The Morra Sin
A slender, sinewy race, often just called the 'Sin', a cursed cousin-race of the veldryn. Often brightly colored, they adorn their faces with bone masks to hide the hideous damage wrought upon their flesh by an ancient curse that still grips their race. The energy-devouring Sin gather in matriarchal prides, several of which are formed into a loose clan, and few would dare to challenge them lightly.
Name:: Morra Sin; Sin
Average Lifespan:: 250 years
Average Height:: 4 feet at the shoulder
Average Weight:: 300 pounds
Location Found:: Abroad, mainly grassland areas.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Curseless Every now and again, a Sin may be born curseless - unaffected by the Morra Curse, without the need to wear a mask - and with an open mouth instead of one ritualistically sewn shut. These Sin are viewed in two ways by their prides: either blessed, an omen of good fortune, or damned, a sign of ill fates and changing times. More of these curseless Sin are born every decade, however, and some have begun to view it as the Morra Curse's final fading.
Morra Curse The Morra Curse's origins are somewhat vague, and little understood. To some scholars, it's seen as a form of divine warning - the will of an unknown god punishing the early Sin for their greed. Others believe it came about by using chaotic energies too recklessly, altering its victim's bodies even as they sought to devour more energy. Whatever the case, the greater majority of Sin young begin to show signs of the Morra Curse nearing their adolescent years. Unusually, when it first came about, wounds could be found on the bodies of those afflicted as well, but it has since shrank to attach only the head and, rarely, the neck.
Every bone mask crafted from a Sin's first kill is inlaid with enchantments that hold strong throughout the individual's life. It not only heals the wounds afflicted upon the face, but keeps the curse from progressing any further. These skull masks grow with the Sin, are resistant to breaking, and are fused over time to the Sin's head itself. To rip away an adult Sin's mask is not only a means to reignite the curse, but to cause them immense pain, maim their faces, and sentence them to death.
Unmasked Every now and then, a young Sin will begin to show signs of the curse, but have nobody to form a mask for them, or rarely, a mask will be forcibly ripped from a Sin's face through some means or another. These poor retches are doomed to succumb fully to the curse. They are easily spotted both by their lack of mask and horrific injuries on their faces, and by their utterly mad behavior. If they are unfortunate to survive long enough, their lower jaws will rot off, and their eyes will erode. None have ever lived long past this state.
Diet This is what this species, and any variants, may eat at any given time.
energy siphoned from large prey, such as bison, elk, and moose. energy from medium prey or weaker sapients as well.
energy siphoned from any sapient prey; energy siphoned from smaller prey.
residual energy from already-dead prey; large, powerful sapient creatures.
The morra Sin is an unusual predator that, unlike other similar races, does not partake in the meat of a kill. Instead, they will wound and run down their prey until they can corner it, and siphon away its living energy. They often keep the prey animal alive until its energy reserves are nearly spent, then kill it and siphon away whatever is left, often over multiple days. Sapient races are treated much the same as non-sapient animals, though this often differs from pride to pride. Most morra Sin hunt in groups dictated by their Matriarch, often all males; this group effort allows them to take on much larger prey than any individual Sin could.
Species info credited to Fyfergrund, Aviela, and Verridith.
Appearance Much like their veldryn cousins, the Sin are long and slender of body, strong and sinewy. They are quadrupedal, having anatomy much like a hound, though with elongated necks, reptilian tails, and large three-toed, clawed forepaws. Their sleek bodies are covered in large, flat scales, and fluffy manes adorn their heads, sometimes running down their backs all the way to the end of their long tails. Both males and females have at least one horn that sprouts from their skull, but may have up to four. Other features, such as extra horns (not located on the forehead), fins, feathers, extra fur, tails, eyes, etc vary from individual to individual.
Where their cousins, the veldryn, are primarily muted tones, morra Sin have scales and fur that are bright and bold, often immensely colorful. It's been noted that these colors brighten with exposure to sunlight: those that dwell away from the sun, or live nocturnal lives, may have very dull and drab colors, where those that do have shining scales with vibrant hues. Pure black and pure white, along with any shade of grey that isn't marred with color, is seen as an ill omen to the rest of the pride.
The most striking feature of the Sin are their bone masks, made from the skull of their first kill as younglings, and affixed to their faces when the first signs of their curse begins to manifest, usually in the form of wounds upon their upper muzzles that work back towards the base of their jaws and their eyes. The jaws are bound shut prior to the mask being placed, and by the time the Sin reach adulthood, the flesh around the jaws has sealed, fused together forever more. Their sealed jaws permit them only a limited range of vocalizations, they generally resort to a mix of meaningful noises and mind-speech with each other. The purpose of these masks is to stop the curse in its tracks; more can be read under Morra Curse under Notes.
Culture Sin are matriarchal, led by the strongest, fiercest, or most cunning female in the pride. The matriarch's sisters are commonly given high ranks by her side, and serve as an honor guard of sorts. A pride is often made up of ten or so adult females, any young they may have, and a often-varying number of subordinate males who form the matriarch's harem. She enjoys exclusive breeding rights with her harem, though she may sometime reward one of the other members of the pride the right to breed.
Younger, lesser females are driven from the pride when they reach adolescence, or are killed if they don't take a hint and leave. These females often go on to form the nucleus of a new pride. Several related prides often form into a larger clan, headed by the eldest, most dominant female among the prides, for greater mutual protection. Once a year, the dominant matriarch in a clan will call the prides together, resulting in an often-bloody contest between clan males as they seek to prove their strength to the watching matriarchs, who then pair the winners off with females they have deemed worthy.
While male Sin are automatically lower-ranked than females, they are by no means more docile towards other races. Since they are lower-ranked, they are seen as more expendable than females, and they know and accept this fact. During violent confrontations with other races, clan males will form together in a deadly, ferocious mass of sinew and claws, and throw themselves headlong at their foe, heedless of any risk to themselves, while the matriarch watches the following fight to judge the foe, and keep an eye on any males who prove to be exemplary.
A Sin matriarch rules her pride with absolute authority, and settles disputes swiftly and fiercely, often marking the transgressor with her claws. She dictates every facet of pride life, though pride allegiance can and does shift often to meet the needs of the pride in question. Rogues are never tolerated for long, and many bear highly visible scars from their fellows.
While most Sin won't hesitate to run down and kill anything that enters their territory uninvited, and dwell upon the plains in most Realms, there are a few, mostly weaker females and the males they've attracted, that refuse to hunt and kill sapients, if they kill at all. These tend to drain enough energy from their prey to survive without killing. Since they tend to be viewed as weak because of this, they are often driven from the plains, and take refuge in caves, or similarly-enclosed refuges.
Abilities Gifted with great speed and agility, the morra Sin take down their prey by overtaking them with incredible stamina, running what they chase into the ground over many miles. After disabling it with their savage claws, they will siphon its energy off until every member of the pride has been fed, before killing it outright. The more wounded their prey is, the more energy they can siphon off. Matriarchs always get first pick of the prey the males bring down, and devour the most energy, before allowing her subordinates, and finally the males, by. For several days afterwards, the pride may eat residual energy off of the carcass, before moving on to the next kill. When young, adolescent Sin are present, they will be allowed to go on hunts with the adults, and often have marked, smaller prey to bring down as protective pride males watch. Once this first kill is dead, the head will be removed and the flesh torn from the skull, crafted by a Sin who can manipulate energy to give to a youngling when their scars begin to manifest.
Magically, the Sin may develop a variety of abilities, though the manipulation of the energy they consume is most common. This is used to 'change' their surroundings to a limited degree - as in spark fires, mold stone, enchant bone, and many other things. As their jaws are sealed shut, preventing speech, they are highly adept at mind-speech/telepathy.
Often as he could, Time liked to wander the Realms, visiting the various creatures he had created to see how they were doing, and to spend some time at ease among them, relaxing and sharing his wisdom. It was on one of these forays into Noctis to visit his stonelions, concerned that they were growing and expanding unchecked, that he spotted something new, and unusual.
At first, he thought they were a a pack of kamine migrated from Millirand, but these creatures lacked wings. Hiding himself from sight, he moved closer to better observe the creatures. He found them to be unusual, reptilian canids unlike any he had ever seen, covered in velvetine fur. Though they had only primitive minds, he was impressed by the cleverness and cunning he saw within them, and decided they would serve as a good balance for the stonelions, and curb their steady expansion.
He awakened their minds fully, and gave to them the gift of language and culture, then tasked them with serving as a balance for the stonelions so that neither species would expand too far, matching nehryngi cunning and agility against stonelion strength and fortitude. He blessed the leader of the nehryngi, the first he blessed with an awakened mind, with a higher level of intelligence, the ability to understand all languages, and the power of Sight.
Some of the last remaining nehryngi in the Realms made their home on Millirand, hoping to preserve their race after being supplanted on Noctis by the veldryn. For a time, their numbers remained stable, but they failed to grow in number, forced as they were to compete against many other species for hunting grounds.
However, their lives changed forever when a hunting group learned how to use their Fury to siphon off the very life energies of their prey. Though the process caused deep, bloody wounds to their faces, the energy gained this way was highly invigorating, and addictive. Soon, the rest of the nehryngi succumbed to temptation and took to feeding off of life energy.
This was to have disastrous consequences, for the wounds they suffered began to spread through their bodies like a disease, and many died, cursed by their greed but unable to stop themselves. Finally, a few of the survivors figured out how to hold the curse at bay through a ritualistic binding of a bone mask upon their faces. This ritual fused the bone mask to their skull, and forever sealed their mouths shut.
They were no longer nehryngi, calling themselves morra Sin, or simply Sin, as a constant reminder of their cursed state. Though the terrible curse they bear is kept at bay by their masks, they still hunger for life energy, unable to sustain themselves on anything else, and their bold, bright coloration marks them as easy sights out in the wilds, warning other species to avoid them.
No subspecies have been discovered for this species yet!