The Shou are a proud race that closely resemble humanoid lynx or ocelots. Shou are covered in a short, tawny, fur that grows in dark brown and golden patterns, with sharp claws on the end of feline like fingers. Although the Shou themselves are magical, they have little aptitude for Arcanum, which is why they are primarily merchants, traders, and mercenaries. Some Shou will become circus performers or traveling actors, but such individuals are looked down upon by the rest of the Shou. Most Shou are nomadic, traveling in trading caravans of 40 to 50 individuals. Those Shou that do not belong to caravans usually reside at religious monasteries, which are usually the largest permanent and established Shou settlements. The Shou make good business folk and usually travel throughout the continent facilitating trade between human and Rom-Shur settlements.
Physically, the Shou are very fast, agile, and quite strong. They have small claws on their hands and feet which are very sharp and can be quite lethal. Additionally, the Shou warrior-monks have studied and developed the arts of unarmed combat, which, to one degree or another, nearly all Shou have learned. The name for the art is nearly unpronounceable by humans (it sounds like loud purring), but loosely translates into "Shou Spirit Way." Such is the nature of their training that the Shou are capable of using their Spirit to fight. Details concerning the Shou Spirit Way skill are explained in the skill descriptions chapter.
Because of the design of their hands, there are not many Shou artisans since they have difficulty with intricate mechanical objects. As modern manufacturing processes progress, Shou have found the design of their hands to be less of an issue though. Most Shou artisans limit themselves to carpentry, fletching (Shou bows and arrows are highly regarded, even by the Fae), herbalism, medicine, and weaving. The baskets and rugs made by the Shou usually command high prices in human market places. The Shou's knowledge of natural remedies and medicine can also command a high price, particularly in rural areas where medical assistance is so rare.
- Common Primary Languages: Sh'ahn, Riti, Asterian, Drakkaran, Trollish, Cyrmian, Rakka, Ishan.
- Common Secondary Languages: Sylvan, Ishan, Gnoll.
- Uncommon Secondary Languages: Cyrmian, Valtian, Goblin, Sylvan, Gleh-rhun, Draconic, High Riti.
Merits & FlawsEdit
- Natural weapons: Shou can use their claws to inflict damage in combat. Please refer to the unarmed combat chart in the system rules chapter for more information.
- Low-light Vision
- Skill: Shou Spirit Way +10 Adj. This merit is only gained if the character is a devoted practitioner of Shikkar.
- Psychic void
- Diplomacy: Shou are sophisticated traders and diplomats. Shou gain a +10 AV bonus to all Persuation skill checks.
- Magic Resistance: Shou are naturally resistant to magic.
- Skill: Handgun: -10 adj. due to hand shape and a cultural disposition against the use of firearms. This does not affect the use of rifles.
- Magic Disciplines: -2 Adjustment to all magic discipline ranks.
- Magic Casting Skills: -10 AV Adjustment to spell casting.
- Odd Shaped Hands: Due to the shape and design of their furry hands, Shou suffer a -20 AV penalty when dealing with complex mechanical objects or tools, clockwork mechanisms, gunsmithing, etc.
- Code of Honor: The Shou are so culturally ingrained in their ways that violations of the Shou code of honor will cause the character penalties. This only applies to followers of the Shikkar faith and those that use Shou Spirit Way as a discipline.
Most Shou follow a faith called Shikkar. Shikkar is a form of ancestral spirit worship. Some Shou will have ancestral spirit guardians. These guardians are what grant the Shou special skills associated with the Shou Spirit Way. All shou raised in with backgrounds based upon the Shikkar faith have an ingrained sense of honor. The following things cause show to lose honor and suffer the consequences, as described in the Code of Honor player characteristic.
Shou that are not raised in a strict shou background do not have to follow this code of honor, but they also do not gain the +10 AV adj. to the Shou Spirit Way skill, nor do they have access to the other special abilities granted by the Shou Spirit Way. Finally, for Shou that do not follow the ways of Shikkar, or break the philosphies of their faith, the support of their Spirit Guardians will be withdrawn. This makes the Shou Spirit Way skill a x4 skill instead of a x3 skill.
- There is honor in truth. They have no respect for people who break their word or those who break contracts.
- There is honor in temperance. Despite their very hot tempers, they consider unprovoked violence to be very dishonorable and the sign of an undisciplined mind.
- There is honor in mercy. The attacking of the defenseless, such as children and invalids, is dishonorable.
- There is honor in fellowship. In combat, Shou vow not to knowingly leave behind in the field of battle the wounded bodies of their comrades. Knowingly leaving an ally to die in the hands of the enemy is cause for the worst shame on an entire family unless the ally has dismissed the Shou and requested to be left behind.
- There is honor in challenge. If challenged by another, in combat or in other contest, and the Shou accepts, he is honor-bound to follow all terms of the conflict.
- There is honor in charity. While not all followers of Shikkar are philanthropists, it is considered dishonorable to profit from the sufferings of those less fortunate.
- There is honor in peace. It is considered dishonorable to provoke attacks and create conflict when such conflict is unethical or immoral. Violence for violence sake is dishonorable, such as gladatorial combat and warmongering.
- There is honor in wisdom. There will be times when a true show of honor is possible only by breaking the other tenets of Shikkar only to strengthen the others. These moments are rare in a person's life, but show great character. A popular example tells a story of the baker, the beggar, and the guard. The baker's bread is unknowingly stolen by a starving young child. A guard who witnesses the theft returns the beggar to the baker to be punished. Upon seeing the child's thin and unhealthy frame, the baker explains the child is his new employee and forgot to take his pay for the day. Though he dishonored himself by lying, the act of charity is a mark of honor.
If other Shou discover that a shou has behaved in a dishonorable fashion, he or she will be ostracized socially and is referred to as a "Shou-mu." Meals can not be taken with the Shou-mu, and in some cultures, hunting along side the Shou-mu is not allowed. While trade is allowed with the Shou-mu, it is frowned upon. A Shou will rather die of thirst than to drink of the canteen owned by a Shou-mu. Absolution is not possible until a Shou-mu rights a wrong of equal weight or until he/she repents at a public holy shrine (Shikkar or not, a religious shrine is a religious shrine).