Hydrafolk (3.5e Race)
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While the origins of the Hydrafolk have yet to be determined, there exists among them a tale involving a human and the First Hydra. The venerated human, joyous and true, exited the gates of his city to meet the First Hydra on the nearby shores. The monster had announced its arrival not a day earlier, proclaiming the destruction of the city and its people. Whilst the evacuation was underway, the man felt compelled to meet the marvelous creature in person, perhaps he wished to bargain with it, or maybe even slay it. It is impossible to know for certain.
Further details of the story seem to vary according to the one reciting it. Some claim he fought the creature and lost, others believe the man slew the beast and was welcomed into the Heavens for his accomplishment; regardless, the true ending has ultimately been lost to time. However, each interpretation of this tale is held dearly by its respective teller, as every version reflects the thoughts and feelings of the individual Hydra. If there were anything the Hydra are passionate about, it's their beginnings and the significance of their history.
Often aloof and very private about their personal lives and are solemn and solitary. However, when under the influence of alcohol they become very rowdy. Hydrafolk are often considered shallow and crude by the more proper peoples (i.e., elves) but their behavior is fairly normal by their standards. They do not see themselves as rude and never intend to be, and thusly become confused when others get upset. By the same coin most do not appreciate excessive politeness as they mistake it as condescension, and are practically alien to the concept of etiquette.
Hydrafolk are direct and to-the-point, and seldom do they become socialites, preferring objective conversation over trivial nothings, but when they do engage in a conversation they like, they can become very involved, giving those present a hint of their true personality.
Often about as tall as an ogre, averaging at 8'4 feet and 700 lbs. Otherwise, they appear much like a more humanoid single-headed hydra. Depending on their age, they can vary from human-like form to being indistinguishable from a typical hydra. They have broad shoulders, tough scales, razor sharp teeth, and fairly long necks. Bulky torsos with webbed and callous extremities. Hydrafolk are hulking creatures, giving the false impression they are slow and uncoordinated like their primal ancestors. The Hydrafolk, however, open their scales and manueveour their fluid muscules in such a manner they can harness their strength and agility to maximum efficiency.
Hydrafolk differ in appearance depending on their skills, feats and traits in relation to their current living area. Some are more slender and graceful while others have developed a natural-grown carapace and honed it with spikes, for instance. Their skin and scale complexion varies greatly from turqoise blotched with Royal blue to pure Crimson red. Their eyes have about the same variety, though their cornea is usually black.
They are often shunned by members of other races for various reasons, so they try to remain solitary. Some Hydrafolk are resultantly snappish and defensive as a result of this, though ultimately they are not exceptionally difficult to be around. Hydrafolk rarely discriminate and can function with anyone that treats them with the same respect. Hydra are passionate when they want to be and rivalries can be fierce, but they seldom hold grudges or vengeful thoughts about others. Hydrafolk are not open, and find excessively talkative people to be irritating and retroactively shallow. They would prefer the reverence of a Cleric or the temperamate of a Druid.
Hydrafolk can be respectfully inquisitive of just about anyone, and anything. Depending on the Hydra, one can be just as interested in the babblings of a scholar as he would be in the shape of a peculiar rock, even if he did not understand most of it.
Most are neutral due to their reserved behavior often accompanied by a lack of fundamental ideals. A need for independence normally distances them from choosing to be lawful good while others are averse to evil alignments for fear of being consumed by their primal heritage. Overall, however, they have the potential to be any alignment.
Few Hydrafolk lay claim to any particularly large or notable land as they are nomadic in nature, while others attempt to integrate into their respective area. They prefer quiet places of moderate temperatures, such as an isolated coastal region. Hydrafolk often live in shallow waters as well as any environment with some degree of moisture in the air. Although the tighter scales around their body permit them to store more moisture, enabling them to manage in dry areas on the same level that other humanoid species can, they will never be seen wandering a desert nor savannah on their own accord.
A Hydrafolk of faith is a rare sight to behold. Most are too defiant or uncaring to devote themselves to one particular deity, though they will acknowledge the power of whatever Gods or demons are most prominent to them. A spiritual Hydra is typically devout to an entire Pantheon of Deities rather than one specifically, allowing them to call upon the blessings of several Gods at once at the expense of great effort and devotion. Others who do worship a single God are incredible warriors in their own right, and even the most outspoken opposition will be forced to acknowledge, if not admire their strength.
Common and Abyssal are the universal languages of the Hydrafolk, though they will also pick up any other language of immediate relevance. Some Hydra can also interpret the signals and non-secret languages of aquatic creatures by instinct, be them mindless sea dwellers or sentient beings.
Hydrafolk do not share many common names due to their liberal choice of words and titles. They are often named after or relating to something or someone of value to the one giving it. This given name passes as a temporary identity for the Hydra until they are mature enough to choose a personal name for themselves. Hydrafolk are raised with the notion that names carry weight and importance, whether it be commemoration of a noteworthy experience or a reference to a loved one, it matters only that the Hydra hold it dear. Many choose to adopt several names, each pertaining to something different but of equal value.
- +4 Strength, +4 Constitution, -4 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom: Hydrafolk are strong and resilient but lack significant intellect and common sense.
- Monstrous humanoid: Hydra are proficient with all types of armor but must get custom armor because of its unusual shape.
- Large: As Large creatures, Hydrafolk suffer a –1 penalty to Armor Class, –1 penalty on attack rolls, –4 penalty on Hide checks, and a +4 bonus on grapple checks. Lifting and carrying limits are double those of Medium characters.
- Hydrafolk base land speed is 30 feet, 40 feet swim.
- +3 natural armor bonus.
- Natural Weapons: Bite for 1d10 damage.
- Racial Hit Dice: A Hydrafolk begins with three levels of Monstrous humanoid, which provide 3d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +4, and base saving throw bonuses of Fort +4, Ref +1, and Will +4.
- Racial Skills: A Hydrafolk’s Monstrous humanoid levels give it skill points equal to 5 × (2 + Int modifier). Swim and Intimidate are always considered class skills.
- Racial Feats: A Hydrafolk’s Monstrous humanoid levels give it one feat.
- Hydrafolk has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.
- Duel at Lerna (Ex): The Hydrafolk can select a single target, increasing by one additional target every 5 levels. The Hydrafolk gains a +4 bonus to attack rolls and a bonus to damage rolls equal to his level + half the target's level. The targets' levels do not stack collectively. This can only be used once per encounter.
- Lightless Depths (Su): Hydrafolk can diminish all natural and Arcane light sources up to 60 feet. The Hydra gains a +10 circumstance bonus to Hide checks, and can Shadow Step to any target within range (note that the Aura remains at the location which it was initially casted, it does not follow the Hydra). Additionally, all targets in the area must role a Will save (DC 20) or be Shaken. The Hydrafolk can use this once per 1d3 days.
- Hydra's Regeneration: Attacks to the neck and head are no longer fatal. If a Hydrafolk suffers decapitation their neck will grow back in 1d12 hours, during which the Hydra will be incapacitated. Attacks made to their internals are still lethal, however.
- Automatic Languages: Common, Abyssal.
- Bonus Languages: Any non-secret language.
- Favored Class: Fighter or Hydratae Paragon.
- Level Adjustment: +3
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