Endless Blue – Week 11 – Orcan   10 comments

Biology

Orcan — Poet Warriors of the Endless Blue

Orcans are a contradiction in piscean form – massively built but essentially peaceful, unfathomably wise yet explosively rash.  They consider themselves the first civilized race on Elqua despite their barbaric origins, and take pride in the fact they converted their original savage ways into a strict martial lifestyle that married with their artistic and philosophical minds to become a race of contemplative poet-warriors renown across the oceans of the Endless Blue.

Personality: Usually reserved and patient, Orcans find spiritual fulfillment in investing extensive effort over long periods of time.  Forward thinkers, they have an astute ability for visualizing goals and taking the necessary steps to achieve them.  They are perfectly suited for tasks that require prolonged dedication and delayed results.
Physical Description: Orcans are a Large race, reaching 9” to 10’ long.  Their skin is thick with blubber, yet their bodies are well toned.  Their heads are somewhat bullet shaped, with their faces extending into a curved snout.  Instead of conical ears, the Orcans possess a tympanic membrane on either side of their head just above where their jaws meet their thick necks.  Ruffled bands of muscle extend from their lower jaw to just above their solar plexus, and their chests are barrel-shaped.   Their pelvic and tail fins evolved into flippers and a fluke, and their meaty hands consist of three fingers and a thumb each.
Relations: Orcans view the other intelligent races as bickering children, and will often chide them for their behaviors, yet will resolutely not interfere.  They have allowed the Shellback War between the Chelon and Lumulus to rage for countless centuries despite their homesea laying between the two antagonistic bodies of water.
Alignment: Orcans are usually lawful, even those of the Narwahl that still cling to the old Cetacean Barbarian ways.
Homeseas: The homesea for the Orcans lies in the northern and western section of the Periphery around the Core.
Religion: As one of the “civilized” races, Orcans have abandoned the practice of Pantheon worship.  However, they still cling to the old ways of ancestor deification.
Language: Orcans speak Cetacean, a complex language perfectly suited for their vocal flexibility that at its root puts more emphasis on the pitch of speech than on the words spoken.
Names: In contradiction to their physical presence, Orcan names tend to consist of soft consonants and extended vowels, with a melodious sound well suited for singing.  Males tend to be named after their grandfathers (patriarchal, then matriarchal), while females are named after their grandmothers (matriarchal, then patriarchal).  On the off chance parents conceive of more children than the convention allow, the granduncles/grandaunts are then honored, descending in age.  Family names are the same as that of the pod.

Male Names: Anzaan, Ensho, Fuyoo, Sunyan
Female Names:
Enmei, Farahl, Issoh, Lulesh
Family Names:
Fushin, Hoyun, Mumol, Zenish

Adventurers: Adventuring Orcans have a little more of that hereditary wanderlust that drove the Cetacean Barbarians warring across the waves of Elqua.  They will enjoy venturing to new places, meeting new people, learning new things, and fighting new foes.  The race as a whole has an almost rapturous viewpoint in all things, be it lethal combat or uproarious camaraderie.

Racial Traits

Ability Adjustments: Orcan – Constitution +4, Charisma +2, Dexterity -2
Narwahl – Strength +2, Constitution +4, Wisdom -2
Automatic Class Skills: Listen, Perform (sing)
Skill Bonuses: +2 racial bonus on Intimidate and Innuendo checks.
Bonus Hit Dice: Orcans and Narwahl start with +1 Hit Die at 1st level
Natural Weapons: Orcans have a Bite (1d6), while Narwahl instead use their dental tusks to Gore (1d6).
Movement: Large Creature (2 cubes tall), base speed 40 cubes.
Senses: Echolocation
Buoyancy: Shelf (adjustable)
Toughness (Ex): Orcans of both varieties posses damage reduction equal to their Constitution modifier from non-lethal damage.  This ability applies to non-lethal damage regardless of the source, be it from subdual attacks, environmental hazards, or biological stress.  However damage can never be reduced to less than 1 point.
Favored Class:
Orcan – Monk (Monk Orcans can multiclass, ignore the restrictions of the Monk class).
Narwahl – Barbarian (Narwhal do not need to meet the non-lawful alignment criteria to become a barbarian).
Social Flaw:
Hubristic
Base Height: Male – 9’1” (+ 2d6 in.)
Female – 8’5” (+ 2d6 in.)
Base Weight: Male – 500 lbs. (+ height mod. x 3d6 lbs.)
Female – 450 lbs. (+ height mod. x 3d6 lbs.)
Automatic Languages: Cetacean, Elquan
Bonus Languages: Chelon, Lumulus, Koutonese
Level Adjustment: +1

Orcan society is ritual based, and beginning essentially from birth the young are trained, tested, and re-trained in every facet of their society.  It is rare that an Orcan will pass these tests on the first try, and their civilization acknowledges this fact by incorporating a belief that failure is not catastrophe.  In a savage world like Elqua, failure results in damage and death, and as a result of their embracing failure as a lessoned learned, scars have become a bragging right. Scarification has become ingrained into the society, comparable to what tattoos are for ours.

One of the most important rites of passage for a young Orcan is mastering their pod’s school of martial combat.  Nothing means acceptance to an Orcan than knowing they have mastered the same fighting prowess as their father and mother, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings have for generations before them.  It is common to find the entirety of a pod possessing the same feats, wielding the same ungues, armored in the same nautiluses as their brethren, unified in belief, in skill, in blood – a communal martial family.

This does not mean their style of fighting is rigid or antiquated, incapable of innovation or adaption.  Indeed, Orcans are very open to learning new ideas and techniques, and successfully incorporating them into their established methods.  It is of particular honor to have one’s innovation officially incorporated into the pod teachings, to be taught to subsequent young warriors on into eternity.  This most frequently happens with marriages, where one of the two bonded chooses to join to the other’s pod, and as a sort of dowry contributes a part of their original pod’s style to his or her new family.

But might is not all that defines an Orcan.  They challenge their minds as well as their bodies, and many of their martial teachings also teach philosophy and reason.  Claiming spirituality rather than religion, Orcan revere their ancestors as guiding spirits that watch over the lives of an Orcan and help guide it towards prosperity and happiness.

Leadership over a pod is usually assumed by the most hale and healty, eldest male still of functional age.  The pod’s alpha, this is not just a matter of whichever Orcan can best the previous alpha in combat.  There are traditional rituals both Orcans must test themselves with, and though there will always be physical trails due to the harsh surroundings on Elqua, wisdom and charisma are just as important to a leader as strength is.  Most alphas are aware of their progressive age and dwindling faculties, and will usually accept the challenge to their leadership thankfully, for the better of the pod.  But they will still insist on the completion of the trials to prove the new leader’s abilities.  No alpha would pass on the mantle of command to an unfit successor and still live.  And even if a new challenger deposes the established alpha, the pod can refuse the usurper’s status of their free will.  It is inconceivable for an Orcan pod to be controlled by a tyrant unless the majority of the pod shared in his cruelty.

“Life began in water; today it ends in blood…”
Warcry of the Cetacean Barbarians

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