sails and wings

Human Hearts

Human hearts were never meant to tread
upon the tired dust of old familiar streets
they were made to fearlessly sail instead
upon rolling waves of turquoise sheets 

Not designed or created to be tied down
following their herd forever afraid to try 
instinctively yearning for something more
on wings human hearts were born to fly 

Oft disdainful of this world’s tried and true 
human hearts desire the great unknown 
could they be expected to settle for less
each having been conceived in love alone

With Love

For reasons she never understood
she could no longer feel, laugh or cry
her life felt random and meaningless
leaving her with only questions of why
until one day her inspiration arrived
despite all obstacles she had to try

Then while feeling a little hesitation
she started with the smallest of things
one day gazing longingly at the sky 
her heart sailed high on untried wings 
now though imperfect and rarely easy
she faces with love all that life brings 

The rose bushes float me away.
I am watering my mother’s plants.
The dry air is unstiffened by a faint breeze
And all the birds sing their morning hymns.

The pine trees tug at my thoughts.
I am riding my bike across a campground
While my father buys more wood for the fire.
My mother calls me back for the picnic lunch.

A seagull flaps its wings, sailing and swooping.
I am on a towel on a beach munching on a sandwich.
A seagull snatches my sandwich out of my hands.
I stare in surprise, then I laugh.

A black bird with white wings soars toward the sky.
I find myself on a blue park bench
In the Parc de l'Arboretum, wondering
How many other living things I’ve never seen.

—  Parc de l'Arboretum

Drink, for the wind blows cold and
Drink for The Wolf runs free.
Drink to the ships with the sails like wings and
Drink to the storm-tossed seas.

Drink to the lasting nights
and those who warm our beds.
Drink to the mead that warms our hearts
and the cold that clears our head.

Drink to the Allfather’s Eye
for Odin’s sons are we.
Drink to the World-Tree where he hung
and the Runes of Mystery.

Drink to the truth of steel
and blood that falls like rain.
Drink to Valhalla’s golden walls
and to our kinsmen, slain.

Drink to the Glory-field
where a man embraces death, and
thank the gods that we live at all
with our joyous dying breath!

Drink for the wind blows cold and
Drink for the Wolf runs free
Drink to the ships with the sails like wings
for Odin’s sons are we!

-Lifeblood, a Norse drinking song

flickr

May The Wind by Larri Cochran
Via Flickr:
“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.”J.R.R Tolkien The Hobbit #Orlando

Alien Archive Races, Pt. 4

I take back what I said about Space Goblins being the Mascot Character.

This is it, folks! The final installment of the Alien Archive series. In this last quarter of the book, we’ll find some of the most exotic alien races around, both new and old. Let’s get to it!

Sarcesian (Homeworld: The Diaspora)

The Diaspora was once a pair of twin planets, much like the rest of the Pact Worlds system. No one remembers precisely what those planets were like, as at some point before the Gap, Eox decided to blow them the fuck up.

The Sarcesians are the survivors of that catastrophe, surviving thanks to their ancestors advanced magic and technology. They live in “creche worlds”, asteroids with artificial atmospheres, climates, and gravity, which are positively idyllic compared to the pirate infested harshness of the Diaspora, linked by a floating river. I’m getting kind of Little Prince/Mario Galaxy vibes.

Sarcesians resemble towering angel figures, with solar sails for wings. They can use these wings to fly between their cresh worlds (or other space platforms), and they can ever survive unassisted in space for an hour. Considering the ubiquity of life support (and the fact that Androids also don’t need to breathe in space, without limits) this ability is more interesting for the controlled space flight than anything else. What is very interesting, however, is their access to bonus skill points. Sarcesians are poised to make excellent operatives, it seems.

Shobhad (Homeworld: Akiton)

Completing the John Carter metaphor that Akiton leans super hard on, the Shobhad are four armed giants skilled in all forms of combat. I joked that Shobhads were “four armed space orcs” in the previous post, which is overly reductionist but not inaccurate: they’ve got similar cultures (mostly warlike tribes raiding convoys and settlements, disliking cities, valuing combat over all else, they even have their own version of orcish ferocity), but Shobhad tend to be more honor-focused, working as wandering mercenaries rather than chaotic evil murderhordes. They’re also ridiculous Blitz Soldiers, with 4 arms, reach, and a base speed of 40 feet!

Fun fact: Shobhad and Kasatha share a common ancestor in the Witchwyrd, below. 

Skittermander (Homeworld: Vesk-3)

A race from the Veskarium, which stands in sharp contrast to the brutish and towering Vesk, the Skittermanders (pictured above) are small sized, brightly colored balls of fluff, with six arms and a hyperactive metabolism.

The Skittermanders are comically agreeable, not even noticing the Vesk were conquering them, and cheerfully accepting it once the Veskarium announced control of the planet. As Vesk codes of honor prevent them from harming a foe who does not resist, this has served mostly to infuriate the higher ranks of Vesk command. Skittermanders love helping people, almost compulsively, and are often found in clerical positions. 

The Skittermander’s ability to make a second move action once per day, on top of their six arms (the most of any player race to date) make them a surprisingly powerful choice for a ball of fluff.

…and yes, they are good at hugs. They’ve got a +2 bonus to grapple checks. 

Urog (Homeworld: Dykon)

Another one from Bretheda’s moons! Urog are second only to Barathu in terms of alienness in the Alien Archive. They’re silicon based lifeforms who resemble giant crystaline slugs, until they enter ‘engagement mode’ and reveal themselves to be more akin to floating lobsters the size of buffalo. 

They’re skilled mathematicians and scientists, with a deep love of patterns, and access to limited telepathy. They also get bonus skill ranks, much like a Sarcecean. Unlike a Sarcecean, however, they’re rather asocial, and have a hard time interacting with other races. Still, electric space slug scientists who can sense enemies with electromagnetism and who can glide around the ship like a slow hovercraft are about as alien as you can get.

Verthani (Homeworld: Verces) 

Verthani resemble humans in many ways, save for their extreme height, pure black eyes and pigment shifting skin. And propensity to augment themselves. 

So really not that much like humans, but more so than most races in this book. 

The first space travelers in the Pact Worlds (as far as we know), the Verthani are traditionally a caste based system; Augmented Verthani engage in heavy augmentation, Pure Ones eschew it, and God-Vessels brand themselves with holy symbols. In modern times, the caste system has fallen out of favor, with many Verthani accepting at least some augmentation.

Verthani are very stealthy, able to gain a +10 racial bonus to stealth if they remain perfectly still (and aren’t wearing armor). They also gain access to Skill Focus as a bonus feat, and can double up on augmentations in their body to a degree. They make excellent technomancers, mechanics, and operatives. Still look kind of freaky, though. 

Witchwyrd (Homeworld: Cyrune)

Another mysterious race, the Witchwyrd are renowned as traveling merchants, and have been traveling the stars for ages… perhaps longer than the Verthani. They’re also interesting in that they’re a progenitor race, having created both the Shobhad and Kasatha in their image (identified by their shared trait of four arms). Yet unlike a typical progenitor race, not only are they still around, they seem more focused on profit than simply being spooky and mysterious.

Or perhaps those are the only Witchwyrd we see. Because they are quite mysterious; while the name of their homeworld is known, no one has ever been there aside from a Witchwyrd. No one knows how long they live (possibly millenia), how they eat (they seem to be able to consume magical force, but also love spicy food), or even how they pay their employees (Witchwyrd have very strict non-disclosure agreements). 

They’re simultaneously one of the most accessible and one of the most mysterious races in this book, and that makes them feel fantastic to me.

Wrikreechee (Homeworld: Akchios)

A race from outside the Pact Worlds, the Wrikreechee are humanoid mollusks who have only just joined galactic society. They’ve adapted quickly (thanks to their species high intelligence), and their new perspectives have led to innovations in architecture, pharmaceuticals, and technology. Many Wrikreechee are scientists, and excel in cooperative environments. Their mollusk-like physiology also makes them excellent at using cover, as they can curl up into tiny mollusk balls without losing their ability to shoot.

They have a pair of baleens on their arms which they can use to feed, or to aid in grapple checks, and which (according to Paizo) was a major inspiration for the race. 

That’s it for Alien Archive, but don’t worry; new races will be coming soon! Tune in in December for an overview of the Elebrians of Eox (that are still alive, of course), and tune in this coming march for an overview of The Pact Worlds, a detailed guide to the Golarion System with a ton of new races and class options.

And, of course, don’t forget to follow for more Starfinder and Pathfinder content!

See you in the stars!