Powerful, free and fearless the Angori are the Chosen of Aramir, Immortal of Conquest. They value strength and honor in a harsh world. Angori strive to make their mark and to be worthy to stand in the company of their ancient chief and patron. Theirs is a path of danger and glory.
All Angori PC’s must wear a pair of at least 6” long horn prosthetics on the forehead. Horns may be straight, spiral or curved, see the Bloodlines section for the in-game meaning of variant horn styles.
Angori players may also wear face and body paint to represent tribal tattoos, scars and other distinguishing marks. Many Angori fighters wield oversized, but game legal, weapons as a mark of prowess. Warhammers are considered the traditional Angori weapon.
The Angori rose to dominance in their homeland of Angor under the leadership of the first Ascendant Immortal, Aramir, then named Armageddon, The Hammer of War. The taste for conquest and battle has been in the mouths of the Angori ever since this time.
The Angori value strength and prowess. Each Angori is a warrior first. They constantly test themselves and one another to become fiercer, stronger and more fearsome.
Unlike lesser races, however, Angori battlelust is not tainted with fear. The Angori know they are connected to their great ancestor and Immortal patron, Aramir and they wish to continue his work of uniting Orn under Angori rule. Angori live to brave the hazards of the world, to wear the trophies of their conquests, to kneel to no man and triumph over their rivals. This makes an Angori worthy of standing in Arimir's company.
Angori live a natural life span of approximately 80 years. They live in family/tribal groups and view all members of their race as kin. Skill at arms or mystical power is the measure of rank in Angori society and combat or similar contests of strength are used to settle disputes, forge alliances between tribal groups and mark and commemorate special events, including weddings and funerals.
Angori love where they choose. As leadership goes to the one who can maintain the respect of his or her fellow tribesmates, there is no need for the dynastic planning so common in other races.
Angori children are cared for by their parents with the help of the entire tribe. Angori mature quickly and the young are encouraged to seek out and conquer challenges from a very early age. Angori tend to be resistant to disease. Death in combat and similar “misadventure” are the leading causes of Angori mortality at all ages.
Exactly how the Angori came to be is a mystery that dates back to the Dawning. While all other civilized races sprung from their respective Ageless Ones, Angori cannot be traced to an Immortal creator. Some scholars suggest that they were created through magic, perhaps as some sort of crossbreed between men and beasts. Others say that they were men who became cursed by their own brutality. At this point in time, the truth of their origins can only be speculated.
It is known that Angori first appeared after the Dawning, very near the time other races began to walk the surface of Orn. They began as scattered tribes on the continent of Angor, from which they later derived their name. In fact, the word "Angori" is merely a corruption of their original name, "Angorian," which became shortened through the ages.
During the Age of Ascension, a hero arose among the Angori. Wielding a mighty warhammer and bearing armor forged from the bones of dragons he had slain, Arimir's rise to power was as swift as it was bloody. It is said that the Angori respect nothing more than strength, a trait which Arimir exemplified. Arimir's prowess in combat was so unparalleled that not even the mightiest of foes could hope to harm him. He waged a war of conquest, first on his own people, uniting all Angori under his banner, then on the humans of Varalon. So devastating was this war that the humans named him Armageddon, the end of the world.
It was under Arimir's rule that all the tribes of the Angori stood as one. This cooperation came only through domination. Many of the tribes chafed under Arimir’s leadership, wishing to return to their traditional ways of wandering where they chose. Any who refused to fight under Arimir's command were slain by him without mercy. Unsurprisingly, then, when Arimir ascended to immortality and left Orn to claim a domain within the Maelstrom, the Angori nation erupted in civil war. Tribe fought against tribe for rulership. Armies from other nations, emboldened by Arimir's departure, harried the Angori from all sides. In less than a year, the once-great Angori army had been scattered to the corners of Orn.
Pushed to the brink and broken, many of the Angori tribes realized the wisdom of Aramir’s path, but too late. Eventually the Spirehorn and Vorhex came back together, forming a system of tribal governance that has persisted in Angor ever since. The Scargrim, however, never returned to peaceful relations with their cousins.
Little else can be said about the history of the Angori race as a whole since that time. Countless conflicts marred their history for several ages, particularly wars with humans and, often, other Angori. The War of Broken Horns, for example, pitted the Spirehorn and Vorhex of northern Angor against the human slavers of Varalon, but was ended suddenly by the use of powerful magic.
Perhaps the only other truly notable occurrence prior to the Shattering was the coming of Dargoth, son of Dreyga. Claiming to be the avatar of Arimir reborn, Dargoth appeared in similarly sudden and bloody fashion, carving a path of notoriety through Varalon and Angor in search of the scattered pieces of Arimir's armor. As he acquired pieces, most often by slaying the tribes who kept them as heirlooms, his legend grew. Some among the Angori began to believe he was, in fact, the reincarnation of Arimir himself, and began uniting behind him for the promise of war on the same scale. It is said that these Angori became touched by Dargoth's power, growing to unnatural size and calling themselves the Dregoth in his honor. Eventually, their numbers grew to such proportions that they conquered a kingdom of their own in northern Varalon.
Following the Shattering, the Angori remain a fierce and divided race. They live on many shard realms, although their numbers are few in some cases. Relations between them, and among other races, remains spotty at best. Exactly what has become of Dargoth is unknown, although his children are still present on Angor. And while Arimir did not fade or suffer some other ill fate, as did other Immortals, he has done nothing to save his race from the ravages of the Shattering. Some say he views it, like all things, as a test of strength, one which the Angori race will overcome without his aid or else deserve oblivion.
Although the Angori divide themselves into numerous different tribes, it is generally accepted that there are four distinct bloodlines of Angori: The Spirehorn, the Vorhex, the Scargrim, and the Dregoth.
The Spirehorn are the most prolific and widespread of the Angori bloodlines, and are sometimes called the "noble" Angori. Many ascribe this to their temperament, which, while still aggressive and warlike, is civilized enough to make peace and maintain relations with the other races of Orn. Spirehorn are most easily identified by their horns, which typically point upward from their heads.
The Vorhex are a much less common bloodline of "mystic" Angori that forms the ruling caste of the tribes of Angor. They are unique in their blue skin, their spiral horns, and their affinity for sorcery. Despite their comparatively weak physiques, the Vorhex have used their magic to maintain positions of power and authority among the Spirehorn throughout the ages.
The Scargrim are also known as the "savage" Angori, and are the most brutal and warlike of the bloodlines. Scargrim can be identified by their minotaur-like appearance, with forward-facing horns, reddish-brown skin and sometimes wide muzzle-like noses which some Scargrim adorn with the "traditional" golden nose ring.
The Dregoth, sometimes called "giant" Angori, are a more recent bloodline variant that began with the appearance of Dargoth the Destroyer. Although more sophisticated than the Scargrim, the Dregoth share a strong aggressive streak and have, as of yet, had difficulty making peace with other races. The Dregoth can be immediately recognized by their size, which is typically two to three times that of a normal Angori. They are occasionally mistaken for ogres and other large, brutish creatures.
Modern Angori of the Shards live in remote settlement and tribal quarters in or near the towns of allied races. The Angori are very insular and keep to their own laws and traditions. They resist any non-Angori’s attempt to “rule” them.
In Angori dominant areas, non-Angori are cautioned to avoid Angori settlements at the cost of their lives. Most Shards under Angori control exist in a state of perpetual anarchy. There are a few exceptions, but even these establish an imperfect sort of order.
Within Varalon Keep, the tribes maintain an uneasy truce thanks to the Spiral Pact. Individual Spirehorn tribes are self-ruled, but abide by the decisions of the Vorhex in matters concerning more than one tribe. Warring is still commonplace, but Vorhex sorcerers typically put a swift and spectacular end to it.
The Dregoth achieve a similar sort of order within chaos by naming the strongest among them as their chief. This ruler dictates policy without question, but only remains in power so long as he remains undefeated. As such, Dregoth politics tend to shift frequently, and more often resemble the utter anarchy that dominates Scargrim tribes.
Angori culture has many nuances. The more prominent ones are explained below.
Wholeness of Horn - Angori take particular pride in their horns. Large, well-kept horns are a sign of honor, whereas small, broken, or marred horns are cause for disgrace. Angori whose horns are broken have been known to be ostracized by clan and tribe alike. Leaders are sometimes chosen based on the size and fitness of their horns alone.
Angori Warhammers - Since the days of Arimir, angori have wielded warhammers with reverence. And while it is not looked down upon to use other weapons, an Angori that does not so much as know how to wield a warhammer is an object of ridicule.
Taking of Trophies - It is said that, for Angori, "Life is about proving your strength." This helps explain a cultural habit of taking the teeth, bones, hide, scalps, or other body parts of slain enemies as trophies, which are then either worn or put up for display for all to see. To other races, this is barbarism, pure and simple. To an Angori, however, it is as much an honor to the enemy as it is to oneself, as not every enemy deserves to be a trophy.
Philosophy of Arimir - The disciples of Arimir (and many followers of Dargoth) are known for their "might makes right" philosophy. These Angori teach that you should obey none save those who can best you in combat, that you should seek out challenges to test and exceed the limits of your strength, and that you should show neither fear nor mercy to your enemies. Whether it is such teachings that drive the Angori to aggression, or the Angori's own aggressive tendencies that inspire such teachings, is unknown.
Drengskapr/Trial by Combat- Most disputes between Angori can only be settled honorably in trial by combat. Indeed, most Angori settlements contain a reinforced structure nicknamed the Thunderdome for this purpose. The terms of trial are established in advance. Death is common, but the loser might escape with only a broken horn in a less serious matter. Each fighter is accompanied by a second who ensures the terms are met. Cowardice or cheating in the Thunderdome can cost the offending Angori his or her life regardless of the terms. Interference in a duel is punished with death.
Temples of Arimir - Temples devoted to Arimir have the brutal air one might expect, and are often decorated with bones, pelts, and other such trophies. Temples not belonging to particular tribes are usually built on former battle sites or in harsh, inhospitable climates so as to test the fortitude of those who visit them.
"Gonk" - Originally a Gor'ek insult meaning "tamed," the word "gonk" was adopted by slavers during the War of Broken Horns, and so is often used synonymously with "slave" or "weakling." Otherwise peaceful Angori have been known to fly into a rage and kill a person who calls them by this name, knowingly or not.
Cannibalism - Perhaps the most obscene practice among all Angori is the habit of the Scargrim to eat other humanoids. While this is not cannibalism, per se, it does elicit the same universal revulsion. The Scargrim, of course, see no problem with it; to them, other humanoids are little more than animals to be hunted, killed, and eaten.
Cleansing of Waters - Several Scargrim tribes living in the arctic drifts of Glesmyr have been known to be particularly superstitious of magic. As such, any open display of magic is met with a peculiar "cleansing" ritual that involves immersing the offender in arctic water. Unsurprisingly, most magic-users who suffer through this ritual never live to tell the tale. Very little magic is practiced in Glesmyr as a result.
Gor'ek is the primary language of Angor. Many Angori speak an imperfect smattering of Cirth, as well. The more isolated tribes, however, speak only Gor'ek. Some, particularly the Scargrim, speak unique languages that are completely unknown to outsiders. Gor'ek has no formal alphabet, so written works are rare. In fact, carrying or producing anything in writing is considered a crime in many areas.
The Angori do not maintain regular alliances with any of the other races of Orn. They have had the most exposure to and clashes with humans over the centuries, as both races have a similar attitude toward rulership and conquest. The Philosophy of Arimir demands respect for strength and the Angori do respect strength where they find it.
Many other races fear Angori aggression and warmaking. The Angori are often viewed as savage, stupid or at the least uncivilized creatures. This view is shortsighted and overlooks the Angori values of honor and freedom.
Despite their conflicts, Angori are united in their reverence for Arimir. Many of his ancient battlefields are considered holy sites, and it is customary for shamans in his service to make a pilgrimage to walk his path of conquest. Among the Dregoth, this reverence is directed towards Arimir’s supposed avatar, Dargoth the Destroyer.
Drathenix has a strong following, as well, particularly among the Vorhex, and it is common for individual tribes to pay homage to a totem animal.
Hexadus is especially reviled, though her following is common among the slavers of Neleron.
Angori who choose to adventure with the other denizens of Orn can be seeking to conquer a personal challenge, or seeking a group of people to conquer. Most Angori are aggressive and are superb warriors and powerful magic users, but few Angori follow another's lead. They will seek to lead any party they are in, and will constantly test any other leader for weakness. However, if the friendship of an Angori can be earned, it is more valuable than gold.
It is not uncommon for disgraced or outcast Angori to become adventurers. For some of them, a life of adventuring is a path to redemption and eventual acceptance back into Angori society, but others have no hope of this.
An Angori will not shrink from a fight, no matter how overwhelming and his or her courage can bolster less brave members of the company. Angori are far more intelligent than their reputation leads one to believe. Angori often have a rough and ready sense of humor, surprising to those who know them only as grim conquerors.
“Bacca” - A large, hairy, buffalo-like creature hunted by the angori for food and sport. Their meat is tough and chewy, but their large numbers make them vital to the survival of most tribes. Bacca are often hunted by scaring them toward pits or cliffs, so the term is also used to insult someone for being stupid or clumsy.
“Blood Run” - A ceremonial hunt carried out seasonally. Participants paint themselves for war and follow the Master of the Hunt, a masked figure who never speaks throughout the ritual. Because the participants drum and yell war cries along the way, game is typically scared off before it can be caught, but the ritual still serves to drive away evil spirits that might be have collected in or around a settlement.
“Drengskapr” - An ages-old tradition of trial by combat used to settle most disputes among the Angori. The two parties face off in a public duel and the matter is resolved in the winner’s favor. Death is common, though only required for the most serious grievances, and the winner may choose to disgrace the loser by breaking a horn instead. Interference, however, is always punishable by death.
“Gonk” - Originally a Gor’ek insult meaning “tamed,” gonk was adopted by the slavers of Varalon, which further colored its meaning. So much as whispering the word in Angor is tanamount to suicide, since killing the speaker is considered lawful and proper within most tribes.
"Grognak" - A friendly competition in which participants see who can throw an object closest to a target. The rules vary widely, though multiple attempts are common and obstacles may be interposed to increase the difficulty. Traditionally, the game is played with skulls, but in their absence stones are considered acceptable