Dwarf, Zakhar

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Dwarf, Zakhar
Climate/Terrain:Tropical, subtropical, temperate Subterranean
Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:Varies (3-18)
Treasure:M(×5); (G,Q(×20),R)
Alignment:Varies, but usually neutral
No. Appearing:2-20
Armor Class:3 (10)
Hit Dice:1
No. of Attacks:1
Damage/Attack:1-8 (weapon)
Special Attacks:See below
Special Defenses:See below
Magic Resistance:See below
Size:S (3' tall)
Morale:Elite (13)
XP Value:Varies

Zakhar are a mysterious race of mountain dwarves that has withdrawn from contact with all other dwarven races.

Zakhar have white skin and clear eyes resembling glass marbles. Their hair is white or gray. Zakhar are smaller than other dwarves, seldom more than three feet tall. Their arms and legs are thin. They wear dark robes with bulky hoods concealing most of their faces, along with skin-tight leather gloves and boots. Their voices are low and soft, barely above a whisper.

Zakhar are grim, even-tempered, and unfeeling They have no respect for life other than members of their own race.

Combat: Zakhar never leave their homes to look for trouble, but all intruders are dispatched promptly. They do not parley. Zakhar first disorient victims with their spells, then strike with their weapons. Zakhar prefer weapons of their own design, among them the needle puff (a blowgun firing mineral shards over a three-foot-diameter area up to ten feet away, 1-2 points of damage), the slasher mace (a quartz mace with six razor-edged projections; 1d6 points of damage), and the sickle-hook (a curved metal bar with hooks that can be thrown up to 30 foot, 1d4 points of damage).

Habitat/Society: In ancient times, the Zakhar kingdom was established beneath the Khalkist Mountains. They originally maintained cordial relations with the other mountain dwarf races, but a few decades after the rise of the Hylar, the Zakhar were ravaged by mold plague. Though the fever affected only Zakhar, the Hylar and other dwarven races severed relations with the Zakhar, refusing them aid and forbidding them from entering their cities. The Zakhar withdrew, and their capital was deserted overnight. An antidote was eventually developed but not before 95% of the Zakhar population died. Though the mold still exists, those Zakhar still left are immune to its etfects.

The Zakhar continue to suffer from mold plague, more than 80% of the females are infertile, and those capable of giving birth can do so only once every five years. The infant mortality rate exceeds 50%. and 5% of surviving infants are deaf and blind.

A typical group of ten adult male Zakhar consists of five 1st-level fighters, three 2nd- to 3rd-level fighters, two 4th-level or higher fighters, and one 4th-level or higher savant. Savant Zakhar have the use of blindness (50-yard range) and deafness; each of these spells can be cast three times per day. The eldest Zakhar, often the savant, serves as the leader of his group. They are excellent metalsmiths, sculptors, miners, and poets.

Ecology: Zakhar have completely disassociated themselves from all other races. They raise small herds of subterranean lizards which they ride. Lizards too old or too uncooperative to ride are butchered for eating. Zakhar have no taste for alcohol, preferring a tea.