Monday, 25 January 2016
The Barbét Recency and the Cyclops
The rolling valleys of Barbét are choked with vineyards and orchards. Slicing through the greenery are alarmingly clear streams, white pebbles reflecting the light from Colossus, the greater sun, which is considered holy in this land. The hills are verdant and flocks of black sheep and firey, red haired goats are driven across the pasture by hardy, ruddy skinned shepherds. The peasants of this land have tended their flocks for generations. They lead simple lives. They know and understand their place in the grand scheme of things: that is, to live and die upon the pasture. Their masters treat them well, watching with their great brass telescopes from their granite castles.
They are called Cyclops and they are as civil a people, as one could hope one eyed giants to ever be.
Their race is older than man and in their refinement, their gentlity, their measured calm; the surplus of years is made apparent. They stand a full head higher than a man and their frames are broad and powerful. Their hands are like shovels and yet their fingers are long and dexterous. They are magnificent musicians, composing heart shudderingly beautiful scores upon their peculiar piano-harps. Their voices are peerless, rich and luxuriant of tone.
True to legend, each possesses but a single, great eye. It is right to say that their depth perception is not good. But those eyes see more than crude matter alone. If they fix upon a spot, they can see the future of that tightly focused point in very specific terms...the holes that will form in a coat, the lines that will crease a maiden's face, the wound that will fell a soldier. They use the chrono-scry rarely, for it calcifies the future, setting the most likely fate of a person or object in certain terms. Still, there are foreign princes who still pay great sums to know something of what a Cyclops sees.
They are not a populous race, living many thousands of years, but breeding perhaps once or twice in that great span. They, unlike elves, have souls. They are worshipers of invisible Metronon, but they are not fanatics like the men of Torquemada. Moreover, the Torquemadan empire recognises the important allies these people represent and do not force them to burn their musical instruments or destroy their skewed, surreal paintings. Despite this seeming tolerance, it is no mere conjecture to say, that many within that base empire, where shallowness has been raised to holiness, would love to bring the Barbét Regency to heel. But for now, they are simply too afraid.
They rule a population of men, generally serving as examples to their lessers in matters of honour and chivalry. Still, they see their human vassels more like the inhabitants of a great doll's house than as people. Privacy is forbidden. Utilising enormous brass telescopes, they peer into the most intimate places with complete impunity. To hide from their sight, is to invite a terrible paranoid fury. All peasant's homes have large, round windows set into the north, east, south and west walls . Through these windows, every room in the house can be seen. They call them 'The Master's Windows'.
They dress in the finest fashions. Indeed, the salons of Barbét are widely considered to set trends across the continent. They are fond of a wide variey of smoking herbs, many of which are highly narcotic to a human partaker. They hold garden parties, upon clifftop retreats.
They are formidable warrirors, exceptional duelists and famous for their three man jezail teams, incorporating a shooter, a stabiliser and a range finder (vital with the Cyclops lack of depth perception).
They tolerate the persecuted Alephs (as they are known on Idios, You can call them Tieflings if you like. I was never a fan of that name). In fact, many Alephs have settled in the Barbet Regency; enough to be of concern to the Church of Metronon. For now, Barbet represents a great place of security for the Alephs and they do their best to find their way here. Were it not for the fact that they worship the Lord of Secrets, Murmuri , they would come in greater numbers. As it is, there are still a great many secular Aleph and these ones flourish. The Cyclops tolerate nothing hidden.
Witches, personifying the profane 'secret' for the Cyclops, are not suffered to live. In fact, all crimes, even the slightest, are considered an affront to the natural order. If any are discovered, then execution comes in the form of an iron mallet to the head. This is often carried about by enthusiastic human vassals. Every household has an execution mallet, wielded by the eldest member.
Despite this, within the captal city of Ergo, thieves operate, for objects d'art proliferate. The Cyclops produce nothing without idyosyncracy. Their work is not always beautiful, but it is always art. Ot at least their creations seem to unite critics in a perversely universal fashion.
Barbét Cyclops Chevalier
AC 18 (chain & shield), HP 85 Spd. 35 ft Proficiency bonus +2, To hit +8, 2d6+5 dm (massive longsword)
Disadvantage on ranged attacks.
Fated Strike: so localised and specific is the sight of the Cyclops that its power is as much of a hindrance as a boon. If the Cyclops chooses to use it (which it will do as a last resort), roll on the following table. (It takes up a bonus action) :
1 "I see you burn!" Target becomes vulnerable to fire for the next round (or some other random damage type)
2. "I am undone!" Cyclops gains disadvantage on all rolls this round.
3. "Your armour is badly maintained , my friend!" Next hit from the Cyclops reduces AC of opponent by 1.
4. "Tis not the time for battle." Cyclops compelled to do nothing but defend and spout poetry this round.
5. "We both, shall fight to the last! " Cyclops and opponent both do double damage to one another this round.
6. "Winds of time, blow thy horns!" Cyclops gains advantage on all rolls this round.
7. "The horror! The horror!" Cyclops is nauseated.
8. "You and I may yet be brothers" Cyclops will immediately attempt to parlay. Opponent has disadvantage to strike Cyclops.
9. "Thou art mine bosom enemy!" Cyclops forever hits a critical on a 19 or 20 against this opponent. It will fight to the death.
10. "Stare into my eye and see thine reflection." Both Cyclops and opponent gain a level of exhaustion, faced with a swift developing, cosmic ennui.