Pestilent (3.5e Race)
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The origins of the Pestilent are shrouded in myth and mystery, but their physical characteristics lend themselves to some sort of demon or dark god, most certainly one within the domain of pestilence and disease. They themselves, however, are actually rather short-lived mortals. Their mortal ancestry also remains a mystery, with the most common guesses being that they were humans, goblins, orcs, or possibly halflings. Whatever their genesis, the Pestilent now gather wherever disease has taken a population, breeding on the outskirts of plague-ridden civilizations in small pockets, arriving from dank, filth-ridden holes best not investigated. They are disease-carrying avatars of illness, though not necessarily evil so much as a rather unfortunate part of life personified.
The Pestilent are despised and feared as bringers of disease and as, possibly correctly, demonspawn. They revel in this reputation for the most part, as it frees them from the majority of persecution; while they tend to contain their noxious fumes with lead cloth, the rumors stop any but the most foolhardy adventurers from approaching their settlements. Within their communities, the Pestilent are rather neighborly, if excessive in their drinking and revelry, and often mutually insulting. All these characteristics, combined with a mix of fear and curiosity of outsiders, can result in rather shaky relations between a Pestilent and his or her fellow adventurers. They are unpredictable, occasionally moody, and have trouble adjusting to social situations where constant streams of profanity and insults are not accepted. Fears of rejection and of being ostracized can lead to “preemptive” verbal assaults on their part, and to angst and high stress-levels.
The Pestilent are a bit on the short side; males usually stand at about 5’-5’5” (100-110 lbs.), while females stand at about 4’5”-5’ (90-100 lbs.). They are also thin, enough as to appear sickly. They have dark greenish-brown, lead-grey, pitch-black, or even (rarely) snow-white hair, appearing greasy and unkempt, and rarely cut throughout their lives. The males grow very spare facial hair. Their skin is greyish-green and extremely pale, enough so that their veins are clearly visible under their skin. They have lead-grey nails and teeth, and their teeth are slightly smaller and sharper than a human’s. A small, vestigial, and completely useless pair of hairless, bat-like wings sprouts from their back, and they also have a small tail. Their spine is covered in serrated, greyish spikes of random, uneven shape and size. They also have a pair of grey or black ram or bull’s horns, too small to be of any use. Their eyes are their most striking feature- they glow faintly in darkness, and are greenish-blue, without visible iris, pupil, or white. They reach maturity at about 13 years, and have an average lifespan of 40-50 years.
Most races do not even know of the Pestilent, thinking of them only as yet another, plague-ridden species of monster or demon and not attempting to differentiate them from more adventurer-fodder. Still, more infection-resistant species, such as some goblins and other monstrous creatures, sometimes associate with them to limited degrees. They sometimes trust them significantly more than elves, dwarves, humans, and the like as a result. A member of the Pestilent might even show moral qualms about indiscriminate slaying of such creatures.
Used to the life of despised outlaws or monsters as they are, a Lawfully-aligned Pestilent is nigh impossible to find. They are almost always Chaotic (they can be Good, Evil, or Neutral with equal frequency), though some True Neutral do exist.
The Pestilent usually live a nearly solitary lifestyle in some viral swamp or pit where other beings fear to tread for threat of illness. Whenever a large area is left barren and deserted as a result of plague or famine, however, the Pestilent instinctively move in, one by one, looting what’s been left behind, feeding on the dead and dying, and adapting the environment and buildings to suit their own kind. Inevitably, as if called by some intangible force, more and more gather, until the community has been totally taken over. The original occupants, once they see what they’re up against, rarely try to reclaim their lands.
While they are not naturally given to worship, and most are atheistic, some members of the Pestilent worship Olidammara for his love of wine, roguish behavior, and revelry, while others (especially those that are evil) worship a variety of demons and devils. Most that are religious, however, worship Incabulos, by virtue of his domains of plague and famine.
The Pestilent can learn pretty much any language they care to, but usually speak Common, Undercommon, Orcish, or (rarely) Infernal.
Names are chosen upon birth as with most races, and usually in the household's first language. They are usually nouns or ajectives in one of the language that are not frequently used as names, and often referring in some way to their species nature. names for males include "Harbinger", "Phlegm", "Infection", and the like in one of the Pestilent languages. Female names include "Curse", "Despoil", and "Famine". Male names are more often in Common, Goblin or Orcish. Female names are more often in Undercommon, Infernal, or Abyssal. It is not uncommon for names to be chosen without any thought to the meaning, but rather simply because it somehow sounds "right", or was used by an ancestor.
If a Pestilent's life is saved by someone, it is considered proper to name your next child after them, though usually with some sort of difference to avoid confusion (ex. a variation on the name, or a translated version of it.)
- -2 Constitution, +4 Dexterity, -2 Charisma: Though they are more or less in a kind of symbiotic relationship with their numerous diseases, they do suffer for them, and can be somewhat frail at times. Their society's norms about insults and blunt, purposefully-offensive honesty similarly withers their charisma. They are, however, exceptionally nimble and dexterous, with impressive reflexes.
- Monstrous Humanoid: Naturally, this isn't how they'd describe themselves, but it is how they tend to be described by others, with the prefixes "hideously ugly" or "demonic" used instead of "monstrous". Also, profanities.
- Medium: The Pestilent receive no racial bonuses or penalties.
- The Pestilent's base land speed is 30 ft.
- Darkvision (60 ft.)
- +4 Fortitude against poison
- -4 to Hide if Pestilent's eyes are open
- +1 Racial Bonus on Survival and Intimidate (always in-class skill)
- -1 Racial Penalty to Diplomacy (never in-class skill)
- Breath Weapon: Medium Cone. Usable 1/day +1/day for every 4 levels. Damage: 2d8 for a 30ft cone. Poison DC is 10 + Highest class level + Con modifier. Initial damage is 1d4 Str Damage, secondary damage is 1d4 Con damage every hour.
- Automatic Languages: Common, Undercommon Bonus Languages: Infernal, Orcish, Goblin, Abyssal, Elven, Draconic, Dwarven, Gnome, Halfling, Gnoll, Giant, Sylvan.
- Favored class: Rogue
- Level Adjustment: +1