Children's bedtime stories tell many things of the merciless doivarken (singular: doivarken, adjectival: doivarki). That they are a vile, ghastly, and bloodthirsty race who prey on sentient life. That they were a nightmare of Morrak's, brought to life from the realm of madness. That they abduct lost children and devour them in their underground lairs. That they wordlessly speak insanities to your mind. All of these things are true.
The doivarken are unsettling to behold. They have no eyes at all, but a network of small pores across their face which are sensitive enough to recognize the body heat and neural electricity of nearby creatures. These organs are so sensitive that they can communicate telepathically with any nearby intelligent creature. They have large, veiny ears, and an upturned nose with two huge slits, like a pig or a bat. Their mouth is very wide, and full of long, pointed teeth. Doivarki skin is hairless, pale, and translucent. They have two sets of arms. One set is very close to the body; small, four-fingered, and amphibian-like. The second set actually forms huge membranous wings, each digit ending in a claw. They walk on the balls of sizable feet, and each toe bears a large talon. Their feet are sensitive and can register vibrations. Most doivarken are gaunt and atrophied, making flight impossible, so their wings are usually used to hold squirming prey while it feeds.
Their species has no sexual distinction, all doivarken reproduce asexually. Once every ten years, they are capable of producing a worm-like larva that they insert into a humanoid's skull, usually through the nose. The larva takes control of the body, and gradually begins consuming and repurposing the flesh of the host. A comatose host will transform into a full adult doivarken within a month. Doivarki lifespan is typically only 50 years.
Doivarken are slightly taller than humans: they're on average around 6 feet tall. Because of their build, they tend to weigh slightly less than average for a human of the same height. Their Size score is 0.
Doivarken tend to repurpose the belongings of creatures they abduct. Doivarki clothing and armor is patchwork and mismatched, as they tend to fight over the loot gained from the hunt. They have no use for visual stimulation, and regard things like jewelry as useless. They don't wear any shoes or headgear; both would interfere with their senses. Doivarken in colder climates will save the pelts of animals for warmth, but would rather die from exposure than hunger, so in a pinch they might even eat their cloaks.
The doivarken feel no remorse, sympathy, or affection. All they feel is hunger… and malice. They do not think themselves more intelligent than the creatures on which they dine, simply higher on the food chain. Doivarken are callous, manipulative, sadistic, vengeful, conceited, and unpredictable. They're utilitarian and opportunistic, and so make decisions which will directly benefit themselves.
Sunlight is actually harmful to doivarken, and so they often live in caverns, and emerge at night to hunt. Doivarken don't build their own structures — too much work, but they're happy to take up residence in an abandoned building, anywhere that they can shut the light out. They tend to prefer very natural beds, such as moss and soft earth. Doivarki lairs are full of clutter. They tend to hang onto objects recovered from their prey in case they might be useful in the future. These objects are very meticulously organized and arranged.
Doivarken are exclusively carnivores, and they vastly prefer consuming the flesh of intelligent creatures, but will settle for any meat when hunger sets in. They will only begin to eat a creature if it lives. Their teeth and digestive system support eating all parts of a creature: flesh, bone, fur, and all, whether the creature is diseased or healthy. Their bellies distend after a good meal and they exhibit a sort of meat intoxication. In addition to dining on living tissue, doivarken are known to enjoy all sorts of psychoactive substances, including alcohol, narcotics, and hallucinogens.
Amongst doivarken, it's everyone for themselves. Law is irrelevant. Doivarken tend to only cooperate when forced to do so by someone strong (whether doivarki or otherwise), and even then, these loose alliances only last as long as it takes for someone to overthrow (likely eat) the one in charge. Doivarken keep no traditions and celebrate every warm meal. The only real assurance about doivarken behavior is that a parent will rigorously instruct its progeny about anything it knows for up to five years before they part ways, and at that point, "you're on your own, kid."
Doivarken adore magic, and will attempt to experiment with the arcane frequently. Being naturally blind, they cannot read and have no use for writing, so sorcery is largely self-taught. Doivarken sometimes use magic to dominate and enslave particularly useful creatures, for instance as body guards, servants, or hunters. Slaves can also be used for refreshment, as a doivarken can safely drain a pint of blood from an enslaved creature every six weeks.
Doivarken have no spoken language, and they communicate exclusively with telepathy. Creatures who have heard a doivarken speak to their mind described the language as gibberish. It would be basically impossible to duplicate the sounds in audible speech. Doivarken are able to learn additional languages to use telepathically, and often times this knowledge comes from enslaved creatures.
No creature in its right mind would think it could befriend a doivarken, if it believes that they even exist! However, particularly nefarious or callous people might see no problem with cooperating with, or even commanding one, given its obedience. To a doivarken, everyone is potentially a meal.
Doivarken are almost always spellcasters. It's not uncommon to also find herbalists, apothecaries, and chemists among them. Doivarken have no use for money, really, since you'd find almost no one who would willingly do business with them, so any occupation is going to be a means to an end to procure warm bodies. You can find doivarken in the ranks of the Blades of Morrak who deem the Immortal of madness to be more deserving of a blood offering than themselves.
Doivarken favor stealth and cunning over brawn. Therefore, it's much more likely that they'll lay a trap for opponents rather than engaging them in melee combat. Their chaotic minds make the way of the martial artist difficult or impossible, although most are pretty good at grabbing creatures while they chow down. Since doivarken are almost always spellcasters, it's rare to find one who prefers weapons over a volley of spells, but when push comes to shove, a doivarken sticks to tooth and claw. Doivarken on the battlefield are basically unheard of, since most wars are fought during the daytime, and it would take a considerable leader to organize a sizeable number of doivarken were they to fight after sundown.
It's no secret the driving force behind a doivarken is to fill its belly. Good motivations for a doivarken: finding an excellent food source, destroy the competition, or locate secret magic to expand its arsenal. It might even just delight in spreading chaos and insanity in its wake.
- Carnivore – Doivarken have a mouth full of pointy, razor-sharp teeth. Their bite attack deals 2 Harm, takes 3 AP, and uses the Hand-to-hand skill.
- Sunburn – Sunlight is poisonous to the nocturnal doivarken. If they're outdoors with any skin exposed while the sun is up, every minute they must make a Stamina check at DL 20 or move down the Knockout Track. Once unconscious, they gain the poisoned condition. Doivarki Sun Poisoning is considered a Level One poison, so they suffer 1 point of damage every round. The only antidote is darkness.
- Telepathy – The doivarken speak without words. They can communicate using any language they know, directly to another intelligent creature's mind, at will, without any possibility of eavesdropping. This ability is limited to a range of 10 feet for every point of Psyche.
- Land of the Blind – Doivarken permanently gain the blinded condition, which renders them immune to any effect that requires sight, such as Flare. Even though they lack eyes, doivarken can "see" perfectly well even in complete darkness by using their hearing, scent, and heat sensory systems.
- Ravenous – If a doivarken feasts upon a living creature, it can consume its very life force. When it lands a bite attack and deals damage, it can heal its own HP for the same amount by spending 1 MP.
- Chaos Made Flesh – Originally hailing from a swirling realm of pandemonium in the Deep Worlds, the doivarken can steel themselves from mutative magic. They receive a +2 bonus on Resilience checks.