kalazotz

The kalazotz are generally peaceful humanoid bat creatures roughly the size of gnomes. They are like the camazotz but smaller and less evil.   Most kalazotz live underground, but some kalazotz have homes in forests.  They prefer to hang their nests in the highest places they can find, either stalacites or tall trees.

Basic Information

Biological Traits

Roughly the size of gnomes, kalazotz have humanoid bodies, but batlike heads and wings. Kalazotz have wing flaps under their arms and their wingspans tend to be slightly wider than they are tall.   Kalazotz feet are fully prehensile. Their hands have better manual dexterity than their feet, but kalazotz feet are pretty versatile allowing kalazotz to switch weapons or tools quickly and easily while flying. Kalazotz also have better grip strength with their feet than their hands. Kalazotz can sleep hanging upside down by their feet but most cannot hang by their hands near that long unless they are exceptionally athletic (reverse hanging is a body weight excerise some warriors do for training).   Kalazotz can live upwards of sixty-five years. Kalazotz pups can fly unaided around age two. They enter adolescence around ten years and are fully grown by age fifteen. Females remain fertile through age thirty-five while males tend to remain fertile for life.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Kalazotz can live upwards of sixty-five years. Kalazotz pups can fly unaided around age two. They enter adolescence around ten years and are fully grown by age fifteen. Females remain fertile through age thirty-five while males tend to remain fertile for life.   Most females give birth to single offspring, but twin births are far more common among the kalazotz than they are among humans, roughly one in four births result in twins.   Kalazotz couples are usually monogamous mating for life. Kalazotz believe very much that it takes a “colony to raise a pup.” Young kalazotz grow up with a lot of attention not only from their parents but from their aunts and uncles and older cousins as well.   Kalazotz usually live in colonies of 40 to 50 adults with roughly 20 pups and adolescents in tow. Kalazotz show great deference to their elders who are in charge of most aspects of colony life. Most colonies maintain infrequent contact with three or four other colonies. Periodically they will meet to swap mating partners and to meet to keep apprised of events that affect them all.   Most kalazotz colonies are slightly matriarchal with female elders receiving slightly more deference than male elders, and there is a general assumptions that males should be willing to die for the greater good if it comes down to that   This is a value they inherited from the camazotz, but the kalazotz are far less extreme. The camazotz are very matriarchal and view their males as very expendable encouraging brutal darwinism so only the strongest males mate. Kalazotz colonies will only sacrifice their males for the greater good in very dire straights.

Facial characteristics

Their faces are far more bat-like than humanoid, with large pronounced ears, dark eyes, and fanged mouths.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Kalazotz are regionally native to West Colassia. Most kalazotz live underground with the exceptions of the tree dwelling Codenya kalazotz, the now extinct Grey Forest kalazotz, and the newly formed Barony of Bats and in lesser number throughout the Border Baronies Region.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Kalazotz names resemble traditional Mesoamerican names.

Average Technological Level

Kalazotz have developed primitive metallurgy and rudimentary agricultural techniques. Many, though not all, kalazotz have formal alliances with dwarves. These kalazotz have full access to all the technology dwarves have.   Kalazotz craft of fame is their weaving skills. They make excellent ropes, nets, baskets, and large hammocks. The massive hammocks are the base of most of their permanent settlements, generally placed as high as possible in tall trees or among stalactites of cavern ceilings underground.   These hamock/nets are used to store food and other supplies and provide shelter and a means of staying up for their colony members too young, too old, or ill to hang upside with their feet.

Common Dress Code

Kalazotz do not need to wear clothes unless they enter very cold environments.   Kalazotz have few inclinations towards modesty and they prefer to be unencumbered as possible for flying, so they are usually naked. Kalazotz that interact with humanoids often regularly often choose to wear loin cloths to put other races at ease.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

Kalazotz have an extensive oral history, but kalazotz that live in or near dwarf holdings have begun keeping written accounts of their colony history. They have also adopted ancestor worship customs from the dwarves and this is slowly spreading among Kalazotz everywhere.   Some colonies have begun carving hanging stalae out of tree branches or stalactites to honor their ancestors.

Common Taboos

While they are not true pacifists, kalazotz culture encourages seeking non-violent solutions first whenever possible.   Kalazotz are obligate carnivores and they do like to eat their meat raw and to drink blood from animals.  They can survive on grains and vegetables but it is uncomfortable for them to do so. They know this disturbs most humanoids so they prefer to eat in private.

History

The details of how and when are unclear, but most accept that the kalazotz are an off shoot of the larger and more violent camazotz. At some point a faction of camazotz forswore Greymoria in favor of Mera and this led to them physiologically evolving into a new species.   Early in the Third Age, the kalazotz spread among many underground realms. While not harmed by sunlight or any other common environmental aspect of the surface world, kalazotz generally feel safer underground and rarely venture above ground for long. When kalazotz do venture above ground long term, they favor areas with very tall trees.   Originally the kalazotz thought the camazotz were driven extinct by the Second Unmaking and the surviving camazotz were unaware the kalazotz existed at all. When they discovered each other, the groups immediately began fighting.   While individually weaker, the kalazotz had greater numbers and better ability to work in groups than the camazotz, so they usually got the better end of bat-on-bat violence. Unfortunately, the camazotz had developed a foul reputation and many humanoids that spotted kalazotz assumed they were some kind of camazotz. It took the kalazotz a long time to get over the bad press they inherited. The legacy of the camazotz figuratively and literally drove the kalazotz deeper underground.   When Mordock the Destroyer  drove the dwarves out of Meckelorn, Mordreck had a huge variety of different creatures in his army. The kalazotz were virtually the only “monster race” that sided with the dwarves instead of Mordreck. The kalazotz provided shelter to dwarven refugees, especially children. Many generations later, the dwarves have not forgotten that the kalazotz were a friend when friends were all too few. Kalazotz and dwarf relations are very cordial. Admittedly, the dwarves find the kalazotz weird and gross, but they still recognize them as weird and gross friends.   This has helped the kalazotz improve their reputation among other civilized races as word from the dwarves spread. However, kalazotz are mostly accepted in West Colassia. In areas far from dwarven influence, it's less common for humanoids to have amiable relations with kalazotz though by no means unheard of.   The Codenya kalazotz kalazotz have actually been allies to the wood elves much longer than the dwarf influenced kalazotz have allied with the dwarves but there are a lot fewer kalazotz among wood elves than kalazotz among dwarves.

Common Myths and Legends

By their own legends, their founder was a camazotz who prophesied the Second Unmaking and predicted the camazotz would need to change their ways to survive the coming cataclysm.   Mera made them smaller over successive generations and gradually pulled the inherit rage from their souls while this happened.   Most outsiders aware of legend doubt the kalazotz's legend. There is no record of any penitent camazotz before or during the Second Unmaking. There is no record of any oracle of any race predicting the Second Unmaking and the oldest recorded sightings of the kalazotz by others races were several centuries after the end of Unmaking.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Apart from the camazotz who are their eternal foes, the kalazotz seek friendly interaction with almost all other races.   They do not always see their desire for peaceful relations reciprocated. When pressed by violent outsiders, kalazotz will usually fly away and relocate to a more remote area. In general northern kalazotz will try to talk first while southern kalazotz are more prone to isolationism.   Relations between kalazotz and dwarves are usually very good due to historical ties between the two races. Both Meckelorn and Stahlheim have small kalazotz minorities integrated into their society. Among dwarven lands, kalazotz still value their privacy and are more likely to be found on the outskirts and frontiers of dwarven lands than in large dwarven cities.   Kalazotz have used their friendly relations with dwarves as a springboard to friendly relations with other humanoids but this is not possible in areas that do not have many dwarves.   In some areas, kalazotz are still viewed by most of the "Flightess" as a threat. In these places, some maverick kalazotz have said maybe the camazotz have the right idea. If the flightless are going to treat like kalazotz like monsters, then the kalazotz should act like monsters. So far this is just a topic for philosophical debates, the kalazotz still live peacefully…for now. Some elders have noticed that the pups of those who endorse the potential of violence against the Flightless are a just a little bit bigger than average and have slightly larger claws and fangs and slightly fussier tempers.
Genetic Ancestor(s)
Lifespan
65 years
Average Height
Adult kamazotz average around three and a half feet tall and have roughly five foot wing spans. On average males and females have roughly the same height and wingspan, but males are more variable so the biggest and smallest batfolk tend to be male.
Average Weight
Most adult kalazotz weigh between forty and sixty pounds. Males and females are roughly the same weight on average, but males are more variable so the biggest and smallest batfolk tend to be male.
Kalazotz Character Creation   Kamazotz have the same 1-5 attribute spread that humans have.   Stealthy: Kalazotz are small and nimble and they fly silently as owls. Kalazotz receive a -1 difficulty bonus on all Stealth rolls even in well-lit areas. Kalazotz are near undetectable in the dark.   Flight: Kalazotz can fly assuming there is enough room to spread their wings. A kalazotz's ability to fly is seriously impaired when they carry loads greater than their own weight, the best they can do is manage a slow fall. Kalazotz have trouble flying long distances while carrying loads exceeding half their own weight. “Injured” kalazotz are limited to carrying half their weight while staying airborne. “Wounded” kalazotz cannot carry more than a quarter of their weight. “Mauled” kalazotz can barely carry anything and “Crippled” kalazotz cannot fly at all.   Flight maneuvers based on agility roll Dexterity + Athletics. Flight maneuvers over long distances roll Stamina + Athletics. Most kalazotz take an Athletics specialty in flight to get a bonus die on flying rolls.   If the kalazotz want to fight foes while airborne, a kalazotz’s Dodge, Melee, Brawl, and Archery abilities are capped at his or her Athletics rating much like how a humanoid riding a horse has his/her combat abilities capped by his Ride ability.   Keen Senses: Kalazotz suffer no penalty in darkness and receive a -1 difficulty bonus to all situations, even in well lit areas.   Claws and Fangs: Kalazotz can inflict their Strength lethal damage with their claws. They can inflict Strength +1 lethal damage with their bites, but they have to grapple opponents first in order to land a bite.     Gross to outsiders: Appearance rolls and first impression Charisma and Manipulation rolls are +2 difficulty when dealing with humanoids who are not accustomed to kalazotz.   Puny: Kalazotz receive a +1 difficulty penalty on Strength rolls, including damage rolls. They receive a +1 difficulty penalty on Willpower rolls when making feat of Strength checks.   Kalazotz player characters begin play with 10 fewer freebie points.

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Cover image: by sciencemag.org