Masked Ones (3.5e Race)
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The history of the masked ones is shrouded in darkness. It is said that, long ago, a group of human travelers accidentally wandered into the Plane of Shadow and quickly became lost. As they journeyed blindly through the darkness, seeking some means of escape, they were set upon by a race of living darkness. These shadowy existences stole the faces of the lost humans and disappeared into the unending shadows, leaving their victims faceless.
With this affront, the despondency of the lost humans turned to rage. For generations, these faceless ones hunted down and killed the shadowy thieves, who had used their faces to create bodies for themselves. The knowledge that what had been taken could not be restored simply spurred the faceless ones on to greater bloodshed. To spare themselves the horror of their own blankness, the faceless ones learned to create masks out of the ever-present darkness. Slowly, these masks bonded themselves to both the bodies and souls of their wearers.
After a time, the face thieves disappeared. Their victims, suspecting some trick, did not let down their guard for quite some time. Eventually, however, they came to accept that they had wiped out the last of the shadowy beings. Their rage abated, the masked ones went back to their search for a way back to their native plane. Eventually, a path was found, and the descendants of the lost emerged from the shadows.
Masked ones are nearly as adaptable, flexible, and ambitious as their human ancestors. However, their time on the Plane of Shadows has changed them mentally, as well as physically. Masked ones are secretive entities who believe that power lies in knowledge and secrets. Sharing knowledge is anathema, as it represents a weakening of one's power base.
Masked ones stand as tall as humans, and can easily be mistaken for them at first glance. However, a second look reveals the fundamental difference: where a human would have a face, a masked one wears a rigid, unmoving mask.
This mask is cool to the touch and feels like porcelain. Though it seems to be no more than a mask, a masked one sees through the eyes of her mask and speaks through its mouth--though the mask itself never moves. The mask cannot be removed from an unwilling masked one by any means short of surgery, and such efforts reveal a smooth, faceless head behind the mask. A masked one can, however, adjust her mask as needed, and masked ones eat by lifting their masks and placing food in the space between it and the face. Even they cannot say how the food is then eaten.
A masked one only removes her mask on special occasions, viewing masklessness the way that other races view nudity. While she holds the mask, her senses continue to operate through it normally. If the mask leaves her grasp, however, it immediately disappears, slowly reforming on her head over the next several seconds.
Though they claim to be simply glad to be home, masked ones are regarded with unease by most other societies. They are careful with their words and prone to secrecy, leading many to question their motivations. When they can, masked ones mix with members of other races, especially humans.
Masked ones tend toward no particular alignment, not even neutral. The best and the worst are found among them.
Wherever humans are found, there too can be masked ones. They have also been found in lands where their skills are called for or where races mix. There may also be some in the under dark or still in the planes of shadow.
Masked ones are less likely to worship a deity than members of other races, since they feel that they were abandoned in their years on the Plane of Shadow.
Masked ones speak Common.
Masked one names vary greatly, and a masked one's name is often simply a human name that she chose to adopt. A masked one's parents refer to his/her by a secret name that only they and she know, and this secret name is considered to be their most valuable secret.
- +2 Intelligence, +2 Dexterity, −2 Constitution: Masked ones are cunning, quick, and intelligent, but their time in the shadows has weakened their bodies.
- Aberration: As aberrations, masked ones are not subject to spells or effects that affect only humanoids.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, masked ones have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Masked One base land speed is 30 feet:
- Darkvision: Masked ones can see in the dark out to 120 feet.
- Shadow Sight (Ex): Their time spent in the shadows of the world has given masked ones the ability to see through the deepest darkness. A masked one can see through magical darkness to a range of 60 feet with the same black-and-white vision that darkvision provides. For every 2 HD a masked one gains, the range of her shadowsight increases by 5 feet.
- Implacable Visage (Ex): A masked one’s hollow face grants her unique defenses against attacks that target her eyes. She is immune to magical blinding effects and gains the benefits of averting her eyes whenever she would be subject to a gaze attack (though the creature with the gaze attack does not gain concealment from her).
- Light Sensitivity (Ex): Masked ones are dazzled in sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
- Darkness (Sp): A number of times per day equal to HD, a masked one can use darkness as a spell-like ability, with a caster level equal to her Hit Dice.
- Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: Any (Having spent so much time watching other races from the shadows, masked ones have been exposed to a wide range of languages).
- Favored Class: Rogue.
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