The ILMAR are a primitive human culture native to Aenya distinguished by their absence of clothing. Due to their rejection of social norms and prehistoric ways of living, the civilized peoples of Aenya consider them a lesser race. They are called savages, wild humans, feral children, or barbarians (despite their class). Ilmar are shunned where people gather, which forces them to live alone or in bands of no more than a dozen individuals, in forests, swamps, and grasslands. The prejudiced view towards the Ilmar is perpetuated by what little is known of their culture. Having lost their ancestral land to famine and changing climate, Ilmar who have not gone into hiding are often forced into service as soldiers and slaves, or end up as beggars on city streets. A small number of them adopt local customs, learning to wear clothes while keeping secret their heritage.
Ilmar are great survivors, and can make their homes in the harshest of environments. They exceed at hunting, foraging, and making simple tools from the simplest of resources. Due to their primitive natures, Ilmar can go without food and water, and endure extreme climates better than most races.
While traveling for an hour or more in forest terrain, you gain the following benefits:
- Difficult Terrain doesn’t slow your group’s Travel.
- Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
- Even when you are engaged in another Activity While Traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
- If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
- When you Forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
- While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES: Once subsumed by other cultures, Ilmar are difficult to distinguish from other humans, aside from their light, almost translucent eyes. Their skin ranges in hue from light copper to blue-black, is sturdy as leather, and their soles are as resilient as the hardiest of halfling feet.
HISTORY: The Ilmar are the last vestige of proto-human, the earliest humans to have evolved on the planet of Aenya. According to an inscription found within a Septheran stele, the first word for human was ‘ilma’, which the Ilmar use to denote their species, as they do not recognize themselves as a separate social group from other humans. The proto-human lived peacefully for one hundred thousand to one million years, until the arrival of the Septhera c. 10,000 BGM. Finding the dominant life of Aenya defenseless, the Septhera conquered the planet with ease, enslaving all humanity, except for a small population hidden in a region in the mountains of Ukko. There, the proto-human continued to thrive, oblivious to the changes occurring beyond his borders. It was not until 5 BGM that the people of the Ukko river valley were discovered by Kjus, a Zo researcher. Kjus became enamored by their simple existence, abandoning his own society to live among their people. He named their land ‘Ilmarinen,’ after the Ilm, a flower of orange and violet which grew in abundance there, and the name the Ilmar use to denote themselves. Kjus taught the Ilmar science, history, philosophy, and medicine, but made certain not to pollute their way of life with the excesses of the Zo civilization. Kjus later built a monastery in the Ukko mountains, and before his death, founded the Order of Alashiya, where the Keepers, a class of Ilmarin monks, guard the Forbidden Knowledge of the Zo.
CULTURE AND SOCIETY: Knowing nothing of war, crime, or government, the Ilmar live a simple agrarian life. Since everything in their community is shared, they have no concept of currency, wealth, or poverty. As Kjus said, “No man is poor who wants for nothing.” Much of their day is spent farming and gathering, though Ilmar are known to hunt during food shortages. In their leisure time, they enjoy singing, dancing, and conversing. In ritual song, they relate their myths. The holiest time in an Ilmarin’s life is that of the Solstice, the longest night of the year, when families gather to celebrate life, love, and creation. It is during this time that boys and girls of a certain age, showing hair about the loins, pair off to jump the sacred bonfire, after which the pair is forever joined. During this ceremony, the souls of lovers from past lives find one another again. Contrary to what is said in Hedonia, the Ilmar do not engage in orgies, or fornicate recklessly, but only with those with whom they are joined. When the Solstice ends, it is expected that the female move into the male household, and that by the following year, she bear him a child. Birthing children is the highest honor in Ilmarinen, and for this reason, females are afforded greater status than males, since it is from the female that life originates.
The Ilmar lack many technologies, but are skilled woodsmiths and clay workers. Their artifacts include elaborately carved farming tools, throwing spears, atlatls, and pottery. They also excel in the shaping of trees to produce living homes. Giant camphor and oak are hollowed out to make bedrooms and kitchens, though eating, bathing, and grooming remain outdoor activities. As they are without any concept of crime, the Ilmar do not use doors or locks, though partitions may include curtains of bead or bone.
LANGUAGE AND CUSTOM: For the Ilmar, body taboos do not exist, and concepts of shame are entirely foreign to them. The Ilmar are not, however, without a sense of individuality. They will decorate their bodies with flowers, bones, semi-precious stones, like jade or lapis lazuli, and with elaborate patterns of henna. Neither sex cuts its hair. Women wear a single braid, which can reach down to their ankles, while the men grow their locks to the middle of the back, either loose or in multiple braids.
RELIGION: For the Ilmar, all life is sacred, from the smallest insect to the greatest camphor tree. They make no distinction between human or sentient life and animal or non-sentient (plant) life. All are part of a singular essence known as the Mother Goddess, or Alashiya. The Goddess exists everywhere and in all things, even in non-living matter, such as in the wind, in sunlight, and in the earth. Alashiya is never seen or heard, but can be sensed through the skin. According to myth, the Goddess was born of two elder gods, Anu and Eru. At the beginning of time, these primordial deities danced through the Astral Void, singing to one another and making love continually, birthing new worlds in the process. After Aenya and Alashiya were created, the elder gods moved on.
The Ilmar do not consider dreams separate from reality. Each and every dream is a literal experience. By grinding the ilm flower into a fine powder and drinking it, ritual leaders embark upon purposeful dream journeys across time and space, into other dimensions, and to worlds beyond death.
In death, the Ilmar become one with Alashiya, as they were before birth. The body is marked by a cairn close to home, typically under a tree, which is then absorbed into the soil to become new life. Due to limited medicine and nutrition, their average lifespan is sixty years.
ILMAR and other races: Ilmar tend to be loners, in that they are shunned by most other races. Humans and dwarves in particular find their constant state of nakedness off-putting, whereas elves, gnomes, and halflings are more accepting. In a party of heroes, an Ilmarin will keep to him or herself, dressing appropriately where the culture demands it. Others may find the Ilmar to be the best of companions, in that they are fiercely loyal, trustworthy to a fault. An Ilmarin has little interest in possessions (rogues steal to survive) rarely partaking in their share of treasure.
ILMARIN NAMES: To foreign ears, the Ilmarin language sounds hard and clipped as they often use conjoined consonances.
Male names include: Xandr, Baldr, Heimdl and Borz.
Female names typically avoid the conjoined consonant and end in an ‘a’. Examples are Thelana, Aliaa, Amina, and Anja.
Starting character sheet:
Strength: 12 +1
Intelligence: 11 +0
Wisdom: 11 +0
Dexterity: 18 +4
Constitution: 17 +3
Charisma: 12 +1
Level: 1 (+2)
Armor Class: 17 (nude)
Hit Points: 13
Duel Wield: +6 / 1d6 +4 (short sword) + 1d4 (dagger)
Longbow: +6 / 1d8 +4 (range 150/600)
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Saving Throws: Strength +3, Dexterity +6
Skills: Athletics +3, Nature +2, Perception (nude) +2, Stealth +6
Special: Natural Explorer, Favored Enemy: bogren (goblins), horg (orcs)
Equipment: Short sword, dagger, longbow, quiver, arrows, cloak
BACKSTORY: Thelana is born in the river valleys of Ilmarinen, the middle child in a family of twelve. Her eldest brother, Borz, is sold into slavery when she is very young. As the dark hemisphere continues to creep eastward, the resulting famine forces Thelana into the wild. Her life is spent on the edge of survival, hunting for prey while hiding from predators. Wounded by a cannibalistic half-man, she is rescued by Captain Dantes and taken to a nearby military encampment, where she proves her archery skills and is recruited into the Kratan army. Years pass until, on the Plains of Narth, their forces are decimated by the bogren and horg, and Thelana, torn with longing for the life she knew, abandons the battlefield. In Ilmarinen, she finds the crops and ilm flowers have withered. There is no trace of her family.
To learn more about the Ilmar, please check out the Ages of Aenya.