The Aperusa are wildspace gypsies. They are swarthy, nimble, and handsome folk who dress in colorful silks and lots of jewelry. For all intents and purposes, they act like groundling gypsies, though no one knows whether they are indeed descendants of them. Obviously of human stock, the Aperusa are silent about their origins, and they resent intrusions into their pasts. This fanatical concealment of their past overrides even their love for money and “stuff”. These fun-loving folk wander wildspace in their slapdash spelljammers, salvaging wrecks, running confidence games, engaging in petty thievery and telling fortunes.
Personality: The Aperusa are a race of carefree wanderers. They are fun loving and flout their roguish charm wherever possible. Nevertheless, they are quite aware that they are alone in a hostile world; clan members are fiercely loyal, first to their nuclear family, then to their clan, then to their race.
Any Aperusa quickly point out that they are lovers, not fighters. They pursue wealth and fun, not combat and its result, pain (with exception of the blades, the few true fighters among them). They gladly let others fight their battles for them; in fact, the Aperusa reward their benefactors by selling them healing balms—at bargain prices.
Aperusan culture is thoroughly sexist. Males, considered the brains and brawn of the clan, make all decisions, enjoy the most freedom, and take the best loot found. Females, besides bearing children, doing domestic duties, and tending the sick and wounded, serve the clan in “glamorous” roles, like fortunetellers, bait for scam victims, and dancers.
Though unpredictable, the Aperusa almost never harm anyone unless they are hurt first (though vendettas against particularly harsh enemies are not unheard of; Aperusa have long memories). They are content to wander the stars, collecting the living that they feel the universe owes them. Even so, their thefts and con games are usually small operations. Since they know what it is to lack things at times, they do not pull scams on poor, starving folk. Unfortunately, few sailors of wildspace are poor, so the gypsies have no qualms about robbing or swindling spelljammers.
Physical Description: Aperusa are obviously a human race, and thus their physical characteristics fall within the normal human parameters (although they tend to be quite lean and agile). Their skin is a shade darker than that of most humans who come from a temperate climate, and their hair is almost always black (although brown and red are not totally unknown), and their eyes are normally green or brown. As mentioned above, they dress usually extremely flashy, in wildly colored, loose fitting garments, augmenting their dress with as much jewelry as they can get.
Relations: Because of the Aperusa’s troublemaking, many other races do not get along with them. The Aperusa are blissfully unaware of this enmity, wonder what all the fuss is about, feign an innocent air, and languidly dismiss the tales of Aperusa cunning and trickery (their most quoted expression is “Who, us?”).
Surprisingly, most dwarven communities get along passably with the Aperusa, viewing them as a source of entertainment and information about the outside world (although they certainly don’t trust them). The Imperial Elven Navy, on the other hand, loathes the Aperusa, seeing them as lying, cheating smugglers and meddlers, who disregard the authority of the IEN.
The Dowhar hate the Aperusa, since they are not only immune to the Dowhar’s mind reading ability, but also flood the market with cheap (and often ill-gotten) goods, thus offering even more competition to the Dowhar, who are already more than hard-pressed to keep up with the Arcane.
The Aperusa are very fond of Kender, and often give them a lift through space, viewing them as kindred spirits. Tinker Gnomes also stand high in the Aperusa’s esteem, since their love of strange gadgets is almost matched by the space gypsies (and because they are usually too absentminded to notice the odd friendly trick).
The Aperusa get along well enough with most of the other races (if they don’t stay too long in one place), although the Arcane seem to make them uneasy.
Alignment: Aperusa tend towards chaotic alignments. Most of them are chaotic neutral, with a sizeable minority being chaotic good or true neutral.
Aperusa Lands: Inquiries about the Aperusa homeworld are usually greeted with “what’s a homeworld?” Still some scholars and shamefully optimistic adventurers insist the homeworld exists, and is cluttered with treasures that all Aperusa clan gives as tribute to the sovereign “king and queen of the Aperusa”. Proponents of the homeworld theory each point to one solid piece of evidence, star maps that show the location of the Aperusa homeworld. Of course, the maps where bought from the Aperusa. Of course no two maps are alike. Of course.
Religion: The Aperusa have no single faith; rather, in an effort not to offend or slight a patron whose good graces may someday be needed, they worship whoever seems most impressive at the moment. If an Aperusa is healed by a cleric of Ptah, for instance, the whole clan will be impressed and undergo a mass conversion. Everyone sings and chants to Ptah, wears Ptah’s symbols, and swears eternal loyalty to Ptah. This lasts until a cleric of another faith performs a similar feat the following week, at which point the Aperusa undergo another mass conversion and swear to follow the new patron to the end of time.
In clans with a cleric, there is often a little more stability. Most Aperusa clerics follow either abstract ideals, such as freedom and chaos, or they venerate a deity of travel and/or trickery.
Language: The Aperusa have their own language, which is quite flowing and heavy on vowels (and is, according to scholars of several spheres, not related to any other known human tongue). Since this language is never taught to outsiders, all Aperusa also speak common, and usually at least one other language.
Aperusa Names: Aperusa names consist of a given name, and clan name. Given names usually sound quite melodic, such as Giotoni or Callondo for men, and Naralda or Vicallota for women. Aperusa clan surnames have a distinctly wildspace flavor, such as Wildjammers, Phlogestos, and the Astralusians.
Adventurers: Aperusa are adventurers at heart. They are always on the move, relying on their wits and native charisma. Even though most Aperusa prefer the security of their clan to a life among strangers, more than enough of them give in to their wanderlust and strike out on their own.
Most Aperusa are rogues, bards, or sorcerers. Wizards and Fighters are not as common, and priests and rangers are quite rare. There are virtually no paladins or monks among the Aperusa, since these careers are not part of the tight knit Aperusa society. Since all Aperusa are part of the same more or less civilized clan structure, there are no barbarians or druids among them. Curiously, all Aperusa are psionically inert, and therefore can never become psions or psychic warriors.
Aperusa of all classes dislike wearing armor. Instead, they prefer magical protection, such as Bracers of Armor and the like.
Aperusa Racial Traits:
- +2 to an ability of their choice and a +2 charisma. Aperusa are extremely handsome and charming.
- Medium-size. As Medium-size creatures, Aperusa have no special penalties or bonuses due to their size.
- Aperusa base speed is 30 ft.
- Human blood: While a distinctive subrace, Aperusa are still considered human for the purpose of being the target of a special ability or magical effect. Aperusa can, for example, use magic items with racially specific human powers as if they were humans. They do not receive the bonus starting feat or skill points per level.
- Nondetection (Su): Aperusa have a continuous non-detection supernatural ability as the spell cast by an arcane spellcaster of their character level.
- Aperusa are totally immune to mind-reading spells, though they can still be affected by mind influencing effects. A side effect of this is that they can never use a magical item that requires their concious mental control, because the same inherent ability that renders them immune to mind-reading prevents such items from divining their intent.
- Aperusa gain the Feign Death feat for free. They do not need to meet the prerequisites.
- Due to their healthy physiques and lifelong exposure to wildspace, Aperusa consume man-days worth of air as if they were small size. This allows them to survive for 2 days in their own personal air envelope (unlike the 1 day for most medium creatures). Those with the feat Slow Respiration increase this time by 10, allowing them to survive up to 20 days.
- Gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against any effect which involves breathing in harmful substances (i.e. against a stinking cloud spell).
- Aperusa are excellent liars, which is one of the reasons why nobody seems to trust them. They gain a +2 racial bonus on bluff checks, but suffer a -2 racial penalty to diplomacy checks.