“Secrets are easy. But good gossip–that’s hard.” – a nefortu regular at the Beast and Bandit pub
Chaja are a traditionally subterranean race, known widely for their countless generations of enslavement by the shuddeni. While many remain under the yoke of their eyeless oppressors, a growing free population of chaja has emerged in the surface world, in both major Avendarian cities and in their own secluded mountain enclaves.
|Pracs / level||Resist||Vuln||Other||Language|
Can eat poison food
Chaja are very tall humanoids, comparable in stature to an alatharya, yet possessing more agile frames that lack obvious muscular definition owing to thin layers of subcutaneous fat. They possess little innate sexual dimorphism; they have ample amounts of thick body hair and frequently facial hair regardless of sex. All of their hair is naturally oily, thought to protect them from the cold and damp of their preferred living spaces, and ranges in color from white to black. Their skin possesses shades of either grey or ruddy undertones, almost universally pale in youth but darkening considerably with age. Chaja who grow up underground will tend to have colorless, milky white eyes, while chaja who mature with regular exposure to sunlight may develop muted iris colors. All chaja have hair and skin that darken with age, regardless of sunlight.
Chaja frequently dye their hair, and possess numerous styles and rituals surrounding their hair and beards.
Below are sample descriptions from NPCs and past player characters. These descriptions are for reference only; you should not use them for your characters.
Shethrel, a goat herder
Tall and lean rather than muscular, Shethrel is the lone chaja in this
village. If any of the alatharya who reside here have any objections to his
residence or tending the local goat herd, he bears no sign of it besides a
quiet, solitary manner. He looks relatively young, his greyish skin unlined
and his sleek white hair clubbed at the base of his neck. Despite his close
work with animals, he carries with him only the faint aroma of soap.
Playing a Chaja
Strong, tough, and agile, the chaja make excellent warriors.
Perseverance is a principal virtue of the chaja, and stoicism in the face of adversity is viewed as the greatest strength. This creed depends to take on different tones however depending on a chaja’s origin.
The War of Fire marked the beginning of chaja isolationism, as well as the prequel to their later legacy as a slave race. Hiding themselves from the world after their above-ground cities fell, the chaja retreated from the surface entire. Some strongholds, digging too deep, came upon the shuddeni, who with their nascent psionics and mind-breaking demonic powers were able to break the chaja, reducing the proud people to slaves.
The chaja were the first race to settle the Brintor Mountains after the Sundering, having emerged from the heart of those mountains. In the centuries just preceding the War of Fire, many chaja cities fell to Daphoan imperialism; repurposing the chaja’s stone towers for themselves, the aelin would seal off the underground halves of their cities, rendering most of their remaining territories exclusively underground by the time the War of Fire began. After human and srryn fire mages began their fiery genocide across the western half of Avendar, what few remaining above-ground chaja cities were reduced to cinders, and the ensuing struggle for territory and food splintered the strongholds.
Deep under the Brintor Mountains, chaja slaves toil for the shuddeni. The city of Yithoul is a prized cultural center for the eyeless masters and a nigh-inescapable cage for the chaja. Shuddeni investigators sniff out any thought of rebellion and loyal chaja are rewarded when they report suspicious activity. Even after a successful escape from Yithoul itself, fleeing chaja often fall prey to nearby dangers, such as the phase spider above or flame elementals below.
On the surface, the strict lifestyle of Yithoul is impossible to enforce. Yet, the shuddeni cannot do without their chaja porters, guards, and soldiers. Escape is a much safer prospect for those allowed up to the surface, and rumors suggest more chaja walk free now than ever before.
Some chaja form reclusive groups, finding shelter where they can in the wilds. Others attempt to integrate with wider society. Crude stereotypes and lingering prejudice frustrate their efforts in both cases. Humans especially resent the chaja’s role in the ancient War of Night and the more recent Eyeblight War.