|The Social Organizations: The Foundlings|
Few and far between, the Foundlings number less than a few hundred in all the Realm. One-by-one crossing the Mist Mountains, the Foundlings traveled from the harsh Southern Wastes into the desert of Ashur. They are a solitary people full of child-like curiosity and quiet purposefulness--though none save the Foundlings themselves know what purpose they serve.
The Foundling's symbol is that of twin, many-pointed stars the color of pale gold.
Called the children of Tal'ahacaar or the children of "the place of only death" by the Desert Ashuri, the Foundlings were first discovered by the Order of the Rain, a reclusive mistical organization in the Mist Mountains. In fact, it was the Order that named the short, dark, leanly agile people the Foundlings or the Strangers. The Foundlings call one another sa'zersa meaning 'he or she who knows knowing nothing'. They are a riddle, an enigma, full of questions and mystery.
Unlike anyone in the Realm, the Foundlings have a distance-filled society. Groups of Foundlings are extremely rare and gatherings are called only on three occasions--the elders of the group gather to exchange wisdom or pass law, the warriors of the group gather to unite against a common enemy, or the individuals of the same kinship group gather to wed, to bear children, or to mourn a death. Otherwise, adult Foundlings prefer solitude and will seek out far flung places away from other sa'zersa.
However, the Foundlings seem at home with the people of the Realm. It seems that their need for isolation applies only other Foundlings. Normally, when two Foundlings meet, they will exchange hospitalities, perhaps stories and news of their travels, goods and trade, and move on their way. Though the sa'zersa may be fascinated by the cultures of the Realm, they are unaccustomed to great crowds and the children of the Southern Wastes still shy away from large towns and cities. Furthermore, the Foundlings have a fear and are in great awe of open water and will not willingly board a ship or cross a river or even stand in the pouring rain.
Curiosity drives these people. They give no reason for leaving their homes and crossing into the Realm other than a simple, "To see what is there." They seem to be seekers of knowledge but they show no method and make no records. They will try almost anything once unless it prove too foolhardy. The Foundlings have an affinity for music and song and are often the companions of Players. It is said that the sa'zersa will continue to wander with wide-eyed marvel until their voices rise in the "song of return"--a song whose melody, words, and purpose are yet unknown even to themselves. It is also said that the Foundlings will continue to travel seemingly with out aim until they discover "the stone-stone truth"--another mystery with little explanation. Perhaps their inquisitive journeys explain why no two Foundlings stay close together for long; the farther each roams, the greater the knowledge and discoveries made.
Finally, though these people do not gather often nor find company amongst themselves, the Foundlings form lasting and deep kinship bonds. Kinship applies to blood relations and extended relations as well. The bonds of kinship are similar to the bonds of family, heredity, marriage, honor, and even employment and servitude. However, such bonds go beyond these connections and definitions; for example, there are kin-brothers, kin-sisters, kin-fathers, kin-mothers, kin-sons, kin-daughters, kin-masters, and kin-servants. Kinship is an individual covenant and is respected above all other ties. Two Foundlings may be brothers but may not share kinship, especially if one has wronged the other. Kinship cannot be asked for; it can only be given and accepted or refused. Those who share kinship must always meet in peace and the kin-taker usually must defer to the wisdom and the will of the kin-giver. To seal or to break a kinship is a serious affair and treated with the sobriety of death. Once accepted, only the giver of kinship can withdraw the bond.
The Foundlings shun all heavy armors (6 hit-point or greater), heavy shields (medium or greater), and great weapons. Furthermore, because of their unique mistical abilities, no Foundling can take Magic Ability but they may learn Mistic Ability.
The Foundlings require (calculated for Rule of Skill):
One of the most intriguing things discovered by the Order of the Rain about the Foundlings is their mistical ability to mimic the skills, abilities, and knowledges of any living creature touched. The Foundling must make skin-to-skin contact with the creature to be mimicked and the Foundling must know the ability to be mimicked. This touch is called the "union" or the "discovery" by the Foundlings. This ability allows the Foundling to temporarily take on skills and abilities he or she normally does not have or at a greater level than he or she has.
As a Foundling grows in strength and experience, his or her abilities grow more prominent. At first, a Foundling can only mimic knowledges such as Lore skills, Languages, and information skills. The Foundling may mimic the following: Animal Lore, Astrology, Courtier, History, Language, Legend Lore, Magic Lore, Mineral Lore, Mistic Lore, Music Lore, Nautical Lore, Plant Lore, Poison Lore, and Streetwise.
Next, a Foundling can mimic artisan or technical skills such as Aid, Appraising, Armorsmithing, Artisan, Climbing, Concealing, Disguise, Find/Remove Traps, Forgery, Lock Picking, Looting, Pick Pocket, Survival, Tracking, Waylay, and Weaponsmithing. The Foundling can also take on New Weapon Proficiencies.
As the Foundling progresses, he or she can mimic physical and mental abilities including Feat of Speed, Feat of Strength, Feign Death, Immunity to Disease, Immunity to Fear, Immunity to Paralysis, and Immunity to Poison. In addition, the Foundling can also take on Killing Strike.
Finally, a Foundling can mimic superhuman or supernatural abilities such as Feat of Luck, Feat of Magic, Increased Damage, and Physical Defense. Furthermore, a Foundling can mimic one specific magical effect or spell including Protection spells and combative spells.
Once a union is made, the Foundling may invoke the mimicked skill or ability as many times as he or she desires unless the mimicked skill or ability itself has a certain number of uses per day (e.g. Feat of Strength).
For example, a Foundling touches a creature he or she knows has the skill Animal Lore. The creature's Animal Lore skill level is 5. Therefore, the Foundling gains the creature's knowledge of animals at the same level for the remainder of the day or until the Foundling mimics another skill.
On the other hand, a Foundling touches a creature he or she knows has the ability Feat of Speed. The creature's Feat of Speed is level 4. Therefore, the Foundling gains 4 uses of Feat of Speed for the remainder of the day or until he or she mimics another skill. However, if the creature has already expended 2 Feats then the Foundling can only mimic 2 uses. The Foundling's mimicked ability cannot be refreshed by magic. To gain more Feats, the Foundling must mimic the ability again.
Furthermore, any mimicked magical effect or spell counts as a one-use ability only. Therefore, a Foundling touches a creature he or she knows has the ability to invoke Fireball. Therefore, the Foundling may throw one Fireball at will. He or she must shout the appropriate invocation. To gain another Fireball, the Foundling must mimic the ability again.
The Foundling may have one skill or ability mimicked at any given time. To gain a new skill or ability, the Foundling simply releases the old "discovery" and takes on a new "union." The Foundling may invoke his or her mimicking ability as many times per day as his or her power allows. Once a union has been released, the knowledge is lost and only vague memories remain in the Foundling's mind. The Foundling cannot recall a skill or ability once it has been replaced; he or she must mimic the skill again to regain the knowledge.
The Foundling cannot mimic a skill or ability not listed above. Remember that the Foundling cannot mimic a skill or ability of a non-living creature. Finally, a Foundling cannot mimic a skill or ability from another Foundling. The Elder of the Realm should carefully adjudicate the joining of this group, the number of Foundlings in a group, and the use of these abilities.
The Feats of Magic earned by being a Foundling do not count toward the maximum number of Feats a character can have. The gained Feats do not count toward organizational requisites.
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