"Woe is us."

        The cepn (sep-in) are a sullen, silent race of bat-like humanoids who dwell deep beneath the earth. They are slender and light, generally in the range of five to five and a half feet tall, with narrow features and dark, nebulous eyes. Cepn have supple, leathery wing membranes under their arms that allow them to glide short distances, or recover from falls. They are frequently covered in pale scar markings and delicate gothic jewelery, such as spurs or piercings. Their clothing is complex and highly functional, often meant to conceal weapons or other items. Males tend to be a little larger than females, with more elaborate scarring. The cepn speak their own language, which is completely inaudible to other races. They may learn other languages, but most never leave their caves. Generally, cepn can only use special weapons and armor built for their light frames and shortage of fingers. Like bats, cepn prefer to sleep in high places, and always upsidedown, gripping with their long, clawed toes.

        The cepn culture is obsessed with two things: sleep, and death. While such a fascination may seem excessively morbid, it has a purpose. The cepn believe that killing another sentient being cannot be justified unless the killer himself understands death. Their society is one of concentric circles, where the young move gradually towards the centre. Each advancement involves complex and often agonizing rituals, tests, and sacrifices until, at the centre, the young cepn stands face to face with death itself, gaining true respect for its nature and purpose. A cepn kills gently, painlessly, with an eerie tenderness. They will always close the eyes of their victims if possible.

        For all their grim nature, the cepn are capable of more than just gothic reflection and death. They are skilled weaponsmiths and artisans, even if most of their knowledge an advancements have been stolen from other races. They have little love for each other, even among family, but strangely enough they can form very strong attatchments to members of other races, be it love or simply admiration. However, most cepn never come to truly understand the concept of love or loyalty, simply moving on when the whim takes them. Cepn who leave their elaborate cave systems are marked, and never allowed to return, most often venturing into the outer world to become spies or assassins to whomever pays the most money.

        Currently, the cepn seem content to hide under the umbrella of the Decider's power. They are charged with eliminating threats to her empire, such as unwelcome ships, chainbreakers, and dangerous escaped slaves. In addition, they guard a variety of Solinar artifacts that could not be held by the Spiral. One of these is the Solinar Codex. Cepn PCs would likely start as low-ranking scouts assigned to patrol Tamara's eastern coastline in search of unrecognized ships. Higher level characters would eventually become spies, trackers, or members of the Razors guild (assassins). The Decider has also commissioned the cepn to discover a way to conquer the distant island chain of Cekus, which cannot be reached by her naval fleet.

        The cepn are ruled by a council system based on circles. As one learns and gains station, he moves inwards towards the middle, all the while dodging assassination attempts by those attempting to usurp his place. As one moves towards the middle rings of the circle, competition becomes more cruel and intense, and many arrive at the centre with nothing left but a jaded heart. The outer, fourth circle (Novice of the Fourth Circle) contains young assassins and expert scouts, all of whom show particular promise. The third circle (Journeyman of the Third Circle) is made up of experienced assassins and trackers, many of which are responsible for leading sortees of fourth level novices. Members of the second circle (Adept of the Second Circle) include high-level teachers who train lower ranks and advise the journeymen in particular. The highest rank, those who report directly to the Decider, are the five Masters of the First Circle. It is these cepn who decide the cultual agenda, so long as it suits the Decider.

Social Alignment: Cepn society is both highly-structured and morally detatched. Rulership is established through fear and respect, and anyone who doesn't like it rarely lives long enough to complain. Leaders maintain their status only as long as this fear remains in place - the first sign of weakness typically results in replacement through assassination. Non-cepn are often treated as potential prey, and rarely trusted in any case, though there are always exceptions. Fear of reprisals and loss of face keep the cepn culture in line, though in recent years this rigid caste has started to disintigrate.
Economic Structure: Cepn make use of money much as other races do, obtaining their various neccessities through anyone they don't feel obligated to steal from. Many also deal with slaves on some level, often referred to as 'blood prey'. These are often given as exotic gifts or as incentive, with the rarest types of prey commanding especially high prices, either in gold, or in service. Cepn can be paid in either fasion, though they tend to perfer the more universal wealth afforded by gold and precious stones. Most cepn are attatched to the Tamaran economy.
Family Structure: Among the cepn, childhood is a very perilous and unforgiving time. Parents rarely remain together for fear of emotional comitment (and hence vulnerability), and fewer and fewer couples trust each other enough to start any sort of family. This is largely due to increasing levels of violence being brought about by the inner circles of the ruling caste, who still seem bound to the Spiral in some ways. Many young cepn are picked off as potential rivals, or killed in overzealous training rituals, leading to a certain emotional detatchment on the part of the parents.
Taboos: Cepn have never liked the light, especially the sun. The prefer not to talk about it, being that it's considered bad luck and generally irrelevant. They also despise fruit and vegetables, likely a result of the ancient division in their culture between the Nizril and Kizril (See Colian). Most cepn seem to enter any given enclosed area looking up, and are so lothe to turn their backs on people that they would rather back themselves into a corner that fight in the open. Cepn assassins ritually close the eyes of their victims as a gesture of respect, and may even leave a small quantity of their pay on the body as a sort of tithe or condolence.

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength, -1 Charisma: Cepn have hollow bones, which makes them incredibly light and agile. Their skeletal muscles are weaker as a result, however, and they aren't well-liked by surface-dwelling races.
  • Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, cepn have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Cepn base speed is 30 feet. Gliding speed it 60 feet (average mobility).
  • +2 racial saving throw bonus against mind-effecting magic.
  • Darkvision: Cepn see far better in the darkness than in the light. Their natural darkvision extends as far as a surface-dweller's does on a clear day. In daylight, however, they suffer a -1 on all attack rolls and ability checks.
  • +3 racial bonus on Hide and Spot checks. The ability to hang upsidedown and echo-locate are both quite helpful in both these skills.
  • Automatic Languages: Cepn and the Unheard Tongue, which is a sort of cepn cant that uses only their ultrasonic capabilities. Other races cannot hear hepn speaking in this tongue. Bonus Languages: Common, Undercommon

    GLIDE [General]

    You have learned to glide most effectively with your limited wings.
    Prerequisites: Cepn only
    Benefit: You can glide for a total distance of five times your altitude, and your airborne agility increases to Good.
    Special: While gliding, you receive an additional +4 to Move Silently.

    IMPROVED CLIMB [General]

    You don't just climb, you virtually fly up the wall. You can also sleep hanging upsidedown.
    Prerequisites: Cepn only. Climb (8 ranks)
    Benefit: You can Spider Climb for as long as your climbing checks equal or exceed DC 20.
    Special: Double your flanking bonus if you are hanging both behind and above any unaware oponent with a vulnerable head.


    Unless your echo-sight is somehow silenced, you can fight with your eyes closed just as easily as when they're open.
    Prerequisites: Cepn only. Blind-Fight
    Benefit: You suffer no penalties whatsoever due to lack of vision, only incidental penalties that might arise from the inability to read fine detail or discern color. You can also 'see' through fog and smoke as if it weren't there.
    Special: If silenced, you still benefit from the usual Blind-Fight feat, but not this one.

    KILLER INSTICT [General]

    You have a natural ability to sense vital spots and areas with large quantities of blood circulation, mostly for feeding purposes..
    Prerequisites: Cepn only, Rogue only, Base attack bonus +5 or higher
    Benefit: Your sneak attacks inflict d8s instead of d6s.
    Special: You can live almost entirely off the blood of others.

    SHADOW RUNE [Metamagic]

    You have one of the six elemental runes drawn somewhere on your body. This tattoo is permanent, and usually quite prominant.
    Prerequisites: Cepn only. Spellcaster 4+
    Benefit: None.
    Special: When within 30 ft. of a Sun Rune, both marked individuals receive a +2 bonus on all saving throws. This is a supernatural ability.