Though historically limited to only their homeland of Zaman, the detlimses are among the most varied in appearance amongst a single race. All detlimses resemble an animal of some sort, some more closely than others, and they tower over the tallest members of other races. In spite of their striking appearances and being easily spotted in crowds, even the most well-travelled of individuals in Ealdremen might never see a detlimse. As detlimses are longer-lived than any other race in Ealdremen, they are naturally reclusive and tend to withdraw from societies that come and go in the blink of an eye compared to their massive lifespans.
Etymology and Other Names
Detlimse is thought to come from the Opern term for a druid, detlisman, a word that literally means "wildcaller". Because such druids tend to be speakers for communities and interact most with outsiders, neighboring countries to Zaman could have eventually turned the loanword of detlisman into a word for the race as a whole. Once entered into common vernacular, these less-isolated languages likely brought the name detlimse into the galactic world.
Languages that do not use a variant of the name detlimse often refer to the detlimses' unparalleled size, such as the Zinaji word of rajivilani, which means shadow-casters in reference to how their size would cause a detlimse to cast a shadow upon even the tallest of doerons.
Universally, detlimses have long and narrow bodies; their tails are highly dextrous and have articulated joints all throughout, enabling a detlimse to even create a complex series of signals based on the position and angle of their tail. Their necks are similarly flexible. With their enormous height in conjunction with the length of their necks, a detlimse is able to see all around them quite easily. A detlimse's four legs may appear to be small relative to the rest of their body, as their necks and tails are much longer, especially if the detlimse's Totema does not grant the detlimse fur, feathers, or another type of bodily covering.
When a detlimse is born, they are said to be marked by a specific animal called a Totema. This invisible mark guides the detlimse's physical development as they age, changing their overwhelmingly draconic features into traits closer to that of the animal they are tied to. An adolescent detlimse will have a square snout, protruding nostrils, and a jaw full of razor-sharp teeth; their feet will end in gnarled claws, and they will have leathery wings protruding from their back. That same detlimse in adulthood could have fur along their limbs, smaller teeth, or any other sort of animal traits that effectively overwrite the base traits of the detlimse. Detlimses retain their race's general proportions, and some detlimses may more closely resemble their Totema than others; between two detlimses with the same Totema, one could have a layer of fur all over their body, while another only has fur on their feet, head, and tail.
A detlimse's Totema determines their coloration as well. Even in their youth, before any Totema features begin to form, a detlimse's colors will be close to what their Totema animal may naturally have. Coloration is not determined by genetics beyond a detlimse's first couple of years of life, where they may resemble their biological parents in their own infancy. By early childhood, the detlimse's scales and eyes take on hues comparable to their Totema, which is generally the first indication of what their Totema may be. As Totemas do not separate the detlimses by species on a genetic level, two detlimses of wildly different Totemas may still have children together, and their own Totemas appear to have no bearing on what Totema may bind with their offspring.
Detlimses usually live in loosely-defined migratory groups that follow a single druid or similar user of divine magic, called wildcallers. Especially large groups of detlimses may have multiple wildcallers that are tasked with using their connection with the world to benefit the group. A wildcaller's typical tasks entail locating food, shelter, water, or other groups of detlimses. They also are usually meant to name and bequeath titles unto detlimses within the group. Newborn detlimses are not named by their parents; instead, a wildcaller discerns the detlimse's name from an aspect of nature like the position of the stars, the whispering of the wind in the trees, or the arrangement of shells and stones on a shore. Rare detlimses that do not live directly under a wildcaller's jurisdiction for one reason or another will still usually seek out a wildcaller to name their children. A name chosen by anyone other than a wildcaller is generally considered discordant with the individual's true nature, and detlimses wrongly named will be encouraged to find a wildcaller to receive a proper name.
Accomplishments define a detlimse's identity more than anything else; even a Totema is only considered part of an identity where an achievement can be seen as the whole identity. They do not have surnames and instead bear a title -- again given by a wildcaller or, less regularly, a community as a whole -- that defines their most remarkable achievement. The achievement could be anything, but it tends to be based on what a group needed most at the time or what a group values most in general. Even the occasional detlimse raised outside of Zaman will have a title in lieu of a surname, constantly changing it to represent what they and others see as their most impressive feat. Children may have meager titles referring to small accomplishments, or they may have no title at all, but the longest-lived adults will often have grandiose, multi-part titles, some of which may even tell an entire story within their confines.
Detlimses generally only cease their migratory routes when they have especially young children in their group or if a member of the group is sick or injured. They form temporary settlements where convenient, serving as stopping points for other detlimses that are still roaming. When a group stops roaming for an extended period of time, the younger detlimses often strike out on their own and join other groups, sometimes even forming their own. It is also common for passing groups to have some individuals decide to stay with the stopped group; such changes in group are considered natural, especially if a given detlimse seeks to have children, as virtually no detlimse will have children with someone of their own group, and these temporary settlements represent a more stable environment for an infant detlimse to safely grow up. However, ultimately, these settlements are constructed only with a wildcaller's magic and the most basic of modifications to the surrounding environment. The detlimse homeland of Zaman remaining unspoiled for so many generations is thought to be the source of the detlimses' Totemas and strong druidic magic, and they view any permanent changes to the environment as inherently harmful to that connection. Detlimses will even painstakingly seek to undo damage caused by natural disasters so that Zaman remains the same for generations to come.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
At first level, a detlimse chooses their Totema Manifestation, which determines not only their appearance, but also the unique power of the wilds they may call upon. A detlimse chooses one of the following abilities to represent their Totema:
- Aerial Totema: The detlimse has the appearance of a creature of the air. A detlimse with an Aerial Totema has a racial bonus of +1 to the Fly skill. Once per day as a move action, a detlimse with an Aerial Totema can shroud themselves in a cloudy mist, giving themselves partial concealment (20% miss chance) against their enemies for 1d4+1 rounds. This shroud of mist moves with the detlimse but does not extend past them and does not block sight.
- Terrestrial Totema: The detlimse has the appearance of a creature of the earth. A detlimse with a Terrestrial Totema has +2 Natural AC. Once per day as a swift action, a detlimse with a Terrestrial Totema can draw upon the collective knowledge of the earth and its many creatures, granting them a +4 insight bonus on Knowledge checks about their surroundings or nearby creatures for a number of minutes equal to their character level. A detlimse must be able to see, hear, or otherwise interact with the subject to make a Knowledge check about it.
- Aquatic Totema: The detlimse has the appearance of a creature of the water. A detlimse with an Aquatic Totema has +2 to the Swim skill and has a swim speed equal to half their land speed. Once per day as a swift action, a detlimse with an Aquatic Totema can propel themselves forward like a rushing current; if they make a charge or run action in the same turn they use this ability, the detlimse may move up to five times their normal speed, excluding any additional speed increases that may affect a charge or run. While moving under the effects of this ability, the detlimse does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This ability may only be used with base land speed or swimming speed, not while burrowing, climbing, or flying.
Detlimses are capable of Flight and have a flying speed of 20ft with poor maneuverability. At character level 5, and every 5 character levels thereafter, this fly speed increases by 10 to a maximum of 60ft at 20th level. At level 5, their maneuverability becomes average, and at level 10, their maneuverability becomes good. While flying, a detlimse can ascend at half speed and descend at double speed. Their flight speed is cut in half if they are wearing medium or heavy armor. While flying, a detlimse can act normally. They receive a +1 racial bonus to the Fly skill and it is treated as a class skill for them regardless of their class.
From their Totemic Tongue, detlimses may communicate with animals, as if under the effects of a continual speak with animals spell, but only for animals of the same general type as their Totema.