Amongst the jagged spires of the Golden Cliffs lies the race of draconic humanoids known as the adelinians. These reptilian humanoids are born to fight, and excel as wandering mercenaries, soldiers, and adventurers.
To an adelinian, honor is more important than life itself. First and foremost, honor is tied to battlefield conduct. Adversaries should be treated with courtesy and respect, even if they are bitter enemies. Caution and discretion are key to a warrior’s survival, but fear is a disease and cowardice is a moral failing. The drive to behave honorably extends into the rest of a adelinian’s life: Breaking an oath is the height of dishonor, and attention to honesty extends to every word. A commitment made must be carried out. Ultimately, a adelinian takes responsibility for his or her actions and their consequences.
A continual drive for self-improvement reveals an additional aspect of adelinian honor. Adelinian value skill and excellence in all endeavors. They hate to fail, and they push themselves to extreme efforts before they give up on something. An adelinian holds mastery of a particular skill as a lifetime goal. Members of other races who share the same commitment find it easy to earn the respect of a adelinian.
The adelinian dedication to honor and excellence sometimes leads others to view adelinians as arrogant and proud. Most adelinian share a great pride in their race’s past and present accomplishments, but they are also quick to admire the accomplishments of others.
Adelinian seek adventure for the chance to prove their worth, win renown, and perhaps become champions about whom stories will be told for generations. To win everlasting glory through mighty deeds, daring exploits, and supreme skill—that is the adelinian dream.
Adelinian resemble humanoid dragons. They’re covered in scaly hide, but they don’t have tails. They are tall and strongly built, often standing close to 6½ feet in height and weigh 300 pounds or more. Their hands and feet are strong, talonlike claws with three fingers and a thumb on each hand. An adelinian’s head features a blunt snout, a strong brow, and distinctive frills at the cheek and ear. Behind the brow, a crest of large frills extends down towards the base of the neck. These frills can go through drastic color changes depending upon the mood of an adelinian. Upon reaching middle age adelinians go through a partial metamorphosis where they grow large leathery wings that allow them to fly across the skies. Their eyes are shades of red or gold.
A typical adelinian’s scales can be scarlet, gold, rust, ocher, bronze, or brown. This is often due to their proximity to the Ordos Desert and the never ending heat the desert creates. Most adelinian have very fine scales over most of their body, giving their skin a leathery texture, with regions of larger scales on the forearms, lower legs and feet, shoulders, and thighs.
A startling part of adelinian physiology is their ability to communicate to other members of their species with their minds. This mind-link, or the brood connection as they call it, is synonymous with the adelinian and creates a hive like intelligence within their species. Every thought, emotion, fear, and desire can be communicated across the brood connection which creates a people of few secrets among one another and a strong sense of loyalty to each other. To an outsider the mind-link can be a frightening and alienating thing, with thoughts being communicated rapidly to each other there is little need for speech leaving adelinian cities quiet and seemingly deserted.
Young adelinian grow faster than human children do. They walk hours after hatching, reach the size and development of a 10-year-old human child by the age of 3 and reach adulthood by 15. They live about as long as humans do.
The adelinian are not a numerous people. They live in tight-knit clans that often share a secret citadel or tower in the Golden Cliffs. Clan members roam far from their mysterious retreats, looking after the group’s interests. Some adelinian clans take part in the mercenary trade, hiring themselves out as raiders or mercenaries. However adelinians, who object to the mercenary lifestyle often, earn a living as deal brokers, moneylenders, or speculators. They are also renowned as sorcerers for hire. Adelinian clans strike deals with the various rulers of cities and nations, paying richly for licenses or dispensations to practice arcane magic in those locations. Nobles, wealthy merchants, and armies that have need of a sorcerer clan’s services pay very well for them.
The adelinian are a young race and only recently joined the Council of Races, creating a vacuum of power and mystery around them. Naturally many people still regard the adelinian with suspicion and barely disguised mistrust.
The adelinian learned long ago to rely only upon one another, and they are fiercely loyal to their clan brothers and sisters. A clan gathers from far and wide to avenge an insult or an injury to one of its own, and the group won’t rest until the vendetta is settled.
Each clan is fiercely independent and rarely trusts members of another clan, unless they have given a solemn oath of safe conduct. As such the history of the Adelinian is that of bloody civil war and it was once a common saying that there is nothing that adelinians like better than fighting other adelinians, and the various cities’ technology advances only in the direction of things that help them kill adelinians. This changed however when the sorcerer elders known as the Dragon’s Voice came together and told of a prophecy that would see the extinction of the adelinian people, the arrival of a great enemy from across the sea and without aid they all would perish. Wise warlords came together and marched with the rest of Callimhros when the Skraeling arrived. Soon after the adelinians reluctantly joined the Council of Races on the condition that they end their civil wars.
Despite this agreement skrimishes and blood feuds often break out amongst older clans who refuse to give up the old ways. Two of the largest clans still feuding can be found in the cities of Sarn and Vek. Led by its high standing sorcerer clans the city of Sarn is now considered the most advanced of the adelinian cities in Callimhros, and even boasts a foreign quarter where traders from across Callimhros gather and are welcome to sell their goods. However, this comes at a price. The inhabitants are becoming more individualistic through their exposure to and acceptance of foreign ways. It is possible that this is leading to a larger number of renegades from the city. The city of Vek on the other hand is the walled city within the mountains and trains its people in military might and still attempts to shun the influence of other races. The city lacks a foreigner’s quarter and maintains stringent checks on any who wish to enter the city.
Most adelinian are lawful neutral, but adelinian of any alignment are possible, with a growing number tending towards the chaotic alignment as they rebel against the restrictions placed upon their blood feuds. While many of the races believe the adelinians worship mysterious long forgotten draconic gods, this is not true—the majority of adelinians do not worship at all, believing that the gods do not exist at all. Their warlike nature and the nearly unbearable climate they live in proximity to has shown them the harshness of life and how short it can be. Yet not all of them turn their backs on the gods. Small sects to the more militaristic gods exist and amongst the sorcerer clans the mystical guidance of Valkaeys exists. Recently a large number of adelinians have begun to take up the philosophy of the Order of the Claw. This easy to follow strictures focused on combat and honor amongst an individual are growing in popularity as more and more adelinians bring the philosophy back to their clans.