Prestige Races

Kal`aire

by T.A. Saunders ©1997 v3.5

Racial Summary

Average Height: Dependent on race/gender before being turned.
Average Weight: Dependent on race/gender before being turned.
Description: Dependent on race/gender before being turned.
Languages Spoken: Whatever languages were spoken before being turned.
Racial Age Limit: Immortal until slain.
Racial Nicknames: Children of Vengeance, Furies, Wrath-Born.

Appearance

The look and build of Kal'aire varies across all species who can become Kal'aire.  Half-Giants, Voraath, Kavorg and Vampires cannot become Kal'aire.

Racial Abilities and Limitations

Racial Abilities

NOTE: When playing a Kal'aire, the previous racial bonuses are dropped in favor of the new race's bonuses. A human Kal'aire, for example does not retain both human and Kal'aire bonuses.

Enhanced Strength and Speed: The Kal'aire are fused with incredible potency and can accomplish physical feats of strength and agility comparable to elder vampires and in some cases even surpassing them. Lifting flagstones and throwing them or dodging bullets shot at short range are not unheard of. (+25% to attack rolls. 65% to strength feats, +15% to evasion/dodge attempts).

Legendary Endurance and Regeneration: For that same infusion of might the Spirit of Vengeance grants Kal'aire, they are able to withstand incredible amounts of punishment and simply keep coming. This attribute differs from vampires in that normal weapons can strike a Kal'aire as can normal fire, but it all heals equally fast.
Burning a Kal'aire won't stop his or her regeneration, or hinder it. A Kal'aire must be decapitated to be slain, otherwise even if one small bit of him or her exists, that bit will eventually regenerate. Totally obliterating a Kal'aire (by incineration or disintegration) will also keep one from coming back to life. (-30% bonus to armor rating vs. all forms of attack. Regeneration of limbs in 1d4+1 rounds, internal damage 1d6 rounds).

Shadowform: A Kal'aire may at any time, take a Shadowform. This form is a shadowy representation a particular creature the Kal'aire favors. In the case of Mourne Dur'lane, he favored that of a Shadow Dragon while his son, Darechon whom was also given the Choice, favors a Shadow Panther. Additionally in times where the Kal'aire's physical form is greatly damaged, he or she may leave the body and become a Shadow Wraith. This Wraith has the ability to possess other living creatures for a short time. This talent does not work on undead, or spiritually protected creatures. (Shadow forms are immune to normal damage, have a -25% armor bonus from magical weapons/attacks and can move through unprotected walls/floors/ceilings at 50% loss in movement. Possession chance is 65%. Shadowforms suffer a +35% penalty against overall armor rating vs. Sunlight-based attacks).

Shadow Manipulation: Kal'aire can will the shadows to act on their behalf in several different ways. While these effects are generally limited by one's imagination, concentration must be maintained to use this talent. The Kal'aire in question cannot be engaged in any other combat or spell-casting while using Shadow Manipulation. (Shadow Manipulation has 99% chance to succeed. Any shadow construct created in this way is temporary and disappears when concentration is broken. These shadow-constructs are are immune to normal damage, have a -25% armor bonus from magical weapons/attacks and can move through unprotected walls/floors/ceilings at 50% loss in movement. Shadow constructs suffer a +35% penalty against overall armor rating vs. Sunlight-based attacks).

Legendary Enervation: A Kal'aire may draw the life-energy from his enemy and use that energy to bring them energy in which to heal themselves, fuel magic or sustain themselves. Because of this talent, they are likewise immune to such attacks directed upon them. This sort of attack can only be used three times per day. (Enervation can outright kill normal mortals and animals. When used against powerful mortals, divinities and infernals, it causes a -50% to all attack and evasion rolls for 1d4+1 rounds).

Gaze of Judgment: In order to be able to ensure with 100% accuracy the guilt of a soul, the Kal'aire can see the mark of mortal sin upon an aura. This aspect of the talent cannot be blocked or detoured by will-shaping, mental shielding or magic of any kind. Should a Kal'aire encounter one so marked, he or she can strike paralyzing fear into the heart of the wicked. So intense is this fear, that it has the possibility of striking any mortal creature dead. Normal fear immunity conveys only resistance to the fear portion of the Gaze, not the paralysis. (99% effectiveness against mortal creatures. Base 50% resistance to those otherwise immune to fear.)

Fury: A Kal'aire may call upon the Spirit of Vengeance to grant them heightened fighting potential. A Kal'aire under the effects of Fury will quadruple their attack and movement speed, but suffer greater amounts of damage from attacks they might otherwise have dodged or resisted. (Fury can be used once per combat scenario, lasts 1d6+2 rounds and allows the Kal'aire to melee attack four times in one round, or attack twice, then use a talent. During this time, all bonuses to evasion are lost and there is a +15% armor penalty against the Kal'aire in question, vs. all forms of attack).

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Racial Weaknesses

Air of Ferocity: Normal animals tend to become skittish around Kal'aire, sensing them as a predator of sorts. Small domestic animals will try to leave their presence, while larger ones may become defensive. There are exceptions to this, but very few. A great deal of training can overcome this as well in the case of certain domestic pets or steeds.

Powerlessness Against the Innocent: A Kal'aire is simply unable to use any of their talents against the Innocent in order to bring them to death. Innocence is determined by whether or not the individual has committed a mortal sin, rather than a venial sin. In order for a sin to be mortal, it must meet three conditions:

    1. Mortal sin is a sin of grave matter.
    2. Mortal sin is committed with full knowledge of the sinner.
    3. Mortal sin is committed with deliberate consent of the sinner.

This does not mean however the Kal'aire in question cannot use their supernatural talents to influence an Innocent that might know something the Kal'aire may need to know, if that information isn't immediately forthcoming. The powerlessness occurs only when the intent is great harm or death.

Darkening Presence: A Kal'aire's presence in an area can dim the ambient light in an area for up to thirty feet. While some may consider this a boon, it makes it increasingly hard to sneak up on adversaries in well-lit areas if they notice the dimming of light around them. This also causes shadows to waver like water when Kal'aire move past them. (-10% to attempts to be stealthy in daylight conditions).

Vulnerability Against Sun-Based Attacks: Spells that evoke the power of the Sun can cause substantial damage to a Kal'aire. Less for the fire aspect and more for the light aspect of such magic, it causes them to fade under attacks and temporarily weakens their link to the shadows and the Spirit of Vengeance. (Fading: 50% loss in movement rate, negation of shadow-based talents for the duration of the exposure or 1d4 rounds if not a sustained attack).

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Unavailable Classes

Whatever class was followed in mortality is available to the Kal'aire.

From the Memoirs of Mourne Dur'lane

“Today, good Trent asked me to explain what Kal'aire were. He has seen my actions and wonders if perhaps I am a creature of no recourse, a thing of truly diabolical evil. I was pleased to inform him that my bloodlines were indeed somewhat diabolical, but what I do and what I am are not of a need or a desire to do evil.

As we stood together on the field of battle, with bodies strewn here and there from the wake of our carnage, I explained to him exactly what Kal'aire are. We are the thing that the villainous should fear, when it is they choose to stain their hands in the crimson of innocent life. We are the fury of ten thousand souls that have been cut short, betrayed and made dead. We are the shadow that fights the dark when all light has left this world.

We are Vengeance. Unbridled and unleashed. Yet as the Elf looked at the brutality of it all and my own unwillingness to yield or give quarter to any of these gutless cretins, he was still not entirely convinced that I was not, in some fashion evil myself. We had paused at a still-twitching body, that I took a moment to dispatch with a discarded spear as I explained.

Evil is a malicious act against a person or people's that have done no wrong and have committed no vile or wicked act. But what is it when such things are turned upon those who would give no less to their fellows? Does it make those responsible for meting such justice evil onto themselves? It does not; that is what Vengeance in its purest definition. Vengeance is balance: action and consequence.

Trent still seemed worrisome as I leaned on the spear. The Elf will think what he likes. My conscious is quite clear on the matter, as is my purpose.”

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The Legend of the Kal'aire

The truth of who or what the Kal'aire are resides in much mysticism and fear throughout Imarel. Housewives tells their children to beware the Kal'aire if they are very bad, for they will come in the darkness and take them away. Another old tale accounts that those who grieve for one who has been murdered have called to the shadows for revenge and it has been granted.

The truth lingers in Imarel's beginning, with the fall of mighty Hazaad on the field of battle. As he lay there broken and dying from the fight with the Three Underlords of Hell, a voice whispered to the Asyndi. This voice was a sinister thing that made no pretense of being a promise of eternal bliss. A choice was presented: pass onto Oblivion or give one's self to the Spirit of Vengeance to be reborn, remade to cull the Guilty from the flocks of the Innocent.

For Hazaad, who could only taste the coppery anguish of his failure in his bleeding mouth knew only one answer to this question. Hazaad, who had no family to miss him or faith left in his heart for the Old Gods he once served allowed the purpose of Vengeance to fill him with its preternatural might and shadowy gifts. So it was the first Kal'aire was born and set loose upon the supernatural evil of the world.

As the ages past, Hazaad sought out the great evils of the Shar'Vaire Empire as it rose and fell and put each one he found to the cold justice of final death in the name of the innocent. It was also the task of the First Avenger to find others that would give themselves to the Spirit of Vengeance so the fight could continue should mighty Hazaad fall again.

Eons past and the Kal'aire, whose name means ‘Hand of Fury' in the ancient tongue of the Shar'Vaire, grew in number and in purpose but never more than was needed to execute the task of Vengeance. Perhaps no more than ten Kal'aire exist anywhere at any one time. No more, no less are given the Choice.

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The Fall of a Hero, Redeemed

Hazaad himself came to a final death during the great Cataclysm of D'Mir, where a fellow Kal'aire named Ma'hayre and himself were embroiled in the chaotic fighting there. The Spirit of Vengeance had deigned that D'Mir be razed to the ground by the Kal'aire for the many acts of evil that were centered upon the Shar'Vaire Empire. Fiends from the Hells and Shar'Vaire were battled alike, with aid and defense given to the Voraath they found along the way.

During a memorably pitched conflict, Hazaad found himself facing the mightiest of the three Underlords of Hell that had vanquished him once before. Alone they fought for hours at seemed, shadow and flame, sword and maul striking and scoring grievous wounds upon the other. Finally, Hazaad struck the deciding blow upon his age-long enemy, cleaving the handle of the Underlord's maul just as he once shattered his angelic runeblade and continued the strike fully into the demon lord's chest.

Rent open and spent the fallen demon used the last of his strength to plunge the cleaved shaft of his maul into Hazaad. His sword within the demon's chest and the demon's maul shaft plunged within Hazaad's gut, the demon hissed forth a terrible spell that evoked a detonation of Hellfire that assured not only his destruction, but that of the mortally weakened Hazaad.

Ma'hayre attempted to save the Kal'aire Avenger but it was too late, the explosion had destroyed both utterly and it had been all she could do to escape through the shadows the detonation herself for the entire three city blocks of D'Mir it lain to waste. By this time D'Mir was coming down around itself, so while saddened by the loss of Hazaad, Ma'hayre pressed on to bring to primal justice those Shar'Vaire she found who had the stain of mortal sin upon their souls.

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Where One Shadow Falls, Another Rises

It was on this day as well that Ma'hayre discovered a Shar'Vaire mage-scion of incredible power. Alone this man stood against his own spell-weaving kin and demonic fiend alike, moving through them with almost machine-like purpose. At first she had thought this one to be one of the Guilty that had brought this fate to D'Mir, but looking upon his soul she saw that while dark with furious intent, the mage-scion did not suffer the taint of the wicked.

Ma'hayre, a Shar'Vaire once herself before being given the Choice of the Kal'aire, moved to assist this individual. Shadows rose to her command and brought death and terror to those who fought the mage-scion whilst his sorcery dispatched fiend and wicked kin with little sign of tiring or slowing.

Mourn'elaian was his name as she come to find as the two introduced themselves to one another between fights. It was Ma'hayre that had shortened the Shar'Vaire magus' name to simply Mourne…finding it appropriate somehow for the righteous carnage this one had set upon their enemies.

She also discovered that Mourne had been one of The Five, the name given to the descendants of Hazaad's captains that founded the Shar'Vaire Empire. Perhaps without even knowing it, Mourne was doing Vengeance's work as he brought his corrupt kin to their ends; without knowing it, Mourne was being sized up to be the Kal'aire that would replace mighty Hazaad.

Events came to pass in the following days of fighting that would indeed see Mourn'elaian fall in combat. He and Ma'hayre had assaulted, with the help of Voraath the D'Mir Tyridanium where the last remnants of Shar'Vaire sorcery were kept. In an effort to preserve this vast collection of knowledge, the Voraath (with a great deal of convincing) helped empty the main library onto an airship Ma'hayre and Mourne had commandeered.

The task was quite close to completion when Mourne's own brother, Surik who orchestrated the overthrowing of the mageocracy and crowned himself Emperor of D'Mir and all Shar'Vaire came upon them with a host of infernal creatures at his beckoning. While Surik himself was no mage, having preferred the visceral feel of a sword cutting through mortal flesh, he did have those under his sway that did. Enough so, that these demons rallied around the questionably sane Surik and his bid for power.

In a conflict that was hauntingly like the battle Ma'hayre witnessed Hazaad wage with the Underlord of Hell, Surik and Mourne exchanged spell with angry steel, while the Voraath and the demons fought viciously all around the brothers. In the chaos of the close-in fighting, an explosion occurred that gave out the floor from all standing upon it. Surik, the faster of the two brothers jumped to the safety of an undamaged area and took the purchased time to escape, knowing if this fight went on long enough, Mourne would indeed get the better of him.

Mourne however was not so fortunate. His body broken under marble and wood, the last defiant breaths of his mortal life hissed through clenched teeth. Ma'hayre had seen him from afar and possibly could have saved him from the fall but it was a choice she made to allow Fate to take its course. She dispatched the demon she was fighting then moved through the shadows to the fallen mage-scion's side.

She knew, looking into those angry eyes of hateful red that this would be not be the final death of Mourn'elaian Dur'lane, but rather the beginning of his true calling. Before his life past into the hands of the Old Gods, Ma'hayre sought the will of the Spirit of Vengeance and The Choice was given. With only the hesitation his struggling consciousness grappled him with, Mourne chose a life of serving the Spirit of Vengeance.

It was on that last day D'Mir finally fell, did something most terrifying come upon the World of Imarel. When Mourne's broken body rose with the renewed strength of Kal'aire power, the rampant tide of evil would know its most bitter adversary. A foe that did not have the reluctance mercy granted or the temperance stoic justice had. Mourne had none of these things; his virtues were his relentlessness and his furious intent. Mourne fought the darkness with its own weapons and shielded the weak and innocent under his wrathful wing of protection.

It was on this day that Imarel's most prominent of the Kal'aire was unleashed. Mourne Dur'lane shaped and defined what people of Imarel today understand about the Kal'aire and fear about them. To this day, to whisper his name is to draw unwise attention to one's self for the legacy of Vengeance he brought.

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The Edicts of Vengeance

Every Kal'aire must abide the Edicts of Vengeance, or risk the Wrath of Vengeance upon them. Kal'aire simply do not go rogue; should one turn upon their fellows and become ‘the Guilty' themselves, the very power within them begins to slowly rot the flesh of the Kal'aire, and begin to turn the bones gelatinous. The Spirit of Vengeance decides if his Kal'aire are ‘behaving' properly and can at will institute or cease this rotting.

The Edicts themselves are rather straightforward, but are quite strict, given the array of supernatural powers they enjoy. These are the checks and balances for the Kal'aire as to ensure that they do not go rogue. These Edicts are only known by Kal'aire; the knowledge has never been written in any normal book, though, it is rumored to be written within Mourne Dur'lane's memoirs.

The Edicts are listed below, but this is merely for game purposes, and cannot be considered character knowledge, unless the character is a Kal'aire.

    1. First and foremost, you are the last justice; beyond any law set by Mortals, any exile set by kings, or any judgment passed down by those ill-equipped to deal with the truly guilty. It is in you that salvation must be made from blood of these guilty, so those who may yet live a life of no harm may flourish.

    2. Blood begets blood. To strike out upon the humble, the gentle and the innocent demands the satiation of retribution. The stronger the act, evermore stronger the reaction must be, so that an example is made. Those who stand upon the fence of guilt and innocence must be made to understand the truth. A hand taken for theft, a head taken for a murder and the whole of a people brought to ruination, for ongoing detriment to others.

    3. The Shadows are our allies, the same cloak those who would hide from justice, serves to illuminate our path to the Guilty. It is here we are strongest, servants of neither Light nor Darkness, but rather arbiters of cold, factual Truth. Unyielding to ethos, unending in wrath. In the shadows, leave our battles with the Guilty, but let the outcomes of such battles be known. What is seen or not seen by Mortals, serves to protect them through example.

    4. Heed the word of the Avenger. Through him or her, the Spirit of Vengeance will speak and so too, will expect you to act. The Avenger is the strongest of you and knows the Will of Vengeance as Death understands the end of Life.

    5. Honor your brothers and sisters; for ever rare will it be that you see one another. Yet, there will be times that you must seek one another out, in times of need. When a Hunt is called by the Avenger amongst you, it is that you must heed, for he or she speaks with Vengeance's Voice, and acts with Vengeance's Ire.

    6. To turn upon Vengeance is to bring yourself a most regrettable and painful ends. Your warning is here, before your eyes. Heed it well.

    7. Remain aloof of Mortal dealings. We are judges and executioners that must remain unbiased so that final justice maybe mete with impartiality. Even those we may befriend or love can become the Guilty.

    8. Once the Hunt is called, it is an unending force that will not find cessation until either every Kal'aire or that which we hunt is dead. Vengeance is eternal, so too is the wrath of the Kal'aire.

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Guilt Versus Innocence: Understanding the Kal'aire

The Spirit of Vengeance empowers the Kal'aire by giving them extraordinary gifts to increase their survival. While Kal'aire are not undead, they are in fact supernatural in that their souls are given to Vengeance when The Choice is made to do so. It is this co-existence with the Spirit of Vengeance that acts as a conduit to their powers. Each Kal'aire in effect becomes a fractional avatar of the Spirit's will.

A Kal'aire can be born from any mortal race. The only requirements of becoming a Kal'aire are a need to replace one of the ten and a will to serve Vengeance without fail. Once The Choice is made, it cannot be unmade unless rather desperate measures are taken. Like vampires, generally the only way to escape such a doom, is to undergo the effects of very rare and powerful temporal magic, or beckon for divine/infernal intervention. The other solution of course, being death.

The mindset of the Kal'aire is one of neutrality, meted by brutal means. The Edicts of Vengeance guide everything a Kal'aire does and says, though the interpretation of such things tends to have a wide berth. Some Kal'aire are more zealous than others, some are more cautious than others. Some have been compared to a blunt instrument, others have been likened to a patient snake, lurking in the tall grass for the unwary. Whatever the method, means and action there is always the Edicts of Vengeance to act as a moral compass and failing that, dire consequences from the Spirit of Vengeance directly.

Kal'aire also simply don't show up and judge every bad person that has ever done something bad. The intercession of a Kal'aire is a final arbitration; a form of natural justice embodied in a physical entity and unleashed. Such things are reserved only for the most heinous of acts and the most sinister deeds that no form of mortal punishment or justice could ever address properly. There are acts so abhorrent that there is only one way to rectify their doing and that is through the primal balance true vengeance offers.

The most common way that the attention of the Kal'aire is drawn, is through the Black Prayer. It is mostly considered urban legend that to utter this prayer to the Spirit of Vengeance, that his attention will be drawn to a particular act and judgment will be made, whether the attention of the Kal'aire is required. The exact words of the Black Prayer are not known, as there are many variations though many old wives tales insist that simply speaking the Spirit of Vengeance's name is enough. Whatever the case, if the Prayer is answered a Kal'aire is summoned forth and justice is mete in favor of the innocent and the guilty is purged.

The other way Kal'aire are drawn to a conflict is if The Culling is called on a particular person, people or land. One such example was D`Mir when it finally fell; the city had grown so infested with the Guilty, the Spirit of Vengeance it is said simply directed all the Kal'aire to converge upon it and ensure the entire city was razed to the ground. This is a most fearful (and rare) showing of Kal'aire power, but such an unleashing of The Culling has happened more than once in Imarel's past. Ultimately, The Culling is the final act of purifying the world in order to maintain Cosmic Balance; it should be looked upon as natural order righting itself, rather than senseless, brutal violence, begetting violence.

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The Kal'aire Avenger

Amongst the ten Kal'aire, there is always one that is called the Avenger. This Kal'aire is twice at potent in all areas of Kal'aire talents and possesses a few unique talents of his or her own. This Avenger is the Justicar of the other nine; if one Kal'aire turns against his or her purpose with the Spirit of Vengeance, the Avenger is sent upon that rogue Kal'aire. Such conflict only happened once in the entire history of the Kal'aire. A rogue Kal'aire began taking up with vampires in Brookshire; she had fallen in love with a Khavosian vampire that lured her into being his lover and his protector. The two wreaked havoc across the Grand Duchy for a time, until Darechon Dur`lane hunted the pair down and brutally slew both the rogue and the vampire, for all Kal'aire to see.

Likewise, in situations where Kal'aire are slain and another must be chosen, it is the Avenger that will tend to this task. In situations where it is the Avenger that falls, one of the remaining nine is chosen to ascend to the status of Avenger then another Kal'aire is chosen by the new Avenger.

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Life and Love for a Kal'aire

To choose the life of a Kal'aire is one fraught with hardship. Kal'aire do eat and drink normally and the process helps maintain their physical forms and overall health, but not having food will not kill them, nor will starvation or dehydration kill them. It may cause them discomfort, but so long as they can touch a shadow to draw energy they can maintain existence. Food and drink begin to taste bland as the Kal'aire increases in age and power, so drawing energy from the shadows or from the Guilty becomes the preferred sustenance.

While not undead, Kal'aire are considered immortal for all intents and purposes. They will out-live mortal loves and families…eventually ending up alone, unless they find themselves with another immortal creature. Kal'aire also grow more and more emotionally detached as time passes. The need for companionship, love and acceptance becomes less and less. While this varies between individual, there is always some degree of detachment formed.

Kal'aire can enjoy sex as much as any mortal, however such endeavors must be considered with caution, due to their supernatural strength. For those who do pursue such relations its generally not impossible to ‘hold back a bit' as it were, though accidents can happen.

Kal'aire can have children, though the older the Kal'aire is beyond their mortal lifespan, the harder this becomes. There comes a certain point that seed becomes impotent and a womb will no longer bear children.

Also, the idea of having children for females turned to Kal'aire becomes more and more unappealing, since there is little chance to serve Vengeance while impregnated. This displeasure with the idea of pregnancy occurs much sooner than the ability to produce young withers.


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