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Author Topic: Ecology of the Ifriti  (Read 1893 times)
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« on: October 26, 2011, 01:07:03 AM »

Note

I am still seeking out a proper format for my races, as I ultimately want to boil them down to two-page intros that players can read to see which race they're interested in reading further. For that reason, please forgive the jumbled nature of this post, as much of it is shot from the hip.
Ifrit (Red)
The Ifriti are the race of fire, the creation of Firdel and still his most ardent of followers. The only reptilian humanoid to be counted amongst the civilized races, the Ifriti reside in the hot jungles and arid deserts and badlands, harsh places that few other races are able to thrive. They stand tall, with the shortest amongst them still standing over six feet tall. Their bodies are broad yet serpentine, and they are covered with knobby scales of mottled colors. Ifriti are a chaotic warrior race, believing little in honor and chiefly in strength.

Appearance and Physiology
An Ifrit stands between six and seven feet tall, only dwarfed by ogres and valkyrie. Females are taller and broader than males, while males are colored more vibrantly and are adorned with spines along their head and neck. An Ifrit reaches puberty at eight years, and is fully grown at fourteen years. They reach middle age at thirty, old age at fourty-five, and are venerable at sixty; venerable ifrit have been known to live to as much as one-hundred years if they can avoid death through combat. Their bodies are covered in knobby scales, with smaller finer scales on their sides, underarms, and inner thighs. The red ifrit's scales are primarily red and orange, more brown in females, with black bands around their upper arms and legs and back. An ifrit's jaw is large, and their head protrudes to form a snubbed muzzle. Their eyes are small and beady, their nostrils are large, and they have no visible ear openings. Most striking on their face are the fleshy pits that line their wide mouths, used to see heat.

An ifrit possesses fire glands in the back of their lower jaw, which secrete fluids that, when mixed, ignite in contact with air; most are more than capable of keeping the muscles in their glands under control, but young and elderly ifriti are often observed "drooling", with wisps of smoke and embers of fire coming from their mouth. Spitting fire requires an Ifrit to seal their lips and force all the fluid from their glands; they then spray it out, creating a blast of fire.

Ifriti prefer metal armor, and an ifrit would rather trust their own scales than wear leather armor. They favor curved swords like scimitars and falchions. Their metal arms and armor are never adorned with flammable decorations. Many ifriti are adorned with body art, tattoos of sorts made by repeatedly plucking out scales until they do not grow back.

Culture and Religion
Ifriti are chaotic warriors, and even farmers and craftsmen resort to combat to settle their conflicts. To them, battle is a religious experience. Clans war with one another in order to please the Fire Dragon. These battles are typically to first blood, but prisoners are taken from the losing side to be sacrificed (a position that holds some manner of prestige). The Ifrit do not couch their actions under guises of honor; to them, honor is a shield for the weak to hide behind. An ifriti settlement, ranging from a single clan to a grand city, is ruled in name by a king; large cities are made of multiple clans, who have individual leaders who answer to the king. The real power of the ifriti comes from the priests of Firdel.

Male children, upon reaching eight years, leave their clans for a spirit journey, in which they venture out into the jungle to hunt a powerful beast. Returning males then live in a temple for schooling before joining a yearly competition with the other returning males to determine which clan they will join; a male must spend at least six months in a temple, and cannot compete until this time has passed. Higher ranked clans in the city get first choices of males who survive the competitions. Both males and females (before males leave) are taught by their clan. Most ifriti who show magical potential are taken by the church.

Religious celebrations are often joined with athletic and combat events, as well as music (especially drums, chimes, and other percussion instruments). Blood sacrifices are important, especially a divination ritual where a priest or other seeker cuts their self and bleeds until they pass out, thus finding visions. Religious feasts include a gift of food to Firdel, where a portion of each participants' meal is thrown into the celebratory fire. Such gifts to fire are also a part of war and funerals; the Ifriti believe the spark of life is fire, thus everything must be returned to fire.

Family Life and Names
The Ifriti are a patriarchal race, yet their families are matrilineal; men rule the clan, women rule the family. The men of a clan come and go, but it is the females that form the backbone. Males compete with one another to impress their females, and multiple females group together in harems and share the same male. As long as a patriarch is strong enough to fend off his rivals, either through personal strength or the strength of their loyalists, they can remain the leader of a clan. Female children are usually kept within a clan, while the males leave to join other clans. Clans are largely self sufficient, possessing their own farms, craftsmen, and warriors.

Diet
Perhaps contradictory to their appearance, Ifrit are largely vegetarian. They primarily eat beans, squash, and grain, as well as wild and domestic fruits which are delicacies. The only meat they eat is consumed ritually; when hunting a great beast, the heart is consumed to gain the beast's strength. Religious sacrifices are not eaten from, as they are for Firdel.

Architecture
Due in part to their use of and familiarity with fire, the Ifriti primarily build with stone and adorn their buildings with metal, particularly gold and brass. Their temples are pyramids capped with volcano-like pyres. Most other buildings are squat, with lightly sloping roofs, that are built partially into the ground. Prosperous clans have their own compounds, with a communal structure and individual buildings for various groups within the clan (such as the harems of the patriarch's lieutenants). They are skilled metal workers, displaying their workmanship with grand brass statues.

4E D&D; replaces dragonborn in games within this setting

Ifrit Racial Traits
Ability Scores: +2 Strength; +2 Dexterity or +2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares; 30 ft.
Vision: Darkvision (technically infravision)

Languages: Common, Ifriti
Skill Bonuses: +2 Intimidate, +2 Religion
Firdel's Fury: While you are bloodied, you gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls.
Fire's Embrace: You have fire resistance equal to 5 + one-half your level.
Salamander Breath: You have the salamander breath power.

Salamander Breath
Ifrit Racial Attack
Like your elemental kin, you bare your teeth and let out a terrible hiss, releasing a blast of flame from your mouth.
Encounter ♦ Fire
Minor Action
Close blast 3
Target: Each creature in the blast
Attack: Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity vs. Reflex. You gain a +2 bonus to the attack roll.
   Level 11: The bonus increases to +4
   Level 21: The bonus increases to +6
Hit: 1d8 + Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity modifier damage. (Damage increased compared to Dragonborn because of a lack of choice in elemental damage)
   Level 11: 2d8 + Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity modifier damage.
   Level 21: 3d8 + Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity modifier damage.
Special: Use your highest ability modifier of Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity as the ability score you use when making attack or damage rolls with this power.

M&M Racial Traits

Ifrit (Racial Container; entire container is innate (+1 point) but noticeable (-1 point) because most (Int check DC 10) people know the traits)
AbilityPowerCost
Base Abilities+1 Str, +1 Pre, -1 Awe2
SkillsIntimidate +2, Expertise (Religion) +21
ClawsDamage 22
ScalesProtection 22
Fire Breath
(Move action 20 ft. cone fire damage 1/encounter)
Damage 4
(Action+1; Area Cone+1; Encounter-2)
4
Fire Resistance
(immune to environmental heat, +4 saves vs. fire damage)
Immunity 1 (Heat), Protection 4 (limited to fire damage; 1 point)2
Heat VisionSuper Sense (Infravision)1
ScentSuper Sense (Acute Scent)1
Total 15
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 06:05:06 PM by Xeviat » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011, 01:11:43 AM »

Huh, I'll admit to being interested just by the topic title alone. Since this is an unfinished thing I'm not going to comment too much (though I do love the clans warrior to please their God, has a very Aztec feel to it), but I just want to say I'm looking forward to see more, and I'm curious if these are a PC race and, if so, what game/system they're intended for?
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 10:21:55 AM »

Much like Xathan, I don't want to comment seeing as it is not done. But I am very interested in seeing where it goes.
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2011, 05:48:26 PM »

Thanks for the early interest, and sorry for the slow time finishing it.

Yes, they are a PC race. Currently I am using 4E D&D, but I am also considering using 3E Mutants and Masterminds or possibly a modified system of my own crunching.

My goal with all of my setting's races is to separate them from humans as much as I can. I don't want my races to all be human stereotypes, and I'd prefer them to stand out as especially different. Ifriti lay eggs, which lead me to change their gender dynamic. Females do not need to be protected as their eggs can be protected individually. The way males leave their clans suggested a matrilineal family, but their chaotic nature suggested a more dynamic marriage system. Their aggressive nature lead to me keeping a more primitive sort of competing for mates. I made them vegetarians largely to be ironic, but also because I already had more carnivorous races (dwarf, triton, valkyrie) than vegetarian races (elf, halfling), so adding another felt right.

There are probably some holes in the entry, and questions left unanswered, but I am too close to the source (being the source) to see them at the moment. Please, offer suggestions (except for grammatical corrections, I'll deal with those later) and questions, so I can flesh out more.

OH, and congrats Xathan on spotting the Aztec influences before I even posted a whole lot.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 06:10:55 PM by Xeviat » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2011, 08:37:46 PM »

Xeviat

Yes, they are a PC race. Currently I am using 4E D&D, but I am also considering using 3E Mutants and Masterminds or possibly a modified system of my own crunching.

Now I don’t know anything about the M&M system so I can’t give you any commits on it. As for your 4ed stuff, looks pretty good

Xeviat

OH, and congrats Xathan on spotting the Aztec influences before I even posted a whole lot.

Ok now I know you have some stuff already pointing in one direction but I want to throw out an idea for you. Mind you, I am jacked up on a whole bottle of Nyquil. So this could just be an incoherent mess.

I see this race being more primitive then you have described, I see them using only natural materials that they have either found or killed themselves. Wood, stone, animal parts, and glass. Much like the Aztec’s that are somewhat influencing the Ifriti., I see them using Macuahuitl and bows with obsidian tips arrows. Not swords and plate mail.

It would work with the culture that you are going with, they show their strength by killing the creature and using its hide, plates, scales as armor. The Ifriti could even believe that they take on aspects or the power of the creature by wearing is hide. Also it could be used as a status symbol for mating a such.
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2011, 10:01:53 PM »

Woot, I thought it looked Aztecish! laugh I'm going to second most of Steampunk's suggestions, because they fit - but for a more advanced race, if that's what you're going for, you can keep the overall feel. Picture double-bladed swords, where the outer edge is steel while the back edge is an obsidian razor, the first to pierce steel and other hardened armor, the latter for hide or flesh. Armor that's bone overlaid on chain, providing flexibility, durability, and keeping the visual aesthetic of the primitive. Maces with a steel ball and obsidian tips - or tips that are the teeth of a predatory animal. A blend of the modern and the primitive - that's how I'd handle these. 

And I'd go with MnM, because I love MnM to a degree that's almost healthy - though it does have the downside of handling loot very poorly, which is detrimental in any fantasy setting.
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2011, 05:24:03 AM »

Steampunk, your ideas will definitely suit less developed Ifrit groups, Ifrit barbarians as it were, but as one of the civilized races the Ifrit have benefited from some amount of trade between the races for nearly one-thousand years. Thus, their development can't be terribly behind everyone else. I like the more aesthetic primitivisms (I'm making up that word now) that Xathan suggests, as it gives culture but also fits how they will have advanced.

Also, with their proficiency with fire, I don't see them living in a jungle for any longer than they need to. They'll keep the jungle around their cities, since it provides a great protective barrier, but burning the forest down to make farmland and city land just seems too obvious. Also, since you use fire to forge metal (and since my "metal" elemental magic is a mixture of earth and fire), I don't see them being metal-less in their crafts (like my elves are).

I have also reconciled how I'm going to handle loot in a fantasy M&M game: items do not provide bonuses to core combat traits. There isn't such a thing as a +3 sword. There is a flaming sword, which mechanically is useful for providing things to your character that their descriptors just don't justify.
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2011, 10:49:02 AM »

hey whatever works for you. just throwing ideas out, some stick, some don't.
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2011, 11:00:58 AM »

Nothing wrong with throwing those ideas out - never would have an idea for how to manage the technologically advanced cultures if not for what you posted. IMO, any idea, used or unused, is always benefical.

Also, Xeviat, I hope you don't mind but I fully intend on using that aesthetic for my own meso-american cultures in Terra Macabre, because I fell in love with it while I was proposing it. Glad you liked it too! smile
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2011, 01:50:29 PM »

Not at all, it was your proposal. One of the goals with my setting is to try to inspire different races off of different things, and then hide that inspiration under the accoutrements specific to the setting. Like how Tritons have an architecture and democracy suggestive of Ancient Greece, or the pyramids and sacrifices of the Ifrit.

Do you think I have reconciled their warlike nature and tendency towards things other races may define as "bad" with my desire to have them be a "civilized" race (as in a normal player race of a race that won't get too much flack for walking into the human capitol)?
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2011, 03:14:12 PM »

I don't think you need to reconcile it too much - their "bad" traits are very much ritualistic in nature, and most cultures would likely accept that if they've had enough exposure and are at least somewhat openminded - such as in more cosmopolitan areas like a capitol city. However, I could see there being some trouble in more rural areas, but that's not really a bad thing - offers some good story possibilities.
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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2011, 03:54:38 PM »

I'm pretty sure that, for a medieval/Renascence setting, my world is going to end up being fairly open minded, especially amongst the large civilizations.

This writeup has been about my Red Ifrit, the core of the Ifrit and the first. The other group is the Black Ifrit (named because their scales are primarily black, with few red markings) who live in the deserts to the south east of the northern jungles. The Black Ifrit separated because their religious sect believed blood to be so sacred that it should not be spilled just for the sake of spilling it, as is in ritual, but only when the reasons really matter. They objected to sacrifices and the Spartan treatment of children, so they left. Those that left had more recessive black scale traits, so these propogated.

Touching on the setting as a whole, how long does a group of something as complex as a human need to be separated before significant physical differences can be observed? In a world with magic, how limited would one expect technological (even magiteck) advancement to be? The first wave of pyramid construction (a baseline for the tech of the giants, who humans were enslaved to) was between 2600 and 2400 BC. The Renaissance started in the 14th century, which leaves nearly four thousand years between. This seems to mean I can have a rather large history, which would be good because it would give me time for the races to spread and have a lot of history.
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« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2011, 10:12:26 PM »

Quote

Touching on the setting as a whole, how long does a group of something as complex as a human need to be separated before significant physical differences can be observed? In a world with magic, how limited would one expect technological (even magiteck) advancement to be? The first wave of pyramid construction (a baseline for the tech of the giants, who humans were enslaved to) was between 2600 and 2400 BC. The Renaissance started in the 14th century, which leaves nearly four thousand years between. This seems to mean I can have a rather large history, which would be good because it would give me time for the races to spread and have a lot of history.

That question is very, very interesting on the one hand...and on the other, it's completely irrelevant. Even if you assume biology and evolution work the same way in your setting, the very presence of magic would cause certain facets of technology to develop more quickly and others to develop slower, and what matters more than anything else is how much you want for your setting.

However, if you want a more accurate answer, the physiological differences humans exhibit based on climate and region took roughly (if I recall correctly) 15,000 years to develop, and likely even longer - that's just our best estimate based on what we know about evolution and the historic record. And unfortunately I can't find my source for that, which is actually really frustrating me right now.
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2011, 01:00:04 AM »

Okay, so the only changes that should exist between groups of people who mutate like humans in 6,000 years would be things from existing traits in the group that left. Like if most Ifrit are primarily red, but some are primarily black, and the group that fled were primarily black, then there we go (like those moths in England near the coal plants). They wouldn't have significant physiological differences if they truly only separated recently.

Or, they could use magic to influence the rate of mutation, which would make sense for someone moving from a hot humid environment to a hot dry environment.
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« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2011, 06:52:02 PM »

Quote

Okay, so the only changes that should exist between groups of people who mutate like humans in 6,000 years would be things from existing traits in the group that left. Like if most Ifrit are primarily red, but some are primarily black, and the group that fled were primarily black, then there we go (like those moths in England near the coal plants). They wouldn't have significant physiological differences if they truly only separated recently.

Bingo. Also, if you want to accelerate the rate of mutation, you don't need to use magic - instead, any physical traits that they associate with the Red Ifriti they view as distasteful and people with those traits rarely get to produce offspring. It becomes artificial selection instead of natural selection, which works much faster - in 10000-6000 years (depending on who you ask), we managed to turn wolves into those fluffy little things that really aren't part of the animal kingdom anymore but should be placed in the "Pillows with legs" kingdom, and death dealing predatory cats into adorable fluff-balls that chase lasers.
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