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Ranines

Although originally a genetic monstrosity created in the laboratories of ancient humes, the ranines have overcome their nightmarish beginnings in order to live, and die, with honor.



Physical Characteristics and Anatomy

 

The ranines appear to be a race of bipedal frogs. They are usually green, but this  may vary depending on climate and genetics. Their legs have adjusted to their bipedal form, and ranines are able to walk without difficulty. When standing, they nearly always keep their knees bent in order to quickly jump. Ranines rarely run however, preferring to move quickly by jumping repeatedly. Ranines can jump higher relative to their size than any other intelligent race. Nearly every adult ranine can jump over 50 feet in full armor. Adult ranines are capable of jumping Adult ranines can be close to six feet tall when their legs are fully extended, but usually stand between three and five feet. They are lightweight, and rarely weigh over 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

 

The tongue of a ranine is connected to the front of its mouth, and is folded. Ranines are able to control their tongues to a remarkable degree. The entire tongue is incredibly agile and ranines are able to shoot their tongue out of their mouth in any direction. Typically, the tongue is shot out and retracted immediately upon making contact, but ranines are able to leave their tongue out and move it around as well. A ranine's tongue is sticky and strong, and is usually between two and three feet long. They use it to pick up objects and to capture/eat small animals and large insects. The tongue is not so sticky as to be able to pick up large objects or to bring the ranine to an object, so ranines will use their tongues to push enemies and disarm them. Ranines possess natural teeth as well as bony ridges on the base of their tongue (which is located at the front of the mouth) so ranines are capable of chewing. Ranines also have vocal sacs located on the bottom of their mouths and some use these to store items and food.

 

Ranines are nearly always found coated in a wet substance (sometimes called Slime of Dignity) that enables them to survive in most terrains. This substance is a property of their altered genetics and is semi-magickal in nature--cutting a ranine off from magick will eventually result in its death unless it is able to remain near water. The substance also prevents their tongues from sticking to themselves among many other useful properties. The slime absorbs the milky alkaloid secreted by their parotoid glands located on the back of their heads, and causes ranines to be foul-tasting to other species (although ranines are unaffected by the taste and slightly poisonous attributes).

 

Ranines have lungs, but are able to derive a large amount of oxygen through their skin. This allows some trained ranines to stay underwater indefinitely. Although their skin is permeable, the Slime of Dignity prevents most pollutants and other hazards from affecting a ranine more than, say, a hume. A ranine's nostrils have valves that close when they are submerged.

 

Ranines are born as tadpoles and live for the next five years inside whatever water source they were born in (usually a Pool of Honor). After developing the anatomy of an adult ranine, the polliwogs leave the pool and enter the community as members. There they spend another five years growing to adult size and learning advanced subjects they are interested in. Many ranines die before reaching their maximum age, and any ranine over 40 is considered quite venerable, but some ranines may live up to twice that age.

 

They are many times stronger than their size, and this is reflected in the equipment a ranine utilizes. Ranines prefer massive two-handed weapons that are (frequently) larger than they are. Although possessing only four digits, a ranine's grip is very strong and they have no difficulty wielding the unwieldy weapons. Ranines wear heavy armor--armor frequently heavier than they are--but continue to jump through the air.

 

Behavior and Diet

 

Ranines are known to other races of IIo as being the most honorable race, although many believe that the honor of ranines borders on pride and self-righteousness. Nevertheless, ranines are literally born into honor, and most of a Ranian tadpole's life is taken up with questions of ethics and philosophy. Classes are held constantly by adult ranines around the Pool of Honor, and are attended by all tadpoles.

 

Once obtaining the anatomy of an adult ranine, tadpoles are taught honorable combat and can learn honorable trades and professions while studying more advanced concepts. This is a chance for young ranines to put the knowledge of their polliwog education into practice. After five more years, a young ranine is considered an adult.

 

Adult ranines that have proven their honor are allowed to "donate" to the Pool of Honor. This can be done as a couple or alone. As a couple, the male ranine mounts the female at the edge of the pool, and inseminates eggs as the female lays them. The female may lay anywhere from 3 to 50 eggs, and this is affected by climate and stress, among other causes; generally, the number of eggs is between 3 and 10. Ranines believe that their bodies know what is needed, and provide it for the community. Along with the donation of eggs and/or sperm, some of the magick of the donating ranines is passed into the pool.

 

Ranines have adapted to eat vegetables as well as meat, and are capable of chewing, but their favorite prey are large insects and small fish that they are able to swallow whole. They have a penchant for raw foods. Ranines usually catch their food, and Ranian hunters are a staple of every community. They also harvest the natural foodstuffs of their environment, and regularly eat raw fruits and vegetables. Farmers are somewhat looked down upon, but not unheard of.


Ranines are social creatures, and a Ranian community is a very loud place (especially at night). Ranines are mostly nocturnal, and prefer to do most of their activities at night; battle is one of the few exceptions--ranines are well aware that other races frequently consider night battles to be dishonorable.

 

Language and Communication


Ranines speak their own language, known as Raninese, although it is frequently referred to as Ranian. The tongues of ranines causes their language to be difficult for other creatures to speak, but ranines do not have the same difficulty in twisting their tongues around the syllables of other languages. Over the millennia, Raninese has been affected by interactions with other civilizations, and modern Raninese is considerably easier to speak than ancient dialects.

 

Ranines also speak over long distances through their distinctive calls, which can be heard up to a mile away. This is a result of passing air through their larynx into their vocal sacs, and both males and females are capable of long-distance croaks and bellows. Although complicated concepts are unable to be communicated, ranines have developed a series of sounds to relate one-word ideas; these include things like "danger," "help," and "food."

 



Habitat and Environment

 

Ranines prefer hot, wet environments, but can be found in arid environments as well as cold ones. Each community adapts itself differently to provide what is necessary. Pools of Honor are invaluable to Ranian communities as they provide a controlled-environment for their fragile young. With the pools, ranines are able to form communities in any environment they choose. With their Slime of Dignity, ranines are able to exist away from water and in temperatures that would otherwise kill them.

 

Civilizations and Organizations

 

Ranines are large proponents of organizations. Every community is guaranteed to have at least one knighthood where chivalry and honor in battle is expounded, as well as a variety of other honorable institutions that aspiring young ranines wish to join. Ranian civilization as a whole is largely fragmented depending on environment. Ranines do not bother to have empires extending farther than they can reach. In any single region, all ranines within it can be considered to be allies. In any group of ranines, every voice can be heard, but ranines with the most honor are listened to the most. Similarly, Ranian armies are commanded by the most honorable soldier.


Technology

 

Ranines are adept at metal-forging and regularly use carpentry and masonry to make homes and fortresses. Ancient Ranian communities may have space-age technology of the sort that was readily available 23000 years ago.

 

Magicks and Abilities

 

Ranines have a variety of special physical abilities as discussed in "Physical Characteristics and Anatomy." Ranines also have a special honor-based magickal system. Basically, honorable actions and deeds grant ranines the ability to use their special magicks, which they call (perhaps unoriginally) "honor magick." Likewise, dishonorable actions generate "dishonor." Both honor and dishonor can be used for a variety of effects, but usually ranines utilize their magicks to accomplish amazing physical feats and techniques in battle.


Known and Unknown History

 

The ancestors of ranines have been on IIo for over 300 million years, but ranines as a race have only been around for the last 23000 years. Before this, the ranines were known as anurans--themselves descendents of common frogs. The anurans were in fact a creation of the Ancients--the "glorious" civilization of humes during their "golden era." The anurans were the result of the pride and ego of a group of scientists working on creating a new species of beasts. This was a common practice in those days, and many horrors were created during the "Golden Era" of Humeity, luckily for IIo, the anurans were created then also.

 

With the altered genetics and spliced DNA of hundreds of different species of frogs, the anurans were lucky not to be driven completely insane. In fact, they developed brains seemingly capable of limitless learning. They learned from their creators what not to do.

 

The anurans escaped and fled. They dedicated their lives to proving that their existence was worthwhile. To this end, the anurans made it a racial quest to battle the monstrosities of the Ancients, and their race triumphed over many genetic horrors. Over time, the modern Ranian concept of honor and dishonor developed, and it soon become the primary religion of the anurans. Here too did they adapt the word "nightmare" to their language. In Raninese, a nightmare is a creature full of dishonor that is driven mad and forced to lash out against the order of the universe. The anurans believed that unless the genetic monstrosities of the Ancients actively sought honor, they would be forced to become nightmares because of the overwhelming dishonor of their creation. They included themselves amongst the genetic monstrosities.

 

Finally, after working to carve out their own niche on the face of IIo, the Seal of the Seven Archmagi was Sundered. When magick flooded back into the universe, it adapted itself to this new race and the honor magicks were created. Their altered genetics were infused with magick and they underwent another evolution. Now, armed with honor incarnate, the anurans caste off their former name along with their former shape to become the ranines.

 

 

Beliefs, Legends, and Religion

 

The religion of the ranines centers around the concepts of honor and dishonor. Every action of a ranine may be honorable, dishonorable, or honorless, and all ranines strive to generate the most honor possible. In truth, it is the ranine itself that decides what category an action falls under, and no other ranine can force their beliefs on another. Many variations of ethics and philosophy exist and are known to the ranines, and most have studied every variation as a tadpole.

 

To sum up their core beliefs about honor and dishonor, ranines believe that honor and dishonor is countable and that at any given time, the universe contains so much of one side or another. Individual actions are but a drop in the bucket, but ranines know that many drops can fill any reservoir, and so ranines actively seek to fill the universe with honor.

 

There are many theories as to how much honor and how much dishonor exists within the universe, but most ranines believe that there is more dishonor than honor, and some ranines are only actively trying to re-balance the universe through their actions. Other ranines believe that the question is moot; honor is more important than dishonor, and the universe should be as unbalanced as possible on the side of honor.

 

Ranines that follow the belief that honor and dishonor must be balanced in the universe are typically in a small cult whose symbol is a set of scales. These are not to be confused with merchants--who share the symbol (although usually with coins on both sides of the scales)--and they are sometimes unpredictable. These ranines will commit dishonor if they believe honor is unbalanced.

 

Relations, Alliances, and Vendettas

 

Ranines have few enemies, and almost never enter into an offensive war. However, individual ranines take offense easily, and frequently have duels which sometimes develop into feuds. This is most common when ranines are encountered amongst other races. Ranines believe that the outcome of a duel is the will of the universe and a sign of your own personal honor, the winner is the creature with the greater honor. When they are out amongst other races, many creatures do not understand that a Ranian duel is rarely to the death.

 

Subraces/Relatives

Anurans - Refers to the race of ancient ranines that existed before honor. Ranines that no longer believe in honor may call themselves this as well. "Anuran" is usually an insult when used, but it is rarely used as the ranines believe calling someone an "anuran" is a dishonor.

 

Frogs - It is undeniable that ranines (and anurans) possess the altered genetics of common frogs, and ranines do not try to deny this. Instead, ranines give thanks to the misguided creatures that created them for evil purposes, and try to make the most of the opportunity they have been given.

 

Sword Saints - These are undead ranines that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their community. Instead of passing on to join the honor of the universe, these ranines possess the weapons and/or armor of their former life and continue to protect their homelands.

 

Class Tendencies and Racial Specific Classes


Ranines frequently enter into combat-oriented classes, although they also have many great scholars and teachers. Ranines prefer to choose professions that they find honorable. To this end, Ranian paladins are ranines that are working to master honor magick and its uses in combat.

 

Notable Creatures

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