Children of Tulkas (3.5e Bloodline)
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Children of Tulkas
In Middle-Earth, Tulkas was among the Valar, the last to descend to Middle-Earth and the only one to do so specifically to do battle with Meklor. He is described as follows:
"Tulkas Astaldo, the Valiant, came last to Arda, unwilling to allow Melkor to destroy what the other Valar had wrought. Greatest in strength and deeds of prowess, Tulkas the Strong cares little for past or future, and is no counsellor, but his laughter filled Arda scattering cloud and darkness--and Melkor fled before him (the Silmarillion)."
Tulkas also is noted to have wandered far and wide over Middle-Earth, hunting the servants of Melkor. In the distant East of Middle Earth, high in an forbidding mountain range, there lived at that time a race of Men isolated and poor, but hardy and strong, despising evil, much like Tulkas himself. (In the time of the last battle against Melkor, they sent an army to the fight, and would have been counted among the Edain, save that they were diverted by fogs raised by Ulmo. Some say these fogs were sent to preserve this people (who afterwards were called the Astaldain, their name for themselves in the beginning being lost) for other tasks and some said the fogs were at the bidding of Tulkas or Manwe himself, to conceal from the knowledge of Nessa and her brother Orome what Tulkas had done.
For in his wandering many years before, Tulkas lay with one the daughters of of this people, and she was after with child. Some say he did this for the sake of a great love, a love concealed and not known even in song. But it is held by the Wise and believed by the people themselves that as Aule forged Dwarves and Yavanna begged of Eru the tree-shepherd, the Ents, Tulkas lay with a daughter of man, mingling a part of his holy substance with her, to strengthen Men and give them guardians against the dark, especially in the East, where the darkness would always fall heaviest, and the evil Powers take it as their home.
What Manwe and Eru above him thought of this plan, none can say. It seems impossible they would have endorsed it; yet, it seems equally impossible that Tulkas would have undertaken such a thing in defiance of their will. But the thing was done.
In the ages that followed, the Astaldain (as they were thereafter known) kept for the most part to their mountain homes, save for some that would go among the lowlanders, doughty fighters and far hunters always, bane of evil, protectors of those without the power to protect themselves. They fought unlike other men, because of the the knowledge Tulkas shared with them in the years he abided with them, and because of the puissance of their being, unlike that of other Men: they fought without armor and without weapons, but the echo of strength and speed of their holy ancestor which was in them served for both.
|2nd||--||+2 Tumble||Improved Unarmed Strike|
|4th||+2 Tumble||Improved Unarmed Strike||Power Attack|
|5th||--||Flying Kick||Vala affinity +2|
|6th||--||Power Attack||Reckless Charge|
|8th||Improved Unarmed Strike||Improved Grapple||Powerful Charge|
|10th||+2 Tumble||Vala Affinity +2||Grappling Block|
|11th||--||--||Vala affinity +4|
|12th||--||Grappling Block||Combat Reflexes|
|13th||Str +1||--||Balance +2|
|14th||+2 Tumble||Jump +2||Spell Resistance 2 + HD|
|16th||Improved Grapple||Combat Reflexes||Improved Bull Rush|
|17th||--||--||Vala affinity +6|
|18th||--||Reckless Charge||Shock Trooper|
|19th||--||--||Sense Motive +2|
|20th||Vala affinity +2||Powerful Charge||Damage resistance 5/evil|
This bloodline is created according to the rules in Unearthed Arcana. Fans of Stephan R Donaldson will note a strong resemblance to his Haruchai. I have always wanted to bring these fantastic characters into a D&D game, but the rules always thwarted me. They are clearly human; yet they are clearly more than human. They are not a good subject for a new class, yet they clearly have abilities particular to themselves, especially skill in unarmed combat. I was looking at the bloodline rules (I have never written a bloodline before; too damn much table-making) and I thought of Tulkas, who is clearly and repeatedly described by Tolkien as a great "wrestler" who fought without arms and armor. He's a passionate guy, so we can imagine him dallying with a mortal, although in the canon, to my knowledge, no Vala ever did so. It still seems reasonable to me (and not just because Tulkas could be considered the rashest of the Valar) in light of the Valar's history of freelancing in defense of Middle-Earth, some of which is cited above: the making of the Dwarves and the Ents, Ulmo's advice and general meddling, the sending of the Wizards. Tulkas is a stand-up-fight kind of a guy, but if he were to try and take a hand in protecting Men by meddling with Eru's design, one can imagine that this is how he would do it: by passing on a portion of his strength and teaching Men to fight for themselves.
Gameplay notes: "Vala affinity" is pretty useless however you slice it, but affinities with the ancestor type are part of the bloodline template. Players should feel free to take these feats at any time: the UA rules specifically state that if a player takes a bloodline bonus feat using one of his or her feat slots, the player may take any feat; that is, the specific feat named in the description becomes a bonus feat if you already have that feat via another means.