Aroakan & The Ringar Hills
The icy north is separated from the Green Wood and the human empire of Alanthor by a range of undulating hills and occasional volcanic mountainous spires.† Until 5000 years ago these hills were overrun by orcs and fimir, and then the hills and valleys were sunlit and temperate, but both of these things changed when Cadradriel Ringar arrived.† The story of the elven mage Ringar, the banished one, is long and infamous among elves; here it is suffice to say that Ringar had ambitions beyond his station and the actions he took in attempt to achieve those ambitions have separated him forever from his race.† Ringar left the Green Wood and came north to this savage frontier and used his god-like powers to mould the land to his whim.
The Ringar Hills are a lasting testament to the power of the great elf mages, for Ringar was never ranked among the greatest of them but still his power was sufficient to ward the hills in a perpetual mist which has lasted longer than the empires of man have stood.† Then, wrathful after being banished by his peers, the mage unleashed his fury on the orcs; slaying them in their tens of thousands, scouring the hills of all life.† Alone in his mist shrouded aerie he brooded for a full century, strengthening the wards over his fief to thwart all but the most potent of scryings.
It was only when humans began coming south that Ringar stirred.† The humans had until then lived only in the icy north and their numbers had been kept in check by the hordes of orcs, but Ringarís decimation of the orc species had unintentionally resulted in a shift in power.† In the hundred years since the scouring of Ringar six generations of the short-lived men had been born and their numbers had increased thirty fold.† Now having exhausted their food resources these humans had come south and penetrated into the misty wilderness.† Ringar saw within these creatures a servile capacity; he used his power to enslave and twist the humans into creatures more suited to his needs, thus were created the Aroakan, men with the wings of birds to carry them over the mists enspelled to make them forever loyal to the mage who created them.
Only one elf had watched Ringar all this time.† Aethlis, Dol Cadradriel, mightiest of all the elves and leader of the Ferendel, had kept a tireless eye upon the banished one and no barrier to sight Ringar had raised was proof against him.† The archmage was enraged by Ringarís actions, for to enslave an entire race was unconscionable to elves.† Aethlis appeared before Ringar in a blazing flash and lashed out against him.† In an instant Ringar had gone from being absolute master of his realm to being held completely in the thrall of the great mage.† Aethlis grasped the immortal soul of Ringar and pulled it apart a thread at a time, unweaving his spells of enslavement and stripping him of his greatest powers.† Still the archmage felt that Ringar might, even in his diminished state, exact some revenge upon the race of man, so Aethlis would turn Ringarís greatest spell against him: the mist which had been his fortress would become his prison.† With several tribes of men safely through beyond the mist Aethlis released Ringar and left.
Ringar quickly recovered, as is the way with elves.† Not all the Aroakan had been returned to human form and while he could not rule them as he had wished, Ringar was still a powerful wizard capable of intimidation, bribery and acts of great destruction.† It did not take long for the birdmen to fall under his heel, though it was as subjects rather than slaves.
Aroakan, often called birdmen by other races, are physically similar to humans except for the large wings which sprout from their back.† The wings, when unfolded, are about twice the Aroakanís height in width and their colouration is highly variable; going from deep red all the way through the spectrum to light blue and the wing colour of parents seems to bare no relation to the wing colour of children.
Aroakan live in aeries carved at the top of Ringarís many volcanic spires and a single spire may be home to as many as a hundred Aroakan providing it reaches far enough above the mist.† Aroakan have introduced a variety of game animals into the Ringar hills and survive by hunting these creatures, flying over the mist and using their infra-vision and bows to kill creatures who might never have even known they were being hunted.
As a side effect of their avian parts the Aroakan do not give birth to live young, but actually lay eggs.† A clutch of Aroakan eggs will tpically number three or four, only one of which will survive to adulthood.† The high mortality rate for Aroakan chicks is due in part to orcish raiders; Aroakan eggs are considered a rare delicacy worth their weight in gold to orcs, lizardmen and very occasionally dwarves (who will eat anything).† The clutch will be defended by either the male or the female, with the other parent hunting.
Most Aroakan are subservient to the mage Ringar, and are almost always ranger classed.† Those Aroakan who do not serve Ringar may be rangers, druids, specialist illusionists or sometimes thieves who function as assassins and find their ability to fly is a considerable asset to them.
Creating An Aroakan
All characters on Saas have their abilities determined by a points system rather than dice rolling.† Aroakan are not as physically strong as humans, because they must be able to fly their bodies must be light.† Aroakan have 81 points to spend on their stats, which must be within the following limits.† Aroakan may be rangers, druids, illusionists or thieves.
Attribute: Min / Max
STR: 3 / 16
DEX: 6 / 19
CON: 3 / 16
WIS: 3 / 18
INT: 3 / 18
CHA: 3 / 18
Aroakan have the following special abilities.
Fly: Aroakan can fly at a rate of 18í (with normal movement bonuses applied) at class B.† Though they tend not to swim, if an Aroakan learns how they can use their flying rate instead of their normal swimming rate.† Aroakan can only carry 50 pounds of equipment and still fly at this rate, regardless of their strength.† If they carry 51-75 pounds their flight rate drops to 12í at class C and at 76+ pounds they cannot fly at all.
Infra-vision: Aroakan have infra-vision (the ability to see heat sources) which is effective at up to 120í.
Hunters: Aroakan live by their skill as silent hunters.† When firing only one shot with any missile weapon in a combat phase they receive +2 to hit and damage (this is not magical and does not confer an ability to damage creatures not normally affected by non-magical weapons).
Non-Vital Race: Aroakan are a non-vital race and require a fetish of some sort to cast any spells.† This fetish replaces material components less than 100gp in value.† For druids and rangers this is mistletoe, for illusionists this is a special stone called a mist rock which is found only in the Ringar Hills and functions as if continual light had been applied to it.† These stones are only effective for one year after being removed from Ringar at which point a new stone must be obtained and recharging is not possible.