Sunday, September 20, 2009
Nezumi; Races of Sarterra
The Nezumi surfaced on Sarterra during the second age. They came from deep holes and burrows under the earth, and are found in virtually every part of the world. Often called Ratlings, Halflings, and a host of other derogatory names, the Nezumi dwell in the back alleys of society. They live in the streets in squalor, and continually scavenge off the refuse of what others leave behind. They are treated as lower class citizens when they are afforded any respect at all, and those Nezumi who seek an honest trade are usually found laboring as servants, butlers, and maids. For the most part they are tolerated simply as vermin. Despite this, they are a hearty people, and stoically take what life gives them, clutching strongly to their large family structure.
Their station in life is, at best, a fraud. It is true they live in the sewers and alleys, but this is not because they can't achieve higher status. They choose this life to blend in and be forgotten about by society at large. With less of a discerning eye cast their way, they are able to operate as freely as they choose. Thievery and spying are aptly suited to their talents, and they excel among the other races at it. Being able to move unchecked through society helps facilitate this moreso. In the cities of the other races, it is the Nezumi that have organized highly successful thieving guilds, fencing rackets, and information brokerages. These networks of Nezumi operating illegal and elicit trade are simply known as the Rattus Larcenus. Usually whatever one might be looking for can be bought...for a price.
Cities aren't the only place Nezumi can thrive however, they can be found in just about every nook and cranny across Sarterra. They are equally at home living as nomads in the deserts and plains as they are tucked away in mountain crags. Curiously, there are no Nezumi cities. When the Nezumi aren't living in the cities of other races they live in large, nomadic clans, and as such, all pretense of poverty is cast aside, revealing the proud and resilient race they truly are. There is but one notable city where the Nezumi live as equals. That place is among the Darque of Darqueholme. It is rumored that Liocheles herself discovered the Nezumi in the Underdarque and brought them to the surface, civilizing them. These tales are largely unfounded however, it is more likely that the partnership between Nezumi thieving guild, Rattus Larcenous, and Darque assassin guild, the Darqueblades, is too good of a enterprise to pass up. The two organizations, when paired up, are an incredibly effective enterprise.
Nezumi are small in stature, only reaching about half the height of a human. The most obvious feature of Nezumi is that they resemble giant, upright rats with long tails, elongated snouts, and rows of sharp teeth. Fur ranging in all colors covers most of their bodies, and families of the same blood line often share the same colorations. The Nezumi are energetic breeders, with gestation times being roughly half as long as a human but yielding twice the average number of children per birth. Nezumi children develop rapidly and are considered full grown and able to breed on their own after less than a decade. The males are only slightly larger than the females, and when wearing hooded attire, it is impossible to tell the sexes apart from one another.
Nezumi, as a civilization, are advanced in the domain of thievery and its associated aspects.
The Rattus Larcenous is an unfortunate side effect of Nezumi occupying many of Sarterra's cities. Through the use of cunning and subterfuge, the Nezumi have been able to strong arm their way into being the leading Thieve's Guild in most major cities. Although many races will be members of a given guild, serving roles that suit their individual strengths, it is exclusively the Nezumi that fill the higher ranks, make the decisions, and run the show.
The main industry of the Rattus Larcenous is that of fencing stolen property, organizing complex heists, and brokering information; the latter being surprisingly lucrative. Self preservation ensures that the Nezumi do not overstep their reach or let greed take over, and through a series of bribes of both information and monetary gains, they are able to keep most city officials at bay.
Some of the largest cities actually keep members of the Rattus Larcenous as part of their court retinue. Usually the Nezumi in question will take the disguise of a simple house servant.