“There are no accusations, justfriendly crustaceans, beneath the ocean!”
Livingon coral atolls and small islands far out on the open sea, from a distance fewwould immediately realize mollies are anything but normal humanoids, perhapswearing somewhat bizarre hats and gloves. Up close, though, no one would evermake such a mistake. Mollies are about as different biologically from humans,elves, and dwarves as one can get aside from various aberrations or magicalbeings, but their adaptations to life on land and tool use has transformed theminto something both remarkably similar and sharply alien to the other humanoidraces.
Molliestypically live out their lives amongst their own kind in rigidly hierarchicalsocieties dominated by a ruling cabal of elder females. They trade with both sea-dwellingand sea-faring races, but their exposure is generally minimal due to theremoteness of their island abodes. On occasion a molly feeling crushed by thepressure of their strict culture will choose to leave and become a traveler,merchant, or adventurer, and it is only through this that those who don’t sailon or live under the waves get to meet a molly.
Molly Racial Traits
Mollies,despite their different heritage, fundamentally are built similarly to thehumanoid races. They walk around on two limbs, possess a pair of graspingappendages, have a head wherein sensory and consumption organs are located, andall of these things are attached to what could pass for a torso. Thedifferences are in the details. Mollies are likely descended from chamberednautiluses, and some wizards have even speculated that they might be the resultof thousands of years of isolation of a small population of awakened nautiluses– although never in front of a molly! Thus their most prominent feature istheir shell – every molly’s head is capped with an impressive aragonite shell spiralingbackwards from their brow. Their faces have large eyes with undulating,w-shaped pupils and small, sharp beaks hooked like a parrots; they have nonoses, but instead possess chemoreceptors in their suckers and beak which allowthem to “taste” their environment to a similar, but more intimate, effect. In the center of their fleshy chest is alarge aragonite plate which they can use to close up the entrance to theirshell once they withdraw if they feel threatened. Their two arms are lined withsuckers, which they use to manipulate objects, but they also possess threesmall tentacles in a ring at the end of each of their arms, each of which istipped with a sucker as well, which they use in a similar way to human handsand fingers. Their legs are thick andsturdy, but instead of feet, they possess stumps ending with large suckerswhich allow them to maintain traction even on slick or uneven surfaces. Molliesusually wear only functional items of clothing, and their skin is brightlycolored and changes with their moods, although only the most skilled molliescan use it to help camouflage themselves.
· +2 dexterity, -4 strength. A molly’slack of bones allows them immense flexibility, but limits the amount of forcethey can apply, particularly on land.
· Monstrous humanoid: Mollies are of themonstrous humanoid type, and thus are not affected by spells such as charm person.
· Medium: As medium creatures, mollieshave no special bonuses or penalties due to size.
· Amphibious (Ex): Mollies can breathe onland and underwater with equal ease.
· A molly’s base land speed is 20 feet.They also possess a swim speed of 10 ft, granting them a +8 racial bonus onswim checks and the ability to take ten when rushed or threatened.
· Darkvision: Mollies can see in the darkup to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise likenormal sight, and mollies can function just fine with no light at all.
· Suckers (Ex): +4 racial bonus on climband grapple checks due to their ability to grasp and hold on voraciously.
· Shell (Ex): A mollies shell grants thema +2 natural armor bonus. As a standard action which does not provoke an attackof opportunity a molly can withdraw into their shell, if they feel threatenedor in danger. Doing so increases their natural armor bonus from +2 to +6, aswell as changing their effective size for combat modifiers from medium todiminutive. This grants them an additional +4 to AC. A molly who has withdrawninto their shell can peak out through the opening and can quickly react by shootingout a tentacle to dodge incoming attacks, and thus they retain their ability tosee and evade while withdrawn, although they suffer a -4 penalty to spot andlisten checks due to their limited perspective. A withdrawn molly cannot,however, move at all, not even five feet, nor can they perform any actionsrequiring gross movement or somatic components, such as attacking and mostspellcasting. Purely mental actions, as well as verbal only actions likesinging, speaking, and certain forms of spellcasting, can, however, beperformed without penalty. Exiting the shell is also a standard action whichdoes not provoke.
· Flexible (Ex): Mollies can bend everywhich way due to their complete lack of a skeletal structure. They gain a +2racial bonus on all dexterity related checks, and a +8 racial bonus on escapeartist checks (does not stack). However, they cannot ever squeeze through a hole smaller than can let their shell getthrough (typically approximately 1ft. x 1ft.).
· Bizarre Anatomy (Ex): Mollies cannot wearor benefit from magical headgear, hats, or helmets, due to their shell, norfrom magical boots, since they lack normal feet. Items may be specially made tofit around molly shells in the manner of a crown or laurel or feet in themanner of a legwarmer to allow them to make use of these slots, but such itemscost 25% more. These items may be freely worn by normal humanoids, but theymight look a bit silly.
· Regeneration (Ex): Mollies canregenerate from severe bodily wounds more easily than others. Severed limbs areonly a temporary inconvenience. Although they do not heal hit point damage anymore rapidly than other races, a molly who is in saltwater for at least eighthours a day can regenerate a lost limb or severely damaged organ (such as blindedeyes) in 1d4 weeks. Mollies can even survive being decapitated, such as by avorpal sword, if it occurs in saltwater; they will regenerate their torso andall four limbs in 4d4 weeks, although they are completely helpless during thistime, and may need help eating. This ability gives them no special immunity tohit point damage, and they still die upon reaching -10 hit points.
· Automatic Languages: Aquan, Undercommon.Bonus Languages: Common, Sylvan, Elven, Locathah, Sahuagin, Darfellan, Hadozee,Draconic.
· Favored Class: Druid and Ranger
Mollieslive in small, isolated communities scattered throughout the tropical andsubtropical oceans, usually on coral atolls or islands near coral reefs.
Lands: As noted, mollies usually live on isolated islands far outin remote areas of the ocean. They dwellprimarily on the land, only descending to the depths to fish or gather otherresources from the ocean, or treat with undersea races. Their islands areusually lush, tropical paradises, and they cultivate the forests and jungles onthem and the coral reefs below them to provide for their own sustenance.Although not a violent race by nature, mollies are generally territorial, andso do not typically share their islands with other sentient races, onlywildlife.
Settlements: Molly settlements vary from small agglomerations ofhuts on sandy isles to enormous structures of cultivated coral shaped intoskyscraping towers rising from the surf on the more productive atolls. Molliesprefer a special species of coral they have cultivated to continue to grow inthe air as long as it is watered generously with saltwater for their buildings,thus making them architects of nature. Building a molly settlement is more likeplanting a garden than constructing a house, and they can be quite a sight tobehold. Even the largest molly settlement, though, rarely houses more than afew hundred individuals, since even the most productive coral atoll tends to befairly small in diameter, thus limiting their expansion considerably.
Power Groups: Each molly settlement is ruled by a group of bred femalesknown as the Spent. Mollies mate only once in a lifetime, releasing theirplanktonic spawn into the seas, who typically return to the same island aschildren in about five years after passing through several larval stages,although they have also been known to colonize other islands instead. Childrenarriving on islands are then adopted, usually by young, unbred mollies,although such is not a rule. While male mollies that have mated are affordedextra respect, females in particular are venerated and tend to rise topositions of power. Molly society is strictly regulated based on utility andstation in life; those who contribute the most and are the eldest are higher upon the totem pole, while those considered less useful and the young are less,and are afforded fewer rights and leniencies and have little to no say ingovernment. It is little wonder some choose to leave to adventure in theiryouth, although most return to breed and take their place in the upper echelonsof society. There are no overarching molly rulers beyond those of individualisles, although when multiple islands must cooperate typically a new cabal willbe formed of the oldest and most productive individuals from the entire group.
Beliefs: Mollies have no deities of their own. Druidic worship isthe most common form amongst them, although some worship other sea deities.Evil mollies tend to worship Dagon, and indeed whole communities of mollieshave been known to fall under his sway. Rumours persist of half-fiendishbreeding projects being seeded from the abyss into the oceans of the materialplane.
Relations: Mollies typically get along well with merfolk, aquaticelves, locathah, and other less violent aquatic races. Sahuagin occasionallyattack them, and the two races rarely coexist peacefully, but the same enmitydoes not exist between them as does between the sahaugin and the aquatic elvesor darfellan. Mollies usually interact peacefully and helpfully with land bound,sea-faring races, but can get quite aggressive if there are indications thelandlubbers intend to settle on their islands.
Mollycharacters are typically driven by a lust for adventure, a curiosity to see theworld, and a desire to get out from the heel of their molly matriarchs. Thusthey likely tend towards the more chaotic side of the alignments, even thoughtheir race as a whole tends lawful. Although mollies are not usuallyself-conscious, other characters and NPCs are likely to react strongly to thesight of the monstrous, brightly colored humanoid with its head in a shell.
Adventuring Mollies: Adventuring mollies usually do so if they don’tquite fit in with their fellows or are dissatisfied with their lot. They may beseeking to gain skills or learn more so they can contribute better to mollysociety, or they may simply be driven to seek out that which is different fromwhat they are used to. A molly is unlikely to be shy with others, and they don’tgenerally share humanoid pretensions of modesty or timidity, and are rarelyoffended at curious questions their fellow party members might have. Despitethe likelihood of wanting to buck tradition by leaving their home, mollies areused to taking orders and working in groups, so do well in adventuring parties.
Character Development: Molly’s favored classes are druid and ranger,and they make interesting choices either way. Mollies are by no means limitedto those classes, however, and in particular excel at being rogues and otherdexterity and skill based characters due to their racial bonuses. Theirdefensive capabilities also often mesh well with spellcasting classes, althoughsuch should be careful to note what spells are compatible with withdrawing intotheir shell, and what spells are not.
Character Names: Molly names are largely unpronounceable tonon-mollies. They typically adopt a name in the language of the race they leavetheir island with, most commonly humans.
Roleplaying a Molly
Alien,friendly, and cooperative are three adjectives which best describe your typicalmolly. You tend to go along to get along, but since you are a fundamentallydifferent being than most other members of your party, don’t be afraid toassert yourself if you think your “molliness” is being impinged on – mollies are,after all, territorial and can be unexpectedly touchy.
Personality: Mollies mightbe termed easygoing by those who meet them briefly, but in truth they aresimply used to accommodating one another in close quarters on their islandhomes within a tightly ranked group. Your molly did not fit in with others, soconsider why that might have been. Draw some boundaries for yourself, and aslong as others remain outside them, be everyone’s friend, but as soon assomeone crosses a line, feel free to go off on them. Maybe you don’t wantothers touching your stuff, or perhaps your shell is off limits, or maybe youneed to eat in private. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to be strange!
Behaviors: Since mollieshave a unique biology, consider what sorts of differing behaviors they mightdisplay. They may drink saltwater preferentially to fresh, or need to sharpentheir beaks on a regular basis. Consider stopping to perform these unusualtasks now and again to remind everyone of your nature.
Language: Mollies speak through a beak on top of a blubbery voicebox. Their voices are often punctuated with bubbly noises or sharp clicks.Consider adding these in on occasion for a fun quirk.