The Rise of Rovagug
Devil’s Perch, an infamous reach of Avistan’s southwestern coast, has long captured the imaginations of the Chelish people. For untold centuries, gruesome deaths and diabolical shadows have haunted the region’s spires, while local folklore weaves tales of winged devils. There strange rock spurs and unnaturally deep abysses make the heights deadly and nearly impossible to reach by land, and those who manage to survive the pitiless environment swiftly discover that the land’s inhabitants, the dark-winged strix, do not welcome trespassers. Winged humanoids, the strix fiercely defend both their land and their air, claiming dominion over all reaches within sight of Ciricskree, the Screeching Spire. Deadly but wise, savage yet content with their realm, the strix would prefer to live quietly amid the towers of Devil’s Perch, yet time and tradition have taught them the wingless peoples of the shores and lowlands cannot be trusted, and that only fear and bloodshed will protect their ancient lands.
The common strix stands just over 6 feet tall, with males and females being roughly the same size. Sharply pointed ears, pupilless eyes, and slitted nostrils distinguish the race, though their 12-foot wingspans prove most distinctive. An adult strix weighs around 170 pounds. Most strix live to be about 40 years old, with the eldest reaching ages of up to 60. Strix speak their own language, a strange pidgin of Azlanti and Infernal understandable only by those who speak both languages or Strix.
Strix as Characters
Strix are defined by their class levels—they do not possess racial Hit Dice. All strix have the following racial traits.
+2 Dexterity, –2 Charisma: Strix are swift and elusive, but their fearsome appearances and insular nature make them difficult to interact with.
Normal Speed: Strix have a base speed of 30 feet.
Flight: Strix have a fly speed of 60 feet with average maneuverability.
Low-Light Vision: Strix can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light. Darkvision: Strix can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Hatred: Strix receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the human subtype due to special training against these hated foes.
Nocturnal: Strix gain a +2 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth checks at night.
Suspicious: Strix receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusion spells or effects.
Languages: Strix begin play speaking Strix, their racial language. Strix with high Intelligence scores can choose any of the following bonus languages: Azlanti, Common, Infernal.
A mysterious, secretive race of winged humanoids, the isolationist strix are set apart from their human neighbors by several subtle differences. The eyes of strix prove particularly interesting, as they are both highly reflective—leading many tales to claim the natives of Devil’s Perch possess glowing eyes—and fixed within their owners’ heads, forcing strix to rotate their necks to adjust their field of vision. This causes most strix to appear either stiff and somber or jerky and skittish in their rare dealings with other creatures. Strix also possess slightly clawed hands and feet, which aid them in gripping perches but are too delicate to be used as weapons.
Habitat & Society
The only known strix in Avistan occupy a single group of tall, rocky spires in western Cheliax, communally known as Devil’s Perch. From their largest settlement atop the spire of Ciricskree, they hunt the surrounding land by night and guard their territories against the slightest incursion, especially those made by humans.
Strix have learned to hate humans, and teach their young from an early age to fear and mistrust them above all other races. Although the source of this hatred proves unclear to all but the strix, it most likely comes from centuries of bloody invasions into their lands, disastrous first encounters, or an even older grudge.
Strix culture is tightly knit, as it must be in a society numbering less than a thousand members. Children are cherished and deaths are serious and ceremonious occasions. Murder is unknown among the strix, except when those of their kind are slain by outsiders. The strix take a vicious eye for an eye stance when it comes to retaliation. They also realize that they are small compared to the human nation that—as they see it—besieges them, and view the death of one of their number as proportionally equaling dozens, even hundreds, of outsiders. Suspecting that the cultures of land dwellers prove as tightly knit as their own, the strix might strike against and destroy an entire ship or caravan that comes near their land, avenging themselves against victims who have done no wrong. Their ways are often bloody, but they are not merciless, and what they do, they do only to survive.
Lost Origins of the Strix
Few who know of the strix believe them to be natives of Avistan’s shores. Although such tales are never told to outsiders, even the legends held by the strix of Devil Perch cast doubt on their origins. Rather, ancient tales passed down through their oral tradition tell of a green storm that carried the vicious and undeserving far from their homes, where they and their children would be punished until the sun ceased to rise in the sky. Then came the time when the sun did cease to rise, and the ancestors of the strix were freed from their torment. Lost and alone in a world of darkness, they hunted like beasts for untold years until those few of their race’s survivors came to a fortress of stone, where the fish of the sea were plentiful and the terrors of the earth could not reach. There they made their home, and there they have stayed—the inheritors of a forgotten exile—for thousands of years. Aside from these legends, little remains among the strix connecting them to a greater past, though all among those of Devil’s Perch harbor the belief that their people are cursed and bear the shame of misdeeds of which none among them know the truth. The great library of Iadara in Kyonin, however, bears faded and ancient scrolls of a strange leather. Said to have been saved from before the Age of Darkness, these man-sized rolls show both black and gray figures bearing great wings and mysterious masks sitting among the men of Azlant and the elves of the lost elven fortress of Adarshavir. Only a handful of elven scholars have made the supposition that the tales of winged devils in western Cheliax and this ancient scrollwork might bear some connection.