Race-Winged Folk

Winged Folk

Natural Race
Cost: 5

ST

-1

DX

+1

IQ

+0

HT

+1

HP

+0

W

+0

Per

+0

FP

+0

BM

+0

Spd

+0

SM

+0

TL

+0

Ground Move

x1

Air Move

BS x2

Advantages & Perks:

Acute Vision 2
Flight (Winged)
Racial Lifting ST 1

Disadvantages & Quirks:

Careful (Q)
Compulsive Debating, 12 or less
Odious Racial Habit (Pities creatures that
        cannot fly)
Phobia (Enclosed Spaces), 12 or less
Slow to anger (Q)
Vulnerability (Crushing), x2

Winged folk are unique among the common races for their ability to fly. In ancient times, the winged folk made a pact with the lords of the Elemental Plane a of Air, gaining the ability to fly in exchange for pledging the finest warriors of their race to the service of the air elementals in various extra-planar battles. Although the elementals have not called upon the winged folk for assistance in millennia, the pact entered into by those distant ancestors continues to shape winged folk society today. To ensure that only the fittest and most capable winged folk are available to fill the ranks of these would-be warriors, the agreement with the elementals called for the winged folk to put their offspring through a test of survival and self-reliance called the Walk of the Four Winds. To this day, every member of a winged folk flock must undergo this trial before becoming able to fly. When the flock chief judges a young adult to be ready for the walk, that winged folk can leave immediately to start the test. Those who do not leave at their earliest opportunity are referred to by other members of the community as “gliders” (reflecting their limited capacity to use their wings). Winged folk have a reputation for being deep thinkers who always weigh their options carefully. They’re notorious for treating strangers coolly, yet they’re also slow to judge and usually give newcomers ample time to prove themselves worthy of friendship. They are slow to anger but even slower to forgive an insult or injury. When faced with uncertainty, winged folk usually retreat to a safe distance and settle down to observe and ponder the situation for a while. Their detractors dismiss this behavior as cowardly or indecisive, yet winged folk are perfectly capable of improvising when the need arises, and they generally stick to a task once they have decided how to take it on. Winged folk seldom flee from danger; they just back off a little. Winged folk love to argue and debate, whether or not they actually agree with the philosophy they are defending so passionately. They do not, however, waste time arguing when danger threatens or when they perceive that time is of the essence. A winged folk’s cautious nature takes a back seat whenever physical violence is imminent. In the blink of an eye, a winged folk’s demeanor can change from serene to fierce. In combat, winged folk attack their enemies with savage aggressiveness, seeking overwhelming victory as quickly as possible. Feathered wings are a winged folk singular identifying feature. When fully outstretched, they span 10 to 12 feet, although winged folk (when not flying) are more comfortable with them folded behind their backs. An interlocking series of ligaments allows winged folk to lock their wings in the outstretched position, enabling them to glide for long periods without tiring. The wing feathers are ordinarily white, with black-tipped feathers appearing more often as a winged folk ages. Winged folk tend to be thinner and slightly taller than humans, with most of their extra height in their legs; their arms are likewise somewhat longer. They average just over 6 1/2 feet tall and weigh around 150 pounds. Winged folk clothing tends to be utilitarian and streamlined. Garb that’s heavy, restrictive, or too loose would impede flight, so most winged folk rely on a close-fitting shirt and a simple set of breeches. Winged folk clothing includes straps and buckles for keeping pockets closed, because winged folk in flight would otherwise drop coins and other possessions. Dangling jewelry is disdained as an annoyance in flight. Winged folk sometimes dye individual wing feathers in arresting combinations; a decorative art not unlike the cosmetics that some humans wear. Strangers who meet winged folk usually receive cordial but wary treatment. To a winged folk, any unfamiliar being is potentially an ally or an enemy, and she keeps her distance until she can be sure of a newcomers intentions. Other creatures often consider winged folk to be aloof and somewhat snobbish toward creatures that cannot fly. The truth of the matter is that while winged folk literally look down on land-bound creatures, that situation is more a matter of circumstance than of arrogance. Winged folk instinctively pity creatures that can’t soar on the winds, but they’re introspective enough to realize that not everyone shares the desire to fly. As hunters and ranchers on the edge of civilization, winged folk tend to be territorial. They tolerate travelers who are just passing through their territories, but they expect visitors to ask permission before hunting or harvesting forest plants in the area. Those who tarry overlong in winged folk territory and those who settle too close for winged folk comfort face increasing harassment from, and eventual war with, the winged folk. Winged folk tend to be tolerant of other folk who come to visit and not to stay. They often barter with gnomes and halflings, trading game, furs, and other products for metal goods, cloth, and salt. Winged folk regard most fey creatures, which include elves, as charming but somewhat frivolous. Winged folk are no fools, and they treat kobolds, goblins, orcs, and other warlike creatures with extra caution. They find dwarves somewhat odd, even comical to look at because of their stout bodies and long beards. They also think of dwarves as strange folk because of their habit of living underground. A typical winged folk community lives either in spiraling towers built in a hollow or depression halfway up a canyon cliff, or in large communal dwellings excavated into the side of a cliff. Cliffs with overhangs and southern exposures are particularly comfortable for winged folk. If a canyon has a prevailing breeze that blows through it, winged folk regard that location as a particularly auspicious place to live. While winged folk do engage in some agriculture (mostly fruit orchards), they subsist on hunting whatever herd animals are prevalent near their cliff dwellings. Thus, they usually live far from large settlements of other races, in areas where game is plentiful and the hunting is good.

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Race-Winged Folk

GURPS High Fantasy Belrathius