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Monster

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A monster is any creature that is not considered to be part of a race; even though they may be sentient, they either do not form cultures or are utterly incompatible with the races of Mizahar. Monsters are often dangerous and hostile to the people of the land, and they differ greatly in abilities and intelligence.

Contents

Overview

There was a time in Mizahar's history when the continent was entirely populated by "monsters". Of course, this was the label that the early Humans gave them upon arriving on the shores of Mizahar. Powerful, exotic creatures with equally strange and violent habits that were entirely alien to mankind, they could be nothing but monsters. Forced to fight for territory and survival, people eventually succeeded in pushing back the monsters with help from the gods.

The importance of monsters gradually dwindled, until they stopped being a matter of everyday survival and were reduced to hazards for the unwary traveler straying from the main path, fairytale fodder that was more often talked about than actually seen in person. The horrors of civilized warfare replaced those of the monsters' magic and claws, and the races of Mizahar thought they were the sole owners of the land - even though the monsters had been there first and were merely defending their own territories.

The Valterrian was the unexpected cataclysm that changed the status quo, plunging the races back into an era where the monsters were a force to be reckoned with. By this time, the creatures labelled as monsters had changed considerably; only a minority of the creatures from mankind's early days still survived, but many more had evolved or had been created by the meddling of the gods, and in some cases because of men themselves. The Valterrian generated monsters of its own, and destroyed those that were too weak to live, much like it did with the civilized races.

Classification

While monsters in Mizahar are extremely diverse, they can be divided into a few broad categories.

Relics

Relics are the monsters faced by the early Humans when they started to colonize Mizahar. These monsters are older than any known race and are rare nowadays, though they are, without a doubt, among the most powerful. It took mankind many millennia - fighting as a united front and investing all of their resources - to drive them into near-extinction. Relics are as alien as it gets; their bodies, their minds, their souls have very little in common with the organisms seen in everyday life. They generally do not age, and their colonies are very small. In many cases, a Relic is the only one of its kind still existing in Mizahar. Their way of using magic and Djed is just as bizarre and dangerous as their appearance.

To the Relics, civilized races and especially the Humans are evil invaders who brought unprovoked war to their lands. They view people as monsters and will hunt them down as mercilessly as they are hunted down. Their intelligence is high, but their thought processes are completely different from those of Mizahar's races. Relics usually have no such notion as "names" and are therefore known by the esoteric names passed down through the eras by the early Humans and their descendants.

Examples: Rozacapotl, Qamur

Fauna and Flora

Sometimes, animals and plants become dangerous enough to be considered monsters, especially if they acquire unsettling traits or if they evolve from existing, more normal animals. Animal mutations happen either naturally, as the new trait is favorable and increases survival rate, or as the product of magic or divine whim.

Gigantism is the most common mutation that can affect a wild animal species, turning them bigger and more feral than their usual counterpart. Such a creature is often called "dire" to distinguish it from the species it comes from - e.g. dire wolf, dire rat, and so on. Since a "dire" animal also requires more food and larger territories, these more aggressive variants do not take over their normal cousins' habitats. Taldera is rife with 'dire' animals, so often these supersized giants are referred to as 'Talderian' rather than dire. The Jamoura, who often reach 8 feet tall or larger, are considered affected by this mutation and are located in Taldera.

Hybridization is another common mutation. It happens when a new animal is formed from the union of two or more separate species, typically through the discharge of very powerful Djed in their surroundings. Monstrous animals may also derive from other mutations such as acquiring a special ability, or developing different tactics and teamwork that make the species more dangerous than it should be.

Examples: Catmel, Glassbeaks, Kriital, Myrian_Tiger, Tskanna, Ta'rukahl, Tsana

Landspawns

Mizahar as a continent is far from being a chunk of dead rock - instead, it is an entity breathing with life and heat. Sometimes, volcanic eruptions shake the landscape with unbridled fury; yet other times, Mizahar ejects life rather than fiery rock. When there are too many nutrients under the soil, yet no use for them, sometimes creatures will rise from the very earth. Terrain that was once colonized and later abandoned is especially prone to spawning monsters, simplistic creatures with just the most basic instincts. Some say this represents Mizahar's anger towards those who exploit its resources.

Landspawns are rarely powerful alone; more often than not, they are pests rather than major threats, and an average armsman should be able to dispatch a few on his own. The problem with landspawns is that they often come in large numbers; they rise in scores, establish primitive forms of leaderships, and then raid their surroundings like locusts until killed. Born from an excess of life, they restore the balance by destroying life.

Examples: Yukman, Vinumia

Moldlings

"Moldling" is the technical term for beings created by either gods or mortals in historical times. Deities normally create races, not monsters; the main reason being that races can carry out their agenda better. Making a race is difficult even for the gods, though, and as such there are several prototypes and failed attempts before they get the concept right. Incomplete creations are often monstrous and retained by the god for menial tasks, or moved to more isolated regions of the world to live in. Higher-level shapings may be intentional, for example in order to create elite servants as guardians.

Powerful mortal wizards can create Moldlings. In fact, they have been known to create races such as the Kelvic and the Pycon.

Undead

Undead are souls who refuse to reincarnate in the afterlife and manage to return to a semblance of life through craft or divine intervention. A broader description of undead also includes mindless minor Animations that, while containing only instincts, still look like moving corpses. A ghost is a natural occurrence and is not an undead; undead are always artificial. When they strike a deal with a god, they often receive Gnosis marks granting them unnatural powers.

Examples: Nuit, Desolate Ones

Fragments

In Mizahar, it is possible for a god to be slain, and it has happened relatively often in history. While the consequences may vary, Fragmentation occurs frequently. The deity's immense Djed ruptures, and massive slivers scatter all over the world. Each of these Fragments is sentient and represents a part of the god's personality as well a spark of their power. A Fragment, while not nearly as powerful as the entity it came from, is a formidable opponent. Each has a name and a subset of the god's domain powers. Their minds are broken and usually focus on seizing territory and ruling it according to their world vision. Far from easy to slay, they tend to create their own servants. Most Fragments existing today belong to long forgotten gods who were killed in the early days of man.

Examples: Windoak, Journeyman

Valterrics

Valterric monsters were born with the Valterrian, during the Djed storms that raged all over the continent. As such, no one god can really claim ownership of these monsters; they are an involuntary collaborative effort, born from struggle and destruction. Valterrics are the youngest monster types and evolve at a furious pace. Because they are so recent, they have adopted new techniques for hunting their victims. Among all monster classes, Valterrics are the most likely to infiltrate settlements of other races in disguise. They mold with the local population, attacking it from within. Their ability to learn from people and devise new strategies makes them a growing menace for Mizahar.

Examples: Wailer, Nuzem, Riamm