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Horseheaded Men

Or Gytrash (their word for their own kind, commonly used elsewhere). “Gytrash” is both singular and plural.  Horseheaded men are also called “equicephs” (Old Tephnian), but this term is considered archaic, if not insulting.  They are, well—huge men with horses’ heads.

No one knows who made or bred this race of eight foot tall, brawny race of men with horse-heads.  Even stranger, no one now knows what a horse is.  There haven’t been horses on earth for many millions of years, so why were the gytrash engineered to look like them?  In any event, they are here now, in very small numbers, in the cities of the Five Mesas and (very rarely) elsewhere.

Horseheaded men can speak as do ordinary men, though their voices are lower and have less capability for modulation, “drama,” impersonation, and the like.  They have gray, brown, or black skin and very muscular frames, with no equine characteristics below the neck (and mane).

Highly solitary, slow to anger, and quiet by nature, as if ashamed of their rarity and nostalgic form (not that anyone remembers horses to be nostalgic about them, of course), gytrash are often found working as artisans who, despite their huge frames, excel at all fine-detail work.  They tend to make watches for fun—all of them do—and they always know the time of day.

Gytrash are not considered monsters or robots, aliens or doppelgangers of other beings.  They are more like echoes, or shadows.  Despite their place in society, they are never quite happy.  Unlike Hannahs (who are missing some essential human element, which they come to mourn) and freemasks (who are sensitive enough to mourn instantly their lack of “meaning” or history), gytrash do not mourn anything specific.  Gytrash are simply, in their own eyes, soulless:  Lacking something so basic, it cannot be named.

Gytrash speak their own, ancient language, which varies highly by city (they have a mythological oral history but rarely compare notes).  They call the language Keda, but most everyone else calls it Gytrash.  Gytrash also grow up speaking whatever hominid tongue is used in their environs, generally Mesan.

Ability modifiers:  +1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 CON, +1 WIS, -2 CHA.

Size:  Medium.  Land speed 30 feet.

Hell science classes allowed:  None.

Species bonus:

  • Calm hands and eyes:  +2 Craft at all times; can spend 1 day/level studying the same object to gain an additional +1/day on the final check(s).
  • Large fists:  Natural attack, no proficiency require, of d6/d6 subdual damage (-4/-4 to hit if attacking twice in 1 round; otherwise no penalty for 1 attack/round).
  • Horsesmell:  Can smell traps, hidden doors, and enemies around corners on successful Spot check.
  • Strong as horse:  +2 hp/level, regardless of class.
  • Favored class:  Doctor (Tinker).

Species malus:

  • Existentialist:  Under duress, the horseheaded man questions his existence and suffers -2 to attempts to escape (whether called shots, Escape checks, sprints, etc.) until making a WIL save at penalties according to how long the crisis has persisted (something like -1/day, for crises such as being jailed; -1/hr for a losing firefight; -1/min for drowning).
  • Hungry like a horse:  Eats twice as much as a man, which can cause huge problems in the wastes.

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