Into the Burning Wastes
Born from the unlikely parentage of dwarves and humans, muls combine the height and adaptable nature of humans with the musculature and resilience of dwarves. Muls enjoy traits that are uniquely their own, such as their robust metabolism and almost inexhaustible capacity for work. The hybrid has disadvantages in a few areas as well: sterility, and the social repercussions of being created for a life of slavery. Humans and dwarves are not typically attracted to each other. The only reason that muls are so common in the Tablelands is because of their value as laborers and gladiators: slave–sellers force–breed humans and dwarves for profit. While mul– breeding practices are exorbitantly lucrative, they are often lethal to both the mother and the baby. Conception is difficult and impractical, often taking months to achieve. Even once conceived, the mul takes a full twelve months to carry to term; fatalities during this period are high. As likely as not, anxious overseers cut muls from the dying bodies of their mothers.
“See, the trick is to break their will. Not too much, mind you. Nobody wants to watch a docile gladiator, and muls are too expensive to waste as labor slaves. But, you don’t want them trying to escape every other day. Would you like to tell the arena crowd that their favorite champion will not be appearing in today’s match because he died trying to escape your pens?”
―Gaal, Urikite arena trainer
|ST: 13 ||HP: 30 ||Speed: 6 [-10]|
|DX: 10 ||Will: 12 ||Move: 5 [-5]|
|IQ: 10 ||Per: 10 |
|HT: 20 ||FP: 20 ||SM: 0|
|Dodge: 8||Parry: n/a||DR: 1 |
Advantages: Hard to Subdue 5 [10pts]; Hard to Kill 2 [4pts]; Dark Vision (30 feet) [13pts]; Less Sleep 2 [4pts]; High Pain Threshold [10pts]; Mul Fitness1 [20pts]
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Subjugated) [-20pts]; Unattractive [-2]; Sterile [-3]; Hidebound [-5]; Intolerance (Mages) [-5]; Stubborn [-5]; Social Stigma (Uneducated) [-5]
Suggested Advantages: Combat Reflexes, Weapon Master, Talent (Gladiator)
Suggested Disadvantages: Berserk
Personality: All gladiators who perform well in the arenas receive some degree of pampered treatment, but muls receive more pampering than others. Some mul gladiators even come to see slavery as an acceptable part of their lives. However, those that acquire a taste of freedom will fight for it. Stoic and dull to pain, muls are not easily intimidated by the lash. Masters are loath to slay or maim a mul who tries repeatedly to escape, although those who help the mul’s escape will be tormented in order to punish the mul without damaging valuable property. Once a mul escapes or earns his freedom, slavery remains a dominant part of his life. Most muls are heavily marked with tattoos that mark his ownership, history, capabilities and disciplinary measures. Even untattooed muls are marked as a potential windfall for slavers: it is clearly cheaper to “retrieve” a mul who slavers can claim had run away, than to start from scratch in the breeding pits.
Physical Description: Second only to the half‐giant, the mul is the strongest of the common humanoid races of the tablelands. Muls grow as high as seven feet, weighing upwards of 250 pounds, but carry almost no fat at all on their broad muscular frames. Universal mul characteristics include angular, almost protrusive eye ridges, and ears that point sharply backwards against the temples. Most muls have dark copper–colored skin and hairless bodies.
Relations: Most mul laborers master the conventions of slave life, figuring out through painful experience who can be trusted and who cannot. (Muls learn from their mistakes in the slave pits to a greater extent than other races not because they are cleverer, but because unlike slaves of other races they tend to survive their mistakes, while other slave races are less expensive and therefore disposable. Only the most foolish and disobedient mul would be killed. Most masters will sell a problem mul slave rather than kill him.) Their mastery of the rules of slave life and their boundless capacity for hard work allows them to gain favor with their masters and reputation among their fellow slaves.
1 This talent is the same as ‘Very Fit’ save for the following: Mul do not lose Fatigue for running, fighting, or any task unless they have been working for at least 24 hours straight. They still lose stamina from heat exhaustion and from spell effects – but their deep wells of fatigue protect them even from these effects.