The Caligoi

A Geographical Overview

(c) 1989-2001 by Brian and Jim Henry

Rektek

Caligo Rektek is a roughly rectangular region, one of the larger of the Caligoi. It is inhabited by Pliv, Zun, Krinth, TTambroc, Glaethryn, Slithu, Yith and Jhray.

Jhray and Yith are under a curse which supresses their intelligence, or possibly just their powers of language. They are thought of by others as an ordinary tree and swamp-dwelling carnivore, respectively.

The Pliv and Krinth living in Rektek have a long-standing feud which at times has escalated into a real war. According to their traditions it dates from the time of the Sundering; each race blames the others' ancestors for causing the coming of the Mists, and credits their own ancestors for the fact that some land and people were saved from the Mists.

The northern part of Rektek is a plateau at some thousand meters higher elevation than the southern prairie. There are mountain ranges bordering the Mist on east and west. Several rivers flow southward, some having their sources in the mountains or hills of the the northern plateau, but two having their sources in the Mist to the north and north-east.

Most Zun and Slithu live in the north. Most of the Slithu are serfs ruled by the Zun of a nation that grew around the city-state of Zunthou.

Pliv live in caverns under the southern mountains and prairie.

The Yith live in a great swamp in the northeast, through which a couple of rivers flow out of the Mist, then southward.

Torodoth

Caligo Torodoth is a toroidal region, surounded by the Mists but also having a central region of Mists. The rough circle circumscribed by the outer Mists is about 1800 km in diameter, and the central Mists, also roughly circular, cover a circle of 500 km diameter. There are two land regions, east and west, and two seas, north and south of the central Mist.

Torodoth is inhabited by Blirthibo, Briacite, Wexivanov, Slithu, Guerrothon, Jhray, Jhotha, Pliv, and Krinth.

Triyk

Caligo Triyk is shaped rougly like a trident or the letter psi. In the center is a large sea or a gulf of the hidden ocean. North of this are three land-masses (or parts of one land-mass divided by the Mist), Akael (northwest), Antaar (north central), and Ath'tom (northeast). Southward lies another land-mass, Apeth. In the sea there is one large island, Beramou, and several small islands. These lands are inhabited by Jhray, TTambroc, Briacite, Llegisia, Toaliralolo, and Slithu. There is a large community of Blirthibo in the sea.

In early times the TTambroc lived only in Beramou and Apeth. However, after Slasitro, a Slithu, established a dictatorship of Apeth and moved to annex Beramou into his new nation, many TTambroc (and other) refugees fled to the northern lands. There they at once came into conflict with the Thauliralau (Toaliralolo), whose habit of remembering most of the interesting things their ancestors had remembered was in conflict with the TTambroc custom of forgetting their ancestors so that their spirits would not be bound to the Caligo. In Antaar the small community of Thau' was wiped out by the TTambroc, but in Akael and Ath'tom, after a generation of war, peace was made by Llegisia Restorers and territories were established for both TTambroc and Thau'. In some market towns, immigrant Slithu were hired by the Thau' to produce illusion magics that mask the Thau' and TTambroc from seeing one another as they are.

No Pliv live in Caligo Triyk, but in Akael and Beramou there are ancient caverns once inhabited by them. An apocalyptic cult, Pelisiterolamakiita, was formed among the Thau' of Akael after an explorer who descended into the <Plistra> caverns absorbed the memories of a Pliv ghost.

Kreis

Caligo Kreis is inhabited by Jhray, Yith, Briacite, Glaethryn, Guerrothak, Guerrothon, Llegesia, Pliv, and Toaliralolo.

Geography: A rough circle, of a little greater area than Rectek. Hurricanes come out of the north frequently without warning. The climate is subtropical. There is a range of mountains against the Mists in the south; two rivers flow from the mountains in the southeast and southwest, to merge and meander northward to the small portion of a sea or ocean which falls short of the mists. In its last fifty miles the river spreads into a swampy delta region.

The mountains are largely inhabited by Pliv, Guerrothak and Guerrothon, and a few Toaliralolo. The river valleys are mainly inhabited by Briacite, Llegesia, Glaethryn and Toa'. Most Yith in Kreis live in the lower river valley and delta area.

There are several large cities on the lower part of the river.

Driek

Caligo Dreik is shaped roughly like a right triangle, with the right angle being in the southwest. About a fourth of its area is sea, in the southwest corner. There are four large islands and many small ones. Three main rivers feed into the sea, flowing out of the mists to the north and east: the Tape', the Jast and the Weistral.

Wexivinov, Llegisia, Yith, Guerrothon, Zun, Jhray, and Jhotha live in Caligo Dreik.

Mar

Caligo Mar is of smaller extent than some of the other Caligoi, and is curious in being surrounded by a wall about six meters high between its habitable area and the Mist. Mar has far fewer troubles with Mist-creatures than other Caligoi.

Mar's region is roughly circular. There is no sea, but a broad river flows meanderingly out of the northeastern Mist under a bridge in the wall, through its center, and out of the southwestern Mist under another bridge.

At the center of Mar is the ruin of a vast city of ancient times, mostly uninhabited today. The agricultural region within the wall now is far too small to support the population that must have once lived there. Tradition says that the wooden parts of the city burned in a great fire shortly after the Sundering, but the stone buildings largely remain, save those that have been dismantled to build new temples and courthouses in more reasonably-sized towns in the outlying parts. Some few of the stone buildings have shells that are taller than twenty Zun, though their insides have collapsed.

In one building at the edge of the city, the only stone temple used by the Toa' anywhere, is entombed the skeleton of the Oldest Toa', so called because she had 121 segments. She must have lived at least so many years, probably longer because older Toa do not grow new segments as fast as younger ones. An apocryphal tradition says that she was a physical incarnation of the goddess Merakwaso, who died during the Sundering.

Caligo Mar is inhabited by Zun, Toaliralolo, Guerrothak, Jhotha, Jhray, and Glaethryn.

Skargard

Caligo Skargard is an archipelago of four major islands and a larger mainland which borders the mists to the southwest. The archipelago runs northeast to southwest, along the major axis of a rough ellipse formed by the boundaries of the mists.

The mainland is called Ronditha. The Mosp River emerges from the mists in the south and runs roughly north to empty into the sea. A broad sound separates Ronditha from the nearest and largest island, Borioth. Ithovi, the next island, is about two-thirds the area of Borioth, and Obmakfa, the third island, is about half the area of Ithovi. The last island in the chain is Sbo, of about the same area as Obmakfa.

Jekmaz thrive in the sea, and comparatively few ships can be at sea at a time because of the paucity of Tharoala Blirthibo available for hire; most of them are needed to protect their own people. Consequently, the islands tend to be insolated, with infrequent visitors and rarer emigrants. The smaller outer islands are worse off in this respect, because of the additional danger of currents which tend to draw ships into the mists.

Ronditha is primarily inhabited by Wexivanov, but many TTambroc, Guerrothak, and Krinth live there as well. Guerrothak are more numerous in Borioth and Ithovi, Krinth more numerous in Ithovi and Obmakfa. Sboe is inhabited almost exclusively by TTambroc.

Most ships have a mixed crew of Wexivanov and TTambroc, with at least one Krinth or Guerrothak as scout and lookout.

The World at large

General history

It's obvious from the fact that many of the same species live in the different Caligoi, and that they have similar languages and cultures, that these different regions were not always so cut off from one another, but must have been connected in some way. Common tradition asserts that they were not only connected, but were part of the same uninterrupted world until a few thousand years ago. The event which caused them to be thus cut off is generally called the Sundering.

No one knows just what caused the Sundering, though many claim to. Most accounts agree that the appearance and advance of the Mists was slow enough that the true horrors did not appear until all of the world's surviving population had been steadily corraled into the small regions now called the Caligoi. Warfare and rioting between the immigrants and natives of these regions, plague and famine caused by the sudden increase in population density, soon reduced the crowding; but by consequence they also destroyed almost all traces of the old world-spanning civilization.

After that, the history of the world is exclusively the history of the individual Caligoi.

The nation Vislond in Caligo Torodoth, and to a lesser extent the nations with which it traded, made rapid progress in technology during about 600 years; after that, spaceplanes linked the Caligoi in commerce. Mass trade in bulky goods was impossible, but ideas and people could travel freely. In the the 14th century after Tlastragoz (see Torodoth: History), or about the 28th century after the Sundering, Torodoth and the Caligoi with which it trades most are well in advance of late 20th century Earth.

More detailed history of some of the individual Caligoi can be found in their separate documents (q.v.).

The Mists

The Mists that cover most of the world's surface, and surround all the Caligoi, are water vapor with impurities in the sense that a Toaliralolo is a water-saturated mass of carbon compounds. There's something else going on there, but no one really understands it.

They are inhabited by creatures whose bodies seem to be made of similar material, which can temporarily enter the Caligoi as some land-dwelling creatures can briefly swim in water.

Most people who enter the Mists (few do so willingly) never return. Some exit the mists minutes or hours later, usually but not always far off in the same Caligo, usually but not always insane.

Weather

Somewhere out beyond the mists there must be some large oceans generating weather. In those Caligoi with large seas opening upon the mists (Skargard, Triyk, Torodoth, Kreis and Dreik), hurricanes sometimes come up with little warning out of the mists and strike the coasts disastrously. In the all-land Caligoi, weather patterns of various kinds come up out of the mists without warning.

Winds and cold fronts and so forth get "lost" in the mist, just as people do. A tornado can zip into the mists in one place and zip back into a Caligo hundreds of miles away a few moments later, still going strong.

GURPS note: Because it is impossible to see far into the mists in any fashion, all Meteorology skill checks, Predict Weather spells, and so forth are at -5.

Climate

Torodoth and Triyk are upon deep bays. Skargard is out upon the open sea. Dreik is on the coast of a continent, with a few barrier islands in the Mist to blunt the weather somewhat.

Rectek is near the northern edge of a continent in the southern hemisphere. It is long enough from north to south to get perceptible climate difference; up north it snows only a few days in the winter, down south there are several weeks of snow.

Kreis is on the northern coast of the same continent. It is subtropical, and subject to unpredictable hurricanes. Snow is extremely infrequent.

Mar, Triyk and Skargard are in the tropic zone. It never snows there naturally, but occasionally (about once a century) a blizzard will come out of the mist from somewhere else. The snow melts soon but it can bury and freeze people in the short time it lasts.

Torodoth and Dreik are in the northern temperate zone. Torodoth is further south than Dreik, and has warmer weather. Vislond, in the north of Torodoth, gets no more snow than Zunthu in northern Rectek; in Novalia, further south, snow is very rare except in the mountains.

Qualtos is partly inside the broad arctic circle. Much of the snow melts during the summer, and most years there are a few weeks of hot weather, but the growing season is only a couple of months.

Calendar and Orbital mechanics

The planet Krugel orbits its primary in a period equal to about 463.2 times its period of rotation on its axis: that is, it has a year of 463 & 1/5 days.

(462 = 2 * 3 * 7 * 11; 463 is prime.)

The large bright moon orbits Krugel every 33 days (its phase-period) and rotates on its axis every 11 days. Its apparent size is about thrice as wide as the apparent size of the sun.

A smaller, non-reflective moon orbits in the same plane every 26 days. Its apparent size is too small to totally eclipse the bright moon, though ample for occasional total solar eclipses. Perfect "doughnut" eclipses, where the dark moon appears in the center of a full moon, occur every 858 days (though imperfect doughnut moons, in which the bright moon is gibbous or the dark moon is off-center, are more frequent).

Calendars

Toa': 14 months (wuura) of 33 days, each with 3 weeks (nayira) of 11 days. Sacred cycles (wuumera) of 11 years.

Zun: 7 seasons of 66 days each, each with 11 "weeks" of six days.

Briacite: 3 seasons of 7 subseasons, most with 22 days. The last subseason of the year has 23 or 24 days.

Most calendars have an extra day at year end because 463 is prime, and another extra day every fifth year.

Flora and Fauna

By geography

Cavern

Animals

Rockwaar - Small lizards with large, magically adhesive feet. Their muscles are magically tough; if someone gets the idea to pull a rockwaar off a cave wall, the wall will come loose before the rockwaar tears apart or comes loose. They always live in and near caves, though they venture out at night to search for insects and suchlike. They can adjust their eyes to light, but prefer darkness. Glaethryn sometimes mind-link with them because of the usefulness of their adhesive abilities. Rockwaars get an important part of their diet from the fungi that grow in the darkest of the caverns, but they also forage outside for insects.

ST 6 DX 7 IQ 3 HT 6 MV 3 PD 0 DR 15, Clinging, Night vision

Dwixiv - These are rock-worms that grow to be up to 300 feet long. They secrete powerful digestive juices which can dissolve most rocks, and eat the mush which results. Many tunnels and caverns were originally made by dwixiv activity. The dwixiv are continually being driven further into the depths in search of the tastiest available stone, but some can still be found as shallow as a third of a mile down. They tend to seek out regions with few air-holes (tunnels and caverns), so Pliv and Toa residential caverns are rarely endangered by dwixiv activity.

Tlargontrag - These look similar to dwixiv, though they don't grow as large. The body chemistry is very different, though. They live even deeper, in rocks which contain oxygen, and as they digest them they produce thousands of cubic feet of hot oxygen, which blow upward through tunnels and wells toward the surface.

Plants

Grenangork - This is a moss that grows on rock in very dim light. It favors the entrances of caves, and is cultivated by the Pliv for food. On its surface grow small bulbs of protein, which are the source of many creatures' diets. One variety can grow in the torchlight or forgelight, though not so well as on sunlight, and is found in smithies and inhabited caverns.

Vantast - An order of plants which are unique in subsisting off sound engergy instead of light energy. This is fairly plentiful in the deep, what with minor tremors sending vibrations through the rocks for hundreds of miles, and occasional earthquakes and cavern collapses providing enough energy for a great spurt in the growth of the vantasts nearby.

Most species of vantast grow in the pitch-black caverns where they have no competition from grenangork. They prefer solid rock to tunnels and caverns, and will tunnel through miles of rock with their vines. When they emerge into a tunnel or cavern and sense a low density before them, they will form several million spores of both sexes and release them in several violent spurts after a few weeks. New vantasts will form where the spores settle, and tunnel into the rock again. Vantast spore bodies are pale white ellipsoids three to eight inches long.

Vantast vines, if extracted living from the rock, can be carried about and used to mask the sound of one's footsteps. (This effect lasts about 3-5 days after extraction). All vantasts can be dormant a long time between major feasts.

Forest

Animals

Hgrost - These are huge, octopodal herbivorous mammals. Adults stand about 4-5 meters, and mass three to four tons. Their tusks grow straight in females (about 2 meters) or twist like a screw in males (about 4 meters long, 2.5 meters in extension from body). They have a long, flexible snout with the mouth at its end; the inner part is an extension of the esophagus.

The Glaethryn often mind meld with hgrost, using them as mounts and beasts of burden for lifting and pulling jobs. It is considered a crime to kill one unless you are threatened, but the Glaethryn do sell the tusks and sometimes hides of the ones that die naturally.

Galvorn - Antelope-deer like creatures. They grow to about 2m tall (males) or 1.8m tall (females) and prefer to remain hidden in the woods. Generally they will flee if they see or scent enemies, but sometimes the male will attack to create a distraction while the females and young escape. They have long, strong horns which curve out from the head, then extend forward about .2 meter.

Llalnoppr - Treedwelling marsupials. They are lazy and prefer to go slowly, but they can move very fast if they have to escape a predator. Their fur is greenish above and brown beneath to camouflage them both from groundwelling and airborne predators. They are omnivores, eating both tree leaves and insects. They live their entire lives in the trees; a llalnopper that is knocked to the ground somehow will usually die rapidly of surprise, and when they don't they are quickly picked up by some predator, being totally helpless on the ground. Llalnoppr are sometimes hunted by forest dwelling races (except for Llegesia, who find their meat distasteful) for food; a difficult pursuit as they are so difficult to see from the ground except when they are moving (which they do so slowly, unless they are being pursued, that it is hardly worthy of the name movement). Their meat is thus rare and expensive.

Ulphrazz - Tall ursinoids with sharp spines all over in place of hair. They have long, stout tails with dense horny spikes projecting at the end (something like a stegosaurus's tail). They can use these tails for removing trees that get in their way. They can walk upright but prefer to go on all fours. Their meat is very tasty to Slithu and Glaethryn, but it does not agree with most TTambroc's taste buds. They mate for life.

Dalvar - Omnivorous reptillian creatures frequently hunted by TTambroc and Slithu. They are two to four feet long, with stout roundish bodies and legs longer than the average lizard, but not longer than most mammals their size. They have a twisted horn two or three feet long projecting from their snout. They don't eat animals anywhere near their size, but they will charge a predator and impale him with their horn if provoked. They can attain speeds of up to 75 miles per hour, but may hold this speed for only several minutes before slowing down.

Betapharr - Small creatures resembling kangaroo, with broad, membranous sensory organs where one would expect ears to be. These organs serve as vibration detectors, with which the can `hear', sense hidden movement, and feel slight vibrations in objects. The organs are usually pressed back to the head, but they can be extended outward to greatly increase the accuracy and range of their senses. The main drawback to this is that the membrane can be torn easily like this and they must move slowly while in this state, or the combination between movement and the feeling of air rippling the membranes will make them "dizzy" and they will lose almost all use of the membrane while in this state. They also have elephantine trunks, which they drink with and use for manipulation.

Tzemblek - A bird which feasts on the insects which live in dead trees. It is very much like a woodpecker, though it is usually smaller, about the size of a canary, and has an extrodanarily hard beak, which can be extended three times it's normal length. Zharto, a Zun humourist, once determined exactly what humour allowed it to stretch it's beak and magically spliced that humour into a Targamand. After a few weeks of strange growths appearing on it's snout, the Targamand's snout suddenly grew to twice its length, with magically hard teeth. A few days later it tried to fly and fell off a building, dying.

Ghrunah - Long segmented worm that dwells above ground, eating underbrush and small insects. It leaves behind a sticky ichor that the hjemeria tree subsists off of. They are usually from 4' to 8' long and 3' to 5' thick.

Talafast - small furry creatures, burrow underground; when they hear footpads nearby, they poke their heads out and bite the legs of animals, crippling them. They then call their relatives and devour the creature.

Flamith - social insects, generalist pollinators. They build their nests by preference in the trunks of standing deadwood. (Sometimes they invade houses built of wood; they don't sting, though, so some races (especially Briacite) allow them to stay in the house.)

Plants

Jharlnak - This tree is noted for having wood which is the second toughest organic substance known. (The carapace of the kalbithri is the toughest.) To cut down a jharlnak tree requires two men wielding a specially enchanted diamond-bladed saw. (The Pliv make such tools for foresters, in return for a share of the wood, which they use, among other things, for currency.) Jharlnak trees grow at a rate of about two feet taller and six inches thicker every hundred years, though about ten times as fast during their first quarter-century or so. The oldest jharlnak tree known is thought to be twelve thousand years old. Jharlnak trees have an ablative DR of 20 and a DR of 15.

Targast - These are fairly rapidly growing trees that sometimes grow a hundred feet in their first ten years. After they have grown so tall, they start growing thicker at a more moderate pace, and add only slowly to their height. They are often cut at ten or twenty years for use as support poles. They are the most common tree throughout young forests.

Gwultay - These are low-growing shrubs, with broad leaves. They grow comparatively slowly. Their berries (which they first produce in about their seventh year) are very tasty, and provide a quick burst of energy, giving an almost immediate (HT/6 seconds) +4 fatigue points, then a loss of one fatigue per 10 minutes for 1d+2 minutes. They are distantly related to the cultivated ulvastor berries that the Slithu raise.

Qualpirk - These are fungi that spread to be about twelve feet across, covering roughly circular areas on the forest floor. Their substance is very sticky, and an animal that walks through a qualpirk will track its spores everywhere he goes until he has waded through a stream five or six times. Inhaling many of the spores has the effect on many species of slowing down brain activity for several hours.

Poipunya - (see Poipunya under freshwater plants)

Hjemeria - Small tree that releases a gas into the air around it. This gas is used to attract ghrunah, which leave behind their ichor, which the tree absorbs to suplement its diet. As a side affect of the gas, anyone inhaling it will begin to suffer from hallucinations until approximately 1 hour after being separated from the gas.

simai - a species of tuber, cultivated by several races for food; similar shape as potatoes, but with a more distinctive taste. Red-orange when washed, a duller yellow-orange when cooked.

nathisa - A tree which grows two sorts of flowers in spring, and two sorts of fruits in summer. The small white flowers become a long, narrow green fruit, very spicy, and the larger blue ones become a round, lumpy turquoise fruit, sweet and crunchy.

Grasslands

Animals

Targamand - Lean, fast marsupial predators. They are somewhat bigger than the average timber wolf. They have great manes of hair about their heads, usually of a darker color than the rest of their fur. They are quite capable of leaping to heights of three or four meters to pluck a low-flying bird or reptile out of the air. Their skin is exceedingly tough, and they can take a lot of injuries before being adversely affected. Their teeth carry poison which is fatal to animals up to five times their mass.

Galvorn - (See Forest animals)

Grendeg - (See entry under mountain animals.)

Broyast - Polypodal burowing mammals, with variable numbers of segments (like the Toa'). They live in extensive tunnel systems as deep as 20 feet under the grasses. They mainly nibble at the roots of several dense grasses (see Uwoxel, below).

Plants

Uwoxel - A dense-growing grass which is a chief food of both grendeg (above ground) and broyasts (below ground). When it has been chewed on recently, it temporarily secretes an acid which makes it taste bad until it has healed from the last time it was made a meal of. This protects it from overgrazing above and below. Uwoxel roots have been known to be brewed in some magic potions (no wonder they taste so bad!)

Delcantari - A tall grass reaching about 8 feet at maturity. It usually consists of a tan or brown stalk, with light grey or grey green leaves billowing out from it. It usually grows in circular clumps about 20 feet in diameter. If chopped and brewed, its leaves will produce a delicious tea called Jartay that is usually drunk cold with tectm spice. Toaliralolo are especially fond of this.

Jungle

Animals

Kalbithri - Large insects, growing up to eight inches long (not counting feelers), which live on the jungle floor and eat mosses and other jungle-floor plants. Their carapace is extremely hard, and they are hunted for this tough armor material. Some species of kalbithris have brightly colored carapaces which are prized for drinking vessels and such-like, but these are much rarer than the grey-brown kalbithris.

Ipokorth - Scavenging insects, up to two inches long but usually smaller. Although they are not social insects like ants, one may call others to a meal if it should have food left after eating its fill.

Kragli - Small amphibious predatory critters that enjoy eating things 1000 times their size. They have no teeth but have a nifty little humour that lets them bite through anything organic. Nasty little beasts! Resemble medium sized salamanders with 8 legs.

Umbrask - Lean, long eight-legged reptiles that graze on treetop foliage. They have multi-colored scales, the same range of greens and blues as commonly found in leaves. They have long, flexable toes which they wrap around all but the stoutest tree limbs.

Nelmesin - Gliding reptiles that hide in the clouds and swoop down on prey. They resemble pterodactyls but are a little smaller. Their scales are greyish-white so as to blend in with the clouds. When not gliding about they perch on the tops of trees and flap their wings, making a swirl of vapor that camouflages them.

Plants

Hezgahrn - Herbal plant that grows in the underbrush. The leaves have healing properties and the sap restores endurance and strength.

Kranglark - The name of several varieties of carnivorous tree. They grow about twenty or thirty feet tall. It waits till an animal passes under it, then pours strong acid on it from above. The acid dissolves the animal and the solution soaks into the ground where the tree's roots lap it up eagerly. Kranglarks may be recognized by the nearly bare ground beneath their boughs, though the different varieties have widely differing leaf shapes and such-like.

Volwarp - Bushes which have no seeds; they propogate by letting animals eat their fruits, and then be affected by the humour in those fruits, which transforms the animal at a convenient place (good soil and light) into a volwarp. The juice of this fruit has occasionally been used as a poison: not, obviously, in private murders where secrecy is required, but as a means of execution (like hemlock). It looks (and smells) very similar to a similar, harmless plant, the mefawar. Volwarp are thought by some to be descended from a mutant or enchanted mefawar.

Mefawar - See volwarp. Its fruit is very tasty, but expensive because of the chemical tests needed to ensure that a given bush is indeed a mefawar and not a volwarp.

Yilpac - One of the tallest trees of the jungle. Shoots up sometimes a thousand feet. Yilpac support each other by touching with their limbs and winding them together. By this means, complexes of yilpac form the framework of the entire jungle. The average distance between two yilpac is about fifteen feet. Other trees can grow in these gaps, as the yilpac roots go as straight down as their trunks go up, and there is plenty of room for floor plants and smaller trees. The intertwined limbs formed can support trees and bushes in hollows where dirt and minerals collect.

Mountain

Animals

Pologna - Small ursinoids resembling teddy bears. Herbivorous. Frequently domesticated by Glaethryn. They are good animals for mind-link because their brain is very close in design to that of a Glaethryn, and their throat and tongue is complex enough that a Glaethryn can speak through it. Members of other races sometimes train pologna to parrot simple phrases, and keep them as pets. Blirthibo often buy them from landdwellers for ballapoj absorption, so as to have a shape that can form the sounds used in the languages of other races.

Besytara - Predatory lizards that live in the lower mountains. Diet consists mainly of grendeg and pologna. They grow up to 10 feet long and 3 feet high. Their teeth can grow to about 2 1/2 feet long and have fangs that are fatally poisonous to most animals smaller than themselves. They can separate their lower jaw to swallow big prey. Average rate of speed is 10 mph although they can travel about 50 mph for very short distances.

Calibarana - Birds of prey, large enough that they are frequently used by the Glaethryn as mounts. (To those of you concerned about mass/wing area ratios and things like that, they have a humour that makes them lighter than they should be. So there.) They can take off virtually straight up, needing little room for a running start.

Rockwaar - (See entry under Caverns.)

Grendeg - Eight-legged mammals that graze on the grass of the low flat plains in the mountains. They are about 6 feet long and 5 feet high. Although they are usually harmless, if you make any move towards them they will call upon their magical defenses. One will feel a strong desire to lie down and relax... and never get up again. This will wear off after a few hours (usually between 5-10), but some other dangerous animal will probably get you before the lassitude wears off unless your friends carry you away.

Plants

Swamp

Animals

Tsandrik - These are stout, massive amphibians, up to 2 tons in mass and about seven feet long, that bury themselves in the mud of the swamps to wait for prey. They have been known to eat animals as large as pleorns (see below) (if the pleorn in question was injured and unable to flee), though they have no teeth and rely on their powerful saliva and digestive juices to dissolve bones and flesh alike.

Pleorn - Pleorn are mammals that live in the treetops of the swamp. Their diet consists mainly of insects and spiders, but sometimes they can catch small reptiles. Adults are about two feet long. Like other mammals in their class, they have eight legs.

Geltandri - Geltandri are long, flying snakes; like the Yith, they reproduce by regrowing full animals from fissioned sections. Their form of locomotion is levitation, not wing power. They camouflage themselves by wrapping around tree trunks and limbs and disguising themselves as vines. Their bite is paralyzing to any creature much smaller than a large Yith.

Plants

Gharm - Short plant that grows a large, gourd-like bulb. Inside a mature bulb is a liquid called gharm juice that has different effects for each different humour. It takes about two years for it to mature and three months to rot. Rotten gharm juice is a highly corrosive liquid to everything but the shell of the gharm.

Freshwater

Animals

Rylnaspri - These are predatory invertebrates, something like octopi or squid. They are about three feet long, twelve counting tentacles. They have a circular array of teeth. They live in the deeper pools, usually below 18 or 20 feet.

Nopiscors - Fish, one of the kinds most used for food. They resemble trout in taste, but are a little saltier. They have many agile fins that allow great maneuverability in the water.

Ylgrathnas - Small fish with many sharp teeth. Resemble pirhanas, but more solitary.

Tezmoor - Small amphibians resembling large horny toads. They eat mostly small insects. They sun themselves on rocks several hours a day.

Glagdrongs - Large predatory amphibians that rest on the bottom of the river, stirring out whenever something large enough to appease their insatiable hunger passes overhead. They camouflage themselves by growing a strange rocklike projection from their heads, which rests at the water level. They frequently attack ships. They will let tezmoor sit on their heads to put prey off guard.

Chozzboorn - Large scorpion like insect about 3 feet long not including their 1 foot long claws. Their carapace is sand colored, allowing them to nestle down in the sand on the beaches and not be seen. Their tails have been known to fetch a high price in a trading village or an apothecary.

Plants

Poipunya - Citrus tree that grows in sunny places, mostly near fresh water. Its fruit is bluish-green and is elongated like a cucumber. It is a favorite fruit of the Slithu and TTambroc and is said to have invigorative properties (gain 1 fatigue 1d/2 minutes after eating a poipunya).

Dcaltari - Riverweed that grows just underwater near the banks. It spreads out horizontally instead of vertically and form a soft carpet of weeds several feet out. The weeds grow up to 8 feet long which makes them good twine material if picked and stripped of leaves.

Saltwater

Animals

Hohirth -- Predatory sessile shelled creatures. They sit on the bottom in shallow salt water with their shell shut tight, resembling a rock more than a shelled animal, and occasionally pop open and snap out their three tongues to grab any creatures that are swimming near; pulling them in, it snaps shut and rests a long while digesting them. After every fifth or sixth meal it will spray out thousands of sex cells, which if they happen to find another hohirth cell will join and begin to grow into a baby hohirth, which in its larval stage eats plankton before settling down to grow larger and form a shell. There is only one kind of sex cell among the hohirth, but they require two different gene patterns to mate, so two cells from the same hohirth will never mate. The Blirthibo sometimes mark known hohirth with stripes of bright dyes as a warning.

Rethmeki -- A curious creature which is carnivorous, and very dangerous, in its larval stage, but becomes herbivorous when mature. The young are lean, serpentine creatures which hang on to the trunk of megorya, camouflaged as roots; when they sense prey nearby, they push off and dart toward their prospective supper. Hunting young rethmeki, for Ballapoj absorption or for food, is a dangerous sport among the Blirthibo. Adult rethmeki are larger, though of the same general shape, and they camouflage as megorya roots while digesting their food.

Brepabund - Small omnivorous fishes which travel in large schools or packs.

Jekmaz - The jekmaz is the largest creature to swim in the seas. It is of the same general order as the Blirthibo, having ten tentacles and an ellipsoidal body surrounded by overlapping shell plates, but is about ten times as big. It is omnivorous. Jekmaz have been known to overturn small ships so as to eat the sailors, and on a few occasions it is thought that several jekmaz have cooperated to pull larger ships under; but some blame these rare occasions on a wicked Tharoala Blirthibo.

Plants

Megorya - An order of trees that spread their broad buoyant leaves on the surface. Their trunk is flexible and somewhat slack, so as not to give too much resistance against the currents. Roots of all sizes and lengths extend from various places on the trunk, which in turn have still smaller hair-roots.

Flimoia -- These plants float on the surface, absorbing sunlight, during the day; at sunset they sink to the sea floor and bury their roots in it during the night. The exact mechanism by which they accomplish this is not fully understood, but some Blirthibo maintain that they have a humour which allows them to increase their weight. It is known that when a fish eats a sinking flimoi, he becomes to heavy to swim, and sinks to the sea floor -- where, as often as not, a seedling flimoi is nourished by his corpse. Flimoia live in the relative shallows, of about 500-3000 feet depth.

Taxonomy

animals
   mammals
      quadrupeds (and two-armed bipeds)
         Llegisia, TTambroc, base Guerro, Wexivinov
         marsupial
            Briacite and Slithu
            targamand
            llalnoppr
            betapharr
         "ursinoid", brain in chest cavity
            Glaethryn
            ulphrazz
            pologna
         sonaric
            Pliv
         talafast (small burrowers)
         galvorn (horned)
      octopods
         hgrost
         grendeg
         pleorn
      polypods (grow new segments during their lives)
         Toaliralolo
         broyast

   bird
      Krinth
      calibarana
      tzemblek

   reptile
      quadruped/two feet and two wings
         Zun
         dalvar
         besytara
         rockwaar
         nelmesin (flying)
      octopod
         umbrask
      decentralized
         Yith
         geltandri  (flying)

   amphibian
      tsendrik
      kragli
      tezmoor
      glagdrong

   fish
      fresh-water
         nopiscor
         ylgrathna
      salt water
         brepabund

   invertebrates
      soft-body
         ghrunah
      hard-shell
         water-dwellers
            Blirthibo
            rylnaspri
            jekmaz
            hohirth
         insects:
            flamith
            kalbithri
            ipokorth
            chozzboorn

lithivores
   dwixiv
   tlargontrag

photovores (plants)
   structured
      land trees
         nut-bearing
            Jhray
            jharlnak
            targast
            yilpac
            kranglark  (carnivorous)
         fruit-bearing
            single
               poipunya
               hjmeria
               gwultay
               ulvastor
               volwarp
               mefawar
               
            double  (nathisa)
      tubers
         simai
         hezgahrn
         gharm
      grass
         uwoxel
         delcantari
      water-dwelling
         rooted
            dcaltari
         free-floating, salt water
            megorya
            flimoia
   simple (lichen-fungal)
      grenangork
      qualpirk

phonovores (vantast)

Supernatural Creatures

Ghosts

Ghosts of Blirthibo are rarely seen until long after they have died, and not often then. Sometimes the ghost of a long-dead Blirthibo will appear briefly to give a warning or message from Piribi or Llorbathio, and sometimes he will come on his own account to warn of some treachery or unnatural danger. It is believed by the Blirthibo that they dwell in the Sea City when they die, and return only upon the will of the gods.

The Llegesia, being such creatures of habit, often take awhile to get used to being dead, and it is not considered polite to stare at a ghost who is trying to eat or hunt or engage in some fleshly activity.

The Toaliralolo believe that the ghosts of those who die without giving their memories to someone must remain behind, too much weighed down by their memories to ascend to heaven. These ghosts crawl heavily along, hunting for someone who will accept their memories. They are visible only in the light of a Lloramal fire (see Toaliralolo: Religion) but can sometimes be heard speaking if there is complete silence otherwise. If one wants to accept the memories of a ghost, keep in mind that the ghost may be a wicked person whose memories nobody would accept when he was dying. On the other hand, he may have died alone, or too suddenly to give away his memories. Absorbing the memories of a ghost is about twice as difficult as to absorb the memories of a living person.

The TTambroc believe that the ghosts of their kin must remain in Caligo until they have been forgotten: only then can they go to their reward. Therefore they do not mark the graves of their dead, nor record their names in genealogies, nor ever mention the dead to one another and certainly not to foreigners. They have places set aside where no one ever goes, where the ghosts of their kin can hide from the eyes of the living until they are forgotten, lest they be seen as ghosts and thus remembered longer.

Pliv ghosts, like those of the TTambroc, seek out places where they can be alone and not seen by the living; usually very deep inside solid rock, far from caverns or tunnels. Pliv ghosts are sometimes, not always, tied to a place where they lived a long while (usually their klabedjiv), not necessarily where they happened to die.

Yith under the curse in Caligo Rectek seem to become ghosts often because they are too slow-witted to realize they are dead, or perhaps too stubborn to admit it. This is one of the primary reasons that some people in Rectek think the Yith have souls despite their abysmally low intelligence. In other places, they rarely do so.

A Zun will become a ghost if he dies while dreamwalking, or while performing certain kinds of magic. When this happens, he will usually stay around a few days or weeks to see his funeral and so forth. Eventually he will vanish away.

Joyriders

These frivolous creatures look about for people who are dreamwalking or daydreaming and take possession of their bodies for a few minutes or hours and do silly, embarrassing things. They find it difficult to retain control of the body, especially if the evicted person makes an effort to get back in. A Joyrider can be told apart from the person whose body they are borrowing by the voice, which sounds markedly different in tone and accent and often speaks a different language. They are common around cities and large villages.

Avengers

Sometimes when a treacherous murder has been done, and the murderer has not been caught, one of the spirit beings called Avengers will enter and possess someone and use his body to hunt down and kill the murderer. No one knows exactly how the Avengers choose the persons they possess, or the murder victims they avenge. While the Avenger is in possession of the body, its eyes will glow a bright red, and if cut its blood too will glow red. When the Avenger finishes his task and returns the body to its owner, the eyes and blood return to normal.

Mysts

In the Mists live insubstantial beings, some of which emerge at times to feed on the living creatures within the Caligoi. They cannot remain outside the Mists for long, but while outside they can travel very rapidly. They appear as small clumps of fog, with a brightness at their core which becomes dimmer the longer they remain outside their natural habitat. They seem to be psychovores; some eat the minds of sentients, some those of ghosts, and some those of the higher animals, while others merely nibble on psychic emanations (which interferes nastily with telepathic reception). They can travel about sixty mph when they are strong, fresh from the Mists or from a good meal, but slow down as they get weaker. If they do not find a really nourishing meal (i.e., a sentient who is mentally straight, morally square, and respected by his community), they can remain alive outside the Mists for no more than five minutes.

There exist charms and spells to ward off or repel mysts; most people who live within a day's walk of the Mists build these into their houses and always carry them on their persons. Sometimes, if a person is attacked by a myst but manages to ward it off, or is rescued by a friend, he will lose some memories, tend to be slow-thinking, become aphasic or synaesthetic, or have his reason impared -- the same sort of unpredictable effects that might result from a head injury.

Once a Wexivinov mage in Dreik slew a mist-being that had just eaten her husband's soul; she caught the (mostly) undigested soul, and placed it in the body of a betaphar. He lived several years after, but was never right in the head.

The Enemies

The Enemies, or Evil Ones, are often thought to be unusually powerful Mysts. According to mages who have studied them, this does not appear to be the case. They seem to be equally comfortable in the Caligoi or in the Mists, and perhaps to be as great a terror to the mysts as they are to the sentients of the Caligoi.

There are several known Enemies. Each of these seems to either require or enjoy turning sentient races into their minions (because "servants" just doesn't sound cool enough). Each has a different way of creating minions:

Sorathe, or The Brood Mother - steals eggs, or kills pregnant women and steals their womb. Absorbs the womb/egg into herself and gives birth to the childen, warped by her essence. She also takes newborns and feeds them her milk (hence the name Sorathe, a Toa' name meaning "evil milk"), turning them into brainless zombies.

The Owl - kills and eats creatures, its excrement (Owl balls!) forms into skeletal minions, dripping with toxic excrement.

The Innardsdancer - Skins and eats people, injecting his essence into their skins by wearing them for a time. He then removes the skins and fills them with fungus and the remains of his other victims. He then seals them up seamlessly and sends them out into the world. They don't smell too nice, but otherwise are undetectable at a glance, though nothing of the original personality is left.

The Ichor - A giant pool of ichor beneath the earth. It calls to its victims by a strong psionic call, drawing them into its depths. It then mutates them into

Absolute - Lives up above the air and Mists. Everyone who passes through his empty domain becomes loyal to him. (Defeated, or at least driven away for awhile, by sixteen Jhotha Pairfolk about a hundred years after the beginning of space travel.)

Symbolica - Lives in information-space; travels through books, tzelyund-imprinted things, and people's memories, and corrupts ideas. If one reads a book in which she is currently resting, or recalls a memory in which she inheres, one might become her minion. Note: she does not inhabit a particular volume, or a particular person's mind, but all copies of a book at once, or the minds of all persons who recall some particular event. Her regular habitation is an old book of black magic which has been translated into every written language including Jhotha tzelyund, and exists in slightly variant forms in all of the Caligoi.

The Lost Gods

The Lost Gods are powerful beings, usually benevolent, who manifest themselves occasionally througout the Caligoi. Only the Wexivanov worship them as gods. The Guerro' believe that they made the world, but have been superseded by other, more powerful gods. The Pliv and Zun believe them to be servants of the true god. Most others consider them a race of powerful, long-lived sentients, not particularly divine. For a heavily biased account of the individual gods, see under Wexivanov: Religion.

Diseases

(see also under humours: humourotic diseases)

Sthil - A pulmonary infection, usually lasting several days to several weeks (depending upon the race of the person infected); it's sometimes fatal, especially in humid climates (e.g. Kreis, Triyk) or in persons already weak from other causes. It affects all mammalian races. In the Glaethryn, labored breathing may create sustained pressure on the sensocord, leading to permanent synaesthesia. The Pliv are rarely affected by it except in those places where they mingle generally with other races (e.g., Vislond in Torodoth).

Pelhsana - This affects the nervous system of every animal race, but has atypical effects in some. For most, it causes dizziness, weakness in the limbs, reduced appetite, and general unfocused cheerfulness. It is not fatal in itself, but accidents and starvation are common side-effects when no one is present to attend to the patient, prompt him to eat, and so forth. It may last months or years and clear up suddenly for no apparent cause. Some healing spells are effective against it, but they must typically be sustained for several days to work. In the Jhotha, it dulls telepathic receptivity (but not broadcast strength) so that the person affected will need to come closer to his neighbors than they like in order to hear them clearly. In the Zun and Yith, it usually causes garrulity. Krinth who are affected by it cannot fly because their wings become uncoordinated; in some cultures, suicide is traditional for Pelhsanaks.

Tvi - Zun and Yith affected by this lose their scales, exposing bare flesh. It is not fatal in itself, but exposed flesh is more open to infection from other diseases. In Yith who are getting enough to eat, and in Zun not yet full-grown, new scales will grow once the tvi is healed; but adults who have had tvi generally die of some infetion or other.

Magic

Karmletht

Karmletht is a meditative devotion practiced by many Llegesia and some Glaethryn, TTambroc, Briacite, etc. It consists of several different positions and activities and the chanting of certain syllables. The purest form is performed in a dark, closed in space with some cheethark (szhee-thark) leaves burning as incense. This is only practiced by some Llegesia, as the fumes of burning cheethark has unpleasent effects on other races, ranging from giving zun a scale rash, to locking the Guerro's in their present form for a few days, to making Slithu loose their lunch. The Llegesia, however, find the odor pleasing and, when is a state of rest during Karmletht, can do bizarre things with their mind and body while inhaling cheethark fumes. Some practice a variation in which they drink cheethark tea before they begin, saying it reduces the effectiveness, but does not have some of the unpleasent side effects (some vision distortion, percieved time distortion and vision slurring for 12-24 hours afterwards). Some of the various positions are:

Thzu-Tgwa (Thuh-zhu-tug-wah) -- standing position, arms limp to side, eyes half closed, begin rocking back and forth on your feet. Start chanting the appropriate syllables and think about their meaning, clearing your mind of all else. Do this about 10-30 minutes.

Sha-malc-neth (sha-malk-neth) -- crouching position, arms stretched at 90 degree angles from the torso, palms up, eyes closed. Chant the syllables very slowly, stressing every other syllable. Think about a sphere, the color of a syllable you have picked. Imagine it falling through clouds of white grey smoke, growing smaller as it falls. Do this about 5 min.

Gu-lomnak (Goo-Lom-Nak) -- Crouch, grab ankles with hands and close eyes. Chant the syllables at a normal speaking tone and speed, and imagine each syllable as a pulse of energy flowing through your body, slowly pulling through your left hand, passing in a loop through your body twice, then pushing out your right foot. Do this about 10-15 minutes.

Unwai-Yomos (ewn-why-yo-mos) -- Sit on the ground, cross your legs and tuck your feet under them. Place first finger (above top eye for Llegesia, behind ear for Briacite and Glaethryn and to the side of the nose for the TTambroc). Imagine clouds rolling underneath and your syllables being etched in stones which are dropping from a cloud the color of one of your syllables. Do this about 5 min.

Char-knolek (char-no-lek) -- The final state. Recline compleatly and let your whole body relax. This is when you would light the cheethark leaves (if you were Llegesian). Just attempt to go to sleep, and you will enter a deep meditative trance, in which you can do several things.

It takes about 45 min-1hr to reach Char-knolek, which usually take anywhere from 1 hr-several days.

Spells unique to the Caligoi

The tzelyund spells are of the Mind college and can be learned by Zun, Glaethryn, or female Wexivinov mages. Female Wexivinov can only cast Write Tzelyund with their spouse's help.

Detect Tzelyund message -- Mental/Hard, no prerequisite

Erase Tzelyund message -- Mental/Hard, prerequisite: Detect Tzelyund message.

Read Tzelyund message -- Mental/Very Hard, prerequisites: Jhotha language, Detect Tzelyund message.

Write Tzelyund message -- Mental/Very Hard, prerequisites: Jhotha language, Read Tzelyund message

Ward off myst-demons (static) - Mental/average, no prerequisite.
Cast on a house, a ring of stones, or tree; prevents most mysts from approaching for a while, depending on the power put into the spell...
(Earth college)

A weaker form can be cast into a portable piece of jewelry. Such ward-charms ought to be worn around the head - as ear or nose rings, or headbands. (Glaethryn's brains aren't in their head but in the upper chest, so they should wear them lower.)

Ward off myst-demons (dynamic) - Mental/hard, no prerequisite but defaults to ward off mysts (static) at -4
Cast on a person, animal or vehicle; prevents most mysts from approaching for a while, depending on the power put into the spell...
(Water college)


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