Siphonophore (5e Race)

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Physical Description[edit]

"Siphonophore" refers to a sea creature that is made up of several smaller creatures, called zooids, that act as one organism. In ancient times, some varieties of these strange creatures-of-creatures grew to massive sizes, and eventually developed superior intelligence. These siphonophorae measure up to 50 ft. long. They consist of 3 main segments: The float, the nectosome, and the tentacles, each translucent colors of cyan and pale violet. The float is a large, balloon-like structure that functions like the swim bladder of a fish, filling with water and air to control buoyancy. The siphonophore can also expel water from jets in the float, allowing itself to propel through the water at a brisk pace. Chemical glands in the float cause the siphonophore to give off a bright blue-violet glow, which is highly visible in the inky ocean depths in which they live. Below the float is the nectosome, which houses the siphonophore's food distribution systems and protective coatings. Though they don't have true eyes, specially adapted zooids in the nectosome form yellow, eye-like structures, as well as 4 translucent tubes that register sounds. The tentacles, which trail out from the bottom, are long and feathery like a jellyfish's. These prehensile appendages are used to kill and digest food, as well as provide locomotion on land. To some, a siphonophore's appearance evokes the image of a costumed dancer. Throughout their bodies are a system of channels that run from zooid to zooid through which electrical signals flow, like neurons in a brain. This amazing mechanism gives the siphonophore intelligence to rival any race on land.

Freaks of Nature[edit]

Freaks of age-old evolution, siphonophorae have inhabited the deepest, darkest trenches of the ocean since the oceans bore life. Darting through the waters as brainless blobs, the first siphonophorae mutated and expanded into many lesser varieties. Somewhere along the line, a few specimens developed curious nerve-like tube systems across their bodies, which only grew more and more advanced. The creatures were developing brains, or rather, becoming giant brains themselves. Eventually, the mutated siphonophorae had become their own people, and slowly acclimated from primal wanderers to skilled hunters, and skilled hunters to fully-fledged underwater societies.

Artistians of the Deep[edit]

Using their nerve-tubes to command their tentacles to bend, the siphonophorae sculpted cities of stone, using molten spew from hydrothermal vents as bricks and seabed filth as mortar. Though crude in appearance, a siphonophore-build structure is strong, withstanding immense water pressure. The siphonophorae once lived to eat, but eventually developed art and sophistication. Many of them are known for their fascinating abstract sculpture work. Still known for their desire for food, siphonophorae have created many dishes from the tiny, bizarre fish and floating chunks of carrion. These foods are designed for nutrition rather than taste, since a siphonophore's tentacles cannot detect flavor.

In their societies, a siphonophore is simply a siphonophore; there is no sort of hierarchy or rule. Each city acts as a city. Perhaps unity is in their (metaphorical) blood: Cells form zooids, zooids form segments, segments form a siphonophore, and the siphonophorae form a city.

Storm Giant Rivalry[edit]

The siphonophorae likely would've stayed under the sequester of their trench homes forever, if not for the intrusion of the storm giants. In an area near the trench system the siphonophorae had built their cities in, a storm giant family began constructing a home for themselves, directly intruding on the grounds of the denizens. The siphonophorae fought the giants, forcing them to higher depths. However, word slowly spread, and giants craving absolute isolation swam to the deepest waters. Some cities hold off the giants with tentacled furies of attacks. Others fall to the strength of their foes, and become deep-sea dwelling places for the storm giant victors. One thing remains the same: Siphonophorae detest storm giants, and storm giants have distaste for them in return.

Breaching the Surface[edit]

After the storm giants first found their way to the siphonophorae, a thought lingered: What lay beyond the trenches? Over time, some bold folk left the familiarity of the deep waters and made their way upward. Their bodies held up to the drastic pressure change, and after years of isolation amongst the shallow, some siphonophorae made their way to the surface. The world above the waves fascinated them deeply, and a very small terrestrial population of siphonophorae is still around in some coastal cities to this day.

Siphonophore Names[edit]

Siphonophorae don't have usual names. They give themselves title-like names that reflect the colonial nature of their bodies, which often sound intimidating. They also refer to themselves as "we" rather than "I." Siphonophorae don't have genders the way most animals do, but differ enough to classify themselves as male and female.

Male: Clutch, Home, Legion, The Many

Female: The Company, Group, The Number, Sanctuary

Siphonophore Traits[edit]

Superintelligent deep-see dwellers made of many tiny creatures that act as one.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom increases by 2 and your Dexterity increases by 1.
Age. Siphonophorae don't die of age, as their colonial bodies continually replace dead members. It takes 5 years to form a new siphonophore from a bud.
Alignment. Siphonophorae care little for the troubles of others, unless it concerns them. They tend toward Neutral alignment.
Size. Though very long, siphonophorae appear 7-8 ft. tall when on land, and weigh in at just over 700 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet. You have a swimming speed of 30 ft.
Superior Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 120 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.
Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, you have disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Physonectae Nature. Your type is monstrosity instead of humanoid. You do not need to drink or breathe. Instead, you immerse yourself in water for 1 hour every day. This counts as 1 day's worth of water. If you fail to do so once a day, you begin to suffocate (holding your breath as normal).
Thousand Minds as One. Each part of you is primitive in thought, but forms a single, powerful conscious. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magical effects.
Venemous Tentacles. Your frill-covered tentacles are natural weapons, and you can make unarmed strikes with them. You can use your Dexterity modifier in place of your Strength for attack and damage rolls. A target takes 1d4 + your Strength/Dexterity modifier acid damage on a hit. You are proficient with your tentacles. On a successful hit, you can choose to release potent toxins from your tentacles. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw. The DC is equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed save, the target is poisoned for 1 minute. If a creature fails this saving throw by 5 or more, it is stunned while poisoned in this way. An affected creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success. Once you use this venom, you cannot use it again until you complete a long rest.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Aquan, and Undercommon.

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