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Prompted by the Frostburn thread below, here's the write-up I've done for the brute-men race on Mystara. As I noted, I believe it's quite different from the Neanderthal write-up in Frostburn (don't have it yet, but I've heard some things). It also diverges from the Wendar/Denagoth write-upWendar/Denagoth Timeline that DM and Shawn did several years back. Just a different take on things.
*Edit* I've set up a page on my website where I will be putting up some Ghyr related articles. I've put the write-up here on that page for starters.*
Denagoth Brutesby Andrew Theisen
Brutes are a wild, nomadic people that make their homes only in the most distant and hostile of climates. Though closely related to the human race, brutes are nevertheless marginalised, considered primitive and barbaric, and often find themselves shunned by so-called "civilised" society.
Personality: The brutes are largely a hunting society. They follow big game animals across the wastelands, migrating with the seasons. Their diet consists almost entirely of meat. They are not all work, however. They are known to be a very artistic people, creating wondrous paintings and composing beautiful music.
Physical Description: Brutes appear very similar to humans. Their skulls are slightly larger than a human skull, flatter on top, with a sloping forehead and a fairly prominent brow ridge. Their incisors are much larger than a humans, and they have smaller chins. Brutes have adapted well to the colder climates in which they tend to live. They are very stocky, standing between 5 feet to just under 6 feet tall, and weighing between 130 to nearly 300 pounds. There is a considerable difference in size between brute males and females. Brutes have short, thick arms and legs. Their skin tones are usually pale and their eyes are dark. Hair likewise tends to be dark- black, grey, or brown- though red is not uncommon. Both males and females typically have more body hair than does a human. Their clothing tends to be simple hides and furs.
Relations: Because they tend to be technologically primitive, brutes do not have much commerce with other races. They shy away from the mysterious elves and their dark forests, and rarely venture into the deep caverns that dwarves favour. Gnomes and halflings are unusual sights to a brute, and they are regarded with curiosity. Half-orcs and their monstrous kin are regarded as enemies, and are often challenged on sight. Though they resemble humans most closely of all, men generally treat them with disdain or pity, as if they were only slightly more advanced than animals.
Alignment: Brutes are wild, free, and regarded as uncivilised by most outsiders. As such, they are commonly chaotic in alignment. They show no particular racial tendencies towards either good or evil, though when such traits manifest, they are usually shared by the entire tribe, rather than simply an individual.
Brute Lands: Brutes are found almost exclusively in the wilderness areas on and around the Denagoth plateau, to the north of Glantri and Wendar. They may also be found in some primeval "lost world" regions, such as the Isle of Dread. They are believed to be the only remnants of a race that was distantly related to, but eventually displaced by, modern humans. Some scholars have even theorised that dwarves may be an offshoot of the brute race.
Brute tribes live a semi-nomadic existence on the outskirts of civilisation. They group together in small bands of 20-30, and live in large tents made from the bones of large beasts (such as mammoths) and covered in animal hides to protect them from the elements. They move seasonally from location to location, following the movements of the animals in the regions they dwell in.
Religion: Brutes are an animistic race, worshipping nature and aspects of nature rather than the divine beings known as Immortals among other races. In some areas, however, such as upon the plateau of Denagoth, contact with outsiders has brought certain brute tribes to come to personify aspects of nature with Immortals. The immortals Thato (Thanatos), Idris (a native Immortal), Kagar (Kagyar), Solak (Ixion), and a few others are thus known to them. There is also a sizeable minority of ethnic brutes who have become indoctrinated into Essurian society, and been accepted as members of the Church of Essuria. Oddly, burial of the dead and funerary rituals are of tantamount concern to all brutes, regardless of faith.
Language: Brutes speak Brutish. It is a harsh, guttural language unrelated to any other language in the known world. Brutish has no alphabet; instead, words are represented by a picture.
Names: Brute names tend to consist of one or two syllables. They are often named after famous ancestors of their tribes.
Male Names: Henadin, Nebunar, Ugrum, Zorgar
Female Names: Drista, Hesti, Idris.
Adventurers: Brutes drawn to the wonders of civilisation often find they are most widely accepted among the ranks of adventurers of other races. Some tribes that dwell close to civilised regions may find themselves incorporated into nearby communities, as labourers, soldiers, or (in more evil communities) slaves.
BRUTE RACIAL TRAITS
- +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence: Brutes are hardy and tough, but they are primitive and uncivilised.
- Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, brutes have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Brute base speed is 30 feet.
- +2 racial bonus on Listen checks. Brutes have excellent hearing that helps them survive in hostile terrain.
- Wilderness cunning: Brutes gain a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice traps, pits, deadfalls, new construction, and the like when they incorporate or are disguised as natural objects. A brute that comes within 10 feet of an unusual natural object can make a Search check as if he were actively searching for it.
- +2 Initiative bonus: A brute is always on the alert for danger, and is quick to respond to the slightest threat to his safety and well-being.
- Automatic Languages: Brutish. Bonus Languages: Common, Elven, Goblin, Orc. Brutes rarely speak any language other than their own racial tongue, but may occasionally speak the languages of nearby races.
- Favoured Class: Barbarian. A multiclass brute's barbarian class does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing.
Random Starting Ages
Bard Cleric Barbarian Fighter Druid Rogue Paladin Monk Adulthood Sorcerer Ranger Wizard 14 years +1d6 +3d6 +5d6
Race Middle Age* Old** Venerable*** Maximum Age Brute 30 years 45 years 60 years +2d10 years
Random Height and Weight
Race Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier Brute, man 4' 10" +2d6 130 lb. x (2d6) lb. Brute, woman 4' 4" +2d6 95 lb. x (2d6) lb.