I thought I'd take a step away from my all-machine Sovices and my other all-biological or machine-assisted races by producing a new race, one that nearly wiped out the Beginners that created all life.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Bacteria and Germs, meet the Makha:
Part 1: The Juvenile
Makha, Juvenile Medium Humanoid Hit Dice: 3d8+3 (20 HP) Initiative: -1 Speed: Fly 5 ft. (clumsy) Armor Class: 26 (-1 Dex, +17 Nat), touch 9, flat-footed 26 Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+2 Attack: – Full Attack: – Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. Special Attacks: Charm Person, Electrical Pulse Special Qualities: Blindsight 60 ft., Fast Healing 1, Planar Anchor, Sealed Environment Saves: Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +4 Abilities: Str 11, Dex 9, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10 Skills: Concentration +4, Hide +6* Feats: Ability Focus (charm person), Hoverb, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (charm person) Environment: Any Organization: Any except solitary Challenge Rating: 1 Alignment: Lawful Neutral
A large egg-shaped metallic object floats gently across the floor, a distinct quiet whirring and the sound of suppressed breathing partially humming through the metallic shell. Whilst entirely inhuman, the object seem remarkably harmless, and extremely vulnerable, like a newborn baby
A juvenile Makha is the first stage of the Makha lifecycle. A newborn is placed within the recognisable mechanical shell where it is nurtured and gradually transformed more and more into a mechanical lifeform. However, the juvenile is still at its core a living organism and relies on its life support systems, unlike the adult Makha, and so is affected more as a living creature than a machine.
Combat Charm Person (Sp): A juvenile Makha can use charm person at will (Will DC 13). Caster level 10th, the save DC is Charisma based and includes a +2 bonus from the Ability Focus feat. Electrical Pulse (Ex): Instead of using the 5 points of energy to sustain their life-support systems, they can instead release it in a pulse affecting a 15 ft. radius area around the juvenile. Since the energy has been used for this purpose, the juvenile is left to hold its breath until additional energy can be supplied, though more than one juvenile could conceivably use the waves on concert to supply eachother and harm intruders. Planar Anchor (Su): As an immediate action, a juvenile Makha can anchor themselves magically to the very fabrics of the plane, even in midair. Any attempts to move the juvenile require an opposed Strength check, at which it gains a +20 bonus. In addition, the juvenile gains damage reduction 15/–. The Makha can continue this state indefinitely, but cannot perform any other actions except for minor ones such as communication or breathing. Sealed Environment (Ex): The mechanical shell that encases a juvenile is air-tight, and the internal environment recycles its gas supply and provides it with nourishment for as long as it has an energy supply. It is immune to gaseous attacks and can survive in a vacuum or even underwater. However, a juvenile’s shell requires at least 5 points of electrical damage each hour to continue the cyclic process, after which the juvenile begins suffocating and eventually starving to death. Skills: *Because of their mechanical appearance, a juvenile Makha gains a +4 bonus on Hide checks in mechanically-dominated environments
As you can see, they really aren't supposed to move. Ordinarily, they sit on top of a pad that provides that 5 electricity damage each hour to support their support systems. I'm hesitant to give them any kind of Challenge Rating, because their only defense is to try and make their attackers like them, the only alternative leaves them on their death bed. Well, it's that or hide very slowly.
Fortunately, their organisation means that they are rarely alone, and whilst they are usually encountered in rooms full of juveniles, there are usually a few adults to keep watch as well.
Part 2: The Adult
Makha, Adult Medium Construct (Augmented Humanoid) Hit Dice: 6d10+20 (53 HP) Initiative: +3 Speed: 30 ft. Armor Class: 30 (+3 Dex, +17 Nat), touch 13, flat-footed 27 Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+8 Attack: 4 Claws +8 melee (1d8+6 [20/x2]) Full Attack: 4 Claws +8 melee (1d8+6 [20/x2]) Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. Special Attacks: Arm rays, Improved Grab Special Qualities: Allocate Damage, Blindsight 60 ft., Construct traits, DR 10/–, Fast Healing 5, Last Breath, Network Saves: Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +3 Abilities: Str 18, Dex 17, Con –, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 20 Skills: Balance +5, Disable Device +9, Jump +15, Move Silently +12, Open Lock +6, Search +12, Swim +7, Tumble +11 Feats: Combat Reflexesb, Evasive Reflexes, Fling Enemyb, Rapid Assault, Stampb Environment: Any Organization: Any except solitary Challenge Rating: 8 Alignment: Lawful Neutral
The seven foot tall creature lumbers forward on bulky legs. Its body is extremely carved, like a mass of polygons; its head is little more than a dome with various lights and darkened lenses. Its four arms ends with a cruelly clawed three-fingered hand, each with a glowing gem of some sort in its palm. Its hulking frame seems to belie its true agility, but its sheer intimidation is enough to warrant a wide birth…
The adult Makha’s casing is a reconfigured and upgraded version of their original juvenile casing, built for combat and utility. By this point, their original biological frame has all but rotted, and their soul now lies completely within the Network circuitry of it’s casing.
One Makha in a scouting group will usually carry at least one Star Burner to remain in contact with the main body of the Network. Most Makha carry some technology with them that aids them in their tasks. A Makha cut off from the Network regresses to an animalistic behaviour of violent action, and attempts to reconnect to the Network as soon as possible.
An adult Makha speaks in a strange code of numerical sounds, but it can manage fractured and harsh-tongued versions of other languages when connected to the Network. When entering battle, a Makha will sometimes let out a fiendish battle cry, like some horrid beast made enraged.
Combat Allocate Damage (Sp): An adult Makha can use shield other on any other Makha within 100 ft. at will. It is not uncommon for this to form chains within groups of Makha, so that when one takes damage, another takes half the damage, which is then split into half with another, and so on. Arm Rays (Su): The arms of a Makha adult’s casing contain four distinct ray weapons, which each produce a different effect. The rays have a range of 100 ft., and the Makha can use one each round as a swift action. The rays each deal 3d8 points of acid, electricity, fire, or sonic damage, affected creatures can attempt a Reflex save for half damage. The save DC is 16 and is Dexterity based. Last Breath (Ex): When an adult Makha’s shell is destroyed, the remnants of its biological life are released. Upon release, the Makha’s spirit remains as a Ghost (This transformation applies the Ghost template to the Makha, regardless of any restrictions). It will usually attempt to possess the nearest viable creature, or seek out a viable creature to possess, and will always do so covertly to avoid detection. If the ghost cannot possess a body within one day per point of Charisma bonus, it instead degenerates into a Wraith by succumbing to the last remnants of the Aleph Zero virus. The Makha has no immunity or resistance to the virus, having been isolated from it and all bacterial and viral contact for its entire lifespan. A destroyed Makha ghost does not rejuvenate. Network (Su): All Makhas within 100 ft. of each other are in constant communication. If one is aware of a particular danger, they all are. If one in a particular group is not flanked, none of them are. No Makha in such a group is considered flanked unless they all are. As long as a Makha is connected to the Network, it gains a +10 racial bonus on all Craft, Decipher Script, Disable Device, Knowledge, and Open Lock checks and can perform such checks untrained.
As a special usage, a Makha can use a Star Burner about to overload (One that will reach 1000 stored electrical energy in the same round) to extend the communication of the Network to 1000 light years for 1 round as a full-round action. This uses up the stored energy in the Star Burner. A Makha can have up to 5 Star Burners inserted at any given time. Replacing, removing, or inserting a Star Burner is a move action.
These guys are a lot more mobile, and a lot more dangerous. Because of their Rapid Assault feat, they deal an extra 1d6 damage with their melee attacks in the first round, a total of 4d8+4d6+24 (MAM 28/56/80). Their Evasive Reflexes feat also allows them to take a 5 ft step instead of an attack of opportunity, allowing them to mediate attacks against them, which is added to with their Fling Enemy and Stamp feats, used to spread out and hinder attackers.
A Star Burner is the primary power source of the Makha Network, extremely powerful. It can release an amount of electrical energy equal to any multiple of 10 up to 1000, but if it isn't used for about 10 minutes it has a tendency to explode, releasing the 1000 electrical damage into a 30 ft. radius. So, if you can prevent a Makha from using up the overload...he and his buddies probably won't make it out of the explosion.
The Allocate Damage ability makes them powerful in numbers, but allows you the benefit of dealing damage to multiple Makha. Utilising the overloading Star Burner idea, you could feasibly take out an entire battalion. It's also a boon to high-damage combatants, so if you dealt enough damage to a single Makha to kill it twice over, you get two Makha for the price of one. Beware their Fast Healing, however.
A Makha ghost (As from the Last Breath ability) would look something like this:
Makha ghost Medium Undead (Augmented Humanoid, Incorporeal) Hit Dice: 6d12 (39 HP) Initiative: +3 Speed: Fly 30 ft. (perfect) Armor Class: 30 (+3 Dex, +17 Nat), touch 13, flat-footed 27 Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+8 Attack: 4 Claws +8 melee (1d8+6 [20/x2]) Full Attack: 4 Claws +8 melee (1d8+6 [20/x2]) Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. Special Attacks: Arm rays, Corrupting Gaze (Fort 20), Corrupting Touch, Draining Touch, Frightful Moan (Will 20), Horrific Appearance (Fort 20), Improved Grab, Malevolence (Will 22), Manifestation, Telekinesis Special Qualities: Allocate Damage, Blindsight 60 ft., DR 10/–, Fast Healing 5, Network, Turn Resistance +4, Undead traits Saves: Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +3 Abilities: Str 18, Dex 17, Con –, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 24 Skills: Balance +5, Disable Device +9, Jump +15, Move Silently +12, Open Lock +6, Search +12, Swim +7, Tumble +11 Feats: Combat Reflexesb, Evasive Reflexes, Fling Enemyb, Rapid Assault, Stampb Environment: Any Organization: Any Challenge Rating: 10 Alignment: Lawful Neutral
The shadowy spectre fades into existence, appearing as a semi-humanoid creature with four arms. It seems remarkably perturbed by something phantasmally invisible, and rapidly moves towards you...
An adult Makha's soul is entirely subsumed into its casing. When the casing is destroyed, the soul is released and takes the form of a ghostly version of itself, a Makha ghost. A Makha ghost has 7 days to find a new host body or succumb to Aleph Zero virus and become a wraith. Typically, they attempt to take control of the nearest viable creature they find, which is usually the creature that killed them. A Makha ghost pushed out of their host for whatever reason has 7 days to find a new host.
When a Makha ghost manages to take a host, it usually attempts to seem as much like the host as possible to avoid detection (This is aided by a +7 Bluff bonus). A Makha in this state is caught between two fires, hating and loathing the non-Makha around it and at the same time being exactly what its former comrades are out to destroy. As a result, they usually become suicidal.
Combat Allocate Damage (Sp): An adult Makha can use shield other on any other Makha within 100 ft. at will. It is not uncommon for this to form chains within groups of Makha, so that when one takes damage, another takes half the damage, which is then split into half with another, and so on. Arm Rays (Su): The arms of a Makha adult’s casing contain four distinct ray weapons, which each produce a different effect. The rays have a range of 100 ft., and the Makha can use one each round as a free action. The rays each deal 8d6 points of acid, electricity, fire, or sonic damage, affected creatures can attempt a Reflex save for half damage. The save DC is 16 and is Dexterity based. Network (Su): All Makhas within 100 ft. of each other are in constant communication. If one is aware of a particular danger, they all are. If one in a particular group is not flanked, none of them are. No Makha in such a group is considered flanked unless they all are. As long as a Makha is connected to the Network, it gains a +10 racial bonus on all Craft, Decipher Script, Disable Device, Knowledge, and Open Lock checks and can perform such checks untrained.
As a special usage, a Makha can use a Star Burner about to overload (One that will reach 1000 stored electrical energy in the same round) to extend the communication of the Network to 1000 light years for 1 round as a full-round action. This uses up the stored energy in the Star Burner. A Makha can have up to 5 Star Burners inserted into slots on their back at any given time. Replacing, removing, or inserting a Star Burner is a move action. A number of other items can be placed into these slots, and must draw their power from some source, such as an existing Star Burner.
Background & History
The original Makha race were extreme transhumanists after their creation as one of the very first species to be produced by the Beginners. Awed by the technology of the Beginners, the Makha entered a technological renaissance of several decades, eventually transcending their own biological forms for the technological masterpieces of their Age of Mastery.
The new Makhas formed the Makha Network, which still exists today. The Network, being cruelly logical, waged war upon the Beginners, whose pacifistic nature led quickly to their fall as a civilisation.
However, the Beginners would not fall without lending their name to the fall of their usurpers. A virulent plague, later named in the Makha Network as the Aleph Zero virus, was released into the Network, killing millions of Makhas before it was finally eradicated. By this time, the defeated Makha Network was in shambles. Those that died at the hands of the virus found themselves without a new form to inhabit, and became the Wraith of the Life Tree. The remaining Makha retreated to their ruined civilisation in the Origo galaxy and began repairing their world with what few resources they had left.
Knowing that at some point in the future, they would have their revenge upon the Beginners and their more-favoured creations.
A Makha is born biologically, and less than a minute after birth they are placed into an automaton shell that nurtures them to adulthood and protects them against harm.
Once they are fully-grown, the original shell is upgraded into a more powerful form, ready for any number of different tasks to be undertaken. By this time, the biological form of the Makha has withered and atrophied, and is subsumed into the Network, taking complete control of the mechanical body as a possessing ghost.
When a Makha becomes so old that it can no longer function, it is upgraded and repaired. When this no longer becomes efficient, they are deactivated and pulled apart for spare parts to be used in other Makha. There is no funeral or commemoration of the dead in Makha society.
Makha society is extremely disorganised. Since all Makha are designed, born, and produced equal, without any form of superiority or inferiority, all Makha can do any task that any other Makha can do with equal proficiency. Like components of a machine, they are replaceable and ultimately insignificant within the larger Makha Network. The hive consciousness of the Makha Network serves to decide and adjudicate any action taken by the overall group.
Makha newborns are produced through artificial insemination. The exact same genome is used to fertilise identical egg cells within the encased biological form of an adult Makha. The result is that, barring slight differentiation, every Makha is identical. The overwhelming sense of Makha society is one where individuality is completely nonexistent; the issue of self-preservation exists only because of their restricted numbers, which is forced by their limited resources.
This lack of resources is what drives the Makha Network outward from its home galaxy of Origo into other galaxies where the materials are harvested to produce the shells and casings of new Makha and new technology.
However, two things still remain from pre-transhumanist Makha society: Their violently xenophobic nature towards anything related to the Beginners in any way, and their belief in the Principle of One-Zero: That which is is, and that which isn’t isn’t. In other words, everything is an absolute, including an enemy. If even the slightest touch of an enemy still remains, it is still an enemy. An enemy can only be an enemy, never an ally. This compiles with their xenophobia to produce an unrelenting unceasing enemy that is the Makha Network.
The Makha don’t have any specific religion, they are logical to the extreme and are therefore atheists. However, other races commenting on their nature often speak of them following a “Principle of One-Zero”, a logical extreme of absolutism which means that nothing ever changes. Enemies will always be enemies, the Beginners are enemies, and therefore the Beginners will always be enemies. In addition, this philosophy applies to their own social structure. A Makha in charge of piloting a ship will always be in charge of piloting the ship until it is destroyed, and a Makha in charge of reconnaissance will always be in charge of reconnaissance until it is destroyed.
Ultimately, the Makha have no religion and believe in no afterlife but the physical discorporation of their physical forms.
The Makha are powerful, and older than most races dream, but their Phyrric victory over the Beginners has left them vulnerable, and little more than intergalactic bullies. They are not even close to approaching the power of the Sovices, so for now they are biding their time.
As transhumanists, their very souls are transfigured to be almost identical to their mechanical frameworks, so they get the arm rays as ghosts.
A little exposition:
The Life Tree was originally an ordinary oak seed, but it was exposed to energies from a freak rift to the Positive Energy Plane. From this, it grew to phenomenal size and now ecompasses a section of earth considered city-sized, reaching mountainous heights. The fruit from the tree is said to be capable of healing wounds (As cure moderate wounds) and, in specific rituals, even aid in reviving the dead (When used in the casting of raise dead or a similar resurrection spell, caster level is increased by 5).
However, acquiring the fruit is difficult. Alongside the hazards of climbing a mountain-sized oak tree, the Life Tree is infested with a great many Wraiths, attracted like a magnet to the positive energy it is infused with.
Many races have creation or origin myths related to the Life Tree, indicating that it is many thousands of years old.
The Aleph Zero virus is an Incarnum-based parasite. As a result of the Beginner's actions, it presently infests every living creature on the Material Plane. However, it is keyed to only affect Makha, leaving most species unharmed. The Makha are sealed from their environment, so they are protected from the parasite. When they are exposed, the parasite acts and beguns tearing the soul of the Makha apart, resulting in a Wraith.
Whilst no preventative means exist beyond complete and total isolation and quarantine (The Makha method), in theory anything that protects against Incarnum and similar soul and spiritual energies would protect against the parasite, as long as those protected are not already infected.
Last edited by Lyinginbedmon : 12-03-2007 at 07:34 AM.