Crown of Shadows
The humans of southern Erenland, are smaller and much leaner than the big Northmen. They have dark brown skin and black, shiny hair. Their eyes are the deepest brow and set in narrow lids that grant them hard stares when angry and bright smiles when pleased. They paint their skin with herbal salves that bleach intricate, pale designs on their faces, arms, and chests for nothing more than the haunting beauty it creates. They dress in flowing pants and loose robes that offer them both protection from the elements and the freedom they need to ride and fight.
Like the Northmen, these southlanders once swore allegiance to noble princes. With the rule of the Shadow, most of these sussars, or sworn riders, have been killed or forced to ride as outlaws. Those that remain are traitors to their own people, and have become soulless and hollow tyrants under the control of the legates and their orc enforcers.
By the time the forces of Izrador had reached the southern cities of Erenland, the human armies had been crushed and only a few cities resisted. Cambrial and Alvedara were both razed for their refusal to surrender.
Sharuun, Hallisport, and several other cities still stand, essentially as they did before the war. As a result, many southlanders still live in the cities thei forefathers built. Unfortunately the inflated false economies, brutal orc garrisons, and whimsically evil legates that plague these urban areas serve as a constant reminder that, while the cities may still stand, the spirit that built them has been all but crushed.
There is hope, however. More and more of the southern Erenlanders have reclaimed the name of their ancestors, the Sarcosans, and have reverted to the nomadic, horse-tribe ways of those proud conquerors. These mobile bands are led by outlaw sussars or their kin and live in small tent villages that pop up in the night and are gone by dawn. Every tribe member is as one with her horse, and no other cavalry matches a trained Sarcosan unit in terms of skill and courage. But even these daring freeriders cannot succeed against those who occupy their lands, 10 times their number of entrenched, well-armed, and wellarmored orcs and goblinoids supported by legate commanders. Knights and princes are therefore forced to live as bandits and renegades, surviving on horse meat, wild game, and the spoils of their raids. They are continuously hunted by the minions of the Shadow and must be careful of whom they trust.
Sarcosan riders favor versatility and finesse over brute strength. They wield Sarcosan lances and composite longbows when on horseback. On foot, they often fight with a wickedly curved scimitar in one hand and an inward-curving short sword, called a cedeku, in the other.
Sarcosan Racial Traits
• +2 Charisma, +2 Intelligence: Sarcosans have a long history of scientific advancement, artistic development, complex social structures, and strong personalities.
• Medium: As Medium creatures, Sarcosan humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
• Normal Speed: Sarcosan base land speed is 30 feet.
• Bonus Feat: Sarcosans select one extra feat at 1st level. Sarcosans are quick learners and come from an unusually diverse culture.
• Skilled: Sarcosans gain an additional skill rank at first level and one additional rank whenever they gain a level. Sarcosans are ambitious and capable.
• Weapon Familiarity: Sarcosans may treat cedeku and Sarcosan lances as martial weapons, rather than as exotic weapons.
• Lighting Reflexes: Sarcosans gain lightning reflexes as a bonus feat.
• Quick hands: Sarcosans gain a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls with light melee weapons. Sarcosans are small but quick.
• Signature Equipment: Sarcosans may begin play with a Sarcosan riding horse or a Sarcosan warhorse (at onequarter the normal cost).
• Automatic Languages: Colonial, Erenlander (1), Trader’s Tongue (1). Bonus Languages: Courtier, Halfling, Norther, Orcish.
While yesterday’s Sarcosans may have been comfortable both on the plains and in the cities, the Shadow’s occupation has dramatically limited the movement of everyday people. As such, starting Sarcosan characters must choose either an urban background or a plains background, with racial traits as described below.
• Favored Region: Special. Rather than choosing a specific area to be their favored region, urban Sarcosans have a special affinity for all urban environments. Rather than gaining Knowledge (local) as a class skill and a bonus to Survival checks, these characters instead gain a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information when in cities and may make Knowledge checks untrained so long as the topic involves a city.
• Urbanite: +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive checks. Even the lowliest sheol is adept at communication and interaction.
• Favored Region: Southern Erenland.
• Natural Horsemen: Even thos Sarcosans that don’t make their living by the horse take great pride in their abilities to ride and direct them. Many Sarcosans ride as soon as they learn to walk, and someone of another race that rides well is said to “take to a horse like a Sarcosan.” Plains Sarcosans therefore gain many benefits in regards to horses:
• Born to Ride: Sarcosans gain a +4 racial bonus to Ride and Handle Animal checks when working with horses, as well as on Concentration checks to cast spells while mounted on a horse.
• Shoot from the Saddle: Sarcosans suffer only half the normal attack penalties for using ranged weapons while their mounts are taking double moves or running. The benefits of this ability stack with those from the Mounted Archery feat.
• Fight from the Saddle: Sarcosans gain a +1 racial bonus on damage rolls against creatures smaller than their mounts when using a melee weapon from horseback. This combines with the normal +1 bonus on melee attack for being on higher ground to grant Sarcosans a +1 to hit and damage in these situations.