Tulnar

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Underrealm concept art.[1]

The Tulnar society has more of a caste like system, where based on what physical features you show, based on where your ancestry and lineage lie between the races that came together to make the Tulnar, kind of determines your order in that caste system to a degree. So when players get to create their characters and determine whether they are going to have heavy influences of reptilian, mammalian, humanoid; that's going to kind of determine their reception from NPCs as well when they interact with those Tulnar PCs.[2]Steven Sharif

Tulnar is a playable race in Ashes of Creation.[3][4] The Tulnar fled to the Underrealm to escape the Corruption that befell Verra.[5]

They're a culmination of the leftover races, not just the leftover major race populations, but the leftover minor races as well; and that's what gives them their attributes that are bestial, or reptilian, humanoid; and that players can use sliders to influence the visual representation of. But in a similar fashion, their cultural markers are also going to be a culmination of different influences, so they're very differently constructed culture than what is found in the other eight races.[6]Steven Sharif
Were the Tulnar a result of corruption in their creation, or was it purely a kind of you know crossbreeding between the multiple minor and major races that existed in the Underrealm during the after the apocalypse? They are not a result of corruption. So there is no corruption that was that was taken into account during their creation.[12]Steven Sharif

The Tulnar race will be in place before Alpha-2. Concepts and early works are expected at that time.[15]

Tulnar appearance

Outdated Tulnar silhouettes. These do not represent the current state of game design.[16][3]

Tulnar is the only race with the capability to adjust racial appearance in a significant manner.[17]

  • Tulnar race does not have sub-types, instead, players will be able to customize the appearance of Tulnar characters.[6][18]
  • Players will have dials to adjust the reptilian, mammalian, humanoid, and other attributes of their Tulnar character in the Character creator.[6][19]
    • Mammalian Tulnar may have snout features, fur and inverted knees.[20]
    • Reptilian Tulnar may have more circular eyes and head shape, and scaly skin.[20]
  • There are feline and bestial components that can be scaled up when creating a Tulnar character but Tulnar do not equal furries.[21][22]

Tulnar do not equal furries, but there are definitely some bestial components that you can scale up when you're creating your Tulnar character, so you could max that setting I guess. Whether or not that would give you what you would think of as a furry, I guess it's going to be up to your interpretation of what a Furry is.[22]Steven Sharif

Q: Will character creator allow us to make Tulnar that might look somewhat like Kobolds from Pathfinder or DnD?
A: I wouldn't say exactly, but there's definitely elements of Kobolds that you could incorporate in a character creator with the Tulnar, yes.[23]Steven Sharif

Tulnar starting area

Points of interest will exist that represent Tulnar npc structures. In the similar fashion that the starting areas around divine gateways will include expeditionary npc settlements not tied to the node structures but serve as initial quest origination points.[24]Steven Sharif

Tulnar have a starting area that does not involve a divine gateway.[25]

  • Points of interest exist that represent Tulnar NPC structures in a similar fashion to the starting areas around divine gateways.[24]

Tulnar have the same option of starting at any of the divine gateways. Their civilization, though within the underrealm, has also begun to explore the surface.[26]Steven Sharif

Unlike the other races, the Tulnar won’t be returning to Verra, instead they will be returning to the surface from the Underrealm for the first time in generations.[5]

Underrealm

Alpha-0 Underrealm environment.[28]

One of the aspects of the Lore behind the Tulnar was that in the pantheon of gods that exist- having foretold the future through the Goddess of Fate to the Goddess of Creation- these areas in the Underrealm were created in to allow for refuge for which the gods knew would be left behind that couldn't make it to Sanctus. So that was a pre-thought there in the creation of the Underrealm to facilitate that realm where refugees could seek.[29]Steven Sharif

Alpha-0 Underrealm Sharptooth cat mob concept art.[28]

We plan to have the Underrealm really pervasive throughout the game itself, a part of the open world. It will introduce some unique elements such as the type of monsters you see, the type of crops you can grow and houses you can have.[30]Steven Sharif

The Underrealm is a rich environment where bio-luminescence abounds in the fauna and flora that exist here. These deep caverns and underground valleys provide new destinations for civilization to develop. Bringing the node system into the depths of the world may awaken darker creatures than the surface.[1]

  • The Underrealm is estimated to be 100 km2 in area.[31]
    • The underrealm is not contiguous across the entire map. There will be areas that are obstructed by chasms or other features.[32]
    • The location of Underrealm entrances throughout the world is focused around natural geographic choke-points that exist above ground. This provides alternate subterranean routes that can be used by caravans, raids, and other player activities.[32]
    • Not all entrances to the Underrealm will be open at the same time. This can shift dynamically (based on node states) that cause different routes to open up, which may be more or less advantageous than other routes.[32]

The expansiveness of the Underrealm itself is quite large. It does persist across across a lot of the playable game area that's above ground. So there are alternatives in the Underrealm for passages and traversal throughout the world.[33]Steven Sharif

We've also talked about node states affecting what openings are open and what things are closed. So not all entrances to the Underrealm will be open at the same time. So that configuration can shift and different routes will open up and be more advantageous than other routes.[32]Jeffrey Bard

Lore

Concept art showing the citizens of Verra escaping a besieged city through a divine gateway.[34]

In Ashes of Creation there is a primary antagonist that exists within the overarching storyline and these antagonists are The Ancients. When the Apocalypse occurred and the Harbingers arrived in on Verra and those conduits opened from the center of those Harbingers, the Ancients flowed out of these Harbingers and started really conquering the Verran planet. But more importantly their desire was to essentially manipulate and pervert the creation of the gods as an affront to their endeavors; and in doing so they created monstrosities essentially any portion of nature just was completely manipulated by their corruption, which is the negative aspect of Essence.[35]Steven Sharif

Long ago, the world of Verra was besieged by a great calamity (also called the Fall, the Apocalypse, and the Exodus), brought about by the primary antagonists of the world: The Ancients and The Others.[35][36]

  • The apocalypse began with comet-like celestial bodies called Harbingers arriving on Verra. The Ancients flowed out of the conduits that opened at the center of the Harbingers and started conquering the planet.[35]
  • Their desire was to pervert the creation of the gods (the Seven) as an affront to their endeavors; and in doing so they created monstrosities by manipulating nature with corruption, which is the negative aspect of The Essence.[35][37]

Granted by divine intervention from the Goddess of Creation[38], much of the population fled Verra through towering gateways, seeking refuge in a world void of magic.[34] The world of Sanctus.[39]

Soon after the exodus, the gateways dimmed and became dormant. Centuries turned to millennia, burying them beneath myriad calamities. Over eons, history became legend, then even the great legends were at last forgotten.[34]

The Tulnar is a combination of four major races and many minor races that were left behind on Verra after the apocalypse.[7][8][4]

Tales of the Homecoming

Written by Kyrie Patrika Arisanna

Introduction

"Know then that the unforgivable sin of Atrax was his unbridled hubris. In an attempt to unlock the secrets of immortality the Toren king began an obsessive study of ancient artifacts and profane magicks. This drew the attention of the Ancients, a fallen race banished into the Void in ages past. For the first time since their exile, the ancients became aware of the four races created by the Seven to replace them as the Stewards of Creation.

When the ancients saw that these races were growing, multiplying, and conquering the world that had been taken from them, they became envious and spiteful. In a fit of pique they unloosed the Harbingers -- great balls of ice, dust, and corruption from the heavens -- and hurled them upon the face of Verra.

As Verra fell, the Seven activated the divine gateways. These ancient portals transported the four races to safety on the tellurian, non-magical world of Sanctus, to await the day they could safely return to Verra."

-- Minerva Arisanna, Purian Emissary of the Lightpact THE BOOK OF THE VERRAN EXODUS

These words were put to parchment over four thousand years ago by my great,great grandmother, Minerva Arisanna. I know her only through her writing, and through stories told to me by her daughter, Kyrie Esmane Arisanna, my maternal grandmother, for whom I was named.

My name is Kyrie Patrika Arisanna, Chronologist and Scrivener for the Lightpact. I am eight hundred and sixty-three years old. By Elven reckoning, I am rapidly approaching mid-life, yet Sanctus is the only world I have ever known.

The Lightpact was originally an alliance created by the four races of Verra as we fled the Harbinger Apocalypse and settled on the mundane, non-magical world of Sanctus. In the intervening millennia, tales of our exodus and the legends of Verra have slipped into the realm of folklore and mythology for most of the races. Fortunately thanks to the protracted lifespans and long memories of the Elven races, those teachings have not been lost forever. The Lightpact has endured, and its members have been secretly preparing for the day the divine gateways would finally reopen.

That day has arrived. At long last the ancient pylons -- those enigmatic monuments of sculpted stone that pepper the surface of Sanctus have awakened and paved the pathway home. These living conduits of channeled Essence will transport us across the cosmos and return us to Verra, the mystical world of our ancestors.

This collection of essays is one humble scrivener's admittedly idealistic, but well-intentioned attempt to peacefully chronicle that Homecoming. Upon its completion, multiple copies of this manuscript will be created by Lightpact scribes and read aloud at our arrival encampments across Verra. It is our sincere hope that this might foster cooperation and goodwill between our disparate races, for we are one people in the eyes of the Seven, and Verra is our common birthright.

Kyrie Patrika Arisanna Chronologist and Scrivener for the Lightpact.[42]

The Alchemist's Apprentice

I met the most astonishing individual today! Initially, I had set out to speak to Krelzenus Vagesh, the renowned Vek alchemist and inventor. I had heard that he had come through the divine gateway some time before, and I desired to pick his prodigious brain in regards to any discoveries oddities, or inspirations that had surfaced since hi arrival on Verra. I met up with Vagesh at his local market, which would be more aptly described as a makeshift campground. This bazaar featured an odd assortment of dead things, live things, and crude things to make live things dead things.

After making a proper greeting and introduction, I began to interview him from the list of questions I had prepared. At once he stopped me and bade me to follow him to his laboratory. He said he had someone there that was far more fascinating than his old self.

He lead me to his workshop at the edge of the settlement. I was somewhat disappointed to find that it was just another large tent given a wide berth by the other inhabitants of the area. Seeing my disheartened face as he lifted the front flap, he assured me that the facility was only temporary until a more suitable structure could be built.

Stepping in, my eyes had to adjust to the very low light of the interior, provided by only a few flickering candles. After a moment I could vaguely make out a shape moving about, here and there, sniffing and what sounded like an occasional licking and tasting of objects in the dark.

"Tish, we have a visitor," Krelzenus said in a gentle, calming voice to the creature.

The figure stopped momentarily, uttering a simple "Hejo" in what sounded like a purr, or perhaps a hiss, and then continuing on with its activity.

"Hejo?" I asked Vagesh curiously.

"Yes, it seems to mean 'hello' in the Tulnar Language. A combination of the Common 'hello' and the old Orcish greeting 'vajo.'"

"Ah yes, 'vajo' meaning 'no harm', correct?"

Krelzenus nodded cheerfully, obviously a little impressed with my limited knowledge of an old Orcish dialect.

Turning back toward the creature in the dark that I no knew as Tish, I called out my own little "Hejo!" I heard a slight wuffle of what I took as positive acceptance.

"Tish seems to have quite a talent for alchemy. Her knack for ingredient selection, measurement, mixing and brewing appears to be highly instinctual and productive! Without any instruction at all she whipped up quite an array of potions, poultices, and powders!"

"Simply marvelous!" I exclaimed. I leaned forward to get a better look through the obscuring darkness. As I wrapped my fingers around one of the two small candlesticks, an appendage shot out of the dark to slap my hand away.

"No touch!" I recoiled instantly from the reprimand, struggling to comprehend what had struck me. I could not deduce through the darkness and with the speed of the strike whether it was a hand, or paw, or claw, but I could tell that it was small, about half the size of my own.

"She doesn't like it when you touch her things while she is experimenting, and for a good reason. Some of the mixtures she has created have reacted quite explosively when touched with flame," Vagesh informed me apologetically.

"How old is she?" I asked, fascinated.

"About five years old, or so. Truly a prodigy," Krelzenus beamed. "Also quite resilient, too. I've seen her ingest holly berry, mistletoe, oh, and nightshade without even the slightest signs of discomfort. She does much of her experimentation by smell and taste."

Still stunned by the revelation of her very young age, I inquired whether her dietary fortitude was part of her phenomenal talent, or a trait of her Tulnar biology.

"I do not have enough evidence to say one way or the other, but I have observed others off her family eating spoiled meat and a wide variety of wild mushrooms without so much as a belch. If not indicative of Tulnar as a species, at least I have theorized it runs in her family."

"Fascinating..." I hummed.

"You talk to much! You go now! Can't make with talking!" Tish hissed at us.

"Apologies, Tish!" Vagesh called as he ushered me out quickly.

"It is well to keep her happy. She can throw quite a tantrum when she's frustrated... or tired," he said as he instructed me outside. "Apart fromt hat, I am highly intrigued with the alchemical possibilities she could uncover, and upsetting her would likely cause her to depart."

"So much potential for the future of this new world," I nodded.

I said my goodbyes to the Vek, assuring him that I would return in the future to see what amazing creations Tish had conceived. He shook my hand enthusiastically and ducked back into the tent without so much as a backward glance.

Kyrie Patrika Arisanna Chronologist and Scrivener for the Lightpact.[43]

The Bodabodaga

When the sun sets behind the canopy of the Crystalbough forest, it becomes difficult to tell where the sky ends in the treelines begin. Under the branches, rustling with leaves of orange and yellow despite the seasons, motes of essence-charged pollen flutter through the air like fairies, flickering white. For three days, I rode the path that wove through diamond-white trees between Oleander Reach and Mariam amongst these woods and found myself captivated time and time again.

One unusual evening, while I updated my notes on the banks of an unmarked creek, I spied a peculiar, overlarge stag as it emerged from the golden brush. As it bowed its head to zip from the stream, its conutenance was reflected in the prismatic light from the essence-charged stone bed beneath the surface-- and I saw the face of something else entirely. It was angular, drawn into a point of the nose, with eyes set too far down the sides. A kirin. As it drank, its antlers-- thicker than a buck's and shaped more like branches-- crackled with the raw energy of its sustenance, and I could see the essence arcing between the prongs.

I stood, entranced by its otherworldliness and the grace of its motion. Drawn forward by some inexplicable urge, I'd only taken two steps before an unfortunate footfall cracked a crystalline twig. The beast raised its head, looking directly at me-- and in a blink it shattered into an ephemeral, shimmering mist that retreated across the water.

"Gods be damned!" A voice boomed and sent a flurry of small, white birds into the ochre clouds overhead. The gruffness of tone alerted me to look for a Dünir, and my instincts were true. She pushed through the copse out onto the bank just past where the creature drank, holding her thick arms out wide in a gesture of pure exasperation.

"Why'd you go and do that?" The arch in her brow conveyed her dismay, and as she approached, the water pooled on her eyelids, belied the depth of her frustration. She had golden hair, the color of the leaves of the trees here, though it was wild and in desperate need of a brush and oil. Her beard was neater and woven into short braids at her chin with flowers worked in, and though wayward strands poked out here or there, it seemed more from circumstance than negligence.

I had at first assumed she was a hunter and started to apologize for startling her quarry, but found that notion subverted as she lifted what looked to be a small golden orrery whirring in rapid circles. It shook her arm to the elbow as she held it in the direction that the mist-creature had retreated. The odd device slowed until it stopped, and she fell to her knees in consternation.

She interrupted my apology: "Months wasted. I'll have to start all over again." Carefully she packed the device into a satchel at her hip, and looked over at me with sagging shoulders.

I stood there for a while, unsure of what to say. I felt bad to have startled her prey, but something was strange about this turn of events. While it was true I'd never before seen a kirin, in all my readings of them I'd never encountered anything about them wielding essence with such intention. The hunter seemed to notice my confusion, and as she stood, she concealed the wiping of her eyes in part of the motion of dusting the forest's detritus off her knees.

"You didn't know. I understand." She drew in a long breath, and then exhaled, forcing much of the tension from her posture. "You didn't know, and most importantly, tlegi, you still don't, so i'm going to let you all look here."

I admit I winced at the word, reminded of my early misstep. "Twig"-- a reference to how easily the Empyrean Glitterwall formations broke in early conflict between our peoples during the initial struggles for resources on Sanctus. It's a tale for another time, but our military manuals were worthless after we lost access to magic, needing to be rebuilt from the ground up. This would have been more generations ago than even her eldest relative's great, great, grandparents would recall.

"That's kind of you," I replied, making an effort not to sound so dry. I've readied my pen and notebook, asking if she cared to enlighten me further.

"How could you know? It's clear you're new to these parts, or you'd have come more prepared. You're lucky, in fact, you started the bastard the way you did. It could have killed you with a wink or a sneeze." She straightened herself up, which brought her to approximately half my height, and held out a calloused hand for me to grasp. As I did so, she introduced herself. "Aeri Goldmane. On account of my hair." She ran through it with a quick comb of her fingers.

I wondered how often she'd said that line as I returned my own introduction. "How is it that it takes months for a hunter to track a kirin in their native woods?" I asked perhaps, less kind with my tone here than I should have been, but Aeri seemed too distracted to take offense.

She pulled the device back out of her pouch and held it aloft in nearby pockets of air seemingly at random. "Not just a kirin, tlegi, but the kirin. One of the first ones, older than the apocalypse. A Bodabodaga. Most powerful being in these woods, it's true, though you wouldn't know from how flighty he is."

Never have I heard of it, I wrote it down to verify another time. I confirmed to her, somewhat wryly, that I had not understood the gravity of my mistake until just now. She continued as though I hadn't said a thing.

"The thing is, you can't just hunt a Bodabodaga. They survived by becoming essence itself. They break apart, you saw it. Bringing them back from that requires precise ritual, and I'll be honest, I tried a whole lot of things to make it happen before, and didn't take the best notes, so I have no idea how to recreate the feat."

"You spent months on this and have no idea how to force it back to corporeality?"

She snapped a sharp look at me but sent her braids wobbling. "Well, I'm not scientist or a mage! That's the business of your kind!" And my handwriting is too messy to bother with notes anystone."

"And the device you use?"

She glanced at it, then pulled it to her chest and wrapped her other arm around it. "Ah. I see now." Narrowing her eyes, she slowly backed up to the brush behind her. Though the creek passed between us, she seemed convinced I might lunge for it. "Just stay right there. And don't try to follow me. Now that you know the stakes, I won't be as forgiving if you ruin it again."

In bewilderment, I lowered my book as the dwarf picked her way back into the woods without taking her eyes off me, I returned to my perch beside the stream to record the events of the evening before night had fallen entirely.

Kyrie Patrika Arisanna Chronologist and Scrivener for the Lightpact.[44]

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Artwork

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kickstarter $1,750,000 Stretch Goal Unlocked, 13 May 2017.
  2. Interview, 31 October 2018 (5:03).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Livestream, 30 May 2017 (16:51).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Kickstarter $2,500,000 New Player Race Achieved.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Livestream, 17 May 2017 (5:49).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Podcast, 29 September 2021 (16:51).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Interview, 20 July 2020 (15:18).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Livestream, 8 April 2018 (23:04).
  9. Livestream, 26 May 2017 (39:34).
  10. tulnar-eats.png
  11. Podcast, 15 November 2020 (31:13).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Livestream, November 22 2019 (24:33).
  13. Podcast, 15 November 2020 (40:24).
  14. Podcast, 15 November 2020 (1:03:17).
  15. Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (2:17).
  16. tulnar-concepts.png
  17. Livestream, 28 July 2017 (20:17).
  18. Livestream, 30 June 2017 (15:10).
  19. Livestream, 23 August 2017 (31:29).
  20. 20.0 20.1 Interview, 15 April 2019 (20:15).
  21. 21.0 21.1 Podcast, 29 September 2021 (18:19).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (3:12).
  23. Interview, 22 April 2019 (58:20).
  24. 24.0 24.1 steven-tulnar-pois.png
  25. Livestream, 16 October 2017 (53:58).
  26. 26.0 26.1 tulnar-gateway.png
  27. underrealm-gateway.png
  28. 28.0 28.1 Ashes of Creation - The visuals.
  29. Interview, 31 October 2018 (6:00).
  30. A chat with Ashes of Creation's Steven Sharif, 7 June 2017.
  31. Interview, 17 August 2018 (10:43).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Livestream, 30 October 2020 (1:19:13).
  33. Interview, 31 October 2018 (5:43).
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Unreal Engine Interview, 23 May 2017.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Livestream, 8 November 2020 (9:51).
  36. Interview, 19 July 2020 (50:10).
  37. Ashes of Creation - A world with consequences.
  38. Interview, 20 July 2020 (13:33).
  39. Interview, 20 April 2018 (5:46).
  40. Livestream, 27 September 2018 (6:22).
  41. Livestream, 31 October 2018 (36:59).
  42. Livestream, 6 November 2021 (part 1) (0:0).
  43. Livestream, 6 November 2021 (part 2) (0:0).
  44. Livestream, 6 November 2021 (part 3) (0:0).