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Oruli


Medium Humanoid
Hit Dice:1d8
Initiative:+1 (Dex)
Speed:30 ft., climb 20 ft.
AC:11 (Dex); or 13 (+1 Dex, +2 leather armor) touch 11, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple:  +1/+0
Attack:Short spear +2 melee (1d6-1/x3); or longbow +2 ranged (1d8/x3, 100' range increment)
Full Attack:Short spear +2 melee (1d6-1/x3); or longbow +2 ranged (1d8/x3, 100' range increment)
Space/Reach:5 ft./5 ft.
Special Qualities:Low-light vision, prehensile tail
Saves:Fort 0, Ref 2, Will 0
Abilities:Str 8, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 12
Skills:Balance* +2, Climb +7*, Jump* +5, Listen* +5, Move Silently +1, Spot* +2, Tumble* +5, Survival +1
Feats:Weapon Finesse (short spear)
Environment:Warm Jungle
Organization:Company (2-4), squad (11-20 plus 2 3rd level sergeants and 1 leader of 3rd to 6th level), or band (30-100 plus 20% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 10 adults, 5 5th-level lieutenants, and 3 7th-level captains)
Challenge Rating:  
Treasure:No coins, standard goods and items
Alignment:Usually Neutral
Advancement:By character class
Level Adjustment:+0

Appearance
The Oruli, as they call themselves, are a tree-climbing and tailed race of humanoids which live in the Ki'kiri Jungles in the tropics. They typically stand the same height as a Haruninki or a short human. Their skin is covered with a lush and soft pelt of fur that ranges from black to brown, blond, or light gray in color. Their bushy eyebrows are thick, encircling the tops and sides of their deep, shy eyes, and grow lighter in color with age while the rest of their hair remains the same. Their face is small, matching their rounder heads. Their mouths easily assume a smiling demeanor and their ears are barely visible, poking through the dark tufts of hair which surround them.
    The Oruli normally walk with a gently stooped, swaying, easy gait which is quickly recognizable. Their legs and arms are seemingly longer than appropriate for their bodies, but they are of fantastic aid to the Oruli's natural talent for climbing and acrobatics. In addition to their legs and arms is a long prehensile tail which extends from behind. This marvelous tail is a valuable tool to a Oruli and is capable of holding onto branches or other objects, allowing the Oruli to perform interesting tumbling or climbing feats which are not possible by other humanoids.
    Their sensitive, tactile, and deft fingers end in short, tough nails made for cracking open nuts or scraping through bark. These nails are nearly useless as weapons but can painfully scratch soft flesh. Their long fingers, made for holding onto branches, end in bare patches of black skin, not unlike the paws of a cat or similar creature.
    The Oruli have a soft sing-song language which is punctuated with clicks of the tongue and nasal-like snorts from the nose. They have no name for this spoken medium so outsiders have come to call the language the by same name the Oruli call themselves.

Combat
The Oruli usually fight their prey from a distance using bows or blowguns - either weapon tipped with some deadly poison. The net and bola are also a popular weapons. Being tree climbers most Oruli refuse most armors and heavy weapons. When close combat is necessary spears or other weapons which allow the Oruli to keep a distance from his opponent are common.
    Low-light Vision (Ex): Oruli can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
    Prehensile Tail: The Oruli possess a very flexible, prehensile tail which can be used much like a third hand (with only one finger). This tail can be used to hang from branches, aid in climbing, holding simple, light equipment, and for performing other simple actions. Anytime an Oruli is allowed a check to avoid falling they may make a second check automatically if the first failed. This indicates that the Oruli grabbed onto something with it's tail before it could fall.
    Skills: +2 racial bonus to Tumble, Jump, and Balance. Oruli are especially skilled at acrobatics, which are a normal part of day to day life lived in trees. Tumble is a class skill for all Oruli, regardless of actual class chosen. Since Oruli have a climb speed they also have a +8 racial bonus to Climb. This skill is essential to life as an Oruli and their skill in it is assisted by their prehensile tail. Climb is a class skill for all Oruli, regardless of actual class chosen. Oruli have a climb speed of 20 ft. An Oruli can always take 10 on a climb check. Finally, Oruli have a +2 racial bonus to Spot, and Listen. Oruli are especially aware of their surroundings, possessing keen senses. They are naturally apt to notice hidden things.

Habitat/Society
The Oruli are a agrarian-gatherer race. Female Oruli tend to the crops and gardens while the males are responsible for venturing into the jungle to gather important herbs, medicinal plants, building materials, or rare edible plants which only grow wild. Unless encountering an Oruli village, adventurers in the Ki'kiri jungles are most likely to encounter a group of armed, male Oruli.
    The Oruli are a naturally suspicious and cautious race, tempered by the unpredictable and dangerous jungles. They have a strong belief in a spiritual world of both good and evil and may take beings alien to the remote parts of the Ki'kiri Jungles to be part of this belief.
    Oruli villages tend to be large open spaces filled with gardens and places for the young to play and be easily observed. Bordering and encircling the village are the homes and buildings of the Oruli. These are up in the trees and are typically open aired platforms with a commanding view both into the forest and into the open center area.
    They tend to be expressive and open creatures when among their own kind. Their children are disciplined with gentleness. When telling stories and speaking the Oruli tend to be exaggerated and accompany their words with great arm and hand motions, their tail swaying and moving to the excitement of the conversation.
    Village leaders are of several kinds. The greatest of these being the oldest Oruli male of the village, he decides on the course and care of the village as well as the assigning of duties to the other Oruli. When dealing with creature threats or great tragedy the strongest and largest assumes the role of leadership. When it is matters of discipline or justice the oldest female of the village steps forward to take charge. In this way the wisest and most capable are the leaders of their society, sharing the burden of caring for the village. There is another leader set apart from the main three though. This is the spiritual advisor of the Oruli. Sometimes this role is played by one of the other leaders but more often it is not. The spiritual leader keeps a watchful eye on the spirit world and acts as a medium between the Oruli dead and other spirits and the world of the living. Though the other three leaders hold great power, the spiritual leader of the Oruli is very persuasive due to the Oruli's superstitious nature. Often this spiritual leader is also a skilled herbal healer a perhaps even a practitioner of some magic.
    Oruli can wear clothing and find doing so an interesting novelty of the other races. Like Halflings they do not require footwear except for in extreme environments. Although they are native to the tropics, Oruli can easily survive in colder habitats with the same precautions and shelters taken by other humanoid races.
    Oruli find humans, elves, and other races to be a fascinating source of entertainment and conversation. The outside world is very different from the Oruli villages of the jungles. If it wasn't for the strong family and village ties and the remoteness of the Oruli civilization they would undoubtedly be as far spread across the world as the other races. Still, the Oruli possess a sense of curiosity and a grand capability for learning and this occasionally drives one from the jungles to travel in foreign lands. They are fascinated with technology, but technology has hardly intruded into the Oruli villages where tradition and practicality rule out most advancements of the outside world.

Language and Conversation
Many words of significance in Oruli society begin or end with sounds that mark the word as belonging to a circle of vocabulary. These "significant" words are often the names of places, people, or ceremonies. Oruli place great weight on the proper naming of things as well as the significance of these names. Many names also have some deeper, spiritual meaning to them. Words which begin with the prefix "ip'" typically refer to objects and customs surrounding the village elders. Words beginning with the prefix "chu'" indicate some manner of connection to the spiritual realms of Oruli beliefs. Other words may end in "-tan" or "'kuk"; either implying the subject to be distasteful to Oruli health or community. For instance, most Oruli dwell in the Ki'kiri jungles where there also dwell a race of man-like lizard being civilizations. The Oruli frequently quarrel and make war against these lizard-men and refer to them as "Ssithitt-tan."
    The tone of their voice is almost sing-song, often soft, but interrupted by clicks of the tongue and teeth. Most Oruli will move their arms about in grand gestures while speaking, using their digits to assist in conveying the meaning of whatever they are talking about. At times they will also use their prehensile tail. During story-telling, a favorite past-time of the Oruli, their tail seems to move to the rhythm of their story with involuntary grace.
    Some of the Oruli's manner of communicating is related to smell. The Oruli have a very discerning sense of smell and among each other they use this sense of smell to detect and convey certain emotions and intentions such as reluctance, aggression, or to gain attention. Because of this, it would be very difficult for a non-Oruli to fully understand the meaning behind some conversations. As an aside, this also helps the Oruli root out the occasional doppleganger which has infiltrated their tribe, a danger which sometimes happens in the jungles where the dopplegangers live.
    Oruli also have a well developed sense of humor, much of which is based on practicality. Oruli find beings whose actions are contradictory to what they are saying to be funny (unless malicious, of course) or whose actions and attitude are impractical. Many outsiders do not understand that when an Oruli makes an outrageous suggestion, or begins to do something that seems senseless that they are trying to be funny. Of course there is a distinction between being "funny" and being stupid. Occasionally, outsiders to the strange sense of Oruli humor will attempt to be "funny" and only come across as being stupid. As the Oruli, and many other races have been known to say of outsiders, "They just don't get it."
    Conversation begins by allowing those higher in station than you to speak. Eye contact is very important and should be directed to those who are higher in station unless speaking as a private aside to another participant in the conversation. Thus if you are in a conversation with several Oruli, including a Matron of Justice, your eyes should be towards the Matron at all times, even while speaking to others in the group - unless of course you mean to be rude or are saying something that you would prefer the Matron to ignore.
    When the conversation is complete one should fall silent and wait for the highest ranking among the speakers to say, "I have nothing more to say." After this, those who were part of the meeting can disperse as they wish. To continue to speak to the highest ranking Oruli of the conversation after they have said this, unless they acknowledge you to do so, is tantamount to arriving unannounced at a strangers home and demanding to be fed.
    If all members of a conversation are your peers, or you are the equal of those that you are speaking to, the formalities of conversation are mostly disregarded.

Social Stations
Social deferment in the Oruli society follows a distinct ladder. By the list below, one can identify their place in society. Items in italics are the most significant, others are occasionally ignored depending on how close a friendship the Oruli involved possess.
    Visitors to the tribe are typically measured one class lower than they possess.

Tribal Elders
    - The Wizened
    - The Mother or The Hunter or a visiting Wizened
Visiting Hunters or Mothers (ip'Kukumen, ip'Eritri)
Age, if adult and also senior by more than ten years
Trade
    - Warriors, Trainers, Master skillmen
    - Skillmen (masons, blacksmiths, etc)
    - Intellectuals (sages, magic users, master-loremen)
    - Artisans (poets, bards, journeyman-storytellers)
Physical size and sometimes fitness
Reputation
Male child (sa'Day)
Female child (sa'Dul)
The unskilled, infirm, and un-capable. (sa'Aloon)
Penitent* (chu'Ticlan)
Exiles, criminals, etc. (Met-tan)

* Penitents may be either in such a position voluntarily, in which case they are honored, or involuntarily, in which case they are treated according to their position in society. Individuals who are Penitent are ignored by the tribe and must do everything by themselves and without assistance. Harming a Penitent is criminal and disgraceful. The state of being Penitent is granted either by the village Wizened if asked for or imposed due to a cultural, criminal, or moral offense.
    Visitors of the same rank as the village ranked they are visiting become equals when in a circle together. Thus a visiting Hunter Elder and the tribe Hunter Elder are equals while within a Hunting Circle. Visitors of non-Elder rank who enter an Elder Circle are immediately of the same rank as a child unless granted a higher or lower rank by the owner of the circle.
    In formal situations, children may not speak unless spoken to or directed to do so. Exiles and criminals are usually stoned and shunned if they make their presence too publicly visible.

Elders
In Oruli society there are three ruling elders and one mediator. The mediator is known as the chu'Sulanati ("The Spirit Master") and is discussed separately, below. The three elders are known as ip'Surunau ("The Wizened"), ip'Eritri ("The Mother"), and ip'Kukuman ("The Hunter"). Elders do not normally take a mate or companion.
    Any group of adventurers or expedition which comes to visit an Oruli village should expect to conform to the Oruli caste system. The largest warrior among the visitors will be automatically called the ip'Kukuman of the group, the oldest female will automatically be referred to as the Matron of Justice, and so on. Members of visiting groups who are identified as positions of authority (whether or not they are actually in such a position) will be expected to act according to their station. To do otherwise is considered rude.
    ip'Surunau ("The Wizened"): Of the three elders in Oruli society, The Wizened is the most influential. He is the oldest and most venerable of the male Oruli. Should the village ever need to be moved to a new location, it is The Wizened who decides this. When a new Oruli is born into the tribe and is the The Wizened who names the child and later it is also the Wizened who decides what trades the child will learn. Typically the child's trade will be the same as its fathers. The Wizened is also ultimately responsible for the welfare of the village and its relationships with other Oruli settlements in times of peace.
    ip'Eritri ("The Mother"): Also commonly known as the "Matron of Justice" (ip'm'Leki June), The Mother is the eldest of the female Oruli in the tribe. She teaches new mothers how to care for their children and is ultimately responsible for the feeding of the village and the tending of its gardens. Most importantly, the Matron of Justice is the dispenser of justice and the model of a disciplined mind. When a covenant is broken or a tribal law called into question it is The Mother who decides the fate by meting out punishments and atonements.
    ip'Kukuman ("The Hunter"): The Hunter, also known as the Master of War, is the strongest and largest Oruli of the tribe. While this role typically is filled by a male Oruli, occasionally a female Oruli will rise to the positions power. Ascendency to the position is made through physical defiance and vocal challenge to the current holder of the title. Physical defiance may come in the form of refusing to step backwards a single step when loudly greeted by The Hunter. This greeting involves a tremendous shout and two quick stamping steps forward by the Hunter - to which other Oruli should react to by taking a step backwards. Vocal challenge may be given by imitating the loud manner of The Hunter. Among the warriors of the Oruli, The Hunter is the loudest and most vocal, frequently shouting and throwing their hands into the air. When the village goes to war against the Lizard Men (also known as the Ssithitt-tan - a term considered obscene unless used in reference to the Lizard Men.), with whom they share the Ki'kiri Jungles, The Hunter becomes the leader of the tribe. Likewise, in times of catastrophe, such as earthquakes or great fires, The Hunter becomes the commander of the Oruli. The Hunter is also responsible for the bringing of meat to feed the village and for keeping the village safe from predators.

Spirit Masters
The Spirit Master, or chu'Sulanati, is lower than the other three elders in rank but equal in significance. The Spirit Master rests in the middle of Oruli society. They act as mediators between the Oruli and the Spirit World, between the Oruli Elders when custom or disagreements prevent the leaders from meeting in person, and between the Elders and the Uten (Common Folk).
    The Spirit Master is a gatherer of knowledge and wisdom. They are responsible for the keeping of the Oruli history, for spreading the arts of Oruli verse, poetry, and story-telling.
    Spirit Masters also act as mediators between village outsiders and the village elders. Spirit Masters are often gifted with the mystic skill of tongues, enabling them to speak to any living creature. Thus, they are often called upon to intervene on behalf of outsiders and to make sure that the outsiders are knowledgable of Oruli manners, traditions, and laws.
    A Spirit Masters virtues are patience and a mind of clarity and peace. While the Hunt Master is to instill the virtue of discipline over ones body, the Spirit Master teaches discipline over one's actions and mind.

Spiritual Beliefs
Oruli believe that there is a second world, called the Realm of Spirits or sa'Seriptha. This realm closely mirrors the real world except that it is inhabited with spirits of varying power. All Oruli are born with a spiritual twin in this other world. These spiritual twins may be guardians, warriors, seers, or of other skills. Typically, when an Oruli is born, The Wizened of the Village consults the Spirit Master to learn the nature of the child's spiritual twin. Then, when the child comes of age, The Wizened names the child's profession so as to best complement their spiritual twin.
    Most of the spiritual twins of Oruli are of only minor influence on the real world and do not communicate to their real-world half. However, some rare Oruli have spiritual twins that are very powerful and wise. These spirits are known as Avatars. Oruli who possess Avatars as spiritual twins are usually destined to become influential, of historical significance, to have the gift of magic or psionic powers, or to be gifted with special skills such as the ability to see portents of the future or speak in tongues. These with the last of these skills typically grow up to become Spirit Masters. The majority of spiritual twins are known to be "asleep" as they hide from detection and communication with their real-world counterpart.
    The name of one's Spiritual Twin is a secretive subject among the Oruli. To learn the name of one's spiritual twin requires extensive fasting and the traveling to sacred, dangerous, and distant places in the Ki'kiri Jungles. Once one learns the name of their spiritual twin they can then attempt to "awaken" the twin. This is a dangerous process which can potentially drive an Oruli to insanity (typically suicidal). However, if done correctly and if luck is with the Oruli, it may lead to the metamorphosis of the spiritual twin into an Avatar. Sometimes the spiritual twin takes over the body of the Oruli who is trying to awaken it. The spirit is then confused and often very irrational - making it difficult to tell the difference between an insane Oruli and a possessed one.
    Spiritual twins are not the only inhabitants of the Spirit World though. Occasionally an Oruli who has attempted to learn the name of their spiritual twin will invite some other kind of spirit into their body. Sometimes these spirits can be filled with terrible evil and be the motive behind hideous thoughts, words, and deeds. Oruli who awaken their spiritual twin require special discipline to protect their twin from being preyed upon by other inhabitants of the spiritual realm. Apparently spiritual twins who are "asleep" or who are naturally Avatars without having been awakened are not made vulnerable by association with their real world counterparts.
    Spiritual twins are usually very sheltered beings. They often seem childishly naive but then also possess tremendous wisdom and charisma. One might liken a spiritual twins mentality to that of an incredibly gifted and wise child of about age seven or eight.
    Strangely, though many non-Oruli sages discount the existence of spiritual twins or even the existence of a spiritual realm, the knowing of a spiritual twin's name possesses the same power as knowing a true name. Thus knowledge of a spiritual twin's name is a very closely guarded secret - not to be told to anyone else. Knowing the name of another's spiritual twin grants the same power over that individual as knowing their true name would provide.
    On a final note, Oruli do not believe in the existence of gods. The concept is foreign to them and worship of spiritual beings is an event not found in Oruli society. The Oruli consider themselves to be peers of those who inhabit the spiritual realm. Rare accounts of magi who have ventured into the spiritual realm liken the process to be similar in enactment and experience to traveling through the Astral Plane.

Elder Circles
Each of the Elders in Oruli society possess a home built without a ceiling, standing about four feet tall, and formed in the shape of a circle. What the home is made of has no significance. While the Elder is within their circle they are at the seat of their power and are unchallenged in authority - their actions within their circle go unquestioned.
    Circles are where matters of importance are discussed. The nature of the matter to be discussed determines which Elder's circle it will be talked about. Matters dealing with hunting and war will be talked about in the Hunt Master's circle, and so on.
    While visiting the circle of an Elder the visitor should make sure to act only as bidden. They may not enter, speak, or sit without the Elder's permission. This goes for any visitor to the circle, including other Elders. Visiting Elders from other villages who enter the circle of another Elder of the same caste are equals while within the circle, though outside of the circle the village's Elder has authority over the visiting Elder. Respect of this authority typically is shown by the giving of deference to the village Elder and the visiting Elder's asking of permission from the village Elder to perform certain deeds.
    It is also possible for an Elder to draw an elder circle in the dirt if they wish to have a conversation within one but there is not a permanent elder circle nearby or convenient.
    Manners and tradition are very influential matters of importance while within an elder circle. Visitors to an elder circle should carefully observe customs should they be invited within.

Male-Female Interaction
For the most part, both male and female Oruli are considered equals. Male Oruli tend toward duties of foreign interests while females are more attentive to the needs of the domestic. The raising of children is done by the community; each member of the tribe is equally responsible for the upbringing of an infant. Children equally respect all adults as if all adults were their parents and only occasionally identify themselves as being of blood-descent from a particular Oruli. The ties of the tribe are far stronger and more meaningful to an Oruli than individual parents or blood-lines.
    Oruli are open in their relationships with each other and seldom remain with the same mate for more than several years.

Gift Giving and Water Drawing
Gift giving is an important Oruli tradition which is done during another important tradition known as The Water Drawing. Water drawing is a custom where the Oruli go to the nearest river and fill their water gourds for the day. This is done in the morning as the sun is still rising and ends when the sun is fully above the tree tops - a period of about 20 minutes. During this time the Oruli walk out into the river to about knee deep where they fill, empty, and refill their water-gourds. The belief behind this is that by refilling their gourds, emptying them, and then refilling them that they fool the water spirits so that the spirits believe them to not be taking any water. Then, when the sun has just risen and shines on the water, the Oruli fill their gourds one last time and do not empty it as the water spirits are momentarily blinded by the rising sun.
    During the water drawing is the traditional time for the sharing and exchange of gifts. Politeness requires that one give a gift back to those who give a gift to you, unless a previous agreement was reached.
    When handing the gift to the recipient, the giver should move the gift in a circular like fashion (horizontally) while holding onto the item with both hands and then, once the circle is completed, pass the gift onward. The proper thanks is to say that the gift is a "fine" gift. The circular motion is symbolic of both the bond that is forged between to people when they exchange gifts and also is symbolic of the circle of giving and receiving gifts.

Ecology
Being an agricultural and self-sufficient creature the Oruli require very little from other races to survive. Since they are largely non-violent, usually fleeing from non-village-threatening encounters, they pose little danger to intruders into the jungles; though glimpses of them high in the trees may occur as the Oruli check out the foreigners wandering into their homeland. Oruli perform their work mostly through their own efforts and very rarely make use of the creatures of the jungle to assist them.
    The Oruli are prized guides for travelers of the jungles. They are gracious hosts and friendly companions, requiring little or nothing in return for their extremely valuable survival, navigation, and tracking talents in those wild lands. An adventurer could not hope for a better or more able guide.

History
The Oruli are an ancient and small race, largely ignored by the passing of time outside the Ki'kiri jungles. They hid from the effects of the UnHoly wars and went unnoticed during other great calamities such as the rise of Ilerth or the eroding Seals of Chaos.

Variants and Resources
Oruli Player Characters