Stygian

The modern ruling-caste Stygians are tall, broad and blackhaired, with dusky skin and handsome, straight features.

Members of the ruling caste of the Stygians are hereditary warriors, though the Stygian deserts and cities are almost as famous for producing powerful sorcerers. Most have fairly dark skin, though a few of the most ancient noble families have skin the colour of pale ivory.

Ordinary Stygians are a downtrodden mix of many different races, as most of them are descended from slaves. They should generally be treated as Kushites, Shemites, Southern Islanders, or even Hyborians, depending on their origins.

Culture: The Stygian society is essentially a theocracy. Heretics and criminals alike are punished with horrible torture, such as being skinned alive. According to legend, before the Lemurians arrived, the land of Stygia was inhabited by a race of giant-kings. The Lemurians bred with the giant-kings and, learning much of their ancient sorcery, became the Stygians. One Stygian priest says that some mummies have lain in their tombs for ‘ten thousand years’; this could be boasting to suggest Stygia is older than it is – or he may be referring to the tombs of the giant-kings.

Names: Stygian names are similar to Egyptian names. They are often combinations of several meaningful syllables, such as: Nafer, Nut, Thoth, Merkri, Ak, Mek, Amon, Mes, Ra, Mun, Ankh, Cris, Ri and Phon. Note that if additional names are researched, they should be derived from ancient Egyptian rather than modern Egyptian sources. Examples: (male) Ctesphon, Kutamun, Thoth-amon, Thothmekri, Thugra Khotan, Thutmekri, Thutothmes, Tothmekri, Totrasmek, Tuthamon, Tuthmes; (female) Thalis, Akivasha. Suggestions: (male) Bakt, Imhotep, Kamoses, Menes; (female) Ankhesenamun, Enehy, Hebeny, Imiu, Isetnophret, Kiya, Miw-Sher, Netikerty, Sadeh, Yunet.

Religion: By far the most widely worshipped Stygian god is Set, the Old Serpent. However, other dark ‘hideous halfbestial’ and ‘apish’ gods are worshipped as well, perhaps including Hanuman. There is a cult in Luxor that follows Derketo. There is a suggestion that Set’s enemy Ibis was once worshipped in Stygia or Acheron but was driven out. Like the later Egyptians, the Stygians believe in bodily resurrection and that the soul, or Ka, is separated from the body to pass into the afterlife on death.

Racial Features: All of the following are racial features of the Stygians:

  • +2 racial bonus to all Knowledge (arcane), Perform (ritual) and Craft (alchemy) checks: The Stygian ruling caste is steeped in arcane lore from a very early age.
  • +1 racial bonus to attack rolls when wielding a Stygian bow: Stygian nobles are born to the hunt and to war. They routinely use the heavy bow of their country to bring down desert lions and other large prey
  • –2 racial penalty to all saving throws against Corruption: Most Stygian sorcerers welcome corruption if there is a chance it will bring them a little more arcane power.

Background Skills: Handle Animal, Knowledge (arcane), Knowledge (Stygia) and Perform (ritual)

Favoured Class: Scholar, Noble or Temptress

Prohibited Classes: None

Automatic Languages: Stygian

Bonus Languages: Shemitish, Kushite, Keshani, Zembabwean, Puntan, Darfari, Khitan, Hyrkanian, Acheronian, Demonic, Old Stygian

Stygian

Hyborian Roads Astenodar