The Machinations of Balgrum
Ombrano (pronounced Om – Bra – no) are denizens of the Shadowfell, a plane that many consider a dark, twisted version of the material plane. The Cenn, leaders of ombrano douns, say that the first ombrano were deceived into to coming to this plane, as they were desperate to escape the death and destruction that awaited them on their home plane. However, the divine took pity on them and granted them the pensieri, the ability to communicate telepathically with intelligent creatures, an ability that many consider a double-edged sword. Yet, even with this new ability, the vile darkness of the plane twisted and molded them into what they are today. Eventually, ombrano mages managed to make contact with Balgrum, and with various rituals moved entire settlements to the plane, away from the dangers that lurked on their home plane, however this would not be the last of their hardships. The generations spent in the Shadowfell, meant they could not look upon the surface bathed in daylight with out experiencing great pain, and their xenophobic ways eventually lead to the “guerra di dolori” (war of sorrows) with humanity, that nearly wiped out the ombrano on Balgrum.
An Ombrano looks like a short, stout, pale-skinned, human with most men standing just under 5’ and women around 4’10”. Ombrano skin and hair color resemble human tones, except paler. Their eyes are the major difference, which are nearly twice the size of an average human with colors of solid sliver, blue, or green, leading to some calling them “glass eyes” as a derogatory term. Ombrano usually live to be around 60 years old, with very few living much longer than that.
Ombranos are generally mistrustful of new situations and tend to remove themselves from any they deem dangerous. While many would call this cowardice, it has allowed them to survive on the Shadowfell for centuries, so there is no need to stop just because someone call you a wimp. However, this dedication to self preservation only occurs when they are alone, in situations where they have multiple allies this tendency fades and will give their life to help a comrade in need. Ombrano have adapted to survive in more ways than just physically. Mentally they have adapted to be very empathetic allowing them to deal with the more intelligent dangers of the Shadowfell. This trait has become an invaluable tool in Balgrum, making them excellent negotiators and interrogators.
Observation and patience are key for ombrano, and many will pass up an opportunity for success if deemed too dangerous and wait for a safer route to their goal to come along. They’re stoic nature many consider to falsely be indifference to other races, while that maybe true for some, it is an extension of their survival mechanism, where if a predator sees you in pain, your going to be their next victim. These traits can all be bolster or shattered by the pensieri, however as it only takes one ombrano in sheer terror to start affecting others, causing a chain reaction.
Friends are hard to come by when everything wants to kill you, and everyone you know, and ombrano are reluctant to trust the other races, especially humans. If someone does earn the trust of an ombrano, they and their future generations will come to their aid regardless of the effect it may have on them. In recent times, this has lead many who befriend ombranos to draw up contracts limiting what they will actually assist them with since it is unnecessary to keep up such drastic measures in modern times.
The Ombrano quickly found out that strength in numbers was one of their best weapons to survive, which has only been bolstered by the Pensieri which allows them to coordinate tactically better than any other race. On the other hand it has made them incredibly xenophobic, as generations spent in an environment where anything can kill you tends to warp one’s perception of normal. Prior to emigrating back to Balgrum they trusted only others of their race, and any who would break this trust was quickly ostracized, left to fend for themselves. It has also led to a bit of homogenization on their society, culture, and craft; however, this too has been steadily decreasing since their return. Their societal hierarchy, which became as sort of, uniocracy, has proved to be a great boon with the advent of industry, as each member is part of a unified pseudo-conscious and can make decisions, see opposing views, and access relevant information at astonishing speed. Ombrano settlements, known as doun, is similar to human settlements, but are structured for defense with building placed in such a manner that the town as a whole is surprising easy to secure. Each doun has between 5 to 12 families living in it. Since outsiders are suspect even under the best of circumstances, there are very few ombrano living in a doun that are not related to one of the families, however this is slowly changing. While ombrano do have gender roles they are not as strict as humans, and both men and women are expected to hold their own in a fight.
Even though it has been nearly 350 years since they arrived from the Shadowfell, many ombrano still carry their xenophobic tendencies. This is seen strongly in their hate of humans, even the youngest ombrano still have a deep seated mistrust of humans left over from the guerra di dolori. They have a general distrust of straesy, they being too mischievous in nature and primal in their appearance, while jesatom are seen as kindred spirits since they have been forced to deal with the chaos of the planes.
Alignment and Religion
With the constant fear of death looming over them during their time in the Shadowfell, strict rules and behaviors became the only way to even remotely stay alive, and most adhere to the law of the land, regardless of where they are.
Most ombrano worship Davkas, the Shadowmaster, who they believe was the first ombrano. Upon their migration to the material plane there are plenty who recognized and admired Kore’s love of law, while others found hope and awe in worshiping the sun goddess Maruvi after living so long in shadow. Ombrano dislike worshipers of Sheelah, seeing them as untrustworthy and unpredictable.
Ombrano tend to favor the Paladin and Inquisitor classes, with Fighter also helping in the never ending battle for their lives. Prior to their return, the ombrano rarely had any adventurers as it was seen as an instant death, with a few exceptions. In addition, many who left were not welcomed in very many places other than their original doun, unless they knew of their family fondly.
Ombrano Racial Traits:
- +2 Charisma, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence: Ombrano are resilient and forceful, but tend to have lapses in logical judgement.
- Native Outsiders: Ombrano are outsiders with the native subtype
- Medium: Ombrano are medium creatures and receive no bonus or penalties due to size
- Normal Speed: Ombrano have a base speed of 30 ft. per round.
- Hardy: Ombrano have a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
- Skill Training: Ombrano have a +2 racial bonus on Perception and Sense Motive checks.
- Bonus Feat: Ombranos gain one of the following teamwork feats at 1st level: Shielded Caster, Coordinated Maneuvers, or Stealth Synergy.
- Pensieri: Ombranos 1/day can forge a telepathic bond with another creature within 30ft., which must have an Intelligence score of 3 or higher. The bond can be established only with a willing subject, who therefore receives no saving throw and grans no benefits from spell resistance. You can communicate telepathically through the bond even if you do not share a common language. No special power or influence is established as a result of the bond. Once the bond is formed, it works over any distance, but not across planes, and lasts for 1 round per character level. This is a mind-affecting ability.
- Light Blindness: Whenever Ombrano are abruptly exposed to bright light they blind for 1 round; on subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.
- Darkvision: Ombrano can see in darkness for up to 90 ft.
- Language: Ombrano start knowing Oma (Italian) and one of the following: Jezik, Cyrt, Common, Bura, or Xian