The Saris are a proud race of feline anthromorphs currently occupying the northern half of Lesser Aradoth and the town of Dryart on the mainland. Characterised as being light-hearted and cunning, throughout their history they have remained a stable an unified nation. Saris are currently amongst the largest contributors of manpower and supplies to the ongoing war effort against the Withered Aegis.
Saris usually stand between 5 and 6 feet tall, most often of a slim or wiry build. Physically they are the weaker of the Living Races, and their sparse frames can leave them somewhat fragile in comparison to the more humanoid races. However, these deficiencies are more than compensated for by the Saris’ superb sense of balance, agility and stamina. Saris also display above average hand-eye coordination, and seem to have a natural affinity with Life Magics.
Saris are possessed of claws, teeth and tails as well as features reminiscient of those of a feline. Most can see well in low light, and their hearing is superb and operates outside of ranges perceptable by humans. Their bodies are covered in a light, downy fur and their legs are digitigrade in nature. Though this allows them to leap and run incredible distances it presents problems when climbing or making use of a saddle.
Their metabolisim is noticably faster than most humanoids, leading them to a lifestyle of brief spurts of hyper activity followed by periods of rest and relaxation. This combined with an unpredictability inherited from the feline roots mistakenly leads many to believe that Saris are unreliable and lack discipline. The truth could not be further; the Saris simply have a more relaxed take on life. Older Saris often lose their manic streak, becoming incredibly steady and patient with the tempering of wisdom.
Saris give birth in litters, and will retain ties to their siblings for the rest of their lives. Partners rarely marry; successful Saris may however keep a harem. Saris rarely live beyond 60 years of age.
Saris culture evolved on the dry, sunny beaches of Kion and the surrounding areas. Rich in heavy metals, the Saris quickly became adept workers of gold and jewlewry; often adorning themselves with absurd amounts of these. The Saris were also amongst the first to make use of stone in construction; making use of architectural styles that evolved independantly of other races and so remain very unique even to the present day. The Saris work ethic differs from homonid races; most Saris choose to dedicate themselves to those skills they take an active interest in and discarding the rest. Because of this, Saris craftsmen are almost always specialists in a certain field, with little or no knowledge outside of their area of expertese.
With plentiful food and natural resources at their disposal, the Saris had ample free time to develop their minds. Many older Saris choose to become ascetics, devoting themselves entirely to the monkly pursuits or arts of philosophy, research and record-keeping. Use of magic, especially Life Magic is prevalent in their culture; this combined with a natural empathy they seem to share attracts many to healing professions. With Merrasat as their chosen matron knowledge gained is rarely forgotten. Vast archives and libraries lie within the city of Kion, equalled only by those of the Helian Dragons.
Younger Saris fraught with excess energy tend to be given to wild revelries and festivities. As such, Saris take a relaxed view on laws and social taboos; morals are enforced by consensus rather than doctrine, and so many Saris are promiscuous and regard crimes such as vandalism and theft as a release of emotional exhuberance. Many types of recreational drugs are manufactured openly and no stigmas exist surrounding their usage.
Saris government is nigh anarchtic at the best of times; little exists in the way of a defined succession, so a Saris can nominally be appointed a position that they show an adeptitude in. Political ambition and thirst for power are nearly nonexistant amongst their ranks; trying to herd cats is a thankless and rarely rewarding job.
Rulership is usually decided by consensus amongst the state officials; typically these consist of the chiefs of the Temple, Treasury, Militia and Merchants Guild, all of whom have a veto, as well as the heads of smaller guilds and public services. Bribery is an accepted practice, and vote-buying is common, though blackmail or similar offences commands harsh penalties. The elected leader usually calls upon family for assistance with menial tasks and message running.
Appointed rulers lead for life or until they grow weary of the position enough to surrender it, at which time a new election is called. Lady Kendra is the current incumbant, descended from and progenitor of a Saris family raised to a rulership role.
Rule of law, such as exists, is decided by consensus of the above mentioned groups, who in turn draw their conclusion from philosophical teachings and the Temple. Enforcing laws is rarely necessary; whilst given to spats and the occasional feud, Saris are rarely given to wanton criminality. Key laws are enforced by Militia, whilst the rest tends to be enforced by taboo. Saris engaging in what is percieved to be destructive behaviour may be assigned a Militia ‘minder’ to make sure they stay out of trouble.
Since their inclusion in the Pact, Saris legal systems have become much more defined and follow the Imperial Administration’s doctrine.
Saris masons, chefs and entertainers are regarded throughout the Empire as the best in their trades. With nearly unrestricted access to the rate herbs and spices that grow in Lesser Aradoth, Saris cookery alone draws many devout gastronomists. Their attitudes and the carnival atmosphere of Kion make the city a popular tourist destination, especially in light of the troubles affecting the mainland.
Primary exports include but are not limited to: Precious and semi-precious stones, gold, bronze, ceramics, exotic spices, exotic textiles, rare hardwoods and medicines.
In recent years Kion has become a major economic power. With the loss of Delgarth, repeated razing of Aughundell and the relative isolation of the Kirasanct deposits, Kion has become the largest producer of gold. As Imperial currency is gold-backed this gives the Saris significant leverage in the Imperial sphere of influence.
Until the advent of the Empire, the Saris did not often possess a large standardised military force. Prior to that, the Saris military consisted of the Kion Militia, local hunters and Monks from the local temples and a small number of heavy infantry. The Militia is a part-time and volunteer force dedicated to the protection of Kion and the surrounding areas. Given the Saris quirks, the Militia is organised with regards to specialisations and little else. In the past the Saris operated legions of hoplites and heavy infantry, but as these units were not effective against the manoeuvre warfare employed by the Withered Aegis in Lesser Aradoth they have largely been transfetted to the Imperial Army.
The use of magic in warfare is not new to the Saris, though unlike the Humans and Elves they never deployed it on a great scale. Primarily the Saris used magic in warfare as a healing agent, allowing them to return troop to fighting condition quickly. The manufacturing of siege weaponry is a reletively recent revelation, as the Saris previously had very little experience in dealing with fortifications, but have since applied themselves admirably. One of the few notable siege weapons in their arsenals is the Sun Tower; designed to magically concentrate sunlight into a destructive force that was primarily used to ward off Half-Giant raiders.
Saris naval elements usually consist of light ships and weaponised trading vessels, though dedicated designs do exist and human manufacturing techniques are used to deploy larger ships-of-the-line. Saris ships serve the Imprial Navy as harassing units and short ranged scouts.
Saris operate in regiments of the Imperial Army, usually acting as scouts or light infantry. Saris archers and spearmen are also common, though they make for poor cavalrymen as they require specialised saddles and mounts tend to dislike their claws.
Note for Players
Roleplay: Saris have many feline traits, i.e, can purr, fastidiously clean, dislike of water, easily distracted, empathic etc…
Culture is vaguely Egyptian, with strong overtones of Greceo-Roman and Persian elements.
Young Saris tend to be hectic, chaotic and happy-go-lucky. Older Saris tend to be dignified, focussed and not given to outbursts.
Very relaxed attitude to life.
Bonuses: natural weapons, low-light vision, jump, balance, tumble
Preferred equipment: short swords, spears, bows, light/medium armour