As promised in the last post, here are the beruch. Since their initial mention, I've decided that their growths are actually silicate, so they actually are quartz growths. But anyway, on to the idea.
The partially crystalline beruch have arrived from an island reportedly far to the south. Their red skin, stark white hair, and strange silicate growths are off-putting to humans meeting them for the first time, but the beruch have engaged those they meet with energetic interest. They casually deflect inquiry about their own homelands, while asking as many questions as they can of the people they encounter. Ships crewed by beruch entered almost every port on this side of the continent within the same week.
Beruch skin color is predominantly some shade of dark red, though some few have glossy black skin. They are, on average, a few inches shorter than humans. At the knees, elbows, and backs of their hands, they have silicate growths (typically clear or cloudy) that emerge from the skin. Two thin ridges of the same crystals begin at the hairline, run over the scalp, and end at the nape of the neck. Their hair is white, though both sexes typically shave their heads. Men grow beards in a variety of styles. Their crystalline growths, which begin at childhood and continue to grow for the next thirty years, are the source of their more unusual abilities. Magic is deeply written into the nature of the beruch, and they have the ability to absorb or redirect much of its power. They are more noted for their capacity to endure it than they are for having any greater command over it than any other mortal race.
The beruch lived in isolation on the island of Erenn Kemesa since time out of mind, a largely peace-loving people who satisfied their curiosity about the outside world with powerful divinations, cast through the Eye of Ychirra to give them to power they needed. A cabal of wizards and priests, the Ring of the Luminous, was responsible for casting and guiding those divinations. They held an exalted position within beruch society, and competition was ever fierce to join their ranks. The college of arcane magic and the temple hierarchies set out clear ways in which their members could seek such promotion. In time, the members of that cabal were consumed by their hubris, quietly turning their divinatory gaze on one another. They each sought to make the Ring of the Luminous and the Eye of Ychirra a tool to their own ends. To accomplish this, each sought to manipulate the arcane college and the priesthood to promote only those who shared their aims, or who they believed they could easily control.
Conflict continued in this manner for over five hundred years, with four factions within the Ring of the Luminous pursuing dominance. Ultimately it presented history's strangest and most subtle civil war, in which all sides knew their opponents' plans whenever they were communicated; the Eye of Ychirra could see any missive, hear any spoken conversation, and watch plans as they were put into motion. Each move was countered even as it was invented; each counter was outwitted, and every outwitting turned back on itself. The futility of the conflict finally ended it, as one of the four factions was reduced to a single man, Annask Tioral. Working alone and telling no one of his plans, they spared little thought for him, until finally he approached the Eye of Ychirra directly. Striking it over and over again with a spear made from adamantine, he cracked the surface of the Eye, breaking its power. It is not known whether he survived the experience.
Bloody warfare began in earnest thereafter, and all but the most powerful of the beruch fled Erenn Kemesa for the lands of the north that they had seen before only by magic. Some of the beruch now seek a new homeland; others seek the means to return home and restore or seize Erenn Kemesa from those who remain there.
Ability Scores: +2 Con, -2 Dex
Medium: As Medium creatures, beruch have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Beruch base land speed is 30 feet.
Silicate Growths: A beruch's crystalline growths grant a +1 natural armor bonus.
Deflected Magic: Beruch receive a +2 racial bonus to saving throws against spells, spell-like effects, and supernatural abilities.
Absorb Magic: When a beruch fails a Reflex saving throw against a spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability that deals fire, cold, electricity, or force damage, the beruch gains temporary hit points equal to the spell's level, or 1 per 3 HD of the source if an applicable spell level is not evident. The beruch receives these temporary hit points after the damage from the initial effect is resolved.
Familiarity with Magic: Beruch receive a +2 racial bonus to Spellcraft and Knowledge (Arcana) skill checks. They receive a +2 competence bonus to their Will save to resist scrying.
Absorb Energy: The first time you are hit with fire, lightning, cold, psychic, force, or radiant damage in an encounter, you gain 5 temporary hit points. This increases to 10 temporary hit points at 11th level and 15 temporary hit points at 21st level.
Charged with Power: You gain Charged with Power as an encounter power.
Charged with Power - Beruch Racial Power Your crystals draw in the energy of the attack that you avoided, and now you will turn that energy to your own ends. Encounter Free Action - Personal Trigger: An attack with the fire, cold, lightning, psychic, force, or radiant keywords misses you Effect: You deal 1d8 + your Constitution modifier extra damage of the same energy type the next time you hit before the end of your next turn. The power you use to make this attack gains the keyword of that energy type.
Next time: Rindari, a race newly come into the world.