Poised silently in the boughs of the trees, bows drawn tight and watching their quarry with keen eyes, the Wukara are the protectors of the natural world, residents of the woods. Their legends have it that they are the seedlings of the First Tree, which was lost to the world long ago.
The Wukara are willowy humanoids. Their features resemble the forest from which they come: their skin is reminiscent of bare wood which becomes barky and gnarled as they age. Wukaran women possess hair full of flowers or harvest wheat, or red leaves. Their many fingers and toes are long and willowy and they can have up to twelve digits on each hand. Their coloring changes as they age, mimicking the seasons, starting lush and green as they are born and turning to a withering grey in the winter of their life. Wukara lifespans are often short, but vary wildly. Some Wukara can expect to live only fifty years or so at most, while others can live upwards of 300 years. Wukara also continue to grow for their entire lives and growth rate is more or less universal, so it is easy to spot the eldest members of their race based on their height. Most adult members range from 5′ to 7′ in height.
Wukara clothes and armors are made of leathers, cotton, and hardened, reinforced wood. Their "hair" is actually made of plant matter, so they are technically hairless, but the males of the species sometimes do grow "beards" of a moss-like green fuzz. They like naturally occurring forest colors in their clothing and so are seen in lots of greens, yellows, browns, and grays with a little red thrown in. Wukara jewelry usually consists of polished, dyed, or lacquered bone, wood, or found natural materials. Their weapons and armor have a thin, aerodynamic feel and feature many organic materials or symbiotic living organisms.
"Waste not and want not" is a typical Wukara saying. Members of this race like to make the most out of everything. They forage, mend, and save.
The Wukara are proud and defiant and can be callous or antagonistic toward those who do not accord the forests or their kind with respect. Yet in times of plenty, when they are approached with respect and consideration, they are likely to share the splendors of their forests with weary travelers and provide guests with salves, wines, and provisions.
Wukara dwellings are made from the trees themselves. The Wukara Gnarled Ones possess the ability to "wood-whisper": by speaking in the language of the trees, they can coax a living tree to bend, warp and grow into shapes necessary to build abodes. In this way, the tribes speak with the trees, and it is not uncommon for a Wukara to adopt a particular tree like a child or pet. The largest Wukara population by far is in the forest of Qaeld, but they can be also be found in Bosemya, The Blue Wood, The Dusk Wood, and Haven. Since the Wukara can coax weapons, armor and items out of living wood, they have little need to chop down trees and view those who do with extreme prejudice.
The Wukara are clanlike, referring to their clans as "branches." They are extremely like-minded within their particular community, valuing unity. Wukara distrust books and prefer a vocal impartation of wisdom as opposed to the widespread dissemination of printed knowledge. When Wukara die violently they harden, forming petrified statues of Tombwood. These statues are often used to dissuade outsiders from entering the bounds of their lands, as the statues are often eerie or disturbing. Rarely, the Tombwood is used in the creation of items, weapons or armor, as it is extremely hard and resilient to weathering. Wukara that reach the end of their natural lives don't die exactly. Instead, they have become so much like an actual tree that they pass into a torpor and remain in that dormant (but still live) state, growing just like a tree. Dark talk has been heard of Wukara like this being awakened by acts of nearby violence, and wreaking havoc on all involved.
Wukara reproduce asexually with a woodland ritual that involves the removal of one of their many digits which is then placed in the heart of a tree. The small part of the Wukara grows inside of the tree and possesses a limited awareness of the outside world as it grows. When the Wukara reaches approximately eight years of age, the tree will die, and the young being inside will emerge. In this way, Wukara offspring are nearly identical to their forebears, but minor differences in appearance are evident at their emergence and will grow in prominence as the young one ages.
Most Wukara are of a Naturalist bent, and those with Entropist or Industrialist tendencies are quickly ostracized by others of their kind who do not share their views. Wukara get along best with Sobaki and Humans. Wukara are intrigued by the strange customs of the city of Tenebra, but also find many of them repugnant.
A quest to save a sapling, last of its kind, or a hunt for the evil beast which destroyed not only an entire grove, but a group of Wukara children would make fine reasons for a Wukara to join in an adventure. As would fighting off a horde of gear golems, seeking an end to an evil mage's curse of endless winter, or solving the mystery of a farming town blight. Sometimes solitary Wukara are the result of estrangement from a branch or the sole survivor of some catastrophe, and may be in search of a new place in the world. Members of this race have little need for material possessions and so their motivations are often intrinsic.
- Beastmaster: Due to the time they spend in the wilderness in the company of animals, Wukara receive a +2 bonus to Animal Control.
- Wardrone Menace: Whenever a Wukara makes a hand-to-hand attack against a mechanical creature, he can spend one or more MP before the attack is resolved. If the attack succeeds, the mechanical creature progresses one step down the Knockout Track for each MP spent.
- Touch of Jaeis: Wukara can heal with a touch, by spending 2 MP and 4 AP, and making a Healing check against a DL of 10. For each point of success, the Wukara heals a point of damage (even Tainted Damage) sustained by a target he is currently touching.