Between progenitor scions armed with devastating technology, thaumatologically charged undying immortals tied to the spirits of the Earth direct, and hellspawn born of the ultimate elemental blackness of the universe, Humanity seems to have been dealt a bad hand. The third child of their creators, they seem to be leftover, built from mundane stock, born without a grand purpose or strategy of fate. In the dawn of times, their settlements were crude and built unassisted by gods or spirits. This, in the end, is what unified them and brought them their purpose. Man struggled, and fought, and survived solely by the merit of their own actions.
Men fight, and win, or die. There is no middle ground for them.
Human Racial Template for GURPS 4th edition
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The first clans of men carved out their homesteads in the Great Green sheltered by the timbers about them, drinking from the cold waters of the Deep Loch. Life was a constant struggle; against beasts of the land who hunted them with malicious savagery, against the difficult work of tilling land unsuited to sustain, and against the cosmic turn of events unfolding around them. Without magitek engines or elemental gifts, all of life’s work was bent to fortification and survival. Greyhold was originally founded as a Keep which spread, eventually, into a sprawling city only when the surrounding countryside was claimed by sword and spear. Bloody struggle beat out the orc, goblin and ogre. Pitched battle waylaid the savage tribes of ibixian raiders. The feral horde that would be claimed by the Ogre Mage’s first were driven from the fertile valley, by the hands of the first great kings of Men.
The study of the world around them was a constant pursuit, originally druidic and cultivating, it turned scholarly and then scientific; the progression of understanding and engineering underpinning the progress of humanity. Construction and great ramparts built by grand design, with innovations in farming, forging and engineering all falling out from the spoils and exploits of war. As time marched on for the other races, languishing on the progenitors great works and gifts, man hammered out his own pace, generations rising and falling, propping up each further line with their works. The torch would be passed each time to a stronger hand, from sharp spear to mailed fist. From sword forged in flame, to eldritch power plucked from the wellspring of the gods. The discovery of thaumaturgic power was a tipping point for man, and their harnessing of magical forces would save them from destruction, in the end.
The demonspawn came first for the dwarves, infesting their empire like a rotted vine, penetrating their impervious defenses from within. As the tide rose and swept to the elves, they too fell like a forest ablaze in wildfire, the chaos spreading branch to branch, each conflict sparked anew in a random chaos of war. When the ranks turned and marched for man, all was nearly lost in the first days. The legions beat out a drum of war and strode for the frontiers of men. They broke on the walls like waves on a shore, eroding the mighty grasp Man had scraped out for themselves, taking it back inch by inch, bloody step by bloody step. The horde swarmed, man fought, and as the losses mounted and the walls fell in, nearly all were lost. Except for an elite few; wizards, scholars, some cowards and some heroes. All men, and all alive in the dark, in hiding.
They tapped the wellspring eternal, pierced the Veil, and built the Ansible of Spirits with the Dwarves and Elves. The underground empire providing a Karak-keep to build it, the Anhaern providing navigation of the spiritual waters, and Greyhold’s last great mages providing the necessary power. It saved them, in the end, setting into motion the events that would see their Kingdom rise as a beacon of hope.
For a time.
Humanity rose again from the ashes of this conflict like a phoenix rising in the sun; blazing glorious and full of an imperious rage. They reclaimed their homelands from the hordes of darkness, putting to heel any who would resist or deny their right. Greyhold was rebuilt, the keep soaring above the skyline as a battle standard all could rally to. Academ was founded, and academy of mages founded by the royal line, educating the elite in the true forces of the universe. Bandobras coalesced from a convenient neighborhood of plantations into a league of economic power ruled by princes and barons alike. Men thrived, frontiers expanding and abutting to the borders of elven and dwarven territory, secure without and within.
And it was good, for a time.
Generations rose and fell. The torch was passed. The glory of a Kingdom forged by human struggle and toil shone in the dark. The light waxed and waned, and again, was nearly snuffed out by the horned king.
The rallied hordes of the demons had been stewing, bubbling with malice and jealousy, their cursed lands darkened by magics spewed by eldritch machinations. Their ruler was the greatest among them, massive and burly, crowned with wicked horns and trailing chains of slaves and underlings. In his right hand, a wicked barbed spear of unholy power, in his right, the very flames of darkness themselves. This was not, however, the sole magical power in the world. Darkness did not rule the land without a shining light to cast it out.
The Grey Blade had been forged, and the true King of man could wield it.
Enchanters twisted the power arcane, rivers of universal energies veining the metal of a weapon so sharp, it was fabled to be able to cut the Progenitors themselves (or so they say, the fabled creators lost to the annals of time by this point). Man marched in legion, pike held high and gleaming carrying the silver standard of Greyhold aloft in the blazing sun. Ranks of dwarven artillery re-purposed to human hands and services. Elven steeds re-bred to hold aloft riders in shimmering steel. Man had taken everything the world could offer and crafted a fine jeweled kingdom, and the stain of darkness would not mar their homeland anew.
Battle raged. Blood was shed. Fire spewed shot and pike skewered flesh. Ruined masses of beastmen fell by the score. In the conflagration, the sword was drawn. Swung and struck true. The great and terrible ramshackle leader of a screaming horde was felled, beheaded, his body a chunk of simple meat and bone.
The horde dispersed. The war was won. The kingdom of Gorgoth forbidden to the wastes once again.
For a time.
In the years since the Alliance, tensions have drawn things thin. The dwarves are concerned with the abuses of their ancient and sacred weaponry, reduced to simple mechanics and chemistry by the scholars of men. The elves are a tumultuous rabble of druids, concerned with the life of the land or the ‘abuses’ of magic, distracted as always by their own incomprehensible tribal court. The Kingdom itself is twisted about to the interior; the Duchy of Bandobras having successfully vied for a kind of independence from the greater lands, safe to rule their own comings and goings without express oversight from the Throne. These are dangerous times, not yet steadied from the upheaval of war.
But life goes on. There is work to be done. Fields need sowing and planting. Hammers and nails need forging. The loom is thrown and the caravan marches on, heedless of time and the worries of a few with doubts. The Kingdom of Greyhold, built by human hands, will continue on being rebuilt and maintained by those human hands.
For a time.