Ulykos (3.5e Race)
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The Ulykan people tend to be a fairly superstitious lot, clinging to traditions fiercely, though they have long ago forgotten the reasons behind many of them. They are also very militant, with a strict hierarchy within each clan built around physical prowess, skill and leadership as a warrior. Due to their high level of training, size and strength, Ulykos are sought after by other races as mercenaries.
The smallest organized unit of Ulykos is called a tent, usually comprised of members of an immediate family. A group of five to ten tents is a pentar, or clan. (Scholars of ancient history claim the Ulykan military jargon is a corruption of terms used by the armies of Bendara, a kingdom destroyed long ago by an infernal catastrophe.)
The pentars are each lead by a Prater, usually addressed by those within his own pentar as "Wise Father" (or Mother.) Praters are identified by their excellent armor, and the metal-shod staff they carry with them, often used on subordinates when physical discipline is required. The Prater is also the only one of the clan, outside the ranks of the cavlars, allowed to ride a war beast.
Ten allied pentars form an egon, of which there are three within the known world, though none of them actually have their full complement of ten pentars. Each egon is led by a Tirbadh.
There are many other ranks and titles among the Ulykos, all of them functional and none merely honorary. The skilled veterans are often made Majits, or Master-of-Arms, whose responsibilities include training and equipment. Those unable to perform strenuous physical tasks become keepers of knowledge, strategies and stories; wisdom from which the younger half-giants learn.
Warfare is the highest form of glory and honor for the Ulykos; it is their way of life. But no nations raid them for the dry, rocky soil (similar to their former homes in the Empty Lands) they have settled. None battle them for their meager wealth. The laws of their god Pyr forbid them to attack other lands without just cause. How, then, could they find the honor that only war could bring to them?
Eventually, a solution presented itself to the Ulykan people. The squabbling lands of the fragmented human kingdoms needed mercenaries, and badly.
Ulykos sometimes find themselves staring at their own kind across the battlefields of foreign kings. Those from the same egon avoid fighting each other, unless it would jeopardize their contract with their employer. Ulykos from differing egons, however, will fight, seeing such situations as ultimate tests of honor and skill laid at their feet by fate. Afterwards, the two sides will set a time to meet, sometimes months down the road, to share remembrance of the battle, especially the fallen, so that they may pass each others stories on to their own egons.
All healthy adults within an egon are expected to be able to account for themselves in battle, and children serve in many basic support functions. The children learn to cook at a young age. ("Pot of gruel" is a common Ulykan saying to describe an easy task.)
Beyond the obvious, working the mess hall is full of rituals and tasks which the adult Ulykos watch the youngsters perform, looking for signs of aptitude for other roles - metalworking, animal handling, leadership, etc. - or if the child is simply destined to join the ranks of the plebes, older children training to become warriors but not yet of age to venture onto the battlefield.
The coming-of-age ceremony known as Crossing the River involves a young Ulykan warrior being sent out into human lands alone to learn the ways of the mercenary tradition. Should they survive, and satisfactory tales of their exploits find their way back to their egon, they will be sent for to join a pentar in the field, or even a specialist tent of elite warriors.
Ulykos stand anywhere from 8 to 10 feet tall and weigh 400 to 700 pounds. They look like very tall, thick-limbed humans and tend to have beetle-browed features. Ulykos can live to be almost 200 years old.
Any, but the typical Ulykos' militant upbringing usually gives them a lawful bent.
Ulykos are wanderer's, nomads who lost their homes long ago. Their beliefs prevent them from settling down in one area too long, and they tend to find locations with little value to others, avoiding unhonorable territory battles.
Automatic Languages: Giant and Common; Bonus Languages: Orc, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin, any Human
Ulykos' names sound vaguely earth-roman in origin.
- +2 Str, -2 Int, -2 Wis
- Base land speed is 30 feet.
- Low-Light Vision 60 ft
- Giant: Ulykos are of the creature type Giant, meaning they are immune to some effects specifically directed at humanoids, such as charm person. Abilities and effects targeting giants do affect them, such as a dwarf's dodge bonus against giants.
- +2 racial skill bonus on Intimidate checks
- Weapon Familiarity: Military upbringing gives Ulykos much more experience with weapons. From early childhood, all Ulykos are taught basic swordplay, and both shortswords and longswords are considered simple weapons for them. In addition, each egon has its own preference as to what other weapon Ulykos children should learn. For example:
- The White Stag egon favors the versatility of the bastard sword, treating it as a martial weapon rather than exotic. They also occasionally employ shields when using their swords one-handed.
- The Sleeping Bear egon prefers the straight-forwardness of the greatsword, and it is considered a simple weapon for them.
- Members of the Wounded Manticore are drawn to the viciousness of the greataxe, treating it as a simple weapon rather than martial.
- Favored Class: Ulykos and Fighter
Ulykos can take up to four levels of "Ulykos" at any time, representing their devotion to physical prowess, trying to achieve the ideal embodiment of a Ulykan warrior. The exercises and rituals involved cause the character to gain about fifty pounds and three inches of height each level.
Hit Die: d10
Skill points at 1st Character level: (2 + Int bonus) x 4
Skill points at higher levels: 2 + Int bonus
Class Skills: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge [War] (Int), Profession [Mercenary] (Wis)
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Ulykos are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, medium, and light) and shields (including tower shields).
- Marching Gait: The Ulykos people have grown accustom to the ceaseless travel involved with both the mercenary life style and their age old quest. Their determined stride gives them a higher base movement (40) than most other giant races of their size, and when performing a forced march, they have a +4 to overcome nonlethal damage from exhaustion.
- Powerful Build: The physical stature of ulykos lets them function in many ways as if they were one size category larger. Whenever a ulykos is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the ulykos is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him. A ulykos is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature's special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect him. A ulykos can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, his space and reach remain those of a creature of his actual size. The benefits of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject's size category.