Humans assume that all orcs are the same--ugly, brutish, violent, and determined to kill anyone who stands in their path. These suppositions rarely prove false. But even orcs display variation within the species, and one group in particular stands apart from all others.
The sharakim (the name means "the tainted" or "those with taint" in an old human dialect) were once human. At their forebears were. Legens claim that, long ago, all humans resided in the village of Desh. They lived peacefully until a hunter named Sharak killed a sacred stag, and all those who ate of the stag's flesh became ill. Many died, but others were transformed, twisted into hideous caricatures of humanity by the evil they had committed. The humans who escaped the curse scattered, leaving Desh to be lost forever. Those creatures who had once been human gathered together and fled as well, making their own way in the world but forever hated by humans because they stood as a reminder of that sin. These became the sharakim.
Sharakim live in small villages and towns. They are comfortable in hills and mountains, especially in places that feature long shadows and high cliffs on every side. They are eager for outside contact, and thus settle close to other races. They make frequent forays to nearby towns and encourage their neighbors to visit them, whereupon they take the part of lavish hosts. Sharakim spend their waking hours fighting the impression people assume based on their appearance; only in the privacy of their own homes do they relax and gather their thoughts.
Sharakim Racial Traits Edit
- +2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: Sharakim are naturally strong but their size makes them clumsy. Their monstrous apearance works against them in social settings but their culture forces them to be well educated.
- Humanoid (human): Sharakim are humanoid creatures with the human subtype.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, sharakim have no special bonuses or penalties due to size.
- Sharakim base land speed is 30 feet.
- Darkvision: Sharakim can see in the dark out to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only but it is otherwise like normal sight, and sharakim can function just fine with no light at all.
- +1 natural armor bonus: Sharakim skin is tough and difficult to pierce.
- Shadow Affinity (Ex): Sharakim are born to darkness and despite their claims they operate best in night and shadow. In areas of darkness of shadowy illumination, a sharakim gains a +2 racial bonus on Hide, Move Silently, Search, and Spot checks.
- Light Sensitivity (Ex): Sharakim take a -1 penalty to attack rolls in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
- +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs (including half-orcs) sharakim despise orcs, and learn special combat tecniques that enable them to fight them more effectively.
- Automatic language: Common]
- Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, and Orc.
- Favored Class: Wizard
- Level Adjustment: +1
Sharakim learn from early childhood that they were created from sin, and that others believe their existence is a curse upon he world. This knowledge makes them sullen when they are alone, and eager to please when they are with other races. Humans compare them to puppies, which hate to be alone an accept any treatment because it means attention. Sharakim despise other orcs, seeing them as examples of what they could have become, and they make every effort to distinguish themselves from those monsters. They bath frequently and are fastidious about their clothing and manners. They learn to speak Common and strive to pronounce the words without accent, which is difficult because of their tusks. Sharakim villages are models of tidiness and order, each house carefully placed in relation to its neighbors, and each one kept spotlessly clean. Sharakim strive to better themselves individually, constantly improving their knowledge and skills to make themselves worthy of social interaction.
Physical Description Edit
Sharakim stand between 5 feet and 6 feet tall and weigh 140 to 275 pounds. Their skin ranges from light gray to coal black; their hair is thick but not coarse, and such a deep black it seems almost blue, though some sharakim sport silver or white streaks. They usually have either jet-black or slate-gray eyes, and more rarely eyes of dark blue or dark green. Small, curved horns, protrude from both temples and their lower canines are sharp tusks that jut up past their upper lips. Sharakim noses are usually shot and snubbed with wide nostrils.
Sharakim dress as well as their circumstances allow, to distinguish themselves from orcs. They prefer finely made shirts and pants, with soft leather boots and gloves. Many wear hats with broad brims, pulled low to cover their horns, while others prefer cloaks with deep hoods. Sharakim keep their thick fingernails trimmed and their tusks and horns polished. They decorate their horns and tusks, carving them like ivory, capping them with precious metals, or even embedding gems in them. Their hair is braided or pulled back and held by a fine metal clip. Sharakim hate to expose their feet and hands, because both are over-sized and feature thick, talon-like nails.
Sharakim go out of their way to ingratiate themselves with other races. They greet anyone the meet openly and cheerfully, often in the strangers native language. Gnomes have the easiest time adjusting to Sharakim, being able to look past their appearance and admire their drive and education and the two races often live near one another, visiting to trade information and goods. Halflings admire the determination of sharakim but still feel uncomfortable around them, and become shy in their presence. Elves and dwarves do not trust the sharakim, proclaiming that an orc in fancy clothes is still an orc. They cannot deny the race's intelligence and refinement, but they still suspect a sinister motive behind the civilized behavior. Humans find themselves torn in their reactions--the sharakim look like orcs, but the act completely human. Human merchants happily do business with Sharakim, but priest suspect darker intentions behind their eagerness, and fighters prefer not to trust them as comrades in battle.
Sharakim love rules, because they like to show that they can understand and obey such structures. They strive to be generous and helpful, making lawful good their most common alignment. Some sharakim lean toward neutrality and a few are actively chaotic, preferring an individual approach to a mandated path.
Sharakim Lands Edit
Sharakim live in villages nestled among high hills or low mountains. They prefer the protection of cliffs around them but they also like to be close to the other races, so their homes are usually no more than a few days' travel from a human or gnome village. Sharakim do not like open water, preferring to avoid settlements located next to rivers or lakes.
Sharakim can be found in large human cities, where they delight in the number of people present and in the chance to mingle with everyone openly. They purchase homes and redecorate them, creating elaborate carvings on door frames and columns and hanging intricate tapestries on the walls. Sharakim are known as excellent hosts no matter where they live, because their homes are always luxurious and well maintained, and because they go out of their way to make guests comfortable.
The Sharakim have no deity of their own. They abhor Gruumsh, the god of the orcs, and most do not feel themselves worthy to pray to any human god. Those dare approach a human deity pray to Heironeous, asking him to look past their twisted exteriors and see the honor and lawfulness within.
All sharakim speak Common, and most speak at least one other language, usually Dwarven, Elven, or Gnome. Though a few sharakim learn Orc--the better to understand their enemies--they will not speak Orc under any circumstances, and nothing written in that language is allowed in their homes.
Sharakim love to read. They collect books in a variety of languages, and many who live in cities become book sellers.
Sharakim prefer to take human names or names that fit with the society around them. They love long names, since short names seem brutish--sharakim never use an abbreviation of anyone's name, and they insist that friends and business partners use their full names as well. A sharakim's last name is his clan name, and his given name is of human derivation. A sharakim is named at birth, but when he reaches adulthood, his elders select a new name for him, one that fits his personality and talents. Sharakim keep their birth name asa middle name. SOmetimes a sharakim adds a thirdname once he is older and settled in a particular business; then his adult name becomes his first middle name, and the birth name remains a second middle name.
Male Names: Alastair, Benjamin, Carrington, Daniel, Malcolm, Nathaniel, Reginald, Winchester.
Female Names: Aurora, Bedelia, Christina, Clarissa, Elizabeth, Margaret, Winnifred.
Clan Names: Andromar, Barechian, Helefern, Lochlaman, Malendik, Norferat, Sarekar.
Every sharakim feels he has to prove his worth, both to himself and to others. He strives to show that he is as smart, as noble, as honorable, and as skilled as any human or dwarf, or elf, because he believes this effort will win their respect. Most sharakim, upon reaching adulthood, leave their villages to go adventuring. This allows them to encounter strangers, make new friends, and hone their skills. Earning riches is less important than winning renown, and a sharakim who is immortalized in song, is the pride of his clan.