Whether or not geralkki luts can be considered a true race has been debated for countless years. They are the only hybrid sentient species in Ealdremen, being crossbreeds of lirastots and zhijis, thought to originate in Lyzots where the two races have begrudgingly lived in close quarters for generations. Opponents of geralkki luts may even blame the hybrids for the regular blood feuds and territory disputes between the geralkki lut's parent races; perhaps if lirastots and zhijis were not so fearful of their bloodline becoming lost and assimilated by their long-time enemy, Lyzots would finally know peace.
Etymology and Other Names
Geralkki lut is a Tasaramar phrase that means two-path walker, evoking a sense of being unable to choose between two options and trying to take both. Linguists have argued that the connotation of a "two-path walker" being a traitor evolved after the name geralkki lut became associated with lirastot-zhiji hybrids. As geralkki luts are the only hybrid race in Ealdremen, it is typical for other languages to take the name geralkki lut and modify it to suit their phonemes, like Nicta-slio's geralcchi lutti.
As hybrids, geralkki luts tend to look very different from one another, though lirastot genes tend to dominate zhiji ones for the general appearance of the geralkki lut. In a scenario where the hybrid is equal parts lirastot and zhiji, it is most common for a geralkki lut to resemble a smaller lirastot with a few other differences than a larger zhiji. They tend to have stout limbs unless they are more zhiji than lirastot, in which case their limbs may be longer and more gangly. Their snouts are elongated, though not quite as long as a lirastot's, and their pronounced brow ridges are closer to those of a zhiji. Fitting with their lirastot-dominant appearances, most geralkki luts will have dull body colors. If combined with the bright patterns of a zhiji, it can give the geralkki lut a "diseased" look where parts of their body look grey and washed out, but other parts are alight with vibrant colors.
Some geralkki luts will have fragmented, zhiji-typical patterns on their rough scales. It is unlikely, though not impossible, that a geralkki lut will have such patterns all over their body. Instead, these patterns are localized to specific parts of their body, such as their tail or their stomach. In conjunction with their typically lirastot anatomy, the patterns are often a giveaway that the individual is a hybrid, as lirastots do not have spots or stripes. If the geralkki lut has a mane like a lirastot, it is often less full or does not go completely down their spine and tail as with most lirastots. Some may even have clusters of hair localized to the tip of their tail, which is a trait that no true lirastot will have and that is only exhibited in geralkki luts.
Truly webbed digits are rare among geralkki luts, but some will have partial webbing between some of their fingers or toes. A geralkki lut's toes may splay like those of a zhiji, as if they are meant for climbing. However, geralkki luts will virtually never have the adhesive undersides on their feet that zhijis has, preventing them from achieving the climbing feats their zhiji relatives can. Their lack of completely webbed digits also impedes their swimming ability compared to a pure-blooded lirastot. In this sense, the stigmatization of a geralkki lut begins at a genetic level; they may be able to approximate some of their parent races' most defining traits, but without exerting great effort in training and practicing "seeming normal," a geralkki lut will never truly blend in.
For the most part, geralkki luts are too isolated from one another to have a true culture of their own, and they instead adapt to whatever local culture they find themselves in. From a young age, geralkki luts are taught either by others or by experience to never stick out and to never be caught out of line. An innocuous comment can be construed as unlawful defiance and result in a harsher punishment. If they encounter trouble, geralkki luts are often prone to trying to resolve the conflict as quickly as possible, perhaps even accepting whatever comes their way out of fear for making it worse by arguing. Other geralkki luts may instead try to escape the situation, and especially dangerous scenarios can result in a geralkki lut uprooting their life and leaving for somewhere else on a short notice. The most fortunate of geralkki luts that can easily blend in and pass as one of their parent races are keenly aware of how tenuous their societal acceptance can be. Such geralkki luts may even lash out at other hybrids to maintain their social standing and to avoid being recognized as a hybrid themselves.
Because of the persecution they face, geralkki luts are often slow to trust others, but once they trust someone, they may often do whatever is in their power to support that person. This could be for a variety of reasons ranging from practical to sentimental; those that will treat geralkki luts can be few or far between, and "proving" being useful can endear the geralkki lut to others. Even in relationships without trust, geralkki luts raised in a populated area and forced to interact with others regularly may trend towards being as inoffensive, if not outright benevolent, as possible to their social neighbors. In this way, not only can they avoid conflict, but they can also build a social network that could protect them should disaster strike. More isolated geralkki luts may be hostile, opting to keep others at arm's length instead through intimidation.
The stigmatization of geralkki luts often brings them to the doors of morphers; such friendships are commonly documented throughout Ealdremen's history, as morphers have faced similar persecution and may even turn a willing geralkki lut into a morpher to give them a chance at a new life. Even if a geralkki lut never opts to become a morpher, they tend to find kinsmanship in morphers, as morphers also tend to focus on conforming to a local culture and avoiding conflict as much as possible.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
As a midway point between two races of varying size, geralkki luts themselves are most commonly Medium and have no benefits or penalties associated with their size.However, geralkki luts who are mostly descended from zhiji could instead be Small, and geralkki luts who are mostly descended from lirastot may inherit the juggernaut subtyping. In these cases, they have the associated benefits and penalties of their size category or the benefits of the juggernaut creature subtyping. Geralkki lut characters may choose either +2 Wisdom and -2 Intelligence or +2 Constitution and -2 Charisma to be applied to their starting statistics. Geralkki luts are naturally resistant to disease and trained to be alert of their surroundings, but their status as hybrids often leads to them having poor academic educations and lacking knowledge of social customs as they avoid mainstream society.
Walk Two Paths (Ex)
When a geralkki lut trusts another person, that trust can develop into a deep and lasting bond; it is rare for a geralkki lut to find someone they can trust to this extent, and so many geralkki luts find themselves willing to sacrifice themselves on the behalf of those they trust. It could be out of altruism and compassion for someone they care for, or it could simply be rational practicality -- after all, if the trusted person dies, the geralkki lut could be left without any allies in a hostile world.
Once per encounter as a move action, a geralkki lut can link to a willing adjacent creature for the duration of the encounter, or a number of minutes equal the geralkki lut's character level, whichever comes first. When the linked creature sustains hit point damage and is within 30ft of the geralkki lut, the geralkki lut can choose, as an immediate action, to take half the resulting damage instead, and the remaining half of the damage is taken by the original target as normal. If the linked creature is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points while the link is active, the geralkki lut gains a morale bonus equal to the HD of the linked creature on attack rolls and saving throws for 1d4+1 rounds. The link is not broken if the range is exceeded, but the effects of the link cannot be used until both the geralkki lut and the linked creature are within range of each other again. At character level 10th, the range of the link becomes 60ft.
- Keywords: Active ability, move action, daily, extraordinary ability
Self-Sufficient (Natural Ability)
It is common for geralkki luts to live far from civilization or to deeply mistrust their neighbors. They tend to rely mostly on themselves for basic supplies and trust their own knowledge over that of others.
Geralkki luts have a +2 racial bonus to Survival and a +2 racial bonus to a Craft skill of their choosing.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability
Hybrid Movement (Natural Ability)
Though geralkki luts have some traits of their parent races that allow them to swim through swamps or scale towering jungle trees, they rarely have all the biological traits needed to truly be at home in either scenario.
Geralkki luts have either a +2 racial bonus to Swim or a +2 racial bonus to Climb.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability