Tim is currently working on his bio in the meantime enjoy some placeholder words like this and that and the other one and oh that's a pretty cool word too words words words words words
06.25.2016: Exactly a month since my last update (somehow), I'm once again bringing in some big changes. The forum structure has been revamped AGAIN, essentially reversing the changes made back in November. The 'Old IGNO' style of posting is officially back, by popular demand!! We will henceforth be emphasizing our signature style of spontaneous in-character discussions instead of the ill-attempted shift towards traditional roleplaying. Head over to the Casual RP forum and jump into the action!! And fear not - the traditional topics are still here, they just got a new home, too!! --SG2
05.25.2016: Am I alive again? Who knows. Regardless of my state of existence, I'm doing some much-needed cleanup over at IGNOpedia. I'd like to regain my IGNO mojo and start attracting newbies now that summer break has begun, for the bored folks out there looking for a new RP hangout... --SG2
12.1.2015: Completely rewrote the Element Guide from scratch. Now much more comprehensive!! --SG2
11.24.2015: Major overhaul in-progress!! Changed the skin, revamped the forum structure, and fixed a few things under the hood. Stay tuned for more revisions to the world, the map, and completely redone backstory of IGNOLand!! --SG2
11.12.2015: I'm back from the dead. Time to take a break from playing Skyrim and make a return to IGNOLand - big things planned!! --SG2
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Posted: Mar 27 2017, 06:18 PM
I'm not quite ready to replace the existing Bestiary thread so I thought I'd make a new one for the transitional period.
This is an attempt to redefine our current mish-mash of races and creatures in IGNOLand into something more organized in the vein of the Element system. I'm currently working on a visual guide in the style of medieval bestiaries but I can't make any guarantees as to when (if at all, given my track record for ambitious projects) this will be completed, so I figured a textual guide of the new concepts was at least in order.
One of the core aspects of our community is the 'be anything you want' mentality. As IGNOLand is a mysterious land full of all sorts of creatures, the only restriction on what your character can be (aside from the obvious 'don't be a snowflake with game-breaking powers') is the power of your own imagination.
HOWEVER, we naturally have a decent selection of existing races available to choose from already, with their own lore, attributes and general place in our world pre-established. The goal of this page is to provide the basic information on those races to give our users an idea of the sorts of creatures that exist in IGNOLand - not to force them to choose from this pool and discourage them from coming up with their own!!
Note: some monsters and other such races are also included for lore purposes, but are not advised to be used as playable characters. Typically the descriptions of these races will be a dead giveaway as to whether or not they're fit for a player character, but do not be afraid to PM a staff member if unsure.
While new races can and will always be coming into the fold, we've defined a set of 'categories' under which most of them should realistically be able to fall. Additional categories may be added as needed, but for the time being this should pretty much cover most of what you could reasonably come up with.
Each Umbrella will be given a spoiler tag under which example races (either those our members have previously used, or just ones we've talked about or sound cool) will be listed.
Under the assumption that you, the reader, are one, I won't bother explaining what a human is in great detail. Suffice to say that, like most fantasy works, humans encompass a large portion of the IGNO World, and are naturally present in IGNOLand as well. They're basically the 'standard' - if a bit on the boring side for a fantasy world - race with no particularly special characteristics. The main 'selling point' of humans is their versatility and ingenuity, making them fine jack-of-all-trades types who can be and do just about anything they set their minds to.
While Human is a category and not a race in itself, generally-speaking there aren't many specific subtypes of humans - they're far more likely to be referred to as, simply, 'human'.
NORDS: A hardy race of humans hailing from the Nordlands, across the sea to the north of IGNOLand. Hard-working and durable, the Nords have historically been seafarers and world-travelers, and were among the first humans to set up colonies on IGNOLand.
Notable Nords: Konnungur Bones
JIZZANOIDS: A race of humans that hail from Toastopolis, a small island to the south of IGNOLand. Jizzanoids are characterized primarily by their narrow eyes and stark-white hair, and are typically rather fair-skinned. Due to various circumstances, the sea surrounding their island was transformed into liquid butter. As a result, they evolved to have a specialized diet and require the intake of the lactose in dairy products in order to survive. Thanks to this, utter, milk, cheese and other such products are a dietary staple on Toastopolis and account for the nation's #1 export, with many of its citizens considered to be among the greatest dairy artisans in IGNOLand.
Notable Jizzanoids: xL
Side Notes: I feel like this race ought to be renamed, as canon has more or less implied that xL is not a standard example of his people (see: his father's disappointment in him). So basically, de-emphasize the jizz in favor of the butter/dairy aspect.
Likely the second 'majority' race-type in IGNOLand alongside humans, Beasts are your standard humanoid animal species. Unlike their cousins the Beastmen, Beast-type races have more in common with the animals on which they're based, typically sporting the 'animal head on a human body' look. Expect a standard Beast to have some other more bestial attributes which may vary from race to race (or even among the same races), such as claws, animal-like feet, wings, tails, etc. Likely covered from head to toe in fur, but the 'mythological god' style of an animal head on an otherwise fleshy human body may pop up now and again as well. While not an inherent racial ability, many Beast races are capable of shapeshifting to take on more natural animal forms.
Ultimately it's one of those 'up to the character designer' things, but for IGNOLand purposes we'd prefer to lean closer to the 'realistic animal head' look than the 'weird animal/human hybrid' anthro style. Beasts should look more BEASTLY than humanized, after all. PLEASE do not give female Beast characters human breasts. I also strongly frown upon humanlike hair on an animalistic character. It just looks bad. Please don't do it. In TVTropes terms, IGNOLand's Beast Races are Petting Zoo People. For a more humanoid race with a few animal attributes in the vein of the Japanese-style 'catgirl', see BEASTMAN.
Beast races come with about as much variety as the wild creatures they're based on - IE, too many to list. Here are a few examples based on IGNO members past and present, as well as a few up for consideration.
TIGER: Not much is known about the Tiger race or their culture, but I imagine they look something along these lines (more in body than face for that last one). SG2's unusual appearance should be taken as aberrant to the point where she visibly has very little in common with her kin.
Notable Tigers: SG2, despite the vastly different look
KITSUNE: A magical race of skilled shape-shifters whose natural forms closely resemble those of foxes. Their tails may number from 2 to 9 - the higher the number, the older and more powerful the kitsune. They're often confused for Beastmen due to their extremely powerful shapeshifting abilities, which allow them to maintain a humanoid shape for as long as their magical reserves can sustain it. For this purpose, many kitsune wear a small gem or bead on their person and store their magic within to mitigate the strain - however, if the bead is stolen away, the kitsune will revert to their fox form. Most kitsune have difficulty hiding their ears and tails in their transformed states and opt for concealing clothing if necessary, but the more powerful and practiced ones may be able to, appearing visually no different from an ordinary human.
Notable Kitsune: Reese
BOVINE: A cow-like Beast race. The females closely resemble common dairy cows, while the males would presumably be minotaur-esque bulls.
Notable Bovines: Cowsy
CHICHANDAN RACES: A concept still in the WIP stages, it's presumed that the majority population of the mythical continent, Chichanda, are birdfolk Beast races. Aside from more typical 'bird of prey' type races like eagles, hawks and owls, there are likely colorful tropical bird varieties living in its sprawling jungles.
ANUBIANS: Would it be too stereotypical to have a jackal-like Beast race living in the desert? When I was digging into inspiration for the Light Temple I remembered what a cool and generally iconic design Anubis, Egyptian god dead, has...
As the name implies, Beastmen lie somewhere between Human and Beast races. While Beast races embody the image of a humanoid animal, Beastmen are more or less 'humans with animal traits' - essentially the kemonomimi common in Japanese series' and video games. Aside from a few animal-like attributes - ears, tails, wings, maybe even eyes, fangs and claws - a Beastman looks nearly identical to a human. In spite of this, they're typically just as in touch with their natural sides as their cousins the Beast races, and many also have the ability to transform into an animalistic form. In human form, however, they're much closer to humans than their respective animals, aside from the occasional passive traits (ex. a cat-type Beastman may have keen vision, hearing, or sense of smell, but can't jump or climb as well as a cat-type Beast).
Like the Beast races, there are too many possibilities for Beastmen to list. Here are a few examples based on IGNO members past and present, as well as a few up for consideration.
CAT: One of the most common varieties of Beastmen, these are humanoids with a feline-like appearance. While their tails and the pointy ears atop their heads are their most noteworthy visual traits, many cat-type Beastmen also possess elongated cat pupils, short fangs, and retractable claws. They have keen senses and are able to see in the dark as naturally as the light.
Notable Cats: Tim
WOLF: Wolf-type Beastmen are a common sight in the Wayward Woods. They typically sport black, grey or brown ears and tails, with white being uncommon. Due to their common origin, wolf-type Beastmen are among the few races not preyed upon by the vicious Wayward Wolves that lurk in the Woods. They have incredible senses of smell.
Notable Wolves: Zo
BUNNY: A popular type of Beastman for its 'cute' appearance, bunny (or rabbit, for those who find the term 'bunny' demeaning)-type Beastmen have long ears atop their heads and small cotton tails. There are two common varieties of bunny-types - those with ears that point straight up, and those with floppy ears that hang down over the sides of their heads. Aside from aesthetic, the two types are functionally no different from one another.
Notable Bunnies: Aibou
GOATLING: A rare type of Beastman that lives atop Goat Mountain, one of the highest peaks in IGNOLand. It's said that they can commune with the flying goats with whom they share their habitat. Aside from the two conical ram-like horns sprouting from the sides of their heads, Goatlings look virtually identical to humans.
Notable Goatlings: Katie
ZEDKIEL: A race of winged humanoids that typically live in small nomadic communities across IGNOLand. There are two primary tribes of Zedkiel - the Northern Zedkiel, who live in the Ice Plains and have pure, snow-white wings, and the Southern Zedkiel, who live in the jungles along the coast, who sport vibrant, colorful wings. Unfortunately, the feathers of both types are highly prized, and Zedkiel are frequently victim to attacks by Collectors aiming to pluck their wings (Zedkiel feathers do not grow back, and the loss of their wings can be fatal to them). It's believed that their long history of nomadic lifestyle resulted from this ever-present threat. They're also extremely swift in flight, particularly the Southern Zedkiel (though Northern Zedkiel can't be beat when it comes to navigating through stormy skies).
Notable Zedkiel: Azaran
SHEEP SHIFTERS: A race of humanoid sheep living in the Sheep Country region of the Outback. Like kitsune, they're known for their shapeshifting prowess, which lets them transform into swift and powerful rams. They often sport curly, poofy hairstyles that mimic the tufts of wool on their body, which they must sheer regularly. They also possess conical horns similar to those of Goatlings. I imagine them as similar to the Pan race in Monster Musume, though I'm not sure about the satyr-like legs/hooves (which would be more characteristic of the Liminal races - see below), and I would prefer they have normal human-like ears (or slightly pointed ones, like Centaurs). While Sheep Shifters aren't universally of the Lightning element, a great majority are, and their electrical powers are further enhanced by the static produced by their wool in ram form. Generally speaking, however, most Sheep Shifters are timid and don't favor combat.
While Liminals bear some similarity to Beast and Beastman races, they exist in a category all their own. This term refers to races of the 'half-and-half' sort - typically, a human torso with an animalistic or monstrous lower body.
MERMAIDS: Living primarily in the great underwater city of Mertopia, mermaids possess humanoid torsos atop great fish-like fins. Their bodies may vary as wildly as the fish that live amongst them, with torsos ranging from almost perfectly human (save for their fin-like ears) to scaled and vibrantly-colored, with a myriad of fin styles and colors, including shark and eel mermaids. Contrary to popular belief, male merfolk are not called 'mermen', but prefer the term 'mermaid' as all-inclusive of their species. Their customs are often considered strange and incomprehensible even to the people of IGNOLand, with their annual Booze Harvest, highly-prized yet secret pizza-making techniques, and their prince's tendency to dabble in the dark arts to create bloodthirsty shadowboys.
Notable Mermaids: Lemmy
CENTAURS: Perhaps the most common variety of Liminal races in IGNOLand, the centaur is made up of a human-like torso atop a horse's body. They also notably possess pointed ears, like elves. Centaurs come in as many shapes and sizes as do natural horses, with various coat colors and patterns. Despite popular perception, most civilized IGNOLand centaurs do in fact wear clothes (tops made for humans fit them just fine, with their lower bodies usually covered by a robe or skirt of some kind), though 'nude' centaurs are not uncommon (there's no particular taboo against it in centaur society - most centaurs are just trendy hipsters who enjoy fashion). Most IGNOLand centaurs live in Centaur City, the largest 'hub' of the Wayward Woods (only slightly smaller than IGNO City). Perhaps the most notable trait of centaurs is their inherent fear of trees, a genetic trait that exists within the brain of all centaurs. Centaurs cannot differentiate ordinary trees from the monstrous Ents that prey on them - the cause of which, some say, is a curse laid on them by a dryad long long ago. Whatever the case, centaurs will panic if they draw too close to a tree, rearing up and fleeing much like a real fearful horse. The bravest centaurs may become priests of Flamehoof, their guardian deity, and take on the task of burning down trees in the surrounding area in an effort to 'defend' the City. Centaurs are a reasonably common sight outside the Wayward Woods as well, and will live happily in any urban area where there are not many trees. There is also a tribe of desert centaur who seem to share the same type of fear over their native cacti.
Notable Centaurs: Atlas
SATYRS: A race of half-man half-goat Liminals that live in close proximity with the centaurs. In addition to their goatlike legs, most satyrs also sport horns in various styles while the males typically keep short-trimmed beards or goatees. Both satyrs and fauns have humanlike ears and noses. Only 1 in 10 satyrs is born female, so interbreeding with fauns is common in satyr communities. Satyrs are also overwhelmingly pansexual, and while it's never a good idea to put too much stock into harmful stereotypes, the stories of satyr libidos are typically true. They are, however, among the kindest and gentlest residents of the Wayward Woods, often guiding lost travelers back outside before they can get gobbled up by the vicious Wayward Wolves.
Notable Satyrs: Bracken
FAUNS: Very similar to satyrs, these two races are often thought to be synonymous with each other. However, while the satyr takes on the attributes of a goat, fauns are instead more deer-like in nature, with more slender, spotted legs and antlers instead of horns. Both fauns and satyrs have humanlike ears and noses. On the opposite spectrum of their fellow ungulates, only 1 in 10 fauns is born male, making it common for this largely-female race to interbreed with satyrs. Fauns, too, are generally pansexual, and many prefer to mate within their own communities.
NAGA: A race with a humanoid upper body and a snakelike lower half. The females are sometimes referred to as 'lamia', but the two are in fact one in the same. It might be a lazy thing, but since I like a lot of the racebuilding of Monster Musume I envision IGNOLand naga as being basically the same as MonMusu lamia in terms of their general biology and traits. However, IGNOLand naga can be both male and female, and have 'humanlike' ears. Various species of naga likely exist in different locations, such as the jungles hosting boa/anaconda-like naga, and maybe male desert naga having cobra-like hoods, as well as aquatic species of naga living among the mermaids with a more WoW-like appearance.
SCORPION PEOPLE: I've seen various names for these guys, including Aqrabuamelu, Girtablilu, and Serket. Whatever we wanna call 'em, having scorpion-bodied liminals in the desert would be cool. Given Karma's phobia of spiders I feel like arachne in IGNOLand are largely off the table (the Outback has the Giant War Spiders, but those were mostly eradicated during the war...by Karma), so a scorpion race might be a good alternative to fill the same void of unsettling human/not-quite-insect hybrids. Plus a lot of the fantasy art I've seen of them just looks cool.
Undead have always had a bit of a bad rap in IGNOLand - centuries of going around eating flesh will do that. However, the Blood Kaiser Karma has made great strides in the reform of undead rights, and while there's still a bit of a stigma in certain communities, most of IGNOLand has made an attempt to view these races as people, too.
ZOMBIES: The most basic form of undead, a zombie is simple a corpse that has been given new life through some means (typically magical, though in recent years scientific methods of reanimating the dead have become more common). Zombies are slow, both physically and mentally, but are considered sapient and capable of basic thought. Zombies are 'frozen in time' at the moment they died - their bodies cannot grow or change, and since they cannot naturally heal wounds great care must be taken to maintain their rotting bodies. While they are capable of emotion and basic thought, they are unable to really 'learn' new things or pioneer innovative ideas. Like all beings in IGNOLand, zombies have a natural elemental affinity when they're born, but after dying these are largely all but forgotten, more or less turning all but the most determined zombies back to a blank slate. If a zombie was particularly powerful or attached to their element in life, however, they may retain some instinctive use of these abilities in undeath (though likely unable to expand or enhance them beyond that). Zombies don't technically need to consume brains (or blood/flesh for that matter, depending on your region's zombie lore) to survive - as their bodies are stagnant, they no longer need sustenance to 'survive'. The hunger is largely instinctual and gives a drive or purpose to the otherwise unmotivated zombie - Blood Country offers many alternatives to give a zombie fulfillment and suppress, if not eliminate, their baser cravings. While 'humanoid' zombies are the most common, but as they can arise from any reanimated corpse, zombies of all standard living races can exist.
Side Notes: I would personally advise against anyone wishing their character to be a zombie unless there's a particularly good reason. As they are known for their slow wit, inability to learn/retain much information, and generally stagnant with little (if any at all) memory of their previous lives, a standard IGNOLand zombie wouldn't make for a very interesting character. In order to create a zombie capable of enough intelligent thought to engage in proper roleplaying interaction I feel that too many 'rules' on what makes a zombie would have to be bent, resulting in something of a 'special snowflake' character who stands out too much against the rest of their species. As such, unless there's a VERY good justification for it, it may be wiser to choose from one of the higher-level races instead (such as ghouls), and keep zombies as NPCs/lesser characters.
GHOUL: If zombies are the toddlers of the undead world, ghouls are the teens. Still considered a type of Lesser Undead, ghouls are more capable of moderately intelligent thought and planning than their zombie brethren. A ghoul is more likely to retain its memories as a living being than a zombie, and such tend to have more innate control over their element (unless that element was fire, a natural weakness to Undead races). They're also faster and more physically fit than the slow-moving rotting zombie, though naturally they still cannot heal their bodies and must take care to not damage them too severely. If a ghoul suffers critical wounds (particularly to its brain, or an attack by the Light element) it may regress back to the point of becoming a zombie. While zombies don't require sustenance, a ghoul must consume flesh to survive - the nutrients keep their brains from stagnating and rotting to the level of a mindless zombie. Ghouls tend to favor carrion to living flesh, but this is not out of preference as much as availability - a ghoul, unlike a zombie, is intelligent enough to know that if they attack a human, they may be attacked in turn and their body may be damaged. Thus, seeking out and devouring fresh corpses is a 'safer' form of nourishment, but if a living creature is alone or sufficiently weakened the ghoul won't pass up the chance to consume living flesh. Like zombies, ghouls don't tend to be able to learn new things or enhance their abilities, but their natural skills are more efficient overall, making them far more viable in combat. However, while it's relatively easy for a necromancer or warlock to pull a herd of zombies under his magical sway, ghouls tend to exhibit a larger degree of 'free will' and are more likely to resist control. Like zombies, a ghoul may have belonged to any common living race in life, and are not inherently 'human-shaped'.
DRAUGAR: A type of magical undead known to haunt the crypts of the Nordlands. They appear similar to a zombie or ghoul (though more recognizable by their glowing green aura) - but unlike the former, Draugar (singular: draug) have formidable supernatural abilities and generally possess fairly keen intelligence. Draugar are also much more resistant to physical weapons and even most elemental abilities - even the common undead weaknesses of Fire and Light. If faced with a threat, rather than mindlessly attacking on their own, Draugar will work together with any of their own kind nearby and formulate coordinated plans of attack to take down their foe, and as such are incredibly dangerous if encountered in groups. They also possess the ability to shift their body into the form of smoke to pass through cracks and crevices, a trick many use to escape even the most tightly-sealed coffins. The stronger among them may even use this ability to become pseudo-intangible to 'swim' through solid stone, and as such an ordinary barricade will not be enough to stop them. It is said that they can be distracted and charmed by the sound of music, and even off-key music unpleasant to human ears may soothe them.
VAMPIRES: Considered the most powerful of the Undead races in IGNOLand, vampires are legendary creatures that are known across many different cultures as powerful blood-suckers. However, due to their ubiquity in fantasy stories and lore, there's also a lot of misinformation out there regarding these elusive beings. Let's start by setting straight some of the facts about vampires in IGNOLand. Like zombies, ghouls and other undead, vampires can arise from any of the common living races and are not inherently 'human' in appearance. In undeath, the vampire looks largely like they did in life, save for their deathly pale complexion, red eyes, and signature fangs. They are inherently magical and thus tend to be very talented spellcasters, even moreso if they already practiced magic in life.
Contrary to popular belief, a vampire's gaze is not inherently hypnotic, but rather they are naturally charming which tends to put people off their guard (lending to false stories of how a vampire 'put a spell' on them and made them act against their will). They are also not universally beautiful - rather it is likely that this reputation for attractiveness comes from the fact that a vampire remains ever youthful and unchanged from how they looked before they turned, so if one was already young and attractive in life this naturally would not change with age, nor do they decay like lesser undead races. Of course, the most well-known trait of vampires is their need to drink blood to survive, but due to advances in modern technology a vampire would be highly unlikely to drink enough from a single person at any given time to be fatal. At most, the victim of a vampire's bite will feel a little light-headed, much like after giving blood for medical purposes. Additionally, blood banks catering to vampires exist in various places in IGNOLand (particularly Blood Country) where one may donate blood that is then stored specifically for consumption - few vampires need to drink directly in modern times, and this is usually only done in times of desperation or to cater to particular fetishes. The ability to shapeshift into a bat is not inherent, but as skilled magic users many vampires do practice shapeshifting. However, they are unlikely to take on the form of an actual bat (see special notes in the post below). Vampires do live in close communities with bats and may even form a bond with them, allowing them to fly on their backs, possibly resulting in the popular image of a bat transformation in public consciousness.
This entry has already gone on ridiculously long so I'll wrap up the explanation of vampire weaknesses with this screencap of Karma's instead.
Notable Vampires: Blood Kaiser Karma
Side Notes: IGNOLand vampires are not weak against crosses, as crosses hold no particular religious symbolism in IGNOLand (a place where real-world religions do not exist). Other 'holy symbols' may have existed and been used to repel them in the past, but this was likely because they had Light enchantments more than any inherent religious meaning.
LICHES: A type of undead creature born as the result of binding a living soul to an object known as a phylactery. As a result, the lich becomes immortal and cannot be killed without destroying this phylactery (which most will, naturally, go to great lengths to keep hidden and protected). Much like vampires, one cannot become a lich simply by dying and becoming undead. Lichdom requires the use of very complex arcane rituals (either spell or curse) and a great degree of careful preparation. Most liches are those who bound their own mortal souls, but some may become liches through the power of another, such as a teacher or master. However, the would-be lich must be a consenting party of considerable power for the ritual to take - an evil sorcerer cannot simply pull a victim off the street and create an army of lich minions, for instance. Without consent and great willpower in the would-be lich themselves, the ritual will almost certainly result in *regular* death, rather than undeath. As the risk of this transformation is not to be taken lightly, liches are a rare sight in IGNOLand. They are extremely intelligent and powerful - just slightly inferior to the vampire - and possess immeasurable arcane compatibility. As the process of lichdom requires a consenting party, the lich will immediately acquire the Shadow element as a result of their 'choice' to walk such a path.
While a great force of will may allow one to become a lich successfully, fewer still are those capable of handling this transformation without losing their mind to this newfound power. As a result, most liches are inclined towards evil deeds, unable to resist their urges to use their immortality and arcane knowledge for less than honorable acts. Most liches live in extreme isolation, considered outcasts even in Blood Country as their tendency toward evil gives Shadow users a bad reputation. Like vampires, liches hold great sway over the lesser undead, frequently forming a sizeable force of undead minions to carry out their bidding.
Liches themselves are typically skeletal in appearance, fully embracing the fact that, no matter how much their bodies rot, they cannot be killed so long as their soul is safe inside its phylactery.
Often mistaken as the same sort of beings as undead, Ethereal races are those that lack a tangible, physical form. This includes common incorporeal beings such as ghosts as well as the likes of elementals and nature spirits.
GHOSTS: The most common sort of ethereal, a ghost is simply a soul of the dead lingering in the world of the living as a result of some unfinished business. Most ghosts are returned from the Underworld on a 50-year Ghost License, during which time they must resolve their lingering regrets. After this time a ghost will be returned to the Underworld where they may either 'pass on' through the Hell of their choosing or renew their ghostship and return to haunt again. Some ghosts may apply for a permanent ghost license (a somewhat recent service heavily funded by Blood Country) if they find they prefer this state to passing on. This right is not given lightly (to prevent overcrowding) and ghosts worthy of a permanent license are judged rigorously by the committee of Ghost Hell. On the note of overcrowding, Ghost Hunters exist in IGNOLand for the express purpose of thinning the ghost population - depending on the case this job may entail the actual extinguishing, or 'busting' of ghosts (forcibly sending them back to the Underworld) or counseling-style jobs in which the Hunter works with the ghost to find the source of their unfinished business and help them to pass on.
Ghosts are visible to everyone and do not only appear to people with 'strong spiritual sense' - however, those with stronger sense for the arcane will be able to perceive them more clearly (they typically take on the form they had in life, at the age they most connected with) whereas those with weaker spiritual affinity will see naught more than blurry shapes (lending to the popular 'bedsheet ghost' depiction). The same goes for auditory communication - those with stronger senses may be able to hear and speak with ghosts, but weaker ones may only hear faint 'ghost noises' such as a howling wind. Due to their nature, ghosts typically retain most if not all of their living memory at the time of becoming a ghost. However, many ghosts' memories are 'fragmented' and they may only remember bits and pieces, typically things they were strongly connected to in life (often related to their unfinished business). Occasionally ghosts who have not yet been brought to the Underworld may not even realize they have died, and have difficulty processing and accepting this fact. Older ghosts may forget or lose sight of their original business and merely haunt people or places out of instinctive attachment, long forgetting what it was that made these important to them. Ghosts have very limited ability to interact with the physical world short of possessing someone, though it is possible with a strong enough determination (albeit faintly so).
Ghosts are not inherently malicious, but rather neutral beings. Unlike undead, they are not particularly weak against Light, and indeed most ghosts 'lose' their element altogether and return to a state of nothingness (there are exceptions, such as if that element was something the ghost was strongly attached to in life). Some harmless ways of keeping a ghost at bay include salt and magical charms and wards, which block their passage but do not damage them. Areas heavily infused with elemental or magical energies may cause them to keep their distance as well, as such an influx of power may cause their faint forms to break up, but many ghosts are drawn to such locations so this is not always reliable. Naturally they cannot be harmed by physical weapons (as they simply pass through their incorporeal forms), and they tend to be quite resilient against magic and elemental abilities as well, so hiring a professional Ghost Hunter is always advised if one for some reason needs to fight a ghost.
Ghosts with especially powerful emotions (positive or negative) may 'evolve' into Guardian or Malevolent Spirits.
MALEVOLENT SPIRIT: A type of ghost that has 'evolved' due to negative emotions. If feelings of despair, loneliness, desire for revenge or other such unpleasant emotions overwhelm a ghost, it may lose sight of its unfinished business and transfigure into a vicious spirit dedicated to tormenting the living. Stories about evil 'ghosts' that cause harm to the living are typically referring to this variety, which can become extremely dangerous of their negative emotions are allowed to continue unchecked. This transformation is very rarely a quick one, rather building over the course of many years if a ghost is unable to sever its worldly attachments and solve its unfinished business before long. Memories of their life will gradually slip away as these negative emotions consume them, and by the time the transformation is complete it is often sadly too late to reverse the process and 'save' them. The more they progress towards being consumed by their emotions, the more vicious and horrific their ghostly forms become. They possess a naturally fell aura, inspiring unease, rage and violence in all who draw near to them. A Malevolent Spirit will usually follow a particular pattern - if there's someone who wronged them in life (such as being the cause of their death), they'll be the first target, often followed by those who were close to the deceased in life. They will then continue to move on, consuming souls for as long as they remain unchecked. Their memory of who they originally were will slip away until they become a shadow of their former selves, making it all but impossible for them to 'reverse' the process and become a regular soul again. This sort of spirit is the main variety a Ghost Hunter will be hired to destroy.
Occasionally, Malevolent Spirits may have their souls bound to an inanimate object through a ritual while still living, or by way of particularly wicked mages. This object is called a Phylactery, and a spirit bound in such a manner may not be parted from it unless said object is destroyed or the spell binding them to it is released. It's believed that many tales of 'cursed weapons' (technically a form of Soulbound item) may actually refer to items possessed by malevolent spirits, who seek to bring destruction upon their wielders and use them as instruments of chaos. A wielder of a cursed sword, for instance, may be compelled to cut down lives to feed the blade, lest their own lifeforce be sapped away; a cursed suit of armor may become unbearably heavy and lead its wearer to an early grave by way of exhaustion rather than protecting them. Items of this type are typically all but impossible to destroy or otherwise part with for the average person unlucky enough to find them, requiring them to seek out a dispelling specialist. Souls bound in this manner tend to avoid the detection of Reapers and are thus not sent back to the Underworld, making Soulbound Spirits among the oldest ghosts in IGNOLand.
GUARDIAN SPIRIT: Like Malevolent Spirits, Guardian Spirits 'evolve' from ordinary ghosts as a result of strong emotions. While Malevolent Spirits are consumed by negative emotions and seek to destroy, Guardian Spirits are driven by the strong desire to protect something important. This can be a tangible thing, like a person or place, but may sometimes be a more abstract concept like peace or justice. As a personification of positive forces and emotions, Guardian Spirits typically look fit and healthy to where one may question whether or not they're truly dead. They exude a natural aura of warmth and safety, inspiring morale and confidence in all who come near to them. They speak in clear and soothing voices, sometimes imposing but never harsh nor frightening. Depending on their inclination in life, a Guardian Spirit may take on a protective role or a healing one to any living beings they consider their charges, ensuring that they do not fall into harm's way. If a Guardian Spirit haunts a location it will be considered a good luck charm, bringing an uncanny degree of prosperity to the environment. The grateful living may occasionally provide offerings to please such spirits, though it is important to note that they are not on the same spiritual level as gods.
Occasionally, Guardian Spirits may instead have their souls bound to an inanimate object through a ritual while still living, becoming a Guardian Spirit immediately upon death rather than undergoing the standard process of ghostly evolution. This object is called a Phylactery, and a spirit bound in such a manner may not be parted from it unless said object is destroyed or the spell binding them to it is released. It is believed that various religious or guardian sects engaged in such practices to ensure their most devout members are able to continue their duties after death. This is the truth behind many legends of 'blessed weapons' (though the proper term would be Soulbound), as Guardian Spirits bound in this fashion often favor swords, spears and shields - vessels through which those they deem worthy may protect others. If the wielder's alignment and actions don't coincide with those of the spirit, however, expect things to get very ugly for the wielder VERY quickly. Souls bound in this manner tend to avoid the detection of Reapers and are thus not sent back to the Underworld, making Soulbound Spirits among the oldest ghosts in IGNOLand.
Notable Guardian Spirits: Kristof Kringle (since passed on)
POLTERGEISTS: Often mistaken for a type of ghost, poltergeists are not actually souls of the dead but their own sort of ethereal being born from negative spiritual energy. At best, they're mischievous pranksters, but at worst they can be very dangerous and outright malicious spirits. Poltergeists inhabit objects rather than possessing humans, and it is through these that they interact with the world. Common reports of hauntings including 'rattling chains', 'flickering light switches', 'televisions turning themselves on and off', and other such mysterious and unexplained phenomena can often be attributed to poltergeists, who favor noisy and disruptive activities. Mischievous poltergeists simply want to annoy or frighten, but the more dangerous types may very well be inclined towards murder. As they have a strong ability to control objects (including weapons) in their vicinity, expelling a poltergeist who does not want to leave can prove challenging for even the most seasoned Ghost Hunter, and most will choose instead to tackle such cases in a team of at least three. Poltergeists are typically considered menaces even in Blood Country, where officially-escorted Ghost Hunters may be given license to destroy them, but the more mischievous types may be left to their own devices if they're not causing any harm. Certain types of people even enjoy their company and believe they provide a special kind of 'ambiance' to their homes. Poltergeists are fairly static existences who do not grow or evolve to become more dangerous - a mischievous poltergeist will rarely acquire a desire for murder, while a dangerous one is pretty much impossible to reason with or control.
BANSHEES: Ethereal beings made of powerful arcane energy. Though they most commonly take the form of humanoid beings (animal forms/motifs are also popular), banshees are not dead souls but rather born from the accumulation of great magical power in a single location. As such they are a common sight in places with strong ties to the arcane, such as temples or the ruins of great magical battles. In modern times many choose to live in Blood Country. Banshees are almost exclusively femininely-inclined, though there are exceptions. Though they are incredibly powerful spellcasters in their own right, banshees are known more than anything for their shrill, ear-splitting voices. In modern times, banshees seeking to live in areas where this trait would be considered less than desirable may take to learning sign language or favor machine communication (though as they are still capable of emitting sound unconsciously, it is advised one never tries to sneak up on or otherwise startle one). Banshees are an intelligent species capable of living among others, though their sense of morality is often vastly different from that of ordinary society, making them much like demons in that respect. As such, while they may not be malicious, a banshee may act in a way that causes harm to others, or make questions that others find questionable and difficult to comprehend. It is important to bear this in mind when attempting to socialize with a banshee, and to be as calm and mild as possible when interacting with them - most tend to have hair-trigger tempers and may become angered at the slightest provocation. As a banshee's scream can literally be deadly, setting off even the most mild-mannered banshee is generally not advisable. In terms of magical prowess, banshees are second to none, and many make a living in divination, selling enchanted items, or even teaching the arcane arts. They are almost always of the Shadow element, so Light is potently harmful to them. Between this and the generally faint forms of ethereal beings, most banshees avoid being out in the sun for long as it can wreak havoc on their 'bodies'.
ELEMENTALS: As elementals are a rare sight, little is known of them. What we do know is that they are ethereal beings whose appearance is an embodiment of one of the 5 'mundane' IGNOLand elements - Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Lightning. Some believe there are Ice and Metal elementals as well, though others argue that they are not 'true' elements since they are not present in the RAINBOW. Light and Shadow, considered 'higher' elements only acquired by divine right or personal choice, do not have corresponding elementals either. However, while elementals are inherently tied to their corresponding element and secondary elements are thought to be impossible for them to acquire, it does appear that an elemental may take on the properties of Light or Shadow through the usual means - resulting in interesting combinations that mix Light or Shadow with the primary element in unusual ways. Though their natural state is ethereal, it's believed that most elementals can 'solidify' their forms and interact with the world physically as they so choose.
Notable Elementals: Hamel (Fire, later mixed with Shadow)
DJINN: Like elementals, djinn (singular: djinni; also erroneously known as 'genies') are semi-corporeal ethereals able to interact with the physical world. Their smokelike forms are more humanoid than that of elementals, with appearances ranging from nearly human to almost demonic. They hold immense supernatural and arcane powers but are also weak against them - however, being made of smoke, physical weapons will only pass through and never strike them. Djinn may be subdued by powerful enough mages, sealed inside and bound to common containers (bottles and old-fashioned oil lamps being the most popular and iconic). The captor may then unseal the container and force the creature to do their bidding. Realistically, an unsealed djinni doesn't have to obey anything - once the container is opened, they are free, and may easily turn on their captor for his insolence. However, most djinn adhere to a very strict honor code and believe it is only fair that they obey the one powerful enough to defeat them...for a time, at least. This is the origin of the concept that captured djinn are required to grant 3 wishes, with 3 simply being seen as a 'reasonable' number after which the djinni has paid its dues. This is also why 'wishing for more wishes' doesn't work, as the djinni will rarely abide by such insolence and attempts to keep them bound as slaves eternal.
It's important to understand that the 'wishes' granted by djinn are in fact only 'feats they are capable of performing' - you cannot wish for something beyond the power of the djinni, which is why requests for such things as eternal life are impossible. They can, however, bestow certain abilities on others, like super strength, teleportation, or the power to fly. These powers are generally temporary and will wear off after a certain amount of time, which may vary depending on how powerful or generous the djinni is feeling. Djinn are also notorious tricksters, much like fae. The concept of a 'literal genie' comes from a djinni's tendency to grant requests in a way that doesn't contradict the words stated, but twists their meaning as much as possible to result in something much less desirable for the wisher. Other times they'll grant the request as asked, but throw in some horrible unspecified consequence. In general, djinn tend to use this as an 'excuse' to say they paid their dues by granting the wishes as self-justification for going free. There are, of course, more honorable djinn as well, who will do what is asked of them to the best of their ability and mean no ill will towards their captor - so long as the captor doesn't push their luck.
There are male and female djinn, and presumably they reproduce much like any other. Djinn also have no qualms about getting into relationships with other races, though it seems that the child produced of such a union will always take after the non-djinni parent (though perhaps with some measure of the djinni's power). I had more I wanted to say about djinn too but I keep getting distracted and completely forgot it, so let's just pretend this is all for now and I can come back and add more later or whatever.
Notable Djinn: Aasim, The Dick Genie
Demons are beings from the Demon Realm, a separate plane of existence from our own (much like the Underworld). Thus, demons are not technically native to IGNOLand - however, perhaps due to its status as a magnet for supernatural energies, it has become a popular location for many demons to call their home. Demons are almost universally possessed of horns on their heads, and many have leathery, dragon-like wings upon their backs. Other attributes common to Beast races or Liminals are also variously seen, such as claws, fangs and cloven feet.
CONCUBI: (note: mild descriptions of sexual activity follows, read at your own discretion.)
A race of demons that feed on life energy obtained through sexual climax. They can eat ordinary food recreationally, much like vampires, but it does not sustain them. Concubi most commonly appear as horned humanoids, often winged but sometimes not - thus, it is believed that they are able to materialize or retract these wings as they please. Historically, female concubi are known as succubi (singular: succubus) and the males incubi (singular: incubus), and though these terms are still in use in the common vernacular, concubi can be of any gender or sexuality across the spectrum (including asexual - more on that later). Physically, concubi have no predefined sex and use their limited shapeshifting abilities to take on the form of their choosing - while many identify as strictly male or female and prefer to keep these forms permanently, others may take more ambiguous forms or shift themselves as they see fit.
A concubus' traditional means of obtaining life energy is to come upon a sleeping victim at night and have sex with them. Unlike xL, they do not subsist on semen, but rather the energy that escapes the body during orgasm (though sexual excretions are notably high in life energy and often consumed, orally or otherwise) - thus, female victims are just as viable as males. The amount of energy that escapes depends on the intensity of orgasm, thus concubi have a reputation for going 'all night long' to build up as much energy as possible and release it in a very pleasurable climax, giving them much energy to feast on. Naturally, this can become dangerous to their victims if done repeatedly - which it often is, as victims who get a taste of these otherworldly orgasms tend to want for more, and a hungry concubus may not want to turn down the offer of a second meal. If too much life energy escapes the body in quick succession, the victim will find themselves drained down to a husk before long, which lead to concubi being considered extremely malicious and dangerous creatures in times past. In modern times however, concubi have changed their tactics much like vampires to obtain enough energy to sate them in a safe and consensual manner. Since they require sexual energy to survive, concubi are generally given more leniency in opening brothels even in areas where they're frowned upon, and most are officially licensed to operate within The Whore Guild. Patrons may enter at their own volition and order a session the concubus of their choosing, filling out a form of their ideal preferences in a partner. They then employ their shapeshifting ability to take on the traits most physically appealing to their customers, such as height, weight, musculature, age, breast/PENIS size, etc. Some may be willing to take on the genitals of their customer's choosing, but most concubi tend to stick to their preferred form and only take on clients that match that preference. For the most part, their forms are restricted to a generally humanoid shape, which may leave the likes of Beast or Liminal customers wanting. Being as they are notoriously excellent lovers, concubi brothels are very lucrative businesses, thus reducing the need for them to predate on victims in the night and drain them dry.
While such jobs are an easy means of obtaining meals, not all concubi choose to go into sex work. For instance, a concubus in a relationship may already have a steady source of sexual energy to feed on and may go into the career of their choosing. Other concubi prefer to carry a freelance Whore Card to use as the need arises, but consider this to be separate from their dayjob. Concubi also have a natural 'sexual magnetism' that can be irresistable to others, which is very useful when it comes to attracting customers - but perhaps less so when attempting to carry on ordinary daily tasks. Blood Country supposedly carries a form of suppressant that keeps the admirers at bay during times when their attention is less desirable.
Though rare, asexual concubi do exist. Since they feed exclusively on the energy released via orgasm, this has historically made life difficult for them, with many an ace concubus left resorting to voyeurism to obtain their meals second-hand. In modern times there exists an alternative service for asexual concubi as well as clientele that, for whatever reason, wish to abstain from sex. These Dream Hotels are often located within the vicinity of a standard concubus brothel and allow their patrons to fill out preference forms much like the standard ones - however, rather than engaging in physical intercourse, the concubus will instead use their magic to create a vivid wet dream tailored to the client's desires (incidentally this service offers more leeway for the less humanoid races than the limited shapeshifting). All the concubus must do is wait at the client's bedside projecting the dream and await the inevitable 'release'. The concubus is thus provided with ample energy, and the satisfied client will be provided with a clean, identical change of clothes (copied magically) before heading on their way. While Dream Hotels are less popular than the brothels, they provide a decent enough turnout in their own right.
Sex with a concubus does not carry the risk of pregnancy for the concubus or partner. They can, however, reproduce if they mate with fellow concubi.
HELLHOUNDS: Demons who primarily work in the Underworld. Hellhounds appear similar to Wolf-type Beasts, but at least twice the size and possessed of horns, like most demons. They are almost perpetually surrounded by an otherworldly flaming aura, the color of which usually matches their glowing eyes. Their voices are unreasonably low and husky, sounding like little more than growls synced to their telepathic words that play within your mind. Hellhounds stand at the 'gate' of their respective Hells, managing the various forms of registration for each soul which enters. ...or at least, they're supposed to, but it appears that many Hellhounds abscond their duties in favor of hiring demons to sort the paperwork for them. Hellhounds are a rare sight in IGNOLand, but they do pop up from time to time, having been seen playing tennis or hosting public access television shows about ghost hunting. Or doing just about anything except their jobs, really.
REAPERS: A race of demon greatly feared in ancient times for feeding upon the rare 'soul energy' - a substance, naturally, found richly in souls of the living. Souls devoured by beings such as reapers are unable to pass on to the Underworld, simply ceasing to exist...making them an incredibly dangerous and horrifying enemy to all living things. This also caused no end of frustration to those in charge of the Underworld - souls that were expected to enter their realm would simply never arrive, resulting in tangled messes of incorrect paperwork, lots of finger-pointing over whose fault it was, and a generally bad time for all. Thus, a deal was struck - if the reapers could stop eating souls, they would be given jobs and benefits by the Underworld. They would only need employ their ability to sever souls from those already about to die, and send their wayward souls to the Underworld for management. Rather than consuming the souls themselves, reapers could simply consume the stray essence of soul energy that escapes the body, alongside the soul, at the moment of death. At first it seemed like a very one-sided deal - after all, the reapers would be downgrading from entire souls rich in energy to mere essence, and be gaining little in return. However, the job would provide reapers with a means of more easily tracking those victims on the verge of death, whose souls were often considered the most 'ripe' and delicious, even in energy form. Many reapers also saw this job as giving them a sense of purpose and fulfillment, as well as making them less feared and despised in the mortal world. Thus, the majority of reapers now work as a sort of mercenary force for the Underworld, reaping the souls of those whose time in the living world is already up and seeing them safely to the Underworld. This also ensures that there are less stray, unlicensed ghosts are floating around in the mortal realm.
While reapers are still considerably feared for their tendency to appear before those who are about to die, they are no longer despised by most. In fact, there are some who find the presence of a reaper to be comforting, particularly those with terminal illnesses who have already accepted their fates, as a reaper will often wait by their side for as long as possible before claiming their souls. It's considered highly unprofessional for a reaper to form an attachment to living beings, so this practice is seen as very controversial - it's better for the reaper to wait until the final moment to even appear at all, they say. Nonetheless, as with most demons, reapers often find themselves taking an interest in mortals and such bonds are not entirely uncommon. There are even tales of a particular reaper who frequents a children's hospital, acting as a sort of 'imaginary friend' to comfort those who will not make it.
At a glance, a reaper appears almost entirely human, and may even be mistaken for one if seen from far away, or mixed into a crowd. However, approaching one is another story - they give off an aura of unmistakable dread, moreso than even your average demon. The rumor that anyone who sees a reaper is doomed to die within a few days is false, however; reapers typically don't appear unless they're visiting someone ALREADY about to die in order to collect their soul, so a healthy individual has nothing to fear for witnessing one. Those who do witness reapers have given conflicting reports on what they look like - some claim to see the human face of a man or woman, ranging in age from teenaged to elderly. Others say they have the face of a skull, or even that there's nothing but a blank, featureless void where their face should be. Yet others even say that they've seen reapers wearing ornate masks, unable to glimpse what actually lies beneath them. Perhaps this inherent desire to hide their 'faces' is why most reapers wear hooded clothing, as reapers in ancient times were said to wear dark cloaks that concealed their entire bodies save for an ominous skull face. In modern times, common reaper attire seems to be a hooded sweatshirt, usually but not always black in color, occasionally with a skeletal pattern or motif (this seems to be fashionable and trendy in reaper culture). They may also dress with various elements of 'punk' or 'gothic' clothing, with such things as arm warmers, torn pants, and chains variously reported. Their hands are usually hidden inside their pockets, but appear to be ordinary hands of flesh when seen - however, those who have witnessed a reaper take a soul have offered a chilling perspective into how they operate. It is said that they have the ability to transmogrify their hands into hideously sharp blades, so sharp one would imagine it could slice through flesh and bone effortlessly in a single stroke. However, when a reaper goes to slit the throat of their victim, not a trace of blood can be seen, nor will the corpse have a wound of any kind. It seems these blades are purely supernatural, instead severing the connection between the soul and the body, separating them from the mortal coil. It is at this moment that we suppose the soul energy escapes the body along with the spirit itself, sucked in and absorbed by the reaper as sustinence. The reaper then appears to melt into the very darkness itself, becoming almost like black smoke, and disappears. What happens next can only be speculated, but it is believed that the reaper guides the newly-departed soul to the Underworld safely, so they do not lose their way. Various folklore exists for what this journey entails, but the common belief is that there is a river of some sort that must be crossed between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and the reaper's guidance helps the soul avoid the perils that lurk on this shore so that they may arrive safely. Perhaps one might ask a ghost if this is indeed the case, though many ghosts will tell that their memories of the journey between the realms of the living and dead are hazy and uncertain.
Naturally, there still exist reapers who refuse to work for the Underworld and abandon the means by which they have always lived. Though rare, these reapers still walk the realm of the living in search of souls to consume whole. Many ghost hunters dabble in harmful reaper extermination as well, seeing them as a grave threat to the integrity of a soul's right to pass on. On the flipside, there are 'rogue' reapers who don't wish to work for the Underworld for whatever reason, but have still turned away from preying on living souls in favor of hunting harmful spirits. It seems that these spirits are still rich in the energy a reaper needs to survive, and in consuming them they take on a role similar to ghost hunters in protecting the living and controlling the spiritual population of IGNOLand. One has to wonder at the possibility of such a reaper working alongside a ghost hunter - what a partnership that would be.
GARGOYLES: A race of winged demons with a somewhat more monstrous visage than most of their kin. Their bodies are still largely humanoid in shape, with lizard/dragon-like tails and three-toed clawed feet. Their hands are clawed as well, though much more humanlike. Their faces are almost goblin or batlike in appearance with long pointed ears, and their horns come in many shapes and sizes. Like many of the undead races, the sun is extremely harmful to a gargoyle's skin. As day arrives, they will typically stop where they are, no matter what they're doing, and harden their skin to a stonelike consistency. This stoneskin is incredibly tough and impervious to all manner of unenchanted weapons, and is specially-warded against the Light element to keep them safe. Unfortunately, the gargoyle is unable to move while activating this ability, becoming like a living stone statue. While many gargoyles choose to sleep during this period of inactivity, they are still able to see, hear, and think - they just can't move their bodies without reverting their flesh to normal. In addition to protecting them from harmful Light, this ability also serves quite useful for espionage purposes, as all but the most savvy individuals will simply mistake them for statues.
By night (or in places devoid of sunlight, such as Blood Country) they are no different from most demons. Despite their frightful appearance and nocturnal tendencies, gargoyles have historically been REVERED by many due to their tendency to keep harmful spirits at bay. Even in 'statue' form, it seems that evil beings fear their great supernatural powers and refuse to approach them, giving them a strong connotation as guardians. Many Light organizations may even form a respectful relationship with them, allowing them to perch freely on their sanctuaries and temples by day. As such, gargoyles often enjoy a higher degree of popularity than many other demon races, even outside of areas like Blood Country.
ONI: Demons that commonly work in the Underworld but are occasionally seen in IGNOLand. The come in two distinct types - red and blue - each with a few marked physical and tempermental distinctions. Red oni have red skin, two horns protruding from their foreheads, and are typically taller and more muscular than blue oni. Their personalities tend to be wild and passionate, and they're likely to rush into things without thinking. They're also much more carefree than blue oni, and are very rarely planners or worriers about what the future may hold. Unsurprisingly, they're almost always of the Fire element. Blue oni on the other hand are blue-skinned with a single horn on their forehead, with slightly shorter and skinnier builds than their red cousins. They are calm and rational, and generally more intelligent and general than red oni with a knack for crafting plans. They commonly provide a 'voice of reason' role to red oni, who charge through life hastily while the blue oni acts with patience and grace. Blue oni tend to be either the Water or Ice element, with each roughly as common as the other, firmly cementing their contrasting relationship with the red oni.
Physically, oni of both colors are quite a bit larger than the common demon, ranging from 7 to 9 feet tall (averaging around 7'5''). The stereotype that they all wear tiger-pattered rags and carry around huge iron clubs is just that...though they do tend to favor tiger-striped (or leopard-spotted) fashion trends. They often handle the day-to-day jobs in the Underworld, with blue oni commonly manning reception desks and red oni dealing with physical grunt labor. Oni of all types love to drink and there are few mortals who can match their tolerance for alcohol - even dwarves. When they're off the clock, expect oni to gather and throw wild parties in Party Hell. It's rumored that they're weak against beans, though few are brave enough to test this theory.
Aethrals are beings from the Aethral Realm, a separate plane of existence from our own (much like the Underworld and Demon Realm). Simply put, one may think of them as 'light demons' - extradimensional beings with a predisposition towards the Light element, much like demons and Shadow. Unlike demons, however, aethrals rarely possess a humanoid shape. Some appear as nothing more than pure light or energy, while the greater and more powerful aethrals supposedly have forms beyond the realm of mortal comprehension. While they're much more rarely seen in the mortal realm than demons (who are more naturally tied to mortal desires and enjoy intermingling with them), those who do have need of appearing before mortals must tell them to be not afraid as their natural forms are supposedly even more grisly than those of demons and monsters. Some may employ powerful illusion magic to take on a more familiar shape, or appear via an avatar of some kind, but many simply do not care enough to do so. Whatever the case, much of this is hearsay that may or may not be reliable, so infrequent is it that aethrals are encountered in IGNOLand. What we DO know is that there are as great and many aethrals as demons in their own realm, and many of them too have a hand in the operations of the Underworld. It is important to understand that aethrals are just as alien - if not moreso - to the mortal realm as demons, and no less dangerous. Mortals who encounter aethrals have claimed that their presence is inherently otherworldly and unsettling, possessed of an aura that makes them feel unreachably vast and incomphrenensible even if they disguise their natural forms. Aethrals are also not gods, but more akin to demons in that they are dimensional beings with their own free wills and dispositions. They have a strong sense of justice, but their morality skews so far towards their own ideals of 'righteousness' that few mortals could hope to live up to their lofty expectations. Mortals deemed unworthy of them may be deemed enemies and swiftly cut down. One would be advised to always exercise caution when in the presence of an aethral being, for Light is not always good.
Side Notes: At this time I am not allowing aethrals as a playable race, barring convincing exceptions (IE, consult me first). As opposed to demons, who tend to be closer to human desires and therefore fit into IGNOLand much more naturally, aethrals are very extreme in their ideals and rarely intermingle with mortals as it is. Forcing an aethral into the fold to where they could be played naturally interacting with other characters would require some liberties to be taken with these traits, and while POSSIBLE, quite frankly, I don't have enough faith that this can be done WELL to want just anyone to take up the task. Consider these entries on aethrals more simply to make one aware that these beings do EXIST, may be referenced, and even possibly crop up as NPCs if the need arises - but I would personally prefer player characters choose from one of the many other racial types instead. Thank you for understanding.
ARCHONS: A form of lesser aethral and the most commonly seen in IGNOLand. Archons manifest as formless balls of Light. They are intelligent beings that can communicate telepathically in virtually any mortal language. Archons have a strong sense of justice, but tend to prefer working alongside and aiding mortals more commonly than other aethrals. Being limbless orbs of energy, archons are unable to interact with the mortal world easily - however, they can exert their influence over people and telekinetically move objects within their immediate vicinity. They may choose to inhabit objects that may be of use, such as lanterns and staves, or provide mortals with minor magical enhancements (such as augmented strength and agility). Their presence is both inspiring and calming, and simply being in the same room as an archon will often provide an unconscious surge of courage or morale. Archons are also able to use their innate Light ability to heal wounds (provided they are not fatal; more dangerous wounds may be healed more quickly by use of their magic but will still typically require great care, proper medical treatment and adequate rest), making them useful traveling companions on long journeys. Their 'bodies' are constantly aglow with gentle light, which they may dim or intensify as needed (though they cannot completely extinguish it, making them a liability in stealth situations). They often lie in wait in dangerous/dark areas to aid lost travelers in need of light or healing, in exchange for assistance in ridding such places of evil. This deal is reasonably fair compared to the more direct and controlling methods employed by other aethrals who wish mortals to do their bidding, and most adventurers will gladly take up the archon's offer for their use as a travel companion.
While archons work best in tandem with mortals, they are powerful beings in their own right. Being composed of pure Light energy, they are able to fire beams at foes from a reasonable distance, providing useful cover for melee-based fighters from afar. Their blasts can deal direct damage (particularly to Shadow creatures) as well as inflict paralysis or blindness. Their soft glow and almost musical telepathic 'voices' are also capable of lulling foes to sleep, though this tends to affect all who hear - including their own traveling partners. They naturally exhude a calming aura that may prevent lesser foes from becoming hostile in the first place, though the archon must be within close enough range and this won't work on more intelligent creatures. Archons can also serve as excellent lookouts as they are able to float freely through the air and pass through physical objects, scouting any dangers and warning their partners in advance. As incorporeal beings, it is almost impossible to harm an archon, as physical weapons and objects will pass right through them. They are also highly resistant to ordinary elemental abilities. Thus, they can only be harmed by magic or weapons with arcane enchantments (though they are able to break apart into particles of light and reform at will, which makes them difficult to hit even with enchanted weapons). Being made of Light, archons are naturally very weak against Shadow, and a strong enough Shadow attack may snuff them out completely.
Side Notes: While aethrals are not allowed as playable races in and of themselves, the idea of an adventurer forming a more permanent bond with a lantern archon, traveling the land and bringing justice to evil, seems cute. I would allow this sort of relationship as a sort of 'partner NPC' to a mortal character.
DEVAS: A rare variety of aethral that take on a humanoid shape. Invisible to most mortals, devas can only be seen by those with extremely powerful arcane ability and Light users. They appear as large humanoids with four to six arms, and may have anywhere from one to four faces on a single head. They are often seen as similar to demons in that they tend to take a great interest in the lives of mortals and may even indulge in its pleasures (particularly food). However, their primary concern above all else is to bring the teachings of Light to the mortal world, and drive out Shadow. Devas are seen as a dangerous enemy by demonkind and Shadow users alike as they will not hesitate to do battle with them, even if they're not doing anything wrong - as far as a deva is concerned, simply being aligned with Shadow is worthy of punishment in itself (especially when it comes to mortals, who chose Shadow of their own will). However, Shadow beings aside, devas are generally easygoing and mild-mannered, more eager to provide wisdom and teachings to mortals than enlist them directly into fighting for them for the sake of justice. If they take a liking to a mortal they may hang around them often and observe their daily lives, though whether the mortal can see them or not depends on their spiritual ability. In the case of Light users who may see and interact with them, a deva may grow particularly fond and look after them, considering them to be like a small child or a pet. Such devas make for powerful and protective guardians as well as mentors for those who wish to walk the path of Light.
SHINU: Thought to be the aethral counterpart to the demonic gargoyle. Like gargoyles, they are living beings that often take the form of statues and act as guardians to watch over sacred locations. However, while gargoyles are typically active after dark, Shinu tend to remain in their ever-watchful statue forms unless the situation warrants them taking action. They appear in the form of beasts, most commonly resembling some combination of lion and dog, though some rare variations may have the attributes of tigers, oxen, dragons or unicorns, and some may even have eagle-like wings. They are thought to bring luck and good fortune anywhere they are seen. If a shinu witnesses a fight or conflict break out it will return to its physical form and attempt to break it up, acting as a mediator to settle the matter. They are generally benevolent and peaceful creatures who prefer to avoid combat. If one is hostile to the shinu and attempts to attack it, however, it will retaliate in kind. Despite their nonviolent natures, shinu are incredibly formidible. They attack much like an animal would with teeth and claw, but their physical attacks are infused with powerful Light energy. So powerful is their Light that even in statue form few Shadow beings are willing to enter areas where they stand watch, making them powerful guardians against evil forces. They have the ability to sense evil just by looking at a person and will only punish wrongdoers.
Side Notes: Based on the popular image of guardian lion statues in Asia. As various countries have their own names and regional spins on this creature, I decided they needed a name all their own for IGNOLand and settled on 'shinu' - a cheeky combination of the 'shi' (lion) of Chinese with the 'inu' (dog) of Japanese. As there are also various mythological creatures bearing similarities to them, shinu are a sort of composite of traits from these, and may vary visually as stated - though the traditional lion-like variety is the most common.
YAMA: Aethrals who work in the Underworld, helping to sort the dead into the appropriate Hells. While Hellhounds manage the paperwork for each soul entering their respective Hells, Yamas man the front desks and judge the deeds of each soul to determine if they're qualified in the first place. Each Hell has different specifications (for instance, Formal Hell only accepts those who were the fanciest of the fancy in life), so souls are judged on different criteria depending on the Hell they wish to enter. Yamas are also in charge of such things as renewing ghost licenses and managing requests for reincarnation (there's a long waiting list). They are very strict and have a tendency to lecture the souls they judge harshly, advising them on how to improve upon themselves even though they are already dead. As they are very busy with their job of judging souls, Yamas rarely have time for anything else - and since aethrals tend to have a stronger sense of duty than demons, never will you see a Yama shirking its duty to play in the mortal realm like the Hellhounds. As such, one will never encounter a Yama in IGNOLand - but basic awareness of them is always useful to have, for we all must pass by their desks when we reach the Underworld.
Fae are the beings with perhaps the highest arcane affinities in all of IGNOLand, often surpassing even that of demons in terms of raw magical potential. They're also among the oldest, having lived on IGNOLand since ancient times and having among the longest lifespans of the mortal races. Perhaps as a result of this, fae prefer to live in isolated communities among others of their kind rather than in mixed societies among the younger races, though there are more exceptions to this in the modern era. Even so, all of the currently-known fae races' major communities are deep within the Wayward Woods, living off its nature and innate magic.
FAIRIES: A race of diminutive humanoids with beautiful, butterfly-like wings. The common misconception outside IGNOLand is that a fairy is small enough to fit in the palm of a human's hand, but that is the mistake of confusing pixies/piskis for fairies (and is considered quite insulting to either race). Fairies are typically the size of a human child, ranging from 2 to 4 feet (the smallest fairy on record is 1 foot tall, with the tallest nearing 5 feet; an adult fairy is 3 feet on average). They are a bright and cheerful people (and a bit airheaded, some say) who prefer the quaintness of country life, and their society is considered 'old-fashioned' to most (particular the denizens of the modern Centaur City) - common careers include farmers, fishers/hunters, grocers, bakers, innkeeps, tailors, and other such things. The most popular pasttime that's seemingly shared among almost all fairies is a love for playing folk music on the banjo. Though they don't tend to favor combat, it would be unwise to dismiss a fairy as simple and harmless - they are competent mages as well as the chief alchemists of IGNOLand, and their potions and concoctions are their #1 export sold throughout the Wayward Woods. Incidentally, fairy standards of beauty put more emphasis on the wings than the face or body, and there are various underground magazines focusing on this subject. Fairies share a universal weakness to METAL (the elemental force; modern fairies have adapted to where handling small metal objects is typically fine), the mere touch of which can severely burn them. As a result they often have difficulty trusting and getting along with those of the Metal element, though this has softened somewhat in modern times since they have begun living in close proximity with dwarves.
Notable Fairies: Iris
PIXIES: Much smaller than fairies (typically 2 to 4 inches at adulthood) and possessed of frail and translucent 'insect-like' wings, pixies live in tiny civilizations among the trees in the depths of the Wayward Woods. As a result of their small size, it's quite dangerous (not to mention a VERY long journey) for them to venture too far from their own societies, though there are pixies who live or attend the magic school in Faeland. In the distant past, the pixies and piskis were considered a single race - and indeed, on a biological level, they are one - but it is said that the king and queen of the time could not agree on whether their culture should be a matriarchy or patriarchy. As such, they split into two groups and now consider each other to be mortal enemies. While both races are natural tricksters whose morality does not often align with that of civilized society, pixies tend to veer closer to the dangerous/deadly side with the 'pranks' they play on other races. They are referred to by some as 'unseelie fae' and are commonly associated with death, darkness and evil. However, pixies are not inherently bad and may even take a shine to individuals who survive their pranks, and form a bond with them.
Pixie society functions similarly to that of some insects. There is a single queen at any given time, who mates with specially-selected males to breed the finest stock that go on to make up the Pixie Army. These males are chosen via the bi-annual Gladiatorial Tournament, wherein the winner of each block (which may vary from 4 to 6) earns the privilege of mating with the queen. The tournament is held just before the queen enters her mating period, which happens twice a year and lasts for approximately 6 weeks. The children birthed by the queen during this time mature much faster than normal, born after just one month and reaching adulthood in the span of five years. They spend the majority of this time training to become optimal soldiers, making the Pixie Army, despite their stature, among the most powerful organized forces in IGNOLand. The Queen will reign for several mating cycles before the Queen's Tournament is held, in which female pixies will compete in their own brackets to determine she most worthy of facing the Queen herself in mortal combat. Either the current Queen will win this battle and continue her reign, or she who manages to fell her will succeed the throne. It is said that in the times before the pixies and piskis split, only a single tournament was held each year to select both the strongest male and female as king and queen, who would mate only with each other to breed the most powerful soldiers for their unified army...but with the separation of the tribes, the tradition changed along with them. Of course, the Queen is not the mother to all pixies in the kingdom - pixie commoners still form relationships and have their own families. Ordinary pixie citizens born in this way reach adulthood around 18 years.
Pixies are formidable casters of all manner of elemental magic and aren't born with any particular inclination. While their defenses against magical forces are impressive, their size lends its own weaknesses against physical threats such as being squashed underfoot by larger races or devoured by Wayward Wolves and other dangerous beasts. Their kingdoms are built high among the treetops and into wooded hollows in an effort to avoid the dangers of the forest floor, though making their homes inside giant mushrooms has become trendy in recent years. They seem to favor wearing clothing of the colors black, red, and purple. Like fairies, they share a weakness to the Metal element which may bring them severe harm, given their size. As such, pixie warriors typically fight with blades and armor made from wood, enchanted to be as durable as any steel.
Notable Pixies: Queen Linda
PISKIS: As stated, pixies and piskis are technically the same race, so variations are essentially only cultural. While pixies tend to prefer dark clothing, piskis favor the earthy tones of green and brown to better camouflage themselves among the trees. While both pixies and piskis tend to play dangerous 'pranks' on those unlucky enough to enter their domains, piskis tend to favor less directly harmful tricks and are more lighthearted and less malicious than pixies. However, given that the Wayward Woods is a dangerous place, a piski's pranks may still be quite deadly - such things as causing a lost traveler to walk in circles, be assaulted by illusions, or to lose their weapon in the realm of deadly creatures can just as easily lead to their demise as a pixie's style of trickery. They are referred to by some as 'seelie fae' and are commonly associated with birth/growth, light and helpfulness (as they may often lead lost travelers out of the Woods...usually for a price, and not a monetary one). However, it's important to remember that piskis are not inherently 'good' and will not always be your friend when you come across them - they're just as likely to snatch up a traveler and force them to partake in some form of dangerous 'challenge' or 'trial' for their own amusement as they are to lead them back to safety.
Like pixies, the piskis hold bi-annual tournaments for the sake of the royal mating ritual to birth the strongest soldiers, though for piskis the system is inverse - the strongest female warriors participate in gladiatorial combat to earn the right of mating with the king over the course of several weeks. The King's consorts are housed in his palace until they've given birth, at which time they are sent on their way and the children are inducted into the training program and go on to become soldiers. The King must also compete in a tournament every so many mating cycles against the strongest male who battles his way through the brackets, and will either emerge victorious or lose his head and his throne in kind. Piskis share the same strengths and weaknesses as pixies, and the homes they build are almost indistinguishable to the outside eye (though piskis tend to employ more foliage in their decor, whereas pixies are fond of fungi). Their soldiers are also armed in enchanted wooden gear, and the two races frequently do battle in hopes of conquering their rival tribe. To this day, neither side has achieved victory, and they remain locked in an eternal stalemate.
URBAN ELVES: In the furthest depths of the Wayward Woods sits a towering, shining kingdom that all are aware of...but few are ever given permission to tread. This is the kingdom of Dachaigh, home of the elven people. As they are exceedingly reclusive, very little is known about them and their life within the confines of the force field that has encircled their city for thousands of years. It is believed that there was some sort of cataclysm in IGNOLand's ancient past that threatened the land and pushed back the boundary of the Wayward Woods considerably (anthropological evidence suggests the Woods once covered much of the supercontinent, and Blood Country's own Deadwoods were a part of this greater forest in the distant past). Out of fear, the elves erected a magical barrier around their city, and their city alone, hoping to protect at least their kin from whatever catastrophic force they felt threatened them. This barrier still stands in the present day and is all but impenetrable to outsiders, with the only known means of entering being to be welcomed by the elves themselves (a rare privilege). Thus, what knowledge we have of Dachaigh and these so-called 'Urban Elves' comes entirely from those who chose to exit the barrier for various reasons. It seems that the elves believe that the events of the cataclysm forever changed the forest and the land as a whole, corrupting it with 'impurities'. The barrier in modern times seeks not to protect the kingdom from any direct attacks or damage, we're told, but to keep out these perceived impurities, which is also why so few outsiders are allowed within (as they are already 'tainted'). This is not exclusive to other races - if elves choose to leave the city, they are generally dissuaded, but ultimately allowed to do so on the condition that they may never return. It seems that this is also a form of capital punishment employed by the elves, exiling citizens to the outside world and forbidding them to return, such is the extent that the urban elves believe their city to be superior. Many elves have chosen this path over the past centuries, tiring of the idyllic 'utopia' that Dachaigh has been described as, and supposedly the desire to see the outside world has grown more popular in modern times in particular. It is hoped by many young elves that, once the elders and their traditions die out, change may give way to the city dissolving its barrier once and for all, but insider reports suggest this is not likely to happen any time soon.
There are pockets of Urban Elves (typically just called 'elves' in the general vernacular) living elsewhere in IGNOLand, in their own communities as well as mingling with the other races in the big cities. They do tend to carry a bit of an air of superiority towards the other races, but are typically quite happy to coexist with them and learn about their customs after being stifled among their kin for so long. So if an elf talks down to you or acts with a holier-than-thou attitude, it is rarely intended as an insult on their part, but simply the natural way of those who grew up within Dachaigh. Elves are inherently recognizable by their pointed ears and tall, slender builds (6-7 feet on average). They are among the most powerful mages in all of IGNOLand, capable of learning almost all forms of arcane arts near-effortlessly, though they tend to favor defensive and healing magic to offensive spells. Female elves are considered to be more powerful than males, with the belief that their breasts contain a latent reserve of magical energy - thus, in elven culture, large breasts are lauded as a sign of great fortune and many elven women of power are said to have been particularly buxom. Though they are naturally gifted mages, many elves just as often take to weapons and the martial arts - the stereotype that they are all excellent archers and poor at melee combat is, however, just that, and many elves outside of Dachaigh abstain from archery for precisely that reason (within the city, however, it is said to be quite popular).
Notable Urban Elves: MTS
WILD ELVES: Also known as Dark Elves, Moon Elves or Wolf Elves, the Wild Elves were believed to be one with the Urban Elves in ancient times. Scholars believe that the very cataclysm that lead to the Urban Elves erecting the barrier around their city was the point at which these two races split, with the Wild Elves choosing to remain behind and coexist with nature as they always had, come what may. While just as magical as their urban cousins, Wild Elves do not 'practice' arcane arts in the same way, favoring a more druidic style of magic that helps them coexist with the many creatures of the highly-magical Wayward Wilds (the far reaches of the forest that even many native WW races are reluctant to tread). They are the only known race of sapients able to exist alongside the deadly Wayward Wolves that call their habitat home, and they seem to have a very strong bond with the creatures, often hunting alongside them or even being allowed to ride upon their backs. Wild Elves hunt at night by the light of the moon, and have a strong reverence for it, hence the other names they are often known by. They are known for using every part of the beasts they kill in one manner or another - eating the meat, making clothing of the pelts and tents from the skins, building tools with the bones, etc. Though they are often perceived as 'primitive' by other races, Wild Elves have a very complex and advanced culture that simply revolves around living in harmony with the natural world rather than modern industrialization and urban society.
Like urban elves, they are tall with the trademark pointed ears, however their builds are generally more muscular and fit for living off the land. Their skin is dark in tone, along the brown spectrum (rather than the black/purple/blue hues often seen in fantasy 'dark elves'). Despite their rugged natures, males are almost always cleanshaven. Wild Elves have a higher disposition for being born with the Earth element than any other, but rarely employ their abilities for combat. Their greatest strengths come from their heightened sensory abilities, with keen sight, hearing and smell all honed from their wild lifestyle. Many Wild Elves also choose to walk the path of Shadow, but forsake its more arcane tendencies instead for stealth and even more adept perception to aid them on the hunt. Wild Elves live in small tribal communities throughout the Wayward Wilds and rarely interact with the other sapient races, though they do not shun them and will gladly show them hospitality when they do meet. While they tend to live a ways away from other villages and communities within the Woods, some Wild Elf tribes have established trade routes with the other races, bartering such things as meats, pelts and handicrafts in exchange for vegetables, tools and simple comforts. Their culture is often matriarchal, with tribes guided primarily by a female elder.
DWARVES: First and foremost, it is important to note the distinction between the dwarves of the Fae, and the similarly-named creatures who inhabit the Underground of IGNOLand. Fae Dwarves are most commonly simply referred to as simply 'dwarves', and like most Fae races their primary habitat is within the Wayward Woods - particularly in and around Faeland. Contrary to common belief, they do not live in the Underground, but rather in earth houses built into the ground (often in hillsides). They are about as tall as fairies at 2-4 feet on average, making Faeland a welcome place for their kind as their buildings and establishments accommodate this size nicely. Dwarves are typically more stockily-built than fairies and almost always bearded (even the females, though they prefer to keep their facial hair neat and trim), and are of course not winged, which helps outsiders tell the two diminuitive races apart. They are the least magical of the fae races and possessed of somewhat shorter lifespans, most commonly living to around 300 years. While other fae races employ their magical abilities through spellcasting, dwarves tend to focus this energy towards the enchantment of physical items, including weapons and armor - this leads to the common stereotype that all dwarves are master blacksmiths, while in reality smithery is no more common a career for them than any other. Their proximity to precious minerals in the areas where they build their homes results in many dwarves being born with the Metal element, and it's believed that this also contributed to the stereotype in the past as tales of a legendary dwarven blacksmith spread, but many modern dwarves avoid the trade due to metalworking being harmful to the fairies they coexist with. Dwarves are extremely heavy drinkers and have an abnormally high tolerance for the stuff considering their stature. As many modern dwarves live in or around Faeland, craft brews incorporating alchemical effects have become popular.
SIRENS: There's a lot of folklore about fairies who live near the water and bear similarities to Sirens, who are also in a mythological grey area due to common confusion with both mermaids and harpies. Solution, middleground where sirens are a type of freshwater fae who live near the lakes in the Wayward Woods and do the singing thing and possibly try to lead people astray like the pixies/piskis, but are possibly at least moderately more good-natured.
LEPRECHAUNS: Bearing much physical similarity to the Gnome variety of chthonic races, Leprechauns have only recently been studied enough to where they've been reclassified as Fae. They are rarely over a foot high and usually have red or reddish-brown hair and beards, wearing green clothing almost universally. They are not native to IGNOLand but rather the Nordlands, its neighbor to the north, but bear including in this bestiary due to IGNOLand's own leader Konungur Bones employing their service almost exclusively. As such, there is a sizable leprechaun population in Knochenstadt. They appear to be reasonably intelligent and capable of speech, though most leprechauns are silent and rarely communicate with others outside their own kind. Their culture has a strong reverence for the RAINBOW and engages in prayer-like ritual in honor of it seven times throughout the day. Very little else is known of these creatures, but many anthropologists believe there is much understanding we can gain of the various Gnome creatures by studying their behaviour, interacting with them and broadening our understanding of their culture.
Notable Leprechauns: The various servants in Konungur Bones' employ
Chthonic races are those that have adapted to living beneath the earth in the Underground regions of IGNOLand. While chthonics do venture above ground from time to time, it's usually to procure food and other provisions, or to generally engage in mischief. Other chthonic races are less malicious, but are almost never found outside the depths of their cavernous dwellings. They are one of the racial types in IGNOLand that we still know very little about, as opportunity to visit their communities and study their cultures are few. Since IGNOLand contains many entrances to the tunnels of the Underground (commonly referred to as 'dungeons' in colloquial speech), records of encounters with chthonics usually come from the more adventurous sorts. Most chthonics are associated with the Earth and Metal elements, though variations do of course exist.
GARDEN GNOMES: A race of diminuitive (2 feet tall on average), subterranean creatures believed to have once been of the fae. The term 'garden gnome' refers to the most common variety of these creatures, so called due to their tendency to come aboveground and raid the crops of farms and vegetable gardens. They are referred to by different names depending on the region, and the names commonly used in these areas have come to identify those specific types in the modern mindset. When in doubt, or referring to all of this type of creature as a whole, the terms 'gnomes' or 'gnomekin' are often used. Gnomes are primarily characterized by their long white beards, beady red eyes, and tendency to wear blue pointed caps. Most gnomes appear to be male (though it is possible that male and female differences are subtle to the surface-dweller's eye), and it is unknown how they reproduce. They are thought to be long-lived, though perhaps less so than the fae races. Gnomes seem to have their own basic language with which they commune with their own kind, but do not speak the Common Tongue of the surface. While they are reasonably intelligent and capable of much when working together, gnomes do not appear to be particularly smart creatures.
Gnomes seem to be universally inclined toward causing mischief, lending credence to the theory that they may have been lesser fae in ancient times before retreating underground for reasons unknown. Not only do they come aboveground to steal vegetables, gnomes have been known to loot homes when their owners are away, tip over cattle, and cause all manner of magical mayhem with the Piski Dust they've stolen from the piskis. Whether they have a steady supply of this stashed away somewhere in their underground lairs or repeatedly make trips to the Wayward Woods to procure more, nobody really knows. Gnomes do not appear to have great magical ability of their own, though they are able to use basic elemental abilities to cause a ruckus. Most gnomes are Earth users who are extremely adept at digging tunnels, which run all throughout the Underground of IGNOLand. The various caverns they use to go to and from the surface are popular adventuring locations, and thus gnomes are considered to be 'the most common enemy' by many adventurers - unsurprisingly, this is because many of the dungeons are connected by gnome tunnels and are considered to be their 'home territory'. Not that they don't deserve the thwacking they receive by these adventurers - most would consider this to be fair payback for the havoc the gnomes wreak when they intrude upon our world.
Side Notes: Gnomes are the oldest piece of 'IGNO lore' there is, predating the creation of the original forum and the concept of 'IGNOLand' as a whole. While they were once considered the 'mortal enemies' and main antagonists of the IGNOites, they've since been relegated to a more 'level 1 enemy' sort of role (like goombas or slimes). As such, I can't honestly imagine treating them as a playable race.
SHRUBBERY DWARVES: A regional variant of garden gnomes that inhabit the Underground beneath the Wayward Woods. Their hair is green and reminiscent of green leaves, presumably inspiring this variant's name. They tend to dress in more subdued tones of brown and tan to better blend in with the foliage aboveground in their territory. Most seem to wear goggles for some unknown purpose. In addition to the standard digging abilities employed by most gnomes, Shrubbery Dwarves hold some manner of control over plantlife, and their subterranean domains tend to have more natural greenery than usual.
LAWN ELVES: A regional variant of garden gnomes that inhabit the Underground beneath the grasslands region of IGNOLand. They appear almost identical to standard gnomes but are typically blonde-haired and fairer-skinned than their cousins. It's said that a popular type of mischief for these gnomes is drawing mysterious crop circles in the fields of the plains, ravaging many a farm with their shenanigans. Most believe this to be the origin of this variant's name.
DVERGAR: A regional variant of garden gnomes that inhabit the Underground beneath the ragged wastes region of IGNOLand. This variant has specially adapted to living in a highly volcanic region, and even their hair appears bright orange-red and winged back to give the appearance of flames. Like the shrubbery dwarves, dvergar commonly wear goggles, though in this case it's believed to be more practical as it protects their eyes from the extremely bright light of the magma pools in their domain. Their skin is darker than the common gnome, and they prefer to dress in dark brown and black tones. In addition to the Earth element, many dvergar are Fire users.
SNOW SPRITES: A regional variant of garden gnomes that inhabit the Underground beneath the Ice Plains. It is this variety of gnome that Santa Claus commonly employed to be his 'Christmas Elves'. In addition to the Earth element, many snow sprites are Ice users.
KOBOLDS: A chthonic race unrelated to the gnomes, kobolds are a race of diminutive creatures (averaging around 4 feet, taller than a common fairy) that resemble bipedal dogs or rats, with short horns on their foreheads and reptilian tails. Their bodies are covered in short fur of a reddish or rust-brown color, and it's said that they emit a sulfur-like smell. It's said that they're less intelligent than the gnome races, but some have been found that speak the Common Tongue reasonably well and they're far more skilled at organized tactics and ambushes. Perhaps what they lack in booksmart and affinity for magic is made up for in martial skill? Kobolds love precious metals and gemstones, often hoarding them obsessively in their cavern abodes. They typically live in or near mines with rich mineral deposits for this very reason. Some say they eat metal as well, though this is uncomfirmed. They have excellent night vision, able to see perfectly in the darkness of their underground homes.
Kobold society is usually tribal in nature, though tribes aren't particularly competitive and may work together if the need for larger numbers arises. They are generally on hostile terms with the gnome races as their tunnels frequently intersect one another's territory. While gnomes make use of their Earth element to dig their tunnels, kobolds typically use mining tools and are quite handy with them. As most kobolds are of the Metal element, fashioning tools and implements such as pickaxes is a simple feat. They are also fond of shaping metal into a variety of deadly traps which they litter throughout the underground dungeons, knowing that some foolhardy adventurer is sure to get caught in them eventually. When this does happen they are quick to avail the hapless wanderer of their belongings (especially their shiny kok coins), but typically leave them unharmed (though whether one caught in such a trap will survive is of little concern to them). They are fond of stealth maneuvers and ambushes as well.
WALLS: A particularly ancient race that live in the very depths of the Underground, further down than even most gnomes and kobolds are willing to go. They are large slabs of stone with arms, legs and fearsome faces - however, they are a generally peaceful race that keep to themselves and avoid violence if at all possible. They have extraordinarily high defense with their most common elements being either Earth or Metal, and will prefer to block the path of foes rather than attack them. They are able to link together with other Walls as well as the natural stone to form complicated mazes and passages to block out tresspassers from their domains. They are able to hide their limbs and faces in this more natural wall form so they appear for all the world to be ordinary non-sentient walls. Walls are a single-sex race that reproduce asexually by budding. Their primary diet is the molten rock deep beneath the earth, though they can survive on other stone and minerals if necessary. They almost never come up to the surface, preferring their own communities to surface civilization, though it is said that if one forms a strong bond with them they will be willing to aid that person any time they call. Walls appear to have their own language consisting mostly of various chinking noises (like the sound of stone tapping against stone), but it's a robust enough language that those with close contact with their race may even be able to learn to understand it, as well.
A categorization of various beings that would not technically be considered 'races' by strict definition, but for the sake of simplicity will be treated as such in this guide. There are two main conditions for one to be considered an automaton - first, they are not naturally 'born' like organic creatures, but rather built or constructed through some means by the hands of man. A typical automaton will be composed in part or whole of inorganic material, though this is not always the case. Second, though able to move and appear 'alive', their actions are driven by some means of outside control. While the term tends to bring to mind images of machines and robots specifically in the modern world, an automaton does not need to be composed of metal or computer parts. They may be operated via scientific or mechanical means as well as arcane ones, controlled directly or remotely, or instilled with a form of 'artificial intelligence' that allows them to self-operate - however, at its core, an automaton has no natural soul and thus is not considered 'alive'. Debates continue to this day over what measures the gap between an AI and a living soul, and whether these automata are capable of developing true emotion.
TYPES OF AUTOMATA
ROBOT: The most common and basic form of automaton in IGNOLand. A robot is, simply put, a machine programmed to perform a given task. Robots come in two primary types - those that are controlled remotely by a living operator, and those with some form of inbuilt computer set to self-operate. They are typically basic devices built to focus on a specific task or set of tasks and would not be considered as a type of 'creature' any more than the average personal computer. Their inclusion on this list is simply for referencial purposes for those unfamiliar with the definition and concept of a 'robot'.
Side Notes: No, you cannot play as a robot. The thing you're probably looking for is an android.
ANDROID: A type of advanced robot that contains an artificial intelligence (AI). Unlike robots, which may take on any shape and size (though most are built in practical shapes suited to their purposes), androids are built in the shape of living creatures - most commonly, humans. Android appearances may vary - some look wholly mechanical, with metal or plastic shell casings and visibly mechanical parts, others are designed with synthetic skin and may for all the world appear like authentic, natural humans. Though many people are amazed by how lifelike modern androids can be, others are not so enthused by this. While recent advancements in technology have lessened this issue, many consider there to be some sort of 'uncanny valley' into which androids fall that make them feel inherently unnatural (particularly in motion), no matter how lifelike they may look at a glance. As such, many androids are deliberately given distinctly inorganic shells, paint jobs or cartoony faces, which tends to make people more receptive to them than those who try too hard to look realistic.
While androids can be programmed for as wide a variety of uses as standard robots, they're most often given 'human' roles - compare an automatic drink-serving machine (robot) to a mechanical butler who can walk, talk, and hand the drink to you directly (android). There are many debates in the scientific and anthropological communities over how 'artificial' an artificial intelligence actually is. Many androids are programmed to learn and are capable of growth and improvement, so in theory, should they not be able to develop emotions as well? Some experimental androids have even been developed with nerve sensors to experience touch, and pain. Are they still incapable of feeling? This is the essence of the many arguments taking place over androids, which only continue to become more advanced with time.
CYBORG: The only known type of automata considered to be truly ALIVE, a cyborg is an organic living being who has been modified with a varying degree of automated parts. While a cyborg's body is considered 'automated', the one in control of it is the cyborg itself - just like a normal creature, the body and its mechanical parts are driven by the cyborg's own living brain. The degree to which a cyborg is mechanical can vary, anywhere from a robotic arm on an organic body to a completely robotic form controlled by the brain. So long as the brain is intact, a cyborg is considered to be as alive as they were in a body made wholly of flesh (though some debate this, believing the living soul to reside in the flesh or heart and that replacing those takes away one's claim to sapience). Cyborgs are almost invariably scientific in nature, composed of artificial alloys and computerized parts much like standard androids and robots. In theory, one would suppose it's possible to fuse the flesh to inorganic parts of other matter (such as stone, like a golem) through arcane methods as well, though no such creature has ever been encountered. Most cyborgs in IGNOLand are largely flesh with minor mechanical enhancements - typically prosthetic limbs or implant eyes, commonly lost through injury or accident. An occasional problem faced by such cyborgs is 'cybernetic addiction' - the compulsion to replace more and more of one's body with mechanical parts, even if the flesh is still perfectly functional. Fortunately there are treatments to help new cyborgs adjust to their mechanical bodies in a healthy way and avoid developing this disorder in the first place.
While this sort of cyborg is a reasonably common sight and considered mundane in IGNOLand, more advanced ones with inbuilt weaponry and computerized functions are a popular subject of science fiction. And indeed, most would consider them to be just that - fiction. However, those who were alive (or have relatives who were) 40 some-odd years ago should recall that such a figure DOES exist in the real world, having announced himself and his agenda to the entire country...
GOLEM: A humanoid-shaped construct made entirely of inorganic matter brought to life through arcane means. Like androids, golems are typically given some form of artificial intelligence that allows them to operate remotely from their creator, though there is supposedly a maximum distance that, when exceeded, the golem will become inanimate. It is believed that this distance varies in accordance with its creator's magical ability, with more powerful sorcerers able to send golems long distances to scout or run errands. Golems may be formed in a variety of ways - in ancient times, the most common method was to mix a few drops of the creator's blood in with clay and mold the creature by hand. Stone golems have the most long-lasting and iconic appeal (originating in the pre-industrial era and still seeing use even in modern times) by way of the creator writing their name in their own blood somewhere on the creature's body. Though the forehead is popularly seen in artistic depictions of the creatures, rubbing the name off severs the magical connection and causes the golem to crumble into dust - thus, most mages will prefer to write the symbols somewhere more hidden or less easily accessible (such as under the arm or knee). For those less willing to use blood for whatever reason, Magic Marker™ brand enchanted markers also work, though naturally the effect is less powerful and the magic is prone to drying up when the ink does - good for a pinch, but not recommended for serious mages. Golems are, for the most part, 'set and forget' creations - as they are inorganic, they neither tire nor require food and may remain active for as long as necessary. They will, however, eventually run out of magical energy unless 'recharged' by their creators - though this can be conserved by 'hibernating' the golem when not in use (much like turning off an electronic device to conserve its battery).
While stone remains the most popular, golems can feasibly be crafted from any inorganic material infused with the creator's magical essence. Other popular materials include wood, ice, snow (it's believed the image of the common snowman created for entertainment were originally modeled after snow golems, AKA snowlems), and metal. Modern golems may even be designed with robot or android-like bodies, but the key difference is that a golem is animated through magic - not machinery. One does not need to have the element matching a golem's material to animate it (for instance, being an Earth user to create a golem of stone), though it's believed to help strengthen the connection between creator and creation and allow the golem to operate more efficiently, and from a greater distance. While the popular vision of a golem is that of a stone giant, golems may be of any size - in fact, smaller ones of a more humanoid size may be much more efficient for certain tasks, essentially the same reason as most androids. Generally speaking, golems cannot speak - the energy required to gift one with the ability to do so tends to be far greater than the usefulness of a speaking golem. They're typically used as laborers and guardians and are known for their brute strength more than intelligence. While the unskilled mage may occasionally lose control of his golem or have it turn against him, for the most part they are obedient and loyal, if largely emotionless, creatures. There have even been tales of golems who continue to stand guard long after their owners have passed away by remaining in an inanimate state to conserve their remaining magical energy, activating only once approached.
HOMUNCULUS: Sometimes known as a 'flesh golem', a homunculus is an organic being engineered through alchemy rather than a construct animated by magic or machinery. There are numerous tales of different methods to create a homunculus, but as none of these methods have ever been confirmed, it seems to be a closely-guarded secret within the alchemical community. All methods spoken of seem to involve the introduction of human semen and/or blood into an alchemical flask alongside various other ingredients. After so many days of gestation within the flask, a small blob will begin to form, which will eventually grow into the shape of a miniature human. If kept within the flask, the homunculus will grow more intelligent and bestow great knowledge on its creator, provided it is kept well-fed (again the stories vary, but seem to emphasize semen or blood). It's said that this type of homunculus can grant the abilty to see into the past or future, as well as the truth to the creation of the fabeled Philosopher's Stone. Other accounts say that the creature must be fed with pieces of the Stone itself, lest it become unruly and turn against its creator. The second type of homunculus seems to be much like the golem. If freed from the flask, the creature will eventually grow to human size and develop incredible powers with which it will fight for its creator. However, like the first variant, if the creature is not kept sufficiently fed it is liable to turn on its creator and become wild.
Homunculi possess incredible regenerative properties that allow them to reform their bodies over and over from the brink of death, making it difficult to destroy one. A homunculus must be obliterated all at once in order to truly kill it - if even a single cell remains it will simply reform in its original shape. As such, they are considered even more powerful and reliable minions than golems, though this is offset by the difficulty in creating and maintaining them. Unlike golems, homunculi have the ability to speak and are considered intelligent (particularly the first type). However, as products of alchemical creation, do not possess living souls. Though they are magically gifted with a 'will' to act on their own, they have no desires or ambitions to drive them - they either act in accordance with the wishes of their creators, or turn on them and go wild, rampaging without purpose. Like many androids, homunculi seem to be capable of learning from experience and expanding their knowledge and abilities as they grow. It is speculated that they may then be capable of developing emotions, but the same arguments exist against them as other automata - as beings without souls, they are not truly considered 'alive' and can thus never obtain the same degree of 'sapiancy' as living beings. The debates over this issue continue to this day.
Notable Homunculi: The Jizzard (unconfirmed), which xL created by taking the DNA samples of various IGNOites and baking together in an oven
BONEMAN: Often mistaken for a sort of lesser undead, these animated skeletons are technically considered automata. They're something of a combination between a zombie and a golem - like the zombie, they're the reanimated bones of a once-living creature, and like the golem, they are given a sort of weak 'will' by their creator to act autonomously. However, they are under the complete control of their masters, but unlike golems and homunculi it is very unlikely that a boneman will 'break free' of this spell to turn on their creator, making them suitable minions for beginners just getting their feet wet with summoning magic. Of course, though easier to control than other magical automata, bonemen are also significantly weaker. As creatures of bone, they are weak against blunt instruments. Since the magic binding them is typically Shadow-based, they are weak against Light magic, and a strong enough Wind attack can easily topple them over, as well. However, a boneman cannot be 'killed' - no matter how many times it's struct down, it will simply reform and rise up again. This makes them arguably more useful than golems in certain situations, as their bones will never break or turn to dust no matter how many times they're struck down. They are also immune to fire - a common misconception among those who assume them to be undead and share the same weaknesses as animated corpses with flesh. Indeed, the only true way to stop a boneman is trap or seal the bones somewhere that they cannot reform or pursue their prey, or incapacitate the master to interrupt the magic. Unlike a golem, which may continue to 'live' long beyond its master, the boneman will cease operation and return to its natural form as an inanimate skeleton if its controller is killed or otherwise indisposed. Though resilient, bonemen are not especially intelligent - while they won't directly disobey their creators, they tend to get the wires crossed more often than other magical constructs and are more prone to making mistakes. Though it may be tempting to forge an entire army of skeletal minions, be aware that your bonemen are just as likely to get confused and attack EACH OTHER as they are the enemy. While they are good for stationing in various areas and instructed to operate independently, many a necromancer has seen their downfall simply by leaving their bonemen unsupervised.
Creating a basic boneman is easy - one simply needs all the bones to form an intact skeleton. Since they have no soul of their own, animating them is even easier than raising a standard zombie. However, a boneman raised in this manner will typically be of little use - untreated bones, especially old ones, are notoriously brittle, and even moving around will be difficult for your boneman, let alone any form of task or combat. A proper necromancer will first treat the bones in an arcane-infused forge or furnace to temper them, making them more resilient against attack (particularly elemental or magical ones). The bones may then be further enhanced by rubbing them in a solution of elemental salt, which will give the boneman the ability to wield said element (without this treatment a boneman will be 'null', with no element to speak of). Bonemen can only handle a single element at a time (though it may be changed by disassembling and re-treating the bones), and cannot be treated with Light or Shadow energy. Once the bones have finished treatment, assemble them into the desired form and cast the spell to grant them undeath and a basic will, and voila - you have your very own loyal boneman, ready to serve!! If a fighter is what you seek, equip it with some basic weapons and armor for additional protection. If you want a more general-purpose servant, it's recommended to fit them with a hat or something to make it more easily identifiable (as most necromancers will keep more than one boneman in their service at a time). Oddly enough, Bonemen seem to enjoy being given names and accessories in this manner as it gives them a vague sense of identity (though it is unknown why this is as they should not be capable of emotion). For the less necromantically-inclined, MagiKorp® sells EZPZ Boneman™ kits which include a portable enchanted oven, 3 packages of elemental salt, and enough bones to make a single Boneman - and for only ?19.95 (plus shipping and handling; bones shown on package may not be actual size). The package also contains instructions for the ritual and spell as well as a pamphlet with suggestions for creature designs, provided one can procure enough bones for it (naturally, they also sell Boneman Booster Packs™ for this purpose). Most necromancers frown upon these types of kits since anything made with them is ultimately of little use and break down much more easily, but others feel that it's a fun and safe way to get beginners interested in the field.
Despite the name, bonemen can be created from the bones of any creature, and may take the shape of more than the common humanoid skeleton. Other popular variants include bonedogs (as popular a pet as it is a guard dog), bonehorses (unlike real horses they never tire, though one is advised to have a VERY comfortable saddle), and bonebirds (excellent scouts). They can even be crafted into the shapes of creatures that don't actually exist, provided enough bones are provided and arranged in such a way that makes physical sense - making the art of bonecraft as popular among creative types as it is for necromancers. Many a housewife in Blood Country dabbles in bonecraft simply as a hobby, though the extra pairs of hands around the house don't hurt either.
BONE WIGHT: An advanced form of boneman, for when a standard boneman is simply too dumb to get the job done right. Bone wights for the most part require the same ingredients and process as regular bonemen - enough bones to complete a functional skeleton, proper treatment of the bones, etc - but rather than casting an animation spell on them, bone wights are equipped with a Spirit Shard (usually embedded in the skull) to give them 'life'. A Spirit Shard is a fragment of translucent stone into which soul energy is sealed - since obtaining soul energy generally requires killing a living creature, bone wights are more commonly seen in the service of morally questionable masters than common bonemen. However, giving them the fragment of a soul allows them greater capacity for intelligence and the ability to operate more efficiently. This also allows them to function at greater distances from their masters or even outlive them, much like golems. Since bone wights will continue to operate until their Spirit Shard is depleted, they commonly employ a sort of energy drain ability to suck the strength from their foes and recharge their Shard - while this doesn't actually take the user's soul energy SPECIFICALLY, it does tend to leave them feeling drained, weakened, and generally exhausted, thereby making them an easy target to finish off. It doesn't appear that bone wights are able to absorb actual souls from their victims, however. Other than these enhanced abilities, bone wights are essentially the same as standard bonemen. Should they be wearing a hood, helm, or other means of obscuring their Spirit Shard, the best way to differenciate a bone wight from a boneman is their behavior, which will be more tactical and cautious.
Races that share a symbiotic relationship with plantlife. Many believe the flora races to be nothing more than 'living plants', but this is an incorrect generalization - most possess internal organs more in line with humanoid races with some plant-like elements, while others simply 'share' their bodies with plants in a sort of mutually beneficial parasite-host relationship (though there ARE some flora races that are more or less sapient plants). Most flora races are sexless or monosexed, typically reproducing more like plants than animals. There is much we still don't know about this category of races, which often inhabit the depths of the wild and dangerous forested areas of IGNOLand - making them difficult to interact with and study.
DRYADS: Tree-like flora with a humanoid shape. Dryads are almost invariably feminine in appearance, looking much like elven women with leafy hair and arms that taper off into branchlike claws. Their legs appear to fuse together into a rooted trunk about the knee, though they are able to separate them at will and move about freely. However, as dryads absorb their nutrients from the soil, they cannot remain uprooted for too long (typically 2-3 days at most) lest they face dehydration and death. Thus a dryad will typically 'plant' herself in her favored spot, typically in a community among others of her kind, and remain there for as long as possible. Ideally a dryad will spend her entire life here, but issues such as pollution and climate change - or just generally disliking her neighbors - may move a dryad to find a new home elsewhere. Dryads tend to be reclusive and rarely associate with those outside their own kind, and may be shy and timid or cold and aloof to outsiders depending on their personality. There are exceptions to every rule, however, and some dryads are friendly and approachable, even venturing to local villages to sell their fruit and take in the local culture. They are horrible when it comes to heavily-urban cities or areas without much natural beauty, though.
Dryads consider themselves protectors of nature and are particularly harsh to those who bring it harm. It's believed by the centaur race that, long ago, a centaur was rampaging about a dryad's grove and causing great harm. In punishment, the furious dryad cursed the centaur race as an 'enemy of trees' - should any centaur ever approach near enough to a tree, it would spring to life and ensnare him, draining the life from his body with its horrible branches. While this legend's credibility is dubious at best, dryads are notoriously vengeful to those who are harmful to nature. They also have formidible magical abilities and control over the Earth element, bringing all nearby plantlife under their sway - it's possible that this dryad simply used her powers on the centaur that wronged her, and the fear it caused spread the belief that all trees would attack their kind forevermore. Regardless of this tale's veracity, it's wise to tread carefully around them and show the utmost respect to the trees and plantlife should you pass by a dryad's grove. Those who are kind and helpful to nature, on the other hand, may earn the dryad's blessing and protection, allowing them to pass freely without fear from the local predators.
Dryads are capable of encasing their body in a thick and nigh-impenetrable shell of enchanted wood, leaving them impervious to most forms of damage. However, being wood, they are EXTREMELY susceptible to fire, making this element a natural choice should one have cause to fight them. Letting this fire spread to other dryads or even ordinary plants is, however, not recommended...lest they wish an army of very angry trees to end up at their door. That is, if you believe the stories, of course. Dryads are most commonly seen in the deeper groves of the Wayward Woods (known as the Wayward Wilds), but regional variations can also be found in the Deadwoods of Blood Country, the southern jungles, or indeed any heavily forested area in IGNOLand. There's even a variety local to Sheep Country in the Outback known as Epimeliads who resemble apple trees and have white appleblossom 'hair'. They watch over the sheep as fiercely as they do the wood.
ENTS: A tree-like race considered to be a cryptid - that is, none are entirely sure whether or not they exist. What we believe we know of ents (from unconfirmed 'eyewitness accounts' and the like) is as follows - please take this information with a grain of salt. Their primary and only known habitat appears to be the Wayward Woods. Unlike dryads, ents appear much more tree-like than humanoid. Just as dryads, ents are able to uproot themselves from the ground and move freely (presumably with the same drawbacks) - however, despite their large and unwieldy appearance, ents are able to move with frightening quickness and unnerving quietness. It is in this stealthy manner that they are able to follow one through the dense wood, moving when unobserved and then quickly freezing in place when looked at - at which time they become indistinguishable from an ordinary tree. Their true forms, however, have long branchlike arms with sharp and spindly 'fingers', thick trunk-like legs, and deep, cavernous mouths. They are able to stretch their limbs impossibly far to capture prey and drag it back to their bodies, skewering them with their many sharp branches. Their mouths can supposedly open wide enough to swallow a full-grown centaur whole, which makes them the favored prey of hungry ents (as they are larger and much more filling than smaller creatures of the Woods, such as fairies, which is why they are unharmed). Like dryads, it is assumed they are invariably of the Earth element and can thus exert some control over the nearby inanimate plantlife as well. As their 'range of attack' is extremely large, this makes them incredibly deadly to those that fall within their consideration as 'prey'. (This account is largely taken from the studies of an anthropologist specializing in centaur culture who believes that the ents exist and form a large basis of their universal fear of trees)
Others who claim to have met with ents, however, paint a very different picture. Though the visual descriptions are largely in line with the above, these ent believers claim that they are wise and gentle protectors of the forest who wouldn't hurt a fly, or even a pixie, let alone a centaur. Such accounts claim ents as among the oldest races in IGNOLand, with many of the still-living ents in the deepest parts of the Wayward Wilds having been alive during the days when the Wayward Woods blanketed most of the continent. They are thus said to have immense knowledge of many things and peoples across IGNOLand, and are more than willing to share it with those who come to their groves - provided they treat the natural environment with the proper veneration and respect.
So what is the truth? Do ents actually exist, preying upon centaurs and leading them to believe that all trees are evil beings? Are they wise and venerable creatures who mean no harm, and centaurs have simply misinterpreted the age-old actions of an angry dryad as a race-wide curse? Or is there yet more to this story that we don't know? As with many things in IGNOLand, this is a fascinating mystery that warrants deeper investigation and study.
ALRAUNE: Similar to dryads, alraune are an almost-always-feminine race of humanoid flora. Rather than the wooden tree-like attributes of the dryad, however, alraune are closer to flowers in nature. They typically appear as a humanoid torso (with skin color generally green or pink in tone) emerging from the bulb of a large flower. It seems they ARE able to exit the flower completely, but as they are dependent on the nectar it produces, they can't remain outside it for very long without it becoming detrimental to their health. The flower remains rooted to the ground and it seems to be very difficult to uproot it and relocate. As a result of this, many alraune tend to become hikkikomori.
The flower is always producing a sweet scent which draws in those who smell it, historically used by the alraune to attract both mates and prey. Since most modern alraune prefer instead to order takeout food, the prey aspect has largely become obsolete. Alraune are able to mate with other species through a form of cross-pollination, though the offspring will always be alraune. The most common habitat for alraune is the southern jungles of IGNOLand. They are by and large Earth users and are weak against Fire, like most flora races. As tropical plants, they're also weak against the cold sting of Ice. In combat situations they are able to use their sweet scent to charm foes or lull them to sleep, then attack while they are easy targets.
MANDRAKE: A common type of flora in the Deadwoods of Blood Country, mandrakes are small (typically 4 to 6 inches) humanoid creatures that live within the soil. They are said to only grow in places with high concentrations of Shadow energy. A mandrake is born rooted in the ground, remaining there until it reaches the age of adulthood. At that time, they emerge from the soil with a horrific shriek that will cause all who hear it to drop dead on the spot - fortunately, thanks to their primary habitat, most within such a range are already dead. Though their legs resemble roots and their 'hair' is wild and leafy, their appearance is rather similar to that of the piskis in the Wayward Woods. There are both male and female mandrakes, each with a slightly different style of leaves. Much like other flora races they obtain their essential nutrients from the soil and return 'home' to the holes from whence they emerged at the end of the day to sleep.
Mandrakes are rather shy, preferring to run and hide from conflict rather than fight. If forced into a combat situation they are able to employ powerful illusion magic that causes their victims to hallucinate, giving them a chance to escape. Of course, they are also able to induce great pain with their screams (unlike their initial uprooting scream it is not inherently fatal, but typically induces temporary paralysis, vomiting and diarrhea). Essentially, a mandrake's primary tactics will always be to disable or incapacitate the opponent, giving them a chance to flee. Rather than harm they prefer to help others, with many mandrakes turning their talents to alchemy and creating potions of various utility (such as regeneration, invisibility, etc). Others work as healers and are highly valued in Blood Country for their usefulness in healing both undead and living peoples with their abilities.
[ONLY ONE ALIEN RACE KNOWN TO IGNOLAND, AND THAT RACE ITSELF KNOWS ONLY ONE MEMBER. So why is it given its own category in the bestiary? Simple. LG is famous and an author in his own right. He's also a philanthropist. Easy enough to believe LG would fund the bestiary publication in exchange for an entry on Gaylians to be included, with info given himself in a personal interview about his culture.]
note: not gonna be in the illustrated bestiary, not really considered a 'race', most living beings don't even know shit about them and I don't want to encourage them to be playable. However, we still have demigod Bones, XEN's nature and origin story, and even casual mentions to other people who worship gods like the centaur patron god Flamehoof, so they should still have a category with a bit of explanation on these matters.
Posted: Mar 27 2017, 11:02 PM
Various things I felt deserved further elaboration, but didn't really fit anywhere particular.
You may have noticed I didn't include werewolves among the Beast or Beastman races. This is because I've decided lycanthropes are not considered a race, but rather lycanthropy is a sort of magical curse/affliction. Due to their already sharpened animal instincts, Beast races are immune to lycanthropy, but humans and beastmen can both contract it (bird-type and reptile-type beastmen excepted). Certain Liminal races, like Satyrs and Centaurs, are likely susceptible as well.
A lycanthrope appears no different than they had pre-curse the majority of the time, only taking on their monstrous form under particular conditions (not sure if we're going with the 'full moon' angle here or something to-be-decided). Unlike shapeshifters (whose transformation is voluntary and controlled), lycanthropes transform against their will and typically lose their sanity while in beast form (unless they've been lycanthropes for a long time and have trained themselves to retain their senses). In this form their instinct is to hunt, and if a human/beastman bitten by a lycanthrope survives the attack and lives to tell the tale, they too will be infected and turn into the same type of lycanthrope that attacked them. Werewolves are by far the most common type of lycanthrope, but other varieties exist in different areas as well, like werecats in the jungle.
The lycanthrope's beast form is likely quadrupedal, but larger and more monstrous than the animal form an ordinary shifter would take, and accompanied by a sinister aura to further distinguish them. Although rare, it's also possible that one will be cursed to turn into a prey species (such as a rabbit) - in this case, the biggest concern is the ability to survive the night while overtaken by animal instincts. Those who lose control while in their beast forms generally behave as though rabid, and even non-predatory species will be likely to scratch or bite any hapless individuals who cross their path - thus spreading the curse to others. Note that a lycanthrope's bite will only spread the curse if they are in their TRANSFORMED state, and not their natural form.
Before a full moon, a lycanthrope will begin to exhibit more crazed and aggressive tendencies up to 24 hours prior to the actual transformation. Such things as irritability, restlessness, insomnia and poor impulse control are common. Transformation will then take place on the night of the full moon and last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours (smaller species, such as prey animals, will generally remain transformed for less time than larger species, like wolves and big cats). The lycanthrope will typically lose consciousness as the transformation expires, regardless of where they are or what they're doing, leading to all manner of unpleasant or awkward situations for the inexperienced.
With enough time and experience, a lycanthrope can learn to assume some control over their form, or at least a routine to ensure they're in a safe environment (to themselves and others) when they turn. Blood Country offers many services to lycanthropes, from classes and mentoring sessions to help people master their beast forms to charms and potions to aid in staving off transformations during inopportune times. These methods are not without side-effects, however, and generally carry as many warnings as the prescription drugs advertised on television IRL. Blood Country offers spiritualist counselors that specialize in dealing with lycanthropic patients and can tell them what methods are right for them. If nothing else proves effective, there are lycanthrope safehouses one can check themselves into for their transformative period to ensure they do not run free and cause harm to themselves or others. Experienced staff are close at hand in these facilities and can perform a variety of duties, from protecting prey species, calming predators, and of course restraining the most stubborn or dangerous cases by any means necessary.
Unlike Lycanthropy, shapeshifting is voluntary. With the exception of a small handful of races (such as kitsune), shapeshifting isn't an inherent ability, but a skill that must be mastered like any other. However, many Beast and Beastman races will pass down basic shapeshifting knowledge to their kin as a cultural tradition, teaching them from a young age to harness their animal gifts. Not all go on to hone these abilities into adulthood, but many train their shapeshifting magic in the same way others might practice their elemental abilities.
It's worth noting, of course, that humans and other races are as capable at learning shapeshifting as any other. However, as shapeshifting involves the physical transformation of the body and is thus quite taxing, it's difficult for one to master a shape significantly different from their natural form. Thus, human shapeshifters will typically shapeshift into other humans, or beastmen, while turning into an animal (especially for a prolonged period) is much more difficult and strenuous (if one must take on an animal guise it's more common to learn illusion/glamour magic to fool others into seeing an animal shape, rather than a physical transformation). Beasts and beastmen, on the other hand, have a naturally connection to their animal instincts and taking on a purely animal shape comes much more naturally to them.
However, much in the same way, beasts and beastmen will find it difficult to shift into a different animal than their own - you won't see a cat-type turning into a bear, and you certainly won't see them turn into a bird. If the shifter is not close (physically, mentally, or spiritually) to the shape they wish to take on, it will be significantly more strenuous for them to even take the shape, let alone hold it for any reasonable period of time. Even naturally-skilled shifters can rarely stay in their transformed states for a period of time longer than 48 hours.
Once the shifter's energy is exhausted, they will typically revert back to their natural form - regardless of where they are or what they're doing. There's also usually a grace period after which the shifter must rest before being able to assume their transformation once more. Thus it is in the shifter's best interest to be aware of their own limits, and ensure they don't stay transformed for longer than absolutely necessary...lest they revert back at an inopportune moment, their energy reserves drained.
Certain races considered 'natural' shapeshifters (such as kitsune and Sheep Shifters) may not be subject to all of these rules, but typically have their own drawbacks and limitations. See the sections for these individual races for more information.
The Underworld (Show/Hide)
too lazy to write this up right now