This is Chapter Ten for my Binder Of Souls Project.
Details can be found in this thread
This chapter is home to the Durzites, a species of small mages which bind souls to their will.
Durzites are very patient by nature, but also heavily driven by desire and greed. They use their intelligence to get what they want, and when that fails, they resort to magic and tools to finish the job. Art and leisure are very important to durzites, and use bound creatures or golems to do menial labour for them.
Durzites aren't as empathetic as other races, with their sense of survival being more prominent. This attitude has helped them survive in the upper areas of the underdark. But this has weakened ties to surface races.
Durzites stand 3 to 4 feet tall and weigh 30 to 40 pounds. Their skin is pale and their faces are tight and angular. They have rather long pointed ears that jut back rather than point up like more sylvan folk. Their eyes are commonly unnatural shades, ranging from deep purples, aquas, yellows as well as the occasional human shade of eye. Interestingly, instead of hair, their heads are topped with coarse spines, similar to that of a hedgehog. These spines slowly continue to grow longer as they age. The oldest of their kind have foot-long spines.
Valuing privacy, they often wear loose robes, cloaks and capes to conceal anything that they may have on them, like armor or weapons. Of course, in the constantly briskly chilled underground, these clothes also serve to keep them warm. Having to traipse across hard stone, often slippery with dew or loose pebbles, their craftsman took it to heart to provide their people the best possible footwear made. Durzite boots are renowned as being comfortable, long lasting and sure-footed and fetch prime prices in markets and bazaars.
Traditionally, durzite clothing is drab or dark colored with a few flourishes for personal taste and style. They seldom wear hoods or hats, but can. Their spines don't prevent them from wearing such things, though it does make them uncomfortable.
Durzites don't get along with other races very well, because of their lack of empathy and lazy nature. Outsiders from the planes don't typically trust durzites either, so knowing that they could use binding magic to trap them.
Occasionally gnomes establish trade routes with durzites, but the Durzites regard them as too destructive to be trusted. Dwarves, with similar living environs, have never gotten along with durzites. Durzites keep to themselves and can hardly be expected to bother with the troubles of the outside world. Many creatures of the underdark fear the cities of the durzites and their secret weapons and schemes.
Durzites run structured, organized lives, and thus tend toward lawful. Though, with adventures and outcasts, they tend toward neutrality, living without the rigors of daily study and schedules. But as all species they're outlooks and alignment are greatly varied.
Durzites live deep within mountains. They build great golems to carve away at the rock and haul away huge boulders. Druids, Earth Elementals, and Wizards follow after and smooth and decorated their halls. Though it is not the halls that impress as much as their caverns, huge open spaces underground filled with stone buildings shaped by magic and lit from all around by thousands of tiny fire beetle souls. Spiraling walkways line the walls of the cavern, leading off to other smaller chambers. In the center of the city, lies a fortified stronghold, home to the senate of Council Elders, High Mages and High Priests who rule over their city-states. The stronghold reaches to the ceiling of the great cavern, and acts as a support pillar. The Council of Elders is composed of those durzites who win public election, as well as those who live to 500 years, which automatically earns them a seat on the Council.
Elders, Wizards and Binders form the city's Governing Commons. They elect one of their own to sit as the High Elder, who rules until his passing, or his retirement. Though, during peace time, the job is easy, as durzite cities, for all their size, are sparsely populated. For this reason, durzites are wary of letting too many outsiders in at one time. Durzites keep track of visitors, never allowing more than 1 visitor per 2 durzites.
Visitors come to trade, as with gnomes, or to shop for goods in their bazaars, which are always filled with finely made crafts. Durzite made boots are well renowned as the finest footwear available.
In every Durzite city, there is a Gate Room that has portals that connect to every durzite city and often to other planes of existence.
Durzites regularly worship the four moons of magic, despite not being able to see them from their underground cities. They don't have many cleric though and generally use magic items to heal.
Durzites are all taught to speak Trader's Tongue and Arcaniss at a young age. By the time they reach adulthood they are fluent in both of these languages and often another, choosen by the Durzite as it develops.
Trader's Tongue and Arcaniss are replaced by Common and Draconic if not in the Blades of Keran Setting.
Occasionally, other races will refer to durzites as "durzees", or to a single durzite as "durzee". This isn't meant to be a racial slur, it is merely slang.
Durzite names are commonly long and obtuse. In modern ages, their names have gotten progressively shorter. Though, in ages past, it was not uncommon for names to reach past seven syllables. Since they are so long lived and few in number, a durzite will rarely use his surname, saving it for formal occasions only. Surnames are not necessarily taken from the father, and a durzite man may take the surname of his wife if she is of a nobler stature upon marriage.
: Adelmorn, Alkin, Diyamaki, Ganikarto, Ganteka, Gurdok, Kakarneb, NeoSeraphi, Ornugon, Varden
: Amekmia, Emediomana, Fadameta, Mekanouta, Mesvanterra, Quinata, Votumeta, Zota
: Arekton, Bakuearol, Cantemarden, Jotenberki, Kanderlan, Penkaron, Setsaravar, Sotaragas
- −2 Strength, -2 Charisma, +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom: Durzites are smart and have strong wills but also weaker and less than other races.
- Humanoid (Durzite)
- Small: As small creatures, durzites gain a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but they must use smaller weapons than humans use, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of medium-size characters.
- Durzite base land speed is 20 feet.
- Inborn Summoner: At first level a Durzite must choose a spell from the following list:
A Durzite can cast that spell as a spell-like ability once per day. A Durzite with a charisma score of at least 10 also has the following spell-like abilities: 1/day - Arcane Mark, Daze, Detect Magic.
Caster level 1st; save DC 10 + durzite's Cha modifier + spell level.
- Low-Light Vision: Durzites can see twice as far as humans under conditions of poor illumination. They are able to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- Racial Boundary: Durzites suffer a −2 penalty on Charisma-based skills when dealing with other intelligent races.
- Shielded Soul: The soul of a Durzite is protected from the binding of others. Any Binder attempting to make a pact with a Durzite suffers a -5 Racial Penalty.
- Favored Class: Binder.