Parthans

One of the races of the Duneimen, as the humans of Naeja are called.

Synopsis:
Besides the mainstream Parthans, who are known as the masters of the Great Citadels, there are two other groups who share the blood of the ancient Parthans, but whose cultures have diverged drastically. They are the Atalatheans, and the Pyrrhae.

The Parthans are a proud people, stern and yet passionate, and possessed of a drive to succeed.

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Brief History:
(for a detailed history, see the History of Parthus)
In the early days of their culture, the Parthans were a splintered people, ruled by many warlords who claimed power by virtue of their personal prowess and the loyalty of their sworn warriors. These petty chiefs ruled from hill-top fortresses and ruled little more than they could survey in their horizon by naked eye. The gods the Parthans worshipped were aloof and often cruel, like the tempestuous nature itself. The Parthans were thus simple, and ruled by fear of their fellow man and the monsters that roamed in the wilderness.

Then came Salix, the goddess of wisdom, and her divine brood. She and her children gifted the Parthans with the seeds of civilization: knowledge of letters and writing, the ways of numbers and trade, artifices to build great things, and arts to celebrate their achievements by. Thus was ushered in the Age of Philosophy, during which the Great Citadels were raised and Parthan culture reached its apogee.

During that time, though, the great empire of Kal-Kamora was also at its height of power. Far larger, wealthier, and in command of the greatest and most numerous armies of that age, she saw the shining Citadels of Parthus and coveted them. Salix and her children had given the Parthans many gifts, but the arts of war were not among those. Kal-Kamora thus came to rule over Parthus.

It was during that time that Memnos came to be. He was reared in the mortal plane, and he observed the sufferings of the Parthans with a keen eye. Holding no love for the Kamorans, he engineered the rebellion of the Parthan people and demanded from them the fealty they once had given to Salix and her children alone. He brought all the gods of the Parthans under his dominion, and came to be known as the Primus Deii of the Parthan Order. Under his rule, the Parthans became a people of discipline, devoted to the ways of war, and dedicated to achieving supremacy over the whole of Humanity. In that way, the Parthans came to control and conquer their many smaller neighbors. The Great Citadels ruled all of southern Verosia for many centuries, until the coming of the Empire of Rona.

When the Ronans first encountered the Parthans, the two people felt immediate distrust for one another. A short-lived attempt at trade was soon replaced with outright conflict. Rona eventually invaded Parthus and conquered her foe after a great war that lasted decades and has come to dominate both myth and history.

The enmity between these two people was no surprise. The Ronans were devoted to the god Thamor, who was as inimically opposed to Memnos as the latter was to him. During their reign, they attempted to instill their religion on the Parthans, teaching them that Memnik, as they called him, was a tyrannical, murderous deity. Though they did not succeed in this regard, the influx of Ronans into Parthus and the ensuing co-existence ensured that the Parthans became part of the pool of what are known as the Verosian Duneimen.

Appearances and Physiques:
Uniquely Parthan features do prevail to these days, though, and possession of them is a point of pride for one's blood-line in these times of conflict and war. Such Parthans have olive skin complexions, and bronze-tanned skin. Their eyes are almost always dark, as is their hair. Fair hair is considered a sign of "invader blood", but enough Parthans possess blonde or light brown hair for it not be something worthy of insult. Parthans are shorter than other Verosians, but they are possessed of wiry, defined physiques and rarely "go fat". They possess distinctively long, sloping or hawked noses and almond-shaped eyes. The latter of those features has led some to believe that Parthans and Ryoshans share a common ancestry; this could well be true, but no proof has ever arisen.

Parthans are known for their keen eyes and sharp reflexes. They are more agile than most Duneimen, and tend to prefer lighter weapons that complement their physical merits. During war, however, they are as likely to wield swords, spears and shields, and to wear heavy armor as much as any other Duneimen.

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Diaspora:
Parthans possess the dominant culture of southern and western Verosia. As a people, they are most prominent in the lands commanded by their Great Citadels, as well as within Keir and, to a lesser extent, Pyrus. Parthans are also commonly found within Kamora and Gand, though these tend to merchants, mercenaries, or agents of the Citadels. Some few Parthans still live in parts of Moar, Rona and even Sora, but they are very uncommon. They are typically descendants of families who migrated generations ago, when Rona still ruled Verosia. Others come from families of men who fought for Rona's armies when she ruled Parthus, and were granted lands abroad as a reward for their service. These men have little in common with their cousins of the Citadels, though, and few call attention to their lineage. The enmity between Parthan and Ronan is still strong…

Culture:
(for a detailed look within the Parthan civilization, see the Culture of Parthus)
Parthan culture is ancient, and dates back to the epochs when gods walked the mortal lands. They boast that deities such as Salix, Kionanthos, and Artageros blessed them with their gifts for knowledge and art and, and point with pride at their grand, many-columned palaces and temples. Though resented for their warlike ways, the architecture, sculptures, and mosaics of the Parthans have been adopted by the Ronans and their many of their tribute peoples. Their tradition of universal scholastics and philosophical teachings, as well as their interests in history and theatre point to an advanced people. Despite this level of enlightenment, Parthans nonetheless still take enjoyment in blood sports, and their religious beliefs call for the sacrifices of animals. Such are the traits Ronans call attention to when reminding their allies of the warlike, debased nature of Parthan society.

Men and women are seen as equal in most respects within Parthan culture. There are, fundamental limitations placed on each, however. Men are far more likely to feature in war and military pursuits; as such, those recognized as Archons, the "earned nobility" of the Citadels, tend to be men more often than not. Conversely, women, especially virgins, are far more likely to be represented in religious office. There are exceptions to both rules, but they are rare and far inbetween.

Attire and Style:
Parthan fashion is still reminescent of the ancient patterns of Parthus, but also show the influence of designs introduced by Rona. Parthan men tend wear sleeveless tunics, often adorned with tassels or intricate weaves. When these are long enough to reach one's knees, the wearer tends to opt from the breeches made popular since Rona's arrival. Slim boots are common, but more popular in the arid heat are hybrid-sandals that reach to one's knees. Islander Parthans, on the other hand, tend to wear tighter, waist- or hip-length tunics and tight, ankle-length leggings adorned by geometric patterns. They tend to eskew footwear altogether, unless station demands it. The clothing worn by Parthan women is considered scandalous by Ronan sensibilities. Women do not try to hide their bodies, preferring instead garments that reflect their sexuality. Dresses tend to be diaphanous enough to entice and accentuate one's body.

Parthans in the highlands of their realm favor heavy cloaks, or even robes, and favor wool or fleece as opposed to the lighter fabrics of their coastal brethren. All Parthans look to purchase cotton from Ganniards and silk from Ryoshans. Parthan clothing is always colored; clothes with their natural fabric color are the mark of a common slave or a menial laborer. Luridel, a light crimson wild flower that grows abundantly in the fields throughout Parthus tends to be used for the clothing of free commoners. Black and purple are reserved for Primi and Archons, respectively. Such dyes are rare and harde to come by; a sea urchin, the Keshin, is found off the eastern coasts and produces the finest, most vibrant of those colors. It should come as no surprise that wealthy Parthans tend to favor deep, dark blues that approach the hues worn by their masters.

Jewelry and facial paints are particularly important to women. Rings, amulets, necklaces, broaches, bracelets and other sorts of jewelry are commonly worn by women; men tend to either abstain or to wear only items that reflect their station: signet rings, pendants, etc. Gold is a sign of wealth for both men and women, with other previous metals indicating one's relative station depending on the type.

Men prefer to wear their hair very short, though islanders are proud of their long locks; both favor the clean-shaven look. Women prefer long hair, but are expected to wear it up. Depending on the setting, a woman letting her hair down is considered a form of sexual innuendo. Tattoos are not uncommon among Parthan men, especially islanders; some women favor them as well. This artform is a Kamoran influence and thus far more prevalent in Aerlus.

Bathing is considered a daily ritual by Parthans, who are not shy about showing the disdain they feel toward foreign hygiene. Bath-houses are a part of Parthan culture, as are saunas. The former tend to be a haven for young men and women enjoying secret trysts; the latter tend to be the site of choice for philosophical discourse.

Religion and supernatural beliefs:
The Age of Darkness reduced the power of the Ronan Church, but it saw the rebirth of the Parthan Order. This old religious traditions of Parthus had been banished from public light during the occupation, but their seemless return since the Great Citadels regained their independence indicates that they were never truly banished. Through the Order, the Primi of the Citadels rule with an iron fist, and with the blessing of their deities. This is Memnos’ will. Thus, the Order serves as a link between the gods and mankind.

Magic is greatly feared in Parthan cultures. Wizards and sorcerers carry reputations of betrayal and murder in Parthus (perhaps because of the incident wherein the Parthan "dukes" were assassinated by the cabal of Ronan wizards from Camus). They are believed to be tricksters who use their powers to steal, corrupt, and even abduct or murder decent people. Similarly, arcane spellcasters are associated with the ancient enemies of Man that purportedly created the monsters that plague both land and sea.

Parthans at War:
(for a more detailed look in the martial traditions of Parthus, see Armies of the Parthans)

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When it comes to war, Parthans are the most experienced of the Verosian people—even more so than the Ronans. War is embedded in their society, and obligatory military service among all males was a tradition dating back to the arrival of Memnos. On the other hand, Parthans have long allowed their belief in their innate superiority to stifle their efforts in important ways. Parthans hold their traditions, stratagems and tactics to be better than all others, and rarely accept those lessons their enemies give them on a battlefield. One prominent example of this is the use of Ronan and Moarik cavalry to gain over them decisive victories in each of their great wars. Despite the short-comings exposed by their enemies, the Parthans refused to adapt, seeing a change toward a foreign model as being an intolerable compromise. Thus, despite fielding a huge, well-organized army and employing amazing tactical acumen, the Parthans have always ultimately been defeated by the Ronans.

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The wars against Rona were brutal, and tested both sides to the limit. The last war, in particular, was a crushing blow to the Parthan population. Compounding matters, prior to the Great War the Parthans had been sorely drained by a century-long war against the Ryoshans and long-lasting conflicts against the Skarrels. Following the final conflict against Rona, manpower has been at an all-time low. Parthan warriors are still among the deadliest in Verosia, but can no longer afford to engage in large-scale, protracted campaigns. Rather, their leaders employ them as either in lightning-campaigns against limited objectives, or as elite forces at the crucial point of a battle. To supplement their hosts, the Primi have been forced to employ mighty magics to bend the wills of their slaves to their service, or to promises of social advancement to recruit willing members of the lower classes to their service.

The scholastic programs that each boy participates in also provide weapons training, athletics, and hand-to-hand combat. Upon reaching the age of fifteen, a young man is obligated to train with the hosts of his Citadel for no less than five years. Henceforth, he will be subject to serve as needed until he reaches the age of sixty.

Parthan armor and uniforms are often adorned with legends of their people and ancient monsters.

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Parthans favor long, narrow, oar-driven war-galleys for warships. They possess the knowledge to create sailing ships, but have not sough to convert such vessels to military purposes. Their tactics and capabilities thus differ from the Ronans, who focus more on sail-driven galleons. They can hold their own against their ancient enemies, partly thanks to knowledge acquired from the Ryoshans, but they cannot hold a candle to the vessels the Bamorians bring to bear. Islander Parthans tend to possess much more seafaring acumen, however, and have contributed such inventions as the forward keel, which allows vessels to turn far quicker than ones without.

Untercultural Relations:
Where relations are concerned, there is constant tension and outright racial enmity between Ronans and Parthans. This also extends, though to a slightly lesser exent, to the Moarik and Soran allies of the hated foe. Kamorans and Ganiards are considered allies, but not equals. Parthan hostilities with Ryoshans ended a long-time ago, and the two learned to respect one another in their battles. Trade defines the relationship between their nations now. Mikanians, Veldessans, Azurians, Skarrels, and Valdar rarely encounter Parthans, and thus they share no real relations.

Overall, Parthans are an ancient and powerful people, with a strong sense of their culture and an even stronger sense of pride. They are quick to anger and have often waged war for reasons more personal than political or economical. Militarism defines the Parthans, and in those times when they have not been at war with foreigners, their desire to fight is directed between Citadels. Despite this, the Parthans consider themselves to be one united people and will always band together against an outside threat. Parthans have had a long, dark past filled with war and violence; whether their future is as dark is only known by Isati, goddess of Fate.

Human Racial Traits

All humans have the following standard abilities:

· Medium Size: As Medium-size creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
· Human base speed is 30 feet.
· 1 extra feat at 1st level, because humans are quick to master specialized tasks and varied in their talents.
· Attribute Bonus: Humans are quick to adapt to their environment. Due to this each sub-race of humans has a list of special, “human only” attribute modifiers from which they may choose one. These traits may only be taken at character creation and only those that are listed for that sub-race may be chosen. The characters may also optionally use their bonus human feat to buy another one of the attribute modifiers for their sub-race (though not two of the same modifier).
· 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level, since humans are versatile and capable. (The 4 skill points at first level are added on as a bonus, not multiplied in; see PHB Chapter 4: Skills).
· Racial Feats: Each race of humans has a list of feats specific to their race that they and they alone have access to. Some are restricted to be being bought using the free human feat upon character creation, while others may be bought with later feats.
· Racial Skills: Each sub-race of humans has a list of skills specific to their race that they may take as “class-skills” despite whatever class the character takes. If a character did not develop in his own culture he may still take these skills as if they are “class-skills” when he is exposed to them, as it is part of his natural tendencies.
· Automatic Languages: See PHB P. 12.

Each individual sub-race of humans also has its own special abilities
Verosians:
· Verosian Attribute Modifiers: The following attribute modifiers are specific to Verosians and one may be taken for free at character creation. The free feat gained for being human may also be used to buy another modifier (though not the same one), but only with this free feat:
Parthans: Agile (+1 Dexterity)
Strong-Willed (+1 Wisdom)

· Racial Feats: The following is a list of feats from which characters of this sub-race may purchase with feat. Those that are marked with a * can only be bought with the free human feat at character creation:
Parthans: *Keen Eyed (+1 to hit with all ranged attacks)
· Racial Skills: All Verosians have access to the following racial skills: Knowledge (Religions and Histories), Profession
· Automatic Languages: Verosian. Bonus Languages based on culture:
Parthans: Old Parthan, The God’s Tongue, Duervan, Kamoran, Mikanian, Orcish & Darktongue.
· Favored Class: A Verosian’s favored class can be any with the only limitations being set by their culture:
Parthans: Any except Wizard, Barbarian or Druid. Parthans despise wizardry, considering it a blasphemy and an attempt to usurp the power of the deities. They also do not have a strong belief in the balance of nature, and have never followed druidism. Last of all, their long history of war has led them to a more refined way of battle, thus barbarians have no place in their society.
When determining if a multi-class human suffers an XP penalty, his highest-level class (that is not one of the above) does not count (see PHB P.56).

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