Bullies, raiders and slavers the Tanshar are the bane of the north-west of Xioquen. Their exact history is unclear but they are presumed to once have been a nomadic tribe, like the Eshrite. Whatever their history or ancestry may be, such a detail has been lost to time and to mingled bloodlines of warriors bred from slave stock. What make the Tanshar so dangerous, beyond their deadly warrior ethos, is that they are functionally a slave race to seemingly immortal sorcerers.
Tanshar are of mixed heritage, meaning their exact skin tone or height tend to vary from anywhere in shades of grey to brown or even olive green. Their hair, likewise, can be any shade from white to black as well as greenish or blueish. Rather, it is the molded features of the Tanshar elite which show that they are different from the others. Tanshar sorcery has engineered them to be invariably fit and beautiful in a predatory way, their features sharp and striking. Their teeth are long and sharp and most grow elongated, claw-like fingernails. Higher-ranked Tanshar are generally larger, stronger and more beautiful.
The Tanshar are at the very edge of what would consider being Alzardi. Over the last few generations, sorcerous engineering has slowly molded them in what they consider a superior stock. Tanshar are naturally more aggressive than baseline Alzardi and mutation has been cultivated to grant them natural weaponry. Organic ‘switchblades’ are not uncommon on Tanshar assassins. Higher-ranked Tanshar can be expected to be further ‘molded’ to fit the need and whim of their sorcerous overlords. Most see this process as an honor and elderly Tanshar rarely, if ever, look the part: they are too skilled and important to be allowed to grow old, frail and ugly.
Tanshar may have begun as nomads and raiders but the last few centuries have seen them being molded into something more. Tanshar society is built around a single concept, which is the glory of their sorcerer-kings. Once tribal shaman, the first sorcerer-kings sought power and turned to the dark force which eat at Xioquen through the west: the Uncreated Night. What dark power they bargained with and at what cost none can say but they soon rivaled their Delnerite neighbors.
Their social structure is best described as a violent feudal pyramid. One important thing to understand is that most Tanshan are not born to a family: most Tanshar children aren’t raised from a family but rather by the warlords. Born from slave and captive stock, altered into Tanshar in the womb or after birth or given away by their Tanshar parents who have need or time to raise an infant. Raising children is something the military does, not parents. Children raised by their parents are, however, expected great things and most are slain by their cruel parents if they fail to meet expectations. This is not an issue because Tanshar are a notoriously promiscuous lot and a warlord or sorcerer-king is expected to have a harem, even women. Captured male soldiers may at first think being the boy-toy of a beautiful-but-cruel Tanshar warlord may be fun but Tanshar foreplay can be…messy.
How the Tanshar see ‘virtue’ is best explained as an egocentric quest for excellence and self-serving or at least serving oneself by proxy of serving the sorcerer-kings. A Tanshar’s concept of ‘mercy’ may be the enslave a defeated oponent and keep him as a personal gladiator, bodyguard or sexual object. To the Tanshar, this is much better than death because the thing they came to love and respect is given the chance to serve what is important in the Tanshar’s life: itself or its sorcerer-king master. As wielders of theurgic might, the sorcerer-kings are the life and blood of the Tanshar community and service offer a very tangible reward which is why no matter how many atrocities the sorcerer-kings commit they have legions of devoted Tanshar. After all, service to the sorcerer-kings grant a longer life, being free from diseases and even give beauty to a disfigured or ugly Tanshar. More than a few Tanshar assassins began as homely (by Tanshar standards) servants eager to be as beautiful as the sorcerer-kings (whose real, ugly appearance is carefully hidden behind a veil of sorcery).
Tanshar, if statted as mortal heroes, would begin play with the following Talent:
- Legacy/Natural Weapon
- Legacy/Inherited Prowess, usually strength, constitution, dexterity or charisma.
- No Tanshar may begin play with a stat of 5 or less, if one is rolling random stats. Anything less ‘perfect’ is usually killed and/or eaten young.