Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Longstriders

Longstriders (a.k.a. longlanders) are either very tall people or very skinny giants.  In fact, scholars refer to them as common giants.

They look like humans whose arms, legs, and torso have been doubled in length without getting much wider.
Common Knowledge

Longstriders are wanderers, and so you'll find them around the world, traveling in small bands or families.  But a great deal of them also live around Revanwall, where nearly all of them have been forcibly integrated into human cities, where they serve as prestige slaves or honor guards.  Their culture, names, and religions are the same as their master's.

In the past, they were the victims of a brutal genocide that killed over 60% of their numbers, with the remainder enslaved.  But those days are mostly past, and enough longstriders have purchased their freedom in those centuries that they have sizable communities elsewhere, far from Revanwall.

In the Revanwall cities, you can still see their unmistakable bones used in various employs.  For a brief moment, it was the height of popularity to have a scabbard made out of a longstrider's 3' long femur.  Like coming back from from WW2 with a Luger.  You'll also see their blue-tinged bones in walking sticks, pipes, sword-grips, chandeliers, scrimshaw . . . everywhere, really.  Even ancient longstrider burial grounds have been exhumed, with the long bones harvested and the rest scattered.

I WANT TO RIDE A GIRAFFE
Outside of Revanwall, most people know longstriders as travelling merchants.  When they settle down in villages they tend to work physical jobs, like construction.  Established families usually get into moneylending.  They ride around on lightly-reskinned giraffes called longlander horses.  

They are known for their sharp business sense and affability.  They are so affable, in fact, that they won't even flinch when you bring out a scabbard made of longstrider bone and offer to sell it; they'll just start talking price, like any good merchant.  People will tell you that they're completely honest, or they'll tell you that they're the greatest liars the world has ever seen, but no one has a moderate opinion of their honesty.

I assumed this would be a common fetish, but I was wrong
there's very few pictures of massively elongated people out there
Uncommon Knowledge

The longlanders are a people without a history.  Are they interested in investigating their old cities, trying to reclaim their lost culture and language?  Nope.  There isn't any old culture or language to discover.  Anything to that effect was destroyed in the years since their enslavement.

This isn't to say that the longstriders haven't had "messiahs" or charismatic leaders that argued for a longstrider nation.  But these calls for homeland and history have always ended in violence, genocide, and persecution.  It is no wonder that modern longstriders have sought to distance themselves from these notions.

And so longstriders seem oddly incurious.  If you ask one, "Don't you want to know where your family came from?  Or where your home is?"  The longstrider will answer, "My family are those around me that I trust, and my home is where I wish to sleep tonight."  This is an answer which is both unusually tolerant and sadly close-minded.  It's the response of a people who have fled their history.

bayonetta is like 10' feet tall
Secret Knowledge

But there is something buried deep in the history of the longstriders.  Something that they don't understand and don't trust.

Longstriders can transfer curses with their breath.  They can literally inhale someone's curse, transferring it to themselves.  And they can transfer a curse back into someone else just as easily.

This power is never discussed openly, and it is only used with great reservation.  Many longstriders are ignorant of it themselves.

And when a longstrider eats the hearts of greater giantkin, their body undergoes a strange metamorphosis, and they develop potent powers.  There are a few longstriders who mutter that these powers mean that they were meant to be rulers among giants, but they are quickly silenced.  There is no suggestion more distasteful to the average longstrider than the notion that they are destined to be rulers.

Longstriders are humble with a passion and broadness that is incomprehensible to other races.  This is because, wherever their long legs carry them, they are always guests or slaves.  And arrogant guests do not survive long.

robert wadlow
LONGSTRIDER CHARACTERS
  • Like a normal human, but stretched.  2x the height, 3x the weight.
  • Most rooms and passages sized for humanoids count as cramped (-2 to hit).
  • +100% range on thrown attacks.
  • Can transfer curses to/from themselves via breath.  Can inhale a curse from a target's lungs, or exhale a curse into a target's lungs.  Unwilling targets must be restrained/asleep/unsuspecting, and get a save to resist.  The first time an unwilling target makes a save, the curse is effectively locked in place (as far as this longstrider is concerned; other longstriders can still attempt).
  • Metamorphosis.  See below.
  • Lifespan as human.
Metamorphosis: The first time a longstrider eats the heart of a giant with 4 HD or more, their eyes turn completely blue (pupil, iris, and sclera) and they can identify magic items as if they were a wizard of equal level.  If they are already a wizard, they can identify magic items as if they were a level higher.  Lifespan 2x human.

The first time a longstrider eats the heart of a giant with 7 HD or more, their hair falls out and their mucus membranes (lips, inside of the mouth, tongue, inside of eyelids, etc) turns milky white.  They gain the use of a secret chest, which is more or less like the spell.  It lets them store up to 5 items in an extradimensional bag inside their forehead.  Lifespan 3x human.

The first time a longstrider eats the heart of a giant with 10 HD or more, their skin turns pure blue and their eyes glow as bright as a candle.  They get telepathy with a range of 100'.   Additionally, their breath can transfer all enchantments, not just curses.  Lifespan 4x human.


Note: Think of them as fragile ogres.  They have long, thin limbs that tend to shatter after falling, and they lack the great strength of their giant kin.  Still, it seems a little odd to have 1 HD giants out there, so assume that any longstrider that you'll see in Centerra is a 3 HD peasant, at least.  If one of your players wants to roll up a 1 HD longstrider teenager, let them.  Option: add the caveat that three years need to go past before you can level up to 2 HD, and another 3 years before you can read 3 HD, or something like that.

POSSIBLUH RELATE?
ONLY YOU CAN DECIDED!
This book cost a dollar at the Dollar Store when I was a kid
Fuckin' loved it
Thanks for buying it for me, Mom.

1 comment:

  1. What would a creature of the Giant type, but Small size, be like?

    ReplyDelete