Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Baleful Sky: The Mezan

Travel to the southern shores of the Midsea, and dock at Hendja. Travel downriver, and take the grand lifts of Maidenfall up the escarpment. Continue south on the river to the confluence of the Hendja and Kalates rivers.

There you  find the city of Kalat, gateway to the Eternal Mezan Empire.

The Mezan

There are three pillars to Mezan society - time, blood, and war.

They obsessively track their history with enormous circular calendars embedded in the central squares of all their settlements - from the great metropoli of Ozka and Almez to the tiniest unnamed hamlets. Their calendars mark and trace the movement of the baleful sky - the stars, planets, comets - all manner and types of celestial objects, visible to the naked or arcane eye. The patterns and times of these movements govern their lives - births, marriages, wars. 

These calendars also trace bloodlines - all Mezan can trace their lines back to the time of the First Men, from which they say they are the true descendants, and inheritors of the world. They measure themselves by their ancestries - yesterday's kings raise the lords of today who bear the heroes of tomorrow. Marriages are arranged at auspicious times for two houses, in the hopes the fruit of the union will be legendary. Sacrifices are made at the proper times. The sacrificial men and women have their fortunes told; in exacting detail; everything that will happen to them in their lives if they were not to be slain. The raw power released by this willful, violent rejection of fate power the rituals of the Mezan's sorcerers.

Wars are planned by the movements of the sky - only when the time is ripe do armies march. This effort has caused the Mezan to war amongst themselves for thousands of years, great houses vying to control the entirety of the Empire, hoping to hold power long enough for the next time the sky aligns for outward expansion - only happening once so far in recorded history, and that expansion caused the end of the Fifth Empire. In between events, they train. From childhood till invalidity, they train, each Mezan to his or her own peak.

Sol however, rules all, and they greet each dawn gladly, ready for what may come. The rising and  setting of the sun thus mirrors their culture; when the seers proclaim a Dawn, the world shudders, for very soon the Mezan will look outward towards their neighbors. Noon brings lands awash with the blood of others as a new empire waxes fully. Then, inevitable Dusk, as the haruspex proclaim enemies within, and the Mezan fall upon each other, and fall back to their ancestral lands.

It is a madness, waxing and waning over centuries.

Mezan 0: At Mezan 0, the character is a full-blooded Mezan, however, he or she has met their peak relatively early in life.

  • The character knows the secrets of the unarmed fighting style ingrained into Mezan culture, and may deal lethal damage when brawling, as well as strike armored characters without taking damage. At 5th level, the Mezan's increased ferocity in these attacks allow him or her to strike magical creatures.
  • The fear of death has been drilled out of the Mezan, as they realize they are but links in an ancestral chain, forever reaching further. They are fearless of eternity, and immune to all natural and magical fear effects.
  • Each Mezan may trace their bloodline back through aeons, and each and every one is of the First Men. The Mezan may hire one more henchmen than her Charisma would otherwise permit, and the base morale score of any henchmen is increased by 1.
  • Mezan are confident of their past, and of their future. They are assured of greatness, and the maximum class level for any Mezan class is increased by one.
Mezan 1: At Mezan 1, the character has been chosen for further training into the honored order of warriors that is the backbone of Mezan culture.
  • The character undergoes a sacred rite, inscribing into their skins intricate glyphs describing victories and achievements of their ancestors. Thereafter, they have a past set in stone and flesh, and the power of these glyphs protect their future.  At 1st level, the character gains a +2 bonus to AC and decrease the damage from any non-magical attacks by 1 point per die. At 7th level, this protection increases to +4 AC and 2 points per die. At 13th level, the protection increases to +6 AC and 3 points per die. The damage reduction is applied per die. Damage can be reduced to 0, but not less than 0, on each die. The AC bonus from flesh-runes stacks with potions of invulnerability, rings of protection, and similar effects, but does not stack with armor. Attacks from monsters of 5 HD or more are considered magical attacks due to the monster’s ferocity.
  • The training is excruciating, advanced, and sometimes punitive. Mezan who survive have a hardened constitution. When the character is required to consult the Mortal Wounds table, the player may roll twice and choose the preferred result to apply. The character also subtracts his class level from the number of days of bed rest required to recover.
Mezan 2: At Mezan 2, the character has the natural aptitude of a born warrior, and continues to more advanced training.
  • Their fighting capability is enhanced through incessant training, and they fight at a superior ability. The class's Fighting Value is effectively increased by 1 for all purposes.
Mezan 3: At Mezan 3, the character has shown the ability to be an absolute horror in combat. He or she is induced into a secret order within the order, an elite population of warriors in tune with the progress of Time itself.
  • Years of training has brought their senses to a fine point, and have perfected their combat awareness. The gain a +1 to surprise and initiative rolls.
  • Their minds have not been neglected in all of this ceaseless physical training. They may enter a battle trance, and go into focus once per day per level of experience. While in focus, the character gains a +1 bonus to all attack throws, proficiency throws, saving throws, and initiative rolls. A meditative focus lasts for 1 turn (10 minutes).
  • Finally, a second glyph rite is performed. The Mezan is inscribed with the date, time, and place of his or her birth and natural death. This is a runic shield so powerful that the Mezan gains a +3 bonus on saving throws versus Blast and Breath and a +4 bonus on all other saving throws.
Mezan 4: At Mezan 4, the character has achieved personal perfection. In fact, no matter their status, Mezan addressing the character will prefix "Perfect" to any of the character's names or titles. A Mezan who as achieved this level of competence can write their own fate within the Mezan culture, or, eschew it all to adventure beyond, and come back with an even greater legend.
  • They have reached the pinnacle of combat prowess, and their Fighting Value is increased by 2 for all purposes.
  • Their status and confidence spill onto others, and any henchmen or mercenaries hired by the character gain a +1 bonus to their morale score whenever he personally leads them.

0Mezan 0125
1Mezan 1275
2Mezan 2775
3Mezan 3950
4Mezan 4 (Perfect)1500

Experience Point Progression After 8th Level: Mezan increase the amount of experience needed after 8th level for fighter or cleric classes by 10,000XP per level. Mage or thief classes are increased by 30,000XP per level. (Thievery does not come naturally to the Mezan)

Build Notes:

Mezan 0:

  • Unarmed Fighting: 1 Power
  • Fearless of Eternity: (Fearless) 1 Power
  • Of the First Men: (Blood of Kings): 1 Power
  • Assured of Greatness: (Heroic Spirit): 1 Power
Mezan 1:
  • A Past Set in Stone and Flesh: (Flesh-Runes): 3 Powers
  • Hardened Constitution: (Savage Resilience): 1 Power
Mezan 2:
  • Superior Ability: (Fighting Value +1): Flat 500 XP
Mezan 3:
  • Combat Awareness: (Animal Reflexes): 1 Power
  • Battle Trance: (Meditative Focus): 1 Power
  • Runic Shield: (Hardy People): 2.5 Powers
Mezan 4:
  • Pinnacle of Combat Prowess (Fighting Value +2 Total): Flat 1,000XP
  • Status And Confidence (Battle Prowess): 1 Power


  1. Thanks! I need to go do the work of making a few custom classes at some point.

    The thing I like about this build is that a Mezan 4/Fighter X, or something like it, would be extremely effective as an officer on the battlefield, and command great loyalty.

    The level limit, however, would cap their personal power in such a way that it's not guaranteed they could present a coherent threat to the Mezan Empire as a whole.

    They are, then, very much a tool for those that would use them, and that reflects back up into how I wanted the Mezan to function as a culture.

    Good job on Sakkara, by the way.