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Burynai in Everquest RPG art

Generic Burynai warrior


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

These unpleasant creatures are from the landmark Everquest Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. For more about it and its setting, see our character profile for Gitane, a sample Player Character  in Everquest.


Background

  • Base Of Operations: Chiefly on Kunark.
  • Height: About 6’ tall Weight: Presumably about 400 lbs.
  • Eyes: Varies Hair: Varies


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Powers and Abilities

Adult Burynai are tall, massive humanoids. They have great strength, tough claws and enviable durability. They also tend to have an affinity for the dark side of the earth, which manifests as necromancy-like and earth-based magic.

Individual fighters and magicians can have greater abilities. Burynai rockshapers, in particular, can animate and/or control rock and soil. They may have a more varied and powerful selection of dark-side-of-the-earth rituals. Examples include :

  • Creating zones of dangerous cold or heightened gravity.
  • Eldritch bolts destroying flesh or numbing nerves.
  • Auras of fear.
  • Sleep spells.
  • Darkness spells.
  • Animating corpses.
  • Etc..

Burynai youths are considerably smaller and weaker. From some specimens one gets the impression that they must be raised in a specific fashion to grow up into sapient  individuals.


History

Burynai are chiefly a subterranean race, both in their locations and in their interests. They serve the dark aspects of Brell Serilis  the god of Earth. Their myths revolve around the fact that Brell has hidden many, many treasures for them to find under the earth to grow ever more powerful. Ultimately, they’ll find the earth’s greatest treasures and use them to dominate the world.

Their myths, predictably, describe the Burynai as the “right” form for the children of Brell Serilis. Thus, they openly consider dwarves and gnomes, the two other main Brell-touched races, to be failures and not as worthy to serve Brell as the Burynai.


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A strange myth also refers to the day where the Burynai stole the sun and caged it underground. But the sun wouldn’t do anything for the Burynai and they ended up releasing it, though they kept ’the best part‘ of the sun ’in a bottle‘ to remind it of who was the boss.

This may be a simple myth, or a garbled version of historical events. Perhaps some Burynai were part of the ogre uprising against the gods and helped attack the sun god Solusek Ro. Though upon reading the tale it seemed to be about mangled memories of harnessing fusion power (?).

The Very Good Power

Due to their connection with the darker, danker, more decayed aspects of Brell, Burynai have an affinity for bone, darkness, the cold, death, corpses and the like. This is important in both their magics and their culture.

In the distant past, a Burynai discovered what they call in Common “The Very Good Power”. It was done by bringing back his parents as undead creatures. Other Burynai learned to perform this trick too, bringing back many dead Burynai. It is said that all Burynai know how to use the Very Good Power.

There is likely some exaggeration in this. Most Burynai encountered seem to be alive, and no hordes of undead Burynai servants have been seen. Yet live slaves of other races are certainly used. It is likely that only expert necromancers among the Burynai can use the Very Good Power to a significant extent. Perhaps most Burynai can only animate corpses for a short time and in a weak state.

The Very Good Power and their affinity for the dead things in the earth also inform their strategies. Burynai are attracted toward ruins and subterranean sites once dominated by necromantic powers. And they will fight tooth and nail to reclaim the secrets from those, which they see as being rightfully theirs.

Areas with lots of dead and undead things also interest them, in the assumption that they can learn more about the Very Good Power there.

Kurn’s Tower and the Field of Bones

This inclination explains their continued interest in Kurn’s Tower, a huge Iksar tower in the middle of the Field of Bones. The Field was the site of the historic battle between the Ring of Scale and the great Iksar empire. As with most areas in the region, Kurn’s Tower is a ruin (though it holds together pretty well) and heavily haunted.

A large burynai dig (their name for a large tribe or small nation) dug its way to the basements of the tower. They spent decades bitterly fighting the undead to gain better access to the archives and secrets of the long-since fallen Iksar empire.

Attempts from young Iksar warriors from decaying Cabilis to retake the Tower, and expeditions from outside powers, have led to contacts between Burynai and outsiders. Nearly all such contacts have been hostile and bloody. Survivors from such battles noted the Burynai were apparently stalled in their attempt to control the whole of the Tower.

As decades passed other digs of Burynai heard about the Tower and the Field of Bones. The somewhat paranoid Burynai were looking for a strong place to store their “shinies” and protect them from thieves. The Tower seemed ideal, leading more Burynai to believe that they were entitled to it.

End of the world as we know it

When the Sundering — the destruction of the moon — ravaged Norrath, the main powers were greatly weakened. That left the digs of Burynai with aims on Kurn’s Tower a much freer rein. They did come to control it, pillaging its necromantic secrets. This help them develop their Very Good Power.

In the aftermath of the Sundering, the Burynai warred against unrevealed goblin tribes for resources. What happened is muddled, but a Burynai reported that the goblins had “a great shiny” that they used to kill the Burynai and other foes.

A saviour, reportedly sent by Brell Serilis, then came to the Burynai. He helped them steal the “great shiny” from the goblins. The Burynai apparently believe they can use this “great shiny” themselves to wage war on other races.


Description

The badger-like Burynai usually sport a nasty scowl.

They favour weapons (and occasionally armour, with distinctive helmets and chestplates) made of bone and other materials extracted from the earth.


Personality

Burynai appear to be thoroughly convinced of their own superiority and destiny. Thus, they do not generally bother learning the languages of other people (or to try and communicate with them). Many of their contacts with outsiders are simply the taking of slaves. These are very poorly treated and have a short life expectancy.

Burynai are violent, doggedly determined, entitled, and consider all sorts of riches and secrets to be rightfully theirs. They also seem very religious, though their worship of Brell Serilis seems different from the one known to, say, the dwarves.

Those few Burynai who speak a bit of Common refer to everything they like as “shinies”. This is presumably because of their limited vocabulary in Common. They seem obsessed with procuring and hoarding “shinies”.

Their culture seems petty and bully-like. A Burynai trader stated that the endgame for the Burynai was to own all the “shinies” on Norrath. Just so that other races would have to beg the Burynai to lend them the “shinies”, and the Burynai could refuse them.


In other universes

Evil badger people with something of a necromantic cast, who one day come invading from below the earth, are a fairly portable concept in many campaigns. Especially those with multiple nonhuman races or “lost civilisations”.

They could easily exist in the Subterranea of the Marvel Universe (presumably with hordes of Moloid slaves and a fascination for Deviant tech and/or Lemurian magic) or the DC Universe (as distant relative to the “mole men” living under England), among others.

They’d also work well as the big bad in the 1960s Atomic Knights setting.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Generic Burynai warrior

Dex: 03 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Power
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 04 Occupation: Warrior
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 010 HP: 008

Powers:
Analytical smell/tracing scent: 03, Claws: 05, Cold immunity: 01, Density increase: 01, Ultra-vision: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:
Density Increase is Always On, Already Factored In and Form Function.

Skills:
Occultist: 03, Weaponry (Claws): 04, Weaponry (Melee): 05

Advantages:
Expertise (Mining, Necromancy), Language (Burynai).

Connections:
Varies, normally within their dig.

Drawbacks:
Burynai seldom speak Common.

Equipment:

  • Enchanted bone great club [BODY 06, EV 04 (05 w/STR)].
  • Enchanted bone armour [BODY 06, Skin armour: 01, Drawback: Real Armour].

Rituals:
Usually one or two necromantic Rituals with a Casting Time of one Phase and very minor Components ; a common one is Vampirism: 05. Run-of-the-mill Burynai usually carry enough components for two or three uses of their Rituals. Some reports state that all Burynai know some sort of Animate Dead ritual.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Everquest MMO.

Helper(s): The pen-and-paper Everquest RPG, lorelibrary.com , Darci.

Writeup completed on the 11th of October, 2010.

Writeups.org is a non-commercial, community site

We chat and work at the DC Heroes Yahoo! group .