After the last post detailing arakkoa as two allied races, one per each faction, I was left wondering what other unlikely races could be made to fit into the mold. After all, what we expect the most of allied races are the so-called “subraces”. Essentially a variant of an existing race with only minor alterations. And in the existing examples, some of those alterations are very minor. One would almost hope for more than an additional hairstyle-level option on the tauren. The ideas I’m experimenting with here are on the far side of the spectrum – they will usually either share little more than animation rigs with existing races, and sometimes even less. They could be arguably made into full races, some time down the line. However, many of these are very unlikely to be added as a regular playable race and being added as a “low effort” allied race is their only hope for that distinction.
One of the races I like that I would hope to be added as playable one day – and which would do fine as “just” an allied race are the mogu. Personally, I think they would’ve made a perfect counterpart to the pandaren back in Mists of Pandaria, but perhaps they needed to be seeded in a bit since then to really grow and be recognized. Draenei were made almost from scratch – and from scraps of otherwise unrelated lore – and weren’t very well received at the time. Perhaps after this time the almost forgotten mogu (who happen to share most of the draenei animations) could find their brief spotlight. Here is my personal write up of how the mogu could happen as an allied race.
Created by the Titans to combat the Old God Y’Shaarj, once their great task has been fulfilled, their creators left and they succumbed to Curse of Flesh, the mogu fell to infighting, plunging into an era of petty warlords. They would be united by a tyrant who stole the power of the gods and ruled the mogu with an iron fist. Even after their god-king died and their empire crumbled, they clung onto dreams of their golden age. Even now, with the Thunder King defeated once more, they remain opposed to the new order of the world and ally with villainous forces. But perhaps a spark of hope remains to bring them back into the light – if only the right person was to lead them. One that remembers the time before Lei Shen.
Classes: warrior, hunter, rogue, mage, shaman, priest, monk, death knight.
Mount: Terracotta Quilen
Requirements: Future content (no fitting reputation or storyline exists in the game – it would probably require introduction to characters and a new lore before their introduction as an allied race – or an entirely new type of requirement, like defeating Xin the Weaponmaster and Lei Shen on any difficulty)
After witnessing mogu serving Zul in Zandalar, one of your Zandalari allies decided to travel back to Pandaria to find out what’s happening to them. Perhaps what follows is a new reputation faction or elite storyline which delves into the mogu as they are currently. Perhaps this bit is best suited for said requirement.
You are introduced to two biggest actors among the mogu in Pandaria. Shan Shen, the son of Shan Bu, and Yu Gwai, the Jade Warlord of Pandaria’s ancient past. You are introduced to Shan Shen when you venture into the Throne of Thunder, only to find Shan Shen over Lei Shen’s body, taking his spirit into a soul gem and promising to find his emperor a new body so that he can reign once again. Yu Gwai, on the other hand, is found killing stone mogu by the dozen with child of Tortolla by his side. It is revealed there is no trace of sont in his form, and he is in fact one of the many warlords Lei Shen defeated.
At one point, Yu Gwai tells you his story. In the ancient Pandaria, he was once the Jade Warlord – one of the most important figures among the mogu. He had a wife and two daughters, and knew the Lightning Warlord, Lei Gong. Then, one day, Lei Gong was murdered and his son, Lei Shen would go into an exile. He returned changed and began defeating all the other warlords. Wielding power of gods, Lei Shen would reshape his people into their long lost forms of stone and slay all the females. Once Yu Gwai was beaten, Lei Shen slew his wife and young daughters. As soon as Yu Gwai swore his revenge, Shan Bu cursed him and the ancient turtle Bixi, son of Tortolla, into one being. Yu Gwai would be cursed to live in the body of the turtle by day, and only be able to be himself by night.
Ten thousand years ago, Yu Gwai would meet the young pandaren princess Taochi and with her help, he would stop Iron Qon’s and Shan Bu’s plans to resurrect Lei Shen at that time. The princess would go on to become Empress, and Yu Gwai would see her son – Shaohao – grow up and become Emperor. Over the following millennia Yu Gwai had many other roles. He lived on a farm with an old pandaren couple he protected from the rampaging saurok. He became the “pet” of a Shado-Pan Grandmaster during one of the greatest mantid swarms. He helped build Dawn’s Blossom from nothing by bringing them bricks from an old ruin by night, only to see the pandaren worship Bixi like a god in return (for about two generations). He even was a bodyguard to a crazy old arakkoa recently.
But now that both Lei Shen and Shan Bu are dead, his curse is over. He is back to being himself and fighting side by side with the turtle who used to be one with him. Being drawn by the responsibility of what’s happening to his people, he returned to Pandaria in order to bring order back to the mogu. But the sole obstacle remains in his path – Shan Shen, son of Shan Bu, obssessed with bringing Lei Shen back once again. At the end of Yu Gwai’s campaign, Shan Shen’s armies are defeated and the remaining mogu clans swear their loyalty to him, but Yu Gwai fears the reign of the Thunder King and long centuries of abandonment corrupted them for good. He dreams of a new hope for his people.
This is where we enter the allied race recruitment storyline. The Zandalari has gone missing and Lorewalker Cho asks you to come to the Seat of Knowledge. He reveals to you your ally has discovered something buried under the Mogu’shan Palace – beneath the very floor you stand on at the moment – but disappeared before he could relay what he found. As he is your Horde ally, Cho asks you to investigate.
When you enter the palace, you find it a battlefield between Shan Shen’s stone mogu and clans loyal to Yu Gwai. You find him wearing royal apparel, titled <King of the Mogu Clans>, back in the Trial of the King area. You help his mogu fight off the assault, and immediately ask him what happened.
Yu Gwai: When your friend arrived and began digging through old, forbidden ruins, I warned him it was a bad idea.
Gurthan Jian: You should not have merely warned him. You should have destroyed him in body and spirit for defying your will.
Yu Gwai: I can destroy yours, if you volunteer. The mogu will now open themselves for the world, whether you like it or not.
Harthak Hongwu: Still, some things should remain sacred and untouched. The ancient mogu kept these vaults sealed for a reason.
Yu Gwai: No, Lei Shen kept them sealed to hide his true power from us. Now, all of that power can belong to us.
Kargesh Nurgan: Regardless of your stance… King, his meddling brought the Kao-Ren and Shan Shen to our doorstep. Your… liberalism is bringing ruin to our people.
Yu Gwai: Silence! Or I’ll have you all put to stone. Hero, let me join you in looking for your ally. I will let these fools bicker among themselves. I need to stretch my legs.
Yu Gwai joins you in delving deeper into the ruins, following the trail of devastation Shan Shen left in pursuit of the Zandalari archaeologist. Together you descend into hitherto unknown parts of the Mogu’Shan Palace, fighting the stone mogu all the way there. Finally, you find the Zandalari at the entrance of an undiscovered vault.
Yu Gwai: Rest now. Your attackers are dead. Speak, what have you found here?
Zandalari: It is the last great secret of the mogu. The Last Terraccotta Army of the Thunder King. Lying in rest all these generations, waiting for their emperor’s word… that never came. But I musta tripped some alarm… because Shan Shen felt it mmediately. All my men are dead. And the countless troops hidden beneath our feet… if Shan Shen can activate them, they will overrun all of Pandaria AND Zandalar!
Yu Gwai: We cannot let that happen. This army must be stopped before it can wake. Come, champion, let us deal with Shan Shen… once and for all.
Once inside, you find an enormous chamber, filled with terracotta mogu soldiers, both male and female, all inanimate… and the doors to more chambers just like it. The Zandalari gasps in awe and asks how many soldiers could be buried here – and Yu Gwai answers the armies could be endless. Lei Shen might have stockpiled soldiers “just in case” for his entire long life.
Your way is barred by a female mogu. Yu Gwai is surprised where did Shan Shen even found one. She answers he made her himself, “to keep him company during the long, cold Kun-Lai nights”. Yu Gwai finds the answer disgusting and you engage her in combat. After beating her, Yu Gwai tries to break her conditioning and free her mind, but she chooses death. Yu Gwai wonders if it’s all that’s left for all of his people.
As you go deeper in, you see Shan Shen freeing Lei Shen’s spirit from the gem.
Shan Shen: My emperor! I found your last army. Look upon it, my liege! All these perfect, untouched bodies, clear of all programming… ready to host your great spirit.
Lei Shen: I doubt any of them can hold me for long… but they will have to do until I forge myself a new one.
Yu Gwai: yells charging in No! This butcher cannot be allowed to take physical form once again! We must stop them!
Lei Shen: Hahaha, Yu Gwai. It’s been a long time. You are late as always. Just like you were too late to save your family.
Yu Gwai: Bastard, you will pay for everything you did.
Lei Shen’s spirit flows down to the terracotta army
Lei Shen: Hah, you got that part right. My mother was a concubine. A simple harlot whose single most important act in her life was giving birth to me. I destroyed that worthless, abusive excuse of a mother as soon as I found my powers. And soon… all the females followed. What use were they if we did not need them to bear children anymore?
Lei Shen takes over a terracotta soldier in the front.
Lei Shen: I live again! Taste the might of the Thunder King!
Your next step is to defeat Lei Shen. Four times. Every time he is defeated, his terraccota body crumbles and he finds the next one. At one point, he takes over a female soldier, exclaiming her “unworthy of holding his power, but like his mother, she can bear him for a while until he grows into his own”. Once the fourth and last body is beaten, his spirit floats up again.
Lei Shen: A waste of time. You will never be able to slay all of them between the three of you. Sooner or later, you will tire and die and I… I will be eternal.
Yu Gwai: No. Yu Gwai’s spear erupts with dark magic as Lei Shen’s spirit is pulled back into the last body.
Lei Shen: Impossible! Release me, now, you petty thing.
Yu Gwai: I waited for this for a very long time. And now, I have you trapped. This spear was made to kill malevolent spirits by the Zandalari. It was made with evil loa in mind… but you will have to do. Yu Gwai pierces Lei Shen nethers This is for me! Yu Gwai pierces his heart This is for my wife! Yu Gwai pierces his gut This is for my daughters. This… he pierces through Lei Shen’s neck is FOR PANDARIA.
The stone body crumbles and the spirit is raised into the air, leaking dark energy everywhere. It splinters into a thousand tiny pieces with an ethereal scream and fades into nothing.
Yu Gwai: It is done… I cannot believe it… At long last… Lei Shen… is gone forever.
Shan Shen: Nooo!!! It cannot be! he runs down to the army, just as it activates
The first nearby female mogu soldier activates, runs up to Shan Shen and kills him with a single strike. The Zandalari “has a bad feeling about this” as all the stone mogu activate around you… only for the female mogu to approach you.
Female Mogu: Emperor?
Yu Gwai: No, I am no emperor.
Zandalari: Probably a bad idea…
Female Mogu: Then who are you? Who are… we?
Zandalari: Wait a moment… empty of all programming. They are a clean slate.
Yu Gwai: One that I could shape with the future I have in mind for the mogu… he approaches the female mogu I am no emperor, but I am the king of the mogu clans. And you… you are their future.
Yu Gwai: Champion, thank you for everything. I could not have done this without you. How can I repay you?
Zandalari: Join us in the Horde. We saved your people. Now it is time for you to help ours.
Yu Gwai: I shall do so. You have my eternal gratitude, champion. Go back to your Warchief. I shall find you there as soon as I am done here.
The scenario is complete and you are granted a portal to the embassy in Orgrimmar.
Once in Orgrimmar, Yu Gwai and his new soldiers enter the embassy behind you. He briefly talks with the Warchief about the events that just happened and offers to swear his fealty to the Horde. The Warchief accepts and Yu Gwai swears the oath. You are granted your mount and the race is now unlocked.
Your new mogu character starts at level 20 in a phased version of the Mogu’Shan Palace. You are told you’re one of the newly awakened terracotta soldiers and can see the bickering clan leaders and grumbling Yu Gwai. He immediately sends you to Orgrimmar to help the Horde and learn what this world is like, and not immerse yourself in those petty internal politics.
The biggest logistical issue about playable mogu is the females. The only female models are the Twin Consorts, but they are clearly based on female draenei, much like the males are based on male draenei. With a few changes to the basic stances, the draenei animation rig will work just fine on them.
The skin options would be mostly fleshy, and explained by fleshshapers found at your spawn point, turning you to flesh before you wake. Yu Gwai doesn’t trust stone mogu, and wants to turn into a rational person, not a mindless automaton.
Mogu hunters start with a quilen pet and one of their racials allows them to tame quilens even outside of beast mastery specialization.
Two particularly surprising class choices might be monks and death knights, but they are special cases.
Yu Gwai is on good terms with the pandaren, and a member of the Horde now. Therefore, his new mogu are trained by the Huojin pandaren in the monk arts, although the move is controversial among both races.
Mogu death knights are not “real” death knights. They’re mogu spirit binders and necromancers who for gameplay purposes are presented as death knights. They start at level 58 in the Mogu’Shan Palace and are treated like any other class otherwise, with a special quest text calling them spirit binders.
Of course, we can’t let the Horde have a new allied race without the Alliance also getting one. So in my next post a new and unexpected allied race – Anubisaths!