Hiveborn (5e Race)
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“I was tasked with surveying what was described as an ebony fortress that sprang from thin air, what I found was far more terrible than any errant wizard could ever hope to be. The walls are made from giant beetle shells, workers swarm like ants from inside the imposing fortress. Four scores bear heavy shells that impede their movement to an impossible degree, which they shed and regrow at impossible rates. Another dozen stomachs descend and vomit a putrid liquid that can be smelled from a mile off. A remaining crew of what appear to be humans, with only slight insectoid features scale the wall, using the shells as bricks and the vomit as mortar. For eight hours the backbreaking cycle body horror continues, the walls growing by leaps and bounds. One of them saw me yeaster-afternoon and since then flying guards armed with longbows have circled too and fro. I plan on making a diplomatic approach at first light. By the time forces are mustered to siege the battlement, the kingdom could be overrun." - Ren Faire, Knight of the Order, In a letter delivered by a shaking squire.
The Hiveborn are a people of efficiency. Created in an attempt to produce a new type of warforged that could be bred like cattle, the end was towering hives and meticulously organized cities springing up out of seemingly nowhere. Infinitely adaptable, able to create underwater cities and Cliffside dwellings with ease, Hiveborn live for improvement, efficiency, community, and the greater good.
Your Creature type is Humanoid. Alignment: Most trent towards LN or LG, but renegade hive born are selfish and chaotic Age: Hiveborn mature in 3 months and on average live to around 25. Although, lifespans can be easily extended through Biomods, to no apparent limit. Appearance: Hiveborns' appearance depends on the race their queen was before, resembling that race, with insectoid modifications and a wide range of vestigial birthmarks that serve to identify which Queen birthed them.
Your height, weight, size, and speed match any other one medium or small race. The majority of Queens are, Half-orc, half-elf, Elf Human, Deep-Gnome or Tiefling. Exceptions, while uncommon, are well documented.
The Hiveborn are a race of creations, more similar to warforged than any other species, no matter how fleshy they may be. At the center of each “Hive” is a Hive Queen, who has the ability to produce other hiveborn. Queens are the most essential part of Hiveborn society, but are themselves not necessarily “born-of-the-hive.” Queens are volunteers who underwent a strenuous transformation, changing them permanently, but giving them the ability to assemble and produce Hiveborn. It is 100% required for the volunteer to be willing and eager, to the point of being brainwashed. The process is intensive and any hesitation results in immediate death.
(The first Queens were transformed as a way to produce Warforged that could reproduce through conventional means. The step between a science experiment and a full fledged society is the secret that the queens guard closest.)
Queen is a title, like the “Queen Ant and as Hiveborn reproduction is Acesexual, has no bearing on gender. The flesh required to assemble the Hiveborn is grown in vats as a viscous liquid and poured molds, which the Queen crafts to resemble their lineage. The blank template can be extensively modified with biotechnical upgrades known as Biomods to enhance worker specialization and allow feats of extreme engineering and industrialization.
Hivenorn mature quickly, within the span of three months. Hiveborn do not receive mods until they mature physically, and even after reaching maturity, the process is entirely voluntary. The core tenant of hiveborn society is the greater good of the community. How could you trust a community that forced modification upon you? Even so, the process of undertaking biomods is considered heroic, and admirable. Hiveborn die of old age at around 25 years, although biomods can be used to extend life spans with no known limit.
The Unmodified hiveborn (referred to as hivelings) are indistinguishable from the queen's original species, but upon closer examination, they have 4 bellybuttons, “mold scars” along their ribs and what appear to be strange birthmarks or tattoos. These markings can resemble dark yellow inkblots, or complex series of numerals, based on the queen's preference. Even within the same hive, there can be massive variation of skin tone and hair color, as they serve no purpose aside from aesthetics.
Lots of Hiveborn are created with specific modifications in mind, so many differences in body type are the result of the need for a greater variety of biomods. All Hiveborn are capable of withstanding at least one Biomod, but with the Queen’s assistance, as many as needed can be acquired. To allow the addition of Biomods to individuals who are not physically capable of withstanding them, a Biomod referred to as the Queens Command was developed.
“Queens command: A built in receiver, while on the same plane as the queen, you can receive orders, and must make a wisdom contest vs. the queens intelligence modifier to disobey an order. This mod can be forcibly removed as an action, but if it is, all mods applied by the queen are immediately removed. Follow the Rules for Removing mods in the Hive Born Traits section.”
While it’s described as a receiver, that's not entirely accurate, aside from allowing the broadcast of orders, it also works as a regulator, improving the Hiveborns ability to withstand Biomods. High ranking generals have versions of this mod that even heal them, protecting them as an ever present connection to the hive.
The sheer variety of Biomods is staggering. For an example of how Hiveborn society is centered entirely around Biotechnology we need only to turn to architecture. The cities of the Hiveborn are made of flesh. Buildings are constructed using biologically manufactured materials, like shed chitin shells for bricks and adhesive vomit for mortar. Hair becomes spines that become nails, clothes and armor are made from shed skin, and Bioluminescent vomit lines the walls. Most of the construction mods are an impediment to daily life (shells are heavy, mortar production requires a specific diet ect. ect.) even so, most Hiveborn choose to get them as a way to strengthen their community. For the greater good. Though it must be said, most mods are ill suited to adventuring.
For as imposing of a threat any Hive could be to their neighbors, hiveborn are insular, preferring internal development to outward expansion. Hives exist as massive city-states, setting up internal farms for food, trees, livestock and anything that would struggle to exist within the confines of a city. They dig downward until they find stone as a method of quarrying, and Hives are known to have well maped, lit, and developed tunnel systems beneath them. Extending as far into the earth as they do above it. Hiveborn prioritize community above all else, and it is rare to see any Hiveborn outside of the Hive. Those you do see are often criminals on the run, champions of the queen, or simply just lost.
For the first month of their lives, young Hivelings are taken care of by older hivelings that elected not to undergo significant biomodification, in favor of rearing the young. Hivleing’s choose first names at around one month old (approximately 10 years old for a human). They choose a name that they think suits them best, with suggestions given by caretakers, and on rare occasions, Queens. First names tend to be worn like a badge of honor, a show of individuality. After they choose a pseudonym, they are introduced to potential mentors, who have undergone significant biomods, forming family groups called “pods” Pods are headed by master crafters, and populated by senior members that aid in mentoring hivelings. This combination of parenthood/internship is impermanent, with hivelings switching back and forth based on interests. When Hivelings are physically mature, they may choose to join a pod, or join the legion of caretakers. As they join a pod, they take on a trade name associated with said pod.
Hiveborn First names are too numerous to list.
- Increase one stat of your choice by 2, and another by 1.
- Gain proficiency with one tool of your choice
Biomods Biomods refer to the biological augmentation of members of the hive, improving their ability to contribute to the greater good of the hive. Mod application is usually done by the queen of the hive, who’s unique mods and experience make the process effortless, and can add any number of mods. Most biomods are visually apparent. Be sure to note how they impact your character's physical appearance.
Hive Queens can apply as many mods as they like to Hiveborn. While most Hiveborn take on mods built for civil service, said mods are ill suited to adventuring. There are uncountable types of mods, but those suited for adventuring are listed below. Choose ONE
- Superior Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 120 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.
- Sturdy Make. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.
Aquadynamic. You have a swimming speed of 30 feet, and you can breathe air and water. Additionally, Using gestures and sounds, you can communicate simple ideas with any beast that has an innate swimming speed.
- Specialized Design. Gain resistance to one damage type of your choice.
- Insectoid Wings. Prerequisite: Small size When you gain a flying speed of 30 feet and can hover.
- Relentless Endurance. When you are reduced to below 3 hitpoints, you can use your reaction to gain 5 temporary hit points. The next time you take damage, only reduce the temporary hit points, any damage that would roll over is nullified. You can't use this feature again until you finish a long rest.
- Martial Aid. When you score a critical hit with a simple weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon's damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.
- Forest Forward. You have advantage on all stealth checks made using plant life as cover. Through sound and gestures, you may communicate simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts.
- Movement Specialization. You can move across non magical difficult terrain without expending extra movement.
- Natural Armor. Your Built in armor gives you a natural AC of 14+Dex modifier.
- Reinforced Chitin. Add an additional +1 to your AC.
- Reinforced Claws. Your unarmed strikes are simple weapons with the Finesse property that do 1d4+str damage. In addition climbing costs you no extra movement.
- Acid Spit. You know the Acid Splash cantrip. The spell save dc is equal to 7+dex+ your proficiency bonus.
- Pack Tactics. You have advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
- Regenerating Carapace You can focus yourself to occasionally shrug off injury. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to roll a d8. Add your Constitution modifier to the number rolled, and reduce the damage by that total. You can use this trait a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus.
- Modified Joints. When you make a melee attack on your turn, your reach for it is 5 feet greater than normal. Additionally, You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
- Standing Leap. Your long jump is up to 20 feet and your high jump is up to 10 feet, with or without a running start.
- Agile Frame. You can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of your turns, additionally, your movement speed increases by 5 ft.
You may start with a second Biomod applied by the Queen. If you do, apply this mod as well:
Queens command: A built in receiver, while on the same plane as the queen, you can receive orders, and must make a wisdom contest vs. the queens intelligence modifier to disobey an order. This mod can be forcibly removed as an action, but if it is, all mods applied by the queen are immediately removed. Take one level of exhaustion for each mod removed this way.