Thursday, April 18, 2013

[Design Journal: Heroes of Legend RPG] Tribes: Hylan Terith

This is my tenth Design Journal entry for Heroes of Legend, and I’ve shared quite a few ideas about the game so far. Over the next few DJ entries I’ll be sharing some specifics of the setting’s tribes, my stand in concept for what are called “species” or “races” in other settings. What makes tribes different in HoL may be some genetics, but the most important differences are often cultural. Today I’ll be talking about the hylan terith tribe.

What are Terith?

Basically, they’re humans – but not quite. I’ve talked before about the fact that, although HoL will be presented as fantasy, there is actually a lot of sci-fi rationale behind the setting. The way I picture things, the “deities” that transformed the world on which HoL is based and breathed life into it are actually very advanced humans. After terraforming the planet, they engineered various life forms to inhabit it. It makes since that most of their sentient species would be at least vaguely humanoid. The terith are the species they created that most closely resembled themselves. Also, the terith had the most diverse genome, resulting in them becoming the most widespread and varied people. If a terith were to somehow land on the modern day Earth, you likely couldn’t tell them apart from an ordinary human, except in a few rare cases.

Why So Many Terith Tribes?

First of all, it bugs me just a little bit when a setting has a lot of different species that are essentially the same creatures with only minor cosmetic or cultural differences. Those aren’t entirely different species, they are merely regional groups of the same creatures, much like humans in one part of the Earth may look and behave a little differently from humans in another part of the Earth. So, I decided that for this setting, unless a particular people is decidedly very different from humans biologically – to the point that they could not reproduce together – they will all be considered the same species. In my setting that’s terith.

The Hylan Terith

The hylans are just one terith tribe. If it isn’t obvious enough by the name, they are inspired by the hylians of the Zelda setting. The hylans are a prosperous and settled people, having built the most well established kingdom in the lands.

Hylans tend to have lighter skin tones, though many are ruddy. Their hair tends toward lighter colors as well, ranging from pink to blond to sandy brown. Their eye color usually rests somewhere in the blue-green spectrum. Most hylans are tall and athletic.

The hylan people support themselves primarily on agriculture. They also possess the finest horses in all the land. Hylan horses are both majestic and powerful, and a fully armored hylan knight atop his noble steed is an impressive sight to behold.

Hylan knights are considered some of the most well trained soldiers in the world. The hylans value peace and throughout history they have had an active role in brokering peace with and among their neighboring tribes. The hylans are not conquerors – their knights serve only as defenders and peacekeepers, and are as quick to act in behalf of the innocent among another tribe as among their own people.

The hylan people are very pious. They honor the Four Shining Deities perhaps more than any other people. There is a massive and ornate temple built to their honor in the hylan capital. Hylan templars are knights who swear oaths of fealty to the Shining Four above even their own king, and each knight – templar or not – strives to become a paragon of one of the Four Shining Virtues.

Hylans are a very literate people. Their capital contains a great library and many academies where learned sages study and pass on their knowledge to the next generation. Hylan sages study the secrets of genesis – the power of the Deities to manipulate the elements. Even in the more remote hylan villages there is always a local school house.

Hylan history is long and detailed, recorded in many books and ancient scrolls. The ruling dynasty has been unbroken for fourteen generations. The hylan people like to honor their heroes and their past monarchs. Several times a year, the streets of the capital are filled with the joyous sounds and colorful sights of celebratory festivals

That’s it for now. I mentioned a number of different tribes in my last entry. If there is one in particular you would like to read more about, leave a comment below and I’ll make it the topic of the next Design Journal.

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