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Tamaa

Summary

Though very human-like in appearance the androgynous Tamaa actually share as much biology with plants as animals. 1.5 to 2 meters in height the Tamaa possess mutable skin, hair and eye colour and a universally appealing symmetry and body shape. In addition to human appendages the Tamaa possess retractable prehensile tentillium which emerge from their arms and spine. These 1 meter long limbs are dexterous and strong enough to grip and entangle foes, but also sensitive to injury. Tamaa also possess enhanced senses. They are able to hide their true nature as quasi-humans with relative ease. Tamaa possess no distinct culture of their own and instead are predominantly found among the people of Subin, Nehep, and Selene.

Advantages

Tamaa (also known as Tamaq) are beautiful, their features universally striking and appealing. Their ability to change elements of their appearance at will allows them to accommodate the aesthetic preferences of any culture and most individuals. This, paired with an innate gift for conversation, performance, and negotiation and their generally appealing demeanour, makes Tamaa highly sought after as entertainers, diplomats and courtesans. Beyond their social talent, Tamaa also possess a natural resilience and the ability to regenerate from most wounds, even limbs, given enough time. Some Tamaa develop mutated tentillium capable of producing painful or intoxicating venoms. Perhaps the least well known trait of the Tamaa is their ability to feed on emotion. Tamaa do not need to eat regularly but they do crave the presence of human emotion and are drawn to dense populations.

Limitations

Tamaa trace their creation to the Ayr once known as the Libertine and now known as the Deviant and legend suggests they were created as ‘tools of experience’ – appendages Aia used to experience mortal pleasure and pain. As a result they possess limited Will and are easily guided by hedonistic urges. Tamaa are considered sub-human or aberrant by some cultures (Ossandria, Victra, and Granden) and are frequently targets of slavery. Tamaa suffer terrible hunger in the absence of human companionship. Wild Tamaa, those who are exiled or trapped in the wilderness are more akin to monsters than sapients. Finally, Tamaa as a species seem are confounded by advanced mechanical craft and technology.

Description

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The most common myths surrounding the quasi-human species known as the Tamaa are that they were an attempt by the Ayr known as Aia, the Libertine, to create their own variation of sapient life. According to these stories Aia was driven by an interest in mortal experience; taste, pleasure, pain, emotion, and altered sensation. The results of this interest were the creation of a variety of creatures, each devoted to an element of this interest; the Glutor for taste, the Whiptrap for pain, and a variety of floral and fungal life for human sensation. The Tamaa are believed to be the most sophisticated result of Aia’s experiments, an attempt to create a species that could integrate with humans in order to prompt and benefit from their emotions and sensation.

Whether the myth is accurate, the Tamaa are distinct and gifted in both infiltration of human society and matters of hedonism. From the outside Tamaa can easily appear as human, hiding all of their stranger features, however they are able to display their features and emphasize their true nature if they wish. The only overt feature that can be used to discern them is their androgyny, and even this can be masked with relative ease.

Mutable Beauty
The children of Aia are gifted with a universally aesthetic appeal. They have highly symmetrical features, strikingly beautiful eyes, fine silken hair, smooth and unblemished skin, a pleasing aroma, and well defined physiques. This common set of attributes is further augmented by a natural, often subconscious, but easily self-directed mutability. Coloration of hair, eyes, and skin are all within the control of a Tamaa, allowing them to make broad changes to enable them to blend in with most cultures with relative ease, or minor changes to accentuate features in the same way others do using cosmetics. Additionally the curvature of the body can be modified to enhance feminine or masculine traits. Tamaa appear to be subconsciously aware of the preferences of others and their features often change subtly, and without thought, to maximize their appeal.

Pleasing Nature
Tamaa possess a subtle but potent empathetic ability. As a result their social skills are above average. Their empathy leads to a ready intuition for conversation and performance and an awareness and ability to adjust their behaviour to fit expectations and social mores. The cumulative effect of this social astuteness tends to make Tamaa easy to like and adept at ingratiating themselves to others.

Regenerative Immortality
To any observer Tamaa appear nearly identical to humans. It is only on deeper inspection that their distinctness is revealed, particularly in their considerably more robust biology and powerful regenerative capacity. Tamaa heal more quickly than humans, do so without the creation of scar tissue, and can do so from wounds that would be lethal to others. Their blood coagulates quickly, wounds close up with minimal attention, and contusions and breaks seem to mend on their own with relative ease. Most extraordinarily, Tamaa can regenerate even the most grievous and grisly wounds with minimal impact; dismemberment, bisection, and even decapitation are not lethal unless the heart is removed and destroyed or isolated from sunlight. The regeneration always occurs from the heart; anything removed becomes inert. The exception to this is fire and chemical/acid damage which Tamaa are slightly more vulnerable to. Rumors among the crueler Aeldans, Ossandrian legionaries in particular, suggest that the best method of destroying Tamaa is to engulf them in flames or submerge them in corrosives.
Tamaa feel pain in the same way as Humans and while truly devastating injuries can be healed, they often leave the Tamaa in extreme pain for extended periods of time. This can lead to derangement and even drive Tamaa feral. The Tamaa gift for regeneration also appears to make them ageless.

Tentillia
The most overtly inhuman feature of the Tamaa are the sinuous vine-like tendrils they possess. Each Tamaa possesses between 6 and 8 Tentillia, housed in their arms and back, each growing up to a meter in length and between 2 and 3 cm in diameter. These appendages are relatively weak but agile and can be used to manipulate objects, pick pockets, operate small machinery, trip foes, aid sleight of hand, distract others, or enhance intimidate rolls. Tentillia emerge through hidden slits in the arms and back and can be retracted fully into the Tamaa’s body, coiled in special channels that make them imperceptible. Tentillia taper at the tip which possesses high tactile sensitivity.
Tamaa who choose to develop an Arbour heart gain the ability to consciously mutate their Tentillia in various ways, thickening them, growing retractable thorns or developing secreting glands with various effects.

Scotopic Vision
Tamaa are able to alter both the appearance and portions of the internal structure of their eyes granting them keener sight than humans. Tamaa can see in low light without aid but cannot see in total darkness.

Children of the Libertine
More than any other feature, the Tamaa penchant for hedonism and excess has helped associate them with Aia; the Ayr once known as the Libertine and more recently as the Deviant. Tamaa possess below average impulse control and weak volition. Descriptors used for Tamaa include; flighty, emotional, impulsive, reckless, inattentive, and impetuous. These features can often make Tamaa appear younger than they really are, leading to some characterizations of the Tamaa as childish. This limited attention and volition can be overcome with age and experience but even the eldest Tamaa can suffer from sudden rash or foolhardy behaviour.

Outsiders
Only a handful of Aeldan cultures accept Tamaa as sovereign entities with the dignity and rights of humans. In Subin, Selene, and Nehep Tamaa are free to display their less human features without much fear of recoil however, in most other cultures the Tamaa are perceived as dangerous creatures, aberrations with malevolent motives, intent on infiltrating and corrupting humanity. In some places, such as Ossandria, this belief is driven by a strong sense of human primacy and superiority, but in others the justification for Tamaa hatred is religious. Many Aeldans, including the Luxi, Granden, and Vandar depict Aia as one of the ‘Laughing Ayr’, a devious and malicious figure complicit in the torment of Humanity. This is the reason for the shift in perception from Aia as Libertine to Aia as Deviant and the reason used to defend persecution of the Tamaa.

Dependency
The Tamaa’s weak will and hedonistic nature frequently leads to the predictable outcome of dependency or addiction to various acts, substances, or conditions. While dependency is not intrinsically negative, and some Tamaa have relatively benign dependencies, many fall into more problematic addictions; dangerous drugs, expensive food and drink, promiscuous sex, high stakes gambling, perilous adventure, and even simple pain.

Feeding
Tamaa feed on the emotional feelings of others. As a result Tamaa require companionship not just for social well-being but for sustenance. A Tamaa without social interaction grows hungry and increasingly savage with each day in the absence of emotion. Conversely a Tamaa in large social groups gains power from the group. This does not obviate the need to feed on physical material, but it does significantly diminish it. A Tamaa travelling with a partner can survive primarily on that persons feelings, taking only occasional material nourishment. Furthermore, like a snake a Tamaa can glut themselves on food or feelings, retaining the energy instilled for some time. The sustenance of the feelings will fade more rapidly than the food, but it is possible for a Tamaa to survive months on their metaphysical diet alone.
Though there are many rumors to the contrary, Tamaa feeding does not generally injure their target. It can lead to mental and emotional exhaustion when done to excess but it requires a prodigious appetite or cruelty for this to occur. Though it does not have to injure the target some Tamaa choose to and it is possible to inflict psychological and emotional trauma on a target if a Tamaa so desires or is incautious or rough. These mental scars can take several forms from night terrors and stress disorders to schizophrenic breaks. The vast majority of Tamaa seek to avoid this for their own safety; these sorts of activities are what usually end in pogroms with the offending Tamaa, or all Tamaa in an area set to a torch.

Sweet and Salty
Tamaa have a demonstrated affection for sweet flavours, possibly due to a quirk of their plant based biology. As a result, sugars and honey are exceptionally pleasing to most members of the species. Salts on the other hand are often found as exceedingly bitter to the Tamaa, causing most to avoid the substance. Salt reduces the Tamaa ability to both change shape and colour and thermoregulate. Significant amounts of salt can actually injure a Tamaa directly as they are much more susceptible to the dehydrating effects of the mineral.

Reproductive Limitations
Tamaa are both autogamous and allogamous, capable of developing male or female reproductive organs and either self-fertilizing or fertilizing another Tamaa. The limiting factor for Tamaa reproduction is that they are nearly semelparous; they are only able to develop the necessary organs a few times; typically once, but occasionally twice and very rarely three times in their entire lifetime. Moreover the development of the necessary organs and fertilization do not guarantee a successful birth. Tamaa gestation is far shorter than human, lasting only 4-6 months. At birth neonate Tamaa, also known as ‘seedlings’ are less developed than human infants and require more care and protection as they develop. To facilitate this they are born encased in a semi-translucent egg-like structure which provides some additional protection. If a seedling survives their first few months they begin to develop rapidly, exiting their shell and appearing much like a normal human baby, advancing to childlike at 2-3 towards their pre-adolescent state at 3-5 years. After this period the Tamaa development cycle demonstrates significant variability, with some Tamaa experiencing a short adolescence from age 5-10 and others going through exceptionally long maturation and not exiting adolescence until their 40’s. Tamaa who reach the physical and psychological equivalent of human adulthood cease aging.

Factions

Tamaa have no distinctive culture of their own and instead integrate where they are able. For the most part this means that Tamaa are culturally indistinguishable from others in their adoptive culture, but there are the following exceptions.

Subinese Tamaa

The people of the island of Subin are blessed with a fertile landscape, placid wildlife, generally tame weather and natural security features. As a result its people are best known for their devotion to pleasure, excess, distraction, and beauty, making the Tamaa a natural fit. Subinese not only accept the Tamaa, they treat them as favoured citizens and Subinese religious devotion to Aia has led to an almost cult-ish affection. Subinese Tamaa can find themselves figures of power or influence with relative ease. In many parts of Subin the Tamaa are actively worshiped and given great power and some historians speculate that Subin was originally founded by a colony of Tamaa or, at the very least, a culture of mixed humans and Tamaa. This is easy to believe given the significant parallels between the Tamaa and Subinese culture.

Nehepi Tamaa

The population of Tamaa in Nehep is small and found almost entirely in the southern cities where Ossandrian legions have yet to march. Here Nehepi Tamaa form tightly knit enclaves known for their alchemical skill and religious devotion. The only official recognition of the Tamaa by the southern rulers, the Phraeds, is as a distinct class for purposes of taxation. Beyond this they are treated almost exactly as the human population, though some lascivious nobles pay top coin for Tamaa courteans.

Selenian Tamaa

Selenian Tamaa are largely indistinguishable from all other Selenians but they do receive some special recognition from the city-state. Selenian authorities readily accept all civil sapients to the Silent City and Tamaa are no exception, however as a trade city and exceedingly diverse culture Selenian authorities must often deal with the prejudices amongst visitors. As a result Tamaa and other Quasi-humans are considered a protected class of citizen due to their small population and the propensity for some visitors to abuse or harass them. Crimes against quasi-humans motivated by speciest thinking are punished more readily and severely to dissuade future offenses.

Victran Tamaa

Victran Tamaa are neither welcomed nor shunned and persecuted with the same frequency as in other cultures. While treatment does vary between cities they are often seen as second class citizens and treated accordingly. When they are discovered they face a wide range of discrimination. They are given few rights, forced into work as entertainers and courtesans, paid poorly, and crimes against them often go unpunished.

Feral Tamaa

Extreme pain, isolation, overwhelming addiction, and exile all have dangerous consequences for the Tamaa; Ferality. Feral Tamaa are those who, by one of the causes listed, have lost their ability to control their darker urges, succumbing to base desires for food and pleasure. These Tamaa lose their ability to blend in with humans, regressing to a primitive state. Feral Tamaa take on a variety of features; Once beautiful hair fuses into leaf-like fronds and skin colouration instinctively shifts to create a natural camouflage; body shape mutates to enhance predatory traits including dense leaping muscles, hard bark-like skin, needle like teeth and hardened talon like fingers; Tentilliar mutations become toxic and incapacitating; they continue to emit a pleasing scent but this turns sour and acrid when they are feeding. Feral Tamaa possess all the same urges of civil Tamaa, but twisted into their darkest form and the end result is a dangerous predator that many who hate the Tamaa will point to as an example of their true nature. Feral Tamaa often form wild circles, hunting as small packs. They seek out complex organic life to capture and torment, feeding on the victims pain and emotional anguish, before eventually eating them, often alive. Feral Tamaa are particularly fond of human victims.

Species Calling: Aia's Chosen

Features

Calling Specialties
Tamaa excel at the following callings:
Tamaa Merchant: Mercantile = New Level x2
Tamaa Aristocrat: Socialize = New Level x2
Tamaa Entertainer: Socialize = New Level x2

Beautiful: +2 starting Appearance, maximum of 7
Likeable: +1 starting Personality, maximum of 6
Regeneration: Tamaa can heal from wounds that would be lethal to others and heal at a higher rate than other species. They regenerate an additional 2 points of health per week and can only be truly killed by the destruction of their heart. They are also sensitive to fire and chemical/acid damage.
Mutovore: Tamaa feed on the emotions of humans. They only need to eat material food once per week so long as they are in proximity to humans. They can also use this ability to regenerate stress, regaining 4 stress per day, or 2 when travelling.
Tentillia: Tamaa possess 6-8 sinuous vine-like tendrils, each 1 meter in length, housed in their arms and back. Tentillia are relatively weak but agile and have -3 power and Grace equal to the Tamaa’s. Tentillia can be used to manipulate objects, pick pockets, operate small machinery, trip foes, aid sleight of hand, distract others, or enhance intimidate rolls. Normal tentillia are too weak to wield weapons or shields.
Keen Sight: Tamaa can see in low light without aid. They cannot see in total darkness.

Impulsive: -2 starting Will, maximum of 3
Outsiders: Tamaa are considered aberrations in many cultures, limiting where they can go and who they can deal with without hiding their true nature.
Addiction Prone: Tamaa are easily addicted to new experiences and pleasures. They suffer the risk of a new addiction on any stress break.
Flamable: Tamaa take double damage from fire and acid.

Skill Purchase Modifiers
Tamaa have modified XP costs for purchasing the following skills.
Concentration +1 multiplier
Technology +1 multiplier
Craft +1 multiplier
Performance -1 multiplier
Socialize -1 multiplier
Mercantile -1 multiplier

Tamaa Core – Arbour Heart: The core trait for a Tamaa is the Arbor Heart, a spiritual and physical representation of their quasi-human nature. By embracing the plant-like facets of the Tamaa’s nature they develop a second circulatory organ, the Arbor Heart, which allows them to control their mutations and metamorphoses. While all Tamaa are capable of following this path, those who choose to are rare. The highest density of such Tamaa is found in the upper tiers of Subinese society where they are treated with almost religious reverence. Ability levels cannot exceed the characters level in Arbour heart.

Abilities

Mesmer: The Tamaa produces a series of scents and subsonic sounds capable of enrapturing humans and some animals. Roll an Appearance + Arbour Heart + Mesmer vs. target Will + Concentration. The character can hold 1 individual for 1 minute per level of Mesmer. At level 5 they can hold 1 individual indefinitely while maintaining the effect, or they can hold up to 5 individuals for 1 minute. The Tamaa must be within 1 meter of the target and mesmerized individuals get a chance to escape if they are harmed or placed in a position of imminent danger.

Camouflage: The Tamaa is able to alter their skin and hair colour to blend into surroundings. The character gains a bonus to stealth rolls equal to their level in the ability.

Innocuous: The Tamaa appears as harmless flora to aggressive wildlife. Roll Appearance + Arbor Heart + Harmless vs. target Perception. Targets that fail ignore the Tamaa entirely. The effect is broken by any attacks made by the Tamaa. This skill does not work on sapient species such as humans and quasi-humans.

Habit Forming: The Tamaa’s natural scent, sound, appearance, and the subtle effects of their emotional feeding all combine to make their presence addictive. Humans who spend a full day in the Tamaa’s presence find themselves craving that presence in future. This grants a bonus to social rolls with addicts, and a penalty to any attempt to try and harm the Tamaa. Each level in Habit increases the bonus to social rolls and the penalty for trying to harm the Tamaa.

Myco Companion: By clipping the lower portion of a Tentillium and planting it in fertile ground the Tamaa is able to seed and grow a companion creatures. These simple-minded creatures are perfectly loyal and attuned to their creator. Companions start with -3 intelligence, no will, and -1 in all other traits. For each level in Companion the Tamaa can have one additional companion and two character creation points to spend enhancing companion aspects and skills. E.g. at Companion level three the character could have two companions with three character points spent into each, or one companion with six-character creation points spent.

Maximum # of Companions Total # of Character Creation Points
1 2
2 4
3 6
4 8
5 10

Edibles: The Tamaa can seed and encourage the rapid growth of highly nutritious plant matter. For each level in Edibles the character can create or encourage enough food for one person for a day. This food has the added benefit of increasing stress recovery equivalent to 1 per level in the ability.

Colony: The Tamaa can create short lived clones of themselves. Each clone is mindless, capable only of following the instructions given by the Tamaa and while each replica appears identical to the original Tamaa, they have a base -1 in all aspects. These clones must be grown from seeds and take a week to grow. They possess no skills of note but can be used for basic labour, decoys, or for more… hedonistic purposes.

Colony Level # of Simultaneous Clones Lifespan (hrs) Health
1 1 24 1
2 2 48 2
3 3 72 4
4 4 96 8
5 5 120 16

+(Levels increase number, lifespan, and capacity)

Barkskin: The Tamaa’s skin grows hard as iron, granting them a form of natural armour and enabling them to endure blows which would otherwise kill them. For each level in Barkskin this armor grows more resilient, offering a +1 soak to Slashing and Piercing damage. Barkskin provides no defense against bashing damage.

Thorns: The Tamaa grows razor sharp barbs on their skin or Tentillia granting them the ability to inflict injuries to those in proximity. For each level taken in Thorns the barbs grow more numerous, harder, and sharper, inflicting 1 additional point of piercing damage.

Tentilliar Mutations

Tentilliar Mass: The Tamaa channels a portion of their energy into thickening and strengthening their Tentillia, increasing their strength and enabling them to be used in more diverse ways, such as for holding heavier items or attacking enemies. For each level in Tentilliar mass the characters gains +1 Power when using the Tentillia (At level 3 the Tentillia possess average human strength (0)).

Secretions
Each of the secretions below triggers a new hunger in the Tamaa as they must consume certain substances to generate mass for the secretion.

Resin: The Tamaa focuses on growing a Tentilliar gland which secretes a resinous substance. This substance can be used to immobilize a target, seal a door, or mend minor damages. Each level in Resin increases the strength and resilience of the resin and reduces the time it takes to fully set.

Medicinal: The Tamaa focuses on growing a gland which secretes a mixture of coagulants, pain killers, and antiseptics. The results of Medicine rolls made with the aid of a Medicinal tentillia are compared against the Mendikit column of the healing table and each level in the ability adds a +1 to the healing roll. The Tamaa produces enough to utilize this ability a number of times per day equal to their level in Arbour Heart.

Toxins: The Tamaa focuses on growing a gland which produces a variety of potent narcotic effects. Victims can roll a Power + Will vs. the Tamaa’s Power + Arbour Heart + Toxin to resist. For each level in Toxin the effects for 1 minute and cause 1 point of damage to the listed aspect as well as other narrative appropriate effects. For each level in Toxin the character can take a new effect from the list below:

Toxin Effect Aspect Affected
Allergen Puffy red skin, congestion, difficulty breathing Appearance
Disassociative Difficulty concentrating Will
Ecstatic Hallucinations and euphoria Intellect
Myopic Partial Blindness Intuition
Paranoia Reduced social capacity Personality
Somnolent Sleepiness Grace
Venom Reduced strength and stamina Power

Spore: The Tamaa can release a cloud of spores from their tentillia, enabling them to apply the narcotic and toxic effects above without direct contact. The Tamaa can project these spores up to a distance of 1 meter for each level taken in Spore.

Cordyceps: The Tamaa can inject a terrible parasitic fungus into a victim, rendering them a thrall of the Tamaa. The victim can roll a Power + Will versus the Tamaa’s Will + Arbour Heart + Cordyceps.
-The Tamaa can control one person for each level in Cordyceps.
-Generation of a new parasite takes 1 week minus 1 day per level in Cordyceps
-Targets get a resistance check with a frequency equal to the level in Cordyceps (e.g. 1/day at level 1, 1 every other day at level 2, 1 every 3rd day at level 3)
-Any direction to commit suicidal or deeply objectionable acts prompts a new roll to resist.
-Infection is hindered by alchohol and can be removed by making the victim consume a sufficient amount.

Fungal Ring: The Tamaa can spawn a cluster of mushrooms which are able to transmit sensation across distance. The Tamaa is aware of any creature crossing the ring and spores that cling to the interloper allow the Tamaa to sense their location for 7 hours before the spores die. The spores are also able to convey a general sense of the danger the creature poses. The distance of transmission is dependent on the level in the ability and the Tamaa can have a number of rings equal to the level in the ability.

Level Distance
1 10m
2 100m
3 1km
4 10km
5 100km