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God Imperror
2012-09-08, 10:05 AM
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Arsai means four things on your tongue, it means "us" for we are Arsai, it means "forest" for we are the forest, it means "path" for we are the Path, and it means "death" for we are death.
Aldaar Bein'loth Ur'Loke trying to explain what Arsai means on common.

Arsai (the word can be used both for singular and plural), the forest folk, are humanoid plant like creatures, natives to forest and jungles. For centuries the Arsai have chosen to separate themselves from the wider world, and even now they are quite reclusive, although it is easy to attribute to them several dessaparitions in the woods through the ages.

Arsai find themselves in the world as preservers of nature and natural beings, trying to bring some balance to the so called civilization.

Personality
Their personality is almost impossible to understand unless accepting that for them Arsai doesn't only mean, their physical bodies nor their souls, it also includes their spiritual believes and the forest were they live, or at least to the one they were born in, to which they have strong ties. In fact, their actual believes are more determinant than their physical carcass. An arsai living on a city for years acting according to the laws of other races isn't something imaginable, an aberration. A creature who survives in an arsai community for long and follows the arsai customs and precepts would be accepted as an arsai and few born arsai would actually note a difference.

Being an arsai is then a matter of choice, one can choose to be an arsai, or not. In almost every arsai community choosing not to be an arsai means death, it's still a choice though. Those born arsai actually had a choosing, for arsai believes hold that they choose to be born in the first place.

Physical description
Born arsai's are roughly human sized, slightly taller and slender. Their coloration are diverse, ranging from light tones such as fresh lime or a faded yellow to darker shades such as strong green or hard brown. In general their colors resemble the Heart Tree from which they were born.

Even if human shaped they are far different from humans, they do not poses any kind of sexual dimorphism, there is only one gender of arsai. Their skin is soft in most places, but in others grows hard as the bark of a tree. Through their veins runs clear sap instead of blood. Their eyes are gleaming black except for a small golden iris in the center.

Those who were not born from a heart tree, in effect got accepted into the arsai community develop some of the traits of the arsai. While their bodies keep being the same physically their skin coloration changes to resemble more closely the heart tree from which it fed and their eyes start to turn like those of the arsai born.

Both normally cover their bodies are normally covered with plant fibers, wood or vines to approach the natural world but don't have a true preference for a color above another, as they find pleasure in contrast.

Relations
The forest folk can relate to some of the sylvan races, such as dryads or treants, and might treat them with respect, at least as long as they do not something flagrantly not arsai. Elves are the closer of the mortal races in habitat to the arsai though they do not mesh well, through the ages arsai have taken elven children into the forest to never be seen again and elves have cut down heart trees to make bows. Although their disagreements with elves arsai can consider them worth of being arsai easily, for they respect the forest and can adapt to the arsai ways. From the other races whoever wants to accept the arsai believes is welcome with open arms. Other than those sporadic relations, arsai don't have an interest in other creatures, except for turning them into compost.

Alignment
Arsai are not actively malicious but they are not benevolent, either. They strongly believe in the arsai's laws and traditions, the arsai path, and do not normally strive from it. Of course this regulations are so alien to the mind of non arsai that they could even be considered chaotic.

Religion
The forest folk doesn't hold in high regards gods or deities, they are not able to grasp the concept of religion that other races use. For them there exists the arsai, and the arsai's path and believes is so ingrained in their sense of self that they cannot imagine their existence without it. Although every arsai follows the path, some of the forest folk revere the heart trees, more as saints than as actual gods, this is most normal among those who were born among cultures with strong religion tradition, for they find hard to stop believing in a superior being.

Language
Arsai speak their own language and sylvan. Most of them also learn other languages that can help them relate to other races, such as elvish, treant or common. And some of them learn old and almost forgotten, but not actively secret, languages to be able to understand old poems and stories.

Name
The forest folk don't see a lot of use for names, they refer to themselves as arsai and they can normally understand each other with just descriptions. Regardless most arsai have seen a benefit for having a given name and they choose to name themselves, some even change their name regularly. They enjoy diversity in the naming of things most of them favor names in arsai language but some take names in other languages. This is most normal on communities with arsai that were born on other cultures. And it can have hilarious consequences in isolated communities that catch some random word from a stranger and decided that they liked the word and use it as a name. Whatever the name an arsai chooses it will have a meaning, in some language, that is appealing to said arsai.

Regardless of any arsai given name its family, or clan name, is what is truly important and immutable. Clan names are formed by two or three syllables separated by an apostrophe and give information of both the clan and the forest form which it hails. Some example clan names include Eh'pon, Eh'kis, Or'as, Or'mah, Ur'moth, Ur'loke, Bist'loth. It is worth noting that invoking a clan name is not exactly the same as talking about a family or a clan tie, if an arsai introduces himself with a clan name it is implying that he speaks with the voice of the clan, and his decisions, promises or debts are to be kept by the clan.

Adventure
Arsai who leave their home forest do so to search ways to expand it or to improve it. Perhaps they try to best themselves and return to become fine heart trees, maybe they seek to discover new fruits and plants or they just try to experience as many things as possible. Regardless of its initial inclination most arsai that leave desire to protect the woodlands and spy on the civilized lands nearby.

Society and Culture
Arsai's culture is based on an idea. Beauty is good, and must be preserved. This is a simple concept to the forest folk, who most of the time don't even consider their actions, they just follow the arsai's path. But can be complicated to understand to other lesser races, who can easily find them alien and eerie.

Most individual arsai argue on minor interpretations of beauty, or different grades of beautifulness, for example, some arsai may hold that there is more beauty in music than there is on hunting while other arsai would advocate for the perfection of constellations and stargazing. Above all, all arsai agree that arsai is the most beautiful and the most worthy of being preserved.

Arsai's quest for beauty is a constant motor on arsai society, even if the arsai believe that Arsai come first it is hard for individual arsai not to strive for the top.

The forest folk are organized on familiar clans, depending on the heart tree they were born from. Those clans have quantifiable levels of power depending on how many heart trees they hold, a major number of heart trees also leads to more arsai and more power. Since power is beautiful, in arsai terms, and beauty is good, power should be preserved.

The path of arsai leads then to fights among the different families to seize and control the heart trees, in effect the forest, which again is another word for Arsai in the common tongue. Those fights are intertwined with arsai's culture and it is completely unthinkable for them to cease.

Arsai fights end not necessarily on bloodshed or prolonged battles. They value beauty and have perfected several rituals of intrigue, manipulation and assassination. Arsai plans can be extremely intricate, hard to follow and span for generations, but when they do spring they are a piece of art. In most fights one side would start, and try to finish, hostilities by killing half of the other clan members in one night. Killing too few is seen as an act of weakness for they were not strong enough to dominate the other clan, killing too many is seen as even worse, for the strong are to be kept. A success is applauded by the other families, that consider it an act of beauty, and thus worth of being preserved, failing means a failure to the arsai ways and thus a failure to their own existence.

Half of the members of the clan that failed the attack will held responsible for the failure. Most of those will kill themselves outright out of shame, the others have little options to avoid being hunted and killed for they are no longer arsai, they can choose to leave the arsai forest, or try to infiltrate another clan. The spoils of war include a fraction of the heart trees of those defeated, and to share the feast of the death but in exchange the winner clan is entitled to protect the defeated for a generation and a year.

Similarly inner fights among clan members are common. In most cases it would not go further than an artistic duel of wits between two arsai on the same social level. An arsai's worth is measured on the worth of its enemies. For an arsai to fight anyone weaker than himself is pejorative for they feel lessened. If an arsai picks a fight against someone much influential beautiful or stronger they risk cultural ostracism, unless they prove to be a worthy opponent, be it by devaluing their rival's social status or by increasing their own.

Arsai have a great deal of respect for their death. Every deceased arsai would be eviscerated and its carcass would be used as compost for the forest, the organs left as offerings to the beasts that roam it. In some really special occasions arsai would celebrate a feast of the death, when a specially gifted Arsai dies, or any respectable opponent of the arsai, be it a great warlord or a magnificent lyricist, its body is emptied and magically bound to the land and to a seed of a heart tree, thus a new heart tree is born trapping the essence and soul of the arsai hero. During the ritual and celebration the Arsai will feast on the deceased's organs, for through it they can grasp some of its power and essence.

Arsai's belief hold that lives are cyclical, when one arsai dies another one is born. Through death and rebirth they eventually are able to reach perfection and is in this state that on death they are turned into heart trees, and become part of the forest.

The Arsai life
Arsai live in community with themselves, the forest, the arsai's path and death striving for beauty and perfection. They may seem mad to the outside world, living in their forest most of the time so focused on themselves that they forget everything else. But what most people don't understand is that Arsai wouldn't want it any other way.
The day to day life of an arsai is filled with the path. Young arsai spend their time learning of the path, of what is arsai and what is not. As they grow into maturity they have to strife for perfection and beauty in whatever path they fancy.

Leisure
Leisure is as foreign to the arsai as the arsai are for other races. In one hand most arsai don't find beauty in doing something not productive. They do find pleasure in adventuring, putting their skills and powers to test. They tend to be patient and goal oriented, striving for beautiful perfection in anything they do.
In another hand arsai's value beauty as a something worth on itself. Spending hours painting or reading stories? It is the arsai thing to do. They might use their time playing chess beautifully, or other activities associated with leisure, but whenever they do they use it to hone their skills and improve their worth and beauty.

Arts and crafts
Arsai appreciate and savor any luxuries but their enjoyment tends to be ancillary to more prosaic purposes. Arsai's strive to improve, be it themselves, their activities or the forest they live in. If they see a great painting they might try to understand how the painter felt when creating it or which kind of pigments he used and try to reproduce and improve it for themselves later on. Any gardening technique is seek above all else, but all disciplines are important for arsai.
They love to hold crafting or artistic competitions in which several members of the community will show their passion for beauty. If a member of another race happens to be nearby he is invited to join, either as a contestant or as a judge, since a winner in such a contest is considered arsai, this might lead to trouble when the not arsai born winner tries to leave.

God Imperror
2012-09-08, 10:06 AM
Reserved for crunch and changelog, go ahead and criticize :smallsmile:

Changelog

08-IX Added fluff, living plant subtype, and Arsai racial features
10-IX Changed arsai's racial traits to include the traits of the "living" plant subtype, the plant subtype is on stand by for now.
14-IX For some reason Arsai were not Medium, that's weird


living plant (subtype)[LIST]
Living plants have some vital organs, and are subject to critical hits from attackers with at least one rank in knowledge (nature).
Unlike other plants a living plant is not immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities.
Unlike other plants a living plant is not immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning. Although it receives a +2 bonus to saves to resist those effects.
Living plants gain a +2 bonus to resist spells and effects that normally target plants, or that have a greater effect in plants, such as the junglerazer spell.


Racial traits

Arsai (born)

Plant (Type): Unlike other plants, arsai are subject to critical hits from attackers with at least one rank in knowledge (nature); they are not immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities; they are not immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning, although they receive a +2 bonus to saves to resist those effects.
-2 Strength, +2 Charisma: Arsai are used to become appealing and make good use of their wits. However, their thin-limbed bodies are relatively weak.
Arsai are medium creatures and as such have a base land speed of 30 feet.
Arsai have the woodland stride ability, as a second level druid.
Arsai have empathic links with heart trees, this racial ability works similarly to that of a familiar's master. Provided that the arsai is no more than 1 mile away from a heart tree. The arsai, and the heart tree, can communicate empathically. Because of the limited nature of the link, only general emotional content (such as fear, hunger, happiness, curiosity) can be communicated. Note that heart trees see the world differently from arsai, so misunderstandings are always possible.
Spell like ability 1/day: Speak with plants
Arsai have a +2 racial bonus on appraise, craft and perform checks.


Heart tree
Huge plant
Hit dice: 7D8 +35 (66 HP)
Initiative: -1 (Dex)
Speed: 10ft
AC: 20 (-2 size, -1 Dex, +13 natural)
Attacks: 2 slam +12 Melee
Damage: 2d6 +13
Special attack: Trample 2d12+4
Special Qualities: Blindsight 30ft, fire vulnerability, half damage from piercing, plant traits, magic circle of nature, arsai sap, spell like abilities, tree leader, wood speech.
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +1, Will +4
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 8, Con 20, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 15
Skills:
Feats:

---

Trample (Ex): A heart tree can trample large size or smaller creatures for 2d12+4 points of damage. Opponents who do not make attacks of opportunity against the spirit tree can attempt a Reflex save (DC 22) for half damage.
Blindsight (Ex): A heart tree has no visual organs, but they can sense all creatures within 30 feet by using sound, scent, and vibration. Invisibility and darkness are irrelevant, though the tree still canít discern ethereal beings. The tree usually does not need to make Spot or Listen checks to notice creatures within range of its blindsight ability.
Plant Traits: A heart tree is immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and polymorphing. It is not subject to critical hits or mind-affecting effects. The creature also has low-light vision.
Magic circle of nature (Su): A heart tree is continuously under the effect of a magic circle of nature this works similarly to Magic circle against evil (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/magicCircleAgainstEvil.htm), except that it protects against attacks from all creatures
of any alignment except for those of the animal, fey or magical beast creature types. Caster level equals HD.
Arsai sap (Su): A heart tree has the ability to create potions from the materials within its own body. The tree can create a potion of any spell-like ability that it can use. Making a potion takes 8 hours. The tree takes 2 points of Constitution damage per spell level of the potion created and must consume rare herbs and ingredients with a value equal to the cost to create the potion using the Brew Potion feat. These potions are normally hidden under the tree and given only to Arsai Gardeners to use.
Spell-Like Abilities: at will Speak with Animals, Speak with Plants. 1/day Calm Animals, Charm Animal, Create Water, Cure Light Wounds, Cure Moderate Wounds, Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry, Light, Wood Shape, Wood Wose Caster level equal to its HD.
Tree Leader (Su): A heart tree can cause up to three trees within 100 feet to animate and follow it at a speed of 10 feet. The animated trees are not intelligent and do not gain any combat abilities. Animated trees lose their ability to move if the heart tree that animated them is incapacitated or moves out of range. This ability is normally used by a heart tree to relocate other
trees from an area of danger or to repopulate a deforested area.
Wood Speech (Su): A heart tree can telepathically communicate with its Arsai Gardeners or any other heart tree at a range of 1 mile.

God Imperror
2012-09-10, 06:27 AM
No interest in this? :smallfrown:

Morph Bark
2012-09-10, 06:46 AM
Always like a good new subtype! I haven't yet read the fluff entirely, so I don't get why they describe themselves as "the path" and "death", but the latter isn't at least represented in their mechanics, so I presume that is entirely a cultural thing for them?

Also, I think you meant they have an empathic link with trees. Emphatic means something else entirely (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/emphatically).

God Imperror
2012-09-10, 06:55 AM
Yes its a cultural thingie :smallsmile:

Yes, that is a typo probably due to autocorrect thanks for catching that up. Is the subtype OP?

Yitzi
2012-09-10, 08:13 AM
It would be a lot easier to read (and therefore get a lot more interest) if you'd work on your spelling and grammar.

You haven't really explained heart trees very well; I don't even know their mechanics or what they look like.

Debihuman
2012-09-10, 09:04 AM
The only problem with your Living Plant subtype is that ALL creatures with the Plant Type are living. I can only assume that you based it off the Living Construct subtype. The problem is that Constructs aren't alive and aren't subject to thing that affect living creatures unless they have the Living subtype.

That said, I do like what the subtype does; it is merely the name of it that seems to be a problem. However, to be fair, you didn't need to make a new Subtype at all since all Plant traits aren't necessarily possessed by Plant creatures and all you had to do was note the changes as thus:

Plant (Type): Unlike other plants, arsai are subject to critical hits from attackers with at least one rank in knowledge (nature); they are not immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities; they are not immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning, although they receive a +2 bonus to saves to resist those effects.

Although you gave the bonus to spells in the Subtype, I think it really should be under the creature's racial traits and it should be a bonus against spells that affect Plant creatures (not normal plants). Spells affecting normal plants often state whether or not they affect Plant creatures. For example, (animate plant does not affect Plant creatures. Good call on mentioning junglerazer from Spell Compendium as it does affect Plant creatures.

What makes a heart tree different from other trees?

Debby

God Imperror
2012-09-10, 09:48 AM
It would be a lot easier to read (and therefore get a lot more interest) if you'd work on your spelling and grammar.

You haven't really explained heart trees very well; I don't even know their mechanics or what they look like.

:smallfrown:

Sorry about that, English is not even my second language so I surely screw up some times.

I will get the heart trees mechanics soon.


The only problem with your Living Plant subtype is that ALL creatures with the Plant Type are living. I can only assume that you based it off the Living Construct subtype. The problem is that Constructs aren't alive and aren't subject to thing that affect living creatures unless they have the Living subtype.

That said, I do like what the subtype does; it is merely the name of it that seems to be a problem. However, to be fair, you didn't need to make a new Subtype at all since all Plant traits aren't necessarily possessed by Plant creatures and all you had to do was note the changes as thus:

Plant (Type): Unlike other plants, arsai are subject to critical hits from attackers with at least one rank in knowledge (nature); they are not immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities; they are not immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning, although they receive a +2 bonus to saves to resist those effects.

Although you gave the bonus to spells in the Subtype, I think it really should be under the creature's racial traits and it should be a bonus against spells that affect Plant creatures (not normal plants). Spells affecting normal plants often state whether or not they affect Plant creatures. For example, (animate plant does not affect Plant creatures. Good call on mentioning junglerazer from Spell Compendium as it does affect Plant creatures.

What makes a heart tree different from other trees?

Debby

Yep, the name was based on the living construct subtype. And I agree that it is probably not a really fortunate choice I will try to think on something different, any idea?

I wanted to have the subtype out of the way since some creatures other than the arsai would use the subtype. For example arsai druids and rangers could add said subtype (probably via a template) to their companions. Of course I could just put it on the template, I'll probably do that. I will also make the distinction of plants and plant creatures.

Heart trees are intelligent trees, and they are up.

Arsai Gardeners should be specialized arsai, PrC probably.

Debihuman
2012-09-11, 12:41 AM
You also forgot to mention that Arsai are Medium sized (considering the speed of 30 feet).

A Huge tree with only 7 HD? That's just sad.

Debby

God Imperror
2012-09-14, 02:06 PM
Heart tree are expected to have class HD I love class HD and tack it into everything, and Arsai certainly are medium.