Manas (5e Race)

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Manas

Wandering thoughts, memories, and raw magic given physical form, the manas are a race close to the heart of magic.


Physical Description

Manas.gif
Echo manas using Mimicry

Rimuru Tempest from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

The truest form of a manas is a mass of pure fluid magic that coalesces into a comprehensible form. When created a manas takes on a form, their origin form, that is largely dependent on the method of their creation and displays their origins in full view, usually small versions of larger creatures. For the sake of survival or to stave off loneliness these creatures mimic the forms of humanoids. While their humanoid form is malleable, the manas' origin form is unchanging.

  • Aberrant Manas take the shape of miniature aberrations, such as a gazer. Their humanoid form tends to take the shape of one who perished in its creation, or a previous invader to a beholder’s lair. Sometimes they blend the features of all such individuals to create something wholly unique to itself.
  • Celestial Manas gain the form of celestials at the whim of their deity, such as a small coatl or kirin. Their humanoid form is largely dependant on the deity it was created from. If a deity had a humanoid form or favored a particular race it will generally appear similar to such.
  • Draconic Manas have inherited the majestic form of their creators, though of a much younger and smaller scale. Unlike other manas those of draconic origin are much more stable, allowing them to take slightly larger forms than other manas. Reveling in their draconic nature, these manas generally take the form of bulky dragonborn and half-dragons. Some draconic manas may appear as a race its creator favored.
  • Echo Manas usually appear to be nothing more than a small gelatinous blob of magic, barely changing from their fluid state. Their humanoid form usually resembles the appearance they had in their previous life, or what they believed they looked like. Other times they may take an appearance similar to that of a humanoid that helped them or was befriended during their early years.
  • Fey Manas are shaped by the energies and stolen memories within the Feywild. They take the form of fairies or other creatures that inhabit the Plane of Faerie. The humanoid form of a fey manas is almost always similar to that of an elf, dryad, nymph, or other creatures of fey beauty. These manas will unquestioningly refuse to take a form it deems repulsive.

While many manas seek to blend in with its surroundings there are carefree, usually powerful, individuals that tend to be a bit more eccentric with their humanoid forms. These manas will display some form of their heritage, personality, or idea of beauty, such as beastial ears, fur, scales, horns, a vestigial tail or wings, etc.

Regardless of their form the air around a manas trembles, almost imperceptibly, with the hum of magical energies. An especially keen eye or one aided by magic can discern a manas for what they truly are, a mass of pure magic. Another key way to differentiate a manas from another creature is the incredible lightness of their form. Despite appearing as a normal humanoid the weight of a manas remains incredibly light as the number of magical particles that constitute them doesn’t increase. A positive side effect of this insubstantial form is the ability to float slightly above the ground with the assistance of their innate magic.

Of great concern to any manas is the relatively unstable and exposed nature of the magic that manifest their forms. This turns into a fatal weakness as the magic that forms their bodies disperse when exposed to anti-magic. These exposed particles seemingly begin to shatter when exposed to these conditions for a prolonged time. Those manas who are free to choose their own destiny typically search for a method to permanently stabilize themselves or ways to counteract this weakness.

History

Manas are formed in a myriad of eye-catching spectacles such as a wizard’s ritual overloading, resulting in an explosion erasing his sanctuary from existence. Rarely a manas is formed from the residual energy left after a deity's wrath shakes the realm. Within the bizarre Feywild memories stolen from creatures congregate to areas of concentrated energy, a manas may occasionally form at such a location. These manas are seldom, if ever, unnoticed gaining the attention of a ruling family, archfey, or even a deity. Wild energies from supernatural forces and planes can bleed into others, mixing such energies with a deceased soul can create a miracle of rebirth. The most ancient of dragons and alien of aberrations are beings that border the line of mortal comprehension, their very existence twists their surroundings in their image, sometimes forming a manas in the process.

The creation of a manas is usually foretold by an eye-catching spectacle, such as a magical explosion or a twisted landscape. As such they are rarely unnoticed during their creation and are subject to the whims of a higher power during their infancy. The treatment they receive varies depending entirely on who or what discovered them. The majority of manas are captured and used as servants or immediately slain as a potential threat.

Those who manage to evade pursuers are generally draconic or echo manas that came into existence relatively quietly and in a remote area. These free manas take up the appearance of the native humanoids and disguise themselves as adventurers or researchers. Any manas who manage to avoid capture after their creation must still be wary of those who would seek to use them. Being a mass of pure magic makes them ideal for powerful wizards to use them for their own goals. Superstitious commoners might claim them of being a demon upon discovering their identity. Organizations who hunt the supernatural would find them to be prime targets of a, possibly literal, witch hunt.

Society

Manas are rarely abundant enough to create their own communities as they lack the typical capability to produce offspring and are genderless outside of aesthetics. They are integrated, usually not by their choice, into the societies of others as adventurers, researchers, priests, servants, and slaves. Regardless of their position in life, all manas are drawn towards areas of concentrated magic, artifacts of power, and answers to what they do not understand.

Manas who take up the adventurer’s life tend to make powerful and reliable spellcasters. Those who can’t evade capture tend to enter into pacts, either with their captor or a being of power, to obtain a semblance of freedom. Their physiology and ardor of magic tend to make them poor combatants, however, some find styles such as the Elven Bladesingers particularly interesting and will risk infiltrating these groups for such knowledge.

Manas Names

Manas are usually named by their creator or captors, though the manas who escape may give themselves a name. The name they take is usually a reflection of themselves and vary from subrace to subrace. Manas are genderless by default and rarely differentiate names they give themselves by such.

Aberrant: An aberrant manas generally takes the name of the most powerful individual from their creation, the name of a powerful spellcaster, or a god of magic. Ex: Azuth, Elminster, Mystra, Rudeus, etc.

Celestial: A celestial manas will take up a variation of their deities name or one of celestial connotation. Ex: Azreal, Castian, Gabriel, Talon, Tir, etc.

Draconic: Reflecting their draconic temperament, these manas take names within the draconic tongue. Ex: Auraseyr, Eirrith, Nymiir, Valagahl, etc.

Echo: Echo manas will most often use the same name they had in their previous life. Some will seek a fresh start or be given a name from a benefactor in their early years. Regardless their name is usually based on their previous race or whatever gave them a new name.

Fey: Fey manas name themselves after a plant or flower they find the most beautiful. Ex: Anemone, Blossom, Iris, Lily, Lotus, Rose, etc.

Manas Traits

A race created through the convergence of wandering thoughts, memories, souls, and excessive magical energies.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score increases by 2.
Age. Manas do not age like most other races but can die from prolonged exposure to antimagic.
Alignment. Manas can vary widely, though many inherit the alignment of their creator(s).
Size. Your size is Small. In both your origin and humanoid forms, regardless of height, your physiology is poorly suited to effectively control large objects.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Instability. Due to the unstable magical nature of a manas, energy that directly destroys or disperses their form is especially harmful. When you are within an area of dampened or dead magic, such as dispel magic or antimagic field, you feel your form tremble and must make a Constitution saving throw vs the caster's spell save DC. On a failure you fall unconscious for 1 minute, until you take damage, or someone uses an action to shake or slap you awake. If this is a continuous effect, after the initial saving throw or when awoken you must concentrate as if on a spell and cannot use the Levitation or Fluid Form traits or change forms with Mimicry until you leave the area. If your concentration is broken at any time you are knocked unconscious as if you failed the above saving throw again. If you fail a save or concentration check from this trait by five or more you are forcefully reverted to your origin form and cannot use the Levitation or Fluid Form traits or change forms with Mimicry until you finish a short or long rest.
Living Magic. You are a magical creature, considered both an elemental and a humanoid. You are immune to diseases. You do not need to eat, drink, or breathe, but you may choose to do so if you wish.
Levitation. A manas' innate magic allows them to float a few feet above the ground, this allows you to ignore most forms of difficult terrain. However, you can float no higher than 5 feet and when you are restrained, knocked prone, reduced to 0 hit points, or fail a saving throw from the Instability trait you stop hovering.
Fluid Form. A manas' may shift their form into a fluid-like state, either partially or fully, to smoothly glide around other creatures and objects. You can move through the space of other creatures and openings as narrow as one inch without squeezing. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying is dropped if you move through a space that could not fit them. Using this trait reveals your elemental nature to any creature that can see you.
Mimicry. A manas is usually in a humanoid form in order to blend in with the local populace. As a bonus action, you can shift between your origin form and your humanoid form. When you change form you choose whether your equipment falls to the ground in your space, merges into your form, or is worn by it. Your clothing and other equipment doesn’t change in appearance, size, or shape to match your new form. Your game statistics are the same in both forms and you always change into the same forms with any equipment of your choice that you have previously merged. You revert to your origin form when you die.

  • As an action you may merge or withdraw one object without shifting forms. Any objects merged into your form does not alter the shape of your forms, grants you no benefits, will still count toward your carrying capacity, and is added to your character's weight. Artifacts and sentient objects cannot be merged into your form. If you die all equipment that cannot be worn by your origin form or any you had merged into your form falls to the ground in your space. As an action while touching you, a creature who knows you can store objects in this fashion may attempt to extract a known object merged into your form as if calling it from a bag of holding.
  • A manas may use downtime to alter the appearance of its humanoid form, the time spent varies depending on the change, a full transformation could take up to a workweek to complete. You decide what you look like, including your height, weight(cosmetic only), facial features, the sound of your voice, coloration, hair length, sex(cosmetic only), and any other distinguishing characteristics.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common.
    Subrace. Manas have five subraces. Choose one from: Aberrant, Celestial, Fey, Echo, or Draconic.

Aberrant

Powerful magic that surge out of control rarely end well for anyone involved, however, on rare occasions such disasters create a sentient being of pure magic. The aberrant manas tend to inherit mentality of all those unfortunate enough to perish in such a disaster. These manas may also spawn from certain aberrations, such as a beholder when their paranoia imagines invaders within their lair. Aberrant manas have obtained an alien mentality thanks to its creator(s) becoming sensitive to the telepathic abilities of others.

Aberrant Utterances. You can speak, read, and write Deep Speech.
Esoteric Mind. You can communicate mentally with another creature that knows at least one language within a 60-foot radius. This creature doesn't need to share a language with you but unless they have telepathy themselves they can only receive and respond but can't initiate or terminate a telepathic conversation. You must be conscious to use this trait and cannot telepathically communicate with multiple creatures at once.
Telepathic Sensitivity. You can perceive the content of any telepathic communication within range of your telepathy and you cannot be surprised by a creature with any form of telepathy.

Celestial

Myths and legends tell of the wrath of gods, however, few mention the rare circumstances that such power spawns a creature imbued with a portion of the deities might. As there are countless gods so too are there countless variations of celestial manas. A celestial manas is usually blessed and nurtured by their deity to further their goals and spread their faith.

God Tongue. You can speak, read, and write Celestial.
Blessing of Knowledge. Your deity grants you knowledge in a particular field of study. Choose a class: bard, cleric, druid, or wizard. You learn one cantrip of your choice from that class's spell list. Your spellcasting ability for this cantrip depends on the class you chose. Additionally, you gain a skill proficiency dependent on the chosen class: Arcana (wizard), History (bard), Nature (druid), or Religion (cleric).
Divine Guidance. When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can re-roll the die and must use the new roll.

Fey

The Feywild is a bizarre place that many know little about or were incapable of returning to the material plane with such knowledge. Within corners of this realm, the esoteric energies occasionally converge with stolen memories, forming a unique fey creature. These fey manas are usually taken in by an Archfey or other powerful entity within the Feywild as servants or stewards. Fey manas are naturals when it comes to knowledge regarding plants and animals and can seemingly communicate with them.

Voice of the Forest. You can speak, read, and write Sylvan.
Fey Heritage. You are proficient in the Nature skill.
Grovetender. You have the ability to communicate in a limited manner with beasts and plants. They can understand the meaning of your words, though you have no special ability to understand them in return. You have advantage on all Charisma checks you make to influence them.

Echo

When those of faith die their soul travels to their deity's side while those who lack faith are cursed to wander and suffer. On occasion, these wandering souls are granted a second chance at life. An echo manas is created when a wandering soul strays too close to a point where the Weave runs wild. These souls are reformed through this energy and once again feel the pulse of life, as an echo of their previous self in magical form. Echo manas retain partial, occasionally full, knowledge from their previous life and are sensitive to the flow of magic within their surroundings.

Echo of the Past. You can speak, read, and write one language of your choice.
Retained Knowledge. You are proficient in the History skill.
Magic Sense. You can widen or focus your senses to learn of the world. You are proficient in the Arcana skill. You can cast either the detect magic or identify spell, requiring no material components, with this trait. Once you cast either spell, you can't use this trait again until you finish a long rest.

Draconic

Rather than being the result of a magical disaster, divine judgement, or planar anomaly a manas can extremely rarely be spawned from the overwhelming presence and innate magical essence of a creature from legend. Ancient dragons are such legendary creatures, the mere existence of such a creature twists the landscape they claim as a lair. Rarely from this environment which is so heavily saturated in the dragon’s element, a draconic manas will form. A draconic manas' stability is bolstered through the element and overbearing pride of their progenitor. These manas are innately drawn to the presence of treasure and are keen to spot traps that would protect such areas.

Draconic Tongue. You can speak, read, and write Draconic.
Draconic Progeny. Choose a type of dragon from the Draconic Semblance table below. You are proficient in the Investigation skill and gain resistance to the damage type associated with your chosen dragon.
Dragon’s Pride. If you miss with an attack roll or fail an ability check or a saving throw, you can gain a bonus to the roll equal to the number of allies you can see within 30 feet of you (maximum bonus of +5). Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Draconic Semblance
Dragon Damage Type
Black Acid
Blue Lightning
Brass Fire
Bronze Lightning
Copper Acid
Gold Fire
Green Poison
Red Fire
Silver Cold
White Cold

Variant: Stabilized

This variant may be more desirable as it removes traits that most other characters may only have limited access to at higher levels.
When making a manas or during a campaign, a manas may be stabilized. A stabilized manas has the following changes:

  • The Instability trait is removed.
  • Fluid Form only allows movement through another creature's space that is of a larger size. This movement is done subtly enough to not raise suspicion.
  • Mimicry can no longer be used during downtime to make major changes to the manas' humanoid form, minor changes such as hair length may still be done.

The following should be a reference to how the manas stabilized and is recommended as a reward during a campaign rather than at character creation.

  • At the DM's discretion a stabilized manas may gain one of the following traits:
    • Your Constitution score increases by 1
    • Esoteric Mind
    • Blessing of Knowledge
    • Grovetender
    • Magic Sense
    • Draconic Progeny

Origin Form Random Height and Weight

Base
Height
Height
Modifier*
Base
Weight
Weight
Modifier**
2′ 0″ +4d4 10 lb. × 1 lb.

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

Suggested Characteristics

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

d8 Personality Trait
1 I always have to one-up people when it comes to how much I know about magic.
2 I sometimes forget I’m not who I inherited my knowledge and/or memories from.
3 I can never tell when someone is trying to flirt with me.
4 The more people there are, the quieter I become.
5 If I see a hairy mammal that is not trying to kill me, I feel obligated to try petting it, even if it is a person.
6 I enjoy being carried by others, regardless of which form I’m in.
7 I always correct people about the pronunciation of spells and anything related to arcana.
8 I never look directly into someone's eyes, instead gazing slightly to the side when speaking to them.
d6 Ideal
1 Freedom. Everyone deserves to chase their own destiny, shackles deserve to be shattered. (Chaotic)
2 Aspiration. One day I’ll master all things related to my field of magic. (Any)
3 Power. I am literal power, others should fear and respect me! (Evil)
4 Suspicion. Always expect the worst out of others, everyone hides ulterior motives. (Chaotic)
5 Peace. All of us live in the same world, we should cooperate to make it better. (Good)
6 People. I enjoy every moment I spend with those I call companions. (Neutral)
d6 Bond
1 After my creation I was granted sanctuary by a benefactor, I owe them a lot.
2 A powerful wizard/organization learned of me, I’ve been hunted by their minions ever since.
3 I was enslaved upon my creation, I took back my freedom but seek vengeance.
4 I’m a living bomb waiting to go off, I’m searching for a way to save myself from that fate.
5 I have an overly guilty conscience and will try to make up for crimes that my creator(s) had committed.
6 I’m on the hunt for a familiar. Every day, I choose a creature, sometimes even a person, and follow it whenever possible.
d6 Flaw
1 I will occasionally refer to myself in the third person or as someone who perished in my creation.
2 I panic when I’m suddenly put into the spotlight.
3 When I get drunk I start talking in an exotic language, usually about things I shouldn’t.
4 Sometimes when I'm lost in thought or sleeping I begin levitating without realizing it.
5 When idle, I try to make neat stacks of nearby objects, including small animals and other people's valuables.
6 When I get too flustered or startled I revert to my origin form.

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