Yak-folk were a race inhabiting the remote mountains of northern Zakhara. They referred to themselves as the yikaria, which translated as Lucky Chosen in their language. Yak-men was another common name for them among the natives of the Land of Fate.
Yak-folk were ogre-sized humanoids. Their heads resembled those of a yak and their bodies were covered in coarse fur. They preferred to wear robes and wield staves, some of which were magical. The only distinguishing feature between females and males was that the females were only slightly smaller. Their feet were hoofed but their arms possessed hands with five digits.
Yak-folk were deadly opponents to face in combat. Many of them had access to an impressive array of magical items. Yak-folk leaders were always spellcasters who had access to both arcane and priestly magic.
All yak-folk had the innate ability to summon and command dao. These dao were utterly helpless slaves under the control of their summoner. Angered by their situation, these dao vented their frustration on the closest available target: the yak-folk's enemies.
One of the yak-folk's most terrifying powers was the use of an ability similar to the magic jar spell. If a yikarian was able to physically touch another being, they could possess their body. This process took a few minutes to take effect, during which the victim was typically restrained. Yak-folk often used this power to infiltrate Zakharan society as spies. A yak-folk in possession of a victim had complete access to that individual's memories, skills, and abilities, but not their magical or psionic powers. Yak-folk in possession of another body always kept their own body stored away somewhere for safe keeping. It was usually guarded by other designated yikarians. They could return to their body instantly regardless of the distance separating them. If the possessed body or the yak-folk's body was destroyed, then the possessed victim would instantly perish.
Yak-folk preferred to dwell in the highest regions of the World Pillar Mountains where they could rule their empire. Their cities were usually populated by five to six thousand yak-folk and many more slaves. Slaves were used as currency between among the yak-folk. The buildings in a yikarian city were made from stones imported by the dao from the Elemental Plane of Earth. These stones were gray with a greasy surface. They were incredibly strong, making the siege of a yikarian city a daunting task for any would-be attacker.
Many small outposts were scattered in the valleys surrounding the larger yikarian cities. Though few yak-folk occupied these outposts, usually at least ten dao were present, making them formidable locations. Tribute was demanded by these outposts and any who refused were utterly destroyed. In this case, the land was handed over to slaves who had the proper attitude toward their yikarian masters.
As a race, the yak-folk were a "malignant theocracy", fanatically following their Forgotten God in all aspects of their lives. The entire race claimed to be descended from this deity. The Forgotten God was pleased with sacrifice. The yak-folk satisfied this by performing slave sacrifices for each of the prime elements, including: immolation (fire), live burial (earth), drowning (water), and tossing a victim from a cliff (air). These sacrifices were performed daily. They served to tighten the bond with their god, but also to remind slaves that any who disobeyed would likely be the next sacrifice made.
The Forgotten God was the sole reason the yak-folk were able to utterly enslave dao. Legend stated that the Forgotten God once traveled to the Elemental Plane of Earth where he bested the ruler of the earth elementals through trickery. The ruler of the earth elementals was forced to accept the Forgotten God's terms—allowing his yak-folk followers control over the dao while making it impossible for the dao to retaliate. This bargain was said to last for 1001 years and, as of 1367 DR, it was believed that centuries still remained before it expired.
The empire of the yak-folk was ruled by the Lotus Emperor, who was regularly sacrificed to their god. He was assisted by the powerful Seven Sages, who each controlled one of the realm's provinces. The yak-folk were on good terms with the marrash, who helped maintain control and order in their empire.
Yikarian societies sent forays into civilized regions of Zakhara in search of new human slaves. The yak-folk were meticulous on their missions, preferring to always scout targets and locations before taking action.
Yak-folk could also be found in the Elemental Plane of Earth, where their influence on the dao and earth magic was especially strong. There they maintained good relations with the azer, the wind walkers and the xorn, and were also involved in the administration of the realm of the elemental lord Grumbar.
All yak-folk possessed an inherent thirst for knowledge, especially if they could use it to gain more power. Any knowledge that was inaccessible to them was to be destroyed in order to deny others.
Yak-folk had no family bonds. Instead, they held loyalty to their god and their race as a whole. Their young were sent to communal societies once they were weaned from their mother.
Outsiders knew little about the reclusive yak-folk, save those who entered their lands and were killed or enslaved. Most Zakharans treated them as "boogie men". Yak-folk were particularly fond of enslaving dao.
Through their sheer ingenuity, the yak-folk used their dao slaves to create a new race of tasked genie called miner genies. These miner genies were put to work deep beneath the earth to find riches for their Forgotten God.
Rumors surfaced that dao leaders were working with the Forgotten God to help him defeat other genie lords and enslave the other genie races, potentially granting the yak-folk power over other genies as well.
- ↑ Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (September 2002). Monster Manual II 3rd edition. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Jeff Grubb (August 1992). Land of Fate (Monster Sheets). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-1560763291.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 Jeff Grubb (August 1992). Land of Fate (Monster Sheets). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-1560763291.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Wolfgang Baur (November 1997). “Campaign Classics: The Roof of the World”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #241 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 88–95.
- ↑ Wolfgang Baur (1993). Secrets of the Lamp (Monstrous Compendium Pages). (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 1-56076-647-6.