by Kipper Snifferdoo & Joe Mashuga
Adlatum’s kender are known as the kunda, a very spiritual and primal people, closely related to their Ansalonian cousins in appearance and cheerful demeanor. Unlike Ansalonian kender, they are not kleptomaniacs, but they still have a very liberal understanding of other people’s rights. Once a single race, they have split into two clans since the Drowning, thereby guaranteeing they will never again be quite as prominent in Adlatum’s political map.
The Hoda tribe has close ties with the four basic elements of the world. They are worshipers of Antaeun (Sirrion), the Force of the Natural World. She is worshiped for the fury, chaos, exuberance and raw power of the natural world. To the Hoda, she is the one who provided the strength needed to forge the world. Thundering waterfalls, erupting volcanoes, devastating tornados, and epic earthquakes are all signs of her divine force being applied through the natural world. To the Hoda, the Drowning was seen as a sign from Antaeun that she was unhappy with their complacency for their lot in life.
Personality: The Hoda believe that every individual is born of one of the four elements and upon their twentieth gift of life day they are asked to declare the element they were born from. Sometimes it is easy to see the relationship between the individual and the element they identify with, and other times it takes a Celebration of the Elements to discover their true link to the world. This ceremony involves the use of a sacred mushroom known as the “teonanácatl”, which provides visionary experiences and frees the Hoda spirit to become one with the world and so discover their true element. Once an element has been declared, the kunda go through a ceremony to decorate their skin with a tribal tattoo representing their element and tribe. The tattoo must be placed anywhere from the neck up. This tattooing ceremony initially began with the warriors of the kunda, but the Hoda took on this ritual after the Parting to set themselves apart from their marsh-dwelling cousins.
Once the Hoda receives his tribal tattoo, he is free to leave the tribe and explore the world. This wandering, known as the Terratrek, is the time when a young Hoda will experience the world at large, discover the secrets of the natural world, and investigate the motivations of other races that try to bend nature to their will or build their own lands of stone and wood instead of dwelling among the mountains and forests.
The warriors of the Hoda are a fierce force to encounter. The warriors consider themselves not only protectors of the tribe, but also aspects of Antaeun. They are a cheerful, friendly people, but are committed defenders of nature and those who need help. To other races they can seem reckless, obnoxious, outspoken, and wildly emotional. A Hoda warrior may be laughing out loud one moment, and angrily threatening to kill someone in the next. Those who manage to make friends with a Hoda warrior know that the warrior will defend them with his life, because they form very strong bonds of friendship. Like all kunda they are curious and will look into pockets and pouches with the stealth of any trained rogue, and they are more than willing to explore dangerous looking places without hesitation.
Some Hoda warriors have the ability to fall into a trance known as Nature’s Fury. This ability is said to be a blessing of Antaeun. They believe they embody one of the four elements and their battle rage is a result of that. A warrior of fire erupts like a volcano hurling insults and attacking wildly. A warrior of water rushes forth, flowing from one opponent to another. A warrior of earth shakes like an earthquake with rage, and a warrior of air will actually twirl like a tornado and make sounds like a thunderstorm. A tribe of Hoda defending itself is a terrible, yet fascinating, sight to behold.
Physical Description: Hoda and Voda are similar in appearance, but there are some noticeable differences. A Hoda’s primary identifying factor is the facial tattoo that identifies his chosen element.
Hoda tend to have light brown or blond hair, while red-haired Hoda are considered blessed. It is traditional for Hoda warriors to keep their head clean-shaven, except for a topknot or series of topknots that are braided into a long tail. This hair is sometimes colored with dyes for concealment or decoration. Hoda have a dark tanned skin from their nomadic lifestyle and wear clothing comprised of hides and light leather. They are not opposed to other types of clothing, but find that most clothing sold in cities are not rugged enough for their constant wandering.
Relations: Hoda enjoy the company of humans and dwarves, who are capable of being just as rough as they are. Water-bonded Hoda are in awe of sea elves and spend their time hopping from reef to reef trying to make friends with them. Hoda utterly fail to understand gnomes who talk constantly about subjects they find a waste of time. They view the Voda with some arrogance, thinking that the other kunda are foolish for spending so much time dwelling on the next world rather than enjoying the current one.
2nd-3.5 Edition: Kunda of the Hoda tribes are usually chaotic, though their shamans are more concerned with the community and thus more lawful. In either case, they always tend toward the concepts of good.
4th Edition: Kunda of the Hoda tribes always tend towards the concepts of good, however their shamans are more concerned with the community and thus tend towards lawful good.
Hoda Lands: The small tribes of the Hoda follow different migrations of animals across the continent. Each tribe consists of an extended family. They do not stay in settlements, but instead designate meeting places where they gather from time to time to share news and trade. Quite often two tribes will designate the same area and share it happily. War among Hoda tribes is very rare, though non-fatal conflicts are a relatively common occurrence. A tribe may stay in one place for more than three months if a kundamaid is with child. The tribes mix freely and are not jealous if a couple decides to stay with one tribe or join another. They know they will meet their old tribe again some day, and they might even rejoin them at that time.
Religion: Kunda of the Hoda tribe revere Antaeun (Sirrion) as the Highest God. They see her as the mother of Krynn, constantly shaping and moving the world into perfection. Her brother and twin Danbhala (Zivilyn) controls the spirit world.
Part of their religious upbringing includes lessons in the natural world. Through the use of plant lore and geology they have learned to make many items such as healing pastes and herbal remedies. They have learned many secrets including the secret of the inner flame a technique of taking certain salts and minerals from the ground and combing them in various quantities to create many different types of powder, such as flash powder, dust of choking and sneezing, a deadly exploding powder, and other types of powders. The creation of these powders is a secret and considered divine knowledge among the Hoda.
Language: Kunda speak their own language, known as Kundaspeak, and most kunda also speak Common and Dwarven.
Names: A clan leader provides a kunda’s given name to him at birth. On their travels the kunda give themselves a descriptive last name based on their chosen element or their adventures. The given name is almost always shortened down into a nickname.
Male Names: Brannock, Coltan, Graven, Kerchik, Monax, Nataraja, Romji, Terchok, Voltier and Zachar.
Female Names: Anatolia, Beyalla, Coradin, Ferrol, Fushia, Ranhala, Saharadin, Suasinia, Verazues and Whisteria.
Descriptive Names: Eesiah (Earthshaker), Eetemba (Earthdweller), Feshun (Firestar), Tressife (Goldenflame), Thuha (Waterfall), Hatempe (Stormcloud), Shetessic (Windtalker), Shekrak (Windrunner).
Adventurers: Those kunda from the Hoda tribe wandering the world and interacting with those of the settles lands will be those kunda on Terratrek. The Hoda perform a ceremony at the age of twenty for each kunda in their tribe in order to send them on their Terratrek. Kunda from the Hoda tribe usually become mercenaries, as they are known for their ferocious fighting styles and unwillingness to back down from an enemy.
Hoda Racial Traits
Hoda kunda possess the following racial traits:
- –2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, –2 Intelligence. Hoda are not as strong or intelligent as other races, but are naturally dexterous and tough from their rugged outdoor lives.
- Small: As small creatures, Hoda gain a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but they use smaller weapons than humans use, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of Medium characters.
- Hoda base speed is 30 feet.
- +4 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks. Hoda are skilled at creating various poultices and medicines. Hoda may use this skill even if untrained.
- +2 racial bonus on Sleight of Hand checks. Hoda have a natural ability to get their hands on just about anything that is not locked away. Hoda may use this skill untrained.
- +2 racial bonus on Survival checks. Hoda are constantly on the move and hunt daily to sustain themselves and their tribes.
- Energy resistance (Su): Hoda gain a small amount of energy resistance depending on their chosen element. Fire-Hoda gain cold resistance 5, Water-Hoda gain fire resistance 5, Earth-Hoda gain electricity resistance 5, and Air-Hoda gain sonic resistance 5.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Kundaspeak. Bonus Languages: Auran, Aquan, Dwarven, Gildanesti, Goblin, Ignan, and Terran.
- Favored Class: Barbarian.
The Voda have a deep, strong sense of the spirit world around them. These kunda have no fear of death, because they have seen and spoken with the spirits of those who have died. Like their Hoda cousins, the Voda believe Antaeun brought the Drowning down upon their loved ones. They turned to Danbhala (Zivilyn) for help, asking the god to reveal the ways of communicating with the spirits of those that had stepped out of this world and into the next. Danbhala shared his wisdom, and they became captivated with exploring not only this world, but also the spirit world through their newfound abilities. As time passed, the Voda tribe grew, and the rituals they performed took on a strange and sometimes morbid taint, but they remained cheerful and open to outsiders and were even enthusiastic to share their abilities. This only earned them the nickname of “death kunda.”
Personality: Their philosophy is simple: live life free, enjoy it, and when you’re done, hand over what you have to those who are still around to use it. Perhaps their blasé attitude towards threats and impending disaster give them their innate knack for reading the cards or the bones, but more than likely it is simply that their minds are less narrow than other races.
The lives of the Voda revolve around a curious mix of heavy folk spirituality and cheerful optimism. As such, they travel as fortune-tellers, folk healers, spiritual advisers, and ghost-hunters, though shunned for their casual disregard for the sanctity of corpses. In fact, kunda shamans (who bear the honorific Mama or Papa) have been known to animate the dead for various odd jobs. When challenged by humans and other races, they look truly surprised and say, “What, this thing? Well, he doesn’t need it anymore, so I borrowed it.” Being able to back it up by speaking with the dead unnerves still more people.
Their cheerful optimism and morbid contentment around the dead often leave people squeamish about the Voda. Their ability to “find” peoples’ belongings and their seeming disregard for authority or dying makes them a deadly addition to any adventuring party.
Physical Description: Voda have dark hair and pale skin for they are not known for wandering extensively by day. Their hair is usually cut short so as not to get too messy from the places they explore, such as crypts, crawlspaces of abandoned houses, overgrown graveyards, and underground caverns. (The dead are not known to inhabit too many wide-open places.) They adorn themselves with everything from colorful, flashy clothing to dark and somber attire and prefer to wear beads, small idols, ribbons, headscarves, earrings, multi-colored wooden bracelets and necklaces, and pouches filled with pungent-smelling ingredients and small esoteric bits and pieces.
Relations: Many races shun the kunda of the Voda tribe. Most humans consider them bad luck, whereas dwarves find them to be a nuisance and find their claims of speaking to long-dead relatives “creepy.” Sea elves find them curiosities. Only the Mahjoran minotaurs seem to have patience enough to deal with them and listen to their strange prophecies. The Voda view their Hoda cousins with pity, thinking that they are missing the “bigger picture” about what life truly is.
2nd-3.5 Edition: Voda kunda favor good thoughts and deeds. They are often chaotic in nature, though their shamans tend toward law.
4th Edition: Kunda of the Voda tribe favor good thoughts and deeds, however their shamans tend towards lawful good.
Voda Lands: Voda live in a large, swampy valley known as the Kundamarsh, or Swamp of the Dead to outsiders. They dwell within the shattered ruins of their former homes. They believe that leaving the original structures makes the spirits feel more at home, so they live among rundown buildings and leaning towers, structures which could only have been built by the kunda before the Parting. Surrounding the city on all sides is the Kundamarsh, a beautiful, dark and deadly place. The Voda there are adept at traversing the swamp and avoiding its dangers. As a result, visitors are rare and invading armies are unheard of. “You want to assault the haunted city full of death kunda? Are you kidding me?”
Ceremonies are held every night in the Kundamarsh in honor of the dead. Each Voda must celebrate the annual death of loved ones and the loved ones of friends. Every evening, eerie chanting and rhythmic music can be heard drifting throughout the Kundamarsh.
Religion: The kunda of the Voda tribe revere Danbhala (Zivilyn) as the Highest God. They see Danbhala as the gatekeeper and overseer of the Spirit World. Enlightenment and inspiration are the keys needed to access the mysterious Beyond and communicate with those loved ones who have stepped out of the world. His twin sister Antaeun (Sirrion) is a harsh mistress that controls nature through the use of force.
Language: Kunda speak their own language, known as Kundaspeak. Most Voda pick up the Common and Minotaur languages as well.
Names: The Mama or Papa of the clan provides a kunda’s given name when they are born. On their travels the kunda give themselves a descriptive last name based on their chosen element or their adventures. The given name is almost always shortened down into a nickname.
Male Names: Dakarai, Faraji, Hasani, Matunde, Nangila, Nkrumah, Shaaboni, Silko, Ubani, and Vinza.
Female Names: Bahati, Chinelo, Dacia, Farisa, Ijaba, Karimu, Pamoja, Shakina, Wambui and Zahra.
Clan Names: Beyonder, Deathtalker, Gravedigger, Lifesend, Lovesblood, Mortalcoil, Rawheart, Sleepdancer, Soulskipper, and Spiritwalker.
Adventurers: When a Voda kunda becomes an adult she feels an urge to explore the world. On her twentieth gift of life day a ceremony is performed to call forth her ancestors to accompany her on her journey. Any Voda kunda adventurer will most likely be on Terratrek. They travel as spiritual advisers, fortune-tellers, ghost-hunters and folk healers.
Voda Racial Traits
Voda kunda possess the following racial traits:
- –2 Strength, +2 Dexterity. Voda are naturally dexterous, but their light frames lack strength.
- Small: As small creatures, Voda gain a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but they use smaller weapons than humans use, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of Medium characters.
- Voda base speed is 20 feet.
- +2 racial bonus on Open Lock and Sleight of Hand checks. Voda have a natural ability to get their hands on just about anything that is not locked away. A Voda may use these skills untrained.
- +4 racial bonus on Sense Motive checks. Voda have a sixth sense when it comes to dealing with others and can usually sense when they are not acting themselves.
- Shadow of Death: A Voda’s close connection with the spirit world also means that their instinct to hold onto life is less than that of other races. They suffer a –2 penalty on all saving throws to resist death spells or spell-like effects. However, Voda add +1 to the Difficulty Class for saving throws against spells they cast that have the death descriptor.
- Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—speak with dead (willing spirits only; duration 1 minute). A Voda with a Wisdom score of at least 10 also has the ability to detect undead at will.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Kundaspeak. Bonus Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Diabolic, Draconic, Etlarnic, and Minotaur.
- Favored Class: Mystic (if you use the Races of Ansalon sourcebook, use the nightstalker instead of the mystic).