Note: This material is closed content. It is posted here with permission of the publisher, Primal Urge Games.
The mneumra are living vessels for the essence of those ravaged by plague. Drawn to sorrow and loss, they are precursors to the coming of disease and death.
The first mneumra was a true construct, though the process of its creation has been lost to time. The events directly preceding and following it creation are passed down to each new generation of mneumrae. In the distant past, a great artificer remembered simply as Father lived in a realm beset by an unnatural plague. His family succumbed to the ravages of the spreading disease. The last of his children, his youngest child, was the last, fading fast. In a desperate gambit to save his child, Father made a pact with powerful nature spirits. The essence of the rapidly fading son was bound with potent arcane and natural energies, funneled into a waiting vessel. This construct was Father’s greatest work, a piece of unrivaled craftsmanship. The memory of the child was preserved as the body failed.
As a condition of the pact, Father was obligated to preserve the essences of as many other sufferers of the plague as possible. Over the following months, Father traveled the crumbling kingdom, fulfilling his pledge. Father’s vessels were limited, however, only able to aid the youngest sufferers. During this time the term mneumra was coined by the parents of the young whose essences were preserved. The name was a combination of the words for “memory” and “urn”. Father saved many before being forced into seclusion, being afflicted by the plague. As the disease scoured all life from the land, only the mneumra were spared, left to rebuild.
Since that time, the mneumra have wandered, drawn to the first signs of plague. They continue to honor the memory of Father, preserving the essences of plague stricken young, final remembrances of their passing.
Though mneumrae may vary greatly in personality, they are by and large friendly, enthusiastic, emotional creatures. They are curious and easily distracted, filled with an unquenchable thirst for excitement and adventure.
Mneumrae readily accept others, only comfortable in the presence of friends. Lone mneumrae are rare, quickly growing despondent without the constant stimulation of social interaction. They make little distinction between the companionship of their kind and that of other races.
Mneumrae approach life with an enthusiasm that others find invigorating. For the mneumra, every day is an adventure and every encounter is a chance for discovery. They are constantly in search of adventure and innovation, easily adapting to change. Mneumrae openly embrace new concepts. A side effect of their view of life is the short attention span endemic to the race. Mneumrae seldom finish what they start, moving casually from one fascination to another. This sometimes leads to trouble, especially when combined with their innate gullibility.
The emotions of mneumrae are as fluid as their varied interests. Mneumrae experience all emotions with great intensity, quickly cycling through a wide spectrum of emotions. They do little to mask their emotions, and have become known for emotional outbursts. Their emotions tend to be positive, though they often mirror those of their companions.
Despite being positive and light-hearted, the dreams of mneumrae are nightmarish realms. The suffering integral to their creation suffuses the subconscious world of the mneumrae. Nightime finds these creatures plagued by fevered dreams, a collage of plague and pain. Thankfully, these dreams fade quickly upon waking, too intense for conscious minds to bear.
Childlike in appearance, mneumrae are a motley trove of hues and physical traits. They are living vessels for emotions and memories, binding the essence of the dying with potent arcane energy to animate their pliant forms.
Mneumrae are roughly the same size as a human child, though their size may vary greatly depending on the essence captured during their conception. Gender is a superficial aspect for the race. Distilled from the essence of humanoid children, most mneumrae are male or female. However, mneumrae tracing their origins to more exotic humanoid races may display other genders. The average male mneumra is 3’6” to 4’ tall, weighing 55 pounds. Females match males in height, but weigh 5 pounds less.
Mneumrae mature quickly, reaching full maturity in only 4 to 5 years. Despite their rapid maturation, mneumrae are long-lived. Once they reach maturity, their bodies stop aging. Additionally, mneumrae are immune to poison and disease. They also have no need for breathing, eating, or drinking, though they may emulate any of these behaviors. Barring unforeseen circumstances, mneumrae can expect to live 3 to 4 centuries.
Mneumrae come in a rainbow of vibrant colors, with little consistency between members of the race. Mneumrae flesh is a thin, rubbery membrane that is pliant and resistant to drying. Mneumrae hair, though mimicking humanoid hair, is composed of the same material as their flesh. Once every two years, the flesh of a mneumra dulls. Shortly after, the flesh begins to molt, revealing a new layer. This new layer is seldom the same color as the original flesh. The new color is closely tied to the emotional state and subconscious wishes of the mneumra at the time of the molting.
Mneumrae are superficially humanoid in appearance. Their physical features mimic those of their essence-race. Because of this, mneumrae often possess varied physical features. They may possess extra eyes, a tail, small horns, or extra limbs. However, mneumrae are neurologically wired for a standard humanoid form, and are often unable to access enhanced physical features. Mneumrae with non-standard physical features must learn to use additional physical attributes, such as flight or extra attacks. Mneumrae are never able to access additional sensory modes or supernatural abilities from these augmented features, however.
One of the most remarkable physical features of mneumrae is their arms. The arms of a mneumra are closer in structure to a snake than humanoid arms. The extra bones in the arm provide almost unlimited flexibility. The bones are arrayed in a stacked structure that, when combined with the pliant flesh, allow a mneumra to extend its reach beyond what would seem possible for a creature of its size.
Equally extraordinary but less noticeable is the fluid nature of mneumra physical abilities. A mneumra can shift the intensity of strength, dexterity and constitution, realigning its structure as needed. The process requires a full night’s sleep as the mneumra’s body readjusts. This realignment lasts until the mneumra opts to further shift its abilities.
Similar to other humanoids in appearance, mneumrae reproduction is far removed from the norm. The process has evolved from of the process integral to the creation of the first mneumra. The act of capturing the essence of the dying child was an active event, initiated by an external force, binding the essence with arcane and natural energies, stored in the first constructed vessel. Over time the need for an external initiator of the process was lost. Modern mneumrae unknowingly draw the essences of young humanoids suffering from plague into their bodies. Few members of the race are aware of the connection between the death of others and the propagation of their species. They view the cysts that form as a natural part of life, lacking any external stimuli. These cysts gestate within mneumrae for 3 to 4 months, expelled as a hardened egg at the end of the period. These cysts continue growing for an additional 2 months before hatching into newborn mneumrae. Multiple cysts at different stages of gestation may grow within a mneumra simultaneously. Over the course of a mneumra’s life, a mneumra may produce up to 10 of these cysts.
Mneumra clothing styles are as varied as their coloration. Most mneumrae in a settlement will follow similar trends, but these trends are constantly changing. Often styles of dress are adopted from neighboring humanoids.
The mneumra are a semi-nomadic race, following subconscious urges to journey to regions on the brink of plague. As they take on the essences and memories of the dying, mneumrae invariably incorporate local customs into their culture. These customs are short-lived, varying greatly between mneumra settlements.
Stripping away borrowed customs, mneumra society is simplistic, lacking established institutions, rulers, or castes. At its base level, mneumra society relies on consensus to decide major decisions. Given the emotional nature of the race, such decisions are difficult, many times resulting in the fracturing of a settlement. Fortunately such decisions occur rarely.
Though cognizant of families in other cultures, mneumrae do not have an established family structure. A mneumra does not consider the resulting young from an expelled cyst to be its child. Consequently, mneumrae do not have a concept of parents. When questioned on parentage, a mneumra will typically give a quizzical look, and the simple response, “I am mneumra”. The closest the race comes to a family group is the grouping of those sharing essences from the same base culture. Such a grouping may stay in effect for the first years of a mneumra’s life, slowly dissolving as the young mneumra ages.
Mneumrae are given free reign to pursue their interests. They naturally gravitate towards others with similar interests. Mneumrae readily accept creatures from other races into these groups. Because the interests of mneumrae are diverse, the membership in these groups is constantly shifting, with groups forming and dissolving on an almost daily basis.
Because of the virtually limitless freedom given to the pursuit of individual interests, mneumrae lack a rigid structure of crime and punishment. However mneumrae are naturally gregarious, taking into account the result of their actions on others. Those who are selfish may quickly find themselves ostracized, socially isolated from their culture. In the minds of the mneumra, this is the worst fate that they could befall.
Because of their long lifespans and virtual immunity to poisons and disease, death is an infrequent occurrence in mneumra culture. Because of their long lifespans, the mneumra lack funerary rites. Those reaching the end of their natural lives journey into the wilderness, passing from existence in solitude. The mneumra view this as a natural part of life, and do not mourn those who have started on “the last walk”. Premature death is another matter entirely. Being virtually immune to poison and disease, the premature death of any mneumra is greeted with great sorrow, often a cause of mourning for weeks or months.
Relations with Other Races
Mneumrae are wary when first encountering new races. Their innate curiosity invariably overrides any sense of caution, however. Once their curiosity has been piqued, mneumrae barrage newfound races with endless streams of questions. Mneumrae revel in any new information, particularly grand tales. Consequently, mneumrae are fond of races with strong oral traditions. Additionally, mneumrae are captivated by wondrous items and effects, awed by races with a gift for artifice. Mneumrae are also drawn to carefree, whimsical races, delighting in games and jokes. Their exuberance is at its height when in the presence of such races. In contrast, their personalities become repressed when dealing with dour races. Mneumrae become morose and servile with prolonged exposure to such races.
Most humanoid races feel an instinctual protectiveness for mneumrae. The compulsion to nurture and protect mneumrae is most pronounced in races with strong parental instincts.
Though able to survive in virtually any climate, mneumrae prefer temperate climates, punctuated by seasonal changes. Ideally, mneumrae settle in regions that are patchworks or terrain types, with ready access to varied natural features. Alternately, mneumrae gravitate to metropolitan regions populated by diverse cultures.
Mneumrae do not display a proclivity for building materials or architectural styles. Their settlements are a melting pot of textures, colors, and architectural styles. Mneumrae are adept at incorporating seemingly incompatible materials and styles, creating wondrously improbable settlements. The streets and walkways of mneumra settlements are likewise filled with extraordinary machines and effects, treasures from adventures and trading.
The fantastic nature of mneumra settlements is a thin veil draped over the darker truth of mneumra existence. Though lacking malice, mneumrae are drawn to regions on the brink of plague. The suffering that draws mneumrae often births restless spirits, walking the nightime world at the fringes of mneumra settlements. Though troublesome, undead are not the greatest danger found in lands with large numbers of mneumrae. The vivid nightmares plaguing mneumrae are a beacon for malevolent otherworldly intelligences. Over time, mneumra lands fill with unspeakable, nightmarish creatures, particularly those feasting on emotion.
Strict adherence to rules and order is often found only in the youngest members of the mneumra race. This behavior quickly dissipates as a mneumra experiences more of the world. Mature mneumrae are too involved in questioning the purpose of rules to actually adhere to them. This constant questioning is not due to attempts at mischief on the part of mneumrae, but an innocent curiosity about the working of the world. Lawful races often found this behavior annoying while more free-spirited races view this childlike curiosity amusing.
Though they can be selfish at times, it is rare for a mneumra to act maliciously. Most mneumrae are good-natured, eagerly sharing whatever resources and skills they have access to.
Mneumra religious belief is an artifact of their creation. Mneumrae are mono-theistic, believing in a single protecting entity referred to simply as Father. This entity is a deification of the progenitor of the mneumra race, the father of the first mneumra.
The true nature of the Father deity is disputed by religious scholars. Some believe that Father is literally the progenitor of the mneumrae, ascended to a higher plane yet still watching over his children. Others believe Father to be a combination of deities who, for their own reasons, feel the need to protect the mneumra.
Few religious rites or festivals are associated with worship of Father, though any mneumra settlement contains a small, door-less tower set aside for Father. Priests are rare among the mneumra, though those following a clerical path are able to cast spells gained from praying to this deity. They draw spells and abilities from the healing, luck, magic, and protection domains.
In addition to their veneration of Father, mneumrae observe a deep reservoir of minor superstitions. The list of superstitions is constantly growing, assimilating superstitions from cultures the mneumrae come into contact with.
Mneumrae experience difficulty identifying with religious practices from other religions. They are most comfortable with other mono-theistic religions.
Poly-theistic religions are perplexing to mneumrae, who are unable to understand the seemingly arbitrary divisions of domains and portfolios.
Because of their history, the mneumra never developed a unique language. Initially, the mneumra were only able to speak a limited language, understandable only to children. Over time, their language evolved as a pidgin of other languages, a living and vibrant extension of their absorbed essences.
Mneumrae do not understand words in the normal sense of objects and ideas. Instead, a strong synesthetic quality pervades their communication, with words evoking a wide range of sensory stimuli. This sensory crossover is coupled with a fixation on onomatopoetic sounds. Words are often spoken merely to be felt, conveying little meaning.
Given the fluid nature of their spoken language, mneumrae do not possess an alphabet. Their writing is composed entirely of pictographs, rendered in a rainbow of colors to signal tone and emotion.
Despite their primitive language, mneumrae are fully capable of using standard languages. Every plastid is fluent in Common. Additionally, mneumrae readily learn other languages, particularly those of gnomes and halflings. If forced to adhere to a rigid linguistic structure for extended periods of time, however, mneumrae become subject to bouts of brooding silence and frustration.
Mneumra naming lacks formal rules adopted by other races. Lacking true formal names, mneumrae are fond of nicknames. They are commonly named after prominent physical or psychological features, such as flesh color or habits. These nicknames are given by other mneumrae, with a mneumra holding its first nickname, despite changes in life.
Mneumrae seldom use surnames. This is due to the lack of progenitors, considering all mneumrae to be members of a single extended family. They feel no need for the clan names dominant in other cultures. If a mneumra deigns to use a surname, it is drawn from the region where it currently lives, casually abandoned.
Mneumrae adventure for curiosity and excitement. There is much to see and experience in the world, and mneumrae want to taste it all. Mneumrae adventurers prefer to follow whatever paths feel natural at the moment, with few feeling strong compulsions to blindly follow the path of a single class. Though most often roguish in nature, most mneumrae will follow the paths of multiple classes over the course of their adventures.
Though mneumrae generally lack the discipline for extended study and research, they are adept at acquiring new skills. This, combined with the pliable nature of their physical forms, makes mneumrae well suited for roguish pursuits. A mneumra rogue will often possess a wide range of skills, distributing their energies to learning from a broad spectrum. Mneumrae bards are almost as frequent as the ubiquitous rogues. In addition to a wide range of skills, mneumrae are adept at amassing grand tales. They are highly imaginative with a flair for performance, hallmarks of bardic tradition.
The first mneumra was a product of powerful arcane energies. Remnants of these forces course through the veins of all mneumrae. As a result, all mneumrae possess the potential for powerful sorcerous might. Where sorcerers are abundant, pure wizards are rare. This is because few mneumrae have the discipline required for rigorous wizardly research.
Mneumrae devoting their energies to purely physical pursuits often become pure fighters. The unique physicality of mneumrae provides benefits unavailable to other races. Mneumrae fighters are masters of adapting varied combat feats into potent offense and defense. The choice of other martial classes is rare. Most common among these lesser classes are rangers. Mneumrae rangers are seldom the lone hunters found in other races, instead focusing on the game-like aspects of the class. Occasionally a mneumra will be found among the ranks of monks or paladins. These mneumrae have often become isolated from their own kind, raised by other races. Mneumrae monks and paladins are more somber and focused than other members of their race. Mneumrae are not found among barbaric tribes, however. Even if adopted by such a group, a mneumra will gravitate towards other classes.
All mneumrae venerate Father. As a result, the concept of priests is completely foreign to the race. Though they may encounter clerics among other races, mneumrae seldom feel the need to convert others to the worship of their deity, though the rare mneumra cleric may be encountered. More common are druids. The synthesis of energies responsible for the creation of the first mneumra combined powerful energies from nature as well as the arcane. All mneumrae still share a strong connection to the natural world, resulting in a moderate proportion of druids.
Mneumrae are not inherently psionic. Psionic potential in a mneumra is directly related to the psionic potential of the essence donor. As with pure wizards, few mneumrae have the discipline required to follow the path of the pure psion. Instead, most psionically endowed mneumrae become wilders, learning new powers through instinct in deference to study. The wild surges demonstrated by mneumrae wilders are particularly potent. Second in frequency among psionic mneumrae are psychic warriors, augmenting the natural physical gifts of the race with the powers available to the class. Interestingly, psionic abilities in mneumrae never manifest in the vein of the soulknife. Scholars familiar with psionics and the nature of the race are at a loss for theories to explain the absence of this class.