|Climate/Terrain:||Any land (mainly urban)|
|No. of Attacks:||1|
|Damage/Attack:||1d3 or by weapon +2|
|Special Attacks:||Strength bonus|
|Size:||M (6-7’ tall)|
Muls became common shortly after the Cleansing Wars about 2,000 years ago. They were intentionally bred by the sorcerer-kings for use in the armies and gladiatorial arenas of their respective city-states.
Muls are the product of crossbreeding a human and dwarf parent to create offspring who have the best physical characteristics of both races. Once grown, muls retain the incredible endurance and raw strength of their dwarven heritage and the agility and long limbs of their human side. Such strength combined with dexterity and leverage makes muls very powerful humanoids. Adult muls are 6 to 7 feet tall. They weigh 250 to 275 pounds, but some particularly strong muls weigh as much as 300 pounds.
Muls are always lean, their metabolisms devoted to muscle growth and near-continuous activity. Their skin is usually fair, though is occasionally the coppery color of their dwarven parent. Their faces are very human, though subtly altered. Their foreheads set off larger-than-normal eye ridges and their ears are pointed and swept back against the side of the head. Almost all muls, male and female, are bald. Slave muls are tattooed at an early age to denote ownership, occupation, parentage or, in the case of mul gladiators, to denote teams, weapon preferences, or victories.
A mul raised by both parents speaks either human or dwarf and has an 80% chance to speak the other fluently. If the mul was reared without his original parents, as is often the case, his language is the common language of slaves, and his command of it is dictated by how important his owner thought language skills would be to his function.
Combat: Muls are very often born into the gladiatorial pits. Slave owners order the union of a human and dwarf for the express purpose of bearing a mul to become a gladiator. As infants, muls can bring a great price on the block. Their incredible strength and speed make them excellent warriors, and the mobs in the cities adore their mul champions.
Armed muls fight with a variety of weapons – spears, swords, impalers, and quabones are the favorites. In the arenas, muls are using wrist razors are crowd pleasers. No matter the weapon the muls use, their great strength makes tham a force to be reckoned with. Muls receive a +2 damage bonus when attacking with hand-held or thrown weapons.
Unarmed muls are also ferocious fighters. When using the Punching and Wrestling Results table from the Player’s Handbook, muls automatically gain a +1 damage bonus and their %K.O. number is raised 5% for every hit.
Roughly half of all muls possess some a psionic wild talent. Slave owners spend many anxious years waiting for their young muls to grow and mature, hoping for outstanding wild talents that make them more valuable. Check for each mul encountered to see if he has a wild talent (50%) and, if so, consult The Complete Psionics Handbook to determine the wild talent the mul possesses.
Muls can outperform any human laborer and can continue without stopping for days at a time. When performing heavy labor, such as stone work construction or running, muls can work continuously for as long as 24 hours. Medium labor such as jogging, climbing, mining, light construction requires less energy and can be kept up for 36 hours straight. Lighter labor, such as training or walking, does not affect muls until after 48 hours have passed. Once such a feat of endurance has ended, muls must sleep, though just eight continuous hours of uninterrupted sleep will dispel any nonmagical exhaustion. Irregular schedules are straining to muls’ longevity, so rest is always desired. Muls adopt a human 16 hours awake to 8 hours of sleep schedule whenever possible.
Habitat/Society: Muls have no racial history or culture. They are sterile so they have no cause to gather into family groups or communities. And since most muls live out their lives as slaves, they aren’t allowed to congregate outside their specific function. These conditions make the muls. existence, even free muls, isolated and lonely.
Mul slave trade is very profitable. A single mul can have many owners in his life, sometimes bought back and forth among many households in a single city. Free muls who allow themselves to be captured by slavers are easily sold into bondage again. A slave trader can make as much on the sale of a mul as he might with a dozen humans.
Once born into slavery, the mul’s difficult life is just beginning. Often the parents of the mul child resent the act they were put through and shun the child. These outcasts live a hard existence for the first few years of life, left without attention to grow wild and savage. Eventually the mul child is taken from the general slave population and raised in a secluded environment. There the child is nourished and minimally educated. By adolescence, the child begins training in the profession chosen by its master, usually combat or heavy labor. The latter are given specific instruction in construction techniques and the management of other slaves. Construction muls are eventually returned to the general slave population. Those destined for the arena, however, receive far different treatment.
A successful mul gladiator is a money maker for his owner. An owner of a mul gladiator with a few victories wants to keep the success alive, treating his property like he would any other good investment. A winning mul gladiator might have a complete retinue of other slaves to tend his every whim, oiling his body, bringing him food and drink on command. The line between owner and slave becomes somewhat blurred, but the mul is never allowed to forget that he is wholly owned. “Pampered like a mul” is an expression often bandied about common folk, but it burns in the ears of the muls who have lived it.
Mul head tattoos can have a variety of meanings and there are several messages that can be gleaned from a mul’s highly decorated head. The basic design denotes the mul’s ownership. For instance, the centered three-eyed skulls are the marks of the guard slaves of the templars of Urik, while swirling ram’s horns indicate the Merchant House of Tsalaxa. Specific weapons can also be tattooed, showing the gladiator’s favorites. Weapon handlers need only look at the mul to see what weapon he might need in the coming match. Hash marks at the base of the skull, just above the neck, denote victories, while pictograms in the same spot usually portray beasts or monsters the gladiator has killed in the arena. Enslaved muls tend to accept their tattoos as a part of their existence. Free muls hate them and what they represent. Mentioning their tattoos might cause free muls to fight to defend their honor.
Fewer than 20% of all muls are free. Even then, they are always in danger of being captured by slavers and returned to servitude, so they disappear from the well-traveled lands. Most free muls barter their fighting skills for coin, but many turn their backs on combat and seek the ways of the priest, psionicist, or even merchant.
The elf tribes have some respect for muls, as well, noting their incredible endurance as more elf like than human. A mu1 who finds himself among the Sky Singers or other elf tribes may do better passing their tests and initiations.
A solitary free mul is likely to have few possessions, just the essentials for survival in the life of a wanderer. He usually has food and water enough to sustain him for a few days or weeks, plus basic clothing and protection against the elements. A former gladiator might have metal weapons from his arena days, plus other weapons fashioned using his technical skills. One out of four has a crodlu or kank as a mount, and might have additional pack animals carrying other possessions or trade goods. Such a mul has a variety of goods, from the mundane skins or grain, to the more exotic metal or potion fruits. He also has money, but this is hidden and he protects it carefully.
Ecology: Muls can only be born to human and dwarf parents. It does not matter which parent is male and which female. Conception is difficult, sometimes requiring months. Once achieved, carrying the child to term takes a full 12 months, endangering the mother’s life the entire time. The moment of birth is also very difficult, as the mother’s body struggles to let go of the unnatural child she has been carrying. A human her is only 40% likely to survive the pregnancy and 40% likely to survive the birth. A dwarf mother is stronger and better able to survive, she is 60% likely to survive the pregnancy and 60% likely to survive the birth. The child survives pregnancy if the mother does, but has only a 75% chance of surviving the birth regardless of the mother’s race. An experienced wet nurse who has assisted in the birth of a mul child gives both mother and child a +10% bonus to their chances of surviving both the pregnancy and the birth. Such women are known as “mulmothers” and are very valuable to the breeding slave owners.
Muls often take humans and less often, dwarves, to be lifelong mates. These childless couples are apt to take orphans into their households, and the harsh climate and wars of Athas provide a seemingly endless stream of orphans. Emotionally, muls are unfettered, subject to the full range of happiness and despair, love and rage.
Muls live an average of 90 years.
Last Modified: March 03, 2014, 11:30:56 GMT
◆ 1441 ◆