Volume 43: The Sliders
At a glance: The Sliders are a semi-humanoid slow-moving race who are at one with the earth. Their natural affinity for absorbing what is deadly to most other beings makes them welcome on most any planet they come across.
Appearance: Sliders appear as mostly human from the waist up. The men and women both tend to have ectomorphic, wide body frames and are usually very muscular. Below the waist they are typically a pillar of mud, dirt, earth, sand and rocks. They share features with both the Elves and Humans sometimes having pointy ears, sometimes not.
They can take on a fully humanoid appearance with legs if necessary, but usually will plod along simply in a pillar of mud. Like the Swaft the men and women tend to go topless and since their lower half is usually mud they tend not to wear any clothes at all. When decorum calls for it they will often fashion simple stone clothing to cover their tops and bottoms.
It is a common misconception for those that have not met a Slider that they leave a trail of dirt and filth behind them like a snail leaving a trail, but this is absolutely untrue. Sliders by their very nature ABSORB all dirt, dust and filth around them into themselves, leaving a trail of cleanliness behind them wherever they go.
They tend to not have a specific height in their normal form, being able to easily extend their pillar of mud up to 10’ (+2’ per level) but when they take a fully humanoid form they will generally fashion legs to give them a height of about 6’
History: The history of the Sliders is full of mystery and full of holes. There are many reasons given for this but one of the reasons usually given is that Sliders are never in a hurry to do anything. Their very nature makes them one of the slowest moving races in the multiverse. When decisions need to be made, they take their time, often decades. They feel no stress about this. Part of their mentality is nothing should be rushed. As such it is believed when their culture was first forming they saw no reason to take down an account of their history. At least with not any alacrity. However, since joining the major races of the multiverse much of their history has been rediscovered. Here is what has been pieced together from various sources.
The Sliders are also one of the older races, though unlike the Swaft, Elves, and others, they were one of the last to begin traveling through space. It is thought their culture began on worlds inhabited by both humans and elves in equal ratio. This mix is not common, but in the multiverse anything is possible. Over time the species heavily intermingled until the entire race would be considered to be “Half Elves” or if you prefer, “Half Human”. Regardless even then, while the multiverse was still young their people tended to take things slow, having a greatly extended life from their Elven heritage, and a ponderous curiosity from their Human heritage, they tended to take great swaths of time to study most things in great detail.
This came to be noticed by the beings who live inside the elemental plane of earth. They too by their very nature were slow to take action. Their plane of existence providing much of the “substance” and “firmness” we experience in our plane, they are more interested in setting things stable, than making quick changes.
This however led to a large detriment for the beings who lived in the earth elemental plane, because in the beginning, when creation was new, the different planes of existence were all at war with each other, setting boundaries and acquiring resources. Expanding where they could and conquering whom they could. The beings from the Earth plane pretty much stayed out of these wars, but as such, soon found themselves with a collapsing realm. They quickly realized they would need help if they were to regain their lost territory and continue to exist as a plane of existence.
Seeing this new “Half Elf” race encouraged them, and they took a liking to these people. Eventually they approached them seeking a partnership. Most beings from the other planes present themselves as gods when approaching people on our plane of existence (Sometimes called the “Material Plane” or the “Prime Plane” of existence). They do this to gain worship, and admiration from us because they can feed on that like we would food. A prime example of this is the Dark Dwarves and their gods which we have talked about at length. Regardless, this is not how the Earth Elementals approached the Half Elves. They approached them as friends seeking a partnership. The beings from the Plane of Earth would offer these Half Elves a huge chunk of power directly from their realm, giving them amazing powers and abilities, and in exchange these Half Elves would go and use this power to do good deeds in the name of the earth, which would grant the earth elementals the power they needed to strike a balance with the other elemental planes.
In short, the Half Elves agreed and they were imbued with powers and abilities from the Earth Elementals. Thus began their lives of service. The Earth elementals began opening portals to other worlds and the Half Elves would go through and start helping these worlds in many ways. Again, the multiverse was still very new at this time so many planets they went to were unstable, often wobbling in their orbits or on their axis, making it difficult for burgeoning life there to take hold. The Half Elves began to build massive pyramids and ziggurats at strategic locations on these new worlds to help stabilize their orbits and keep them from tilting on their axis to extremes. They would meet with new civilizations and taught them math and the sciences, and how to build and farm. They would never take any payment of any kind. They would always express that what they did was a gift from the earth and if they wanted to thank them they should take care of their planet and realize all the earth below them has to offer. This led to a great admiration by many cultures for their own earth, dirt, soil, mud, and land, and this admiration sent power to the Plane of Earth and the beings their began once again to strike a balance with the other elemental planes.
As mentioned, when these “Half Elves” would move in their normal form they were fairly slow moving. But one of the many abilities they gained was the ability to merge with the earth below them and “Slide” to another location, which they can do at frightening speed. In fact, when dealing with other races (who always seem to be in such a hurry) this is their preferred means of locomotion. They can fully disincorporate, melt into the earth, and reappear fully formed at any location within 100’ (+ 10’ per level) with only an action. They can also travel great distances in this form at incredible speeds (100 mph + 10mph per level) As such the various cultures who came to know them began calling them “Sliders” and eventually the name stuck and it became how they would refer to their own race.
Usually the Sliders would stay for about 1000 years on a world and then depart. They would usually leave behind many legends and myths as they left these new cultures. Many of the legends of how the pyramids were built, how cultures learned basic math and writing, farming, etc, were all said to come from “Beings from other worlds” or “Friendly Earth Spirits” or “Space Gods that walked among us” etc. (Though the Sliders often made it clear they did NOT come from space, not at this time being a space faring species, however when asked where they came from they would often try to point out their home world in the stars leading many to believe they meant the sky or outer space)
Often they would come upon worlds already plagued by poisoned and polluted waters and land. The Sliders are incredible cleaners able to absorb harmful substances from the earth and water with ease. The females of their race are often considered the best at cleaning the water and would often go to lakes and rivers polluted and stand in them all day absorbing the toxins giving clean water to many cultures. They began to be called “Sisters of the River” though it is a bit of a misnomer as often the male Sliders would join in this effort. When it came to absorbing nuclear and radioactive waste the Male Sliders tended to do this better and they would go to places ravaged by radioactivity or nuclear waste and absorb it giving the land back to the people. They began being referred to as, “The Atomic Brotherhood” again a misnomer as the females were just as likely to join in these tasks, but the Sliders did not care about labels. They only wish to help.
This helped lead to the Sliders breakthrough into space travel. One of the Sliders greatest weaknesses is they cannot leave contact with the earth. If they do so they will begin to turn to stone, but not stone like they are able to fashion their clothes out of, painful stone that cripples them and takes huge amounts of time to heal. As such the Sliders dared not ever look to the sky. The thought of flying terrified them, let alone space travel. Despite this they began to find that after absorbing radioactive material they could indeed leave the ground. This led to many exciting new prospects for them.
They began hoarding radioactive and nuclear waste on their home worlds, very much appreciated by the cultures they took it from, and began making ships, planes, and eventually spaceships. Massive radioactive ships, deadly to all other races, but essential for them to be able to travel thru space. All the same, it should be mentioned they were definitely one of the last races to become space faring for these reasons. Nevertheless, once they were able to make this “leap” they began traveling to many more worlds and helping many more cultures in the name of the earth. They just had to be very careful to keep all living things away from their ships. Once they leave their ships, they are able to contain their own radioactivity so that it does not harm those around them. (Leading to some really cool character classes for them BTW where they use this nuclear and radioactive power! But that will be for another time…) Such is the history of the Slider people.
Powers and Abilities: The Sliders are barred from all forms of elemental magic save Earth in which they receive massive bonuses. They have natural direction sense with an almost uncanny knack for finding places even if they have never been there before. They can as mentioned meld with the earth and move incredible distances almost instantly. This is often referred to as “Sliding” The can change their height as also mentioned. They are naturally slow moving but make up for this with massive hit point gains. They are immune to all electrical attacks. They can absorb toxins out of the water and earth with great speed and can train themselves to absorb these toxins and pollution with astonishing speed. The same goes for their ability to absorb radiation and nuclear energy and waste. Obviously making them immune to 99.9% of all toxins and poisons. They can fashion very simple stone “clothing” when necessary, but it is only wearable by them as it is basically an extension of themselves. It would be more realistic to call it stone armor and it usually only covers the bare minimum. Certain Character classes among their people can make full stone armor on their bodies making them formidable tanks!
Culture: Sliders tend to be a relaxed people, delighting in service to others. They are not great at making fast decisions, preferring to ponder every detail of a problem at length. Indeed, they seem to approach all of life with a “patience” not always shared by the other races they interact with. “All things eventually” is a common phrase among their people.
They do not like being “thanked” but do so graciously, but always with a reminder that any love or admiration they would show for them would be better given to the earth below them and the land where they live. They do not have any fashions they are known for being a mostly “nudist” race, but there are some of their kind able to weave cloth from the earth with the durability and strength of stone but the weight and feel of cloth (another racial character class)
That is all on the Sliders for now! In the next post we will address the “Planes of Existence” and “Multidimensional Beings” as to clear up any confusion.
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About the illustration: Here we have a Slider playing a game with a Lizardman. Notice he is extending his mud pillar to match the height of the jumping Lizardman. Looks like a fun game they are playing!
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