Proud and strong, the Gharkin people are a race of nomads wandering the wilderness. They can live anywhere from 300-325 years, but their constant warring and raiding often lowers that average to about 100. Males stand at around seven feet tall, while their larger female counterparts can reach nearly eight. Because of their great size, they can weigh anywhere from 270 - 350 lbs.; males, though smaller, outweigh the females on average. The Gharkin's skin color is unique among all known humanoid races, varying from any shade of brown or green, to gray or even tan. Their thick hides make them impervious to many natural obstacles like thorns, brambles, and razor grass, making large areas of these plants ideal for ambushes and tactical retreats. Great tusks protrude up from their lower lips and are often sharpened for battle or carved and adorned as a sign of social status. This differs from one tribe to another and with personal taste. Not only are these tusks used for intimidation and social artifice, they are used with great efficiency to pierce and gore opponents at close range. There are few honors greater in battle than defeating an armed opponent with your bare hands and tusks. Instead of hair — like their humanoid counterparts — they have spines that hang down their backs much the same way hair would. These spines vary in color from an off white to a deep yellow, and if cut, grow back at a slow rate. It is said a person can tell a Gharkin's mood by the rigidity of their spines, "Spines hang down, the ground stays brown. Spines out from head, the ground stains red." Their large four fingered hands — three fingers and an opposable thumb — are perfect for swinging the large mattocks and Zweihammers they favor on the battlefield, but make it difficult for them to perform dexterous tasks involving small objects. Like their hands, the Gharkin only have four toes on each foot, lending more to their exotic appearance. Though they may not be nearly as quick as the Haefdin, or as precise as the Sylvani in their swing, their mighty blows are known to crack full plate and reduce shields to heaps of scrap. What the quicker races have in agility and quickness, the Gharkin more than make up for in strength and endurance.
Gharkin are survivors, almost always managing to eke out a living in whatever land they find themselves in. These tribes roam about hunting, scavenging, and gathering to survive. Only rarely will you hear of a tribe settling into a small village and staking a claim to a particular piece of land, most notably the Temboc. Depending on how scarce food and game are, some Gharkin have turned to vegetarianism or to the eating of roots and berries to survive. When food and materials show signs of disappearing, most tribes turns to raiding and warring to get what they need.
Gharkin society is almost entirely Matriarchal: females raise the children, govern the affairs of the household, and own all property; the males are expected to hunt, make war, defend the tribe proper against attack, and perform the majority of the heavy physical labor. Though, since the final defeat of the horde over 600 years ago, many females have left their traditional role as care taker and property owner to join in the hunt or strike out on their own. Because of the high mortality rate among males — due to constant raids and warfare — Gharkin women can take anywhere from one to four husbands; the longest surviving husband having dominance over the others. In household affairs, the women have final say and hold the right to deny any male or husband entrance to their abode. The household is a sacred place of privacy and filial devotion. To attack a Gharkin's family while in their home is an unforgivable offense that will result in subsequent hunting down and slaughter of the offender, the offender's family, and their family's friends. Only the Druim'dwer hold grudges longer than the Gharkin.
Gharkin speak Gharish. It is their native tongue and they prefer it, especially when angry. Those who are well traveled pick up common quickly and use it to their advantage, others are known to pick up the languages of the nearby peoples to better "know their enemies."
Gharkins tend to follow religions based on their personal views and follow the pantheons commonly followed. Some tribes enforce belief in certain gods, some venerate many, and others are very pell-mell in their followings. Those tribes who value spiritual matters often call upon their spirit man (shaman) to consult the bones, search the stars, or read the clouds for aid in times of need.
Stereotypical Gharkin Views of the Other Races
"The crafty Daun are a mystery. Their settlements spring up like weeds all around us as do the bounties they place on our heads. They have been both our enemy and our ally, and we are wary of their tendency to take advantage of whatever situation they find themselves in. I wonder if they could survive as well as they do without their magik. Trust a Daun only as far as you can throw them or you'll find yourself naked, alone, and face down in the dirt."
Gharkin and Humans trade often, but relations are known to fail and turn violent as often as they continue to succeed. Gharkins have a hearty distrust of their smaller cousins, but know they are staunch allies in a pinch.
"The Druim'dwer trade with us and treat my kind fairly, unlike most others. Our most combat worthy allies have bathed in battle with us time and time again and we hold a great respect for their ferocity, resolve, and loyalty. They may be half our size, but they can cut through their enemies almost as quickly as we can."
Gharkins trade heavily with Druim'dwer settlements, sometimes adopting an exceptionally worthy Druim'dwer as an honorary member of the tribe. Their cultural similarities only increase the closeness of this bond. Besides, they like each other's strong drink.
"The frail Elves are too busy dancing and singing to know of the greater things in life: battle and the tribe. If they could take their eyes off their own reflections for just a moment, they might actually do something of merit. Without their magik, they'd be nothing."
Both cultures do not trade often with one another. Many Elves view the Gharkin as barbarians, and many Gharkin view the Elves as stuck up wimps. Though, one on one, those of both species who have left their homelands are known to forge very strong friendships with one another.
"I hold no love for these big nosed Haefdin-sized tricksters, they are touched in the head. But, the Shamans and elders often ask Gnomish elders for advice; especially in spiritual matters. I do not understand this, but I am no spirit man."
Most Gharkins are unsure of how to react to Gnomes. Most are left alone as long as they do not cause trouble or mischief.
"Bah! The fat Haefdin are a mystery to my kind. Not only do they dance and sing all day like the frail Elves, but they eat like a person twice their size. They cannot be trusted and are more likely to steal your purse than say hello. The Gods must have been crazy the day they cut a Daun in half and made the Haefdin."
Gharkins rarely respect anything greatly shorter than they are. Though, they refuse to admit why they never attack a Haefdin homeland, choosing to skirt it at a great distance. Many Gharkins view it as bad luck to estrange a large group of short people.
"Wanderers like us, I give the perecelsus no more heed than a nod of respect when they pass. Without a home or a people to call their own, they rarely cause trouble. They are survivors though, and are crafty devils in combat. Things are never as they seem with their kind and have the luck of the nameless one himself."
The Gharkin respect the Perecelsus more out of distrust than fear. The fact that they live with every other race and have the ability to fit into any society only heightens this distrust. Though, they always give the Perecelsus a good shake before judging.
"These cat people are animals. And the Elves dare to call us barbarians?! They live alone in small packs, refusing to do anything but make our life hard. If I had my way, every one of them would be a rug I wiped my feet on."
No one understands why they are looked upon with such contempt by the Gharkin. Few are more confused at this than the Re'har.
"The wolf people share the plains with us and live as we do. Once when I was young, I watched a nearby pack fight my own tribe to a stalemate. Four years later, they joined my tribe in a spirit dance as equals. They are tied to the wilderness, like us. When the pack howls and charges, it is a powerful sight indeed."
The Vulfen and Gharkin share many of the same areas as each other. This close proximity has led to many wars, and a deep respect and understanding. Both peoples prefer peace with one another — often backing each other in times of great need — but, their respective pride sometimes gets in the way.
The Empire (Capital City of Kaezar)
Gharkin within the empire are loyal subjects, often serving in the military or as law enforcement officers. They easily transfer their loyalty from the tribe to a government, though they will tend to be more lenient on other Gharkin.
Racial Martial Arts
Gharkin have their own style of unarmed combat.
|Gharkin Brawling||Martial Art||
This martial arts stance is available to gharkin. The moves may be displayed with the