Dullahan, Variant (5e Race)

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This content deviates from 5th edition standards. Its use could dramatically alter campaigns, take extreme care. DesignDisclaimer.png
Caution - Here there be monsters!
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This content intends to provide a different experience, or goes beyond the scope of the anticipated subjects and situations, than the 5th edition rules were intended to handle. Some portions of the content below may not be what you expect from traditional game content. When implementing this content, DMs and Players should read over all the information carefully, and consider the following specific notes of interest:
The "True Dullahan" subrace comes with a disembodied flying head that can occasionally have its own location separate from the main body, while still being considered part of the same entity. This is a somewhat unconventional mechanic compared to other racial features and requires a few rule specifications. As such, it is the GM's decision whether or not to allow one extra mechanic to keep track of, or to insist the player use the Cursed Dullahan subrace, or a different race altogether



Physical Description

LucilleNiama.png
Lucille -- Flatw00ds, character designed by Varkarrus

Dullahans are mostly humanoid in appearance, but very distinctly have a floating, disembodied head that is separate from their body.

Their skin ranges from blue to purple, somewhat dark and unsaturated. They are slightly taller than humans on average, with naturally broad, imposing frames. Even if a dullahan can have low muscle and body fat, they rarely look skinny due to the width and depth of their skeletal structure. Their otherwise human face is distinct for having an incredibly wide mouth that extends from one side of their head to the other. Dullahans can unhinge their jaw to open their gaping mouth to an impossible width.

Dullahans have numerous markings across their body made of thick, tough tissue. This tissue is part of a series of organs that are spread throughout the dullahan's body and head. These organs are a very important part of dullahan biology as they contain a single multi-dimensional space that perpetually links a dullahan's head to its torso and limbs. All air, nutrients, and brain signals travel through this space as a pathway, so even when a dullahan's arm or leg is severed, it can still move around. This unique biological phenomenon also happens to make the dullahan immune to nerve damage, an important quality for a creature to have, especially for those who may fall from a horse many times in their life. The special tissue is exposed to the surface as a dullahan exhales through this network, adding another unsightly quirk to their appearance. They do not appear to breathe, as dullahans constantly inhale and exhale at the same time.

History

Dullahans, like all fey, trace their history back to the Feywild. While many fey races formed civilizations, dullahans formed tribes and clans. Nomadic dullahans in groups of as little as ten or as large as a hundred individuals migrated through the realm at random. Each clan, completely detached from the others, developed their own rules and morals. Many kept to themselves, building an entirely self-reliant society that would neither accept or offer help. Others protected nature from danger, either out of a sense of duty or simply because they needed what the natural world could give them. However, a noticeable minority became roving bandits and raiders, ready to pillage and kill so they could steal what they needed. These dullahan clans gave their entire race an infamous reputation.

Some dullahan bandit groups conglomerated into larger roves of barbarians advancing in danger from nuisances to genuine threats towards Eladrin civilizations. Angered by their impudence, the entire race was punished through banishment from the Feywilds. In their mass relocation, the dullahan were separated from their clans, destroying their culture in the process.

Society

In the present day, dullahans rarely form large clans and tribes as they did in the past. They instead live a nomadic life as incessant travelers. They migrate across the world, eventually finding another dullahan, courting them, and riding together for a few years before living separately once more. However, not all dullahans are condemned to this fate; some dullahan clans survived in exile, finding each other and reuniting on the other side. These clans have a strong sense of community, reinforced by the charismatic and trustworthy nature of their leaders. As before, the morality of these clans varies from place to place. The collective response to the dullahan race is quite different amongst the mortals of the Material Plane compared to those residing in the Feywild. Their lonely nature and intimidating appearance mean many humans treat them as otherworldly monsters.

The one major defining trait that all groups of dullahan share are the importance they place on a dullahan's steed. While they usually ride horses, each clan may have collections of any number of different steeds, especially those suited for their environment. Dullahan clans have ridden on the backs of camels, musk-ox, griffons, and at least one dullahan has been seen riding on a strange, two-wheeled vehicle that combines the arcane with the mechanical. Regardless of what they ride, each dullahan has their own steed from the day they come of age, and the life of their steed is more important than their own. No dullahan from any clan will break bread with a dullahan who lost their steed. Fortunately, the spell many dullahans know to bond with their steed extends the steed's natural lifespan to match their own.

Dullahan Names

Dullahan names largely sound like traditional Sylvan names to an outsider, but those fluent in Sylvan will recognize a name as being common or exclusive to dullahans only.

Male: Ultán, Raghnall, Tiernán, Eolann, Dagda

Female: Lasair, Doireann, Mairin, Eimhear, Siobhan

Dullahan Traits

You are a black-robed headless horseman of Irish mythology.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2 and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. Like many fey, you are long-living. You reach maturity at 20 and reach old age after 400 years.
Alignment. As death's heralds, dullahans generally do not pursue particular agendas. They tend towards true neutral.
Size. You are about the same size as a human. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Fey. You are a fey. This grants you protection against some spells and effects that would normally affect humanoids, such as hold person. In addition you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put you to sleep.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Decapitated. Your head is not fixed upon your shoulders. The effects of this trait are noted below.
Fear of Gold. You have an irrational fear of gold. You have disadvantage on ability checks if you can see a gold object of any size.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan.

Decapitated

You must carry your head under one arm. If you are not carrying your head, you undergo the following effects:

  • You can only draw line of sight to your head.
  • If your head is not in the same space as your body, it is treated as a separate creature. Your body and head share the same statistics with the following exceptions. Your head is Tiny, has an AC of 10 and a speed of 5 feet. Your hit points are reduced if either your body or head takes damage. Your head has Strength, Dexterity and Constitution scores of 5 each. Your body and head can move independently, but you still draw from the same pool of movement. When you take an action, bonus action or reaction you choose if it is your body or head taking the action.
  • You have supernatural sight. If you hold your head aloft with both hands, you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
  • You can use an action to have your head emit bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. The effect lasts until you dismiss it with an action or fall unconscious.
  • If your body is further than 30 feet away from your head, it is immune to the following conditions: blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened.
  • When you cast a spell, your head is used for verbal components and your body is used for somatic and material components. You can only cast a spell that combines these components if your body and head are within 30 feet of each other.
  • At the end of a short rest or long rest, you can summon your head into your empty hand as long as it is on the same plane of existence.

Variant: Cursed Dullahan

Some dullahan are at risk of literally losing their head. If you choose this variant it is possible to become separated from your head by significant distances, leading to a quest to recover it. As this is potentially disruptive to some campaigns, you should work with your DM to incorporate this into the narrative.

  • You are unable to summon your head at the end of a rest using your decapitated trait. If you are separated from your head for 10 days or longer, you replace your decapitated trait with the following features.

Headless. You do not have a head at all. It's gone, probably for good. But, you are still alive somehow, with your mind residing in your body instead of your head. Whatever is keeping you alive means you now do not need to eat, drink, or breathe. However, your lack of mouth renders you completely mute.

Replacement Head. You have a totem that you use as a replacement for your head; a helmet from a suit of armor, or a large smooth-cut crystal orb, or even a carved pumpkin. You are able to use your totem head as a focus for spellcasting, and it can be removed as normal and is filled with a perpetual ghostlike flame. If your totem is lost or destroyed, you can attune to a new one over the course of an hour. While using your totem as a spellcasting focus, you can cast spells without a vocal component.

Random Height and Weight

Base
Height
Height
Modifier*
Base
Weight
Weight
Modifier**
5′ 0″ +2d8 120 lb. × (2d6) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

Suggested Characteristics

When creating a Dullahan character, you can use the following table of traits, ideals, bonds and flaws to help flesh out your character. Use these tables in addition to or in place of your background's characteristics.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I have a hard time learning how what I do or say affects others.
2 Crowds, and merry groups make me uncomfortable.
3 I forget that my thoughts and intentions are not clear to others.
4 I talk to myself, constantly.
5 I find bonding with animals easier than to others.
6 I just can't sit still, I must always be doing something.
7 I hold true to my values very strongly. A bit too strongly.
8 I am almost entirely fearless. In fact, I don't understand how fear can paralyze others.
d6 Ideal
1 Self-Reliance: Asking for help is shameful, though giving it is acceptable.
2 Travel: Setting up roots is a sign of laziness and bad character.
3 Animals: An animals distrust is a huge red flag.
4 Survival: Doing whatever it takes to survive, no matter the costs, is always forgivable.
5 Nature: It willingly provides for us, but only if we provide for it. Those who ignore this are malicious or foolish.
6 Companionship: We ride together as one. Maintaining those bonds makes everyone stronger.
d6 Bond
1 I've been alone for so long, I want to find the clan of my ancestors.
2 Traveling the world, without helping where you can, is a shallow lifestyle.
3 Being with others is more fun than expected, and it's worth the dangerous life of an adventurer.
4 The world provides for me, I need to protect it.
5 Adventuring is a convenient way to put food on my plate, given my skills and lifestyle. That is all.
6 Someone took my goddamned head! I want it back!
d6 Flaw
1 I am not inclined to trust others.
2 My social skills and boorish nature are appalling.
3 I prioritize my occasional alone time a fair bit too much.
4 I may look after others, but my own needs always come first.
5 I am naive, and a poor judge of character.
6 My head wanders, literally and figuratively, and I forget where I left my body at times.

Dullahan Rider

The dullahan rider class can only be taken by a dullahan, if the optional multiclassing rules are being used.

Creating a Dullahan Rider

A dullahan rider can hold its head aloft in one hand, or might mount its head on the brow of its saddle.

As a Dullahan Rider you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per Dullahan Rider level
Hit Points at 1st Level: + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + Constitution modifier per Dullahan Rider level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light
Weapons: Simple, flail, scimitar, whip
Tools: vehicles (land)
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Animal Handling, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, or Religion

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

Level Proficiency
Bonus
Features
1st +2 Death's Herald, Expert Horseman, Macabre Weapon
2nd +2 Ferocious Rider
3rd +2 Black Crom's Magic I
4th +2 Coiste Bodhar
5th +3 Black Crom's Magic II

Death's Herald

You know if a humanoid you can see is going to die within the following 10 days. The cause of death must be natural (such as old age or disease) or otherwise fated to happen.

Expert Horseman

Your skill with riding horses grants you the following benefits:

  • You can mount a creature using 5 feet of movement (instead of movement equal to half your speed).
  • You have advantage on Dexterity saving throws made to avoid falling off your mount.

Macabre Weapon

While holding a weapon you are proficient with, you can use an action to transmute it into human bones fused with fey magic. For example, a whip becomes a spine or a mace becomes a skull. The effect lasts until you end it with an action or are no longer holding the weapon. A macabre weapon deals an extra 2 poison damage.

Ferocious Rider

From 2nd level onwards, your walking speed increases by 10 feet, and your mount's speed increases by 10 feet. When your mount takes the Dash action, fire eminates from its nostrils and hooves, igniting flammable materials that it passes over.

Black Crom's Magic I

Starting at 3rd level, you can cast bane, faerie fire or protection from evil and good. You can do so twice, then must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

Your spellcasting ability is Charisma. Your spell DC is 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus.

Coiste Bodhar

When you are riding a mount, or driving a drawn vehicle such as a coach, any closed gate or door within 5 feet of the mount or vehicle flies open as though it had been affected by the knock spell.

Black Crom's Magic II

Starting at 5th level, you can cast find steed or blindness/deafness. You can do so twice, then must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

In addition, the extra poison damage dealt by your macabre weapon increases to 3.



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