Authored by Emilia Lithgow
Professor Emeritus of the Bardic College, Colstean
Any discussion of the ancient mythological creatures rumored to exist in the B.E. period of history must of course have certain limitations or definitions set upon the extemporary work. First it must be clearly understood that this is an academic article. The intent is not to sway the reader in any specific direction or to make argument for a specific type of revisionist history but to provide cool analysis, comparison, and categorization of the various myths in an attempt to uncover some underlying common truth. The implicit bias of the author, being a former Dean of the Bardic College in Colstean and a loyal servant of the Alteran Crown, will be kept to a minimum but the reader should be aware that such bias does exist. It is in this spirit of open academic discussion that the author hopes to inspire readers to do their own research and create a better global conversation.
When approaching each mythological classification I am attempting to create large categories that will embrace many different interpretations of a myth. For ease, I am using the common Alteran names of these groups as those category however, it should be noted that some of these examples to not comfortably fit within the Alteran narrative and are, in fact, at odds with each other. How to reconcile the differences of these varying descriptions is a constant challenge and as the author, I wholly recognize that certain subspecies may be classified entirely incorrectly. As an additional complication, all mythological races seem to have at least some limited ability to change their shape or appearance. This most often involves taking the form of a human for romance, a single night’s dalliance, or for ease of communication. While rare, there are stories of one race taking on the unique aspects of another for some purpose. This was apparently seen as an affront and caused much conflict within mythological society.
I suppose that no review of the multitudes of mythological creatures can begin without some attempt to analyze humanity as a whole. After all, it is through the oral and written traditions of the various human nations that these mythologies are given life. Some may treat them as historical facts but the lack of widespread evidence would leave one to think that their presence was not nearly as powerful or important in human history as some would lead you to believe. It is far more likely that these myths can and should be taken as allegory showing in dramatic relief the very best and the very worst of what we as humans already have within us.
Humans are, by current understanding, the only sentient race on Altera. While different societies approach the terms of “family” and “community” differently, there is no doubt that these general concepts drive all cultures. Humans lack any trace of “classical” heroes such as rumored giants, persons of unbreachable skin, animalistic claws, or other such features, even though such persons figure into the ancient lore on a regular basis. Gone from humanity as well, are the traces of what was once called magic. I would argue that this is to humanity’s benefit as the history of those who were wielders of such powers in the ancient mythos were capricious and dangerous with their powers as often as not. Indeed, the the strength of humanity has the power to accomplish great things without the need to rely on superstition, arcane practices, or prayers to potentially non-existent gods. It is however, also the basic need of humanity to look for deeper meaning in life and to seek more power. This is the drive that consistently drags humans back into the chains of mythos even though we have resoundingly thrown off such magical shackles once before.
This, then, provides a foundation of humanity’s conflicting nature and acts as a focusing lense while we explore the strange and arcane mythos of Altera, Before Exile.
Racials reflect unique tricks and habits of the different mythological races which at one time inhabited Altera. All players start as “Human” and remain human as long as racial abilities are not embraced.
The Benefit of being Human:
Human characters may access all Attributes at base cost and have no restricted Attributes.
Gaining Racial Abilities:
Starting at 50 xp players may gain access to a racial ability of their xp level or lower. Players must always have the previous abilities in that specific racial skill set. For instance in order to unlock the third tier Dragon Abilities they must have 150 xp, the first tier, and second tier already. At 150 xp however that same player may choose to unlock the first tier of Demon abilities giving them Tier 1 and 2 in Dragon and Tier 1 in Demon.
At each xp level there are two racial power choices. Both powers may be chosen but must be purchased at separate xp levels. Only one power is required to progress further.
When selecting a racial power the player must also select a character modification which will be a costume, makeup, or role-playing change. Character modifications do occasionally have prerequisites however normally are all considered to be equal and not tied to any specific level.
Racial powers are always 8 XP after the appropriate XP level has been reached. Normally they must be purchased between games however opportunities to gain powers may occasionally happen in play.
When selecting racial powers there is always one attribute that becomes Restricted and cannot be purchased. Additionally one attribute becomes Difficult so that it will have xp penalties on them. If a Human character embraces a power which would restrict an attribute they already have then the abilities from the attribute are lost and that XP is refunded. If a Human character embraces a power which has an XP penalty then the additional costs must be purchased at the time of gaining the racial power.
Restricted Attribute: Brutality
Difficult Attribute: Resilience
Tier 1 50 xp Resist Disease or Resist Poison
Tier 2 100 xp Building Conceal or Nature Conceal
Tier 3 150 xp Natural Mend or Side Step
Tier 4 200 xp Calm Animal or Haste
Tier 5 250 xp Break or Concealed Walk
Tier 6 300 xp Legerdemain or Dominate
Restricted Attribute: Dexterity
Difficult Attribute: Ingenuity
Tier 1 50 xp Hide or Shell 3
Tier 2 100 xp Breath or Claws
Tier 3 150 xp Rage or Terror
Tier 4 200 xp Might or Quake
Tier 5 250 xp Roar or Ancestral Memory
Tier 6 300 xp Vengeance or Harden Shell
Restricted Attribute: Resilience
Difficult Attributes: Brutality
Tier 1 50 xp Detect Concealed or Sense Magic
Tier 2 100 xp Sense Truth or Blind
Tier 3 150 xp Wild Snare or Wild Touched
Tier 4 200 xp Astral Step or Astral Charm
Tier 5 250 xp Trusting Voice or Conceal Soul
Tier 6 300 xp Invisibility or Mimic Spell
Restricted Attribute: Ingenuity
Difficult Attributes: Resilience
Tier 1 50 xp Illumination or Healing Touch
Tier 2 100 xp Shining Light or Resist Contagion
Tier 3 150 xp Revealing Light or Sustained by Light
Tier 4 200 xp Freed Mind or Freed Body
Tier 5 250 xp Divine Retribution or Wings of Hope
Tier 6 300 xp Righteous Fury or Unfettered
Restricted Attribute: Empathy
Difficult Attributes: Dexterity
50 xp Stone Snare or Weighted Limbs
100 xp Infection or Reinforce
150 xp Primal Endurance or Retaliation
200 xp Hold Portal or Hale Body
250 xp Captured Prey or Atrophy
300 xp Edict of the Tomb or Edict of Blight