trogs, but would also include the races of men. While the Urxen as a whole despise the Kraxis for their general lack of loyalty ... the Kraxis have also taken the time to learn the customs and rituals of the Urxen, and typically maintain such customs while in the presence of a pure-blooded Urxen. Therefore the respect is returned, and the Kraxans are generally honored guests of the Imperial court.
Back to the Warlord, while obsessed with Draconian secrets, and taking pleasure from well-earned conquests ... This war leader is more patient than your typical trog warlord for instance. Instead of killing the enemy, the Warlord seeks to demoralize them. The Warlord would rather see the enemy give up and join his side than have to kill them all, for he must consider the Greater Good for all fallen-kind. Although of note he also treats the humans this way, as slaves are far more effective alive.
The Warlord will never press forward when he is outnumbered ... either he will draw back to his own lands or bypass the enemy to disrupt their outposts. He will only raze an enemy city if greatly outnumbered, preferring to keep cities intact. However he will aggressively destroy enemy outposts.
If he outnumbers the enemy, he will prefer to attack from multiple fronts at once, in an attempt to surround the enemy.
If a scouting army is in danger, he will let the enemy chase his scouts, and then ambush them with a larger 'hidden' force.
If on even terms with his enemy, he will generally try to wait until the odds go towards his favor (if they have been steadily increasing or going back and forth), else he will seek diplomatic alternatives.
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The Urxen religion has two folds. The first fold, which is everpresent in everyday life, is the familial devotion and ancestor worship.
The second fold however, is Harmony with the land. For the Urxen, this involves harmony with beasts ... especially intelligent beasts.
A close connection with the Serpents of the lands come from this. According to Urxen lore it was the serpents, the dragons, that created the earth.
----> According to them there was a World Dragon that controlled all the elements, and gave birth to the first dragons.
This world dragon had 10 heads. Non-Urxen refer this myth as the "hydra myth" ... however the Urxen refer to the beast as "Karna'Kali" something roughly translated into "Mother serpent of the world that controls all elements and is subjugated by none."
Many refer to her as "Kali" for short (mother serpent of the world)
According to the Urxen religion, Kali, even asleep, still swims in the streams below the earth ... causing the tides to turn and the days to turn to night.
Some Urxen believe that if Kali were awake during the Titan wars, a "cataclysm" would not have occurred.
Of course, the real "Kali" is a great serpent (with 10 heads) of strength unimaginable to most Urxen.
one head breathes fire, another breathes ice. One has magical wings on its neck, allowing the entire beast to fly. The Fourth head can speak in the magical tongue, able to conjur a variety of spells. The Fifth head can speak the sound without words, which can nullify any magic in the entire battlefield.
The other 5 heads are more of a diplomatic/personality sort, and each can speak one of the ancient 5 languages (of serpent and man).
The "ULTIMATE QUEST" of the Urxen is to awaken Karna'Kali. The length and purpose of the quest is multi-fold.
Kulan starts with knowledge of 1 ancient language.
the 2nd ancient language can be found either in the hands of Kraxis, or through quests.
The other 3 are only findable through quests. (perhaps can learn a few from dragons?)
Once the appropriate steps have been taken, the Urxen can summon the Hyrda at any time. The main obstacle would be the Ancient Languages.
The Ancient Languages are important because they allow interaction and communication with the Hydra.
Know too few languages, and summon the Hydra, and chances are that you will do nothing more than release a powerful beast upon all the world (such as the Shadow demons are)
However learn all 5 ancient languages first and you have a guaranteed ally.
At knowledge of 1 ancient language, 20% conversion rate (as Kulan knows 1 already, this is your starting point)
At 2, 40% conversion rate.
At 3, 60% conversion rate.
At 4, 80% conversion rate.
At 5, 100% (Guaranteed soldier-ally)
(Contemplative Kali stats below)
For a baseline, the Hydra's attack, defense, and HP are about the same as a full-grown True Dragon. (not a drake, but a dragon such as one of Waerloga's minions ... although perhaps 30% more HP than a regular true dragon. But Attack and Defense should likely be the same.)
If "anti-magic field" is not cast, then the 5th head gets a free cast once each round (regardless of actions). Spells cannot be cast by the Hydra in any other form however.
During a Hydra's turn, she can choose between a physical attack, fire breath, ice breath, or movement.
Movement can either be 1 physical move, ending the turn at +50% physical defense ... or can 'fly' for 5 tiles, without the defense bonus.
Each round where flying is never involved (or just each round), the Hydra regenerates 10 HP.
The Hydra has 5 counter attacks per round.
Each physical attack (on offense) is as if a group of 3. (3 attacks at her attack value)-> by contrast, counter attacks only use 1 head, so don't have multiple attacks .... just that she can counter against opponents 5 different times, each with a different head.
If the Hydra casts "Anti-Magic field" however, neither side can cast any spells for 5 full rounds. This can only be cast once per battle.
Magical Breathes (fire breath, ice breath) and non magical abilities are not affected.
--> physical abilities such as sweep, and creature abilities are not affected. (includes Spider Webs, Dragons Fear, Firebreath, et al)
But anything that requires a spell sphere, a spell book, or a scroll can not be used during this effect.