Hom ula Heb
A country near the equator known for its tropical jungle vines that seem to encroach on everything, reaching into towns and out past the shore. While visitors might worry that this is somehow nefarious, these plants simply feed on salt water and have grown long with its supply.
Hom ula Heb – for its name is never shortened, that would be a serious social faux pas – is known for clear skies, its complete lack of xenophobia, and a shipbuilding industry that’s grown from humble beginnings: first lashing rafts together with those vines, then eventually to elaborately engineered vessels whose network of vines constantly heal the ship while at sea. They are some of the best built and most expensive boats on the market – and come with complimentary baskets of the region’s exotic fruits – with Hom ula Heb’s navy simply outlasting any opposition. They are also famous for their mathematics, with their natural talent informing much about their culture. The people here would never say “most inexplicable” when they could instead say “least explicable,” which they would tell you means the same thing but is one syllable shorter.
The people from this country, who collectively call themselves the oli, have specific language rules that they strictly adhere to, including notions that all things must be categorized and all words are three letters long:
- They begin life with just one name. (This first name has become common shorthand, due to their dealings with other cultures.) The first name only ever has one vowel, and in the middle: A for men, E for women, I for “twin spirits.”
- The second name always has vowels flanking a consonant, with the word referring to their nature or natural talent, and is added during childhood. They feel that recognizing such does not lock one into its obvious paths, and instead believe that names – like equations – must contain life’s modifiers.
- Lowercase words – such as ula and oli – are used to join people or concepts into a named relationship. An L in the middle of a middle word denotes marriage. In this way, your spouse’s first name becomes your third name (such as Pab Idu ula Nen).
In this way, the country’s name “Hom ula Heb” specifically means “People married with Nature,” with people in the phrase really referring to technological advancement and impact on the environment. Meanwhile “oli,” what they call themselves, means “Hope married with Mystery.” A poor translation is that it embodies the joy someone experiences when they don’t yet know what the world has in store for them. Concepts such as what your parents did for a living, or what your children will eventually do, mean exceedingly little to the oli, as does any notion that someone is too old to go after what they want. A meal does not taste any less sweet, nor an equation mean something different, the younger or older it happens to be.
When you are one of the oli, you come from a friendly people eager to explore the world. You also have an innate need to categorize it, applying strict conventions of language and mathematical formulae to any given concept. You excel at learning other languages – often better than their native speakers – and virtually never confuse the rules or conventions of one with another. While you started out having your own names for other races and cultures your people stopped the practice almost immediately out of respect, though in return you demand that they not capitalize your race’s name or somehow turn it into something without the same meaning.
You probably have at least one favorite skill that’s both your passion and the source of your second name, with oli often excelling at a Craft, Knowledge Engineering or Arcana, Spellcraft, Linguistics, Appraise or Disable Device. Despite the jungles of your home Survival isn’t actually necessary for you, but no one has ever heard of an oli who can’t Swim.
You begin play with Human (oli) as a free language (by this point, every oli knows Common as readily as the mother tongue). You’re likely smart and likely know several other languages to boot, especially if you study linguistics. In addition, humans that hail from the oli are able to select any of these alternative racial options at character creation:
Heart of the Sun (Feature, Racial): Humans born in tropical climates treat hot climates as one category less severe. They also gain a +2 racial bonus on Fortitude saving throws against the effects of a hot climate, as well as against the poison and distraction ability of swarms and vermin. (This racial trait replaces Skilled.)
Heart of the Sea (Feature, Racial): Humans born near the sea are always drawn to it. They gain a +2 racial bonus on Profession (sailor) and Swim checks, and these are always class skills for them. They can hold their breath twice as long as normal, and spellcasters gain a +4 racial bonus on concentration checks when attempting to cast spells underwater. (This racial trait replaces Skilled.)
Wayfarer (Feature, Racial): Humans maintain the largest trade networks and the farthest-reaching civilizations, putting them in contact with a huge number of cultures. Humans with this racial trait gain a +2 racial bonus on Survival checks to avoid becoming lost, Knowledge (geography) checks, and Knowledge (local) checks. Whenever these humans gain a rank in Linguistics, they learn two languages rather than one. (This racial trait replaces Skilled.)
Focused Study (Feature, Racial): All humans are skillful, but some, rather than being generalists, tend to specialize in a handful of skills. At 1st, 8th, and 16th level, such humans gain Skill Focus in a skill of their choice as a bonus feat. (This racial trait replaces the bonus human feat.)
Furthermore, the following traits are considered perfectly fine for the oli. They may treat any of these as being in the Race or Regional category despite what they actually are:
Mathematical Prodigy (Trait, Magic): Mathematics has always come easily for you, and you have always been able to “see the math” in the physical and magical world. You gain a +1 bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (engineering) checks, and one of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.
Numerologist (Trait, Regional): studied the sciences and other formal academics in your formative years, you swiftly became interested in the esoteric numerological practices of the ancient mathematicians, and know how to apply this science to dungeons. Once per day, you can attempt a Perception check while studying a trap (a standard action). The DC of this check is equal to the Disable Device DC of the trap – 5. If you succeed, you identify the DC necessary to disable the trap, as well as the DC of the Reflex save (if any) to avoid its effects.
Numerological Gift (Trait, Race – normally Dhampir): Since birth you have had an intimate connection with a certain number. When you select this trait, roll 3d6. The resulting number becomes your numerological totem and can never be changed. Once per day, when you roll your totem number on a d20 (such as an attack roll, save, or skill check), you may treat that roll as if you had rolled a natural 20 on the die.