Fear of pain and death is fear of the inevitable. This is for the lesser folk. If you must ask for anything, let it be challenges to conquer and more foes to fell.Taga Warmother
- Accessory Senses
- Heavy Metal
- Red Rot
- Species Calling: Ka-Tollam
The Tollam, sometimes pronounced ‘Tolm’ or simply referred to as giants, are large humanoids with highly dense muscular tissue, thick and durable skin, incredible stamina, redundant organs, and impressive recovery faculties. They display a wide variety of slightly bestial facial features, with flat or elongated features, wild eyes, broad mouths, sharp canines and almost fur like hair. Average Tollam height is 2.3 meters. The Tollam claim to have been created by Oto, the Warrior, as a demonstration of martial prowess, but other stories suggest they were created by the humans of the great empire as soldiers and servants. The Tollam are the only quasi-human species that has it’s own distinct territory and large scale culture.
Tollam are, without doubt, the strongest and most durable quasi-humans in Aeldos. They are gifted athletes and warriors capable of prodigious physical feats. Tollam warriors are feared across the continent, not just for their ability but their affection for combat. The innate fear the Tollam generate in others is often attributed to their size and reputation but in truth their presence actually seems to produce an almost arcane and primal sense of panic. Tollam are blessed with a variety of traits that enable them to survive wounds that would kill others including redundant organs, nictitating membranes, a secondary thymus, dense bones, and a thick, almost hide-like skin. They possess enhanced senses with sharp vision and hearing and a functioning vomeronasal organ and associated neural structure that grants them an accessory sense of smell and enables them to detect smells and pheromones other sapients cannot.
Tollam are devoted warriors with a cultural tradition that places a high value on martial talent but little value on invention and intelligence. As a result many Tollam are poorly educated and actively avoid advanced education. Their size and physique necessitates a colossal amount of caloric intake, 5-10 times as much as an average human. The intimidating features of the Tollam are often a curse to those who would seek trade, diplomacy or outside companionship. Tollam are susceptible to several Tollam-specific and terrible diseases, in particular the Red Rot which causes Tollam flesh to harden and turn dark crimson and triggers a severe degeneration of higher brain function, reducing a Tollam to a nearly rabid animal, driven by a hunger so intense it can lead to auto-cannibalism. Finally, while Tollam size and power is an advantage in combat it makes life difficult in many other small ways. Gear is more expensive, few mounts can carry a Tollam, and furniture and accommodations meant for humans are rarely comfortable for even below average Tollam.
Tollam are gigantic muscular humanoids renowned for their strength, resilience, and devotion to the arts of war and combat. Standing 2.3 meters (7.5 ft) tall on average, and far broader than those few humans of equivalent height, Tollam strength and stamina are well documented and even the average Tollam is enormously powerful compared to other species, capable of nearly impossible feats of brawn.
The physical structure of Tollam varies slightly between female and male. While the average height for both is the same, the muscle mass is often higher in males than females. Females tend to possess denser muscle mass, better senses and enhanced reaction times in comparison with males. Accordingly, where male Tollam excel at front-line assault and infantry duties, females are more often found in scouting and reconnaissance units and using ranged combat implements such as bows and spears. This is not universal and the variance is not significant enough to truly handicap either group.
Tollam can live up to 300 years in age but many do not make it past their first century due to their affection for combat, adventurism, and dangerous sport.
Tollam can be found in small numbers across the continent but the main bulk of the species is found in the Tollar and Southern Illspire ranges. This core group is known widely simply as ‘the Tollam’.
Tollam are blessed with a variety of traits that enable them to survive wounds which would be instantly lethal to others. This includes redundant anatomical features including secondary respiratory and circulatory organs, durable digestive organs, nictating membranes, secondary thymus, and additional and semi-distributed neural components which extend into their spinal column. Tollam skin also differs significantly from most other sapients, being both thicker and denser.
Tollam possess excellent senses, with sharp visual and aural acuity, well above human average but their greatest sensory advantage actually takes the form of a functioning vomeronasal organ and associated sensory neurons which grant them an accessory sense of smell and enable them to detect smells and phermones that most other Sapients cannot. This enables them to track scents imperceptible to humans and perceive the arousal and fear of their enemies.
Many Tollam possess somewhat bestial features including dense fur-like hair, elongated predatory features, sharp carnivorous teeth, and pointed and mobile ears. These features are not universal and can take slightly different shapes depending on the origin of the Tollam. Northern Tollam tend towards more canine and ursine features while central and southern Tollam tend towards more feline and human features.
As a result of their size, power, distinctive features, and readiness to use violence, Tollam are widely feared by other species. This trait seems to have a biological component, as the terror response a Tollam can trigger occurs even without line of sight or direct exposure. Travellers who have even passing encounters describe a sense of primal fear that seems to well up in their proximity. The Tollam utilize this trait as an advantage on the battlefield, emphasizing their ferocity with adornments and menacing displays and utilizing the effect to cow their enemies. The sound of Tollam war drums, coordinated shield clashing, deafening roars, ritual self-scarring, facial tattoos, sharpened teeth and more make encountering Tollam, let alone fighting one, a harrowing proposition.
The Tollam take advantage of their immense power in the design of their arms and armour. The most obvious example of this is Fortress Armour, a type of full plate armour made from thick layers of specially layered iron and steel that grant incredibly durability. Fortress armour is only functional on a Tollam; any other sapient would be crushed beneath the sheer weight.
The giants also utilize enormous specially crafted ballistic shields, in particular against Victran raiders These shields enable the Tollam to survive sustained vollies of Canna fire, slowly closing the distance on their enemies. These monstrous pieces of layered metal are difficult for non-tollam to move. They were adapted from Clatterjack shields and often have a spiked bottom allowing the Tollam to plant the shield before rushing the final steps towards a reloading enemy. Tollam shield tactics are disorganized compared to Ossandrians but the size and strength of their shield makes them effective nonetheless.
The Tollam wield a variety of weapons, from warhammers to spears, but the common characteristic is increased size, weight, and use of resilient, if not easily sharpened, materials. The most iconic Tollam weapons are the Battleblade and cleaver, both highly impractical weapons for any creature not endowed with superhuman strength.
The Tollam physique requires a truly colossal amount of caloric intake per day to maintain; 5-10 times as much as an average human. While this limitation is well handled in proximity to the Fostrian which produces incredibly dense and nutritious food, travelling Tollam typically do not have such a luxury. As a result Tollam who travel beyond their central territory must spend a significant portion of their time seeking out food and eating.
Tollam culture places a high value on martial talent and its demonstration and minimizes the value of many other pursuits. As a result many Tollam are poorly educated and culturally averse to advanced education. Unsurprisingly Tollam have little in the way of philosophy, engineering, or medicine, but a vast knowledge of the art of war. The one exception to this is the Skalds, a class of storytellers, entertainers, and lorekeepers who act as wise folk for Tollam tribes. Skalds can demonstrate martial talent, but it is generally considered less important than their ability to educate and entertain.
The intimidating features and demeanour of the Tollam are a blessing and a curse; they can aid in battle, but they often hinder in peace. Diplomacy, trading, and other social activities involving Tollam can be difficult for everyone involved. The inevitable result of this is a strong trend towards isolation. Even where integration is possible most Tollam end up preferring the company of other Tollam and withdraw into small communities on the outskirts of a given settlement.
Several Tollam-specific diseases exist but the most dangerous is the virulent affliction known as the Red Rot. Named for the effect it has on the skin and mind, the Red Rot causes flesh to harden and turn a dark crimson and triggers a severe degeneration in higher brain functions. The effect is to reduce an infected Tollam to a nearly rabid animal, driven by a hunger so intense it can lead to cannibalism and even auto-cannibalism. While the Rotted maintain much of their strength their senses are diminished significantly. For reasons not clearly understood the Rotted will not eat the flesh of other Rotten and groups of Rotted are able to engage in primitive communication and coordinated attacks. An outbreak of the Rot necessitates one of two actions; quarantine in hopes of starving the Rotted to death or, more frequently, the formation of a Cadre of the Dead; a group of Tollam inoculated from infection for a short term with powerful drugs. This inoculation enables them to survive an encounter with the Rotted but the side-effects of the drugs almost always kill the cadre shortly thereafter.
The size of the Tollam, weight of their gear, and inherently terrifying aura makes it very difficult to find and train mounts. As a result, horse riding has become something of a taboo or a social restriction driven by a justified reasoning; that a Tollam should always carry their own weight. This does not mean that Tollam do not keep or use horses. Indeed the Tollam Dray is a distinctive and massive breed of horse used for their immense pulling power and envied across Aeldos. Tollam just view horses as domestic tools, not to be risked in warfare and not acceptable for travel. A small number of odd or adventurous Tollam employ large semi-tame mammal mounts, typically raised from infancy, but the vast majority of Tollam travel by foot.
More than any other quasi-human species the Tollam have carved out distinct geographic cultures for themselves in the mountain ranges of Aeldos. This is no doubt due to their higher fecundity than other quasi-humans.
Click here to go to the Tollam Culture page
Occupying the Tollar and Southern Illspire mountain ranges this group represent the largest population of Tollam in Aeldos. It is these Tollam who benefit from access to the Fostrian and have built a citadel of enormous proportions to protect the incredible device. The Tollam of the south are led by the Triarchy, a trio of leaders, one each from the three castes and have been in a mostly cold war against the Victrans for centuries with the two sides occasionally exchanging blows but rarely trading territory. The Tollam are considered by many in the south to be the primary brake on Victran ambitions and as a result the Tollar maintain a cool but mostly friendly relationship with the Southern Phraeds of Nehep and the Lady of Selene, enabling many Tollam to venture beyond their mountains. Unfortunately, those who do are often targets for Ossandrian slavers. For the most part the Tollam are a stable and predictable force, content to expand further into the mountains, excavating ruins and new halls in the rock, rather than expanding further from afield, however a minority of the Tollam have ventured into the dangerous Illspire mountains in pursuit of glory, building sparse settlements and challenging the territorial claims of the Imperium.
With a name that derives from Svertan word for mountain hunters, Felyagr settlements dot the swordpeak mountain range, far from the southern bulk of the Tollam population. These northern giants survive primarily as hunters of the local megafauna, including some of the most deadly apex predators in Aeldos, a trait which has earned them considerable prestige among their human neighbours. As a result a notable portion of Felyagr have integrated with the local Svertans, interbreeding and establishing deep roots within the culture. Even those who remain separate from the humans tend to see themselves as guardians, organizing hunting bands in response to threats to their neighbours. The Felyagr trace their origins back to group of Tollam migrants who traveled north during the second age. These migrants apparently eschewed the more war-focused nature of other Tollam and as a result their descendants prefer lighter armours, faster weapons, and more adaptable tactics.
A relatively minor faction with an out sized reputation due to their constant aggression, Ond consider themselves superior to all, even other Tollam, claiming they can trace their lineage back to the Ayr-slayer who felled the Warrior Ayr. The term Ond itself derives from Svertan word for vicious, and Ond live up to the term, pursuing conflict constantly, raiding, pillaging, and generally stirring up trouble wherever they go. Fortunately they are a small faction, isolated to the Ash and Nyxia mountain ranges, and plagued by inbreeding and associated mutations. Ond hunters and war parties venture into the lowlands occasionally but have never managed to stay due to their intolerance for the soaring summer temperatures. Encounters between the Ond and others such as the Luxi, Ossandrians, and smaller groups are regular, and the source of most of those cultures prejudices against the Tollam. Ond inbreeding has led to a particular susceptibility to the Red Rot.
Species Calling: Ka-Tollam
Tollam Soldier: Athletics = New Rank x2
Tollam Lorekeeper: Concentration = New Rank x2
Tollam Dancer: Athletics = New Rank x2
Mighty: +2 starting Power, maximum of 7
Resolute: +1 starting Will, maximum of 6
Tough: +5 Health, +10 Stress. When taken below zero health Tollam cannot take the Fall action. Something in their hind-brain causes them Persist, even when terribly injured. The robust and redundant nature of Tollam physiology also lowers their Dying Fortitude check difficulty to 15 and they can add their level in Mountain Heart to this roll. Tollam are also immune to Massive Damage and are always placed in Dying status, even when taking truly staggering amounts of damage.
Fearful Aura: Add Power to Intimidation rolls
Sharp Senses: +2 Perception
Beast of Burden: Power, size, and their inability to use riding animals have necessitated adaptation on the part of the Tollam for moving goods and gear. Tollam gain an additional 5 inventory slots in addition to the slots added due to their added Power.
Simple: -1 starting Intellect, maximum of 4
Gigantic: Cannot ride conventional animals, x1.5 cost for non-Tollam equipment
Skill Purchase Modifiers
Tollam have modified XP costs for purchasing the following skills.
Lore +1 multiplier
Animal Handling +1 multiplier
Craft +1 multiplier
Combat -1 multiplier
Athletics -1 multiplier
Concentration -1 multiplier
Tollam Core – Mountain Heart: A small number of exceptional Tollam are able to consciously direct their biological growth in a form of intentional evolution, reforging their bodies into organic war machines sometimes referred to as Ka-Tollam. The source for this control appears to lie within their complex and highly redundant biology; the Mountain Heart, a dense neuro-circulatory cluster that allows the character to obtain the abilities listed below. Ability levels cannot exceed the characters rank in Mountain Heart.
Torpor Limitation: Despite common perception, Ka-Tollam are not without weaknesses, and the most significant of these is the Torpor; after any major exertion (combat, heavy labour) the Tollam must either eat an enormous quantity of food or risk falling into a deep sleep. The Ka Tollam must roll 2d10 + Will + Mountain Heart against a difficulty of 20 to remain conscious. On a failed roll the Character enters a torpor for 12 hours per point difference between what they rolled and the difficulty. It is at the Storyteller’s discretion for whether this check is needed.
The character grows larger, gaining strength and resilience. For each rank in mass the character gains the following:
|Rank||Max Power||Equipment Cost Multiplier|
- 1/2 a meter of height and 20 kg in weight
- +1 point to their max power (Aspect must be purchased separately)
- +2 bonus health
Bigger isn’t always better and this mass does come with drawbacks.
- The larger the character gets, the less places they are able to fit comfortably – inns, taverns, tunnels, and other interior spaces become more and more restrictive.
- All equipment needs to be custom made to match the characters increasing enormity. For each point in Mass the character adds +2 multiplier to gear costs.
The character is able to resist the Ka-Tollam torpor more easily. The Tollam can add their rank in Wakeful to rolls to resist the Torpor limitation.
A rare adaptation of the Tollam’s gut bacteria allows them to digest cellulose, gaining sustenance from food sources such as wood pulp, hemp, cotton, and grass. Though not precisely flavorful, this increase in the range of food options significantly improves the ability of a Tollam to travel beyond the Fostrian supply chain. Unfortunately the trait is not well appreciated by most Tollam, who consider it “degrading”. Many with this mutation hide it or risk gaining derogatory nicknames such as Barkbiters, Greenlips, Grassguts, Ropetongues, or even Rinder (translation: Cow-Child).
If there is a notable source of cellulose available in the form of pulped wood, hemp rope, cotton, or grass the Tollam can spend 1 hour gathering and consuming it to resist Torpor. The amount of time needed is +1 hour for each rank in Mass.
Once the Tollam starts moving, they are exceedingly difficult to stop, becoming a biological juggernaut. They can make a charge attack by rolling Power + Athletics + Mountain Heart. This can target a number of victims equal to their rank in Unstoppable Force inflicting damage equal to 3 + Mass + Unstoppable Force. The Tollam is also effective at pulling and pushing loads as a team of horses. Their rank in Unstoppable force can be added to Power rolls for pushing and pulling purposes.
The character is adept at hurling objects in the environment with force and accuracy. For each rank in Organic Trebuchet they gain a +1 bonus to thrown attacks.
The character develops a mouth full of redundant rows of iron hard teeth and a potent stomach acid allowing them to consume most organic matter. For each rank in Devourer they gain:
- +1 piercing damage for bite attacks
- +1 to rolls to intimidate
- The option to recover 2 health for each enemy killed and consumed
The Tollam can emit a deafeningly frightening roar which is physically debilitating to all who hear it. The character can roll a Power + Intimidate + Terrifying Aura against a target’s Will. Targets who fail suffer the following penalties based on spread. This ability costs 2 stress to use.
|1-4||-1 to all actions|
|5-9||-2 to all actions|
|10-13||-3 to all actions|
|13+||Temporary deafness, Enemy flees in terror|
The character’s hide grows thick and resilient offering natural protection. They gain +1 Armour soak (P, S, and B) and inflict +1 bashing damage with unarmed attacks per rank in this ability.
The Ka Tollam uses pain to fuel their attacks, retaliating against wounds and injury with vengeful wrath. When the Tollam takes damage and retaliates against their attacker they can choose to inflict bonus damage equal to half of the damage they received on their next attack. The attack roll must still hit and the damage is in addition to any regular damage their attack might inflict. This ability can be used a number of times per combat equal to their rank in the ability.
(Prerequisite: Mass 3, Granite Skin 1)
The Tollam slams the earth with tremendous force, causing a massive concussive shockwave. The character rolls Power + Mountain Heart + Shockwave and all individuals in the area must make a Grace defense or be knocked prone and take 1 damage per rank in shockwave. For each rank in this ability the shockwave travels 3 meters. This ability costs 2 stress to use.
The Ka-Tollam has accepted the brutality of the war and their role in it and can soak an amount of combat related stress equal to their rank in this ability.
Sometimes meat is mightier than metal. The Tollam is particularly adept at inflicting damage to structures and mechanical objects, ignoring their typical Soaks and inflicting damage directly. The Tollam can bypass an amount of structural soak equal to their rank in this ability.
Few defenses can stand against a Tollam’s focused fury. When a Tollam attack is parried with a shield it is badly damaged, reducing the shields parry bonus by the Tollam’s rank in Shieldbreaker. If this exceeds the parry bonus the shield is destroyed and the character’s shield arm is paralyzed for a number of rounds equal to the rank in Shieldbreaker.