The Ulronai

(Alert readers will recognize the Ulronai from Hero Games’ The Turakian Age supplement. Additional inspiration was drawn from Robert Jordan’s Tuatha’an and Robert E. Howard’s Cimmerians.)

The Ulronai people were once very influential in the world. While they boasted few great wizards (their magicians were mostly seers and artificers) they had a much larger-than-average share of charismatic leaders, bold adventurers and mighty warriors. Ulonai smiths were legendary – they had not only learned the Riddle of Steel but were well into puns, quips and bon mots of steel – and a tool or weapon of Ulronai steel was a prize of great worth. Then, some centuries ago, a curse befell them and a once-great people fell into disfavour and near-extinction. Small wandering bands of Ulronai travel the world, never able to stay in one place too long.

The Ulronai Curse:
The Ulronai as a whole have been cursed to “have no home and no welcome in this world.” The location of the Ulronai homeland has been lost, and no non-Ulronai will trust them, seeing them as deceitful, treacherous rogues. Needless to say, mention of the Curse to a non-Ulronai sounds at best like apologism and at worst like foulest untruth. Scholars of History are justifiably puzzled by pre-Curse accounts of great Ulronai heroes and statesmen (and there are many…).
The one “loophole” in the curse is that it affects the Ulronai as a people, and if an individual somehow persists long enough to be known as an individual, the curse is nullified to that non-Ulronai (although others will still distrust them normally) who will see that person as having “escaped the depravity” of the rest of their race.

Because they are rarely welcome anywhere, Ulronai stay in small, non-threatening groups and are constantly on the move. Ulronai still practice swordcraft, but in secret, often forming troupes of mummers where their martial arts are easily disguised as dances or stageplay (think Brazilian capoeira). Ulronai smiths have retained some of their craft, and are renowned (if mistrusted) as blacksmiths and tinkers. Most Ulronai tend towards skilled crafts (they cannot grow crops) but many have taken their outlaw status to heart and become thieves.
Ulronai have come to think of themselves as an extended family, referring to each other as “Brother” or “Sister,” with “Uncle” or “Auntie” used as terms of respect. Community leaders are referred to as “Grandfather” or “Grandmother.”
Food and hospitality are important to the Ulronai. Usually it is the men who cook for their families: it is a measure of esteem how well a man can (literally) feed his family. Guest-right is a sacred thing and any Ulronai can expect a meal, no matter how poor their host.

Ulronai have an unusual Gnostic interpretation of religion: they believe that The Prophet was in fact a mortal who had attained divinity, and that Heaven can be found in the world (or is at least reachable by mortals). They believe this knowledge is being suppressed by the Church; and this belief, as much as the Curse, makes the Ulronai unpopular among religious leaders.
Once every generation or so, an Ulronai child is born with a small patch of deep red hair called a “bloodlock.” A bloodlock is a sign of a great destiny, and the child’s name is changed to reflect this. Bloodlocks are understood to be a separate dynasty and are considered kin regardless of blood relation. More than one living Bloodlock at a time is almost unprecedented.

Ulronai tend to be average to above-average height. They usually have blue eyes, pale skin and straight black hair which turns grey with age.
Ulronai prefer bold, eye-catching colours, with well-to-do individuals wearing bright and/or patterned garments and poorer ones wearing whatever clothing they can get but festooned with bright patches. Even the meanest beggar in hand-me-down rags sports a flash of colour somewhere.

The Ulronai

Huzzah Team Origins: Officer Jenny hannag