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Development in progress: The Kagandi

Kainenchen pointed out that the veytikka and the beruch are both written as minorities in a human society, which is another part of what brought up the whole topic of unfamiliar races and how races are used in games that we've been talking about off and on for the past couple of weeks. We talked around it a bit more, and I decided that I wanted humans in this theoretical setting, but another roughly-equal-population race would be good. In theory, when you meet a random group of travelers in this setting, you are just as safe assuming they are kagandi as assuming they are human. I've had a hell of a time sorting out my visual image for this race; with these guys, I'm trying to start with the visual and work backward, the way I did for the beruch, rather than starting with a brief phrase and seeing where that phrase took me, as I did with the veytikka.

In my head, Kagandi are a little larger than humans (averaging a little over 6') and commensurately broader. They have either leathery skin or scales (don't know which) ranging in color from jet black to dark green. They are sort of like lizardmen and sort of like 4e's dragonborn, so I'm not sure how I'd want to distinguish them from those two types. My main problem with lizardmen is that I only ever see lizardmen unarmored or in very minimal, Conan-like straps of armor, and I really want a race that (in terms of image) is comfortable in all types of armor - primitive is directly counter to my goals here. AE has two player races that are nominally similar here - the magically gifted but frail mojh and the beefy dracha. It would be fair to wonder whether there exists any clear conceptual ground for me to stake out. Oh, and there's also the yuan-ti - I'm not interested in making the kagandi be snake dudes.

At least for 4e purposes, I could probably satisfy my goals by applying a culture to the dragonborn. Their breath attack is neither especially wrong nor especially right for what I have in mind. On the other hand, I might completely shift them away from being the least bit reptilian. Zoomorphic races are for some people, but typically not for me, which is as good of an explanation as I can give for why I don't want relatively straightforward snake dudes or crocodile dudes.

Inasmuch as this thinking is kind of getting me nowhere, I'll try the "brief phrase" method with a number of different phrases. Reader comments will help me select one of the phrases to develop further as the "official" kagandi.

  1. Slightly smaller than humans, lithe, with golden scales, completely black eyes, and tails; they came from beneath the mountains and return there briefly at the age of majority, at the hatching of their first offspring, and when they enter into a long phase of senescence.
  2. Taller than humans, bulky, with skin tones ranging from jet-black to emerald green; the "whites" of their eyes are distinctly silvery, and have no irises. When they consume a certain poison from the Fens of Vashtal's Gift, they briefly gain sorcerous power, but it sickens them for a long time afterward and costs them some of their natural lifespan.
  3. Dwelling chiefly by the sea, they are unusually dependent on certain nutrients found in fish. Their skin is a deep brown, and most of them paint decorative patterns onto exposed skin. They are most recognizable from humans by their pointed teeth, as they are predominantly carnivorous (though they would regard eating any sentient as cannibalism and an abomination). They practice advanced alchemy in very secretive guilds; these guilds do sometimes accept other races, but require certain binding oaths of secrecy from them.
(Note that 2 and 3 are not reptilian at all, but have basically human-like skin.)

If any or all of these sound like a race you would want to play, I'd particularly like to hear that.

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