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Evil bards. Do I really have to say more? Bards are jovial jesters, the butt of everyone's jokes, barely mechanically competent and certainly not personally imposing. But what if all that charisma were turned to a less friendly purpose? What if that power over others, the ability to influence moods with music and magic, was used to enslave rather than entertain?
And just what would happen to the other magic users who grew up in a place with such bards? No more smug sorcerers and bookish wizards; magic is a fight for survival, not a casual pursuit or a happy gift. And what about those with no magic at all? They're, well, they're a little bit different.
Introducing the Valok. Because darkness can fall where you least expect it.
What can Arcane Cultures: the Valok do for me?
If you're a DM, it gives you a unique culture to drop into your campaign. The Valok live in the ringing peaks, a harsh mountain range that can go anywhere your map needs mountains. Their interesting views on magic and the elements make them very different from most mountain cultures, and your PCs won't know what to expect when dealing with them.
If you're a player, you get grist for a really awesome backstory that no one else at the table can match. There are even suggestions for Valok-themed powers, abilities, talents or what have you that your character can take. Want a bard with a bad attitude, and a reason for having it? Play a Valok.
This book is systemless. It also comes with a printer-friendly version.