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Freemasks

Pleasing, servile, human-like automata—created to trade goods on behalf of terrifying aliens…

Freemasks are of three subtypes—jade, ivory, and sapphire.  Built biologically (not mechanically) to look exactly like men, these creatures are the freed servants of the near xanjin (who might be an alien race and are without a doubt exceedingly dangerous).

All freemasks are of a similarly average athletic build and stand at at the same height, a little under six feet tall.  All are “men.”  (They do not reproduce.)  And all have, in the place of faces, finely crafted, irremovable, expressionless jade masks.

Until they are freed, the masks are simply called “masks” or “servitors” (when they are referred to directly at all).  But even when freed, they seem to betray an utter neutrality:  They do not seem to care about the world, really, though they are constitutionally incapable of being “bored” or “suicidal.”

Freemasks generally serve in society as notary publics, mercantile arbiters, or in other, similarly “objective” positions, yet they rarely rise to the level of judge or master of coin.  They exceed in remaining calm, speaking in pleasant tones (they all have soothing voices), and otherwise making their customers (everyone) happy.

The usual freemask’s face is jade.  Jade freemasks were once house workers and traders for the near xanjin.  They were built to survive in all climes and never face exhaustion.

One in one hundred masks is ivory.  Ivory freemasks are thought to have been, in their prior lives, envoys for the near xanjin.  They were built to be convince.

The rarest of all (perhaps one in one thousand) is the sapphire or smiling mask—the only mask that expresses anything at all.  Why are they smiling?  In any event, they were built to pilot the near xanjin’s catafalques (hoversleds).

Playing a freemask means facing many of the same challenges as playing a Hannah, formori, or ammon:  At heart, these species are not like mantids, varanids, quan, and even gytrash; they are not even remotely or analogically “human.”  Hannahs and freemasks, especially, are literally robots built for purposes and then abandoned.  Playing one means playing a character on a quest not just to survive or prosper (most freemasks are well off, monetarily), but to find a meaning for life itself.

Unlike Hannahs (who have a human mental framework but no deeper stuff), freemasks are largely “human” in sensitivity (present situation/deep complexes); they simply lack a past and raison d’être.  Freemasks excel at playing music, telling jokes, etc.  Theirs is a private, nagging torment…

Freemasks speak every language.

Ability modifiers:  +2 CHA.

Size:  Medium.  Land speed 30 feet.

Hell science classes allowed:  None.

Species bonus:

  • Jade (only):  +4 Survival.  +4 all FOR and CON checks related to fatigue.
  • Ivory (only):  +6 Persuasion.
  • Sapphire (only):  +4 Drive.  +2 Balance and +2 Dodge.
  • Built-in translator:  Does not need to learn languages to speak with species that have vocal cords (all but insectids and quans).
  • Built to sell:  +1 Appraise, Craft, Perform.  +2 Diplomacy and Gather Information.  +50 starting trada (or equivalent currency).
  • Favored class:  Zanni (Archaehawker, Journalist of Ruin).

Species malus:

  • No past:  While extremely sociable, freemasks are incapable of imagining a past before their “release” into the Mesas region by the alien xanjin.  They suffer penalties (typically -2 for easy or medium rolls, -4 and up for tough rolls) when attempting to harness their “whole personalities,” invent stories about their pasts, empathize with creatures who had childhoods, or otherwise employ psychology deeply.
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