Some may say that the persistent danger and peril of the zorredos' Gerualdian homelands drove them to expand outwards and travel for more hospitable lands, but the zorredos themselves may claim they relish the challenge of settling where no one else can and refusing to let others dictate their limits. They thrive where poisonous, toxic plants would send others reeling for safety, and they proudly soar in arid heat no one else can survive. Guided by their culture of faith and wanderlust, the zorredos believe the chaotic universe can eventually be stilled and tamed -- but only by those bold enough to crack the whip.
Etymology and Other Names
Although the name zorredo has long been the Zorredrian term for the race and is found throughout many Ealdremen languages, its linguistic origins are muddled and unclear. A popular theory is that the word was originally zoreo, giving it a shared etymological root with Reo, the culturally significant Zorredrian term for a priest. Over time, the word may have become influenced by other languages such as Nicta-slio or simple linguistic drift. In particular, the double-R eventually coming to be pronounced like an H may have been the result of a language-wide trend towards breathy sounds.
Zorredo is regularly used in other languages, though the term may bear little resemblance to its original incarnation, particularly amongst Gerualdian languages. Piperspeech, a language native to Lyzots, calls zorredos soriojhi, generally believed to mean storm-riding person. With the theory that zoreo was the original word, derivatives such as soriojhi could have arisen and been assigned retroactive meanings based on similar words.
Zorredos are small in stature, with their leathery wings being much longer than the zorredo is tall. Where the membrane of the wing connects to the body can vary across individuals; most have wings that connect at the hip, while others' wings meet the body as far down as the ankles. Such individuals tend to be more accomplished fliers, though zorredos are capable of flight as a general rule. Zorredo wing membranes are thick and difficult to see through even against bright light, unlike many other winged races; this gives the appearance of a zorredo having only four fingers. In reality, zorredos have five fingers; four are free of the membrane, whereas the fifth is greatly elongated and supports the frame of the wing. Due to the opaque membrane that covers this digit, the fifth finger cannot usually be seen unless there has been wing damage. However, because the rest of the hand isn't as connected to the wing, zorredos can easily use their hands as many other bipedal races might.
The heads of zorredos are long, with an elongated, beak-like jaw and a large crest atop their heads. Although the typical zorredo has a long beak that "dips" away from the brow, others have short beaks with little articulation from the rest of the face, making it difficult to tell where the jaw begins or ends. A zorredo's crest can take a variety of shapes from triangular to round and is comprised of both bone at the base and soft tissue all throughout the remainder of the crest; this tissue is sensitive to changes in the air, allowing zorredos to intuit wind currents or even weather patterns with sufficient training. The rest of their body also signifies an affinity for the sky, as their flexible tails let them steer while airborne, and their curved, clawed toes are ideal for gripping things while making narrow landings or to carry objects while in flight.
Zorredo scales have a rough texture to them, and they can be a variety of colors, even expressing streaks of bright colors across their bodies. These patterns are especially common on the wings, and particularly distinctive markings are often how zorredos can identify each other even from large distances. A zorredo's coloration is linked to their ancestral homeland, though centuries of interbreeding have made such distinctions rare. Typically, the more brightly colored zorredos are associated with the northern reaches of the Quanmo continent, while the more diluted colors are thought to originate in lands such as Drio. It is rare for a zorredo to be completely solid colored; their crests in particular tend to be differently colored than the rest of their body, even if the change is slight. Wing membranes tend to be similarly colored to either the zorredo's main body color or the zorredo's crest, though these colors may vibrantly clash with one another, giving the zorredo the appearance of being as toxic as the plants their race has been said to evolve alongside.
Zorredo communities may hardly be called as such by cultures more accustomed to a greater sense of social connection between its members. Although zorredos gravitate towards living close to others, this tendency may be better described as safety in numbers and diffusion of responsibility. In a group, most zorredos will have what they call prasolhos, literally meaning sundown role, as in a role that is meant to be completed before sunset. Prasolhos jobs are rarely careers or jobs in the sense that the individual is paid or at all compensated for doing the work; rather, prasolhos is what an individual does to keep the community going, whether that assignment is issued formally or not. Oftentimes, prasolhos jobs can simply be part of an individual's routine or choices that happen to benefit the community, such as choosing to take in stray animals and keeping them from causing damage to gardens or vulnerable community members. Other times, the zorredo may simply see a need in the community they can easily fill and choose to do it. Past prasolhos, however, zorredos rarely feel inclined to go out of their way to assist others beyond times of crisis. They believe that once the sun sets, as it were, the work is done, and individuals should focus on themselves and their own needs. When a crisis occurs, the community will come together, often under the guidance of a Reo or other appointed leader, but there is often little sense of belonging or attachment to the community beyond what it does for the zorredo and where they fit into it.
Throughout zorredo communities, there is usually at least one spiritual leader called a Reo. As with other zorredo roles in a community, a Reo's job is to meet the community's needs and typically serve as a leader when the community must come together or face greater perils. Faith and religion are up to individual interpretation, often collectively decided upon by the community and its Reo and then filtered through the community's greatest needs and desires. In one community where there is limited housing, a Reo's temple could double as a shelter for the homeless, where the Reo preaches godly scripture of charity and benevolence. In another community that is a center of business, a Reo who reveres the same god could interpret charity as a "give-and-take" relationship where those given assistance should endeavor to pay it back in the future. When a Reo speaks to gods, they are expected to be asking about practical, immediate concerns. Even zorredos that are not particularly pious will frequently defer to a Reo when the times come, as it is the Reo's role in society to be a leader and guide to the people.
A typical sentiment throughout Ealdremen is that zorredos are stubborn and seek to have as few limits as possible imposed upon them. In addition to wanting to decide for themselves how to live and where to live, even if that brings them into dangerous lands, zorredos often have a cultural distaste for explicit regulations. They will accept guidelines and rules to keep their societies running smoothly, and they may even "passively" enforce those rules with social pressure, but they tend to want the freedom to leave if they decide they dislike those rules. Overly law-focused societies are often regarded as suspicious at best by many zorredos, especially if that society is particularly zorredo-dominant itself. In their minds, the greatest rules are the unspoken, natural ones that everyone in a community agrees upon and that no one seeks to break out of self-interest. It is inherently natural for people to seek order, but only enough that they feel secure. A community that enforces rules strictly has something to hide and fears what may happen if people seek rules that benefit themselves.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
As they are Unyielding, whenever they must make a Fortitude, Reflex, or Will saving throw, a zorredo may use their highest saving throw instead once per encounter. If they fail this saving throw, they receive a morale bonus on their next saving throw equal to half their character level rounded down (minimum +1).
Zorredos are capable of Flight and have a flying speed of 20ft with poor maneuverability. At character level 5, and every 5 character levels thereafter, this fly speed increases by 10 to a maximum of 60ft at 20th level. At level 5, their maneuverability becomes average, and at level 10, their maneuverability becomes good. While flying, a zorredo can ascend at half speed and descend at double speed. Their flight speed is cut in half if they are wearing medium or heavy armor. While flying, a zorredo can act normally. They receive a +1 racial bonus to the Fly skill and it is treated as a class skill for them regardless of their class.
From their Mithridatism, zorredos have +1 Fortitude.