Human, Zendiqi

The zendiqi are pureblooded descendants of aboriginal Porphyrans, who were the human norm on Porphyra at the time of The Calling. They venerated elemental lords and opposed the coming of the gods, fighting against them and their devotees in the NewGod Wars. Utterly defeated, the zendiqi retreated to their ancestral home in the harsh deserts, rejecting the outside world and dreaming of vengeance against the muhartik, or godworshipping interlopers. They are fully human, treated in every way as normal humans, and can interbreed as humans do. Their mystical world revolves around The Four, as they refer to the banished elemental lords, and they see an overlap and an intertwining of mystical and practical life.

Physical Description: Zendiqi are tall and lean, though not outside the human norm. Skin color is grayish-brown, though there are variations within various tribes. Hair is dark brown to black, though male baldness is common, and clean–shavedness is a religious tenet. Eye color is dependent on the bayit chosen, changing from original black to blue (air), green (water), brown (earth), red (fire), silver (metal), or yellow (wood) with the ‘white’ of the eye having tones of the colored iris. Clothing is desert-norm, typically dark colors, with elemental colors as highlights.

Society: The philosophy of Kafir dominates zendiqi culture, seeing man as part of the Four, part of nature, being tested and purified. Strength is respected, weakness denigrated, and challenges frequent, both by the land and by fellow beings. Zendiqi live by grazing camels and goats, and collecting the fruits of the desert; cactus, dates, and tree nuts from hidden valley oases. A few towns exist in the wastes, near oases or in sheltered valleys, deigned a necessary evil by nomadic tribesmen, and these rugged communities are paragons of innovation and recycling, resource-poor as the zendiqi are. Raiding past the deserts’ borders is rare, usually the result of an influential mahdi who are considered incorruptible enough to bypass porphyrite border requirements. These events are greatly feared by those in neighboring lands. Females in zendiqi society are burdened with domestic tasks, but even the patriarchal zendiqi recognize useful skills possessed by women, especially magical ones; many mahlana and most witches are female, though these are usually celibate devotees to their magic. Bride prices are practiced among the zendiqi, which can stimulate border raids.

Relations: Zendiqi have a reputation of hostility against non-zendiqi. This reputation is well-earned. Virtually all non-zendiqi are seen as infidels, outsiders and heretics, and fight only for death or contempt. Zendiqi even squabble among themselves, over oases, grazing lands, or perceived violations of protocol or philosophy. Successful contact with zendiqi requires certain rituals, offerings and protocols, first when entering the lands, before meeting any zendiqi, and again when making contact. Knowing these rituals and protocols requires a Knowledge (nobility) or Knowledge (local) check of 15 or more. Some small amount of trade, dominated surprisingly by halflings, has been established with a few zendiqi communities.

Religion: Worship of the gods among the zendiqi is the first and strongest taboo. Zendiqi venerate the elemental lords, defeated and banished by the gods of The Calling in the NewGod wars; their silence has not abated the zendiqi’s devotion, or hatred of the interloper deities. The philosophy of Kafir has many strict rules and strictures, which both regulate thought and ensure survival in their harsh environment, burned by sun, lacking water, sandy earth, and cloudless air. The Four sustain and test the zendiqi, and they will not be moved from their beliefs. The zendiqi do not differentiate between good and evil deities, destroying either with gusto; neutrality is part of Kafir, as the elements themselves do not demonstrate good or evil.

Adventurers: There are many motivations for zendiqi to adventure abroad, leaving the harsh lands of the deserts being one of the main ones. Zendiqi are rather resource-poor, and returning from an extended period of adventuring with magical and practical goods and treasures would ensure high status among the tribesmen. Escaping the narrow confines of Kafir is also desirable to some young zendiqi, and elders grudgingly accept the wanderlust that grips some of the young ones. Those that travel abroad learn to choose their religious battles, and even to appreciate good religions while recognizing the malicious evil ones.

Names: Clan names are important for identification of tribe and affiliation among the zendiqi, and full names are always reported; to do otherwise assumes that one is an outlaw.

  • Male: Yarun, Reza, Ibin, Hamad, Ziril
  • Female: Miryim, Zara, Havah, Siri, Jinna
  • Clan Names: (al-) Akir, Rashyd, Jinar, Mulah, Sorakh

Zendiqi Racial Characteristics
Zendiqi are defined by their class levels—they do not possess racial Hit Dice. All zendiqi have the following racial characteristics.

  • +2 bonus to any one ability score: Zendiqi are human and gain +2 to any single ability score.
  • Human Blood: Zendiqi are humanoids of the human subtype.
  • Normal Speed: Zendiqi have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Desert Runner: The arid ancestral home of the zendiqi has caused them to adapt over the millennia, and they receive a +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue, exhaustion, or other ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, or hot or cold environments.
  • Death to the Divine Architects: Elves and orcs are seen by the zendiqi as architects of The Calling; they gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against creatures with the elf or orc subtype.
  • Infidel Destroyers: Zendiqi bear special enmity for the clerics of the gods of the Calling, who cast down their elemental overlords in the NewGod war. Against those proven to be deist spellcasters, by bearing appropriate icons of faith, casting spells or being ‘smelled’, zendiqi gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC, and gain a +2 racial bonus on combat maneuvers to grapple deist enemies.
  • Smell the Muhartik: Once per day as a standard action, a zendiqi can smell the air to detect the presence of deist spellcasters within 60 ft.
  • Strength of the Kafir: The philosophy of Kafir requires a refusal to accept the existence of the New Gods. Zendiqi gain a +2 racial bonus to saving throws vs. deist spells, and apply -2 per character level on both healing, and damage caused by channeling positive or negative energy; this includes cure spells, though a zendiqi would be unlikely to allow one to be cast upon them.
  • The Old Way: Zendiqi still cling to the veneration of the elemental lords, silent though they may be. When they come of age, zendiqi choose a bayit, or home element, and gain resistance 5 to that particular energy type: acid (earth-ard), cold (water- targ), electricity (air- gana), fire (fire- nar), light (wood- arg), or sonic (metal-tara).
  • Xenophobic: Zendiqi are xenophobic and begin play speaking only Old Porphyran and Common. Zendiqi with high intelligence can choose languages from the following list: Common, Gnoll, Sphinx, and one of the elemental tongues; Aquan, Auran, Ignan or Terran. They may also choose sign language as a starting language, as well as through the Linguistics skill.
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