Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another Race - Entlings

I've always felt there was a dearth of good natural themed or druid races. In particular there is pretty much no race I can recall that is an LA 0 plant race. Obviously plant immunities are a big issue here, but I feel Warforged provide a good template for allowing heavily immune races. My one concern with the following race is that Warforged are penalized by not being able to be healed easily. I considered giving them fire vulnerability, but I feel they might be fine as is due to the dexterity and intelligence penalties. Although fast healing is largely unheard of as an LA 0 ability, I feel the limitations are such it is at best free healing when not in combat and in a natural setting - basically the equivalent of a free wand of cure light on yourself only, which is hardly anything to fuss about to my mind. Here you go!

“Can you feel the wind rustling your leaves? The power of nature flows around us and through us.”
-Oak Squall, Entling Druid
The mighty protectors of trees and forests, treants roam the woodlands seeking despoilers to thrash and buildings to crumble. Partnered alongside them are the dryads, tied with an unbreakable spiritual bond with the trees they love and are sworn to guard. These two groups have been allies for millennia, and during that time it is perhaps only inevitable that the two would find companionship with one another. Although these unions between fairies and sentient plant life do not produce offspring in any sort of traditional way, dryads and treants who have fallen in love with one another have found over the eons a way to consummate their love with the help of druidic magic, and the result of such marriages are the entlings.
Entlings look much like the trees they live amongst, but there is a strong humanoid and fey aspect to them as well. Caught between two worlds, they embrace them both, living much like a typical humanoid race but relying upon the sun and earth directly for sustenance. They tend to be slow movers and slow thinkers, with a strong philosophical bent, always pondering endlessly before acting, slow both to rise in anger and to forgive and forget. Although a few entlings are born of dryads and treant unions on occasion, they also breed true amongst themselves and so have formed communities throughout the world’s forests.

Entling Racial Traits
Entlings stand tall and willowy, with skin and hair that change color with the season and resemble bark and leaves more than any humanoid analog.  Their features are elfin where they are not slightly deformed by their roughened skin. Despite its appearance, however, their skin is considerably softer to the touch and gives just like humanoid flesh – they are a mystical amalgam of plant and animal forms.  Their bones, teeth, and fingernails are made from living wood, and their blood runs thick and clear like sap. Instead of feet and calves, however, below the knees their legs begin to fork and spread into root systems, which dig deep into the ground at all times. They wade through the earth like fisherman through a river, always deeply entwined with the land they were born to serve. Different entlings often resemble different trees – some oak, some poplar, some maple, depending on dominant plant life in the forest they were born in.

·         +2 constitution, -2 dexterity, -2 intelligence. Entlings share the hearty sturdiness of the trees they resemble, but their woody frames can be rather stiff and their mental processes flow like sap – they are not stupid, but it takes them a long time to fully absorb things. (In Pathfinder, add a +2 to Strength or Wisdom)

·         Fey: Despite appearing to be plants, entlings are actually fey. They are immune to affects that would affect both only plants and only humanoids.

·         Plant Traits: Although entlings are not plants, they share a lot in common with them. Entlings are immune to poison, sleep affects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning.

·         A entling base land speed is 20 feet.

·         Low-light vision: An entling can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

·         Racial Skills: Entling have a +2 racial bonus on Profession (Herbalism), Survival, and Knowledge (Nature) checks.

·         Roots (ex) and Entrench (ex): Entlings do not walk on the surface of the land, but rather wade through the ground on their root systems. This unique form of locomotion grants them several advantages. They gain a +4 racial bonus on checks to avoid being tripped, bull rushed, or otherwise stay on their feet or maintain their location as long as they are on packed earth, loose earth, sand, or a similarly penetrable natural surface. Also, at will as a standard action they can choose to entrench themselves in the ground, rooting themselves to a single spot. This causes them to automatically succeed on checks to avoid being tripped, bullrushed, and the like, as above. However, they suffer a -4 penalty to their armor class due to the difficulty of dodging while being so anchored. In addition, if the location they are in is suitable for temperate plant growth, they gain an additional bonus. Conditions suitable for temperate plant growth are defined as being between 40 degrees 90 degrees Fahrenheit, loose or packed earth ground (not sand or stone), generally moist environment (rained in the last month), and sufficient sunlight (not currently raining, snowing, or nighttime, and out of doors). While entrenched in such a location Entlings gain fast healing 1. An entling who has entrenched themselves for at least one full hour does not need to eat or drink for twenty four hours as well. Entlings can move over stone, metal, and other rigid artificial surfaces without penalty, but do not gain any benefits of the roots ability while doing so, and cannot entrench themselves. 

·         Automatic Languages: Common, Sylvan. Bonus Languages: Elven, Gnomish, Goblin, Draconic, Terran, Aquan.

·         Favored Class: Druid

Entling Society
Entlings live in small groups deep in ancient forests, in family groups known as groves.
                Lands: Entlings live in the oldest and more unsettled of forest, usually in close association with both treants and dryads. They usually do not claim any specified region or area, but try to peacefully coexist with those around them. Although they greatly love the forests in which they dwell, they tend not to be as ardent protectors of the forest as treants or dryads, rather leaving those jobs to their more powerful progenitors and seeking instead to nurture and cohabitate with nature.
                Settlements: Entling communities usually consist of a particular line of entlings formed from the union of a dryad and a treant. Although entlings will occasionally move from forest to forest, most stay within their home communities. Entlings usually do not build houses, although some communities will encourage plant growth to form into shelters, and use druidic magic to fashion other tools and items of technology from still living plants.
                Power Groups: Leadership in entling communities is usually held by the oldest and wisest of the entlings, typically a high level druid. Occasionally a treant or dryad will lead a community as well, although usually they live in parallel rather than ruling over the entlings. Entlings consider themselves all part of a larger community as well, and when decision for the whole of them must be made a council consisting of the oldest and wisest druids meets to determine what must be done.
                Beliefs: Most entlings follow druidic religious tradition, although worship of other natural gods is not unheard of. Obad-Hai is a particular favorite, but almost any natural deity is worshipped to some degree. Some entlings are also followers of the Seelie Court.
                Relations: Entlings tend to live peacefully with all their neighbours. It is rare for entlings to directly interact with anyone who is not a denizen of their own forest, however, and so humans, halflings, and other more urban races rarely interact with them. Orcs, goblins, and other savage races often take advantage of the peaceful nature of entling communities, but their treant and dryad protectors usually cause the savage races to regret their attacks.
Entling Characters
Entling characters are usually driven by curiosity about the world outside their forests, and an urge to see more of the natural world. Entlings often follow the druidic path, although there are some who pursue almost any imaginable path to adventure – although Entling wizards are rare as they do not display much aptitude. Entling NPCs are likely to be sedentary but welcoming to any travelers, eager to learn more about the outside world.
                Adventuring Hagblood: Entlings who adventure are unusual but not unheard of, and are typically interested in knowing what the world is like beyond the woodlands they call home. Entlings tend to be unselfconscious about their strange appearance and behaviors, seeing instead others as the odd ones. An entling who encounters a new practice or people will likely be slow to understand but quick to accept the odd behaviors, as they are an inherently amenable people.
                Character Development: Entlings are naturally inclined to druidic magic, but can excel at most tasks. While they do not generally have the intelligence to be wizards and lack the guile and manual dexterity necessary for the skills of a rogue, Entlings enjoy pursuing even those things for which they are not well suited and so even one who has begun their career in natural pathways may find themselves drawn to other skillsets in time. As all those in the natural world know, change is inevitable, but it comes slowly and in its own time.
                Character Names: Entling names consist of a surname and a cognomen. The surname is generally based on the grove they were born into, and typical surnames are tree species like Oak, Ash, or Elm. The cognomen, which comes second, is their given name, and is chosen themselves upon reaching the age of maturity. They are usually themed with nature in some way, but oftentimes an Entling will choose something else, depending on their personal preferences.

Roleplaying an Entling
A entlings brings a fresh perspective on everything they see. Sequestered deep in the forest for most of their lives, journeying out into the world of humanoids is exiciting and new for them, and everything should be a surprise and a fresh experience.
                Personality:  Entlings run on a slightly different timescale than the rest of us. They are slow in though, slow to react, and contemplative by nature. You are interested in all you see, but it takes you awhile to process. You are cautious by nature but also driven to new experiences. Consider always talking last, but favoring action over inaction once you decide to put your input in.
                Behaviors:  Entlings rarely need to eat unless they are in the most inhospitable of lands, but when they do they practice strict carnivory. This might come into conflict with other members of the party, even those with a naturalistic bent. Entlings see it as only natural – as a plant based life form, consuming other plants is an alien concept, but animals contain nutrients they cannot synthesize easily on their own without access to rich soil and strong sunlight, so why should they not consume them?
                Language: Entlings speak both sylvan and common slowly and deliberately. They never rush, they do not interrupt others, and nor do they take lightly to being interrupted themselves, typically continuing to speak without raising their voice. Consider adopting a monotone – it’ll help get you into practice.


  1. Love it! I remember Dayjo's Sargossans were a similar attempt at bringing plants into playable reach for PC's, but these guys are also very cool. It's interesting that none of their abilities really seem too synergistic with being a Druid to me, other than that their skill bonuses are in nature-y skills and their attribute penalties aren't in stats that Druids need.

    It might be cool to have racial substitution levels for Entling Druids and Wild Shape, because it seems odd to me that they would be able to turn into animals but not plants. Maybe give them the option of turning into Plants at 5th level, and not Animals until the level when normal Druids could get to be plants?

  2. That makes sense to me. Technically their bonus to Con and Fey type both synergize well with wild shape, since HP and type no longer change with wild shape. They wouldn't keep their plant immunities, though, oddly enough, since they are a separate racial ability and not part of their type like a real plant.

    Maybe I'll write up some alternate class features in a bit.