Hailosi (5e Race)
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|“|| And in the beginning, there was nothing but the light and the sea.
And the light dried the sea and made the earth,
And the sea soaked the earth and made the plants,
And the light came to the plants and gave them souls,
And the sea came to the plants and gave them strength.
And now, we return to the light.
And now, we return to the sea.
And now, we return to our home.
|—A traditional Hailosi funeral rite.|
Hailosi are humanoid cacti. They live a fairly isolated life in the tropic islands.
Hailosi (pronounced “HEY-low-see”) stand only slightly shorter that humans, averaging out at around 5-and-a-half feet. They weigh markedly less than other human races, though, with many weighing a good deal under a hundred pounds. Upon inspection, it’s not hard to see why they weigh so little – their flesh is composed of dozens of cacti chained together, supported by a wooden frame. These cacti are about four-to-five inches in diameter, and are tightly wrapped around the “skeleton” of the hailosi. They are covered in spikes which range in length and thickness from being as fine as the fur of a rat to the size of a small knitting needle.
A hailosi’s head is often described as their most memorable feature. Their heads are vaguely egg-shaped. For eyes, they have two dull and misshapen lumps of what appears to be jade, that they can see out of just fine. These eyes have no pupils and do not blink. Their mouths are simple holes that similarly do not move, though this has no bearing on their means of speech. Some have described this effect to be unnerving.
The hailosi have a rich culture and mythology. One of the most important stories to them is their creation myth.
The key figures in this story are Adabai, the Mother Goddess and Goddess of Earth and Sea, Boyinai, the Goddess of Weather, and Yayamanaco, the God of Fire. Adabai and Boyinai lived together for many years on their island, and were happy. However, as time went on, they realized how lonely they were. At this time, there were no beings except the deities, and most of the other deities lived off of the island. The ones who did live with Adabai and Boyinai were often too busy to spend time with them; the one exception was Yayamanaco, who hated Boyinai with a passion, for he loved Adabai but was not loved back. He blamed this on her lover above anyone else.
Unfortunately, Yayamanaco was also the only deity with the power to create or destroy life. He had a dried gourd full of a life-giving powder. He refused to share this with any other god or goddess. He only wanted to kill and to destroy, would only create things so he could burn them down. This was another reason why he hated Boyinai – she was always making it rain, or making the wind blow, or making it hail, whereas Yayamanaco would prefer a world of constant flames.
One night, Adabai had a plan. While Yayamonaco was sleeping, Adabai gently woke him. “Yayamonaco,” she crooned, “I have so often dreamed of you. My wife is asleep. Please – come with me. I may not be able to be with you all the time, but at least we may have tonight.”
Excited by this prospect, Yayamonaco eagerly followed her. She led him to the far edge of the island, and deep into a cave, where nobody could see or hear them. She then asked him to give her his gourd – “I will put it someplace safe, so that it will not be disturbed while we are together,” she said. He obeyed. “Close your eyes, my dearest,” she followed. “Do not let your sight detract from our love.” Again, he obeyed.
However, rather than being treated to a lover’s embrace, he was pushed backwards. Adabai made the earth open up behind him, and he fell straight to the center of the earth. Adabai then closed the earth above him, trapping him forever. She took Yayamonaco’s gourd, and the following morning, she and her wife made all the creatures of the earth. When they were finished, they only had the slightest amount left. While they were discussing what to make, Yayamonaco tried to claw his way back up to the earth, by making a volcano. The two goddesses ran away in fear, and in their haste, dropped the gourd. Its contents spilled on a climbing cactus, who then gained intelligence and came to life.
Not Dead, but Simply Sleeping
Regardless of the veracity of the hailosi’s creation story, there is a grain of absolute truth in it – hailosi are not born as much as they are created by a life-giving powder. The reproductive system of the hailosi takes several years. The process begins with the planting of the hailosi’s seeds, which come from the fruit that grows on their body year-round. These sees are planted near the roots of trees, or sometimes on the side of a religious building specially built for the purpose of encouraging growth, called a “gailibo’a”.
When the resulting cactus has grown enough, it is wrapped around a wooden frame resembling a human. A religious ceremony is then held, blessing the “body” of the unborn hailosi and asking that the goddesses grant them life. A powder is then applied to the effigy, made of ground up buds of the hailosi’s flower and a mixture of other plants native to their islands. By the end of the day, the effigy becomes sentient, and has a wealth of knowledge relatively equal to a twenty-year-old human.
Hailosi do not see life and death the way that other races do. Instead, they see it more in terms of sleep and wakefulness. A hailosi who has not yet gained sentience and one who is no longer alive are both said to be “sleeping” or “dreaming”. Similarly, the ritualistic “birth” of a hailosi is called their Awakening.
One final note on the hailosine beliefs on life and death is that they believe that they all share the same life spirit. They hold that every living member of their race has the same soul that was imparted on the very first hailosi by Adabai and Boyinai. Furthermore, they hold that the magic which gave them life is derived from the power of the gods, and therefore, they themselves are in part the very gods they worship. For this reason, the hailosi are very peaceful amongst themselves, since the act of murder would be classified not only as suicide, but also an attempt at deicide.
Working Day and Night
The culture of the hailosi is built upon the backs of their ancestors in a very literal sense. When a hailosi passes away, after their cactus-flesh rots away, the pieces of wood that once made up their skeleton are repurposed by the community in the number of ways. For example, if a hailosi was a devout person of faith, their bones may be used to help with the construction of a temple to their god. If they cared deeply about their people and race, their skeleton may be re-used for a new hailosi, or to build a gailibo’a. If one loved nature and all its creatures, then their bones may simply be left in the jungle for the animals to do with them what they will.
There is a misconception spread amongst mainlanders that the hailosi are a backwards and primitive people. This is a complete falsehood. The hailosi are highly intellectual race of people, and make masterful architects and engineers. The buildings that they build, despite build made of only wood and rope, they can last for hundreds of years and withstand even the most brutal hurricanes.
Their masterful construction skills are perhaps aided by a somewhat curious facet of their biology. Since they are born from plants, they do not sleep. Paired with the fact that they do not eat, this means that they can work almost day-round, only taking a short break in the middle of the night. While of course, not all hailosi are builders by trade, many take great pride in their construction skills, and will dedicate their whole lives to the craft.
Peacekeepers and Defenders
As has been touched upon before, the hailosi believe they are all of one soul, and as such do not harm each other. This extends to their environment – they try to be as respectful as possible to their surroundings, only taking wood from already dead or fallen trees. The hailosi are also kind to animals of all types, particularly birds, bees, and bats, their main pollinators.
However, their peaceful nature must not be construed as a sign of weakness. When provoked, they are fierce and deadly fighters. In one notable historical incident, when human explorers first came across the hailosi, they were astounded by the vast caches of resources on their island, and found that one of the plants they use to “awaken” their brethren had a hallucinogenic effect on them which they found pleasurable. After gaining the hailosi’s trust, they waited until one of their holy days (celebrating the anniversary of Adabai and her wife’s creation of the hailosi), and tried to slaughter them all to plunder their plants and take their land. While the inciting war had losses on both sides, it ultimately resulted in a victory for the hailosi.
While hailosi try to keep peace, they also hold grudges. Though it has been eons since their disastrous encounter with the humans, humans are still not permitted in the hailosi homelands, and are more often than not killed on sight to avoid any repeat incidents.
While biologically, hailosi have both male and female parts (as many plants do), hailosi unilaterally identify as female. Because they view themselves as extensions of the Mother Goddess and her wife, as well as products of their work, they see no reason to embody masculine traits.
The hailosi, seeing themselves as all being an extension of the same core being, have no family names. In order to differentiate two individuals, they use titles based on their occupation or social status, and in the unlikely scenario that there are two individuals who have the same name and title, they go by age.
Hailosi Names: Ines, Anacaona, Sahobey, Datai, Caobana, Daliani, Yuisa, Hancato, Tainlili, Igamota, Gaibana, Amoca
Hailosi Titles: Aduhos (the Wealthy), Acoai (the Joyful), Ibuhiti (the Priest), Iboritas (the Worker), Ivarti (the Defender)
Hailosi Age Differentiators: Ili (the Younger), Elili (the Youngest), Ua (the Elder), Uaua (the Eldest)
Slender cactus-people from tropical islands.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence and Wisdom scores both increase by 1.
Age. Hailosi are “born” fully mature and live to be around 75.
Alignment. Typically ranges from Lawful Good to True Neutral.
Size. You stand between five and six feet tall, and weigh about 110 pounds.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Thorny. Your body is covered in thorns of varying thickness. If a creature makes an unarmed melee attack against you, or if you make an unarmed melee attack against a creature, they take 1d4 piercing damage. Additionally, you have advantage on Strength or Dexterity saving throws against being grappled.
Yayamonaco’s Curse. As punishment for being borne of the magic stolen from Yayamonaco, the Fire God (in addition to being made of wood and plant matter), you are vulnerable to fire damage.
Photosynthesizer. Having primarily the biology of a cactus, you do not need food, and only require one gallon of water per week. Additionally, you have no need to sleep, and instead enter an inactive state for four hours per day. During this state, you do not dream, and are fully aware of your surroundings. However, if you are not in direct contact with sunlight for at least 8 hours per 48 hours, you take one level of exhaustion.
Plant Person. As an anthropomorphic cactus, your creature type is both humanoid and plant.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and a language of your choice.
Subrace. Hailosi have two subraces, the Coromas and the Nasoraq.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
Putayo. Your body naturally creates a fruit called a putayo, which is rich in nutrients. As an action, you may pluck one of these fruits from your body and prepare it for consumption. You or an ally can split up and eat the fruit as you see fit, healing up to 10 total HP. After 24 hours, the fruit begins to spoil, and has no HP-restoring properties. You may use this trait once every long rest, or the equivalent thereof.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1 additional point.
Queen of the Night. You are more acclimated to the darkness than the Coromas. When in dim light or darkness, you have advantage on initiative rolls.
Random Height and Weight
|5′ 11″||+2d6||80 lb.||× (2d4) lb.|
*Height = base height + height modifier
When creating a hailosi 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 characteristics.
|1||I communicate with the Mother Goddesses through her creations. Sometimes people look at me funny when I’m talking seriously to forest creatures about what to do.|
|2||I have trouble wrapping my head around why other races get so upset when a loved one falls asleep, and why they say they say they’re sleeping when they’re only resting their bodies.|
|3||I’m willing to help with building projects and share my techniques with most people (but not humans, of course).|
|4||I don’t know what I want done with my remains yet. I want to go on a grand adventure to figure that out.|
|1||Patriotism: My homeland is a place of beauty and splendor, a gift from the goddesses themselves. I will do anything that I can to protect it. (Lawful)|
|2||Tradition: Our religious beliefs and practices are crucial to the survival of our race. I have to protect them so that future generations can flourish. (Lawful)|
|3||Monism: Our race and our gods are all of one soul. We must do all that we can to protect one another, because in doing so, we protect ourselves and our religion. (Good)|
|4||Pacifism: In hurting others, we achieve nothing but hurting ourselves. I believe that conflicts can and should be solved without violence. (Good)|
|1||I am the keeper of a gailibo’a. I will do everything I can to protect the still-sleeping hailosi.|
|2||I helped build a temple to one of my gods or goddesses. This building is my pride and joy.|
|3||I have dedicated myself to the Mother Goddesses, and do all that I can to protect their creations.|
|4||I am grateful to the priestesses who awoke me from my slumber.|
|1||We’ve been betrayed once by humans, and we’ll never be betrayed by them again. I am hesitant to cooperate with other races and refuse to work alongside humans.|
|2||I’m a lover, not a fighter. I am a pacifist to a fault, and usually unwilling to fight.|
|3||It doesn’t matter if I fall in battle – I will sleep, and I will wake again. I am not as concerned with my own wellbeing as others think I should be.|
|4||The worst possible thing I could imagine happening to me is being burnt, so that my remains are unusable. I am deathly afraid of fire, and get nervous even around small, controlled flames.|
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- The correct adjective for “referring to the hailosi people”.