Base Race: Human
Ability Score Adjustments: -1 Charisma
Favored Class: Any
- Adomkuro have black hair but otherwise appear as selected in character generation.
Originally, this race appeared in the 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons supplement entitled Book of Vile Darkness as the Vasharan. Their name on Avlis comes from "Adom", the Spirit word for "human", and "Kuro", the Spirit word for "dark".
The Adomkuro were created by the god Mikon long ago. In those days they were one with the Romini, a nomadic human race living on the surface of Avlis. Through the course of history, it became necessary for Mikon to send some of his beloved humans down into the underdark to guard a viscious Demon Lord that was imprisoned there. Unfortunately, over time, the humans became entranced with this demon, and were soon coerced into following him as devotees. These were the first Adomkuros. Since then, the Adomkuros have branched out all over the underdark of Avlis, and begun to decide for themselves where their culture will take them.
"What surface dwellers do not understand is that the adom kuro are not humans. We may look similar to our cousins of common ancestry, but that is where the comparison ends. Where humans are soft, we are hard. Where humans crave love, we crave power. Where humans crave belonging, we crave protection. Family, friendship, personal bonds... these are human things. To adom kuro, they are foul and limiting. Why compress our protective circles to mere blood relations or friends, when the pain of their betrayal is worse than a thousand plagues? No. Our way is far superior: a household is a network of those that crave the protection and power afforded by their Lord. Those that betray their circles meet death. Traitors that survive have no chance, for once a traitor, always a traitor, and their next Lord will know such things and be wary." --Lord Alvar Demachek, vassal to Kimler Vasuth, servant of Sharistracterus
An Adomkuro's positive emotions do not reside on the surface, but rather they are buried deep down or not present at all. Hatred, fear, and anger are quick to rise to the surface, but love, compassion, and true happiness are rarely witnessed. This makes personal relationships difficult for Adomkuro, whether these are relationships between their own kind, or with other species. Generally, Adomkuro are preoccupied with matters of personal gain, power, and fortune. Their society is absent of social institutions such as marriage or family. Couples will remain together for a time, and then part ways when it was no longer convenient, leaving the children to be raised by the mother or abandoning them entirely. Motivations based on greed can often compel them to serve more powerful beings because they see it as a means to an end, but loyalty is never a motivator for such a relationship. If a more powerful entity, or a better deal came along, most Adomkuro would take the deal once they were sure it was not a trap. Nevertheless, so long as a Adomkuro is sure that it is in the service of the most powerful entity in the area, it will go to great lengths to serve it and be rewarded.
Adomkuro look like humans, except all members of the race have black hair. Many also possess pale skin, and are of a stockier build than surface humans. Heights for both males and females are usually between 5 and 5 1/2 feet, and eye colors are dark brown or black.
Adomkuro prefer to dress in dark colors, with a preference for skull motifs and spiked and bladed edges to their garments.
As a race, the Adomkuro do not have a unified identity as one nation or grouping. Their politics coincide with whatever demon lord or underdark entity they happen to be serving at the moment. This can put them in favorable or unfavorable situations against other Adomkuro or kharakuro in the area. If they are working on the same side, Adomkuro and kharakuro will tolerate each other with falsified good behavior and feelings. Otherwise, business dictates their reactions.
Because they remain mostly underground, the Adomkuro do no often come into contact with surface races. Most times, the surface dwellers will mistake them for a Romini or other kind of human, which can be a fatal mistake. Some surface dwellers know of their existence and will be on guard against Adomkuro, but will generally not treat them any differently than they would treat a human.
Adomkuro are selfish and evil to the core, however their expression of this evil varies greatly from individual to individual. They can run the whole range of ethics between lawfulness and chaos.
The Adomkuro live in the extensive caverns and tunnels of the underdark. Sections of these caves are ruled by various demon lords, illithids, and in some cases powerful Adomkuro or kharakuro. Rulers will generally regard their holdings as a personal city-state or country underneath the surface of Avlis, and a Adomkuro wishing to live in one of these areas will give homage to their ruler in return for being allowed to live there. There are no Adomkuro holdings on the surface.
General Structure of Adom kuro Society
The adom kuro maintain a complex and chaotic network of organizations and households. It differs greatly from surface human organizations where noble families control large swaths of land, passed down through blood inheritance. Adom kuro society has no marriage and no family. Children are raised by their mothers for a time and then either abandoned or sold to a local power figure. These kids can be procured for the soldiery, brothels, merchant apprenticeships, priesthoods, and household servants. In any case, they most often do not spend more than 10 years in their parent's care, because it is far too profitable to sell them as labor beyond that. Due to this dynamic, there is generally no inheritance or decent way to even trace who is descended from who. Adom kuro generally do not have last names unless they have created households and kingdoms of their own, at which point they adopt one.
The term "household" is quite different from surface dwelling societies. Instead of a central group of biologically related people and their servants, soldiers, and retainers, an adom kuro household is headed by a "Lord" and anyone admitted to that Lord's service. The actual title varies regionally and by preference and gender. There is no overarching system of adom kuro-specific titles or hierarchy. Instead, what is known in a household is that the Lord is responsible for providing protection for members of the household. In return, the household members serve the Lord with absolute obedience and loyalty. As stated, household members can come from anywhere: they can be purchased as children, they can be obtained for an initial sum to purchase loyalty, they can be captured, or otherwise compelled, etc. It is extremely common for a large adom kuro household to contain numerous adom kuro and other races who have taken the same protection deal.
When a household becomes exceptionally large, it may subdivide. This is more akin to traditional medieval vassal-ship, but with no blood relative component. A Lord may allow a member of his household to found another smaller household with loyalty solely to him. For households of great size, there may be many layers of vassalship proclaiming loyalty up a chain of Lords to a central figure who may be powerful enough to rule a kingdom. However, again, none of this is based on genetics or familial inheritance.
As with traditional vassalship, the Lord can impose whatever restrictions and tributes he wishes from his loyal subjects. This can be in the form of taxes, soldiers, harem slaves, etc.
Because there is no familial inheritance, it is recognized that a Lord's death can result in a lot of chaos. With no clear successor to take over a household, it is common for households to disband after the Lord dies, and the resulting infighting and political maneuvering creates new organizations from that. There are always plotters in every household that scheme to take over rulership, but the rank and file members tend to be quite scared of the prospect of the resulting death of their protector and fight hard to keep the Lord alive. This is true as well from outside threats from other households.
Networks of households can become fairly branched and hierchical, even though there is generally no hierarchy within each given household. There is the Lord, and there is everyone else. All of them contend for favor, and favor is bestowed as fits the Lord's fancies. Complications in society occur however when a Lord has higher loyalties of his own. In Underdark society, when an adom kuro Lord joins an organization, it is a foregone conclusion that all members of his household are also joined to that society. So, for example, if an adom kuro Lord in the city of Sharis joins the Alley Reapers thieve's guild for that city, it is assumed that all members of that Lord's household are now counted as members of that guild. It is understood that the Lord will order his entire household, at the very least, not to oppose the guild's operations, and whenever possible the Lord will allow members of his house with the appropriate skillsets to participate in guild affairs in his name. This is true of course for any other type of society, such as a Temple, a magical order (although The Nine Orders not have much sway in the Underdark), or a crafting guild.
If a Lord belongs to multiple societies, this can become exceptionally complicated. Additionally, not all races ascribe to the adom kuro societal structure, including some adom kuro. Thus, there may be individual members of thieve's guild and temples who are not part of any specific household. Some of these individuals may be as powerful as Lords, or more.
Adomkuro worship a wide variety of demon lords and entities of the underdark. For them, worship is a means to advance and is not done out of any matter of the heart. Depending on the demands of the entity that they worship, their religious duties can be quite different from group to group.
The Adomkuro speak a bastardized form of the Common Tongue, which has become formally regarded as Undercommon. Their language has spread throughout the underdark and become the universal language used below the surface. Undercommon borrows a lot of words from the Tanar'ri language, as well as some dwarven words, and though it is hard for someone speaking another human language to discern, it is possible with some effort.
Adomkuro first names are given at birth and rarely used by the person in life. Most Adomkuro will give a false name when asked to identify themselves, never revealing their true names. This can be a throwback to behavior exhibited by demons, who jealously guard their names as a source of power, or it can simply be a desire to not be tracked and followed. Because of this, a Adomkuro will drop identities and take up new ones quite often. Last names are either forgotten, or not known at all in the first place. Few Adomkuro know who their fathers were, because of the dynamics of their society. As part of their false identities, it is common for Adomkuro to give themselves a descriptive title instead of a last name, such as "The Dwarf Killer", or "The Black".
Buzz, Cural, Fero, Iano, Karn, Perto, Sul, Teero, Waynde, Weal
Brena, Conna, Copa, Della, Eleni, Gertera, Hana, Lilith, Madra, Tela
Adomkuro are frequently given missions to do by the ones they serve. These can include murder, pillage, and theft, as well as a host of other malign activities. Much of their lives are spent in the pursuit of gain, so adventuring is a common profession among Adomkuro. The only ones who stay back in their colonies are the infirm and the tradespeople, who try to achieve gain through the use of their business and manual talents.