Savage, primitive invaders returning like a bad dream from the mists of antiquity, the Fomorians have been raiding the shores of Brittanis for nearly twenty years now, and an entire generation of folk have grown up with the looming threat of a screaming, howling horde descending on them in the middle of the night.
Fomorians in the Age of Legend
Legends of the Fomorians come to us from the age after Aquilon but before the Tiberian Empire came to Brittanis. These tales from the mists of myth say that the Fomorians were the first real civilization to inhabit Brittanis after the Breaking of the World. Tribal and militaristic, they managed to carve out a sizeable kingdom from the heartlands (where Albion stands today) and paid homage to the Three Sisters. Some myth say that they were a race of humans, while others say that they were a race of fae descended from the elves who were exiled from Faerie and were kin to the Erin’Tar and Gael’Dar.
When the ancient ancestors of the Brynn people migrated from the continent of Caledor across the Sea of Storms, the Fomorians were already well established. The Brynn and the Fomorians clashed immediately, and as the Brynn expanded into the unclaimed territories, war became inevitable between the two. Despite both races paying homage to the same gods, they fought bloody and brutal wars against each other for generations.
Tales tell of a series of conflicts between the two races, culminating in a massive battle that proved decisive for all sides. A mighty hero of the Brynn people rose up and led his nation to war, defeating the Fomorians despite their use of artifacts of near-apocalyptic power. The Fomorians were defeated and scattered, but that was not enough for the Brynn champion. Calling upon the most powerful priests and archmages among them (which ended up being the foundation of the Grey Council), the Brynn cast a mighty ritual of epic power, and transformed the Fomorians forever.
Once tall, graceful, and beautiful, the Fomorians were twisted and cursed by the ritual, their flesh and bones reformed under the weight of the enemy’s magic; they became as grotesque and ugly in physical form as the Brynn believed them to be in heart and spirit-- though nothing other than biased legend tells us that the Fomorians actually were as vile as the Brynn believed them to be. The Fomorian nation was utterly broken by the magic that descended upon them, and they fled the shores of Brittanis. . . until recently when their dragonships returned to wreak terrible vengeance upon the lands that had cast them out so long ago.
The kingdoms of Brittanis only recently became first-hand aware of the Fomorians again, though their raids had plagued the coastal regions of Caledor long before they began raiding across the sea. Though they would appear to be inferior to “average” humans, the Fomorians have proven to be implacable, terrifying foes capable of despoiling and destroying entire armies. Only time will tell if the more civilized nations will be able to withstand the onslaught of their depredations.
In the ages between the curse that afflicted them and destroyed their civilization and now, the Fomorians have changed greatly. It appears that the magic that afflicts them has gone far beyond twisting just their flesh and bone—they are now as grotesque and evil in spirit as the ancient Brynn believed them to be in ages past.
In the same way that some devotees of the primal spirits can imbue themselves with animal features, the Fomorian appear to have taken that ability and made it permanent in themselves. The typical Fomorian stands over six feet in height—male and female do not differ in height so much as build and mass— and males usually have a musculature that surpasses even the Norn. Their stature and build make them natural warriors and they use seemingly-oversized weapons with ease. Females tend to be long-limbed and highly muscled as well, but their frame seems to be more built for speed and agility rather than brute strength.
Male Fomorian skulls are shaped differently from standard humans as well— they have overdeveloped brow ridges and their skulls are thicker across the top than average humans. Limbs tend to be longer in proportion to average humans, though the rest of their internal anatomy is no different from the usual human.
In general, Fomorians are stronger, taller, and larger than an average human. In appearance, though, the Fomorian are far more savage and uncivilized than the humans of the western lands, sporting piercings, ritual scarification, and tattoos over large portions of their bodies. Their hair is always long—apparently it has something to do with a warrior’s prowess as slaves are always shaved bald— and they often braid or secure precious stones or metals into their hair, beard and body modifications.
Those who have escaped the Fomorians say that they appear to have some society, with a small ruling caste related to the worship of their savage gods— the only one westerners know of is called the Bone Queen and she promotes the enslavement of Fomorian enemies and ritual sacrifice of their foes.
It appears that the curse that deforms their flesh affects some Fomorians more than others. Those who are born with the worst afflictions are savage, bloodthirsty berzerkers who serve as foot soldiers and raiders. The less twisted a Fomorian is, the more likely they are to rise to positions of leadership and power—many are spellcasters of one kind or another, though their magics are always dark and vile, often making pacts with dark powers in exchange for power and knowledge.
Fomorian also practice blood magic—indeed, their religion seems to be based around it entirely. They use ritual sacrifice and the power released by torture and blood to fuel horrible, bestial magics that transform their warriors and slay enemies. Their use of this magic is so widespread that nearly every battlefield is tainted by their foul defiling magic and energy becomes difficult for less-tainted arcanists to utilize.
The Fomorians also hold on desperately to the glory of their lost civilization—their warriors still bear arms and armor from those ancient battles, though it is worn and corroded. They wield weapons of ancient bronze and armor of the same with the markings and style of their ancestors.
Though technologically savage, with little in the way of cultural advancement (as far as we can tell), the Fomorian are able seafarers and shipbuilders as well as highly skilled at alchemy. Their warbeasts and creatures of war are often brought to be used as terror weapons and battlefield artillery. They are also well-known for the use of alchemical warpaint that augments the already-considerable prowess of their warriors in battle. The Fomorian have also been known to use mind-altering alchemicals on their captured slaves, augmenting them and putting them back on the battlefield in a collar and chain to fight the folk they once called allies.
Well known also is Fomorian bestial magic. By some terrible enchantment, the Fomorian leaders and elite warriors can harness some kind of primal spirit or evil possession to transform them into brutal, vicious killing machines. This tends to manifest in different ways but always ends up with the Fomorian warrior taking on magically-enhanced strength, speed, or ferocity as well as a variety of other magical abilities granted by the feral enchantment. Their shamans and witch doctors seem to be able to manifest this rage in other warriors and others seem to make this transformation when the battle lust or injury forces the change.
Regardless, unlike normal humans who get less dangerous the more grievous their wounds— the Fomorian actually become MORE deadly the closer to death they get.
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