The Vashkin and you

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The Vashkin and you

Post  Endless Witch Beatrice on Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:03 pm

Greetings, members of The Other Side. This topic is here to tell you all you would need to know in order to play a member of the Vashkin race and/or culture. Are you interested in playing a Vashkin? If not, chances are this information will be useful, anyway. Feel free to give it a skim.

1. Who are the Vashkin?
That's a good question with two answers. The Vashkin, formerly, were known as a tribe of fishlike and sea-serpent-like humanoids what worshipped the most dangerous sea monsters of The Great Sea as deities. Typically, they built cities underwater of stone and marble and wood. Now, in the modern days, they have taken many human converts to their religion and their cities are far, far more architecturally appealing. The Vashkin is at once a species and a religious cult, not to mention a language.

2. When did they come into existence/how long have they existed for?
Like the humans, the amphibious Vashkin species itself has existed since history has been recorded. The religion/cult, however, has existed since ~980, when they started to take more notice of sea monsters becoming mutated and more horrific due to magic. (See Timeline of the Old World for more details on when the Great Sea started to get amped up on magic.)

3. How did the religion start?
In ~980, the Vashkin species noticed the sea monsters of the Great Sea who had been mutated by magic. Their first instinct was to worship them due to their awesome power. By 1060, the Vashkin had mastered magic to the point of developing an acute form of necromancy that would enable them to send the souls of sacrificial victims to feed the sea monsters, whom they referred to as "The Deep Ones".

This caused the sea monsters to grow further and further in power, sentience and intelligence. Sacrificial victims would step forth fully voluntarily based on the promise of co-existing for an eternity with the great Deep One of their choice.

The religion expanded, and as it did, more sacrifices were made. As more sacrifices were made, the Deep Ones became ever more powerful. Not only that, but they developed sentience and individual personalities.

4. When did humans come in? How did they learn to communicate?
A group of humans discovered the Vashkin religion at around the same time the Great Sea had become influenced more dangerously by magic. A rough estimate of ~990 would be fairly accurate. This group of humans, consisting of 3 archaeologists, 2 scholars and 15 armed men discovered the Vashkin to be a peaceful kind. Not only did they spend time becoming accustomed to the Vashkin language in order to communicate with them, but the High Priest they had encountered on the surface dedicated his finest scholars to coming to understand the language of the humans. 

The end result was that the Vashkin understood the human language far before the humans understood Vashkin. As the group of humans and Vashkin communicated, the humans came to warm to the Vashkin religion and its tales of the doings of its deities, which became far more convincing when the High Priest took the humans to see what many historical records state to be an early and developing form of Valos the Courageous.

This group of humans was eventually converted to the Vashkin religion and in turn, more humans would come to the Vashkin cult. In return, the humans taught the Vashkin more of magic, which formed a great contribution to the Vashkin religion. See more on "Vashkin magic" below (later).

5. What do the Vashkin species look like?
The Vashkin come in two varieties with many individual differences in between. There are two main varieties.

First, are the Bthnk. The Bthnk are the more fishlike species. Below are examples of females.

The Bthnk are fully humanoid, typically with gills and fins. Their skin is covered in scales. Males tend to look much like humanoid males, only with similar features to the females shown above. The Bthnk are generally capable of shifting their fish tails into legs, meaning they can travel on land and underwater. The Bthnk have a natural aptitude for magic, but their physical strength is somewhat lacking. Another thing of note is that Bthnk blood is sky blue in hue and extremely poisonous - ingesting will cause great illness among most living species, including Vampires, and may even be lethal if ingested in large quantities.

Secondly are the Ehye. The Ehye are far more sea-serpent-like in appearance, not unlike... yes, the Naga.

What sets the Ehye apart most from the Bthnk other than their physical appearance is their physical prowess; The Ehye are often very strong, capable of performing feats of considerable strength. As such, the Ehye are usually the "warriors" of the Vashkin - often seen wielding spears, shields and cutlasses/sabers. See "How do the Vashkin fight?" for more. The blood of the Ehye is more of a sea green hue, but it is not poisonous.

Humans within Vashkin culture look like humans, unsurprisingly. However, it is possible to come across half-breeds known as Halflings. When a Bthnk and a human breed, you get something that looks a little like one of these;



6. How do the Vashkin fight?
Most of the time? They don't.

"Among all peoples, who among them will fall fastest?
Is it the weakest, or is it those who seek to make enemies of brethren in other nations? We are all united as brothers and sisters under the divine power of the Deep Ones.

So then, you see that we are neither hostile nor suspicious nor conniving. Our very essence is laid bare for those who wish to hear our message." -- Zy'knar, Vashkin High Priest of the city of Ulnshogg in 1200, On Human Suspicion.

However, they do have warriors in each underwater city dedicated to protecting it. Vashkin warriors use assortments of mail and plate armours and are typically composed of the Ehye subspecies due to their physical strength. They wield spears, sabers, shields and tridents typically. Metal is not difficult to find for a species that can breathe underwater, so there is plenty of room for blacksmithing in Vashkin cities. Unlike their Bthnk brothers and sisters, the Ehye do not as often fight with magic. They are capable, but not as reliant on it.

The Bthnk are not as physically capable. They will tend to fight with magic. There are generally mages that protect a city as well as warriors. Bthnk, Humans and Halflings are commonly found among them. Vashkin magic is so broad that it will be covered in the next question.

7. Tell me of Vashkin Magic.
First and foremost, the Vashkin specialise at enchanting, both items and living things alike. Through the increased sentience and magical potence of the 'Deep Ones' whom they worship, the Vashkin are able to communicate with their gods through completing complex magical rituals that draw upon magical power. The Ehye are just as capable of this.

Where this is relevant to magic is the fact that this enables them to ask the Deep One with whom they communicate to bestow a small amount of their magical power upon an item or a person. These are known as "blessings" typically. One example would be calling upon the God of Wit and Wisdom, Zarkrak, to bestow a blessing upon a spear that will improve its wielder's reflexes.

However, the Vashkin are taught more 'direct' forms of magic as well. There is a school (the educational kind, smartasses) in each Vashkin city. Here, citizens are taught many things, one of which is up to three schools of magic. The schools are as follows;

- Water manipulation
- Ice manipulation
- Healing
- Necromancy

It should be noted that Necromancy is taught only to those who are candidates for positions of high religious importance such as Priests. This Necromancy relates to the soul, not corpses - it is generally used only in sacrificial rituals to feed the soul of a volunteer to one of the Deep Ones. It is highly illegal in most Vashkin cities to teach it to someone who is not a candidate for a religious position. However, the Chaotic Vashkin are often familiar with it... more on them later.

8. How powerful will my Vashkin's magic be?

9. LOL!! There's a huge logic hole in all this!! How did the Vashkin learn blacksmithing??
Nah, it's not really a logic hole. Back when the humans met the Vashkin (See "When did humans come in?" for more details), they taught the Vashkin of blacksmithing not long after they taught them of magic. Naturally, blacksmithing was almost entirely useless underwater due to the high temperatures required to smelt metal. 

However, this became less of a problem when the Vashkin High Priest at the time decreed that cities be built with human civilisation in mind, giving them air to breathe so the Vashkin and humans could co-exist. The first of these cities was Ulnshogg of Humanity, the first city to be built above the water and on the shore rather than under it. Ulnshogg served as a beacon of friendship between the Vashkin and the humans for many years. It gradually sunk underwater as the tides rose over the years, but as Vashkin magic improved they were able to shield the inside and ensure the interior had air to breathe.

Where this ties into blacksmithing will be pretty obvious by now - with the new air-filled interiors of the Vashkin cities, blacksmithing was now possible. The Vashkin did not make heavy use of blacksmithing until the Chaotic Vashkin, also known as The Forsaking Ones came to be a problem. More on them later.

10. Hmmm. Wouldn't rust have been a problem for the Vashkin armour and weapons?
Yes. The Vashkin, in the early days, attempted to prevent rust by coating their armour in dried seaweed. This would only work for a short time if at all. Later, they decided it would be a better idea to paint their armour and equipment. However, the Vashkin would use fairly thick paints, leading to numerous decorative dilemmas upon attempting to paint runes, insignias and other details upon their armour. They later discovered that thinner paints were surprisingly not much worse in preventing rust.

The main way the Vashkin got around the problem of rust, however, was simply replacing their equipment. Equipment was mass-produceable with the iron strength of the Ehye and the undersea excavation of the Bthnk - metal ore was always fairly easy to come by underwater. The Vashkin would often replace their equipment whenever it would start to rust.

More coming. This guide's far from complete, but it's a working project. I think it'd be great to see topics like this for every playable race; the information would be much easier to digest than the walls of text we have for most. It'd give RPers a much easier time creating characters. It all depends on the individual creators and whether or not they think this would be worthwhile, however.

When this topic is complete, this post will be moved to "Races of the Setting".
Endless Witch Beatrice

Posts : 20
Join date : 2013-03-10
Age : 22
Location : Omnipresent

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