A cavalier is someone who knows how to seize the reigns and ride. To ride the terro that soars, the horus that sees dangers in its rider's future, the wind-ships of the Zomek. A cavalier can ride anything. Some say that the greatest of cavaliers ride the wind itself, as ghosts do.
There are no formal rosters, no monastery... riding, shooting and the blade are taught father to daughter, master to apprentice, drunk to generous bartender. Every cavalier is a different kind of person, but most are for hire, and all but a spare few are killers.
The Qans and the Ozaks both employ cavaliers in their centuries-long war across the steppe. Few Zaius care to ride, but often a science-priest of the ape men will employ a cavalier as a bodyguard.
The one sure mark of the cavalier trade are their hats, broad and long, warding the sand out of their killer's eyes.
Like humans, Zaius are a higher ape. While physically less versatile than humans, they are much stronger, faster, and more resilient. They require proportionally more food and water; in these latter days, this has made them primarily a people of cities and other large settlements.
Zaius are well-known as physicians, priests and engineers.
An adult Zaius walks about 7 feet erect.
Head for Numbers: You can compute mathematical formulae in your head with extraordinary speed. This is particularly true for physics and geometry -- you'll rarely miss catching a thrown object, and can intuitively understand all kinds of engineering issues. Roll a bonus die when this ability is useful.
Durable: You are enormously difficult to kill. Roll a bonus die on any stabilization or healing check.
Land Legs: You are not well-suited to the riding of animals. Roll a penalty die when attempting to ride or grapple with a traveling beast.
The city-state of Skarrus is home to the lizard like Skarrans. Iron and wood are scarce near the terraced city of Skarrus, but rock is plentiful. The Skarrans are reknown for their ability with a sling made from the tough leather of a Yumoc. The Skarrans long arms allow for greater torque and speed when hurling the multitude of different rock ammos.... obsidian to shatter and fragment, tungsten for stunning, red jade for piercing. The elite Skarran slingers use pole slings, but these are rare items and are awarded only to the best. Skarran pole fighting is a beautiful art of defense and subduing, involving not only the pole and the body of the Skarran, but the sling itself on the pole for tripping, binding and distraction.
The poor city-state hires out Skarrans for caravan guards and sky-galleon marines, but their tenacious firepower is not the only thing Skarrans are reknown for. They are famous on Mars for their beautiful art and architecture. Their stone cisterns are modern wonders of aquaculture. Eeking water out for a substantial network of canals and irrigation ditches from both the sky and the butte that is the heart of Skarrus.
The Yumoc is a large, tough-skinned herd animal about ten feet long and weighing around a thousand pounds. Yumocs are cultivated for food and hide by Skarrans and humans along the northwestern part of the Red Kingdoms.
Despite their large size, yumocs require relatively little water, and can be sustained on the thin grasses of the Skarrus region. With their long, straw-like tongues, yumocs are also adept at siphoning off the mosses that grow on the undersides of the Skarran water works. They are sometimes seen farther south as pack animals, particularly among companies including Skarran mercenaries.
The flintlock is the most common ignition mechanism used in modern ranged weaponry. The trigger mechanism strikes a piece of flint against a piece of steel, igniting a primary charge of explosive powder, which in turn ignites a charge of photonic sand. The resulting flash is channeled by a mirrored barrel and lens to produce a coherent energy discharge in a uniform direction. The discharge is of sufficient intensity to burn through most personal armor, not to mention most persons.
The reliability of flintlock weaponry was a primary factor in the tribes of the greens abandoning metal armor. At least one flintlock pistol should be in the kit of any fighting person not fortunate enough to possess classical weaponry.
Tomb stalkers are strange machines that haunt the Cydonian monuments. Most who encounter a tomb stalker see it at a distance, or hear its low, keening voice on the wind.
Tomb stalkers stand at a variety of heights, though rarely less than three stories tall, on three flexible, metal limbs. These limbs descend from a ridged, metal head from which also dangle a variety of manipulators and tentacles.
The characteristic rust-coloring of the tomb stalker gives credence to the theory these machine-beasts spend long periods of time lurking beneath the sand.
Their most feared ability is the death-ray, a beam of light emitted from the stalker's single, ovoid "eye." Creatures struck by the death-ray are alleged to experience swift deadening of the nervous system, before being raised and drained of vital fluids by the stalker's tentacles.
Tomb stalkers are the bane of those who raid the Cydonian temples and graveyards, but whether they are active guardians, opportunistic predators, or something else entirely remains a subject for campfire speculation.