Realms of Mythrais
The Rhul of Aerk
ALTERNATE SUB-RACE: The Civilized Rhul
The Rhul are the epitome of barbarians. Their homeland has nothing larger for habitation than crudely made hovels of rock and sod in a village that will never be surrounded by a fortification of any kind. While they do possess the knowledge of iron weapons, their warriors will never be found wearing armor of anything more than animal hides. The Rhul are fiercely territorial, even with each other; giving no quarter to those that invade their lands. Rhul warriors have a great deal of honor, much like their distant cousins in Vannulvheim; but few codes to live by save that the strong lead and the less strong follow, while the weak die. They are kind to their families and clan, and there is less bullying among them than even the Vannulvir; but they are also takers of heads in battle and lead grim lives. This is exactly as they like it, however.
Many marvel that so backward a people could have resisted the might of the Karnite Empire at its height. Only the inhumanly strong arms of these barbarians have ever resisted legion after legion of the Karnite people, and an unwillingness to be anything other than they are kept them fighting even when they lost battle after battle. They know their land like none other can and they are able to use it to their advantage. Invaders often find the Rhul melt away before them; only to be attacked from the rear at night and their food stores destroyed. Others seem to be constantly attacked by stampeding herds of the dreaded Thunder Beasts that seem to live only here in the lands of the Rhul; no doubt slowly gathered together and then panicked by the wood-wise druids who are the religious leaders here.
No matter the reason, the Rhul are a free people; perhaps the last true barbarians in the world of Aerk. Their fierceness is inspiration and dread to many; but always the Rhul care only to be left alone. That is until their numbers become too great for their lands to hold; then they come spilling out in bloodthirsty hordes of battle-maddened berserkers bent on taking the head of every last being encountered.
Personality: Rhul are mostly a silent people, little given to talking at all unless it is of the utmost importance to do so. Many scholars have likened them to human bears: gruff and territorial, but unassuming masters of their home, little caring to impose their will on others. The rare Rhul that has left his homeland, either staying in civilization after his horde has melted back into their homeland or simply leaving because he has become bored, usually doesn’t survive in civilization’s complex and alien world. Too blunt and honest, they border on naive; but have a seemingly innate insight into the scheming of civilized men and trust them not at all. Rhul will rarely start a fight, but they believe a man should say nothing at all and only act when he feels threatened or provoked; so once a fight is started, they will not give in until they are incapacitated or their foe is dead.
Physical Description: Like the Vannulvir, Rhul are massive humans. Many men are 6’ in height or taller, with few less than this; and they average about 200 pounds of nothing but muscle and sinew attached to bone. Their women are larger than Vannulvir women at 5’8" in height and about 160 pounds; making them the match of nearly any civilized man in a battle, which does happen because Rhul women fight alongside their men. Rhul hair is black most often, though browns and red-heads are also known; while eye color is usually brown. When exposed to hot climes and sun, Rhul tan heavily into a deep bronze similar to that of Minotaurs. A typical clan warrior will wear at most a leather jerkin (many preferring no armor at all) and carry a large shield. Weapons are most often a war sword, club or hunting spear for throwing and a hunting bow for harassing the enemy and hunting. The greatest berserkers among them will wade into battle with nothing but a greatsword, frothing smile and body covered in nothing but war paint.
Relations: The Rhul only have relations with their more civilized kin in the nation of Rhulgaard or within the ancient giant city of Rhuk. Many wonder why the Rhul deal with outsiders in Rhuk, but when asked they say it is their duty to guard the city from outsiders and their druids think it best to guard the city by trading their furs here. There are minor Daerkur barbarian clans in the lands of the Rhul, but they live in the deep mountains and the two groups respect each others territory. Only some few Rhul will venture into Rhulgaard, and then only to briefly trade or else stay for battle if they are young and aggressive bucks needing to vent their berserk rage upon Karnites while in the service of the Iron Tyrant of Rhulgaard. Favored paths for Rhul Hordes are into Ganov, Kosland or through Rhulgaard into the Warholds of Karn. All these lands dislike the Rhul because of this. Ships that try to land on the coasts of the territory held by the Rhul usually leave before nightfall to avoid a massed attack; the Rhul hate ships and kill any crews that land on their shores.
Alignment: Rhul despise laws and refuse to live by them. They take heads in battle and stack the skulls in their villages; but they are loving and caring parents to their children and relations. Truly outside of the typical definition of good or evil, it is best to consider the Rhul as Chaotic Neutral barbarians.
Rhul Lands: The land of the Rhul is a broken and forest covered land of giant trees and great valleys marked by many small lakes and fire made meadows. The Rhul use game trails as their roads as well as dugout canoes for their rivers and lakes; they despise the ocean and do not venture upon it even for fishing. Great Dinosaurs still roam this primal land, though in smaller numbers often culled by the Rhul for their own needs. The only structure in this land larger than an earth and sod hovel is the Great Hall of the Druids where the clans come to prove their youth are ready to become men and women. This place is a ruin from ages past restored with dinosaur bone and hide long houses belonging to the Druids and great cave complexes where the ancient are laid to rest. The lands of the Rhul are simply put savage and pre-historic.
Language: The Rhul speak a language of the same name, thought to be the same language once spoken by the Vannulvir in ages now gone. They speak no other.
Names: Rhul names are simplistic; being based on animal names. Male names are likely to be: Bear, Hawk, Wolf or Snake; with important men having names such as: Blackbear, Swordhawk, Lonewolf or Shadowsnake. Female names are usually based on plants along the same lines. These would be their Common translated names; but players should create barbarian sounding names that mean these things. Clan names are such as: Mountain Bear, Timber Wolf, Mountain Eagle, River Snake or Dire Boar.
Religion: The Rhul follow only their druids who teach veneration of the tribal totem animal spirits and the land. Any other who comes into their land attempting to convert them would most likely end up beheaded and his skull placed in a pile at the Great Hall.
The racial abilities of the Rhul are: