Known for their nomadic nature and female honoring matriarchal system, the Ephryn are welcomed freely by most societies. Their greatest strength comes from tribal wisdom that speaks beyond ages, even in their youth. The Ephryn are known to be expert hunters and trackers and can quickly adapt to any climate or terrain. They are most at home in the plains and mountains. When danger abounds all Ephryn step up to the challenge as they excel at survival. If the odds are against them, they vanish as one into the landscape.
Native Ephryn are free spirits, prone to showing compassion and always willing to give their opinions at face value. There are no secrets for an Ephryn; they are incredibly honest. They honor women of any culture, though they heed the advice of their own kind first. They are very reliable.
Ephryn value their elders with ferocious dedication. A slight done to an elder is a slight to the tribe. Additionally, the ideas of a youth are also considered, for no one in Ephryn culture is incapable of contribution. As such, the Ephryn rarely commit to rash action, preferring to place thought into a situation before acting though only if they have the time to do so. When pressed, they react swiftly and aggressively.
Ephryn stand between 6 to 8 feet tall often weighing in around 220 to 260 pounds. The lack of weight gives them a wiry look, often with well toned muscles but rarely bulky. Skin color varies as well, ranging from a purple / black hue to a light gray. Their lanky bodies and long arms make them look like thin trolls (many races call them trolls, a fact that Ephryn are none too pleased by).
Adding to the troll look is the Ephryn facial structure. Their heads hold an oblong oval shape and a large slightly hooked nose. Their nostrils are very large, and folds of skin at the bridge of the nose and edges of the face look like large grumpy wrinkles just like a bloodhound (which the Ephryn consequently keep as companions). The wrinkles perform the same action that they do for the dog, collecting scent to be held there for extended periods, adding to the Ephryn's tracking abilities.
An Ephryn's jaw line is also a curiosity. Large canine molars are present at the back of their mount causing the jaw to be larger near the back, angling upward toward the mouth. The front teeth are similar to the incisors of humans, though 3 sets of canines are also present (consequently, Ephryn rely on meat for the primary bulk of their nutritional needs).
Hair on an Ephryn is dominantly black, but platinum does appears as well. This hair color will not diminish over time. Their hair naturally dreadlocks, caused by tiny hooks that naturally grow in their hair. These hooks make the hair extremely strong. Due to its relatively quick regrowth rate, Ephryn often cut their hair and bind it together to make rope. Both male and female keep their hair long, but males tend to cut it all periodically.
Ephryn live from 200 to 300 years. As elders they pass their knowledge down to the next generation by telling the stories they have been told during their upbringing, finally adding their own to the end. Young Ephryn typically just listen, but those in their mid-years are the record keepers, using tanned skins and paints to write with. These skins will later be inscribed onto the cavern walls of Kia Othran.
Ephryn tend to band together, both in their native lands and when they find themselves in other societies. They are quite welcome in the lands of men and inside the realms of Issalon as well as the dwarves. They tend to feel that human ambition interferes with their ability to understand themselves and others and often try to take up the role of teacher with them. To the Wild elves they give mutual respect as one would to another allied tribe, and the dwarves are pitied for their shortsightedness.
Not all blood is good, and sometimes tribal conflicts can create tensions within the country. An Ephryn is loyal to his or her matriarch and tribe first, everyone else comes second. They often get up in arms over the way situations are handled as each tribe has its own laws. The only time this is ignored comes when all the tribes gather beneath the shadow of Kia Othran to weather the winter. Then for a short time, they become one, singular unit. Once the warm spring winds begin to blow the tribes once again venture to their home territories to follow the game until the next winter.
The tribes are often broken down further into smaller groups as sub-tribes that operate in their respective lands. The sub-tribes are autonomous from the main tribe, often started by young females looking to form their own units without the rule of their matron. Matrons often encourage this type of behavior to cultivate leaders among their people. Most of the sub-tribes will eventually rejoin the main one if they are not weeded out by the wilds. Those who choose not to rejoin will claim their own lands and try to expand. The last successful sub-tribe to do this were the Ephryn of Ty'Kone when they split away from Feh'Hamma.
Beyond feuding between tribes are even greater tensions that have rise up over the ages. Ephryn harbor an extreme dislike, verging on hatred toward Orcs. The constant warfare between the two races has often trapped the Ephryn right in the middle, catching flak from both sides. The Orcs they view as blood hungry warriors, though a mutual respected ground comes from both societies following shamanistic beliefs.
The Tyran elves on the other hand, are viewed with outright emnity. An Ephryn will happily dispatch the Worldshapers for their transgressions against their race. In the early days the elves began “purifying” their lands, slaying several tribes to rid the world of undesirable trolls because of their stench and fiendish love for elven flesh. Mistaken for trolls, the Ephryn fell under assault from the elves, and only a stroke of luck caused by the dawn of the Runic Age saved them from being wiped out. The anger has been passed down in legend and blood, running thick in the veins of the Ephryn who are still taken as slaves by the elves of Tyr.
Ephryn make their home in Ephyrne, the country from which their name is derived. From there they break themselves up into their respective tribes. Because the tribes are nomadic, the Ephryn have no home cities. Some have favorite home grounds, but they cycle through them much like rotating crops, never setting their encampments in the same places more than once every two winter cycles.
Ephyrn erect Piapts and Hortiees as their mobile homes upon the plains. A Piapt is a cross between a teepee and yurt; in which the teepee rises out of the yurt's center. A single Piapt is large enough to hold several families and are typically used for sleeping, gatherings, and other daily activities. Horitees are constructed for other daily tasks. The Horitee is similar in concept to the Piapt; a cross between teepee and yurt. The teepee forms the base of the Horitee, extending upward about half way (high enough to stand in) where it is capped by a yurt dome. These are most often used for single family units, and accommodate for little more than sleeping.
Ephryn are worshipers of the natural world. Their shamans use Ancestral Magic to call the winds or cause water to sprout out of the earth. They revere each of the elemental gods, and keep vigil over a 7 god pantheon*:
Demüen called Oliped the Burning the life giving sun.
Moratem called Gei'Lyl the Green Warden whose roots tie together earth and sky.
Ivandris called La-Hauki the Great River Moose from whose hooves spring the Jyazpip, vital for life.
Zamikeye whose hair is the river streams, whose tears are the rain and whose anger can sunder the heavens.
Kantoram called Caligan, the trickster lord who woke the elementals to unravel the balance. Caligan told Poligyle that his world was falling to pieces because of his vanity. Poligyle sundered his Mountain with the Forger's Hammer sending boulders to the ground. When the Mountain cried to its lord, “Why? Why oh lord do you slay me?”, Poligyle fell to his knees in grief.
Sploron called Poligyle the Earth Molder who kissed broken boulders to mend the Mountain of the Builder whose spirits were now tortured in pain. Each kiss placed a spirit into stone from which the Ephryn were born.
Balphurus called Rygoghky the Demon born of Poligyle's hammer during the gods anger toward Caligan's trickery.
*These are the primary deities of the Ephryn, whose legend and myths revolve around them. While they know of the other gods, they are but demi-gods compared to their primary pantheon. Ephryn believe that when they die they will dance eternal in the shadow of the Mountain.
Natives speak Ephryn, though many also learn elven so as to better acquaint themselves with their enemies. Some Ephyrn continue to practice the dwarven language as well, waiting in expectation for the days when the dwarves will open the gates to their hold in Kia Othran.
Notable Native Ephryn
+2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, -2 Dexterity: Ephryn are a hardy people, blessed with patience and insight, but slow to react.
- Medium: Ephryn are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Far-strider: Ephryn have a base speed of 40 feet.
- Low-Light Vision: Ephryn can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
- Fast Healing: Ephryn regain 1 hit point each round. Except for where noted, fast healing is just like natural healing. Fast Healing does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation, nor does it allow a creature to regrow lost body parts. Fast Healing continues to function (even at negative hit points) until the Ephryn dies, at which point the effects of Fast Healing immediately end.
- Skilled Survivalist: Ephryn receive a +2 racial bonus on Survival checks.
Languages: Ephryn begin play speaking Common and Ephyrn. Ephryn with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Elven, Orc, Goblin, and Terran.