At the highest mountain peaks—far above the slopes where trees grow and where the air is thin and the frigid winds howl—dwell the reclusive shokan. Few folk can claim to have seen a shokan, and fewer still can claim friendship with them. shokan wander a bleak realm of rock, wind, and cold. Their bodies look as if they are carved from mountain stone and give them great physical power. Their spirits take after the wandering wind, making them nomads who wander from peak to peak. Their hearts are infused with the cold regard of their frigid realm, leaving each shokan with the responsibility to earn a place in the tribe or die trying.
Every day brings a new challenge to a shokan. Food, water, and shelter are rare in the uppermost mountain reaches. A single mistake can bring doom to an entire tribe, while an individual’s heroic effort can ensure the entire group’s survival.
shokan thus place a premium on self-sufficiency and individual skill. They have a compulsion to keep score, counting their deeds and tallying their accomplishments to compare to others. shokan love to win, but they see defeat as a prod to improve their skills.
This dedication to competition has a dark side. shokan are ferocious competitors, but above all else they are driven to outdo their past efforts. If a shokan slays a dragon, he or she might seek out a larger, more powerful wyrm to battle. Few shokan adventurers reach old age, as most die attempting to surpass their past accomplishments.
For shokan, competition exists only when it is supported by a level playing field. Competition measures talent, dedication, and effort. Those factors determine survival in their home territory, not reliance on magic items, money, or other elements that can tip the balance one way or the other. shokan happily rely on such benefits, but they are careful to remember that such an advantage can always be lost. A shokan who relies too much on them can grow complacent, a recipe for disaster in the mountains.
This trait manifests most strongly when shokan interact with other folk. The relationship between peasants and nobles puzzles shokan. If a king lacks the intelligence or leadership to lead, then clearly the most talented person in the kingdom should take his place. shokan rarely keep such opinions to themselves, and mock folk who rely on society’s structures or rules to maintain power.
Survival of the Fittest
Among shokan, any adult who can’t contribute to the tribe is expelled. A lone shokan has little chance of survival, especially an older or weaker one. shokan have little pity for adults who can’t take care of themselves, though a sick or injured individual is treated, as a result of the shokan concept of fair play. A permanently injured shokan is still expected to pull his or her weight in the tribe. Typically, such a shokan dies attempting to keep up, or the shokan slips away in the night to seek the cold will of fate.
In some ways, the shokan drive to outdo themselves feeds into the grim inevitability of their decline and death. A shokan would much rather die in battle, at the peak of strength and skill, than endure the slow decay of old age. Few folk have ever meet an elderly shokan, and even those shokan who have left their people grapple with the urge to give up their lives as their physical skills decay.
Because of their risk-taking, shokan tribes suffer from a chronic lack of the experience offered by longterm leaders. They hope for innate wisdom in their leadership, for they can rarely count on a wisdom grown with age.
Every shokan has three names: a birth name assigned by the newborn’s mother and father, a nickname assigned by the tribal chief, and a family or clan name. A birth name is up to three syllables long. Clan names are five syllables or more and end in a vowel.
Birth names are rarely linked to gender. shokan see females and males as equal in all things, and they find societies with roles divided by gender to be puzzling or worthy of mockery. To a shokan, the person who is best at a job should be the one tasked with doing it.
A shokan’s nickname is a description that can change on the whim of a chieftain or tribal elder. It refers to a notable deed, either a success or failure, committed by the shokan. shokan assign and use nicknames with their friends of other races, and change them to refer to an individual’s notable deeds.
Shokan present all three names when identifying themselves, in the order of birth name, nickname, and clan name. In casual conversation, they use their nickname.
shokan share a number of traits in common with each other.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. shokan have lifespans comparable to humans. They enter adulthood in their late teens and usually live less than a century.
Alignment. Shokan society, with its clear roles and tasks, has a strong lawful bent. The shokan sense of fairness, balanced with an emphasis on selfsufficiency and personal accountability, pushes them toward neutrality.
Size. shokan are between 7 and 8 feet tall and weigh between 280 and 340 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Natural Athlete. You have proficiency in the Athletics skill.
Slave’s Endurance. You can focus yourself to occasionally shrug off injury. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to roll a d12. Add your Constitution modifier to the number rolled, and reduce the damage by that total. After you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Multi-Armed. Having two pairs of arms, you may wield a two handed weapon while maintaining a free hand for the purposes of spellcasting, item interactions, or any other task. You may not use a shield while wielding a two handed weapon.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Giant. You can understand Orc, but loathe to speak or write it.