Melrog

Average Lifespan: 450 years
Average Height: 6’5” – 7 feet
Average Weight: 350 – 600 pounds
Pregnancy Duration: 10.5 months

Forged through magic and science, the Melrog are the youngest race that inhabits the world of Valindir. While all others were born from the gods before the time of Al’Drenra, the Melrog were created by mortals almost a thousand years after the last battles of the war ceased. Since then, they have struggled to find their place within the world, and in recent years have truly started to develop their own culture and lifestyles. They are quiet and reserved for the most part, content to simply live out their lives and raise their children in peace. To the other races, they are something to be studied closely, as no one has ever been able to create such a champion of mortal ingenuity before now. The Melrog have been quite resentful of the constant stares and snickers, so they have tended to seclude themselves in the outlying lands, far away from the bustling cities that cause them so much embarrassment.

Physical Characteristics

The most striking feature of a Melrog is their stony skin that protects their form like chiseled armor. While it may look like stone on the outside, further tests have revealed it’s actually a type of bone that grows on the outside of their bodies, but most still refer to it as stone, as it shares the same texture and appearance. To reach out and touch it is to understand it is not like any rock lying about on the ground however, as it is actually flexible in some places. Their silhouette is similar to that a human, as that was the race they were originally based upon, but they stand taller at six and a half to seven feet high. The women tend to be curvaceous with cinched waists and wider busts and hips, while the men have broader chests and shoulders. You can tell that lurking under their stony exterior are strings of muscle, and when a Melrog flexes them, their skin shifts to allow for this expansion. Many have mistaken that they are stone all the way through, but lying beneath their rough exterior are veins, nerves and organs like any other race in Valindir.

For the most part, their exterior shell stays close to their form, save for about their temples and forehead, where it will protrude out in a type of crown about their head. While some have only simple bumps, others have longer spikes or curved protrusions that make each person unique. The do have hair, but most of the men like to keep it cut short to accentuate their stony diadem. Women, however, love to grow their hair long, and often style it with braids and curls when they have spare time. Their eyes are quite an interesting feature, as many have noted they look almost like gemstones. A closer inspection reveals they are similar in shape to human eyes, but their colors are so vibrant and bright, they look almost like jewels that sparkle in the sun.

History

Birthed far from the grip of the jealous, petty gods or the horrors of Al’Drenra, the Melrog were born of mortal ingenuity in recent history. For nearly sixty years, a group of Dwarves and Humans toiled to create what was supposed to be a new type of armor, not a new race They were using magic, golems and precise calculations to cause dormant talents within themselves to awaken. The idea was to forge their own skin as strong as Dwarven armor, so they could be less encumbered in battle. This group of only fifty or so men and women worked tirelessly in hidden passages of the Dwarven Kingdom, and did so without permission from either group’s government. Their plan was to sell the potions and spells to others and make a hefty profit from them. What they created was the Melrog. At first they thought they were champions of ingenuity, and that they had transformed one of their own into this magnificent creature. However, when they began talking to it, they realized it was no longer their friend that spoke to them, but a different soul. It was Stone who descended among them and explained that their friend had perished, and that a new soul had been born into this creature. At first they feared the Element’s wrath, but Stone was pleased with their ingenuity and talent, and named this new people the Melrog. The rest of the potions were imbibed and spells cast on other Humans and Dwarves so that this new race might breed and survive. The people who created the Melrog gave their existence to this new race, so that they might thrive, and so that no man could ever recreate what they had done. Stone ensured that their research was locked away, far from the reach of any mortal hand.

At first, the Melrog were met with fascination and awe when they began roaming the world. However, life would soon prove to be difficult for this fledgling race, as many began to view them as an affront to nature, or simply not a sentient being. Their fear only grew as more and more people began to kidnap their members and try and piece apart what had been done to them. They sought asylum from these thieves and murderers, and found it among the Humans and Minotaurs. They have taken up farming as a relaxing way of making a living, and several small communities of their kind have popped up through the farmlands of Balinor and throughout the Mynolin Island chain. They have attempted to stay out of sight for the most part, and don’t often tarry into cities and especially not near the shorelines. The Danava have been infamous for capturing their kind and dragging them off to their empire beneath the waves, never to be seen again.

Culture and Religion

Preferring to live in simplicity among the farmlands, the Melrog have kept to themselves throughout their relatively short time on Valindir. They are a people opposed to decadence, and enjoy the everyday pleasures afforded to them by their seclusion from the bustling cities. Food has become a small indulgence though, and they often try and sample meats, fruits, vegetables and really anything eatable they can have imported into their area. They are a people of moderation, and enjoy having a good time, but not in excess. They are often painted as overly serious and xenophobic, but it is a misconception about their ideas and what they have had to endure. They are often wary of strangers because they do not know their intentions, but once friends, the Melrog are a loyal people that most would be honored to call friend. They are also a charitable people, giving back to the community in which they live to ensure everyone lives in health and happiness.

Melrog hold a deep reverence for the Elements, as they have helped allay the fears that others have had about this new race. They were welcomed into churches and temples with open arms, and the Elements were always kind to them. Not many are found in the Path of the Gods, as they have no use to revive a creator they never had nor even knew. They do hold a deep sense of gratitude for their original creators, as they gave their lives and existence so that the Melrog could survive. Often times they are held in a high esteem and dotted about their communities all over the realm are monuments bearing the names of the people that crafted the original Melrog. The Path of the Enlightened has taken a special interest in them, seeing them as examples of the powers that mortals hold. Several have converted to this faith, but still hold a respect for the Elements.

Many misunderstand the Melrog, and don’t fully research what this race is and how they function. A popular belief was that Melrog kidnapped the children of other races and turned them into their own because they could not have their own offspring. This is completely false. Male and female Melrog come together in union like any other race, but their pregnancy habits are quite different. The woman will carry the child in her womb for only five months, but her belly will look like it is a full term child. Slowly, the stone will begin to crack away, and the womb will separate completely from the mother, leaving what looks like a stone egg and the mother without any stone protection on her belly, just fleshy grey skin. They child will continue to grow inside the womb for five and a half months until it can no longer fit, and the shell begins to crack and splinter. It is then that the parents will help it break away from its shell and enter the world as a new life. When a baby is born they are soft and fragile, like any other babe in Valindir. Their skin is grey like their parents, but their own shell will not start growing in until they are a toddler. The only indication they will have of the stony skin they will one day have is petite bumps about their forehead that will grow into their crown markings as they age.

While they are each given in marriage to only one person, the community comes together when a child is raised. They often help one another with food, clothing and any other needs, as it takes time for a new mother to recover her strength. It is this tight knit community that has kept them safe from those who wish them harm, and has kept their race not only alive, but flourishing. They also have an incredibly unique way of making money for themselves, as most of the food they grow is eaten by that family unit. Throughout their lifetime, the Melrog will molt pieces of their outer flesh that hardens into something that can be used for armor. These bits and chunks of their carapace are often sold to craftsmen who have made strong yet lightweight armor from them, and have made it a well sought after commodity. It cannot be rushed, or even harvested off a dead Melrog, as that flesh rots as any other might and cannot be turned into leather. It must be naturally shed, or else it is completely useless.

Geography

Born long after the Assembly had closed its doors to land negotiations, the Melrog are a people without a country of their own. They can be found sprinkled throughout the realm in countries that allow their presence, concentrated mostly in Balinor and the Mynolin Islands. Often they are small villages of only a few families and are found in the heart of farmlands. They thrive in all climates, but have quite an aversion to water, as swimming has proven quite difficult for them, but not impossible.

Relations with Other Races

The Melrog are often wary of most other races, as they have been poked, prodded and even slaughtered; all in the name of understanding them better. While they are not completely adverse to friendships with other races, they are always cautious when meeting someone new, especially if they are a certain race.

Alubra – The Melrog have always found friends among the Alubra, and regard them as one of the more trustworthy races they have encountered. A handful of Melrog have even gone to live in the craggy peaks beneath their city, and have reported that the Alubrans have been extremely kind and generous to them.

Centaurs – For a time, the two races lived with one another in Balinor, tending the farmlands, until the war between the Humans and Centaurs broke out. The Melrog often miss their Centaur neighbors, as they were always hard working. Friendly however, they were not, at least not overly so, but they were never cruel or harsh either, so the Melrog were sad to see them expelled from the lands.

Danava – Hated among the Melrog, the Danava are among the vilest creatures that slither from their homes beneath the waves to murder and slaughter whomever they please. Several Melrog have been dragged away to their depths to be tortured, mutilated and killed and so the Melrog have no love for this aquatic race that they see as their sworn enemy.

Daphinae – Daphinae are regarded at first with a bit of hesitation, as they have mixed feelings about the race. Some that they have encountered spat upon them as abominations, while others have celebrated their survival and befriended them. They are seen as a bit chaotic at times and of two minds, but can make suitable friends, depending on the individual.

Drakien – The Melrog have always been kind to a race that has always acted with respect towards them. While they have heard the legends of what the Dragons of times past had done, they feel it doesn’t reflect on what this race is now. It was the Drakiens who discovered the usefulness of their molted skin, and helped them create armor from it.

Dwarves – While the two have always enjoyed peace and friendliness towards each other, the Melrog are concerned that the Dwarves are just after the research that turned Dwarves into Melrog. They don’t think the Dwarves quite understand that they are a separate entity and race now, but they are willing to overlook those shortcomings, as no society has welcomed them as openly as the Dwarves do.

Elves – Arrogant and judgmental, the Elves are not thought of highly by the Melrog. The Melrog have always faced scornful words and condemning looks from their people, and they are not eager to pursue a relationship with a race so quick to judge on looks alone.

Gryphon – Their close alliance with the Elves has soured the Melrog’s opinion of the Gryphon. They find they are less verbally scornful than the Elves, but are still quite hostile to their presence, often glaring at them with condemnation hidden in their eyes. They are wary of any sort of confrontation, so they are more likely to avoid these antagonistic people than befriend one.

Humans – Honored to call them friend, the Melrog have always held a deep respect and kinship with the Humans. Originally it was Humans who helped create them, and the Melrog have not forgotten the sacrifice their original creators made for them. Many of their kind have taken up residence in the farmlands of Balinor and lived there in peace and happiness for years.

Kithras – Viewed as somewhat mischievous, the Kithras are still seen as friendly people that just don’t understand boundaries and proper social conversation. They never mind entertaining their company though, as they find they are often more curious than condemning.

Kren – The Melrog have not have much interaction with the Kren, as most don’t journey too far from their homes. What they have known of them is that they tend to be rigid and stubborn, but still care about their fellow man. They can be difficult to work with at first, but once a common ground is reached, they have been found to be good friends for years.

Minotaur – At first, the Melrog were terrified that they would be looked upon as prey for what looked like a menacing race. The Minotaur have proven that misconception wrong, and the two races have become fast friends. Several Melrog even went to live with them on the Mynolin Islands, despite its close proximity to the sea because the Minotaur have always protected them as is they were family.

Mithyrn – Tentative on speaking with this secluded race, the strain between the two has begun to relax over the years. As more Melrog were born and the original generation died away, the Mithyrn became more accepting, but the Melrog are still not sure about a race that would so quickly judge someone they knew so little about.

Orcs – While they cannot condone or even accept the way the Orcs run their government, they do try and keep the peace by avoiding them. Behind closed doors, the Melrog find them to be too eager for violence and war, but they would never say that to an Orc’s face.

Senai – Few Senai have ever been seen by the Melrog, and they are still quite tentative of them. Despite what they have been told, they cannot trust a race that bears such a close resemblance to the Danava, and so they often just avoid contact with them altogether.

Sidhe – In the beginning, the Melrog were tentative about a race that would so freely help others without regard for themselves. While the Sidhe are seen as peaceful friends, they are still concerned that they are preparing for repayment of their debt by taking over the lands, and so the Melrog are still wary of them, despite the good intentions the two people may have for one another.

Talmori – The Melrog have never been fond of the Talmori, and they know the feeling is mutual. They are content to leave them in peace, as the Talmori have never given them a reason to fear for their lives or safety. Harmony is a concept they can both embrace, even if that means never interacting with one another.

Language

The Melrog speak both common and Frongdl so they can pay homage to both their creators. At first, the Dwarves were skeptical that another race could speak their language without butchering it, but the Melrog have proven that they have fluency with both the words and pronunciation. It was because of this that the Dwarves began to believe that the Melrog were not a different race at all, but a type of Dwarf, as no one else could speak their language with such accuracy. The Melrog disagree with such claims, and insist they are a different people and not Dwarves. For this reason, they tend to speak more common, and save Frongdl for special occasions.

Names

The Melrog have always been ones who believe that a name is a sacred birthright passed down to a child because of the love of their parents and community. It is something treasured, and said to be a reflection on both the person who carries it, and their family. The community will come together and help choose a name for the baby that suits his or her demeanor the best.

Male Names: Diadas, Kopentalo, Adreynam

Female Names: Tolamina, Obutailya, Cikila

Player Difficulty Level

Hardest. Playing this race is quite challenging, since they can be physically cumbersome at times. While they can generally move as well as any other mortal, they are not a graceful people, as their shell can hinder their movements and weigh them down. Swimming is not something they would enjoy much either, although they are capable of it. They also have no home country, or even a place that is legally theirs, so they are at the mercy of others when it comes to having a place to live. Others regard them with fear and hostility at times, since they were not born of gods like the rest of mortals, making it more difficult at times to make friends and allies.

Notes on Role Playing this Race

While they may have used stone golems as a guide when they created the Melrog, they are in no way like a stone golem. Golems are bulky, with juts of stone protruding out all sorts of places. While a Melrog’s protective shell may look like rock, it is still bone. It will grow in a bit rough and bumpy, but there would not be huge chunks jutting off an arm or a leg. They still maintain a humanoid figure.

Melrog are not hunted for their skin. While their shed carapace can fetch quite a price, it must come from natural molting, not from skinning. When a Melrog dies, their skin dies along with it, and without the natural aging process that comes with molting, the skin rots just like anyone else’s flesh. Hunting Melrog (player or mob) for their skin will get your character labeled as a murderer.

The Melrog’s genitals are not made of stone. That part of their body would not be covered with their stony shell, and thusly they would be able to procreate. This also means that they must wear clothes to be modest (and would want to wear them). No Melrog would wander about the realm without being dressed.

Posted September 21, 2011 by belimedra

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