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- Jan 2011
Redesigning Lizardfolk and Gargoyles as Player Races, plus Rhinotaurs [PEACH]
I love lizardfolk. Unfortunately, they are incredibly dull mechanically. So, I tried to rework them as something more versatile and interesting. And then there's gargoyles, which are also cool, but obviously not meant to be a player race. So I decided to make something flavorful but more balanced.
I am trying to avoid these races being overpowered, but I am ok with them being a little above average. They can be a solid choice, just not consistently the absolute best choice. Also let it be known that I do intend to fill in the fluff in great detail. I'm just working on the crunch right now.
Update: I have completed the fluff, alternate race traits and racial feats.
Update Again: I've added penalties to komodo and rhinotaurs, and knocked gargoyle DR down to bludgeoning.
Update 3: The Updatening: I've removed the charisma penalty from rhinotaurs for both mechanical and flavor reasons, and altered sorecerous heritage to compensate. Also, removed stacking from gargoyle DR for being an unnecessary exception to the rules.
Komodo are reptilian humanoids with thick scaly hides. They stand between 5'6 and 6'8, and can weigh over 250 pounds. Their faces are slightly elongated into muzzles, and many have a crest or small horns decorating their head and neck, sometimes running all the way down to the tip of their tail. Green is the most common skin color, though orange, red, brown, and blue are also normal. Most komodo have some pattern to their hide, as well as a lighter color such as yellow on their chest and abdomen. Komodo eyes however are always solid black.
Komodo have muscular tails which make them formidable swimmers. Their hands also have strong fingers with small claws that while insufficient for combat are nonetheless a highly effective climbing tool. Komodo are also famous for their bright blue forked tongues, which are large and agile enough to be used in place of utensils. Particularly talented komodo can even catch small rodents and insects in holes using only their tongue.
The dichotomous nature of contemporary komodo society has produced two separate naming conventions. More traditional komodo who live in tribal society's name their children in the komodo tongue. Traditional names include Modessi, Kidan-Ai, Shotarisi, Roma-Tan, and Elah-Tono.
On the other hand, komodo who live in cities and interact regularly with other races typically name their children in common, allowing others to understand the meaning of their names. Modern names include Clever Snake, Hides In Tree, Wicked Tongue, Hunter In The Deep, Soft Scales, Flows Like Water, and Whispering Skull.
Komodo Life and Society
Komodo are native to a vast wilderness, dominated by thick forests and wetlands. Their expansive territory is teeming with life and magic, and is as beautiful as it is deadly. Komodo society has spent much of its history carving out small pockets of security and defending them from the fierce plants, animals, monsters and spirits that inhabit their lands. It was only through sheer toughness, cunning and their arcane traditions that they were able to survive. While larger tribes could be a shining beacon in the forest, for most, everyday was an unending struggle.
Trade has begun to change that. Better weapons and armor, and powerful magic brought from trade with outsiders has tipped the scale in the favor of the komodo. In exchange for unique plants, animals and other riches produced by their lands, even small tribes can hire mages and clerics to ward their villages and provide them with wands and scrolls for emergency use. The dangers still exist, and larger threats can still wipe out whole settlements, but the smaller dangers are no longer an existential threat.
The effects of trade on komodo society have been dramatic. At first, this simply allowed their numbers to increase, and gave them more free time, leading to a small cultural renaissance, transforming old practices which were no longer necessary into elaborate ceremonies and celebrations. But while their culture was flourishing, it was also dividing. Many komodo began to move closer to the boarders and coastal areas where trade was most prevalent. These settlements began to resemble those of foreigners more than those of the tribes, and the extent to which these cityfolk adopted the ways of the other races was alarming to many.
This brewing culture war would ultimately lead to a rift. The largest tribes in the inner regions abandoned trade with foreigners, and viewed any who used foreign goods with suspicion and contempt. Smaller tribes typically have misgivings about trade, but cannot afford to go without, as they lack the security of the larger settlements. Instead, they act as intermediaries between the cityfolk and the traditionalists. Many komodo in traditional tribes gain wealth by trading with small tribes, who trade with the cityfolk. Any foreign goods received from such deals must be kept hidden however, as such behavior is strictly forbidden.
The hostility and contempt traditionalists feel for cityfolk is often mutual. Cityfolk typically see themselves as enlightened and more advanced than the primitive backwater tribes who scorn them. They embrace modern life and thrive on it. The cunning nature which has served them since the dawn of time as a tool for survival has made them incredible merchants and negotiators. Though many still hang on to certain traditions and see themselves as remaining true to their roots, the backlash against the traditionalists remains a dominant force in city life.
Traditionally, komodo families are only loosely organized. While most komodo will only have one mate at a time, their society is technically polygamous, and prominent males and females are known to take multiple mates. The children of these unions are always considered the offspring of only two parents however, and great pains will be taken to ensure that there is no confusion on the subject. Traditionally, a parent has no responsibility to raise offspring which may belong to another.
Komodo begin life in a small transparent egg, deposited in water a dozen at a time. These eggs are closely guarded as few places in the wild are ever truly safe from predators and eggs are an easy meal. Within a month, the little komodo hatchlings will emerge. In this early stage of development, the komodo cannot leave the water, and must feed on plants, insects and other small organisms found in the water to survive. It will take another month before the young komodo lungs fully develop, and an additional two months before they are truly ready to walk.
Komodo develop quickly, and will grow to maturity in a span of approximately twelve years. Making it that far however is not easy. Roughly 40% of all komodo in small tribal settlements will die before reaching adulthood, which is still significantly better than the approximately 85% child mortality rate which plagued komodo society before trade provided them with better protection.
Despite the many dangerous creatures that inhabit the wilderness, the primary causes of the high childhood mortality rate are disease and starvation. Komodo are tough, but the diseases of the wilds are tougher. And there are often times when safe food is scarce. Adult komodo can handle some of the less toxic options if they must, but the young cannot.
One small advantage they possess to cope with the dangers of starvation is the pair of small but noticeable mammary glands found on female komodo. Komodo milk is not meant for long term survival, but can provide a means by which parents can filter the poison out of foods for their young. Still, this is a short term solution, as the mother cannot possibly produce enough to feed a child for long periods of time. Despite this unique function, the mere presence of these glands still leads to much debate regarding the classification and origin of the komodo.
While growing up, komodo children learn hunting and survival skills from both parents. They also typically learn about nature and magic from the tribe's shamans. Komodo shamans are unusual as, in many ways, they have more in common with sorcerers and witches than any kind of priest. Their art is a way of mastering the forces of magic and bending them to your will, with little reverence or mysticism. Like many creatures in the wilds, magic is something komodo are born with, and its use was a natural development.
Adult komodo may stay in their home settlement and build a life for themselves, but many will seek out other tribes. Komodo maintain permanent settlements, but have an almost nomadic nature, having little connection to any particular place, and not getting too attached to even their own families, especially as young adults. Given the potential for a settlement to become uninhabitable, this attitude serves an important function in preventing sentimental decisions to stay when cold calculations say to leave. It also has the added benefit of keeping the gene pool diverse.
Komodo Tribal Settlements
Komodo tribes are fairly straightforward in their structure, with a chieftain who leads them, an elder shaman who advises and commands the other shamans, and a champion who leads the warriors and is charged with overseeing the tribes defenses.
Komodo chieftains have considerable authority, but only as long as they can hang on to their position. There is little reluctance to replace an abusive or incompetent chieftain, and there is never a shortage of potential challengers. Komodo chieftains must be clever and charismatic to retain their position for any meaningful period of time, and that's very much the way the komodo like it. From a komodo perspective, a nervous chieftain is a wise chieftain.
Champions are appointed by the chieftain, and have one of the most important jobs in komodo society. While they are charged with leading the tribe's warriors in battle, the vast majority of their job consists of planning and overseeing the defenses, and protecting the settlement from the wilds. While champions typically owe their allegiance to the chieftain, it is not a job to be given out based on that support. No chieftain will retain his position without a competent champion keeping the tribe safe.
The elder shaman is the one role completely independent of the chieftain. The shamans of each tribe are organized into a guild of sorts, strictly controlling the use of magic, providing common magical services and maintaining the wards which protect the settlements. The shamans choose their own leadership, and answer only to the other shamans. Each tribe has its own elder to lead their shamans. All the elders are under the authority of the high shaman, who leads their order in the capital. In times of crisis, the high shaman can call a meeting of the elders, to coordinate the efforts of every shaman among the komodo.
Most komodo settlements are built in the trees. Large trees will be hollowed out, and can house dozens of komodo. Swamp settlements will also have secret entrances to some of their trees hidden below the waterline. These settlements are heavily secured from all angles of attack, having a reinforced canopy above, perimeter walls, strong floors and defenses and traps around the trunks of the supporting trees.
Some komodo live almost completely underwater. The deepkin, as they are known, live in large lakes, building their settlements in underwater caves. They still have air filled sections in their settlements for tasks which cannot be done underwater, and occasionally for housing guests or prisoners. Some of these chambers will inevitably have winding passages and secret doors leading to the surface. The deepkin are part of traditional tribal society, but remain relatively isolated. Only matters of the gravest importance can bring the deepkin to out of hiding and face to face with their surface based brethren.
Komodo tribes are always formed around a suitable spawning ground. It may be a well secured section of swamp, a cave with an underground lake, or even a simple pool carved out of the bedrock. In the drier, forested areas, tribes usually build their own spawning pools in the trees rather than attempt to defend one on the ground. These spawning grounds are the future of the tribe, and the only thing that cannot be abandoned without hesitation.
Life Among the Cityfolk
The cityfolk have been quick to adapt to life among the civilized races. Though they retain trade relations with many of the tribal settlements, they have left many aspects of their culture behind, and no longer recognize the authority of the chieftains. They typically follow foreign gods, have adopted foreign marriage traditions and wear foreign clothing.
Most komodo cities are sprawling coastal settlements with large, busy harbors and bustling markets. The cities are surrounded by massive walls which extend far out into the water, shielding them from the dangers of the wild. While the majority of the city will be on dry land, a significant portion is built in the water. These sections are for komodo only, and provide them with comfortable amphibious housing with private spawning grounds for komodo families.
Komodo traders control the flow of goods to and from the wilds, and have used their cunning and connections to build a trade empire. Komodo traders can be found in cities around the world, forming trade routes and collecting new goods to bring home. The remarkable pace at which the komodo have spread out is due in no small part to their considerable reproductive rate. The relative safety of city life has allowed the komodo to multiply rapidly, and their economy must constantly expand to keep up. There are only so many positions to fill in a city at any given time, and opportunities abroad can provide considerable wealth. Many other komodo will leave to become soldiers, mercenaries, clerics and wizards.
Though the cities are distinctly modern, there is a single element of tribal society which remains unaltered in the cities. Every city has a group of shamans who fulfill their role as advisers and resident mages. The city shamans remain in contact with their tribal counterparts, and travel freely between both societies, protected by the fact that shamans are considered above politics. Shamans in the cities assert less authority over the magic trade than in the tribal settlements. This is in part because foreigners resist the kind of extreme control the shamans traditionally exert, and in part because the shamans are far too interested in foreign magic to limit its availability.
Ability Scores: Komodo are natural survivors physically and mentally, but but headstrong. They gain +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, and -2 wisdom
Type: Humanoid (Reptilian)
Speed: Komodo have a base speed of 30, a Climb speed 20, and a Swim speed of 30
Languages: Komodo begin play speaking Common and Komodo. Komodo with a high intelligence can learn the following languages: Aquan, Celestial, Draconic, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, And Sylvan
Natural Armor: Komodo possess a thick hide covered in fine scales. They gain a +1 Natural Armor bonus.
Resistant: Komodo gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects and poison.
Natural Attack: Bite, 1d3
Skill training: Komodo are raised in a dangerous natural environment and taught to stay alert. Knowledge Nature and Perception are always class skills for Komodo
Arcane Shamanism: Komodo add +1 to the caster level of any conjuration spells they cast. In addition, Komodo with an Intelligence score of 11 or higher gain the following spell-like abilities (caster level is equal to character level):
1/day - Cure light wounds, Obscuring Mist, Unseen Servant
Lowlight Vision: Komodo can see twice as far as a race with normal vision in conditions of dim light.
Amphibious: Komodo are amphibious and can breathe both air and water.
Alternate Race Traits
Adaptive Camouflage: Some komodo who live in the dry forested regions have the ability to blend in with their surroundings. They gain a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks. This trait replaces, Swim Speed, Amphibious, and Natural Armor
Cityfolk: Cityfolk grow up learning about urban environments and foreign lands, while also interacting with people from many cultures. Knowledge (Local) and Diplomacy are always class skills for cityfolk. This trait replaces skill training.
Deepkin: Deepkin grow up in the pitch black waters of their hidden caves. Isolated from the surface world, their eyes adjust to the darkness. They can see in the dark up to 120 feet while underwater, but do not gain this benefit out of water. This trait replaces Lowlight Vision, and Skill Training.
Desolate Soul: A rare few komodo are born without the inherent magical abilties of their people. Instead, these “Desolate Souls” become a siphon of magical power, absorbing spells directed at them. They gain spell resistance equal to 6 + their character level. This trait replaces Arcane Shamanism.
Toxic: Some komodo have poison glands in their mouths. These glands take the place of some of the jaw muscles, weakening their bite strength, but giving them the ability to produce a paralytic venom. A number of times per day equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum 1/day), the komodo can envenom a weapon that it wields with its toxic saliva. Applying venom in this way is a swift action. Paralytic Venom: Injury; save Fort DC 10 + the 1/2 user's Hit Dice + the user's Constitution modifier; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Dex; cure 1 save. This trait replaces Natural Attack.
Active Resistance: The komdo has mastered their ability to resist magic. Their spell resistance increases to 11 + Character level. (Prerequisite: Desolate Soul, Int 15, level 11)
Breath weapon: The komodo gains a breath weapon. Once per day, as a standard action, the komodo can make a supernatural breath weapon attack that deals 2d6 points of acid damage in a 15 foot cone. All creatures within the affected area must make a Reflex saving throw to avoid taking damage. The save DC against this breath weapon is 10 + 1/2 the user's character level + the user's Constitution modifier. Those who succeed at the save take no damage from the attack. Komodo can expend three uses of their poison to envenom the breath weapon as a swift action, though only those who take damage from the breath weapon can be affected. This feat can be taken multiple times, each time it adds an additional use per day. A komodo with multiple uses per day can expend additional uses to increase the damage by 1d6 each.(prerequisite: Toxic, Con 13, level 5)
Prehensile tail: The komodo has a long, flexible tail that can be used to carry objects. They cannot wield weapons with their tail, but they can retrieve small, stowed objects carried on their person as a swift action.
Shaman Training: The komodo Gains detect magic and detect poison as spell-like abilities which they may use 2/day. (Prerequisite: Arcane Shamanism, Int 11)
Improved Shaman Training: The komodo gains the ability to use detect magic and and detect poison at will, may use cure light wounds, obscuring mist, unseen servant, 2/day, and gains delay poison and speak with animals 1/day. (Prerequisite: Shaman Training, Int 13)
Greater Shaman Training: The komodo gains an additional use of each spell like ability per day, and gains shadow conjuration 1/day. (Prerequisite: Improved Shaman Training, Int 15, level 7)
Water Sense: The komodo can sense vibrations in water, granting them blindsense 30 feet against creatures that are touching the same body of water. (Prerequisite: Deepkin)
Gargoyles are muscular, humanoid creatures with sharp features, thick hides, bulky tails and large leathery wings. Most gargoyle's have fairly human-like features accentuated with small horn on their foreheads. Their skin is usually a muted shade of gray, or brown, while hair is most often black. Eye colors can vary wildly, and even reflect different colors when illuminated in the dark.
That said, gargoyles carry numerous recessive traits, creating a remarkably diverse species. Some common traits include large horns, muzzles, beaks, baldness, reptilian crests, fur, feathers, scaly hides and any coloration one can imagine. Extreme cases may even resemble hybridization, having a snakelike head and a serpentine tail in place of legs for example. Other than the ubiquitous wings and tail, there is little that is truly universal about their appearance.
Gargoyle names usually follow a simple formula, consisting of an adjective or verb followed by a noun. They may be named for a physical trait, a personality quirk, a talent, an accomplishment or anything else that seems fitting. These names are often metaphorical, and may require knowing the gargyole in question to fully understand. Example names include Smiling Mountain, Swift Claws, Sharp Tongue, Death's Shadow, Enduring Shield, or Undying Storm.
Names have little special significance of their own, and are simply chosen to be descriptive of the gargoyle to whom they are bestowed. The importance of the name is that it signifies the gargoyle's place in the clan. Gargoyles are named by the clan leader upon reaching adulthood. Traditionally, the clan leader discusses names with the young gargoyle's biological parents first, but technically, the leader can name him anything he chooses. It is considered extremely unwise to offend a leader as a child.
Prior to receiving a name, gargoyle children are typically referred to as their parent's child. This is done only to distinguish between children in conversation, never directly to the child. To refer to a child this way to their face is to imply that they are not part of the clan, and belong only to their biological parents. Some children acquire nicknames as well, though this is rarely positive. Most nicknames are ways of marking problematic behaviors and personality traits, and serve as a way of shaming children into behaving. For example, a strong willed child might be referred to as mule until he learns to obey.
According to myth, the gargoyles were created from the mountain stones. The gods reached down and shaped the stone into statues of fierce warriors. The gods then breathed life into the statues, and the first gargoyles burst from within. These new beings quickly tamed their mountainous home, and built a powerful nation from the wild lands.
In ancient times, gargoyles inhabited their ancestral homeland of Dar Hahn. A rocky, mountainous region, Dar Hahn was home to great cities carved into cliff faces, entire mountains wrapped in stone structures, and massive caves filled with towers and platforms connected by walkways. At its peak, Dar Hahn was a prosperous nation, whose wealth flowed from its well guarded trade routes. None of its neighbors could rival the gargoyle nation's strength, and none dared to invoke its wrath.
Dar Hahn's pride would be its downfall. Its position along valuable trade routes eventually placed with between growing empires. While other neighbors would ally themselves with on side or the other, the gargoyles thought they could hold off their enemies indefinitely. But they were proved disastrously wrong. Surrounded by enemies, and the gargoyles had nowhere to run and no one to aid them against the unending forces of the vast empires. When their last cities fell, those who were not killed or enslaved fled in all direction, desperately seeking refuge wherever they could find it.
Gargoyle refugees spread out across dozens of civilizations. Most of them would eventually find their way to existing settlements and form enclaves with a tense, but mutually beneficial arrangement involving protecting the locals in exchange for a place to live. Occasionally gargoyles have made a life as merchant caravans, but those are rare exceptions. Many gargoyles are still enslaved, and those who manage to escape often try to find a clan, but may also try to make a life by integrating into another race's society. Its also not unheard of for gargoyle clans to become bandits and mercenaries, but few of these groups would last for very long.
The fall of Dar Hahn is a weight on the soul the gargoyle race. Since the loss of their home, the gargoyles have been lost, their numbers dwindling. The traditional funeral rite “From stone we came, to stone we return” has become the coda which defines gargoyle life, a somber blessing repeated before battle and in the face of the endless crises that the scattered people face throughout their lives.
Life as Lost Guardians
Whether they dwell in a city, a temple or an empty ruin, gargoyles defend their territory with unrivaled ferocity. From the day they hatch, every gargoyle is taught of the home that was lost, and quickly learns to hang on to what little they have. This fierce protectiveness of their home has facilitated alliances with many settlements which seek protection, though these relationships are rarely easy to maintain.
Gargoyle communities are insular by nature. Few outsiders are ever trusted enough to get a glimpse of life among gargoyles. Those who do interact with them often find their cold, grim demeanor unsettling. This barrier between the gargoyles and the people they protect can foment unrest and generate hostility towards them. To make matters worse, most gargoyle clans maintain their traditional leadership structure, and have difficulty following orders from the authorities they protect. It is not unusual for settlements which took in gargoyles out of necessity to end the arrangement when they feel secure enough to defend their land on their own.
Still, despite any tensions, gargoyles are loyal guardians. In addition to the tactical advantages of having aerial warriors with supernatural camouflage, gargoyles are dedicated warriors who never run from a fight. They will fight to their dying breath, so long as the faintest hope of victory remains. Gargoyles also have the advantage of training from an early age with their traditional weapons, the scythe and net, relics of a lost home and a more peaceful way of life.
Gargoyles form tight knit clans in which every member is an active participant. The whole community is treated as a kind of family, and distinctions between immediate family and others in the community are strongly discouraged. To show favoritism to a close relative is to neglect the rest of the clan, and such behavior is seen as selfish and corrupt. The sole exception is for romantic relationships, where distinctions must remain strong if only to avoid inbreeding.
Gargoyles have no concept of marriage as such, but are typically monogamous. Gargoyle courtship is an informal and very gradual thing, and often starts as childhood friendship. This slow and steady approach produces strong bonds which rarely break. When couples do separate, they are expected to do so in a civil manner for the sake of the clan. Romantic relationships are valued, but must never become a burden on the clan.
Children are under the direct authority of their biological parents, but belong to the entire clan. Parents spend little time alone with their children during their formative years, instead taking turns with other parents watching over the rookery and caring for the entire clan's children. Most clans are small enough that only one adult is ever needed for rookery duty, though even large ones rarely need more than two, as older children are expected to care for the younger ones.
As children grow older, each member of the society is expected to pass on their knowledge and skill to them. This form of schooling and training is an obligation shared the whole clan without exception. Even those who possess no obvious skill or who are of limited ability are expected contribute in one way or another, if only as an assistant to a more gifted teacher.
When a gargoyle comes of age, their parents are responsible for overseeing the rites of passage. This is often little more than a hunt or skirmish with an enemy, but proves that the young gargoyle is capable of standing on their own and supporting the clan. Then and only then do they earn their name, and place as an adult in the clan.
Gargoyle society once had great complexity in its organization. Society was divided into fourteen lineages, dating back to the original gargoyles. Each line was divided into dozens of houses, and each house was divided into numerous clans. The politics and intrigue within the houses was intense yet subtle, the kind of slow strategy preferred by a patient people like the gargoyles. But all that ended with the fall of Dar Hahn. In the aftermath, the lines and houses meant nothing, and clans formed from whoever survived together.
Clans have a simple structure. There is a single leader, who is expected to be wise enough to make decisions, charismatic enough to hold the clan together, persuasive enough to speak for the clan with outsiders, and strong enough to lead the clan into battle. While all these roles are needed, it is the role of battlefield commander which is the most important.
Clan leaders are responsible for keeping the clan alive. They plan the defense of their territory, and lead their warriors in combat. It is from this martial and strategic prowess that helps the leader hold the clan together. Similarly, clan leaders often rely on their reputation in battle to give them the edge in their dealings with their allies.
Leaders serve while they are in their prime. When a leader is getting old and losing his edge, he steps aside and takes his place among the elders. Elders have no more authority than any other member of the clan, but are widely respected and serve as advisers. It is generally the elders and particularly the retiring leader that choose the new leader, though in times of crisis, or when a leader is no longer trusted, any member can attempt to take command.
Challenging a sitting leader is unusual, but does happen from time to time. Typically it only occurs when a rift is growing within the clan, as clan unity is integral to gargoyle culture. There isn't a set procedure for handling such challenges, so it varies from one situation to another. The elders will typically hear the dispute and may advise one side to back down. If they cannot choose one over the other, it will fall to the leader and challenger to settle the dispute. This may be done through combat, or it may involve winning the support of the clan and the elders through force of personality. The winner of the challenge then leads the clan, while the fate of the loser is up to the leader. If the challenge was well intentioned and civil, they loser will likely stay. However if any level of animosity has developed, or there is enough unrest that the loser poses a threat to stability, he will most likely be cast out. In extreme cases, this could even lead to a divergence into to separate clans, with the stronger of the two keeping their territory while the other find a new home.
From Stone We Came, To Stone We return
The gargoyle life cycle is unusual among sapient species. Gargoyle pregnancies last for only a few weeks before the mother lays an egg. Gargoyle eggs harden within moments, and take on the texture and color of stones. Despite this appearance, the eggs are actually semipermeable, and capable of absorbing nutrients. The eggs need rotating every few days and occasional soaking in pools filled with suitable species of moss and fungus in order to develop. Should this not happen, the eggs will go dormant, and halt development until the conditions are more suitable. Gargoyle eggs come to term in a little over a year, though they can remain dormant for centuries if necessary.
Gargoyle hatchlings are small and vulnerable, requiring constant attention. They will learn to walk within the first eight to ten months, but will not be ready to fly until they reach adolescence, around age twenty. Gargoyles reach adulthood around age thirty, and while they are fully capable of reproducing, the slow pace at which gargoyles take such matters usually means waiting at least another decade or two before reproduction begins.
Gargoyles can reproduce numerous times, but do so at a remarkably slow rate. Given the high mortality rate they can face, their population often struggles to remain stable. It is only their long lifespan that gives them a fighting chance.
While most gargoyles will die a violent death in service of the clan, those who live long enough to reach old age will spend their waning years passing on their knowledge and wisdom to the younger generations. Finally, sometime between the ages of 300 and 350, the elderly gargoyle will go to sleep, and rather than wake up he will fully transform into a statue. Traditionally, these statues would be taken to the sacred mountain where the first gargoyles were formed. According to legend, when Dar Hahn is reclaimed and the statues are returned, life will be breathed into them and they will be reborn. Until that day, the statues of elders are a treasured relic of the clan, to be protected at all costs.
Gargoyle adventurers are unusual but not unheard of. Gargoyles are all too familiar with adversity, and may find themselves cut off from their clan for a variety of reasons. With their combat training and unique abilities, gargoyles often fall into adventuring when left without better options, or while in search of a new clan to join. Escaped slaves transition into adventuring life especially easily.
Other gargoyles may find themselves thrust into an adventure on behalf of their clan. Threats to the clan are usually threats to the people they live with, and may well require a joint effort in order to safeguard their home. Other times, a gargoyle may be sent on a mission on behalf of the clan, to find a new home for example.
Ability scores: Gargoyles are tough and alert, but have a cold demeanor. They gain +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom and, -2 Charisma.
Type: Monstrous Humanoid
Speed: Base 30.
Languages: Gargoyles begin play speaking Common and Gargoyle. Gargoyles with a high intelligence can learn the following languages: Auran, Draconic, Dwarven, Giant, Goblin, Orc, and Terran
Gliding Wings: Gargoyles take no damage from falling (as if subject to a constant non-magical feather fall spell). While in midair, gargoyles can move up to 5 feet in any horizontal direction for every 1 foot they fall, at a speed of 60 feet per round. A gargoyle cannot gain height with these wings alone; it merely coasts in other directions as it falls. If subjected to a strong wind or any other effect that causes a gargoyle to rise, it can take advantage of the updraft to increase the distance it can glide.
Damage Reduction: Gargoyles gain damage Reduction 2/Bludgeoning.
Natural Attack: 2 Claws, 1d4
Weapon Familiarity: Gargoyles are proficient with Scythes and Nets.
Skilled: +4 Climb, +2 Stealth.
Statue Form (Su): Gargoyles can make themselves appear to be statues at will. This functions as disguise self, but can only alter the color and texture of the gargoyle and his equipment to mimic a stone or metal statue. While in statue form, the gargoyle is also under the effect of nondetection, with a caster level equal to his character level. Both effects ends immediately if the gargoyle moves. Gargoyles automatically activate this ability when sleeping, and may sleep while standing or sitting in an appropriate pose.
Darkvision: Gargoyles can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet
Alternate Race Traits
Feral: Some gargoyles are separated from their clan from an early age, or even hatch from long forgotten eggs. These gargoyles lack the training and even minimal social graces of their brethren, but make up for it with survival skills. They gain a 20 foot climb speed, a +2 bonus to stealth and survival, and a -2 penalty to bluff, diplomacy and sense motive. This trait replaces skilled and weapon familiarity.
Slave Born: Gargoyle slaves do not learn the skills of their free counterparts, but gain valuable abilities nonetheless. The gargoyle gains a +2 bonus to bluff, sense motive, and sleight of hand, and is proficient with the cat-o'nine-tails and pickaxe. This trait replaces weapon familiarity and skilled.
Wing Deformities: Some gargoyles possess wings which do not develop properly. While they are useless for flight, the muscles are still strong enough to make attacks. They gain 2 secondary wing attacks which do 1d4 damage. This trait replaces gliding wing.
Gargoyle Flight: The gargoyle gains a fly speed of 30 feet with poor maneuverability, and treats fly as a class skill. The gargoyle retains its gliding ability. (Prerequisite: Gliding Wings, level 5)
Recessive Traits: Some gargoyle traits bear a distinct resemblance to another species. Choose one humanoid race. The gargoyle gains their subtype (though not the humanoid type) and counts as both gargoyle and as a member of that race for the purposes of any effect or prerequisite related to race. This feat must be taken at level 1.
Last edited by Makeitstop; 2014-04-02 at 12:23 AM.
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
Re: [PF] Redesigning Lizardfolk and Gargoyles as Player Races, plus Rhinotaurs [PEACH
So I updated my old Rhinotaurs from 3.5, and rather than start a new thread, I figured I'd just post them here. Any feedback you guys have would be appreciated.
Rhinotaurs are large, bulky, muscular, humanoid Rhinos, with thick gray skin and large horns. Male and Female Rhinotaurs are roughly the same size (6-7 feet tall, 350-400 pounds), though females have slightly shorter, more “human” faces and feminine features.
Rhinotaurs often have intricate carvings in their horns, denoting ranks, titles, honors, agreements, marriages, or just because they're pretty. Symbols which are meant to mark obligations will be replaced if damaged, but honors and other more frivolous things will simply be left in the past and the loss, treated as an opportunity to earn new ones. Should a Rhinotaur horn be lost completely, it will grow back in time.
NamesRhinotaur names consist of a given name and an honor name, in whichever order sounds best. Given names are typically borrowed from other races, most often human, while honor names are descriptors based on notable accomplishments and traits, for example: Silent Stalker Jarek. Though this is sufficient most of the time, for official records and formal use, Rhinotaurs use their full name, consisting of their given and honor name, followed by the given names of their twin, father and mother, and any ranks, titles, and additional honors earned. Example: Haikon Thunder Fist, Brother of Enora, Son of Arkon and Isha, Captain of the Citadel guard; Dragon Slayer, and Griffon Rider.
Rhinotaur life and society
Rhinotaurs are renowned warriors who live in tribes on the plains. They were originally created by a powerful Sorcerer who used them as his army. When they overthrew him, their leaders declared that they would never conquer others again, and swore to aid their neighbors as allies in times of peril. As such, they have strong ties with many races, and often serve an important role as merchants and diplomats, as well as neutral arbiters between rival factions.
Despite their animal nature, Rhinotaurs are just as intelligent and thoughtful as any other sentient race. While naturally adept at combat, they are just as likely to be found living as artists, craftsman, merchants or clerics. There are even Rhinotaur wizards, though their history has lead them to view professional magic users with suspicion. Many Rhinotaurs have the potential to be powerful sorcerers (a trait most likely attributable to the means by which they were created) though few ever do so publicly, because of the taboo associated with such magic.
Rhinotaur culture is focused on discipline, honor and personal growth. From birth, Rhinotaurs are taught to strive for perfection in mind, body and spirit. For a Rhinotaur, it is not enough to master a single discipline, they must be ready for every situation, and utilize all of their potential. It is not unusual for Rhinotaurs to master multiple vocations over a lifetime.
The obsession with perfection and personal development isn't just an inwardly focused principle. Rhinotaurs want all sentient beings to fulfill their potential and push the limits of their abilities. For example, if a small band of Rhinotaur warriors were to come across a village that was facing imminent destruction at the hands of an Orc horde, the Rhinotaurs would be willing to lend assistance, but would be more concerned with empowering the villagers to defend themselves than with fighting a battle for them. On the other hand, if they were to come across a beggar, most Rhinotaurs would refuse to give even a single copper unless the beggar did something to earn it. Still, they are not cruel or irrational, and will generally lend free aid to those who are in situations which they cannot reasonably handle on their own.
Like any society, Rhinotaurs also have their rebels and outsiders. By nature, Rhinotaurs are stubborn, hot headed, and prone to fits of terrible rage. Most Rhinotaurs view these traits as incredibly shameful weaknesses, and never allow themselves to lose control, even for an instance, but there are always a few who never accept the rigid concepts of discipline and honor. These rebellious individuals are unwelcome among their own people, and almost always leave at a young age (and those who don't eventually earn an exile or a violent death). Those who leave are mourned, and considered dead by those who they leave behind. Some find work as soldiers or mercenaries (Rhinotaur scouts being particularly sought after), while others become barbarians and bandits. As they grow older and more mature, some will eventually return home, but most never look back.
Rhinotaurs are slow to enter into marriage, as there is no divorce, and the only way to exit a marriage is through death or exile. Rhinotaurs mate for life and consider the marital bond to be sacred. Courtship typically involves both parties attempting to impress each other and earn their respect. If they should dive straight into bed however, they would be considered married, and though somewhat scandalous, such events are not entirely rare.
Rhinotaur parents are part teacher, part drill sergeant, and part jailor. One parent is with the children at all times, with both parents taking shifts watching over them. During that time, it is the parent's job to pass on all their knowledge and wisdom, as well as put them through strict training and conditioning. Even as a child grows older and begins to run off and play with other children, a parent is always watching from a distance. Despite the constant supervision, Rhinotaur children often get into trouble, as their parents will not intervene unless the child is in real danger. Instead, the parent will typically use each situation as an opportunity to teach the child a lesson, and force it to solve it's own problems. Once a Rhinotaur reaches adulthood however, they rarely stay in contact with their parents, and some may never see them again. From an outsiders perspective, this seems like it would be difficult, but Rhinotaur discipline and self-reliance makes the process mostly painless.
All Rhinotaurs are born in a set of twins, one male and one female, an unusual trait bestowed upon them by their creator in order to ensure that they would always have a stable gender ratio. The bond between brother and sister is powerful, and can never be broken. Even after reaching adulthood, twins typically live together until one marries, and even then they are rarely far from each other. Most tribes are in fact long chains of twins, and theirs spouses, and their spouses' twins. In cases of exile, it's not unheard of for a twin to follow after the exile, both out of devotion, and in the hopes of reforming them. There are even stories of twins whose bonds are supernatural in nature, and of dead siblings who remain with their twin as ghosts. Despite this, Rhinotaurs will not admit to being dependent upon a twin, and when their paths diverge, consider themselves honor bound to remain stoic, and go their separate ways.
Rhinotaur society is spread out across their vast homeland. Though they control and police all of their land, they consider all areas outside of their settlements to be neutral territory, open to everyone so long as they act peacefully and honorably. The settlements themselves however are reserved for the Rhinotaurs, and can only be entered by outsiders at the discretion of the local populace, which typically requires a Rhinotaur to take responsibility for their actions.
Much of the Rhinotaur population lives in small tribes in the center of the plains. These settlements are often little more than a collection of tents and huts gathered around a useful geographic feature. Though they are not truly nomadic, Rhinotaurs are always ready to leave at a moment's notice. The only truly permanent settlements are the eight ancestral cities, found in the ruins of the fortresses that circle their territory, and the Citadel, the old sorcerer's tower that has become their capital city. The fortresses are left in ruins, repaired only to the extent necessary to keep them from collapsing. The Citadel however has seen constant repairs and renovations, transforming it from a sorcerer's seat of power to a great city filled with culture and commerce. These sites serve as a memorial to their shameful origins, a reminder of what they were, and a symbol of all they strive to become.
Politics and Law
Rhinotaurs have little government outside of their capital city. Because most Rhinotaur settlements are small, tight knit communities, most disputes are settled as matters of honor, with the potential loss of trust and respect from neighbors being incentive enough to force some form of resolution. Decisions which affect the whole community are settled through gatherings, in which all community members reach a decision. The decision need not be truly unanimous, but there can be no objection. Because stubbornness is considered dishonorable, indecision is rare, even more so than violence.
In the ancestral cities, gatherings are closed to the general public, and can only be attended by orators, leaders who are empowered to speak for others. Upon reaching adulthood, a small chunk is cut from a Rhinotaur's horn (making room for the carving of their first honor name) on which is carved their full name. This chunk of horn is their orator's token, an item to be given to whoever they trust to speak for them. Unlike simple gatherings, orator's gathering often settle matters with votes, in which each orator has as many votes as he has tokens.
The Citadel is host to the assembly, a gathering of Orator's from across the land. The assembly handles all matters which affect the Rhinotaur nation as a whole, as well as foreign relations. In order to accommodate trade, the assembly is in charge of passing laws which govern the behavior of outsiders, and appoints leadership to run the Citadel, including a captain of the guard, magistrates, and record keepers. This more formal structure is important, as the Citadel is open to people of all nations and races, many of whom do not share the Rhinotaur's concern for honor.
While most disputes are resolved naturally in order to avoid dishonor, and shame is typically all the punishment that is necessary on occasion, that is not enough. When a Rhinotaur is considered a danger to others, he is exiled from the lands. A gathering must be held, and cannot be concluded until a unanimous decision is reached. If the decision is made to exile a Rhinotaur, his orator's token is taken and sent to the assembly to record the exile, and in an excruciatingly painful process, fang shaped cuts are made beneath the eyes, a sign to all that the exile is a beast, not a man.
Sometimes, a respected member of the community will be allowed to intervene and take responsibility for a potential exile, in the hopes that he might be able to turn him around. This is not a task to be taken lightly however, as the mentor is agreeing to tie his fate to that of his ward, and if an exile still occurs later on, both are exiled.
Once exiled, a Rhinotaur is allowed to return only once, in order to plead their case before the assembly. An exile may claim to have been cast out unfairly, or they may argue they have changed, and should be given a second chance. A few elderly exiles have returned only to make a last statement of defiance. It is their right to address the assembly as they see fit, an act given all the respect afforded to a man's last words.
Exiles are uncommon, and returns are exceedingly rare, so these meetings are given all the time necessary to reach a fair conclusion. If the assembly votes to redeem the exile, the confiscated token is returned, and word is sent out across the nation declaring the good news. If the assembly votes to maintain the exile, two new cuts are made, from the back of the horn, up the forehead between the eyes and ears and down to the back of the exiles neck. This new mark shows that the exile has exhausted his one chance to return, and must never set foot in his homeland again.
When Rhinotaurs reach adulthood, they must undertake the pilgrimage as a rite of passage. They are required to travel to the eight ancestral cities (often a challenge in itself) and in each one, earn the approval of a master. This can be as simple as a single competition, or may take weeks of intense study and training, whatever the master chooses. Each city has many masters, each considered the best in that city at a particular discipline. To be a master is both an honor and a duty, and is used both to serve others and as a way of growing through constant challenges.
Once a Rhinotaur has gained the approval of eight masters of physical, mental and spiritual disciplines, he must travel to the Citadel and choose his honor name. Along with their approval, each master recommends an honor name, usually based on how the young one approached a challenge. A master may also choose to recommend an honor name based a previous accomplishment or a trait, but only when it is something extraordinary.
Once a name is chosen, it is recorded in the citadel archives and carved into the back of the Rhinotaur's horn. Throughout his life, a Rhinotaur may earn new honors which he can choose to use in place of his first honor name, but for official purposes, his first honor name is the only one that counts.
Ability Scores: Rhinotaurs are resilient and thoughtful, but stoic, and gain a +2 to Constitution, +2 to Wisdom and -2 to Charisma
Type: Humanoid (Rhinotaur)
Speed: 30 feet.
Languages: Rhinotaurs begin play speaking common. Rhinotaurs with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).
Powerful Frame: Rhinotaur bodies are bulky, and uniquely suited to carrying the weight of armor. They get armor training as a level three fighter, which stacks with armor training from any other source. In addition, Rhinotaurs reduce their total arcane spell failure chance by 10% when wearing armor or shields. Finally, Rhinotaurs can treat any armor with a base armor check penalty of 0 and max dex of 6 or more as clothing if it would be advantageous, such as in the case of a monk.
Natural Attack: Gore 1d6
Powerful Charge: Whenever a Rhinotaur charges, it deals twice the number of damage dice with its gore attack plus 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus.
Diverse Training: Rhinotaurs train for versatility as well as mastery. Rhinotaurs begin play with two additional class skills of their choice.
Sorcerous Heritage: Rhinotaurs can draw on the power in their blood to gain a +1 bonus to their caster level when casting sorcerer bloodline spells, and a +1 to the DCs of any charisma based spells they cast. Applying both effects to a single spell counts as one use of this ability. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to 1/2 their character level (minimum of 1).
Near sighted: Rhinotaurs take a -2 penalty on all sight based perception checks.
Scent: Rhinotaurs gain the scent ability.
Last edited by Makeitstop; 2014-03-11 at 03:04 PM.