These ruthless and regimented invaders came to Geb from another world, precipitating the Gate War and briefly uniting the nations of the known earth to oppose them. The destruction of the gates and their subsequent defeat has scattered this race and they can now be found as prisoners, bandits and mercenaries in many different lands. The soldati are war and conquest personified, even taking the name of their people from their word for “soldier.” The lowliest of soldati knows how to fight, but some practiced other professions in support of their titanic war effort.
|THE RULE OF THREE|
|As a people, the soldati are broad-shouldered and bulky, with ruddy, orange or sallow-tinged skin and small tusks in their lower jaw. The namesake branch of the race, the soldati themselves, resemble other mortals of Geb in size and stature, and evince a military bearing with spear-straight posture and truculent mein. Galiardi by comparison are hunched and hulking with muscle, far more hirsute and brutish, with long, grasping arms and lowered brows. The much smaller stretti are wiry of arm and leg with exaggerated facial features. The three types of soldati are related, with galiardi and stretti being bred from the base stock long ago.|
|ALL THE WAY TO THE GALLOWS|
|Grim determination and fatalism are hallmarks of the soldati demeanor. A soldati questioned on their behavior will often merely shrug and say “orders.” This versatile explanation is as likely to be literal as it is a mockery of the situation they’ve found themselves in. This reveals the more remarkable facet of the soldati demeanor: their sense of humor. While it is as grim and bloody-minded as their wars of conquest, this ability to find something funny in nearly any situation provides an outlet for the pressures of discipline and traumas of combat.|
|What culture they have is organized solely
toward conquest, with a caste-like system amongst themselves
depending on size, however severance from their homeworld has
loosened these old traditions. Leaders are promoted from lower
ranks on the orders of their superiors, usually for a combination
of success and seniority. An experienced “old hand” is more
trusted by other soldati, even if someone younger is promoted on
some other basis. Soldati are regarded as the natural leaders of
the race, while galiardi are respected for their size, strength,
and loyalty. Stretti are looked down on as weak and useful for
tasks beneath “real soldiers.”
|The surrender of the soldati at the end of the
Gate War mortally wounded their “society” on Geb. Those that
remain loyal to their old ways are an army without a mission, a
homeland, or even legitimate leaders. Stretti flee the disdainful
rule of the soldati. Galiardi find there is nothing left to
dedicate their loyalty to. Soldati strike out on their own to find
purpose or protect what’s left of their comrades. Geb is full of
itinerant soldati struggling to survive with only their blades and
wits left to them.
|Soldati have a given name, but it is usually
preceded by a rank or unit. With the dissolution of their armies,
many have dropped the rank or unit titles and now seek distinction
on their own merits.
Example Male Names: Averardo, Salvi, Maffeo, Corso, Gualtieri, Migliore
Example Female Names: Nezetta, Lagia, Riguardatta, Moderata, Chiara, Tencia
Example Unit Names: Three Banner, Handbinders, No Retreat, Perpetuals
Example Ranks: Tenenti, Subalterni, Caporali, Avanguardi, Genieri, Sentinelli
society is shaped by rigid martial discipline. Most are
lawful and respect harsh enforcement. With the severing from
their homeworld, however, mutiny is rife and many are forging new
ways to live in their adopted homeland.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Soldati.
Field Maintenance. You gain proficiency with smith’s tools.
Subraces. Three subraces of Soldati exist: Soldati, Galiardi, and Stretti.
As a Soldat, you form the backbone of an army that has conquered worlds. The most numerous of your kind, you and your kin are the line troops of the race that bears your name.
Ability score increase. Your Constitution increases by 2 and your Intelligence by 1.
Age. Soldati reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century.
Size. Soldati are between 5 and a half and 6 and half feet in height. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Martial Training. You are proficient with two martial weapons of your choice and with light armor.
Saving Face. Soldati are careful not to show weakness in front of their comrades, for fear of losing status. If you miss with an attack roll or fail an ability check or a saving throw, you can gain a bonus to that roll equal to the number of allies you can see within 30 feet of you (maximum bonus of +5). Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
Like all Galiardi you are larger and brawnier than your Soldati cousins, almost stooped with muscle. You form the shock troops and vanguard of Soldati armies.
Ability score increase. Your Strength increases by 2 and your Dexterity by 1.
Age. Galiardi reach adulthood at 16 and live up to 80 years.
Size. Galiardi are between 6 and 7 and a half feet in height and weigh between 200 and 400 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Long-Limbed. When you make a melee attack on your turn, your reach is 5 feet greater than normal.
Powerful build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Undersized Stretti like you are the laborers, scouts, and fodder for a Soldati invasion force. You are of distinctly lower status compared to your cousins.
Ability score increase. Your Dexterity is increased by 2 and your Constitution by 1.
Age. Stretti reach adulthood at age 8 and live up to 60 years.
Size. Stretti are between 3 and a half feet and 4 and a half feet in height and weigh between 40 and 55 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Weight of Numbers. When you damage a creature with an attack or spell and the creature’s size is larger than yours, you can cause the attack or spell to deal extra damage to the creature. The extra damage equals the number of allies you can see within 30 feet of you. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
Tactical Withdrawal. You can take the Disengage action as a bonus action on each of your turns.
Despite the defeat of the soldati by the alliance of Gebbite nations, very little is known about the deeper goals of the invaders. It is obvious that conquest of the known earth was their purpose, and that they had accomplished this feat on other worlds before. However, the cause of this warlike purpose has either not been officially examined or revealed. Some soldati can be induced to speak of a “Great Intent” which their armies are sworn to. It seems this is nothing less than the subjugation of all worlds to soldati rule. This is a breathtaking concept, and more so that they claim some success in it until now. Soldati reticence on the matter, however, seems to be based on how by failing to conquer Geb, they are “Forsworn,” a status is the greatest sin among their kind.
The Mutineer’s Paradox
Punishments for crimes and other infractions among the soldati are swift, harsh, and public. The ultimate sanction, hanging from or impalement on a tree, is reserved for mutineers. A murderer can still serve, even if only with other criminals in a penal unit. But a mutineer is corrosive, and can only die to demonstrate the invincibility of soldati discipline. These matters were simple until complicated by the defeat and surrender of the invaders. Now orders, once imbued with nigh-religious weight, contradict soldati conquest. Who is the real mutineer: the one who lays down their arms and forswears the Great Intent, or the one who defies the failure of weak leaders and continues to fight?
The Strongest Link
Soldati gear features chains, both functional and decorative. Gauntlets often have links to attach to a weapon for retention, while banner poles dangle chains and hooks for trophies, and even some armor is made of wrapped fetters to protect limbs. Flails are popular among vanguard and linebreaker units. These decorations symbolize the bond between comrades, where each depends on the next, as well as remind soldati of the chains of command which fasten them all. Now trapped in this world, some soldati have adopted Gebbite fashions which include chains, such as pocketwatches and elaborate jewelry.
To a Fault
Soldati culture enshrines values which perpetuate dedication to their eternal war, chief among which is loyalty. The galiardi are the most obvious adherents of this virtue. Galiardi are stronger on an individual level than other soldati, and part of a society where might frequently makes right. However, they are trusted by their superiors as bodyguards and enforcers, and individual galiardi hold their reputation for loyal service precious. The soldati treat the concept differently, where they express loyalty by protecting and building up their charges and comrades. This leads to looser interpretation, and a soldati regarded as “loyal” might still intrigue against peers. Stretti are expected to demonstrate loyalty by keeping the wheels of conquest turning: obeying orders, smithing weapons, even mining or growing crops to feed the bottomless appetites of the soldati war machine. Given how valuable these virtues are to maintaining soldati discipline, it is possible that they are not entirely organic.
At some great remove in the past, presumably before the heights of interplanar conquest, the soldati were one race. Long-standing and ruthless breeding programs separated their kind into specialized branches, creating the galiardi and stretti. Demonstration of this contrivance can be found in the soldati saying which identifies the proper proportions of their population: “four stretti, one soldati, half a galiardi.” These branches breed true with each other, but the offspring of either with a soldati will always be of the original branch. This, however, was not the end of the experimentation whatever soldati magi or natural philosophers enacted and still sustain such projects. Other creatures and warbeasts have been bred or manufactured from the soldati. Most famous among these are the manticores, savage beasts which have had wings and deadly spiked tails added to their nature, the better to make war for their masters. These, too, breed true and escaped populations on Geb seem to be self-sustaining. It may be that the terrible extent of these experiments has yet to be revealed.