Nephilim

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The Nephilim are a furry, feline race that inhabit both the Empire and Exile. There are communities both friendly and hostile to humans throughout Ermarian.

General

A drawing of a nephil.

Physical Traits

Nephilim are commonly a bit shorter than humans. They are lithe and weigh far less than the average human, which gives them their speed and their nimbleness. As a feline race, they are covered with fur and have heads shaped like a cat's. A nephil's ability to see in the dark is renowned, and their sharp vision alone makes them skilled scouts and archers.

Nephilim have an average lifespan of close to 40 years and rarely live more than half a century. Some shamans have been said to live even longer than humans, which may be due to their familiarity with alchemy and medicine.

Habitat/Society

Nephilim are at home on the surface, mainly in forested regions but also taking shelter in smaller caves. This makes them very adaptable to life in Exile.

Nephilim from the caves have met up with large settlements in southeastern Valorim, where they hope to live undisturbed. Other Nephilim have integrated into human society, where they are most often found as fletchers.

They are fierce warriors and have a strong tribal structure. However, clans often engage in raids on each other, stopping just short of outright warfare. Two tribes will not live together unless the situation necessitates it. Nephilim clans live in isolation, which keeps them from achieving the great societies that humans have formed (with the exception of the Ratbane Clan). They were once common on the surface world, until the Empire began a campaign of extermination and deportation against them. Now, with the recent reconciliation between the two nations, Nephilim have begun to return to the surface in force.

Nephilim are extremely nimble, and they excel at archery, lockpicking, and disarming traps, which makes them excellent adventurers. While not particularly adept at magic, every tribe does have its own shamans, who advise the chief. It is interesting to note that there have been no Nephil archmagi worthy of mention, despite there being many shamans.

Diet

Nephilim are natural hunters and carnivores, who hunt mainly rodents, but other wild animals as well. While the Nephilim are a warlike race, they rarely hunt large or ferocious creatures, using their prowess in battle almost exclusively for defense or in tribal conflicts.

Clothing

Contrary to a certain human hypothesis, the Nephilim did not adopt clothing only upon their integration into human culture. Evidence of this is the nearly universal custom of clothing seen among the hostile tribes of Nephilim in Exile, who are only fleetingly familiar with human culture, and have never adopted their ways.

On formal occasions, the Nephilim cover their fur with cloaks sewn from a rough cloth spun from flax. Such clothing is not common and likely a luxury item. In everyday life, light leather armor is customary for adults as well as adolescents.

Shamans and alchemists are usually dressed formally, indicating both their wealth and their status within the tribal hierarchy.

Weapons

The longbow has long been the cultural weapon of choice of the Nephilim like the gigantic two-tined spear is for the Slithzerikai. When ranged combat, their preferred style, is not practical, the more advanced tribes use light blades forged of iron or even steel, and the more primitive resort to blunt weapons, stone cudgels and bronze maces.

Language

Possibly one of the most tragical results of the long campaign of extinction that the Empire waged on the Nephilim race is the loss of their native tongue. Today, next to none of the Nephilim living among humans still speak the ancestral language of their people, and many of the tribes in Exile - even those who have no dealings with humans - use the human tongue or a very removed dialect thereof. This creole that is also termed Nephilian on occasion has only passing resemblance to the original Mmh'rrur, and owes nearly as much to human speech.

Mmh'rrur itself is still known to the wise and learned among the Nephilim (and even a few human scholars), but it is hardly spoken outside of ceremonial or academic use nowadays.

History

Hostile Nephilim

Most Nephilim in the caves are of the friendly variety, due to the similar plight of the Avernites. The few remaining hostile Nephilim have been scattered, although there are occasionally reports of a brash chieftan bringing them together. On the surface, there are more hostile Nephilim, who cling to the idea of their own empire, like that of the Ratbane Clan, and harass and attack citizens of the Empire wherever they can find them.