Tuesday, January 14, 2014

World Development:Sky Shadow Clan

 I was working on a goliath assassin, Saven Duskwalker, an NPC that was acting as a foil for the warlord in the party. While not direct enemies they were both working towards building a power base with desires to become the leader of their respective organizations.

Dragon Mag has been a staple for me after only starting to read them recently, last three years. I have been going back through the archives enjoying the articles and using the varies options they provide. One thing that I have always found disappoint is the lack of flavor to accompany some of the feats. They will have evocative names, but would have minimal to no details or context.
I had found a feat called Hungry Sky Shadow in an article dedicated to assassins. I just assumed that because it had such an evocative name (many of the feats in that article do) that it was a reference to something else. I couldn't find anything. I was reading the 3e book Races of Stone where it talked about how goliath that became a burden to their tribe were expected just to walk away or be shunned by the tribe. I started imagining maybe the "Hungry Sky" was the place that shunned goliaths went; out to an inhospitable wider world all alone.

That got me thinking about how the article would have looked if I were the author. Here is my attempt to retroactively add fluff to one of my favorite 4th Ed. feats. Based on the question, "What happens if shunned goliath survived?"

Sky Shadow Clan 

We are those cast off by tribe, but we will not abandon them. They believe that we are too weak, too old, or emotional unfit, to be a benefit to the tribe. But what they do not know is that we are the protectors of their old traditions. In the modern world to live by antiquated beliefs means perishing before our numerous enemies. We turn our back on tradition to protect those traditions. We left our tribes with our only possessions being our great shadows cast upon the ground by the heaven. Our family and our ways will find shelter beneath that shade. Our enemies will find death in the sky’s shadow.

The Sky Shadows

The Sky Shadows are ruthless mercenaries that view themselves as the defenders of their adopted clan's interests and the guardians of the primal world. Outsiders fear the Sky Shadows and their zealous methods. This fear is re-enforced by their cunning, imposing size. People fear what is different; members of the Sky Shadow have mastered turning physical frailty into a fearsome advantage. 
Nearly all members of the Sky Shadows have a zealous loyalty to each other. And often seek ways to continue being useful to their peers. These warriors care nothing about fair play and strive for power through artifacts, arcane knowledge or any other means to further their cause. A goliath weakened by a childhood disease might zealously pursue proficiency in the arcane; the undersized might sacrifice a piece of his soul to gain mastery over nethermancy. An elderly goliath suffering from infirmity might freely make a pact with a powerful patron to compensate for a perceived weakness.

Origins of the Sky Shadows

The Sky Shadows are castoffs. A collection of half-giants from tribes across Faerûn. The group has existed for centuries, and much of the group's membership was born into the Shadows. However, the high attrition of goliath tribes provides a sizable boost to its ranks.
Most exiled goliath join the Shadow after choosing a self-imposed banishment from their original clans. On rare occasions, a goliath became clanless due to the violation of tradition or other act that brought embarrassment to the former tribe. These can be an experience that leads to mental trauma in addition to permanent injury or advanced age.

Becoming Sky Shadows

While many of the Sky Shadows are fearsome warriors, they also fill a support role as the hospice for sick and aging members of their tribe. They typically have contacts with the lamenter of nearby tribes in the regions from which they operate. After shunned goliath receive their lament and is cast out of the tribe. A member of the Shadows will extend an offer to them to join their clanless ranks with no exceptions. While the local tribes normal do not approve of this practice, most turn a blind eye to it.

Corrupting Influences

There is a general belief by outsiders that the members of the Sky Shadow dabble in arts consider sinister in nature and make pacts with evil creatures. Some have gone as far to suggest that they are a cover for plotting oni seeking to operate with more anonymity in areas with any goliath population. While there is no real evidence to prove any sinister intent, their appearance, and somewhat xenophobic nature give weight to the rumors.

Adventuring as a Sky Shadow

Most members of the sky shadow are goliaths, however, any character that finds themselves shunned by clan, family or separated from their clutch might be found amongst its members. The majority of it's members are ill-suited to the adventuring life due to them being mentally or physically infirm. Those that do typically contribute to the support of other members of their adopted clan.

The adventurers amongst the Shadow often suffer from a permanent physical ailment or mental disorder. It sometimes difficulties to coping with the rejection of their former families. These could create difficult if they are forced to deal with their old brood. For some, a sense of duty to continue to protect those that rejected them can be powerful.

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