Pictsie (5e Race)
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|“||Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae King! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!||”|
|—A pictsie battle cry|
|“||Nac Mac Feegle - most feared of all the fairy races. Even trolls run away from the Wee Free Men||”|
|—Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men|
Known to themselves as The Wee Free Men, Pictsies are a clan of hard-drinking, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, fey who are as fierce and proud as they are tiny and afraid of lawyers. But don't dare call them a "fairy", unless you want to end up in traction.
|Pictsie Mugshot, by Scrmnviking|
About 6-inches tall, Pictsies are abnormally strong, one being able to lift a grown man and eight being able to steal a cow. They are practically born fighting, the result of which is to have faces like boxers - "every one of them could win a Worst Broken Nose contest." Despite being fey, they have no wings, but are particularly speedy.
They have hair like an "orange gone nova" which is unkempt and into which they weave feathers, beads, bits of cloth, and anything else that takes their fancy. Their beards are just as bad. Their skin appears to be blue, but upon closer inspection one finds it covered with tattoos and woad.
For clothes, they usually wear a kilt which is made from any old material as clan affiliation is through their tattoos. Sometimes they'll include a skinny vest in the ensemble and accessorize with necklaces of mole teeth. They use rabbit or rat skulls like helmets, but which give no additional protection.
Despite being fey, they have no wings, cannot fly, and do not have magic resistance. Calling a Pictsie a fairy to their face is the surest way to end up in traction.
For scale, a 28mm/1:60 scale mini would be 3mm high and have a base of 13mm. Assemble-yourself furniture screw-cover plugs (also available at hardware stores) work well to represent them.
Unlike the Fey encountered in children's stories, the Pictsies are Not Helpful. They never do chores. They don't drink milk. They fight. They drink (Special Sheep Linement aka booze). And they steal. Sheep and cows are a favorite. One or two Pictsies get beneath each hoof, lift it up, and go scurrying off at speed.
Despite their love of fighting and stealing, Pictsies take their vows and duties very seriously. They keep their promises, eventually, but can become distracted on the way to their objective. Moreover, they do not condone stealing from those who are poor. In any case, they don't steal children.
They are illiterate, believing that all writing is magic and that writing words down makes them more powerful. They don't often say their names, fearing having them written down "upon comp-licated documents. Summonses. Wanted posters. Bills and affidavits. Writs of dirstrainment[sic]" because "A body can be put in the pris'n if they have written evidence".
All Pictsies carry a Pictsie sword made of thunderbolt iron which glows blue in the presence of lawyers. However, there is a clan that has found "lawyering" a good way of stealing, so they are not incapable of advancing with the times.
While they have a superstitious fear of having their names written, they fear little else.
Most Pictsies are fighters or barbarians, but occasionally they produce a bard which is known as a Gonnagle. In addition to reciting poetry bad enough to hurt, they play a bagpipe-like instrument called the Mousepipes. In addition to playing standard songs such as "The Bonnie Flowers", "The Devil Among the Lawyers", and "The King Under Water", they can make a special attack known as "The Notes of Pain". To play them, the Gonnagle switches out the standard pipes to shorter, slivery ones. While the notes are inaudible to humans, although it can make their teeth buzz, canids have a particular problem with the sound. Any canines (including monstrosities or were-creatures) hearing the Notes act as if under a fear spell, and run away.
At least one Pictsie has tamed a flying mount - Hamish the Aviator. He tamed a buzzard by knocking it unconscious, blowing a special oil up its beak, and when it woke up, it thought Hamish was its mummy. Hamish dismounted in the past in flight by diving with a spiraling leaf. He has now taken to using a makeshift parachute made from a witches underpants. He calls the buzzard with a pipe inaudible to humans.
Pictsies have knowledge of water faring, make coracles (woven baskets about the size of half a coconut and sealed with pitch), and even fish (which consists of tying a string around one Pictsie and throwing him in the water to wrestle the beast).
The Pictsies were once servants of the Queen of the Fairies, acting as her primary raiding party and stealing things away to the Feywild. According to them, they rebelled because she was a "scheming, greedy, ill-fared carlin" and went independent, coming to the material plane to seek their fortune. Some other, more sober, sources say they were kicked out of the Feywild for being drunk at 2 in the afternoon. The truth may be closer to their refusal to steal children for the Queen.
Only the males are encountered outside of their burrows. They have an interesting view on the afterlife vis-a-vis, this is it. They believe that they are CURRENTLY in "heaven". After all, what else could it be what with all the things to fight and liquor to drink. If they die here, they believe that they are re-incarnated in the real world and have to earn their place in "heaven" again. A common battle cry is "See you again in The Last World".
Every clan of Pictsies is led by a female kelda. Keldas are larger than their male counterparts, and rotund like "round balls of slightly squashy dough, and was the color of chesnuts". They are also vastly smarter, doing all of the thinking for the clan. They control all aspects of Pictsie society, including honorary memberships within the clan. A kelda can be thought of as a queen, both in royalty and in the sense of bees being the mother of the drones.
The kelda is the mother of all of her clan, save her original bodyguard retinue and any sons of the former kelda. Nearly all of her offspring are male. If she does produce a daughter, she is raised to marrying age and then sent with a retinue of her brothers to marry a member of a neighboring clan in need of a kelda. Occasionally, a few wandering Pictsies will gather to form a new clan. A kelda's daughter never becomes kelda of her own clan.
When a daughter arrives at a new clan, the new kelda marries the warrior of her choice and settles down to have lots and lots of Pictsies. The bride chooses the warrior and the day of the marriage. This warrior is now known as The Big Man, and is the most favored man in the burrow.
When a kelda dies, her original bodyguard retinue often rejoin to their original clan. It is uncommon for any but a Pictsie to become a kelda, but it has happened, because It is a "bad thing for a clan to be left without a kelda, even for an hour". Pictsies hold a wake for their dead, and dance the Five Hundred and Twelvesome Reel to the tune of "The Devil Among The Lawyers"
They use very few names, but many descriptors to distinguish between themselves. This leads to some cumbersome names, but the Picsties consider it an honor to have such titles such as No'-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock Jock. When a Pictsie whose name is referenced passes, then the other references change to fit. The aforementioned No'-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock Jock upon Wee Jock's death would become Wee Jock.
Male: Big Angus, Nearly Big Angus, Not-as-big-as-Big-Angus Angus, Wee Angus, Rob Anybody, Big Archie, One-eyed Archie, Wee Mad Archie, Wee Bobby, Not-totally-wee Geordie, Slightly Sane Georgie, Hamish, Wee Iain, Medium-Sized Jock, No'-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock Jock, Wee Jock, Daft Wullie, Big Yan
Female: Aggie, Fion, Jeannie
Clan: Nac Mac Feegle, Long Lake, Three Peaks, Windy River
Known to themselves as The Wee Free Men, are a clan of hard-drinking, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, fey who are as fierce and proud as they are afraid of lawyers
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Pictsies develop rapidly after birth, being fully grown within a year. They can live about as long as humans before dying of old age, but tend to die from other causes before then.
Alignment. Rules are not for pictises. They are chaotic and tend towards good or neutral. They are suspicious of anything they consider lawful.
Size. Pictsies average 6" in height and weigh about 1 lb. Your size is Tiny.
Speed. Pictsies are preternaturally fast. Your base walking speed is 35 feet.
Camouflage. Pictsies can drop out of notice into the background. As long as you remain motionless, you have advantage on Stealth checks to hide.
Stun Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against being stunned.
Headbutt. If you have a creature grappled, you can use your action to make a special attack with your unarmed strike by striking the creature you are grappling with your hard head. When you make this special attack, the damage die for your unarmed strike increases to a d4, and on a hit, the target must make a Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the start of your next turn. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Strength modifier + your proficiency bonus.
Unprecedented Strength. You count as two sizes larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan. Pictsies speak in a heavily accented dialect, and could be considered to always be speaking Pictsie. Their dialect is remarkably similar to the real-world Glasgow patter.
Racial Variant: Brawler Pictsie
Pictsies practically brawl from birth. If you are using the optional rules for feats, you may use this variant by applying the following changes to the base pictsie race. These changes replace the Ability Score Increase of the standard pictsie race.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength and Constitution scores each increase by 1.
Tavern Brawler. You gain the benefits of the Tavern Brawler feat. However, you do not gain any increase to an ability score from this feat.
Racial Feat: Crawstep
Prerequisites: Pictsie, 8th level
A Pictsie can find a way in anywhere, even a dream. A single Pictsie may use the crawstep to travel to an adjacent plane. This effect works like the spell plane shift with the following exceptions:
- it only affects the Pictsie
- the Pictsie can only carry up to 10 lbs. of matter
- that matter may be anyone in the Pictsies' clan as long as they are a born member or honorary, as declared by a kelda
- it must be to a neighboring plane (from the Material plane, that means Shadowfell, Feywild, Ethereal, or Astral Planes)
- they must have unfettered feet movement ("It's all in the twist of the ankle, ye ken")
They never use the crawstep to take a shortcut through the Material Plane. For that, they assure others, they have "feets". After using your crawstep, you can't use it again until you complete a long rest.
Random Height and Weight
|0′ 5″||+2d8 (in 1/8")||12oz (0.75 lb) lb.||× (0.5) lb.|
*Height = base height + height modifier
When creating a Pictsie 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's characteristics.
|1||I'll wallop ye and ten like ye!|
|2||The surest way tae get me to do somesuch is tae tell me I canna.|
|3||First thing I do is tae ken the places of the valuables, even if the scunner's hid 'em.|
|4||Eat like a piggies? You say tha' like i's bad.|
|5||I dinna mean for it to break. Its just all cushy-like.|
|6||I stared down a grimhound wi' nary a blink!|
|7||Wut dija call me?! Put 'em up!|
|8||A good insult is a work o' art. I like artists.|
|1||I never braked my word yet. Excpt to polis'men and other o'that kidney, ye ken, and they dinna count.|
|2||I won't steal from those wot dinna have ennatin'.|
|3||Nae King! Nae Quin! Nae Laird! Nae Master! We willna be fooled again!|
|4||It's not over til it's doon, ye ken.|
|5||Freedom to go anywhere an' do ennatin' - a grat' load o' fun, that is.|
|6||Glory for clan and kelda!|
|1||I'm onna geas from my kelda.|
|2||I owe my life to a Bigjobs, an' I'm in their debt.|
|3||Sooo, I only took a wee, fluffy ship or two, an' now tha Laird is peeved.|
|4||Summun took wha' I rightfully liberated first, an' I plan to get it back.|
|5||I lost mah clan. I've got tae return to them.|
|6||This land is my land, and I'll make sure it stays protected.|
|1||One more drop won't hurt, if it's onna a wee un.|
|2||There might be times when I could keep my big gob shut.|
|3||When a man starts messin' wi' thereadin' and the writin', then he'll come doon with a bad case o' the thinkin' soon enough.|
|4||It's so wee, nobody'll miss it.|
|5||I canna keep a secret tae save me life, or anyone elses.|
|6||Plans are comp-li-cated and I canna keep it in mind, ye ken. But I got a bran' new idea...|
A brief glossary follows of Pictsie words, phrases, and pronunciation.
ach - Oi
aye - yes
bairn - baby
beid - bed
besom - broomstick
bigjobs - possibly derogatory, humans
blethers - rubbish, nonsense
brose - (ambrosia?) booze
canna - cannot
carlin - old woman
chookie - chicken
cludgie - toilet
crivens - a general exclamation that can mean anything from "My goodness" to "I've just lost my temper and there is going to be trouble."
cushy stuff - bed with pillows
dinna - do not
doon - down
dreeing our weird - facing our fate
eldritch - weird, strange. Sometimes means oblong, too, for some reason.
geas - a very important obligation, backed up by tradition and magic. Not a bird
gob - mouth
gummer - bite
hag - witch of any age
hiddlins - secrets
heich-heidit - posh
heid - head
hoose - house
jiggit - 20
ken - know
laird - lord
moose - mouse
mudlin - useless person
nae - no
no' - not
noo - now
o' - of
offski - get out of here
oot - out
pished - I am assured that this means "tired"
puir - poor
Quin - Queen
scunner - a generally unpleasant person
scuggan - a really unpleasant person
ship - sheep
sojers - soldiers
spavie - see Mudlin
Special Sheep Liniment - moonshine whisky
tae - to
Tir-far-thoinn - Land Under Wave
verra - very
waily - a cry of despair
wean - descendent
wee - small
wee chit of a girl - something very small
willna - will not
yan, tan, tethra - 1,2,3
ye - you
yer - you
yersels - yourselves
References & Footnotes
- Trolls in the Discworld setting are more living rocks. Big, strong enough to use seige weaponry as personal arms, and made of stone, not much makes them afraid.
- Player's Handbook pp.170