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The long-lost ancestors of the modern races of Ealdremen, the precursors long stood shrouded in myth. Their home planet of Mioura was shattered in the Godbomb and took with it the vast majority of the already sparse ruins and records left behind; even before then, by the time the precursors' distant descendants returned to Mioura, the planet was desolate and devoid of life, harried at every turn by undead and animated stone sentinels. Several hundred years later, as the gods of Ealdremen began to stir, more became known about these enigmatic people and their connection to a lost star in the sky called al-Kaniali, and it soon became clear that this supposedly extinct race was linked to Ealdremen's future more than initially believed.

Etymology and Other Names[]

The name "precursor" refers to how this departed race is the ancestor of all organic races currently within Ealdremen. Other languages may call them with their own variant of a word for "forerunner," "ancestor," and so on.

Shekzardic, a language now called Ancient Precursor for it being the only one to survive to the modern day in the form of ancient records, used the term dlenash for this race. Dlenash literally means "before-god" in the sense of an evolutionary step, making "protogod" an appropriate translation.

Biology[]

Main article: Precursor EXAMPLE/Biology

The most striking feature of the precursor race is their natural glow. Both their skin and eyes glow with ceaseless luminescence, even while asleep. Precursors with unusually pallid skin or weak glows might even be able to see their own blood vessels glowing beneath their skin. Generally speaking, a precursor might be any possible color, ranging from muted hues to bright and vibrant.

They have long, pointed ears that generally tip upwards or sideways from their heads; these ears, especially longer ones, are capable of small movements, especially during moments of heightened emotion. In these moments of intense emotion, precursors also tend to glow much more brightly. A sick precursor will have a less pronounced glow, and their bodies do not glow at all once they die.

Precursors are universally bipedal and have five fingers and toes on each limb, but the caste systems of certain countries, such as Ores, may have resulted in some precursors having fewer fingers than they were born with. They naturally do not grow hair anywhere other than their head, though facial hair tends to be rather rare altogether. Their glowing eyes do not have visible pupils or irises and are mostly solid-colored except for very rare cases. Their noses are rather flat despite their humanoid appearance.

Dokani the Necromancer, as her title suggests, had her body seemingly affected by the necromantic energies she used.

Because they are generally sensitive to magic, it is possible for precursors of certain bloodlines touched by arcane magic to over time become "colored" by the magic their family has used. For example, a family that regularly used evocation magic, connected to red Chrono, could eventually have children whose hair becomes more crimson across generations. This is especially pronounced among those touched by the rare school of necromancy, which can turn various parts of the precursor white as snow, as with Dokani the Necromancer and her descendants. White hair, markings, and eyes do not occur naturally in precursors in the absence of necromancy.

Sociology[]

Main article: Precursor Sociology

The precursors of old had customs that more often than not may seem strange or even barbaric to the modern eye. They regularly contended with each other across national borders and held loyalty to one's country and traditions in high esteem, especially in the face of conquerors who might stamp out native ways and try to implement their own traditions. Because of the recurring conflict in the old world of Mioura, most precursor nations highly valued being able to secure their own stability and prosperity even at the expense of other countries or creating their own enemies decades later. It was common for countries to unintentionally "trade off" who was in power in a perpetual cycle of one country dominating their neighbors, growing complacent, and then becoming overthrown by their former vassals, which then eventually become powerful and complacent. Long-term peace was rare and tended to only happen when a country was largely destroyed by one thing or another.

Because of their natural inclination towards magic, precursors tend to be drawn to it even if they cannot cast spells themselves. They might be curious about it, or they might have an understanding of its basic principles just by watching the many magic-users around them. Arcane magic in ancient Mioura tended to be associated with prestige and power, and it was common for countries to see magical aptitude as a sign of greatness or the purity of a bloodline. In these days, precursors mostly relied on arcane magic and would encourage its growth with communities having some, but fewer, divine magic users in the form of priests, clerics, or sometimes oracles. These individuals were often spiritual leaders and would be consultants to the country's leadership, but they rarely held true governing power themselves. Druidic magic was mostly associated with the forested nation of Mathrazd, which eventually was destroyed by its own hubris in trying to secure victory in a desperate war at any cost.

Modern precursors have no true culture of their own to speak of, being lost and disparate in a modern age where precursors are long-forgotten. Many people, even those that extensively studied the ancient world of Mioura, do not even know what precursors looked like beneath the masks and robes in the few depictions that survived to the modern day. Such modern precursors will probably take on the cultural or sociological traits of wherever they live, but they might also feel lonely or as if they do not belong. It is fully possible for a precursor to live a full life in modern Ealdremen without ever finding out just what they are.

History[]

Main article: Precursor History

The precursor race began before recorded history as the children of the god known as the Grand Dreamer, or al-Kaniali as it came to be known in their people's final days. They dwelled on the toroidal planet of Mioura and created vast kingdoms and empires easier than they could make humble villages and quiet settlements. With their natural affinity for magic and connection to a guardian deity, they regarded themselves as a step below godhood, forever seeking to close the gap between mortal and god. Their pantheons and myths spoke of gods walking among them and seeking to bar them from the realm of the gods at any cost. However, the cycle of hubris that governed Mioura eventually came to an end with an event known only as the ritual. This strange event was thought to have the power to turn the precursors into their true forms, finally achieving the godhood they sought, but it instead turned them into shapes similar to that of what is now recognized as modern-day Ealdremen races.

With this great disruption to their society and very way of life, the once-grand kingdoms of Mioura collapsed, and they reformed to largely nomadic groups traveling to understand what had happened to them. Their travels eventually took them far from Mioura, bringing them to distant planets by unknown means; no spacecraft records have been found among precursor ruins, and even the earliest of history amid Ealdremen's planets lack any sign of how the altered precursors eventually got there. Yet they must have, for otherwise, Ealdremen as it stands now would not exist.

The Godbomb, a catastrophic apocalypse that rocked the foundations of Ealdremen, seems to have initiated a change in the precursor people. Since then, there have been more modern-day accounts and rumors of individuals who match the description of the precursors of old -- people that glow with the light of stars in their skin and whose eyes pierce even the darkest of nights. Where these people came from is not yet known. It is possible some precursors were unaffected by the ritual and quietly lived out their days in peace away from their changed brethren. From there, they might have eventually created rare unbroken bloodlines that brought their descendants to modern Ealdremen.

Subspecies[]

Because Miouran precursors abided closely by country borders and lacked easy means of transportation, over time, precursors became noticeably different depending on their nationality and heritage. These differences tended to mostly manifest in their skin, marking, hair, and eye color, though some countries tended to be larger than average as well.

As an Orian precursor, Dermazd displays the typical concordance between eye and marking color.

Precursors that hailed from the nation of Ores were mostly pale in color and had light hues; they often had "concordant" color schemes as well, and it was very common for Orian precursors to have the same or similar colors between their eyes, hair, and markings. Because it is mostly Orian ruins that survived to the modern-day, the Orian precursor is seen as a "typical" example of a precursor, though in reality, they represent only one of many subtypes of the race.

Modern precursors tend to be smaller than their ancient counterparts, rarely exceeding five feet in height and a hundred pounds in weight. Their coloration can vary and is not bound by ancient Miouran nationalities.

Notable Individuals[]

The majority of the precursor races' noteworthy individuals lie mostly in the long-ago past of Mioura, as the race has grown too sparse and fragmented to make a name for itself in the modern age.

Ainori the Heir, the last princess of the grand kingdom of Ores and foretold by prophecy to usher in the ritual that would ascend the precursors to "godhood".
Dermazd the Eagle-Caller, a cleric born into peasantry that was at odds with the important role as priestess she would eventually dedicate her life to.
Dokani the Necromancer, an executed royal that, from beyond the grave, used her children to continue her designs even long after her death.
Fanred the Past-Seer, a displaced citizen of the ruined nation of Gralshad driven by hopes of revolution and the tragic death of her brother, Threkazd.
Felaji the Servant, a scorned former noble that sought to unravel Ores at the behest of her mother, Dokani, even as she grappled with concern for certain people within the country.
Goluragg the Snake-Bearer, a descendant of the people of Rethnald living in Ores who sought to instate Ainori on the throne over her father, Deioros.
Thorn the Courtyard-Keeper, son of Dokani and the eventual "last protogod" living in the shattered ruins of Mioura after making himself immortal.
Throntuk the Lionhearted, the ever-loyal guardian of the royal family and captain of the soldiers charged with protecting it.

Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)[]

Because of the precursor race's status as "functionally extinct," not every game can or should allow precursors as player characters. The presence of precursors and the potential ramifications thereof should be carefully considered before allowing precursor player characters.

Overview[]

Precursors are a Medium race and have no penalties or bonuses associated with their size. Precursor characters may choose either +2 Intelligence and -2 Wisdom or +2 Charisma and -2 Intelligence to be applied to their starting attributes; this represents the natural inclination of precursors towards magic, especially the arcane. Precursors who focus on the academic world tend to be less observant of the world immediately around them, and precursors who rely on their own charms or force of personality to get by often find themselves with less time to hone their studies.

Ainori's Legacy (Ex)[]

Flavor[]

Inheritor of both an unusual source of power and a powerful kingdom, Ainori the Heir is not the only or even the first precursor capable of disrupting enemy spells, but she was particularly adept at counterspelling through her drawing on black Chrono. Such magic is a natural counter to all other spells, and its strong connection to the essence of time itself seems to have reverberated throughout the precursor race's history and granted most members of this lost race this potent art.

Mechanics[]

As an immediate action, the precursor may, in response to another creature casting a spell, use Ainori's Legacy. This ability may only be used once per day. The precursor must be able to see or hear the spell being cast to use Ainori's Legacy. The precursor makes a caster check using their character level as their caster level, even if they have no levels in a class that grants spells. If successful, the precursor may choose to redirect the spell to another target of their choosing or negate the spell entirely. The DC of this check is 10+the spell's level.

Keywords: Immediate action, counterspell, daily, trigger, extraordinary ability

Fanred's Shadow (Natural Ability)[]

Flavor[]

Precursors must often take care to hide themselves and their affiliation, both in the ancient world and in the modern one. In the old days of Mioura, the wrong social ties could herald the end of the unfortunate precursor's life. Few knew this better than Fanred the Past-Seer, who was forced to live in the country that razed hers to the ground when she was just a child. Fanred mastered the art of hiding her true affiliations and relationships with others quicker than anyone could suspect of her deception. She had to.

Mechanics[]

Precursors have +2 Disguise as a racial bonus.

Keywords: Passive, natural ability

Thorn's Cunning (Natural Ability)[]

Flavor[]

Precursors are often naturally resistant to magic, as exemplified by Thorn the Courtyard-Keeper, the boy who became an immortal symbol of his people's hubris. Where once-proud kingdoms fell to ruin, Thorn still survived. Living among the shattered planet of Mioura for so long could only have been done by someone of a race that is not easily swayed by torrential storms of magic. Anyone else would have long ago lost their bodies, minds, or both.

Mechanics[]

Precursors have +1 to their Will saving throw as a racial bonus.

Keywords: Passive, natural ability
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