Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What is the city, but the people?

Such strange and wondrous places, filled with strange and wondrous peoples. Art by - Quique Alcatena
 
In this unlimited place, not even sapience is bound to a single archetype or form. One might find an ethnicity whose origin lies beyond any known ocean, or a race whose genesis is not yet bound in any book. These varied groups slip into the city unheralded, appearing with citizenship-chits in hand, or other extremity, to make their homes among those who are known within memory and knowledge. Carried with them are histories of one kind or another, some with a cultural memory that climbs back through entire ages, others only bearing a vague set of stories without specifics to time or place. Here is but one, like a grain of sand before a beach. 

An early depiction of a female Gamayun.
 
The Gamayun
It was the Gamayun who discovered the portion of the city that was populated by the humans and the other races of their world. A flock (the preferred term for a group of Gamayun), one day entered a sparsely populated city cell that had yet to be officially integrated into, the now defunct, Mercian Adhocracy neighborhood state. They soon took residence in the abandoned buildings of the city cell, and were allowed into the Mercian Adhocracy due to the skills in crafting a number of items. As the years, decades, and centuries passed the Gamayun integrated into the City of Turns, becoming almost as common a sight a humans.

Psychology -
Gamayun form large groups based upon familial bonds, forming communities of multiple families living close together. They are highly social, so much so that they suffer from anxiety if they are left alone in an area for any extended period of time. Due to their high-sociability, the Gamayun often adopt other races into their family, and in very rare cases have formed life-long mating pairs with non-Gamayun.

The Gamayun are monogamous both socially and instinctually, their culture supporting their instinct to be monogamous and their instinct propagating the cultural norm to future generations. They practice cooperative breeding on all levels of their society, with familial assistance in finding a mate as well as full familial involvement in the raising and care of offspring.

Young unmated Gamayun as well as Gamayun who have lost their mate are the most likely to engage in the antisocial transient behavior commonly referred to as 'adventuring'. Young and unmated individuals, both male and female, seek to prove their intelligence and physical capabilities as a precursor to finding a mate. Elder matchmakers use the exploits of these unmated youth as proof of both physical and mental fitness for perspective mates. Once a youth finds a mate, they generally 'settle-down' and avoid risk so as to care for their family. For those individuals that have lost their life-mate, adventuring is treated as a form of suicide. To the Gamayun mindset, suicide is a completely alien concept, even though these poor individuals wish their lives would end. The only option left to the Gamayun who have lost their mate is to engage in greater and greater risk taking behavior until their life ends, usually in a very dramatic and messy fashion.

Physicality -
The Gamayun have a great degree of sexual dimorphism, with males and females having very different physical characteristics. They have a life span of 120 years. 

A pair of Gamayun males. Art by Max Ernst

Males
Males possess humanoid bodies, though they would say humans possess andro-gamayunoid bodies, with avian heads. Average height for Gamayun males is 4' 11” (150 cm), with an average weight of around 105 lbs (47.62 kg). Their bodies are covered with feathers of varying sizes and weights, similar to the distribution found on most birds with feathers ending at the knees and wrists. Coloration of males tends to be muted and in the spectrum of earth tones. The non-feathered surfaces having a combination of thick skin and scales, similar to that on the feet of large flightless birds like ostriches. Their hands have four fingers and an opposable-thumb with their feet having three digits and a pseudo-heel, resembling the feet of an ostrich. Males are completely flightless, and fall just as any other terrestrial creature. While considered strange by human standards, Gamayun males instinctually know how to dance and are able to easily mimic complex dances simply by watching. This peculiarity is used in their mating rituals, where a male attempts to impress the female with his prowess at dancing.

A female Gamayun. Art by Mechior Lorck

Females
Bodies of females are completely avian, with the shape and proportions similar to those of the Corvus family. When standing, they have a height similar to males: an average of 4' 11” (150 cm), with a weight of around 105 lbs (47.62 kg). They have an average wingspan of 20.28 feet (6.18 meters). Their heads are humanoid and female in appearance, though they would call them gyno-gamayunoid. Most humanoids consider the faces of female Gamayuns to be very comely, with their voices being considered very pleasing to the ear. They do not possess hands, though they can be very dexterous with their feet. They possess the same feather varieties and distributions as birds of prey, with bright and varied coloration. Female Gamayuns possess melodic voices and are all accomplished singers by nature, capable of emulating any style of singing they have heard previously. This ability is used in their mating rituals, where a female attempts to impress the male with her melodic singing.

OSR/AD&D/LotFP
Both Sexes:
+/- 0 Strength (3 / 18)
+1 Dexterity (8 / 18)
-1 Constitution (3 / 18)
+1 Intelligence (8 / 18)
-1 Wisdom (3 / 18)
+/- 0 Charisma (3 / 18)

In general Gamayun are quick both in body and mind, though they tend to be more fragile and impulsive than humans.

Males
All males possess a great degree of skill in dancing by instinct alone.

X out of 6: All Gamayun males begin with a Dancing skill of 5 out of 6. This skill may be improved like any other skill.

Skill Proficiencies: All Gamayun males begin with a Dancing skill equal to their Dexterity or Charisma (Player's Choice). This skill may be improved like any other skill, and the character is automatically considered to possess the skill without having to purchase it.

Females
All females are capable of flight with a base speed of 60 feet, though they are limited to a base speed of 20 feet via land.

No Hands: Gamayun females lack hands, so they must rely on their feet to wield weapons or operate tools. All attack-rolls using held weapons take a -2 penalty, they also take a penalty to skills requiring fine motor control:
X out of 6: -1 penalty.
Skill Proficiencies: -3 penalty.
Thief % Skills: -17%

Talons: Females may make two attacks with their talons at no to-hit penalty. They may only make two attacks if both of their talons are free. The talons do 1D4 damage.

Life Stage Bonuses
The Gamayun are greatly effected by various stages of their life, granting them various abilities or drawbacks.

An unmated female. Art by Viktor Vasnetsov

Unmated
Advantage: Before they are mated, the Gamayun are full of energy and life, allowing them to survive their fool-hardy stunts and operate on little sleep. Gamayun receive +2 bonus hit-points at first level, and +1 bonus hit-point every level until 9th. Gamayun only require 2/3rds the normal amount of sleep to be fully rested.
Disadvantage: The life and energy unmated Gamayun exude angers undead out of envy or hate. Mindless undead will target Gamayun first before other targets. Intelligent undead will be unfriendly at best toward Gamayun.

Mated
Advantage: While mated, a Gamayun will hold onto life dearly in order to get back to their mate. Gamayuns require at least two strikes to fell them. A strike that would normally kill a Gamayun will completely incapacitate them, bringing them near to death's door. A second hit will kill the character.
Disadvantage: Everything the Gamayun does must be orientated towards getting back to their family and mate. This means that the character will not willingly leave their family, and will make any such adventure very short.

A widowed female. Art by Viktor Vasnetsov

Widowed
Advantage: Gamayun that are widowed wish their lives would end. The only option left a widowed Gamayun is to engage in greater and greater risk taking behavior until their life ends, usually in a very dramatic and messy fashion. They become completely immune to all fear effects as well as any effect that would cause them to give up their quest for death.
Male:Widowed males gain a strange look to their eyes, the color of the iris shifting to become more reflective. Feather coloring also shifts around the eyes, adding to the unnerving quality of their stare. A male's complete lack of self preservation creates an aura that few people can stand to be in the presence of. When any creature capable of fear attempts to attack the widowed Gamayun they must make a Save versus Paralysis. A failed save results in the attacker taking a -3 to all attack-rolls for the rest of the combat. All social interactions (except for intimidation attempts) receive a -6 penalty due to the male's unnerving behavior.
Female: The talons of a widowed female become thicker with tendons and muscles, and their claws become sharper. Damage of the claws is increased to 1D6 and critical on a 19-20. The character still retains both natural attacks. Their feather coloration changes to a uniform black as part of their change. All attack-rolls using held weapons take a -4 penalty, they also take a penalty to skills requiring fine motor control:
X out of 6: -2 penalty.
Skill Proficiencies: -6 penalty.
Thief % Skills: -34%
Disadvantage: Once a widowed Gamayun dies they cannot be resurrected. Once the Gamayun has been reunited with their mate in the afterlife, they cannot be returned to the land of the living.

A widowed male, driven mad by loss. Art by Max Ernst

Into the Odd
Both Sexes
Strength: -1 (Min: 2 Max: 17)
Dexterity: +1 (Min: 4 Max: 19)
Will: +0 (Min: 3 Max: 18)

Gamayun tend to be quick, but somewhat more fragile than humans.

Males
All males possess a great degree of skill in dancing by instinct alone. They may impress those around them, and possible females, by making a successful Dex or Will save (Player's choice).

Females
All females are capable of flight with a speed roughly twice that of a human on land. When attempting to walk, a female moves half as fast as a human on land.

No Hands: Gamayun females lack hands, so they must rely on their feet to wield weapons or operate tools. All attack-rolls using held weapons are considered impaired. All other actions that require fine motor control take -3 or more penalty to rolls.

Talons: Females may make attack with their talons causing 1D6 damage.

Life Stage Bonuses
The Gamayun are greatly effected by various stages of their life, granting them various abilities or drawbacks.

A rare, but not unheard of, occurrence of a male attempting to woo a non-Gamayun. Occasionally males will wear decorative wings. Art by Max Ernst.

Unmated
Advantage: Before they are mated, the Gamayun are full of energy and life, allowing them to survive their fool-hardy stunts and operate on little sleep. Gamayun receive +1 bonus hit-points each level, including at character creation. Gamayun only require 2/3rds the normal amount of sleep to be fully rested.
Disadvantage: The life and energy unmated Gamayun exude annoys enemies of the character, they are more likely to attack that character in combat.

Mated
Advantage: While mated, a Gamayun will hold onto life dearly in order to get back to their mate. Gamayuns require at least two strikes to fell them. A strike that would normally kill a Gamayun will completely incapacitate them, bringing them near to death's door. A second hit will kill the character.
Disadvantage: Everything the Gamayun does must be orientated towards getting back to their family and mate. This means that the character will not willingly leave their family, and will make any such adventure very short.

Widowed
Advantage: Gamayun that are widowed wish their lives would end. The only option left a widowed Gamayun is to engage in greater and greater risk taking behavior until their life ends, usually in a very dramatic and messy fashion. They become completely immune to fear as well as any effect that would cause them to give up their quest for death.
Male:Widowed males gain a strange look to their eyes, the color of the iris shifting to become more reflective. Feather coloring also shifts around the eyes, adding to the unnerving quality of their stare. A male's complete lack of self preservation creates an aura that few people can stand to be in the presence of. When any creature capable of fear attempts to attack the widowed Gamayun they must make a Will save. A failed save results in the attacker taking a -2 penalty to their damage rolls for the rest of the combat. All social interactions (except for intimidation attempts) receive a -4 penalty due to the male's unnerving behavior.
Female: The talons of a widowed female become thicker with tendons and muscles, and their claws become sharper. Damage of the claws is increased to 1D8. The changes to their talons make it impossible for them to wield anything in their talons. Their feather coloration changes to a uniform black as part of their change.
Disadvantage: Once a widowed Gamayun dies they cannot be resurrected. Once the Gamayun has been reunited with their mate in the afterlife, they cannot be returned to the land of the living.