Azer (4e Race)
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Dwarves infused with the power of flame, servants of the great fire giants
|Average Height: 4’5” – 4’9”|
|Average Weight: 180 – 220 lb.|
|Ability Scores: +2 Strength; +2 Constitution or Wisdom|
|Speed: 5 squares|
|Languages: Dwarven, Giant|
|Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Endurance|
|Elemental Origin: You are native to the Elemental Chaos, so you are considered an elemental creature for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin. You have the fire keyword, which may affect how certain powers or abilities affect you.|
|Encumbered Speed: You move at your normal speed even when it would normally be reduced by armor or a heavy load. Other effects that limit speed (such as difficult terrain or magical effects) affect you normally.|
|Flaming: You shed bright light to 2 squares, and dim light to 4 squares. In addition, you can ignite flammable objects by touching them.|
|Fire Resistance: You gain resist 5 fire. This resistance increases to 10 at 11th level and 15 at 21st level.|
|Warding Flame: You can use warding flame as an encounter power.|
The azer were once dwarves who became servants of the fire giants; whether this was by choice or by force has been forgotten over the years, though proponents of azer independence vehemently claim it was the latter. Over time, prolonged exposure to the energies of the great Elemental Chaos has altered their bodies and infused them with the very flame that surrounds them.
Azer greatly resemble their dwarven ancestors. They are very slightly taller and heavier on average, but are otherwise almost identical in stature. Their skin is dark bronze, brown, or even black, while their eyes are featureless orbs of pure orange, yellow, or red. Unlike dwarves, however, azer are completely hairless. Instead, their heads are wreathed in flames that always burn for as long as the azer lives. Typically, the flame wraps around the azer's head fairly evenly, giving it the appearance of having both hair and a beard formed of fire, but some have "shaped" flames that cover only part of their head.
Azer belongings are simple but expertly made, often composed of bronze or copper; they use other metals only in their weapons. A common myth holds that azer-forged bronze is impervious to fire, but such rumors hold no truth. While the bronze the azer use is indeed tempered to withstand higher temperatures than normal in order to last on their home plane, it can be readily melted in a forge's fires or by a red dragon's breath.
Azer mature at roughly the same rate as dwarves, reaching adulthood around 20 years of age, but live noticeably longer, rarely dying before the age of 250.
Attitudes and Beliefs
Azer are calm and collected, rarely letting their emotions get the best of them, and they work extremely well in groups. They are among the most industrious races known, with vast cities spread out across nearly every plane. Perhaps best known of their cities is Surntra, a massive fortress of bronze constructed for their fire giant masters deep within the Elemental Chaos. Housing several hundred fire giants, thousands of azer, and circled by no fewer than four bronze walls each two hundred feet thick, it is said that no enemy has ever set foot in Surntra, and there are few who would dispute that claim. It is also a popular trading hub, bringing together races from hundreds of miles around with the promise of wealth.
Azer society is rigid and carefully structured. Every individual, no matter how insignificant, fills their own role within the settlement and contributes to its overall well-being. Each azer belongs to two important groups: a family clan and a working caste. A family clan identifies the azer's lineage, though some azer are adopted into a clan if his family is slain and are thus not actually related. The clan also helps determine the azer's future work: when an azer comes of age, he must choose what position he wishes to hold, but those from prominent families are given first pick and thus usually secure the most desirable positions. An azer's working caste, on the other hand, simply identifies what position he holds and for how long he has held it. There are multiple castes within a single profession, and an azer moves up as he exhibits exceptional skill in his field. An azer who holds a desirable working caste and comes from a noted family clan claims great influence indeed.
The vast majority of azer still serve under the fire giants; some speculate that without the azer producing their weapons, armor, and siege engines, the fire giants would have died out when the giant empires collapsed many years ago. Believing that order and honor are more important than valor and chivalry, the azer have no qualms with serving evil beings, even though few are themselves evil, much to the disgust of other races. They are often stereotyped as being either evil or foolish for serving such cruel beings, but the azer see it as their duty. Some individuals azer, however, have decided that serving the fire giants simply for the sake of some vague concept like honor or duty makes them nothing more than puppets. These azer, known as the Kindlers, are looked down upon by their peers as shameless deserters; they are always exiled from azer society, unless their former fire giant masters find out, in which case they might very well face execution.
The azer have no patron deity of their own, although many recognize Moradin as their ancestral god and still worship him to this day. Others pay homage to the very fire giants that rule over them. Those with more evil tendencies typically pay homage to Bane, whose strict rule and adherence to structure are already part of azer culture. Oddly, followers of Moradin and Bane not only coexist but thrive amongst one another in azer society, their desire for structure and efficiency completely overruling any animosity the two groups might feel towards one another.
Azer favor the fighter, ranger, and warlord classes. Three sample azer adventurers are described below.
Tyd is a noble born to a renowned family clan and given the great honor of being a diplomat for his home city of Rdnar. He treads a delicate path, often having to resolve issues between multiple azer and fire giant cities at the same time, careful not to let any one issue grow out of proportion to the point that it threatens the integrity of any participant city. Lately, however, a rather verbose group of Kindlers have been pressing for "greater independence" from outside the city boundaries, and Tyd doesn't know how much longer he can keep the fire giants from finding out about it.
Hesca is a blacksmith and engineer of some repute, much to her chagrin. After leaving her city nearly fifty years ago to escape the oppressive reign of her fire giant masters, Hesca now finds herself hounded by agents with an unknown agenda; she assumes, however, that her previous overlords are out to get her and is seeking someone to help her protect herself, fearing for her life.
Avantr is not a slave — he serves his fire giant masters not only willingly but with unmatched devotion and enjoyment. In his life he finds fulfillment only when his masters are pleased with his work; any minor displeasure they feel causes him great distress, which he immediately seeks to correct. The Kindlers are ever a thorn in his masters' sides, and he hopes to one day be rid of them entirely.
Roleplaying an Azer
When creating an azer adventurer, here are a few points to consider.
- to be a member of a race that has toiled under the giants.
- to be a creature of elemental fire.
- to be an unusual relative of the stoic dwarves.
Azer names draw their roots from the Dwarven language, but also integrate the Giant language, as well as several other languages native to the Elemental Chaos. Azer clan names were originally Dwarven as well, but in modern usage are usually mixed with words from the Common tongue — an odd practice, considering few azer actually speak Common. Many male names contain hard consonants that replicate vowels, while female names tend towards two-syllable words with softer vowels.
Azer Characteristics: Calm, ordered, obedient, reserved, subservient, tough, loyal, traditional.
Azer Male Names: Avantr, Dralr, Grsik, Keldrin, Melgann, Redrek, Torlir, Tyd, Ustur, Zarr.
Azer Female Names: Bedga, Edris, Fane, Hesca, Keytin, Loka, Odryn, Peirunn, Sethra, Vonde.
Azer Clan Names: Ancestra, Anvilik, Falforge, Garflame, Honorek, Lionend, Morhammer, Tormace, Travroc, Valoris.
Azer Racial Feats
|Burning Blood||Immunity to fire and additional fire damage with metal weapons while bloodied;|
|Fiery Redoubt||+2 bonus to fire damage rolls while warding flame is active.|
|Firewrought Endurance||+2 bonus to Endurance; extra Con modifier hit points regained when healing surge spend while bloodied|
|Conflagration||Warding flame aura increases to 2 squares; only effects enemies.|