Sarthak and Trossoli refer to the same race of beings. On the continent of Aggradar, they are called the "Trossoli" and they are known as the aggressive species that conquered the Hyttar lands and formed the nation known as the "Trossoli Dominion". On the continent of Ithria, they are less known as there they keep to the underworld and only encounter the dwarves with any frequency. On Ithria, they are called "Sarthak". They are virtually unknown on the continent of Qeshir. This race refers to themselves as "sarthak".
The sarthak appear as a large, bloated hunchbacked humanoid with a tremendously bloated body, thin arms and legs, claw like hands and a small, skull like head that hangs forward on the neck. The pale skin of the sarthak is pasty and exudes a foul stench. Sarthak cannot tolerate the sun (they raid the surface only at night) and so dwell underground. A typical sarthak stands 1.8 meters tall and weighs 115 kilograms.
The sarthak are ferocious masters of the underground and conquerors of lesser races. Generally, the sarthak are arrogant, proud, paranoid and cowardly. They are convinced of their superiority over other races and rely on their magic and mental powers. However, in truth, they are cowardly and avoid physical combat when they can. They delight in torture and slavery. They are also masters of poison brewing and alchemy. Slaves often find themselves the subjects of experimentation. Sarthak are fascinated by the mechanics of biological organisms and the minds that drive them. The Sarthak Life Creation Experiments is a continuing campaign of research aimed at producing magical and biological constructions which the Sarthak can control and use. Sarthak occasionally raid the surface for prisoners and supplies. Sarthak enjoy enslaving other races. .
One cannot discuss sarthak society without discussing their telepathic ability. Their mental abilities have shaped their society. The penultimate expression of their telepathic craft is something they call a mind pool. A mind pool is a special place in sarthak society. It consists of a large circular pool filled with embryonic fluid. The pool is filled with living brains connected in a dizzying array of tubes and wires. The brains are extracted from dead or dying sarthak and brought here to serve in a great collective mind - a networked brain of sorts. Each sarthak city or town (of significant size) has a single mind pool which is located within the main Arskula Temple. The size of the mind pool will vary depending on the size of the city it serves, but on average, this is around 300-400 individual sarthak brains networked. Each town in the Trossoli Dominion has a mind pool as well.
A mind pool has the collective telepathic power of all of the brains in it. A single mind pool serves as a powerful mental processing center and an energy reservoir for sarthak telepathy. Any sarthak within range of a mind pool (typically up to a kilometer or two - but this varies based on the size of the mind pool and the telepathic skill of the sarthak) receives a significant increase in his telepathic power as he can "borrow" energy from the mind pool. All sarthak are able to communicate with and access information from their city's mind pool, if they are within range. This allows rapid mental communication between sarthak within the city.
Destroying a mind pool would essentially shut down the telepathic network for the city. Of course, all sarthak in the city would instantly be aware of such an event. It would be a difficult thing to accomplish. A sarthak mind pool is constantly tended to by slaves and sarthak priests. Security is very high as the mind pool is under heavy guard. For them it is not just the symbolic and functional center of their city, it is their holiest shrine.
The Sarthak worship a pantheon of beings which are known to them as the Arskula, but which other races call the Sarthak Flesh Gods.
Sacrifices of flesh and blood. It is rumored that the Sarthak fuel their magic with the death and suffering of others. While this is not accurate, it is not far from the truth. The Sarthak Flesh Gods are named so for their insatiable appetites for blood. They demand the flesh of victims be sacrificed upon their altars. Although the sarthak are not granted their magic from their gods.
The mind pools are considered holy. They are thought to be the ambassadors of the Flesh Gods. Through them, one has access to the wisdom of the gods.
Sarthak magic is focused on biomancy - the alteration of living tissue - healing, harm spells, necromancy, the creation of undead, enchantments which cloud the mind, ravage the flesh, break bones, poison the blood and worse. The sarthak are powerful necromancers and command the most potent undead legions in addition to hordes of minions whose minds they control.
In most areas, the sarthak dwell deep underground and there, they rule supreme. In the deep places, they make war upon dwarves and other races, enslaving any who oppose them. Sarthak have no qualms about destroying or modifying their environment. They create and destroy at will. They hunt and eat anything they choose. They have a remarkable impact on the area in which they dwell. In Aggradar, they have conquered an entire nation. Formerly hyttar land, now conquered by the sarthak. Less known in Qeshir and Ithria.
They dwell in huge cities where hundreds of these alien creatures may be found. These cities are usually found in zone 2 and 3 of the underworld.
They often capture and train dythillin to serve as pit fighters and guards. Such cities made hold many hundreds of sarthak and thousands of slaves. These ancient fortress like cities are crafted from the stone of the underworld and are permanent. they are built up, layer upon layer. The roots of these ancient cities go deep with dungeons and catacombs that are buried by layer upon layer and forgotten by time.
The largest of these cities serves as the sarthak capital city. It is known as Buranzakar. It is built upon a stony island that lies at the center of a great underground sea. Some 15,000 sarthak and over 300,000 slaves call it home.
There are no racial subdivisions. All sarthak are of the same race.
The sarthak have a complex language that consists of over 800 glyphs. Both the written and verbal forms of their language are called sarthaki.
While not a true language, sarthak are able to imprint physical objects with psychic impressions. Emotions, messages and more can be imprinted and left for other sarthak. These telepathic impressions are not permanent and will last only a matter of hours or days. For permanent records, they use written sarthaki.
It should be noted that the sarthak are the only race in the entire world who did not re-invent their calendar based on the Sundering. Khoras is unique in that it suffered a cataclysm so sudden, so widespread, that all civilized nations and peoples on the surface of the planet altered their calendars based on this one single event. All except the sarthak. Some scholars believe this is related to the sarthak belief in their own racial superior that has kept the rigidly faithful to their own cultural ways despite the changes that the world has undergone. It is also possible that because they are an underground race, their culture was less impacted by the planetary changes.
The sarthak have no formal relations with any race. They view all other races as inferior, cattle to be fed upon. They conquer other races, they do not trade. It was the Sarthak (along with hordes of dythillin warriors) that fought the War of Caverns with the dwarves and forced them to abandon Mordia.
All living beings are seen as lesser in the eyes of the sarthak. All things, be it fish or dog, horse and eel, human or dwarf, are considered edible. Flesh holds a central place in their religion, their practices of worship and in their daily society. It is natural that flesh forms the focus of every meal.
Sarthak quite often dine on the flesh of their own slaves. Sometimes this is as a form of punishment for slaves that disobey or do not work hard and serves as a way to utterly break the will of their other slave and to encourage them to work harder. Other times, slaves are served up in ceremonious fashion to commemorate a special occasion.
In addition to the flesh of animals and slaves, the sarthak conduct subterranean agriculture and horticulture similar to dwarves. Slaves toil in huge underground fields harvesting tubers, roots, lichens, moss and fungi. Some subterranean species of flora flourish in the impenetrable blackness. Other varieties are granted artificial light through magical or engineered means.
Another sarthak invention are "flesh farms". A flesh farms is a biological creation which appear to be a huge flat organism which is nothing more than a bulging sheet of muscle. It has blood, veins, muscle, fat and skin. But it lacks bones, a nervous system, a brain or a digestive track. This thing is living, but not quite a creature. It has no sentience or consciousness, but it is alive and requires food, water and care. These things are feed and watered intravenously and allowed to grow to enormous proportions. They are "harvested" when huge chunks of meat are cut from them and they are allowed to heal. It has been suggested that these things were once cattle of some sort that have been altered drastically by the sarthak. Flesh farms provide a huge amount of "beef" for the sarthak. The sarthak experiment and tinker endlessly to obtain new flavors from their creations.
Flesh farms are a topic of heated debate among the sarthak. Their are two schools of thought.... some sarthak like the convenience of the flesh farms and plentiful meat they provide. Other sarthak refuse to eat meat from them, believing that flesh should come from natural animals and conquered slaves. They argue that to dine on "farmed flesh" is an insult to the flesh gods. Most flesh farms are guarded to protect against extremists.
Sarthak technology is varies a bit by region. They absorb the knowledge and craft of other races that they conquer, so their technology is somewhat staggered. Generally speaking, it matches the average level of learning and craft that one finds in most other nations. The sarthak have mastered forged iron and metalcraft. They are masters of stonecraft and quite good at engineering. They have developed irrigation and advanced subterranean farming techniques. They have advanced their science in the realm of chemistry, basic physics, geometry and other advanced mathematics. They are greatly advanced in certain areas of magic.
Sarthak use their animals much as their use their slaves - either for food or for experimentation. they have no qualms for this. In their view, all other life forms are there to serve them in one capacity or another. Quite often, the sarthak will modify a life form through their magic and experimentation to serve them better. They have created massive oxen creatures for pulling enormous wagons. They have developed intelligent avian/bat hybrids which serve as spies.
Sarthak move use telekinesis a great deal in their daily lives for moving small objects. Slaves serve them through manual labor. Carts and wagons, pulled by beasts of burden or slaves are a common sight in sarthak cities and towns. In the towns of the Trossoli Dominion, slaves and wagons are used for everything. In the huge subterranean cities, the sarthak typically will establish a network of metal tracks on which iron carts and wagons move along. Large ships plow underground rivers and lakes.
Long distance communication is done via a broad telepathic network which is enhanced by the "mind pools" (discussed above).
Sarthak currency is a mixed assortment of coinage from many surface realms. Rare metal mined from the ground forms the backbone of their currency. Trade and barter of goods and slaves is also a common practice.
The sarthak do not differentiate between the two sexes. Both gender have the same rights and responsibilities.
No formal concept such as marriage. Mates come and go. Often, two or more sarthak may unite in a pact that resembles a business arrangement more than a marriage.
A typical sarthak "family" may have two or more adults (usually at least one adult male and one adult female) that have combined their households, resources and money in a business arrangement. Such unions may or may not produce children. Sarthak groups may have several husbands and wives that cooperate and pool resources. The children belong to all the adults and a raised by the collective. Should one of the females leave a family, she would typically take any children she has birthed with her.
The sarthak see children as a necessary part of continuing the species, but do not overly concern themselves with affection for the child. Upon birth, the child is taken to the temple of the Arskula and the child is tested by the priests there. The child is tested for intelligence, mental capacity, telepathic ability and more. Should the child be found wanting, it is destroyed so as to not weaken the sarthak race. Physical imperfections are ignored. The sarthak are more concerned with the mind than the body.
Children are raised by all the adults of the family until the age of 12. At that age, a child is handed off to the city government for training in mental discipline. After an 8 year course in the "mental arts", the child is returned where he or she may take up a trade, pursue higher education, serve in the military or strike out on their own.
Upon the death of one of their own, the sarthak will extract the brain and take it to the nearest Mind Pool. There, sarthak priests conduct a ceremony (which is shrouded in secrecy) which may revive the brain. This ceremony is not always successful. For those brains which are revived, they are added to one of the Mind Pools. The body of the sarthak is burned and the ashes are entombed in great catacombs beneath the city.
Sarthak have only a single personal name.
Sarthak elevate themselves above others of their race through wealth and telepathic ability. The number of slaves one owns and the size of one's dwelling both speak to wealth. Telepathic ability and mastery of sorcery are considered great works which are respected.
The Mind Pools are much more than a means of extended telepathic range and ability for the citizens of a sarthak city. Each mind pool is a collective consciousness possessing a vast intellect and a memory that spans centuries. Their wisdom is considered infallible. The Mind Pool functions something like a committee and makes all important decisions. However, it thinks with the speed of a single mind. Disputes between the individual minds are solved at the speed of thought, literally.
The sarthak are a race of skilled sorcerers and powerful telepaths. Sarthak rarely enter combat themselves, preferring to use their mental domination to force their slaves and minions to fight for them. When they are forced into direct combat, they hurl heavy objects at their opponents telekinetically. Sarthak telepathy allows them to fight much more effectively since they know what their opponent is going to do. Sarthak have also been known to become invisible, insubstantial, and levitate themselves in battle.
The sarthak compete in a variety of competitions which pit telepath against telepath. They also have a few community wide ceremonies which have a dark and vaguely religious tone.
This website was last updated March 31, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.