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i>"And so it was that every
one of them - male, female and beardling - were slain to the
last…the Chakrandrum were no more."
- excerpt from "Chronicles of the Second Ogre War"
- Perinus Lenticus, Drannese scholar.
"…through the gate
an unmerciful flood;
her children slain,
her halls red with blood -
-- excerpt from "Alas Chakranna" by Torgrim GlyphCarver,
Author's Note: This work draws heavily upon the article written by Roger (Alacrity) Briant,
"Audalis: Races") and refers the reader to that article
when similarities between the two groups exist. I wanted to
cover only the differencees between these cousins in this writing,
be they large or small.
Standing on the summit of Mount Khordal and looking to the east, one's gaze will fall upon the distant snow-capped peaks of the Chakran Mountains…and the final resting-place of the Chakrandrum. Cousins to the Khordaldrum, the Chakrandrum were exterminated in the Second Ogre War in 750 BER and now live on only in what few writings have been preserved, as well as in the hearts of their Khordaldrum kin. As with any calamity of this magnitude, there are rumors and stories of a small clan of Chankrandrum that somehow escaped the fate of their kinfolk and survived, still dwelling deep within the heart of the mountain; however, no proof has ever been provided to support these stories and they are now generally regarded as mere myth, except to the Khordaldrum. All Khords, young and old, believe that one day the city of Chakranna will be reclaimed and her former glory restored.
The People: The Chakrandrum, like their Khord cousins, were a hardy, stalwart race. Many of their kind reached beyond three hundred years of age, remaining almost as vibrant and vigorous as they were in their youth. "Chaks", as the other races referred to them, were slightly larger than their kin to the west; the average Chak height was 4'3", but some stood as tall as 4'6". Weighing at least 140 lbs, they were very solidly built and stout of heart. Their size and body mass were ideal for the strenuous labors of mining, as well as making them formidable warriors. Unfortunately, this asset was land-based only, as all Chaks (and Khords as well) would sink like a stone in water. It is this trait that may be responsible for other races, primarily the Cidals, to believe that the dwarves were actually made of rock. It is also for this reason that both Chaks and Khords have an innate fear of water and will not willingly get onboard watercraft of any kind. Another physical trait that differed from their cousins was that their complexion was lighter (it would best be described as a light tan) with rosy cheeks. Where Khords were dark-haired with dark eyes, the Chaks were fair, blonde hair and blue eyes being predominant in males (red hair as well, though not as frequently). Many surviving literary pieces refer to the Chaks as "the fair beards". Female appearances were the same as the males right down to the beards, with green eyes in addition to blue. As with the Khordaldrum, their beards were an immense source of pride; a clean-shaven Chakrandrum was considered a social outcast, disgraced and dishonored.
Culture and Society: Chakrandrum society, for the most part, was very similar to that of the Khords. It was a very tight-knit, family-oriented structure with a strict rules base (see "Khordaldrum: Culture and Society", under "Audalis - Races"). Where it differed was that Chak families or khahams (clans) belonged to one of three different Orders within the society, each of equal importance. These Orders were the Caurak-Kharl (Cavern Masters), the Xoth-Kharl (Lore Masters) and the Makaz-Kharl (Weapon Masters). Each Order contained its own craftsmen and smiths who specialized in the crafting arts of their Order - for example, Makaz-Kharl smiths specialized in the forging of armor and weapons, whereas Caurak-Kharl smiths were proficient at forging mining implements and such. All Chak families appointed a "Clan Lord", which was normally the patriarch, to represent them at the Council of Elders. From these "Clan Lords" each of the three orders elected a "High Lord" who also sat on the Council of Elders, as well as the High Council, which was comprised of the three High Lords and the King.
The Caurak-Kharl truly were cavern masters in every sense, as members of this order were renowned for their extensive mining skills and knowledge. They seemed to possess an innate ability for finding precious metals such as gold and silver, knowing just where to dig in order to find them. Many members of the Caurak-Kharl boasted of actually being able to smell such deposits; given their propensity for finding them in large quantities, such claims were very believable. All clan members within this Order knew exactly which part of what cavern their ancestors had carved, care and maintenance of which was passed down from generation to generation. Tremendous pride was taken in the upkeep of the "family delve" - to have the clan's handiwork fall into disrepair was shameful, as well as dangerous. Such an offense was cause for a Chak to lose his beard, a punishment so severe that it rarely needed to be meted out.
The Xoth-Kharl were the Chakrandrum counterpart to mages; however, they carved their magic rather than speaking it. This method created a safer, yet less potent, magic since the possibility of spell failure did not hurt the crafter, but only the item it was carved on. The Xoth-Kharl art of rune crafting had different magical effects that were triggered by various actions, words, movements, and even thoughts. Items with such enchantments carved in/on them recharged at a certain, slow rate or, in the case of the more powerful items, needed to be "reloaded" by a rune crafter. Weaker effects worked all the time without the necessity of having to be recharged, while others drew their magical energies from the owner himself. This magic was more practical than aggressive and was used for such things as providing light or warmth where needed, or for hiding the location of secret doors and the like.
The Order of the Makaz-Kharl was the most renowned of the orders of Chakranna…and the most feared by its enemies. Formidable warriors trained in the art of war from birth, and were the pride of Chakranna. The Makaz-Kharl were never idle, not even in times of peace; they trained constantly, learning to exploit the weaknesses of their enemies while utilizing their strengths to the fullest. Axes were the preferred weapons of the Makaz-Kharl, though it was not uncommon for some to wield hammers and/or picks. No self-respecting Chak warrior would be caught dead wielding a sword; even daggers were shunned - throwing axes were used in their place when necessary (although most Chaks never really understood why one would throw away one's weapon!). The tremendous amount of training the Makaz-Kharl went through gave them distinct advantages over foes such as orcs, goblins, trolls and the like (see "Game Terms" for bonuses). They preferred wearing chain mail armor; though hard leather armor was common as well…plate armor was scoffed at and was often referred to as kuldjargh'azaldarn (berserker armor) or "the armor of Men". Such was Chak humor!
In Khord society it is considered good if one male child became a craftsman, one a warrior, and one a clergy member; not so with the Chak. Clans belonged to one order by birth, which was determined by the Great Crafter (Gamultinader) at the beginning of time - warriors begat warriors, craftsmen begat craftsmen, and so on. There were no exceptions to this. Clan members took enormous pride in their lineage's history and ancestry, passing down stories, tools, weapons and such from one generation to the next with great fanfare and ceremony.
Trade and Commerce: The Chakrandrum, although more reclusive than the Khordaldrum, had a thriving trade system established. They traded primarily with the Khordaldrum, but did have dealings with Men, trading various metal and stone crafts for provisions such as food, cloth and the like. The Chaks had somehow found a way to inlay silver into marble, a technique that has never been duplicated since. Existing pieces are rare and priceless. The Chakrandrum were a wellspring of earthen materials, providing twenty percent of the iron ore, thirty percent of the silver and fifty percent of the marble on the continent. Economic upheaval ensued for some years following their extermination, as the various races had to find alternative supplies of these valued resources (primarily silver).
Religion: At the core of the Chakrandrum culture was the worship of Kharox, the Great Carver (Gamultinader in their native tongue). He was also referred to in surviving writings as the Great Bearded One (Gamultaragyen) as well as the Dwarven Father (Khazadul-Khagam). The Xoth-Kharl Order was comprised of the same three clerical sects as the Khords devoted to the teachings of Kharox, each with different missions (see "Khordaldrum: Religion", under "Audalis - Races"). The Art of Olorfarluk, the largest of the three sects within the Xoth-Kharl, was responsible for the construction of the Catacombs of the Kings. The Sentinels of Runes Sect created the Temple of Kharox, where the Heart of Kharox, a ruby the size of a man's fist, was unearthed. The Runemaster Sect of the Xoth-Kharl Order was the most specialized of the sects and they were the guardians of Chakranna's deepest secrets, including the location of the Treasury of the Kings.
To the Chakrandrum, death was a solemn, sacred event that was treated with tremendous respect and reverence. Chaks buried their dead in cemeteries located deep underground, far below the dwellings of the living. Every Chak family had a family tomb that was large enough for the parents and two children. Chaks did not enclose golden gifts into the graves as gold was considered an element of the living, having nothing to do with the dead. Chak "grave gifts" were often beautiful stone or jewel coins that represented the good things that the departed did in his lifetime. At a special place in front of the grave, a placard with some of these deeds was carved. In the case of departed kings and heroes, the entire life story of the deceased would be carved upon the walls of the grave. The Order of the Makaz-Kharl buried their honored dead in stone armor with stone weapons and a stone mask upon their face. The spirits of these fallen warriors were believed to protect the clans of the Chakrandrum in times of great peril.
Values and Taboos: The Chaks shared the same values and taboos as the Khords (see "Khordaldrum: Values and Taboos", under "Audalis - Races"). However, nothing was valued more within the Chakrandrum society than family heritage. Great ceremonies were held whenever clan patriarchs passed down family heirlooms (tools, weapons, tomes, etc.) to the eldest son. The ceremony itself was a very solemn and sacred event, which would then be followed by an elaborate celebration that lasted three to five days and was rivaled only by wedding ceremonies. A favorite of every Chak was the Ortadenap ("Giving of Honor"). It was at this ceremony where acts of bravery, heroism, honor, and other such deeds were rewarded with a braid in the beard. Each Chak receiving this honor was presented before the King and the Council of Elders, as well as the entire clan, at which time the patriarch would braid a portion of his beard. And of course, as with any Chakrandrum ceremony, it would be followed by several days of intense revelry.
Author's Note to DM's: Although the Chakrandrum are considered an extinct race, game term statistics have been listed should the DM decide that there is indeed truth to the rumors that a small clan of Chaks survived. Enjoy!
Game Terms (d20):
·+2 Constitution, -2 Charisma:
·Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, Chaks have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
·Chakrandrum base speed is 20 feet.
·Darkvision: Chaks can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and Khords can function just fine with no light at all.
·Stonecunning: Stonecunning grants Chaks a +2 racial bonus on checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn't stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A Chak who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a check as if he were actively searching, and a Chak can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A Chak can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up. Chaks have a sixth sense about stonework, an innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.
·+2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison: Chaks are hardy and resistant to toxins.
·+2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects.
·+1 racial bonus to attack rolls against orcs, crunaik, and goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears): Chaks are trained in the special combat techniques that allow them to fight their common enemies more effectively.
·+4 dodge bonus against giants: This bonus represents special training that Chaks undergo, during which they learn tricks that previous generations developed in their battles with giants. Note that any time a character loses his positive Dexterity bonus to Armor Class, such as when he's caught flat-footed, he loses his dodge bonus, too.
·+2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to rare or exotic items: Chaks are familiar with valuable items of all kinds (especially those made of stone or metal).
·+2 racial bonus on Craft checks that are related to stone or metal: Chaks are especially capable with stonework and metalwork.
·Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass Chak's fighter class does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing. Chakrandrum culture extols the virtues of the warrior, and the vocation comes easily to Chaks.
Game Terms (OSGS):
·+1 Constitution; -1 Charisma
·bonus to Chaks' saving throws against attacks from magical wands, staves, rods, and spells. This bonus is +1 for every 3 - ½ points of Constitution score. Thus, for example, if a Chak has a Constitution score of 7 he gains +2 on saving throws.
Saving Throw Bonus
·Chaks have exceptional resistance to toxic substances. All Chakrandrum characters make saving throws against poison with the same bonuses that they get against magical attacks.
·In melee, Chaks add 1 to their dice rolls to hit orcs, half-orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins. When ogres, trolls, ogre magi, or giants attack Chaks, these monsters must subtract 4 from their attack rolls because of the Chaks' small size and combat ability against these much bigger creatures.
·Chakrandrum infravision enables them to see up to 60 feet in the dark.
·Chaks are miners of great skill. While underground, they can detect the following information when within 10 feet of the particular phenomenon (but they can determine their approximate depth below the surface at any time).
Detect grade or slope in passage 1-5 on 1d6
Detect new tunnel/passage construction 1-5 on 1d6
Detect sliding/shifting walls or rooms 1-4 on 1d6
Detect stonework traps, pits, and deadfalls 1-3 on 1d6
Determine approximate depth underground 1-3 on 1d6
Thanks to Matt (Gloern) Gatto for this contribution!