Dromads could crudely be described as "camel-centaurs", although the standard centaur is not a creature widely known on Conclave, if it exists at all. They roam in herds across the desert margins of the Outer Continent, Fallen Sun, where they have a reputation as a boisterous and belligerent race with a fondness for drinking, fighting, and violent sports.
A dromad has a humanoid head, arms and torso but the body and legs of a single-humped camel. Their skin is a dusky tone, with light tawny hair starting from the lower torso and covering the camel-like parts of the body. Males and females alike have a stiff ridge of thick bristly hair that starts atop their head and runs down their spine to their hindquarters.
Dromad feet are two-toed and broad. They have a set of spurs from their rear heels which they can use for defence, and they also have small tusks protruding from their cheeks. These are slightly larger in males, but are useless for fighting in both genders. Males can grow facial hair, and this is sometimes braided. Females are more likely to style and groom their spinal hair-ridge. Some dromad shamans shave their body hair for religious purposes, and sport a range of tattoos.
Dromad phsyiology is adapted to desert survival. Their hair crest provides a measure of protection from the sun, and warmth at night. Their feet allow them to walk across sand and similar materials. In times of scarcity they excrete very little moisture, producing crystals instead of urine.
A dromads stands a little taller than the average human at eye-height, but obviously they are much more massive overall.
The dromads have a nomadic culture. Small tribes, mostly extended families, of usually no more than thirty individuals, travel the desert margins in search of food and water. The dromads are able to penetrate further into the great interior deserts of Fallen Sun than any other mortal race, and know the locations of many hidden oases. Dromads tribes congregate for trading, and for their great festival Een-In-Mara, the Sacred Day of Making. This is held near a body of water between Dar a'Droaz and Ok-Tom-Bo. It is a time for deal-making, trading, drinking, sport and the choosing of mates. Polygamy is often practiced as, sometimes, is polyandry.
Humans are wary of large gatherings of dromads, and with good reason. The dromads love to fight, and many of their sports double as practice for fighting techniques. The dromads are by no means bloodthirsty; they prefer a punch-up to a slaughter, but they are also known to see the smaller races as fair game for assaults, particularly the tiny ura. Coupled with the dromads' love of strong drink (admittedly often for religious purposes), the local presence of a dromad tribe or two usually spells trouble. Date wine is a favourite dromad drink, whilst a brew called gin-ja, made from fermented worms found in a certain species of sacred cactus, is legendary in its potency. However, fighting is forbidden during Een-In-Mara, and this is a good time for non-dromads to meet and trade with dromads. The dromads often offer their services as mercenaries, in exchange for weapons or liquor. Male and female dromads seem equally as boisterous.
The dromads are known to have at least two permanent, or semi-permanent, settlements. Gran-Na Kameil-Sa is a tent city that moves with the seasons according to a set pattern. The dromads are experienced stargazers and divide the year partly by the wet and dry seasons and partly by the rising of certain astral bodies. Gran-Na-Kameil-Sa is home to the Gran, the elected chief-of-chiefs, whose role is mainly a traditional one with little real power except in times of great hardship, such as a war on the dromad people or widespread natural disaster.
The second settlement is spoken of in mystical terms; The City. Some dromads receive a sarced vision and head into the desert to find The City. Those who return shave off all their hair and have their bodies tattooed with the history of their race, or of their tribe in particular. When they feel their death approaching they head off into the desert to find The City again. Here, it is said, their skins are removed and preserved for future generations. Despite this, the dromads also have a rich oral tradition and some have learned the a'Keshamite mode of writing as well as the sacred skin markings.
Some dromads worship the All-Seeing One, as do many of the human inhabitants of Fallen Sun, but they otherwise seem to have little in the way of organised mythology. The constellations are important to dromads but more as navigational aids. Their most famous folk-hero is Amar, a humble vur-herder who overcame many trials to win the chieftan's daughter in marriage.
Large Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice: 4d8+8 (26 hp)
Speed: 50 ft. (10 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +2 armour, +1 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+12
Attack: Lance +7 melee (1d8+6) or club +7 melee (1d6+4) or sling +4 ranged (1d4+4)
Full Attack: Club +7 melee (1d6+4) and hoof +2 melee (1d4+2)
Space/Reach: 10 ft. (long)/5 ft.
Special Attacks: None
SQ Desert adaptation, low-light vision
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +4
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 11
Skills: Listen +6, Spot +6, Survival +6
Feats: Alertness, Endurance
Environment: Warm desert
Organization: Single, pair, gang (3-12), herd (10-30)
Challenge Rating: 4
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +2
Combat: Dromad love a good fight, viewing it almost as a sport. They typically charge with lances for a first attack, meleeing with club or scimitar if their foe still stands, and using sling attacks to deter pursuit if they decide to run away. Dromads rarely fight to the death, preferring hit-and-run tactics.
Desert Adaptation (Ex): A dromad can endure temperatures between 20-100 degrees Fahrenheit before it needs to make any Fortitude checks. It is still affected by extreme cold and heat, but only at -10 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit and beyond, respectively. A dromad can happily survive on half the food or water of a creature of its size for a number of days equal to its Constitution but at the end of this time it must begin to eat and drink normally or suffer the effects of starvation and thirst. Furthermore, it does not need an increased water intake when in a hot climate.
Using the Dromads
The dromads can be used as opponents or an interesting NPC encounter for adventures set in Fallen Sun. They are dangerous, but not actively cruel nor evil - they prefer nonlethal fights for sport rather than blood and glory.
Dromad Racial Levels
Dromads could be used as a player character race. As written they are not balanced with first level characters, but the following racial levels may be used to give an immature dromad with the possibilities of developing into a full dromad. This is similar to the ideas proposed in Savage Species, but only includes the four Hit Dice levels and not the two extra Level Adjustment levels (a Savage Species version would have six levels). This means that this variant has slightly less pay-off than an equivalent race, or compared to the full version given above. If this is an issue, the gamesmaster may wish to either add another couple of levels to the progression given below, or to reduce the level adjustment of a full dromad. Also unlike Savage Species progression, a dromad character may take racial levels at any time, mixing in character class levels, rather than having to take all racial levels before any character class levels may be taken.
Dromad using this method to progress begin play as a young dromad with the following characteristics:
As a young dromad gains racial level in "dromad", it acquires more of the characteristics of a fully-grown dromad.
- +2 Strength
- Medium size: a young dromad gains no special benefits or penalties according to its size.
- 40 ft. base speed: a young dromad is slower than a fully grown one.
- Desert adaptation: a young dromad has the full desert adaptation extraordinary ability as given above.
- No natural armour bonus.
- Kick attack: a young dromad has a kick attack (treated as a secondary natural weapon) that causes 1d3 bludgeoning damage.
Hit Die: d8
|Natural armour +1 Str +2
|Dex +2, Con +2
|Str +2, Dex +2
|Large size, Str +2, Con +2, speed 50 ft.
Skill points: 2 + Int bonus per level (x4 if first level taken).
Class Skills: Intimidate, Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (nature), Listen, Search, Spot, Survival.
Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Dromads are proficient with light armour, simple weapons, the lance (temir-ma), the falchion (daka-ma) and the baht-ma (see below).
Ability score increases: These stack with previous levels, so a 3rd level Dromad has a total of +6 Strength, +4 Dexterity and +2 Constitution.
Large: At 4th level a dromad grows to Large size. Its ability scores do not change (beyond the modifiers also granted by the level). It takes a -1 penalty to armour class and attacks, a -4 penalty to Hide checks and gains a +4 bonus to grapple checks. Kick attack damage increases to 1d4. Its spacing changes to 10 ft. (long).
The dromad language distinguishes between "-ma", meaning war, and "-la", meaning sport. Many weapons used by dromads are also used in their games, thus each weapon has a -ma and a -la use.
|10 gp (1000 yen)
The baht-ma is club-like weapon, typically made of hardwood. It has a curved haft with a spoon-like head. The outer curve of the head can be used as a one-handed bludgeoning weapon, the bowl of the head can be used to throw stones or similar missiles. The dromads make smooth stone spheres by polishing them with their hoof-pads; treat as sling bullets for game purposes.
Baht-la is a game with elements of lacrosse and polo, where opposing teams try to get a hardwood ball into the opposing goal, a small hole in a hollowed temir tree. Dromads treat the baht-ma as a martial weapon, but to other races it is an exotic weapon.
The daka-ma is a curved sword, using the same stats as a falchion. A traditional daka-ma is made from sharpened merka bone, but trade with humans means that metal ones also exist. The dromads use the term to refer to any sword, so other types of daka-ma may be found.
Daka-la involves lining up a row of temir fruit on a series of posts. The object is to gallop along the line, cleanly cutting through as many fruit as possible, whilst stopping your opponent, who is racing on the other side of the line, from doing the same. It is forbidden to use the daka-ma on your opponent, but kicking and punching is allowed. Some variants have the opponents coming in opposite directions, like a joust, and others have a more complex course of temir fruit poles.
The temir-ma uses the lance statistics. A traditional temir-ma has a barbed temir thorn at the end, which breaks off on a successful hit. The temir-ma is usable as a quarterstaff afterwards, but the opponent may continue to take damage. A character stuck with a temir-ma tip must move at half speed and take a -2 penalty to all attacks, saves and skill checks. They may choose not to take these penalties in any given round, in which case they take 1d6 piercing damage from the temir-ma tip, for that round. Removing a tip is a full round action and the person doing so (it may be the injured party) must make a Heal DC 15 check to avoid causing 1d6 piercing damage. Spellcasters are treated as taking ongoing damage as regards concentration checks.
Temir-la is the sport of merka-baiting. The aim is to get as many hits on a merka lizard without being hit by its tongue attack. The thick scales of the merka protect it from the worst of the temir-la (contestants are essentially making a touch attack), but make it more enraged, adding to the sport.
As well as their violent sports, dromads are notorious for the alcoholic drinks that they brew. Date Wine is the staple drink of dromads; sweet, and about as strong as a fortified wine. Vine Sap is a fermented cactus drink, remiscient (unsuprisingly) of tequila. Gin-ja is a potent drink made from crushed and fermented gin-gin worms. These worms are gathered during Een-In-Mara, when the drink is also made. The gin-ja made from the previous year's Een-in-Mara is drunk in celebration. Umbrie-sahra is another semi-sacred drink, drunk by both parties to seal a deal. It is created from the fermented sap of the carnivorous umbrie plant, gathered by the light of the full moon in a sacred ritual known as umbrie-kahra (which inevitably combines an element of dangerous sport). It is said that fresh umbrie sap acts as a truth serum. Umbrie-sahra is thick and sweet, like an extremely syrupy mead, but also probably one of the most potent alcoholic drinks in the world. Even the dromads treat it with caution, drinking it from tiny stone bowls.
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