Turaank (3.5e Race)
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A recent practice in evolutionary manipulation, Turaank are evolved and mutated from ordinary spiders. Thinking to create a race which could wipe out all other life, the death god Nerull took several specimens of preexisting arachnids, blended them together, and forcefully accelerated their evolution towards their contemporary state. A barely sentient species, the Turaank nonetheless developed a common language. The race quickly developed a sense of identity, and Nerull prepared to make himself known to his children. However, the Gnomish god Carl Glittergold had been observing the death god's scheme and aimed to play a joke on him. Enlisting the aid of the death goddess Wee Jas, Carl convinced her to appear before the Turaank in the guise of a beautiful spider goddess. Captivating the warped children of Nerull, Wee Jas took credit for their creation under the alias of The Black Widow. Unwilling to completely alienate her fair-weather ally, she declared that Nerull is a friend of the Black Widow, though Nerull himself now rejects the race as a failed experiment. Under the guidance of Wee Jas, the Turaank quickly established a society of industrious workers and barbaric warriors. Due to the race's self-centered nature, Wee Jas sensed that things were getting out of hand. Then the race was drawn into a brief, costly war with the Kobolds. The Kobolds initiated the war in dispute that the Turaank were trespassing on ancestral grounds, whereas the Turaank had no concept of land ownership. The natural prowess of the Turaank gained them victory, but many casualties were suffered due to the Kobolds' clever traps. The Turaank then became hoarders of knowledge, collecting as much information as possible by force, if necessary. Wee Jas's fears came true during a visit as the Black Widow. A vengeful Nerull tapped the populace and gave them temporary divine sight, so they saw that Wee Jas was no spider goddess at all. Rather than be shaken, the race optimistically adopted a loose shamanistic worship of Wee Jas and a new, heavy emphasis on alchemy. As a disappointment to both gods, the Turaank now have stumbled upon to experiments relating to altering of their bodies and creation of artificial organisms, concepts similar to the ones that resulted in their creation. They are also making contacts with other sentient races for the first time, and for the Turaank results have been mixed.
Turaank retain genetic memories of life's harshness as a spider, and this combines with the directed engineering of Nerull to give them a barbaric and violent society. Battle is a mark of one's strength and skill, and to kill is to prove one can provide for their young. Furthermore, as a rejection both of nature's rule and of Wee Jas's charade, the Turaank have become fiercely patriarchal. Females bearing and raising young are forced to refrain from self-sustaining labor, instead becoming mandatorily dependent on their mates. This stems from the primordial fear that the females will devour their mates after fertilization is complete. Also, society ironically depends heavily on the existence of the Temple of the Black Widow. Though technically still a place of worship in Wee Jas's name, the Turaank utilize the priesthood as their governing body for lack of a more secular model. As such, many of the lower-level priests have rather unreligious mindsets. Places of worship can just as easily function as meeting halls, alchemic laboratories, and libraries. The second of the three is the most common in recent years, though the foremost is a close contender. As races come, Turaank have mixed potential in the intellectual department. Tales have already spread amongst other races of how even the most unintelligent of this arachnid species can master and become fluent in complicated languages (such as Elven) in a matter of days. The race has seemingly endless space for memory banks; traders liken it to a Bag of Holding. However, their aptitude for comprehension is much less so. They learn new concepts best through hands-on activities and experimentation rather than through lecture. Spells, for example, are difficult to learn without watching an experienced caster do it first. This is why most alchemists often follow up on research of various creatures' internal anatomies with autopsies of their own. In dangerous situations, they are impulsive and, when realizing their current tactics aren't working, they are quick to formulate and try out a different approach. Many Turaank make fatal mistakes in battle this way, but it also makes them highly unpredictable opponents that keep enemies on their toes. They tend to favor head-on approaches, relying on strength and intimidation to plough through enemies. They are at their deadliest at one-on-one battles, utilizing their long arachnid limbs to restrict movement while attacking enemies with melee weapons. The Turaank's philosophical background is fledgling at best, and they have no concept of ethics. The few high-ended beliefs they have are quite potent amongst the society as a whole. They frown upon more than minimal appeasement of the gods. It is one thing to beseech the gods for power, but fanaticism is regarded as self-destructive. They also hold a very nihilistic view of the multiverse in which cold, hard logic is the only reliable source of truth and morality. This does not mean that they are deceitful; in fact they believe strongly in logic (truth) and despise those who obscure fact. They are not above light jests, but Gnomes and Halflings would quickly wear on Turaankian nerves. On the subject of high-ended societal advances, art and entertainment are also somewhat lacking. Aside from dancing and songwriting, the culture has little in the way of what other races call art, though they admire aesthetic values in each other's experimental achievements. Having been told that their voices were displeasing to the Black Widow, the shamanistic tradition of the Turaank has focused on ritualistic dance as a method of appeasement and prayer. Though no longer a religious race, dancing is still deeply integrated into their culture as a manner of social interaction and self expression. Ranging from simple, subconscious gestures to long and complicated affairs, dancing is always taken with the utmost seriousness. Anthropologic observation indicates that, with fierce gyrations and delicate raptures, the Turaank have the most widely varied dance styles of any race. A sign of Turaank maturity is the development of a signature move that sets an individual apart from surrounding generations. Recent generations of Turaank have tried to incorporate singing into mainstream culture. These youth take singing as seriously as they do dancing, and each seeks to develop a signature sound with his voice. The general form of these songs have distorted vocals that most other races cannot replicate. Turaank otherwise entertain themselves through battle, learning, and experimenting; all activities that can be done alone.
Possessing the stature of a Half-Orc hunched over greatly, the humanoid body of a Turaank ranges between 5'4" and 5'9" tall. Overall a Turaank can weigh over 500 lbs. They reach adolescence around age 9, mature around age 24, and live until as late as 185 years. On their arachnid legs, they spread out horizontally and can achieve great land speed, but they prefer the defensive opportunities that bipedal organisms enjoy. These limbs, when fully outstretched, are a little over twice the length of their primary arms. Remaining generically arthropodic, the ends of these legs have long, insect-like digits with surprising muscularity. Their grip is aided by the development of spinnerets in the area, being anatomically relocated for convenience. Having evolved much from their ancestor, a Turaank's main body is quite humanoid. The head's diameter is approximately twice that of a human's. The head possesses 8 eyes consisting of a pair of large primary eyes (located in the same spot as human eyes would be) and six smaller peripheral eyes: one on the horizontal axis of each eye, one atop the head, and one half way between the previous two. These eyes are a solid red color and almost seem to glow; indeed they produce their own light . As a result, the Turaank can see just as well in the dark as in the light, though their overall vision is poor due to peripheral awareness. If they so wish, Turaank can cease functions in their peripheral eyes to grant visual clarity on par with most races. They rarely do this, however, out of fear of that peripheral loss. They can adjust to shifting lights much quicker than most races by ceasing function in all eyes (related to blinking) and reactivate them. When their eyes cease function, as they do during sleep, they appear black. The mouth is lined with thick, sharp teeth meant to pierce into prey animals' flesh and allow the jaws to grip tightly. Assisting the jaws are a pair of mandibles, tipped with stingers containing a paralyzing toxin, which can stab into the flesh simultaneously with biting. Turaank saliva contains enzymes which can dissolve non-epidural tissues in most creatures' bodies. This liquefaction is integral to the Turaank's diet, as their digestive tracts find it very difficult to handle solid foods. While they can eat such material when prey is scarce, they suffer from severe stomach cramps during digestion. The Turaank body is covered in stiff, bristly fur that stands on end when frightened. If a foe attempts to flank the Turaank in melee range, they risk having needle-like hairs launched through their clothing and light armor, resulting in minor but irritating pain. The hair can be gray, brown, or black. Males grown manes off of the back half of their heads. Warriors tend to cut it as a matter of pride, whereas politicians and merchants grow it out and occasionally dye the ends. The primary pair of arms end in three fingers and an opposable thumb apiece, each digit ending in a sharp black claw. The primary feet end in four toes with similar claws. Turaank have no anus, as all waste is used to make webbing for the spinnerets. Turaank tend to favor fewer clothes, most often worn to protect their genitalia from their harsh environs. Often protective leggings will do, especially for Turaank laborers. Upper class socialites, such as priests and merchants, will wear large, monochromatic ponchos decorated with jewelry, and creative arrangements are a sign of status. Though just as willing to smith armor as they are to simply sell the resources, they rarely use it. As their chests expand notably when breathing, tight-fitting armor is stifling and looser sets are ineffectual. Clever Turaank will smith armored padding for their limbs, however, and find it both useful and non-restrictive. Light armor, such as leather and hide, are quite acceptable substitutes for warriors as well.
Turaank have no concept of land ownership, racial superiority, or domination. They believe that warring with other races for dominance of any kind is both a waste of time and intellectually detrimental, so they tend to be accepting of others. Individuals of other races are treated, regardless of gender, as any member of the Turaank. Outsiders are free to walk in and out without hassle; Turaank are curiously both lawless and without outlaws. Violence is common in Turaank territory as natives tend to challenge strong-looking foreigners to scuffles. Trade is very prevalent their society, as they are curious of many things and not picky with whom they trade. They have little idea of a "bad deal" and thus trust Gnomes and Halflings enough to trade. Turaank do not tolerate their trickery for long, however, and these two races often wear out their welcome quickly. One thing that either fascinates or appalls outsiders is the complete lack of ethical hang-ups in Turaank society. They perform autopsies on both live and dead specimens to view functional differences, and they have no qualms with taking people of other races by force to become test subjects. This in particular revolts many races, but the Turaank are too self-centered to care. They are fascinated by the cultures of other races. Turaank desperately wish to study Elven culture in particular, but Elves find them physically and ethically repulsive and have as little to do with them as possible. Due to their self-centered, lawless society, Turaank on the road often take little stock in foreign authority and often come into conflict with natives. Nerull's servants are aware of the death god's hatred for his children, and so they take great priority on murdering Turaank who stray from their native lands. In response, Turaank see Nerull and his followers as their only true enemies. Conflicts between the two can be exceedingly violent, as dismembered bodies can tell. As an added insult, Turaank will, if possible capture Nerull's followers as live test subjects. Once finished studying them, Turaank hang these unfortunate cadavers near popular trails with their webbing by the neck as a reminder to the death god's minions. It is these activities, among others, which lead most people to wonder how different these two groups really are.
Self-centered, relatively lawless, and devoid of ethics, Turaank on the whole are almost always chaotic. Only truly devout priests and traitors vary from this standard rule, and these groups are laughed or chased out of native lands, respectively. This chaotic emphasis is easy to see with their unconditional acceptance of outsiders and passion for experimentation in things both artistic and scientific. Their complete individualism gives the race a neutral balance between good and evil, though they lurk much closer to the evil side of the spectrum.
The Turaank originate in the desert, and that is where the main society lives. Many outer settlements in jungles do quite well, though. Their desert homes are constructed with a mix of sand, clay, and webbing in bricked layers. Many also have secret underground food hoardings in the surrounding wilderness, as they are leery of their own property. Jungle homes tend to be makeshift shelters in the canopies, again with hidden underground storage. In either environment, Turaank prefer to be found, and webbing will be placed in plain view for travelers to know settlements are nearby. This sometimes has the wrong effect on travelers, who may be unnerved or misinterpret these signs as the presence of other spider-like monstrosities. Carnivores by nature, Turaank have small fruit crops. They tend to enjoy fruit juice, especially when soaked up by bread. They like flavors of fruits and grains, and they use juices to soften up the bread and reduce the negative effects of solid consumption.
As lax followers of Wee Jas, Turaank designate themselves from other Jasidans as Black Widow Priests. Women in the priesthood are forced to be chaste, and Turaank aptly call them Black Widows. While men are also bound to chastity, they are known as Black Recluses. Though technically in worship of Wee Jas, there are heavy influences from primitive shamans and druids that accumulated after initial contact with such groups. For need of structure, priests double as what little legal structure their society has. Many priests also act doubly, or in most cases solely, as alchemists. Higher ranking priests will station themselves in a local chapter of the Black Widow, whereas lesser clergy have the benefit of being able to travel in search of information and people of like minds. Seeing nature as a conscious effort by the gods to experiment with nature and perfect it, the Turaank see no problem reconciling their alchemic studies with the laws of druidism.
The Turaank inherit via genetic memory basic guttural clicks and hisses. Before learning other languages, they fashioned these sounds into a nameless language (other races call it Turaankian). Turaankian has no written form and cannot be spoken fluently by outsiders, for it is anatomically impossible for most species to reproduce these sounds. Turaank can communicate with lesser arachnids and arachnid-like species through this language. Desiring open communication with all strangers, Turaank can and often do master Common as a second language, as well as having a high aptitude for learning many others in written and spoken form. However, in fits of rage or great excitement, they slip back into Turaankian for brief periods. Thus they consider it a vulgar language and hesitate to use it in the presence of more sophisticated races.
Turaank have no concept of family past the infantile stage of development, so individuals are left to decide their personal names. A Turaank child is expected to decide upon a name before the onset of adolescence, and until then they are referred to strictly by the order of their birth (i.e. Eldest child of So-And-So). Once an adolescent, the child picks a name that sounds intimidating (usually Orcish), and they are attributed a surname from their parents based upon some notable trait they possess (i.e. Krusk Jitterleg, for his tendency to shake his legs when nervous). Upon reaching maturity, a Turaank changes his own surname to something that reflects his aims in life (i.e. wanting to be a warrior, Krusk changes his surname to Skullbatterer). As a sign of achievement, communities will sometimes refer to an individual by a glorious title rather than by name (i.e. for slaying 1000 of Nerull's servants with his bare hands, Krusk's home village now calls him "The Bane of the Death God").
- +2 Strength, +4 Constitution, -4 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma:
- Medium: As Medium creatures, Turaank have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size except with called shots to the body of Turaank with heavy armor. Unless wearing light or medium torso gear, armor's value is counted as zero.
- Turaank base land speed is 30 feet: Turaank can double this by running on all 8 limbs, but they must take a move action to shift between stances.
- Spider Leaping: While not capable of high jumping, Turaank can leap 15 feet forward from a stationary position. A running start can give a 5 feet bonus to this. If the Turaank is aware of a wall or other obstacle impeding his path, he can take a ready action beforehand to latch onto said obstacle upon contact and either climb up or kick off of it.
- Master of Restraint (Ex) -->: +8 racial bonus to Grapple/Pin checks and related saving throws. This is the result of anatomical development, biological tendencies, and life-long experience involving friendly wrestling and combat training.
- Strong String (Ex): When the Turaank reaches level 5, he masters a technique which allows him to shoot a string of webbing 15 feet to ensnare an opponent. Assuming he gets by the saving throw, he can take the turn to drag the foe in closer. The aforementioned racial bonus does not apply until the opponent is in normal grappling range.
- When he reaches level 10, the Turaank can ensnare a foe from 30 feet away. He can also take a move action to pull hard on the string. If the foe fails the saving throw, he falls to the ground and can be hauled in twice as fast.
- Interrogator: +4 bonus on Information Gathering. This represents the Turaank's arsenal for interrogation, which includes torture tactics and general intimidation.
- Premature Digestion: Once a Turaank pins an opponent, he can take a move action to sink his jaws into the foe. The foe must make a saving throw or be paralyzed for one turn. Furthermore, starting next turn, a potent, acidic poison will creep into the opponent, taking damage equal to 1/8 of their maximum hit points per turn. If the foe is unable to remove the Turaank's jaws in 8 turns, they will die.
- Turaank Vision: A Turaank's eyes produce their own light, therefore he is able to see as well in the dark as in daylight. Also, while the peripheral eyes are active (as is their default setting), he gains a +5 racial bonus on armor checks due to an awareness of approaching enemies. However, he suffers a -5 penalty on spot checks due to naturally unclear vision. The Turaank can shut off his peripheral eyes, thereby losing the bonus, to remove the penalty on spot checks. If he remains in this state for longer than 2 minutes, he will go blind for a half-hour before reverting back to peripheral vision.
- +8 racial bonus on Climb checks: Turaank have naturally powerful grips, and dowsing a surface in webbing can ease climbing efforts greatly.
- Turaank Stances: A Turaank can take a move turn to switch between his bipedal and octopedal stances. In his bipedal stance, the Turaank is genetically unused to movement. This gives him a -10 penalty on saving throws for trip attempts that will make him fall backwards or to either side. The penalty does not apply when falling forward, and he gains a +2 racial bonus on a forward trip saving throw to catch himself. Either way, falling forward will result in an automatic shift to the octopedal stance. Should the Turaank fall on his back or side, his body will automatically move so he lies on his back. When this happens, the Turaank will be dazed for one turn, then he must take a move action to roll over, then another to rise to the octopedal stance. In the octopedal stance, the Turaank cannot attack with two-handed weapons and cannot attack more than once a turn. Due to increased agility, however, the Turaank gains a +3 racial bonus on saving throws against melee attacks. The Turaank’s visual impairments will not allow him to notice an opponent at long range in this stance, so he takes a -3 penalty in long-range saving throws. Also, the Turaank is very poorly built for constant sideways movement. Thus, land speed while moving sideways is 5 feet. The Turaank can lunge sideways to evade attacks as a free action, but while in the bipedal stance he must make a saving throw or crash to the ground upon landing.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Turaankian . Bonus Languages: Any.
- Favored Class: Druid. A multiclass Turaank's Druid class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty. Also, Turaank Druid tends to relate to arachnid or insectoid creatures better than others, and they tend to take such a companion.
- LA +2
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