Though descended from the ancient maahiset people, the gugrum have developed a far larger stature. Once ruling a powerful network of kingdoms, their civilization suffered an outbreak of civil war that left it tattered. In the following centuries, humans claimed their lands and shipped them to Motta as slaves, ending any chance of greatness for the gugrum.
Without much memory of their culture before slavery, the gugrum have become a quiet and subdued people, despite their height and strength. Very few manage to gain freedom during their lives, since the children a slave bears in captivity become the property of her master. Those who do might remain in Motta (where the population is racially diverse), but it’s more likely they’ll move to a place where they’re not mistaken for property.
Outside of bondage, gugrum live close to the earth in matriarchal communities. Though capable warriors when they need to be, pacifism and nonviolence have become their chief values.
THOUGHTFUL AND PRIVATE
Although formal education isn’t a part of most gugrum cultures, they are a perceptive and conscientious people. This reputation of being gentle giants may explain why they’ve been victimized in recent history. Exceptions can be found, but it's unusual to see a gugrum engage in outwardly violent or aggressive behavior. Though they no doubt feel these emotions, they’ve been trained from birth to hide anger and selfishness.
Such cultural taboos result in a propensity for gugrum to be quiet company. Even their large gatherings seem placid compared to those of other races. They admire silence and see it as a sign of intelligence, while impulsive chatter is disdained as attention-seeking and disruptive. When foreigners visit a gugrum city, they often turn heads with the volume of their conversation.
The gugrum are generally taller than most other races, with a brawny musculature, and proportionately larger hands and feet. This makes them not only physically imposing, but also talented builders, miners, athletes, and soldiers. Ironically, few of these vocations are common in gugrum society—but they’re the chief tasks set for gugrum slaves in human cultures.
The skin of the gugrum is a slate grey color. Their blood is a deep blue, and shows clearly through the skin, giving it a lightning or tree-branch pattern. Every gugrum’s unique vein-pattern shows differently, and is one of their primary methods for indentification. A few gugrum grow thin hair, but most are nearly hairless. Its color is usually a shade of grey. Their eyes trend toward warm colors like yellow, amber, or pink.
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
The gugrum were once the most numerous of the races descended from the maahiset. Their civilization occupied the vast grasslands known today as the Forlorn Marches. Around 2,400 years ago, rampant civil war ignited among them, and within a century, nothing was left but ruined towers and fields of bones. The few refugees that escaped this bloodbath were herded south as slaves, or else went north to settle the woodlands of Chayrshellech and the Norlythe.
Today, gugrum culture is largely matriarchal. Women are seen as spiritual and intellectual leaders, governing as philosopher-chiefs while the men act primarily as laborers and artisans. When the gugrum raised in patriarchal captivity encounter their free kinfolk, gender tension can become a serious point of conflict.
A cannibalistic society of gugrum called the Saethym live a nomadic existence in lands just north of the Waelslayg Mountains. The Saethym are polygamous and heavily male-dominated, which prevents them from integrating well with other gugrum cultures.
BORN IN CHAINS
The majority of gugrum are bred in bondage to humans. They live in estates and on plantations owned by their masters, and very rarely leave the grounds. This harsh life is a heavy burden to the gugrum, many of whom dream of freedom. Those who have escaped over the centuries will search out their free northern relatives.
The largest free gugrum societies build their cities of interconnecting stone towers. Most settlements, however, are made up of longhouses or large tents camped near their hunting grounds. Daily life there centers around family, food, and the larger good of the clan.
Gugrum can be found adventuring in many places. Most who escape slavery enter the wide world without meaningful skills. These rely on their strength and keen intuition to get by on dangerous work. They might end up as mercenaries, trackers, or outlaws. Whatever their vocation, they tend to do it without complaint.
Without their own language, gugrum usually use names from their oral tradition, or simply adapt names from whichever culture's language they’ve appropriated. In slavery, the gugrum are usually named by their masters, and so can have what seem like ill-suited names. Below are examples of unique gugrum names.
Male Names: Adun, A’umo, Banga, Dul, Etumo, Gha’uro, Hibanma, Jo’al, Mhahad, Mustalig, Oba’i, Roda’im, Tiba.
Female Names: Asaba, Bindi, Dan-duro, Eballa, Ema, Gangos, Genta, Jalba, Mo’omad, Nandu, Olbara, Ya’aur, Zidfa.
Gugrum characters begin with the following racial traits as a result of their stature and shared tradition.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Age. Because family and the greater good are so important to the gugrum, they often have lawful alignments. Those gugrum that have been slaves, however, value their freedom highly. Fear of tyranny may pull them toward a neutral or chaotic alignment.
Alignment. Because family and the greater good are so important to the gugrum, they often have lawful alignments. Those gugrum that have been slaves, however, value their freedom highly. Fear of tyranny may pull them toward neutral or chaotic.
Speed. 30 feet.
Brute Hands. You have a +1 bonus to unarmed attacks and advantage on ability checks and saving throws against being disarmed.
Gugrum Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the blowgun, club, great club, net, sling, and spear.
Iron Thews. Whenever you take bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, reduce the amount taken by 1.
Peak Physique. You have proficiency in the Athletics skill.
Languages. You can speak one regional tongue. Whether you can read or write it depends on your background. Consult with your DM and decide. Gugrum only have traces of their own language, so they speak whatever their nieghbors or masters speak. Their speech, however, is often adapted and blended with remnants of ancient Gugrum, giving them idioms and phrasology that may seem strange to other speakers. Because of their limited opportunities for education, few gugrum can read or write.
Subrace. Gugrum can come from very different worlds. Some were raised in the wilderness, learning the secrets of the land and sharpening their senses. Others were reared in the midst of human culture.
These are the typical gugrum living in their own communities. Raised in remote areas, they tend to be more comfortable away from civilization, where there’s space to breathe and worship their chosen god in peace. The meaning of the name Ba’areth was lost with the memory of the ancient Gugrum tongue.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Bred in the Wild. You have advantage when making Intelligence (Nature) checks and Wisdom (Survival) checks.
The cannibalistic Saethym live in the wilderness of northern Chayrshellech. A bit smaller than any other gugrum group, they likely bear a closer resemblance to their diminutive ancestors. Secret black arts have been passed down among them for thousands of years, making them clever and dangerous enemies.
Hunter-Sorcerer. You know one cantrip of your choice from the sorcerer spell list.
At 3rd level, choose one of the following spells: entangle, fog cloud, healing word, or unseen servant. You can cast it once per day as a 1st level spell. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.
Like many gugrum, those born into slavery are tough. Their natural physique has been fortified by a life of back-breaking labor. The strongest might survive, but only the lucky see freedom.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Work It Off. During a short rest, you regain a number of hit points equal to your proficiency bonus.