Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Teki-Nura-Ria and environsby Geoff Gander
I'm re-posting this from Piazza v 2.0, as it summarises the various things we discussed...
Kara-kara as a PC Race
We agreed that the kara-kara could be played as PCs, with the manwu-papa as a character class (a type of shaman) available to that race. Other classes would be fighter, and possibly thief. Kara-karas are essentially orcs, but they lack infravision (and thus suffer no penalties in sunlight). A possible explanation for this was that the kara-kara could have some human blood in them. Otherwise, their origins could probably be traced back to the jungle orcs of the Davanian coast, who likely mixed with local human tribes - Manacapuru or Yasuko, proabably.
The key difference with the kara-kara is that they have a ritual that gives them extra hit points. We would have to decide whether it is cultural, or racial. If it's cultural, only kara-kara who maintain their traditional ways of life would have this benefit (similar mechanics to the SoP). Otherwise, kara-kara could be quite powerful at upper levels. We would also need to rule on whether the added hit points increase at higher levels - I think they should.
A big question is who the M'kar (called the Ancestors in the module) actually were. The module refers to them specifically as a race. They had six-fingered hands, earlobes down to their necklines, and unnaturally high foreheads and long chins. Based on the interior illustrations, they looked like highly elongated humanoids. GIven that they are not mentioned anywhere else in canon, they either come from another world (which is what I originally speculated) - possibly Alphatian space, as some have suggested - or we could somehow fit them into Mystaran ethnology.
The official GazF assumption is that the M'Kar were the last of the human Blackmoor-era technology clingers (or secondary adopters of tech) that survived the destruction of Taymor, only to be wiped out during the humanoid migrations. However, this has to be reconciled with their appearance. Perhaps the use of Blackmoorian technology mutated them somehow, even giving them psionic abilities that functioned in a similar manner to magic? This could fit, given that many of their magic effects revolve around illusions, imagery, etc - things that hit the senses. More discussion is needed.
The best estimate as to how long the kara kara have been on the island is roughly 1000 years, give or take a century. They have a writing system (and thus can record important events), but inaccurately believe they are descended from the Ancestors (as opposed to having wiped them out). Thus, their arrival must have predated the development of their alphabet to such an extent that any oral history passed down from the last surviving kara-kara who participated in the migration and subsequent battles was heavily modified. This warping in itself can take generations.