Latecomers to Geb, the tylwyth appeared sometime during the Gate War to fight as unexpected allies against the invading soldati hordes. With the end of the war this shrouded race now travels in small family groups, living on the outskirts of mortal settlements and plying their trade as magicians, storytellers, and tinkers. They are stranded on Geb like their foes, and hide their faces to protect their unearthly nature from the sapping weight of reality. Magical arts come easy to this people, and some have displayed deadly precision at swordplay and archery as if warriors born.
|Beneath their gauzy and silken garments tylwyth seem lean and long-limbed, possessed of willowy grace. Though they are only as tall as an adult ozrut, their slender frames give an impression of greater height and spidery agility. This is enough to make their proportions seem subtly wrong: arms too long, back bent to hide frightening emaciation, or weight balanced on toes like a springing predator. Their voices are high-pitched and clear, rivaling those of the Ptak. It is said that their veils hide blinding beauty, faces and bodies that are almost like humans, but that depriving a tylwyth of their shroud will cause them to lose their uncanny power. For now, they keep their secrets, for their bodies dissolve in the wind when slain.|
|A CODE OF ONE|
|During the Gate War, tylwyth claimed to have been sent to aid the forces of Geb against the soldati, and acted on unspoken urges to fulfill this undertaking. The end of the war was also the end of their collective charge. The tylwyth are without a home, bereft of a unifying ideal and many are wounded in spirit by the horrors of the Gate War. Kin might now strike kin, or disregard their plight, or aid them beyond reasonable measure. It falls to the individual, which might seem natural to a Gebbite, but is dislocating to those who once worked in unison. Many have replaced the sense of duty that sent them against the soldati with idiosyncratic personal codes. Some resemble archaic chivalrous ideals, others are more esoteric and impenetrable to observers.|
|KINDRED AND KINGS|
|While not even the tylwyth can say with complete
certainty what their homeland was like, all agree it was ruled by
unapproachable and enigmatic royalty. A feudal system prevailed,
where households gave fealty to clans, who in turn owed tribute to
lords, who answered the summons of the Herald according to
treaties signed beyond all memory. Tylwyth arrived on Geb in
groups no larger than a family, some coming in small groups of
strangers or even completely alone. Since then casualties and
displacement shattered any social organization down to the family
level. That said, tylwyth consider each other extended kin, and
bond easily. Groups of tylwyth now usually elect a leader by quiet
consensus, and that individual’s mandate lasts until the need is
gone, or they lose the confidence of their followers.
|LEAVES ON THE WIND|
|With the end of the Gate War, most tylwyth find
themselves adrift. Those without the bonds of immediate family or
close friendship are rootless and alone in a world where they do
not belong. Most have at least some experience and natural talent
fighting, and thus can find a place for themselves in the margins
of civilization by force if need be.
|Despite the whispery nature of the native
tylwyth tongue their names are easily distinguishable and
pronounceable to outsiders. Whether this is by design or
some other unexplained facet of their culture is like many other
things about the tylwyth: a mystery.
Example Male Names: Stiofan, Fiachra, Cainneach, Bradwyr, Carwyn, Syvweach
Example Female Names: Lysagh, Iodhnait, Caitrin, Anest, Eirlys, Tagwen
|Ability score increase. Your
Charisma score increases by 2 and your Dexterity score increases
Age. Tylwyth come of age at around 20 years and their lifespan is unknown. In the realm they came from there was no time, and existence flowed in an endless dreamlike state. It remains to be seen if they are bound by reality like mortals.
Alignment. Tylwyth defy categorization. Some are as flighty as the wind they revere, and others seem to follow convoluted but ironclad codes. Most fall somewhere in between, ethically neutral.
Size. Tylwyth are tall and willowy, standing between 6 and 7 feet in height. The tallest sometimes have a strange stoop to their posture, and it can be quite surprising when they stretch to their full height. They rarely weigh over 190 pounds.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
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.
Wind Step. You can cast the spell Misty Step once with this trait. You regain the ability to do so after a long rest.
Unreality. Choose one cantrip from the following: Blade Ward, Green-Flame Blade, Gust, Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation, Sword Burst, True Strike.
Unnatural Grace. You have proficiency in Acrobatics.
Go Forth Armed. You have proficiency in one of the following weapons: Short Sword, Rapier, or Glaive.
You are of another world, but when a mortal looks upon you, you become more a part of this world. If a non-Tylwyth character sees your face, you lose a racial ability from the following list, determined randomly. If the same character becomes familiar with your face, you lose another. You regain lost racial abilities if the character which saw you dies or loses the memory of your face. For the purposes of non-magical loss of memory, assume that “familiar with your face” diminishes to “has seen your face” after one year. If you have the ability which was lost through some other means such as class-based spellcasting, you do not lose the ability. But it doesn’t feel the same.
Age. You are mortal now, and have the lifespan of a human.
Darkvision. You lose darkvision, and the secret world of the night is no longer visible.
Wind Step. You lose Misty Step, and the ground holds you jealously firm.
Unreality. You lose your chosen cantrip, and reality no longer bends to your whim.
Unnatural Grace. You lose proficiency with Acrobatics, and your steps no longer flow one into the other.
Go Forth Armed. You lose proficiency in your chosen weapon, and the implement you were sent to this world with no longer greets you like a friend.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Tylwyth. Spoken Tylwyth has been described as sounding like gusts of wind and is very difficult for most to speak. The sounds emerge from the mouth eerily, as if produced by no physical mechanism within. It is near infinite in dialect variance, and two Tylwyth speaking can often discern much about each other from subtle differences in their accent.
Most tylwyth cover as much of their skin as possible but only their face makes them vulnerable to Lucidity. To protect against this an appreciable portion of the face must be covered, but which portion is not strictly important. For instance, a domino mask is sufficient, as is a scarf covering the mouth. A semi-transparent veil works as long as a viewer is not able to distinguish the tylwyth’s face fully. Given the dire consequences of a wardrobe malfunction, however, half-measures like these are not very popular. The face can be considered the platonic representations of a person’s identity and mortal scholars theorize this is the cause of this peculiar vulnerability.
Sneaking a Peek
For Lucidity to take hold, the viewing of their face must usually take place at close range. Peering through a spyglass at an unaware tylwyth is usually not sufficient to make a viewer able to properly distinguish their face. Glimpses caught in mirrors, still water, or bits of reflective metal are rarely complete enough to constitute a threat. Techniques of magical viewing such as clairvoyance do not seem to confer distinguished identity or familiarity, and faces observed through this method have a slightly smeared appearance. It has not been confirmed that the face seen via magical means matches the face seen in person, and no tylwyth has volunteered to test mortal theories on this.
A Pricking of the Thumb
When a tylwyth is in danger of being observed with their face exposed, they are able to feel Lucidity beginning to take hold. It has been described as a shortness of breath, clutching of the heart, heaviness in the limbs, and the sensation of being stretched or having something pulled from one’s grasp. Even a close call like the wind teasing one’s veil while a mortal is watching produces an uncomfortable sensation that is beyond the mere psychological.
Knowledge of the world they inhabited before the tylwyth came to Geb is fleeting and half-remembered at best. Some claim to recall a grand muster, where ancient treaties were consulted and grave speeches made before the kindred took their role in the Gate War. Families and acquaintances know their relation to each other, but as specific details are sought, the sense of things becomes confused and indistinct. Landscapes of stony, windswept hills where the breeze keens in loneliness seem to stir something in the kindred, forgotten things lurking below the barrow mound of the conscious mind. Are any of these memories real? Are they half-formed because they are concepts too large and strange for this world, crammed into a mold that fits the minds of mortals?
A Touch of Unreality
Not many mortals have touched a tylwyth’s bare skin. Those who have report a strange sensation, as if they let their fingers rest on something that isn’t quite there, or tried to grasp air, or touched something with a limb gone numb. What they feel to the touch seems to not completely match what they can see. Among kindred, no such sensation exists. Tylwyth completely in the grip of Lucidity feel like any regular mortal to the touch.
A Pitiable Existence
Tylwyth can sense Lucidity in others of their kind, as well as degrees of severity, though not what form the affliction has taken. Those who suffer Lucidity are not ostracized from their kindred but there can be an uncomfortable distance between them and their fellows. Living among those who don’t know Lucidity may be too much for one who feels its weight and cannot bear the added burden of pity.
Rumors dog the heels of the tylwyth, owing to their recent arrival, mysterious mien, and strange abilities. Outlandish and dangerous tales circulate, from the ridiculous “there are actually three stretti under those robes, and it’s all a soldati trick” to the dangerous “tylwyth steal children for their faces.” One of the most widespread rumors is that anyone looking upon a tylwyth’s face will be cursed. It is possible that this belief is subtly encouraged by the kindred for their own safety.
Tylwyth maintain the apparent physical age they were when they came to Geb. One that was already a greybeard when they joined the Gate War will appear old, but unaging. Those of the kindred that were immature upon arrival, or were born on Geb will progress in age to apparent adulthood and then seem to halt. Only those affected by Lucidity to a particular degree continue to grow older. At any rate, apparent age is a poor measurement of the kindred: even some who appear young may have the sense that they lived years beyond mortal ken before they left their home.
Gone With the Wind
Because the bodies of the kindred dissolve to nothing after death, there is a certain belief that they are borne somewhere by the wind. Not home, of course, for the wind is of this world just as the kindred now are. The hopeful posit that wherever that place might be, it is a place of rest where no urge is felt any longer. Others claim it is a place of freedom in the upper air, endlessly circling. To more morose sorts there’s the belief that the wind serves as all do, reclaiming the bodies of the kindred to fulfill unknown promises and compacts with the Absent Royalty. Still others say, with resigned humor, that one can only trust in the caprice of the wind that it will be a better place. Tylwyth haven’t walked upon Geb long enough for any of the Lucid to die of old age, so what might happen to one such is unknown. Perhaps the wind is merciful.
As tylwyth are born and come of age on Geb, never knowing their homeland, new divisions arise among the tattered kindred. The ancient fealties and impulses that commanded the tylwyth to fight for a home that was not their own are as alien to the young as Geb is to those who arrived upon it. Raising those born of Geb in the old ways by fractured and wandering families often takes a back seat to eking out survival. Lack of clarity in what the old ways were and where the tylwyth came from makes the task that much harder.
Called to War
Tylwyth arriving during the Gate War had an instinctual sense of where they needed to be and what they needed to do. For most, it was as simple as finding allies and giving battle against the soldati. For others, convoluted impulses lead them on lone errands with inscrutable purpose. While there were odd instances where it would seem to an observer that tylwyth were working at cross-purposes, there was always a sense among the kindred that things would fit into place. Individual tylwyth were free to disregard such urges, but most did what “felt right.” It was why they had gone forth. When that intuition vanished, some tylwyth simply walked away from Gebbite comrades, since the job was done. Others didn't forsake comradeship so easily, fighting alongside their allies against whoever the enemy was now, even if they no longer felt guided or certain that this was the right course of action. Some were just plain caught up in the chaos, attacked by former allies and forced to defend themselves.
Though rarely glimpsed, tylwyth most resemble humans in facial features and would be considered uncannily pretty by those standards. They are clear-skinned with fine, delicate features and shining, silken hair. While there is seldom a chance to make such judgments, iaret find such attractive as well, if different. Notably, beastkin have reacted with caution and suspicion toward tylwyth faces, regarding them subtly wrong, stretched and eerie rather than refined. Among tylwyth, brightly colored clothes with fine fabrics in loose and flowing cuts are considered more vital to beauty than cosmetics or even facial features. To them, faces of their own mostly look like kin.
Minding Your Elders
Age is a complex subject for tylwyth. Even those who came young to Geb often seemed older than they appeared and wise beyond their years, as if they had lived many, many years as children. However, there are some who seem to have lived long, long beyond all of their kin. Terrible in aspect and knowledge, these hags and henwr were said to come and go secretively on errands from the Absent Royalty, and sometimes mentored promising youngsters according to ancient agreements. They could not be found before the Great Muster, and some say they had already been dispatched ahead of the kindred host like an ill wind to sap the heart of the foe.