Gargoyle

Basic Species Description

While none know truly how old the gargoyle species is, history has enough record to know where it came from: The Endless Labyrinth of Mazek's Undermaze. There in the darkness some primitive gargoyles still live, but a large number had a little over a millennia ago been captured for study by the early draconis dragon-kin empires. At first, thinking them mere beasts they made them into protectors of distant settlements, but eventually their witnessing the new civilization growing caused them to become more intelligent and able to communicate with their masters, making them realize they had unintentionally done to the gargoyles what had been done to them. At first there was resistance to the notion that the gargoyles were sentient in the center of the empires, but as a few brave and wise draconis dragon-kin and their former gargoyle slaves came to the capital of the largest during a treaty with the other empires, they proved the gargoyles worthy not only of their freedom, but a place in the empire as equals. Gargoyles at birth very crude morphable form, but as they develop they attempt to mimic other species with difficulty due to the limitations of this ability. In fact, the ability itself fades away entirely when they reach puberty, and as such most gargoyle parents encourage their hatchlings to take on the appearance of something more immobile and easier to practice upon: a statue. As the crude attempts to mimic other species were oft mocked by the other species before gargoyle sentience was proven, artists on occasion made horrifying statues accentuating these attempts, which the gargoyles actually found curiously interesting enough to mimic. This in turn lead to artists making more and more statues, though the horrifying quality decreased over the centuries into the more common form most gargoyles take on now. As a gargoyle absorbs the power of sunlight and heat, they become sluggish, their skin hardening to a stoney texture and durability, though they are technically still mobile if they do not choose to rest during that time, just moving at a far slower speed. As such, most are far more active during the night, using their strong claws to climb walls and mountains with great ease to reach their homes, and being able to glide with their wings but being unable to fly, relying on inertia and occasional updrafts for the rare occasions they can at least enjoy the sensation of flying rather than a slow descent. While gargoyles truly do not need air, food or water to survive, without energy they will enter hibernation until enough is bestowed upon them, typically through exposure to sunlight over a prolonged period of time. As the heat of the day and heat in general make them sluggish, one might think it weakens them, but in truth they are absorbing it and tend to feel satiated, even gorged on the energy. A gargoyle may enjoy food and beverage for the sake of enjoying the tastes or politeness to their hosts, but they do not truly need it, unless they have been kept in darkness long enough to need it as fuel. Primitive gargoyles in the Undermaze for this reason are seen capturing prey and consuming them, but they also spend a great deal of time perched over the edges of holes between the two sides absorbing the light and warmth when possible.

Gargoyle young are born in rookeries and hatch from eggs into a form similar to a merger of their parents at first, but this alters back and forth as it mimics traits from both until the young finds another form to mimic, eventually either mimicking an existing statue or immobile character, or in the case of the more wealthy gargoyle families, commissioning a statue to their specifications that they may then mimic and take as their permanent form. Full-blood gargoyles are almost always genderless when born, developing an internal gender about five years later that starts to show itself over the next few years after, maturing fully at fifteen years of age, but considered an adult only when they form a hard shell around their body when they rest, which sloughs off when they awaken, the fragments seeming to crack like stone before falling off. When full-blood gargoyles are raised, the clutch they came from is raised with the others in the rookery of the same age until they mature, the parents of all helping to raise them. As a result, gargoyle orphans are almost never heard of unless they are hybrids. It is highly rare for a gargoyle hybrid to be born, though those that do may appear to be of whatever species their other parent is until they reach puberty, when they start to harden during one long sleep, that form shedding off to show their true hybrid nature and physical gargoyle traits revealed at last. Most hybrids also are more sluggish during the day as well, even before they hit puberty. Gargoyles usually take on a name from part of the title of whatever statue they mimicked, or the name of a great warrior in the history of the region who was not so overly well-known that many other species would think to name their children after them. Usually they have just that name chosen for them by their parents and their clan name, though some gain a middle name during their rite of passage. Typically a gargoyle lives for four hundred years without rejuvenation, though in the last century they will find it harder and harder to move, entering hibernation while absorbing energy for several years at a time, until finally they do not come out of it. Some theorize that they can be brought out of it and live indefinitely, but no one in recorded history has been able to prove that theory valid.

Gargoyles are the strongest of the starter species, able to lift forty kilograms unencumbered, and another fifteen kilograms while only losing 1 speed, even with 0 STR. However, while gliding if their speed is not 5 or higher, they will fall faster vertically than they travel horizontally, prohibiting most gargoyles from carrying excessive amounts of weight for long journeys, as they can use far less energy gliding than walking typically. Gargoyles may not be as hideous as they used to be, but most are still not considered very beautiful or fast, and have less finesse, wisdom and are less reactive. They, however, willful and have great endurance to carry them through most hardships. While all gargoyles are technically one species and race, the coloration of their skin, shape of their face and crest of horns has variation, with those of similar appearance being known to outsiders as certain 'stratum' named after the ancient gargoyle clans that were formed after they gained their freedom. Some find this amusing as it applies both to supposed social classes and layering of rocks, and most gargoyles are content to let outsiders continue in this ignorance, having no true distinction among their own kind aside from those of one clan and a larger one protectorate, and those of others. There are four common groupings, each of which has over the many centuries taken on certain stylizing of their crest of horns, shape of their face, and natural color of their hair.

History of the Species

Though there were reports of mages who frequently cast spells on their cat familiars to temporarily bestow bipedalism for the sake of performing chores or defending their tower stretching back to the fourth mage wars, it is unknown precisely when the first true felinae was born, independently bipedal beyond the ending duration of a spell. It is known that by the start of The Foundation War that a wide-spread servant population of felinae existed, most of whom fiercely defended humanity during the war, and that even those who joined the global revolution were quick to help the draconis dragon-kin sort out which humans had enough strength of character to deserve to be spared. While felinae are not the first species in the universe to be raised to sentience due to exposure to magically mutating substances, they are certainly one of the most prevalent and sociable in modern society throughout Lenida and are found on many other planets as well due to the interactions some had with wandering Reynix tribes. Their numbers and level of intelligence were partially why their ancestral origin species once and still does find itself as familiars to magic users, which led to their evolutions after generations upon generations of pedigrees having mutant genes activate, morphing them to their current state.

Base Species Genetics

The genetics for a Gargoyle are as follows:

(D7) Stoneskin: +2 EP normally and +2 when in stoneskin but immobile while using it, takes one minor action to activate or deactivate, lasts 1 full turn minimum, no maximum.

(D6) Hibernation Healing: +1d10 HP healed if resting during the day.

(D3) Strength: +2 Lifting Strength, +1 Climbing/Digging Strength.

(R3) Normal Gliding: Ability to move MP when gliding.

(R3) Steady Claws: +1 bare-handed attack, +2 on Grip Checks.

Ethnicities

The different ethnicities of gargoyles are known as stratum. There are no appreciable differences in the stratum of gargoyles other than appearance.

Asjen gargoyles are white, light gray and sandy colored with tan mottling, having short stubby horns on crests consisting of five horns, with high cheekbones and short snouts, with mouths whose lip-less jaws have rounded teeth but they are still strong enough to rend iron. Their eyes are usually dark grays, browns and black, with their heads being typically bald in males with short brown or black hair in the females.

(E-4) Enduring: +2 EP. [Asjen Gargoyles]
(E-4) Lifting Courage: +2 Lifting Strength and +2 Courage. [Asjen Gargoyles]
(E-4) Climbing/Digging Strength: +4 Climbing/Digging Strength. [Asjen Gargoyles]

Serpis gargoyles usually have green and brown skin with gray or black speckling and stripes, having two sweeping horns that curve only slightly on the edge of their temples and four between them as part of their crest. Their faces tend to be more smooth and even, though their jaw has four short bony protrusions, and their teeth are all sharp. Their eyes tend to be browns, greens and black, though some have a more golden hue, and their hair is usually black or gray and medium length, though some have been known to have dull yellow hair.

(E-4) Enduring: +2 EP. [Serpis Gargoyles]
(E-4) Lifting Courage: +2 Lifting Strength and +2 Courage. [Serpis Gargoyles]
(E-4) Climbing/Digging Strength: +4 Climbing/Digging Strength. [Serpis Gargoyles]

Ulgip gargoyles are blue, pink and purple with striping and star-burst patterns on their skin, with almost flat faces save their mouths and slightly angular noses, with teeth that are almost flat aside from their canines. Their crests consist of four short horns curving lightly back, and their ears are more pointed than other gargoyles. Their eyes are usually white, red and black, and their hair is usually red, brown or black.

(E-4) Enduring: +2 EP. [Ulgip Gargoyles]
(E-4) Lifting Courage: +2 Lifting Strength and +2 Courage. [Ulgip Gargoyles]
(E-4) Climbing/Digging Strength: +4 Climbing/Digging Strength. [Ulgip Gargoyles]

Yarden gargoyles are red, orange and black with smooth or irregularly spotted red, black or gray skin. Their face extends into a long beak with a sharp point and four bumpy protrusions on the sides of it to aid in clamping down on whatever they bite. Their crests typically have two to six horns, each going out at about thirty degrees from the temples and higher, ending in rounded tips. Their eyes are usually red, silver and white, though some are on rare occasion blue, and their hair is usually white, black or gray.

(E-4) Enduring: +2 EP. [Yarden Gargoyles]
(E-4) Lifting Courage: +2 Lifting Strength and +2 Courage. [Yarden Gargoyles]
(E-4) Climbing/Digging Strength: +4 Climbing/Digging Strength. [Yarden Gargoyles]

Sexes

Over all, the different sexes of gargoyle are largely alike, and internally they are the same. It is due to mimicry alone that they take on male or female aspects, and a 'male' is just as capable of laying eggs as a 'female'. Because their genitalia are external and often mimic that of other species, it is generally considered taboo to have them exposed, and most gargoyle cultures also have toplessness a taboo as well, even without interaction with other cultures. Gargoyles are a morphic, kind of tunicate-offshoot species which retains its mobility through three known mobile states, infancy, childhood and adulthood. Transitioning between the two starkly, gargoyles tend to submerge themselves in sand, pebbles, mud or silt as their stoneskin slowly stretches outward over the span of twelve days before their next form emerges, sometimes continuing a similar appearance to their infant or childhood form, and sometimes changing more drastically. Typically at reaching childhood they will have chosen a mimicked sex which they keep the rest of their lives, but sometimes they will alter it and many other features of their appearance when reaching adulthood. Whether gargoyles undergo a similar transition after reaching their supposed peak age is unknown, as no gargoyle on Lenida has the same context as the primitive gargoyles in Mazek to know what may or may not happen. While gargoyles seem to lay eggs like the draconis dragon-kin, this their offspring are merely sleeping and absorbing more heat, not needing further development in the shell. Those hatched early are extremely lethargic for longer than it would have taken for them to hatch normally, but usually by the end of their infancy they would bounceback to near if not the same level of normal vitality and zest as others born in the same or nearby rookeries.

(m1) Those with this sex gene have +1 EP and +1d10/2 Daily Ember Domain Resistance. [Gargoyle]

(m2) Those with this sex gene have +3 lifting strength. [Gargoyle]

(f1) Those with this sex gene have +1 EP and +1d10/2 Daily Ember Domain Resistance. [Gargoyle]

(f2) Those with this sex gene have +3 lifting strength. [Gargoyle]

(n1) Those with this sex gene have +1 EP and +1d10/2 Daily Ember Domain Resistance. [Gargoyle]

(n2) Those with this sex gene have +3 lifting strength. [Gargoyle]

Generally gargoyle utilize a language unique to their culture, but also knowing the language of the nearest draconis dragon-kin population. This is not to say that some do not speak others rather than those particular languages, or in addition to it, merely that they are the most likely languages for them to speak. While gargoyle were considered of lower and middle class mostly after The Foundation War, most gargoyle cultures pushed themselves toward more artistic, mercantile and military power, seeking to find new a new place for themselves now that they were more than slaves. Liking combat as much as artistry and craftsmanship, they have mostly devoted their culture toward going beyond mimicry to creating a culture of their own… Though influences of the draconis dragon-kin cultures local to their home, homes of their ancestry and others local to their homes tend to be more prominent than truly unique expressions of culture. However, while they do piecemeal a lot of inspirations together culturally, the arrangement, while having such inspirations recognizable, is wholly different from any other culture in how it reflects how those elements represent the gargoyles and why they were drawn to them. More often than not, architecture and masonry hold more fine details than seen from a distance, and the patience and time devoted to their work is remarkable. In part, this is due to the ability to rest and heal while in stone-skin and awakening with either a zeal for whatever they dreamt about or were thinking about before sleeping, or having time to ponder their works and plans for more if they have become beyond satiated and need to release the excess before they can move at normal speeds again.

For the sake of this playtest, the rules for food and drink that are optional are not being utilized, and respiration is utilizing the two-fail check mechanic for reducing from one level of respiration to another, rather than the more advanced mechanic.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License