The Abbalayar (singular Abbalaya) were a tribe of humans in Calimshan known and feared for their divinatory powers. They were so unique both magically and physically that they were often considered a distinct subrace of human.
Abbalayar appeared human at first glance, but upon closer inspection, their distinctive physical qualities became apparent. The strangest feature was their second eyelid. This eyelid was transparent and could shield an Abbalaya from a number of ill effects, such as both natural and magical blinding effects and even the gaze attacks of monsters. All Abbalayar also possessed an extra bone in each finger, which provided them with an extra elegance when casting spells with somatic components. Abbalayar had pale skin like humans from the north, in stark contrast to the dusky- and tan-skinned Calishites and Tethyrians living around them. Their skin also had a subtle red tint to it. Their hair colors were the colors of precious metals—gold, silver, and copper—although these could easily be confused for blond, white, or red.
Abbalayar were most known for "the sight" that most of them possessed naturally. These oracle abilities were innate magical powers. Not all Abbalayar shared the same powers, but they were always a form of divination magic. All of the following were known powers of some individuals:
- Comprehend languages
- Detect magic
- Detect undead
- Detect invisibility
- Detect thoughts
- Locate object
- Detect scrying
- Wizard eye
- False vision
- Legend lore
When an Abbalaya used one of these powers, she or he became physically weak.
The Abbalayar were greatly feared by most people for their mystical powers. However, common folk tended to exaggerate the Abbalayar's abilities, thinking them as powerful as the Chosen of Mystra or the demigods, even though Abbalayar were as prone to death as any other human.
It was not uncommon for pretenders to claim to be Abbalayar, in hopes of profiting from such a deception. Fortunately, since the rumors of an Abbalaya's power were so great, it was difficult for a false "Abbalaya" to live up to such expectations. For their part, the Abbalayar took advantage of the misconceptions, because they wanted to remain hidden.
The Abbalayar would take special measures to ensure that their line did not die out. Among the inhabitants of the city, every 20 years, at least fourteen men and women would be selected as the "Gifted". These Gifted would be sent out into the far corners of Toril to spread the vision of the Abbalayar and to find suitable mates from among the other human cultures. Such Gifted were chosen and dispatched every 20 years, and they were expected to return to Ul'sahab before the next sending. The Gifted took their quests seriously, and if one remained alive, he or she would always find a way to return home. However, historically, only about half of those sent out ever made it back to Mount Abbalayat alive.
Not all children of Abbalayar retained the powers and distinctions of their Abbalaya parent, although the powers could reappear in future generations of offspring.
The origin of the Abbalayar people is an unsolved mystery. Some scholars of Faerûn believed them to be the offspring of genies, celestials, or fiends, but they did not share the traits common to other genasi or planetouched humans. They certainly did have genie blood, but which variety of genie blood was not clear.
During the Calim Empire, when the djinn ruled Calimshan, the tribe now known as the Abbalayar was granted permission to rule Mount Abbalayat. After the genies were expelled from the land, the Abbalayar went into hiding, using magic to conceal their home from outsiders.
- Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. Edited by Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 116–117. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 978-0786912377.
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