The long-lost ancestors of the modern races of Ealdremen, the precursors long stood shrouded in myth. Their home planet of Mioura was shattered in the Godbomb and took with it the vast majority of the already sparse ruins and records left behind; even before then, by the time the precursors' distant descendants returned to Mioura, the planet was desolate and devoid of life, harried at every turn by undead and animated stone sentinels. Several hundred years later, as the gods of Ealdremen began to stir, more became known about these enigmatic people and their connection to a lost star in the sky called al-Kaniali, and it soon became clear that this supposedly extinct race was linked to Ealdremen's future more than initially believed.
- 1 Etymology and Other Names
- 2 Biology
- 3 Sociology
- 4 History
- 5 Subspecies
- 6 Notable Individuals
- 7 Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
- 8 Racial Traits (D&D 4e)
- 9 Racial Traits (D&D 5e)
Etymology and Other Names
The name "precursor" refers to how this departed race is the ancestor of all organic races currently within Ealdremen. Other languages may call them with their own variant of a word for "forerunner," "ancestor," and so on.
Shekzardic, a language now called Ancient Precursor for it being the only one to survive to the modern day in the form of ancient records, used the term dlenash for this race. Dlenash literally means "before-god" in the sense of an evolutionary step, making "protogod" an appropriate translation.
The most striking feature of the precursor race is their natural glow. Both their skin and eyes glow with ceaseless luminescence, even while asleep. Precursors with unusually pallid skin or weak glows might even be able to see their own blood vessels glowing beneath their skin. Generally speaking, a precursor might be any possible color, ranging from muted hues to bright and vibrant.
They have long, pointed ears that generally tip upwards or sideways from their heads; these ears, especially longer ones, are capable of small movements, especially during moments of heightened emotion. In these moments of intense emotion, precursors also tend to glow much more brightly. A sick precursor will have a less pronounced glow, and their bodies do not glow at all once they die.
Precursors are universally bipedal and have five fingers and toes on each limb, but the caste systems of certain countries, such as Ores, may have resulted in some precursors having fewer fingers than they were born with. They naturally do not grow hair anywhere other than their head, though facial hair tends to be rather rare altogether. Their glowing eyes do not have visible pupils or irises and are mostly solid-colored except for very rare cases. Their noses are rather flat despite their humanoid appearance.
Because they are generally sensitive to magic, it is possible for precursors of certain bloodlines touched by arcane magic to over time become "colored" by the magic their family has used. For example, a family that regularly used evocation magic, connected to red Chrono, could eventually have children whose hair becomes more crimson across generations. This is especially pronounced among those touched by the rare school of necromancy, which can turn various parts of the precursor white as snow, as with Dokani the Necromancer and her descendants. White hair, markings, and eyes do not occur naturally in precursors in the absence of necromancy.
The precursors of old had customs that more often than not may seem strange or even barbaric to the modern eye. They regularly contended with each other across national borders and held loyalty to one's country and traditions in high esteem, especially in the face of conquerors who might stamp out native ways and try to implement their own traditions. Because of the recurring conflict in the old world of Mioura, most precursor nations highly valued being able to secure their own stability and prosperity even at the expense of other countries or creating their own enemies decades later. It was common for countries to unintentionally "trade off" who was in power in a perpetual cycle of one country dominating their neighbors, growing complacent, and then becoming overthrown by their former vassals, which then eventually become powerful and complacent. Long-term peace was rare and tended to only happen when a country was largely destroyed by one thing or another.
Because of their natural inclination towards magic, precursors tend to be drawn to it even if they cannot cast spells themselves. They might be curious about it, or they might have an understanding of its basic principles just by watching the many magic-users around them. Arcane magic in ancient Mioura tended to be associated with prestige and power, and it was common for countries to see magical aptitude as a sign of greatness or the purity of a bloodline. In these days, precursors mostly relied on arcane magic and would encourage its growth with communities having some, but fewer, divine magic users in the form of priests, clerics, or sometimes oracles. These individuals were often spiritual leaders and would be consultants to the country's leadership, but they rarely held true governing power themselves. Druidic magic was mostly associated with the forested nation of Mathrazd, which eventually was destroyed by its own hubris in trying to secure victory in a desperate war at any cost.
Modern precursors have no true culture of their own to speak of, being lost and disparate in a modern age where precursors are long-forgotten. Many people, even those that extensively studied the ancient world of Mioura, do not even know what precursors looked like beneath the masks and robes in the few depictions that survived to the modern day. Such modern precursors will probably take on the cultural or sociological traits of wherever they live, but they might also feel lonely or as if they do not belong. It is fully possible for a precursor to live a full life in modern Ealdremen without ever finding out just what they are.
The precursor race began before recorded history as the children of the god known as the Grand Dreamer, or al-Kaniali as it came to be known in their people's final days. They dwelled on the toroidal planet of Mioura and created vast kingdoms and empires easier than they could make humble villages and quiet settlements. With their natural affinity for magic and connection to a guardian deity, they regarded themselves as a step below godhood, forever seeking to close the gap between mortal and god. Their pantheons and myths spoke of gods walking among them and seeking to bar them from the realm of the gods at any cost. However, the cycle of hubris that governed Mioura eventually came to an end with an event known only as the ritual. This strange event was thought to have the power to turn the precursors into their true forms, finally achieving the godhood they sought, but it instead turned them into shapes similar to that of what is now recognized as modern-day Ealdremen races.
With this great disruption to their society and very way of life, the once-grand kingdoms of Mioura collapsed, and they reformed to largely nomadic groups traveling to understand what had happened to them. Their travels eventually took them far from Mioura, bringing them to distant planets by unknown means; no spacecraft records have been found among precursor ruins, and even the earliest of history amid Ealdremen's planets lack any sign of how the altered precursors eventually got there. Yet they must have, for otherwise, Ealdremen as it stands now would not exist.
The Godbomb, a catastrophic apocalypse that rocked the foundations of Ealdremen, seems to have initiated a change in the precursor people. Since then, there have been more modern-day accounts and rumors of individuals who match the description of the precursors of old -- people that glow with the light of stars in their skin and whose eyes pierce even the darkest of nights. Where these people came from is not yet known. It is possible some precursors were unaffected by the ritual and quietly lived out their days in peace away from their changed brethren. From there, they might have eventually created rare unbroken bloodlines that brought their descendants to modern Ealdremen.
Because Miouran precursors abided closely by country borders and lacked easy means of transportation, over time, precursors became noticeably different depending on their nationality and heritage. These differences tended to mostly manifest in their skin, marking, hair, and eye color, though some countries tended to be larger than average as well.
Precursors that hailed from the nation of Ores were mostly pale in color and had light hues; they often had "concordant" color schemes as well, and it was very common for Orian precursors to have the same or similar colors between their eyes, hair, and markings. Because it is mostly Orian ruins that survived to the modern-day, the Orian precursor is seen as a "typical" example of a precursor, though in reality, they represent only one of many subtypes of the race.
Modern precursors tend to be smaller than their ancient counterparts, rarely exceeding five feet in height and a hundred pounds in weight. Their coloration can vary and is not bound by ancient Miouran nationalities.
The majority of the precursor races' noteworthy individuals lie mostly in the long-ago past of Mioura, as the race has grown too sparse and fragmented to make a name for itself in the modern age.
- Ainori the Heir, the last princess of the grand kingdom of Ores and foretold by prophecy to usher in the ritual that would ascend the precursors to "godhood".
- Dermazd the Eagle-Caller, a cleric born into peasantry that was at odds with the important role as priestess she would eventually dedicate her life to.
- Dokani the Necromancer, an executed royal that, from beyond the grave, used her children to continue her designs even long after her death.
- Fanred the Past-Seer, a displaced citizen of the ruined nation of Gralshad driven by hopes of revolution and the tragic death of her brother, Threkazd.
- Felaji the Servant, a scorned former noble that sought to unravel Ores at the behest of her mother, Dokani, even as she grappled with concern for certain people within the country.
- Goluragg the Snake-Bearer, a descendant of the people of Rethnald living in Ores who sought to instate Ainori on the throne over her father, Deioros.
- Thorn the Courtyard-Keeper, son of Dokani and the eventual "last protogod" living in the shattered ruins of Mioura after making himself immortal.
- Throntuk the Lionhearted, the ever-loyal guardian of the royal family and captain of the soldiers charged with protecting it.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
Because of the precursor race's status as "functionally extinct," not every game can or should allow precursors as player characters. The presence of precursors and the potential ramifications thereof should be carefully considered before allowing precursor player characters.
Precursors are a Medium race and have no penalties or bonuses associated with their size. Precursor characters may choose either +2 Intelligence and -2 Wisdom or +2 Charisma and -2 Intelligence to be applied to their starting attributes; this represents the natural inclination of precursors towards magic, especially the arcane. Precursors who focus on the academic world tend to be less observant of the world immediately around them, and precursors who rely on their own charms or force of personality to get by often find themselves with less time to hone their studies.
Ainori's Legacy (Ex)
The sacrifice of Ainori the Heir, the last to inherit the throne of the sun-kingdom called Ores, resonated through time and altered the fate of the precursors. From atop a sacred monument, where all of her people witnessed her martyrdom, it is said that Ainori did not fear death, even when assailed with magical powers far beyond what her body could withstand. Even those that never knew the name of Ainori can call upon the same willpower and shield themselves or others from the most threatening of spells.
As an immediate action once per encounter, a precursor can grant themselves or another willing creature within 30ft spell resistance equal to 5+their character level for 1d4+1 rounds. The subject of Ainori's Legacy may voluntarily lower their spell resistance once per round as a free action even when it is not their turn. At the start of the next round, the spell resistance automatically returns, if the duration of Ainori's Legacy has not expired.
- Keywords: Active, extraordinary ability, swift action, encounter, free action
Fanred's Shadow (Natural Ability)
In both the ancient world and the modern one, precursors often have to hide not only their identities, but also who they are affiliated with. With enemies all around, trust is not so easily won with a precursor. Few knew this better than Fanred the Past-Seer, who was forced to live in the country that razed hers to the ground when she was just a child. Fanred mastered the art of hiding her true affiliations and relationships with others quicker than anyone could suspect of her deception. She had to.
Precursors have a +2 racial bonus to Disguise.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability
Thorn's Cunning (Natural Ability)
Precursors are often naturally resistant to magic, as exemplified by Thorn the Courtyard-Keeper, the boy who became an immortal symbol of his people's hubris. Where once-proud kingdoms fell to ruin, Thorn still survived. Living among the shattered planet of Mioura for so long could only have been done by someone of a race that is not easily swayed by torrential storms of magic. Anyone else would have long ago lost their bodies, minds, or both.
Precursors have a +1 racial bonus to Will.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability
Racial Traits (D&D 4e)
Enigmatic and vanished from history, inheritors of ancient magic kingdoms, chosen scions of the galaxy's true god.
Ability Scores: +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma or +2 Dexterity
Speed: 6 squares
Skill Bonuses: +2 Arcana, +2 Diplomacy
Alternate Skill Bonuses: +2 History, +2 Religion
Thorn's Cunning: You gain a +1 racial bonus to Will.
Fanred's Resolve: When you are bloodied, you gain a +1 untyped bonus to Will.
Dokani's Grasp: The lost children of al-Kaniali were blessed to never know true death unless it was by the will of their god. You have resist necrotic 5 + one-half your level.
Ainori's Legacy: You gain the Ainori's Legacy racial encounter power.
Encounter / Immediate Interrupt / Close Burst 5
Target: You and each ally in the burst
Trigger: An enemy hits or misses you with an attack against your Will
Effect: Each target gains a +2 power bonus to their Will until the end of your next turn. As a free action, the target can choose to end the effect early and roll twice and use either result on a saving throw.
Racial Traits (D&D 5e)
Distant ancestors of all other living races, precursors nonetheless disappeared rather abruptly from Ealdremen with only a scarce few still existing in the modern day. As they are connected intrinsically to the living god of Ealdremen, most commonly known as al-Kaniali to them, precursors have an innate connection to not only magic, but necromancy specifically. They cannot be defiled by mockeries of their god's prominence and are said to never know true death so long as they retain the shining light that gleams from their skin and eyes. Though modern precursors must take care to conceal their true natures, and they may well not even fully understand what they are, they are the heirs of ancient kingdoms that pioneered many spells and forms of magic still used in the modern age.
- Ability Score Increase. Precursor characters increase their Intelligence or Charisma score by 2, and they increase the other score (whichever they did not choose) by 1.
- Size. Precursors are a Medium race.
- Speed. Precursors have 30ft base walking speed.
- Ainori's Legacy. Precursors have advantage on all Intelligence or Charisma saving throws against magic.
- Fanred's Shadow. Precursors are proficient in either the Deception skill or the Persuasion skill (choose one).
- Dokani's Grasp. Precursors are proficient in either the Arcana skill or the Religion skill (choose one).