Nasty, Brutish, and Tall
- taken from Riven Sugarglass’s “Genesis of the Rukh”, Hrazbo-Y lectures 288 MSY.
“Repeat after me: The Ruhk-kaza were made to mine the Pit of Erebus. Literally made. In vats. Large, bubbling, I’ll go so far as to guess rune-inscribed, vats. A long time ago by the alchemists of the Gate Builder Empire, who employed a rarefied form of rarely-employed ethics. Unlike the alchemists of today…
…who are still merciless, venal bastards, but need no longer dabble in such sloppy, screaming work as bio-alchemy and its like, thanks in no small part to my seminal work on the Philosopher’s Algorithm, which gives clockwork and phlogistonic mechanisms not merely life, but the semblance of a soul.
You’ve heard of the Algorithm, haven’t you? And its creator, Riven Sugarglass? You must know my shop! Its just round the way in Saltbend, across from the Temple of Mr. Spidergod, the one with the lickable windows?
Umm, carrying on, it is partially true that the Ruhk are related to the group of races we lazily call the Kaza-Ghul. You’ll encounter a lot of partial truths when dealing with magic. Most of which conceal either obscene vanity or simply raw obscenity. But I digress.
The original Ruhk stock was derived from the flesh and marrow of the gods only know many different Ghul races, the ancient Erisian alchemists cherry-picking the traits they believed would increase their chances of surviving the Pit; darkvision, a high pain threshold, resistance to death-magics, a powerful build but a roughly man-sized frame for easier navigation of the narrow tunnels. And, of course, stupidity. Most likely contributed by the underclass humans that got thrown into the mix. The Rukh horns, from what I understand, are purely decorative.
The lack of intelligence turned out to be more of a bug than a feature. A fatal mistake, really. Down in the Pit the most valuable commodity is intellect, barring, of course an honestly celibate priest and a parcel full of phlogistonic explosives. And I should know, having spent the better part of my youth mining its numinous ore. Does that surprise you? Did you think I was born with these good looks? With both eyes on one side of my face?
So the Ruhk Kaza, whose name means “The Eaters of Bone”, where moved out of that holy, industrial bone yard and used in other capacities. They made fine soldiers, being naturally fatalistic and bred for senseless deaths. Just prior to the fall, the Ruhk began to spread throughout the Empire. Today they are found in every corner of CITY.
Sometime during the Ruhk Diaspora, they found religion. Or it was given to them, probably be the Shirac, who share their peculiar worldview in the way aristocratic gentleman share the clap. The Ruhk made it their own, believing not in the Way to Heaven, rather, the Great Bird of Death, who carries everything in the universe towards the ultimate oblivion at the center of creation. The Ruhk are the reason no-one discusses religion in polite conversation.”
Common Personality Traits: Brusque, guarded, ill-tempered, resolute, brave, bloodthirsty, impatient, loyal, community-minded, selfless.
Common Physical Traits: Hulking stature, broad body, clumsy gait, bucket jaw, musky smell, many scars, pointed teeth, mottled skin, lean ropy physique, blood-curdling roar.
Example Names: Gorefang, Zetrix, Bonegnasher, Necksnapper, Nazdreg, Gazghul, Krarug, Vashnak, Erudush.
Splinter Race Feats: Fire Brave (oni), Sea Brave (merrow), Stone Brave (troll), Eastern Horde (skull tribe), Great Horde (blood tribe), Northern Horde (bone tribe), Southern Horde (fang tribe), Western Horde (iron tribe). Unless you choose one of these, you’re an ‘black blade’.
Weight: 235-380 lbs.