Once a rare sight throughout Ealdremen, the kannar race departed their vast homeland of Manhoush following the Godbomb, having interpreted the great apocalypse as a gods-given sign to take their endless journeys for enlightenment beyond their original borders. Since then, they come and go from their homeland as they feel the urge to wander in pursuit of the impossible answers they covet. The kannars seek to understand the worlds around them, the gods that dwell within those worlds, and where the common man fits into the grand design of the universe. Only those that dedicate themselves to the path can ever hope to achieve such enlightenment.
Etymology and Other Names
The term kannar is derived from the same Nicta-slio word that gave rise to the name cancchia, possibly indicating that long ago in a far-flung linguistic generation, the more reclusive kannars were called after the race they most closely resembled. The -nar root appears in the names of their principle languages, Narden and Narnak-der, and it is unclear if their names for their languages informed their eventual common race name or if their languages came to be called after the name others called them.
Despite their upright stance and how they tower over quite a few fellow Gerualdian races, kannars are lightly built and weigh little compared to other races of similar heights. Their long fur can make them seem deceptively large, especially with their bushy tails and tall, upright ears. The ears of a kannar can add on quite a bit of apparent height; their ears extend up from the top of their head and taper towards the end. Combined with their pronounced, elongated snouts and their horns, kannars have a particular profile that makes them easy to spot wherever they go. Many of them have extra hair along their necks and backs that grow shaggier the closer to the base of the tail it goes.
All kannars are born without their distinctive horns, which grow in as the kannar ages. Adulthood is marked by the time the horn has reached its full size. Most male kannars have two horns set near their ears that split into branches along various points, and most female kannars have a single horn that protrudes from their forehead and curves upwards. Though not a defining rule by any means, the presence of one type of horn or another tends to be the most reliable way of inferring a kannar's gender. A rare few kannars might be born without any horns at all. It is unheard of for a kannar to replace their horns with artificial ones for whatever reason, even if they never developed.
Kannars predominately have earthy hues for the main body of their fur color. The markings all over their body, however, are much more vibrant. These markings can range in frequency and size to tiny spots along the muzzle to solid splotches of color across the limbs. The sheer contrast between the base fur color and the markings sometimes gives the illusion that a kannar's markings glow, particularly in the sunlight. A kannar with drab markings is likely unhealthy in some way, as when a kannar's immune system struggles, pigment coloration for the markings starts to dwindle.
Kannars trend towards being deeply spiritual, but they view faith and all forms of spirituality as a personal experience and journey across life. Rarely do they ascribe to structured religion. Those that do will most often segue in and out of various faiths to take different aspects of each and create an eclectic mix of personalized religion for themselves. To a kannar, gods are guides and not absolute rulers; kannars even view gods as imperfect and capable of making mistakes just like a common person. These mistakes do not negate divinity so much as enhance it, for kannars believe that imperfection and overcoming previous limits is what grants enlightenment. Enlightenment to a kannar means more than knowledge; it is a state of being that entails pushing past comfortable complacency and searching for even the most uncomfortable of truths to have an understanding of the universe that they are at peace with.
A kannar's approach to technology tends to be as variable as their personal faiths. Many of them will adopt technology and use it as a way to document their own journeys through Ealdremen in search of a better understanding of the universe, or they might use it to contact others like them to share information and ideas specifically about the enlightenment journey. Others balk at the idea of something so personal as growing enlightenment being on display for strangers, especially as it has altered the face of the traditional kannar drift band. In the past, a drift band was a physical group of like-minded kannars that would roam Manhoush or other parts of Ealdremen to locate places they could commune with gods and seek answers to their existential questions. With kannars gradually becoming more prominent in digital spaces, some drift bands have become entirely limited to online groups -- more traditionally-minded kannars believe it detracts from the inherent spirituality of traveling with others and experiencing things firsthand with them. Because drift bands are often family units to kannars, there is also an idea that exclusively online drift bands can be inherently isolating and limit one's emotional growth as well as spiritual.
Arcane magic is a divisive issue among kannars, particularly as they have become more aware of medical concerns such as arcane-addling. Broadly speaking, kannars belong to two groups of thought on the problem if they are not completely neutral -- the Khardakan thought is that all magic, including Chrono, is a god-given gift meant to simultaneously test mortals and make their lives easier. To them, arcane magic is dangerous because it represents so much potential power, and mortals must learn to use it appropriately to reap its benefits. The Savakh belief is that only divine magic is safe for mortals to use, as it specifically comes from gods and spirituality; a Savakh may believe that arcane magic is only for gods to wield, or that it might even be a mistake of the gods that brought Chrono into the world at all. Drift bands generally do not contain both Khardakans and Savakhs for how deeply these different beliefs shape their view of the world around them.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
Kannars are a Medium race and have no penalties or bonuses associated with their size. Kannar characters may choose either +2 Wisdom and -2 Intelligence or +2 Intelligence and -2 Wisdom to be applied to their starting statistics. While many kannars believe in intuition and faith to see them through their long journeys, other kannars instead see education and learning as the path to enlightenment. Individuals of either disposition tend to shirk the other, feeling that elements from the other perspective cloud judgment and befuddle the mind.
Divine Epiphany (Ex)
While kannars often do not pray to one specific god, they may commune with the universe to gain insight into not only the nature of the world, but with the future. By leaning into a divine epiphany of sorts, kannars can gain a crucial edge on certain trials and tasks as they come up throughout the day, using what they saw when meditating as a guideline for what to do. However, such focused meditation has a cost, for so single-minded can a kannar become on their meditation that they leave themselves vulnerable to something they did not see in their meditation, the uncertainty of the future plaguing them with misfortune.
At the start of each day, when a prepared caster would be able to prepare their spells, the kannar may meditate for ten minutes and obtain a list of skills that may be useful in the coming day. This list is determined by the GM and should contain a list of at least four skills. The kannar chooses one skill from the result and has advantage (rolling twice and taking the better result) on that skill for the rest of the day, but has disadvantage (rolling twice and taking the worse result) on another skill from that list for the rest of the day. The disadvantaged skill is chosen randomly through a dice roll and cannot be countered with effects that allow rerolls or that grant advantage. If the GM is unable to provide a list of skills, then the Divine Epiphany skill list for that day is randomly created from the kannar's class skills list.
- Keywords: Active, extraordinary ability, choice, advantage, disadvantage
Enlightened (Natural Ability)
Kannar spirituality is tantamount to their culture. Even kannars that do not migrate in drift bands often feel a keen understanding of religions and what draws people to them while often not being devoted to a particular god themselves. They are not faithless, but they generally do not believe in the benevolence or malevolence of gods either, seeing them instead as forces in the universe meant to be observed and understood through meditation. The scarce few who have seen the god believe that Arplakoon the Timedreamer's favored form being a kannar child might indicate a deeper connection to the gods and kannars than initially believed.
Kannars have a +2 racial bonus to Knowledge (Religion).
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability
World Perspective (Natural Ability)
Kannars are broadly divided on the issue of arcane magic, torn generally between the Khardakan and Savakh beliefs. The Khardakans are proponents of all uses of Chrono and see it as a path to enlightenment; after all, to understand the gods, one must understand the full potential might of the gods and the universe at large. The Savakhs, on the other hand, see arcane magic as a tempting shortcut to temporary power that ultimately leads to the downfall of mortals. To them, arcane magic is a crutch and a foolish false understanding of the world. Although some kannars are neutral on the matter, the company they keep may grant them insight into one perspective more than the other.
Kannars have a +2 racial bonus to either Knowledge (Arcana) or Knowledge (Planes), but not both.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability