Shen Xin (5e Race)

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Shen Xin[edit]

Masters of psionic power, the shen xin put their aboleth ancestry to its best use.

Physical Description[edit]

A Shen-Xin warrior by Xiris

Shen xin are mostly humanoid in appearance with green to blue skin. Their dermis is always covered in a well-oiled layer. They range in height from 4'10" to 6'4". Their pupils are completely full, and as such, their eyes are completely solid in one color. Some have black whilst others have red eyes. Additionally, their heads are covered in tentacles, which are completely limp. They have two semi-prehensile tentacles, which hang in front of their ears, allowing them to read and write Deep Speech's braille-like script.


Long ago, one of the ancient creator races became distinctly aware of the odd beings that entered onto Abeir-Toril when it was yet a young world. This was believed to be the sarrukh, who then captured and performed experiments on the alien aboleths. Their work angered Eldest, who was the origin of the aberrational eels. The sarrukh sought to incorporate the aboleths powerful psionic powers into a new race that would be one of their masterpieces. The result was the shen xin. Eldest interrupted them from finishing their work by psionically communicating maddening thoughts into the shen xin. This caused them to murder their overseers and escape. Drawn by the powers of Eldest, they gravitated towards the aboleth communities in the world, and many came to settle on the brinks of the abysses where the aberrations call home.


The shen xin often are under the influences of their more powerful psionic ancestors. Aboleths overpower shen xin in mental prowess due to the impurity in shen xin blood. They live among the coastal areas by the Sea of Fallen Stars, where the aboleth city of Xxiphu once stood. While the city has sunken to the depths of the sea, the shen xin maintain a telepathic connection with the aboleths who inhabit it, hidden from the surface world. When they first broke out of the sarrukh laboratories, many shen xin first ran for the Underdark, where many aboleths dwell in the Glimmersea. A good deal of them encroached on drow territory and incited some skirmishes here and there.

While most shen xin are susceptible to the influence of the maddening Eldest and the aboleth's psionic power, a good deal of them broke away when Abeir-Toril was torn asunder in the Spellplague, due to Eldest's age weakening his power. Many fled to areas deeper inland, away from the watery depths where the aboleth dwelt. They fear the psionic power of the Far Realm aberrations, as they are not bound by the Weave as magic is. Some of these shen xin desire to drive the aboleth out of the world, along with other psionic horrors like the illithid. As such, these fringe minorities have relations with creatures like shardminds, who are intent on shutting off the portal to the Far Realm.


Shen xin can be a bit psychopathic. This is due mainly in part to the control aboleths and Eldest retains over much of their race. Those who are free-minded still have disturbing dreams from the ancient aboleth, bidding them to join the rest of their brethren under his yoke. They tend to show a longing and also revulsion for the areas near depths they know aboleths to dwell. As such, they can also be kind and cautious. Not all desire to join in Eldest's banner. Many desire freedom from the fear caused by these psionic menaces, and are willing to ally with even who hate them to achieve their goals. The ones who are free-minded tend to be very eager to help and even sacrifice themselves for allies. Those under aboleth influence are hostile to all other creatures but aberrations, and often use their powers to further aboleth goals of immortal sovereignty. Like their masters, they tended to worship the horrific elder evils and did not care about good or evil, nor hold reverence for life.

Shen Xin Names[edit]

Most shen xin are named for famous aboleths. These names usually lacked gender, as aboleths are hermaphrodites and too intelligent to care. Those who broke away from servitude are usually using names common on the surface.

Neutral: Gar, Oothol, Joora, Illoon

Male: Chao, Quiang, Ru, Zheng, Zhihao

Female: Fen, Hai, Ling, Shu, Xun

Shen Xin Traits[edit]

Humanoids born of aboleth genetics
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2.
Age. Due to their ancient and magical blood, Shen-Xin live up to 800 years, maturing around 15.
Alignment. Because of shen xin’s minor racial memory, their view on life and death is very neutral. Many end up evil due to their aberrational psionic powers being tinged with the wrath of Eldest. Good shen xin are hard to find, but many do exist.
Size. Shen xin are the same height as humans, but often weigh slightly more, as their head tentacles weight them down slightly. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. Due to your ancestor’s life in the deep, your eyes are accustomed to the dark. You can see in dim light within 60 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.
Aberrant Resistance. You have resistance to psychic damage.
Racial Memory. Aboleth memory allowed them to incorporate that of whatever they devoured. This stuff ends up in you, meaning you have abilities you are not aware of. You can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any skill check that you are not proficient in. You must finish a short or long rest to use this trait again.
Telepathy. 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. In addition, your thoughts can't be read by any means.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Deep Speech. You need your head tentacles to read or write Deep Speech.
Subrace. Three subraces of shen xin exist: guard, explorer, and ambassador. Chose one of these three.


Guard shen xin are bulkier and usually employed by the aboleth-controlled population. They use their psionic power to harm others.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
Combat Form. As an action, you invoke the psionic power of your ancestors to deal additional damage to your foes. For 1 minute, whenever you hit with a attack, you may deal additional force damage to the target of your attack equal to your level. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.


Explorer shen xin are usually scouts for aboleths to spy on land dwellers. A good many of them break away from the mind control when they reach a certain range limit, where their own sentience shines through.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
Mobile Form. As an action, you invoke some of your latent genes, growing tentacles from your back. For 1 minute, you grow a number of tentacles equal to half of your proficiency bonus, rounded down. These tentacles cannot attack and can only perform item interactions. You also gain a climbing speed equal to the number of tentacles times 10 feet. The transformation lasts 1 minute. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.


Ambassadors are groomed shen xin to be as dastardly intelligent as the aboleths. They are skilled in using their powers to subvert the wills of other creatures.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
Charming Form. As an action, you tap into your ancestor's dominating power. As an action, you may choose a number of creatures within 10 feet of you equal to your proficiency bonus. Those creatures must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC=8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus). On a failed save, the creature is considered charmed by you until the end of their next turn. On a success, they are not charmed. Creatures immune to being charmed automatically succeed this save. Once a creature has been affected by this trait once, it is immune to it for 24 hours. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

4′ 8″ +2d10 120 lb. × (2d4) lb.

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

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