Thursday, January 3, 2008

Godtouched Races: Salamanders

Salamanders are one of the odder godtouched races. Physically they are a cross between a human, a lizard, and a centipede, and all of them have elemantic potential of the fire variety. Their personalities however are overly cold, pragmatic, logical, nomadic and antisocial, all decidedly un-fire and non-passionate traits. They tend to be rather hateful towards the other godtouched races, and if they have a unified civilization, it doesn't show. They normally live in and around active volcanoes, though they have also been known to inhabit the Yesshan desert, though they have no permanent settlements.

Salamanders are typically bright red with mottled patches of brown and yellow on their skin. Their upper body is humanoid, with scaly lizard skin. Their faces are gaunt and long, with jaws that can dislocate and open extremely wide. They have no ears and have solid black antler-like growths coming out of their forehead. Below their waist their bodies change into a worm-like segmented tail, with each segment sporting a pair of very powerful and long insect legs. Salamanders are usually 5 to 6 feet tall, and 5 to 6 feet long. They normally weigh anywhere between 200 and 400 pounds. Salamanders are long-lived creatures, and tend to live 200 years on average, with salamanders as old as 400 being reported.

If you'll forgive a brief tangent, it is very rare for users of elemancy to be immune or even resistant to their own element. Elemancers usually have to be quite careful with their destructive manifestations, lest they destroy themselves through carelessness. Salamanders, conversely, are immune to damage from high heat (both magical and non-magical) and sometimes their natural high body heat can cause ripples in the air. Their use of their fire elemancy is therefore reckless and wild, because they do not need to worry about damaging themselves. This doesn't just extend to their elemantic powers - they tend to actually swim in molten lava on occasion. It is theorized that they might actually swallow gulps of molten rock, and process it as food, gaining energy from the heat and organic materials from the rock itself.

While it is possible to tell the difference between male and female salamanders at a glance, and it does seem that the females breast-feed, actual salamander mating takes place deep within the liquid magma of an erupting volcano. The energies unleashed during this event make it virtually impossible to magically scry and observe the proceedings, so their mating habits are a mystery.

They have no society to speak of, and seem to be quiet loners for the most part. They were created by the goddess of fire, Reksha. It seems she created them to be an aspect of her, and gave them strengths where she lacked them. Reksha's passion and shortsightedness would in theory be tempered by her salamander servants, though it's very possible she has abandoned them, forgetting or ceasing to care about the reasons she created them in the first place. Most salamanders despite their intelligence serve fire dragons as near-slaves, and salamander communities that do form are most often under the thumb of a tyrannical dragon overlord, that they serve in lieu of their fire god.

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