Vol. 117: The Ghosli
At a Glance: The Ghosli are a long-removed offshoot of the Trementian Race. So long removed that they cannot even mate and produce viable offspring anymore. (99% chance mating will result in an infertile egg) They are a shell, a ghost, of what the Trementian people are.
Appearance & Lifestyle: The Ghosli LOOK like Trementians... kind of. They have the same body type and anatomy, but the similarity ends there. Their entire body, especially their limbs, look somewhat stretched when compared to their Trementian cousins. The most startling difference is their alabaster-like skin. Trementians are celebrated for their brightly colored skins that come in a literal rainbow of colors. Even Trementian Wind Warriors whose skins are usually grays and blacks, are still bright and full of life. The pale, often translucent skin of the the Ghosli is drab, almost lifeless. Their arms and legs have the slightest hint of gray. Their eyes are large like the Trementians but their irises and pupils are very small and dark black. the sclera is a very pale pink. Also, quite strikingly, their eyes are circled in dark black.
They are usually barefoot. They do not share the same love of shoes that Trementians have. Their feet have become almost indestructible over time, and they can walk across hot coals, broken glass, and ice with no movement penalty or damage. (+1 to dexterity, walk on ice with no chance of falling) They wear spiked bands or their ankles, wrists, upper arms, and lobes, tho not necessarily all at once. These bands amplify their psionic powers, being more functional than fashionable. It does give them a rather menacing look, however.
These "Psi-Spike Bands" are crafted by the Ghosli themselves, but they were initially created in a collaboration with the Xerxes.
The Ghosli live as a slave race, completely subservient to the Xerxes. They live exclusively underground usually working on the Xerxes many slave worlds. But their relationship with the Xerxes has evolved over countless generations. They are more like well loved (or well tolerated) pets. Among all of their slaves they have a certain level of autonomy not enjoyed by the others. It is very much a case of ultimate Stockholm syndrome. They have lived like this since the beginning of time and after untold generations of hopelessness and despair they have resigned themselves entirely to their lot in life.
They are a morose, simple people. Their underground cities are incredibly sparse. Everything is functional. They have almost no art to speak of. No singing, no sculpture, their lives are a mundane drudgery that never ends, passed from one generation to the next without question. They exist on a diet of various fungus and massive grub-like worms that they tend and breed as a food source. They primarily only drink water but do make two drinks that they sometimes enjoy. One is a fungus tea made from spores. It has a very bitter taste but the Ghosli seem to love it. The other is a fermented drink they make from the slimy excretions of their grubworms (The worms are called Grabbles) and it tastes a bit like spoiled berries and trash. They only drink this on special occasions and it can cause intense intoxication, especially in Non-Ghosli.
Powers & Abilities: Long long ago the Ghosli were Trementians. They used to share the same elemental magic as them. But now countless generations later that magic is completely gone. But new powers have arisen in their place. The Ghosli have now become almost completely psionic. But even their psionics are very specialized. The specialize in emotional manipulation. They can produce long lasting fear, hopelessness, and despair like no other race can. More frightening is that most of these powers can affect large groups at once instead of single targets. For this reason they are most prized by the Xerxes.
For the Xerxes experiments they prefer for their victims to be broken. Devoid of hope. The Ghosli use their powers to this end. They wrangle new prisoners like cattle and subject them daily to "stripping sessions" where they bombard them with fear and despair. They drain the hope from their victims over weeks and months. When they have become lifeless shells truly devoid of hope, they are given over to their new Xerxes masters.
They have absolute dark vision, able to see in complete darkness, INCLUDING MAGICAL DARKNESS, as one would see in daylight. But they do not do well in bright light, especially sunlight. Being under the sun gives them -2 to all rolls. They will be nervous and uncomfortable if they must be above ground especially during the day. If they must venture above ground, they will do so at night only, if given the choice.
They are immune to emotional manipulation and charms. Partly due to their psionic powers and partly due to the countess generations of their people that were subjected to horrifying emotional manipulation. Magic and Psionics that subject its victim to any emotion are nullified if used on them. Fear, fury, sadness, even joy, ANY emotion caused by magic or psionics will have no effect on them. They are also nearly impossible to interrogate. They are seemingly unaffected by torture of any kind. When subjected to it they enter a catatonic state and offer no response to pain or anything else.
Despite their sickly visage they are quite stalwart. They gain an additional 1d4 HP on top of their regular HP gain each level. They are also +1 to constitution.
They can produce and aura of fear that extends from them in a 10' radius at will. They are immune to this effect as are their Xerxes masters. This works on all creatures from humanoids to animals to insects.
Very rarely one of them will be born with an aptitude for magic. But they can only learn necromantic magic. These Ghosli are most beloved by the Xerxes because they can assist with their hideous and bizarre experiments in unique ways. Luckily the Ghosli are 1 in a billion and are so sickly and frail in their youth only about 25% survive to adulthood. But those that do can be quite powerful and insanely frightening.
History: The history of the Ghosli is a sad one. One dating all the way back to the beginnings of the universe. To the Dim Times. It is said that in these prehistoric times there was only one race who knew about the Xerxes: The Trementians.
Even then the Xerxes were conquerors. Or more aptly slavers. The Xerxes view of reality is very bizarre. For most of their history they have seen all other races simply as playthings. Things for them to experiment on. Unluckily the Trementians were the closest playthings in these early times. And as such war erupted between the two species.
Trementians possess incredible elemental magic power. During and right after the Dim Times magic and psionics were greatly amplified so both sides fought with astonishing ferocity. But the thing was the Xerxes didn’t care about conquering. They only cared about enslaving. So, while Trementians were fighting for a victory, the Xerxes were content to raid, capture and run away.
This continued for countless generations. Eventually the Trementians leveled a devastating attack against the Xerxes that sent them crawling back into the shadows. They did not bother the Trementians again. What sort of attack the Trementians used is lost to history. The few scant legends say that perhaps they used one of the First Spells. The truth is unknowable.
But the damage had been done. They Xerxes had captured billions of Trementians during this time. Deep in their hidden worlds they experimented on them, and eventually built slave cities for them to live in. And generation after generation were born and died in this manner. Over time there were many insurrections. The Trementians fought for escape many many times. It is a shame and a loss that the tales of these brave Trementians will never be known. But what is known is that none of these attempts were successful. Many may have been close, but in the end no tales tell of any escaping. A very great sadness.
The Xerxes began plying the Trementians with their own powerful magics and psionics. These were their first playthings, so they wanted to be able to play with them as they wished. In order to do so they had to completely subjugate them. This became their singular focus.
Over time they began wearing them down. They suppressed their natural elemental powers. The bombarded them with intense psychological warfare not only in their waking hours but in their dreams as well. They wanted them to know there was no place they could go, even their dreams, where they could escape the Xerxes. The insurrection attempts became less and less. Eventually there were none. Eventually their past was forgotten or suppressed. The newer generations knew nothing of their Trementian past. Eventually when they came into contact with them again, they didn't even see the Trementians as their ancestors. They saw only slaves for their masters. They were now the Ghosli.
The future of this race is in question. As we near the tail end of the Panic we see that Xerxes relations are changing with the multiverse around them. If the Ghosli are given the opportunity to be free, will they even know what that means? Will they walk in the moonlight again as free beings, or will they remain in their underground ungilded cages? Only time will tell.
About the Illustrations: Here we see the Ghosli! One wearing the Psi-Spike Bands, the other “nude”.
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