Excerpt from
Underdark
By Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick

from Chapter One: Races

Deep Imaskari

Secret and few, the deep Imaskari are heirs to the lost empire of Imaskar. One of the earliest human empires, Imaskar rose in what is now the Dust Desert and Plains of Purple Dust. Wizard-kings of heady power, the Imaskari were destroyed by the slaves they had abducted from other worlds (who eventually became the folk of Mulhorand and Unther) and the machinations of unusual creatures of their own creation (the phaerimms). The Imaskari faded away into history as their empire crumbled, leaving behind nothing but mysterious ruins. A secret few, however, charged with epic wizardry, managed to preserve themselves and their kin. Fleeing deep into the bowels of the earth, they sealed themselves away from both the knowledge and the recriminations of the surface world.

The deepest fissures of the earth have long hidden an ancient secret: The descendents of the Imaskari still live. Thousands of years of isolation combined with purposeful magical modifications have transformed these deep Imaskari into a human subrace adapted to life underground. The deep Imaskari have long managed to conceal the existence of their hidden kingdom even from other Underdark races by enforcing complete separation.

Now, however, deep Imaskari isolation is coming to an end. The magical seal that so long protected the kingdom of Deep Imaskar has been breached, and a few deep Imaskari have begun to wander the deep ways of the world that their ancestors fled long ago.

Personality: DeepImaskari are guarded and detached, keeping an unconscious watchfulness in all their interactions. Their one passion is magical experimentation -- their enforced isolation did not change their basic fascination with magic and research in arcane lore, though they have lost much of the knowledge their race once possessed. They see all outcomes of magical research as mere data points, so they rarely get upset when a particular experiment turns out badly.

One sure way to gain a deep Imaskari's friendship is to gift her with a spell she doesn't know or some other secret of arcane lore. Deep Imaskari are fascinated with magic -- how could they not be? Their very bodies were altered by an epic spell cast long ago to conceal their ancestors from their former slaves.

Physical Description: A deep Imaskari appears mostly human. Her skin looks pale and stonelike, as if expertly sculpted from the finest veined marble, though it is as soft as human skin to the touch. (This stonelike appearance is a remnant of the magical alteration that all the Imaskari underwent to survive in Deep Imaskar.) Otherwise, a deep Imaskari is tall and slender -- a typical male stands between 5-3/4 and 6 feet in height and weighs around 160 pounds, and a female is about half a foot shorter and 40 pounds lighter.

Deep Imaskari typically wear elaborate greatcoats, under which they sport elegant black shirts, trousers, and boots. They delight in dark rings, especially magic ones.

Relations: The deep Imaskari have taken pains to keep their existence secret from every other race of Faerūn, so they have little real experience with humans, dwarves, and other races. Deep Imaskari encountered outside Deep Imaskar are curious and excited to meet members of other races, though they tend to view humans from Unther or Mulhorand in a suspicious light.

Alignment: While the Imaskari of ancient times are generally regarded as evil, abomination-creating, devil-dealing people (which was probably true), the folk descended from the survivors in Deep Imaskar are mostly neutral. The Great Seal that kept Deep Imaskar separate from the rest of the Underdark was opened recently to begin the process of reengaging in commerce and communication with the world outside, not to enable any sort of deep Imaskari conquests.

Religion: In ancient times, the Imaskari wizard-kings deemed no gods worthy of their worship. Although the deep Imaskari have come to venerate the oldest and most fundamental of Faerūn's deities (including Chauntea, Grumbar, Kossuth, Mystra, and Shar), they still have few clerics and little religious tradition.

Language: Deep Imaskari speak an ancient language known as Roushoum, which uses the Imaskari script. Virtually no one outside Deep Imaskar comprehends this language anymore, so the modern deep Imaskari also study Common so that they can better observe and interact with the world around them. Since they don't often speak this language and have little opportunity to hear native speakers, their Common tends to be stilted and thickly accented. Those deep Imaskari who venture out of their hidden kingdom usually pick up two or three other Underdark languages, including Elven (the drow dialect), Terran, and Undercommon.

Names: The deep Imaskari have generally retained the naming traditions of their surface ancestors.

Male Names: Qari, Ghari, Machuruna, Anciano, Taita, Hijo, Hawachuri.

Female Names: Sipas, Sumaqsipas, Warmi, Ususi, Hawaususi, Nanay, Warmiwillka.

Surnames: Kinraysapa, Manaallin, Manaq'anra, Kusisqa, Erk'etamunay, Sonqosuwa.

Adventurers: The Deep Imaskari are finished with isolation and hiding. Having decided that they know far too little about the world from which their ancestors took refuge, they shattered the Great Seal that kept Deep Imaskar isolated for so long, and a bold few ventured forth into the deepest layers of the Underdark.

But those who choose the path of exploration do so at a cost: They must turn their backs forever on their homes behind the Great Seal. The location of Deep Imaskar is magically excised from the brain of any deep Imaskari who chooses to leave, so that even should she run afoul of mind-reading creatures (as many have), the race's final redoubt will remain safe.

Regions: Virtually all deep Imaskari grew up in the hidden realm of Deep Imaskar and choose that region.

Deep Imaskari Racial Traits

Deep Imaskari have the following racial abilities and characteristics.

+2 Intelligence, -2 Dexterity: Deep Imaskari are bright and quick to learn arcane lore, but they lack the balance and agility of most other humanoid races.

Medium. As Medium creatures, deep Imaskari have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

A deep Imaskari's base land speed is 30 feet.

Low-Light Vision: A deep Imaskari can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, or similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

Spell Clutch (Su): Because the deep Imaskari have studied magic for ages on end, a certain facility with magic has seeped into their blood. Once per day, a deep Imaskari can recall any 1st-level spell that she has already prepared and then cast. The spell is then prepared again, just as if it hadn't been cast.

+4 bonus on Hide checks when underground: A deep Imaskari's marblelike skin helps her hide in underground terrain.

Automatic Languages: Common and Roushoum. Bonus Languages: Aquan, Dwarven, Elven, Terran, and Undercommon (or by character region).

Favored Class: Wizard. A deep Imaskari loves magic above all else.

Level Adjustment: +0.

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