Talpoidan (3.5e Race)

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The talpoidans are believed to be a species of crustacean turned sapient due to the whimsy of powerful marids. Looking for some workers within their plane, the marids saw their benevolence befitting that of the lowly mole crab, who normally had no role anywhere other than the burrow where they hid. With their reality changing powers, the marids gave talpoidans sapience and a larger form so they could perform more tasks. As the marids expected, the talpoidans were rather spineless despite their new roles and made perfect sycophantic servants. However, following an uprising of talpoidans in several marid households led by air-breathing leaders, the marids expelled the talpoidans to the Material Realm and promised to destroy them if they should ever return. It is suspected that the air-breathing leaders among the marid household servants might have been humans, though talpoidans swear they were coerced into secrecy.


While not to a crippling extent, the most defining trait of talpoidans is their cowardice. They are often submissive in personality, preferring to let others take responsibility for their actions, making them great followers and horrible leaders. However, even as followers, they may be quick to flee from their master's aid if it benefits their survival. Some talpoidans who have perfected their skills retain this flighty nature, making them wild cards in industries of assassination and dirty business. A talpoida who excels at murder may squeal on her client if caught, for example. They will say a lot of things, fact or fiction, to save their own shell. Talpoidans also are flighty physically. They are known to overestimate risks and flee when the going gets tough. These escapes are rarely planned, resulting in some messy retreats. But they are often good at running and keeping hidden, making them decent spies if one is willing to take a chance. In addition to being flighty, talpoidans can be spontaneous, though to varying degrees of detriment and benefit. While they are more responsive to risk, short-term rewards can motivate talpoidans. It was believed they obeyed the human usurpers in the marid homes due to promise of delicious food, for example. It can be easy to get a talpoida to start a task, but they may end up leaving before it is finished. As a result, many people view them as unreliable and are loathe to leave any task to them. Talpoidans thus often are turned down for employment and may have trouble finding groups to adventure with who are aware of the nature of their race.

Physical Description[edit]

Talpoidans first and foremost highly resemble anthropomorphic mole crabs. Their bodies are covered in a curved, chitinous shell that is vaguely ovular in shape, narrowing to a point on both ends. The color of this shell ranges from beige to grey or even brown, Where their heads are is an extra sheath of chitin that covers their six-set mouthparts, eyestalks, and antennae. Talpoidans are notable filter feeders, meaning that, while they are crab-like, they lack claws. Instead, they can easily find food where there is water. The four hind legs of a talpoida are very powerful burrowing tools and much longer than their mid or front pairs of legs, which are pleopods used solely for swimming. The front-most pair of pleopods are cable to functioning vaguely like hands, with finger-like bristles. Overall, the talpoidans are extremely awkward when standing upright on land due to their body shape and arrangement. They require all four of their hind legs to maintain decent balance since they are top-heavy. However, they excel at burrowing and hiding, and their swimming speed is serviceable.


After their banishment, talpoidans were branded with a notorious reputation among creatures of the sea. To creatures like tritons and marids or those who associate with them, talpoidans are viable turncoats who value their lives more than pride or honor. They are regarded poorly in these communities. Among more evil creatures, like sahuagin or kraken, talpoidans are regarded with pity and amusement. It is not uncommon for these creatures to take advantage of what they see as weak-willed crustaceans for their own gain. Outside the watery realm, talpoidans are regarded with suspicion due to their appearance. After their banishment, talpoidans spread out to a variety of coastal areas around the world. In Chult, for example, they are regarded similar to yurians. In locations closer to humanoid fishing villages, talpoidans are normally seen as freakish. However, their expertise in water has gained them some respect, as well as their abilities to dig, which is helpful for unearthing treasures sucking along shorelines and in the seafloor. However, many relationships with them rarely go much deeper than a business proposal. As a result, talpoidans are generally fearful of their own exploitation by others, making it hard to connect with them, in addition to their natural cowardice.


Talpoida are, for the most part, self-interested. They are survivalists but they lack the stereotypical hardboiled attitude. Usually, they therefore fall into the neutral alignment. Because they are willing to do anything to preserve themselves, they are also somewhat chaotic. Talpoida are prone to breaking from plans and alliances if things get too tough or they feel unsafe, making them wild cards and unreliable for fine-detail missions. However, this also means long-term threats do not hold talpoida in thrall for long. While they may be threatened to do something by one person, they can just as easily change their minds and turn on their master if another incentive arises. Talpoida are iffy on if they are aware of their fatal flaws. Some do seem to try and be better, building a more stalwart mindset so that they do not flake constantly on their allies, while others simply embrace that they want to live and do not care to what level they stoop.


Talpoidans remain aquatic for most of their life. Due to this nature, they never stray far from home on the coasts where they burrow and make their homey dens. Their gills do allow them to function even in just wet soil or sand, but they will suffocate in dry air if they are not hydrated in intervals. Fear of the land dwellers and air breathers does not help talpoidans integrate well. Though they have accepted their exile, they remain like skittish strangers in a foreign land. Most talpoidans never leave the watery areas they call home, and live rather simple lives in their huge colonies of burrows beneath the sand. These burrows are often complex, with labyrinth like tunnels that can collapse with an increase of the tide. Talpoidans are thus well adapted to know their directions underground. They feed of detritus and food found along the shores, including small sea creatures. There have been appearances of certain talpoidan communities that live within proximity to human fishing villages or near aquatic elf settlements. While they remain cowards, these talpoidans are proof that their race can live comfortably near others.


Where lots of talpoidans make their burrows is referred to as a colony. These burrows are often made without care of any nearby dens that may exist. Many a time, talpoidan tunnels will intersect or overlap, which adds to the confusing layouts. Talpoidan homes often lay at one end of the tunnels. These are typically an ephemeral sort of housing that can collapse with the tide. When that happens, talpoidans burrow along and move towards drier ground. Sometimes, talpoidans will room with others of their kind if they are too weak or old to burrow on their own. Within a colony, talpoidans adhere to a singular system of choice-making, rather than a strict hierarchy like monarchy. In order to assuage fears of responsibility, they usually take a vote and go by majority rules, but not before disowning everyone of the burden of consequence. Thus, everyone has to bear with the fruits in the end, due to the talpoidan tendency to go with the flow.


It was often joked that talpoidan's were so flighty that no gods really liked them as followers. It might be more accurate to say that talpoidan's faith was fluid. They can worship those they fear, like their masters or powerful threats. they can also cling to those which they believe will protect them, like powerful allies. Talpoidan's can appear a bit apostate like this, having little firm allegiance. This is probably because they are ultimately very pragmatic in the area of faith. They put their bets on something that will aid them practically and help them survive, whether it's prostrating before a wrathful marid or being a sycophant for a human hero. When the circumstances change, so do their bets. No one wants to be a loser, for talpoidans. They have been known to have worshipped gods like Cyric and even the mad Blibdoolpoolp of the kuo-toa. These are often the only gods they can actually show faith for, as most good-aligned gods or more stringent faiths would reject them.


The talpoidans are speakers of the language of their former marid masters. While they stick to the Aquan dialect of Primordial, many of talpoidans communicate without a known language among their own colonies. With other talpoidans, they use a series of movements of their frontal orifices and arms, sort of like a dance. This can communicate simple ideas of danger and greeting without speaking. If they could, talpoidans will communicate only in this manner. Speaking even Aquan for them is sometimes a chore due to how unconventional their mouths are. This applies to the way they speak Common as well, which some communities eventually learned in the Material Realm. Their accents are garbled when speaking in water, and raspy when in air.


Titles and names are usually not very important to talpoidans. They are more than happy to refer to others constantly as just "you" or simply any pronouns in general. This makes it easy for them and they prefer it to the hassle and responsibility of remembering names. Also, with magic floating around that takes advantage of one's name, talpoidans are reluctant to give their own in general. However, their deference for people stronger than themselves usually means they will call their masters by respectful titles. Among themselves, talpoidans usually do not need names. Their nonverbal communications carry telling tics that help distinguish them from each other without use of names. For general reference, talpoidan names, if they must divulge, are similar to that of merfolk or even merrow. As per their exile by the marids, they are forbidden from having names that bear too closely to true Aquan. Thus, they sometimes mix parts of surface dweller names to better disguise them.

Male Names: Hythu, Vhamen, Atar, Orlyn

Female Names: San, Elkn, Delana, Uriadu

Racial Traits[edit]

  • +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma: Talpoidans are hardy creatures, born within environments with little nourishment. However, because of their reclusive locations, they are hardly outgoing or charismatic, and can even be described as cowardly to a degree.
  • Monstrous Humanoid (Aquatic, Lesser Planetouched): Talpoidans are roughly humanoid in shape. However, they have specially evolved organs allowing them easy living under water. A talpoida has the aquatic subtype. It can breathe underwater. It cannot also breathe air unless it also has the amphibious special quality. A talpoida can hold her breath outside the water for 1 minute per point of Constitution. After that, it begins to suffocate.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, talpoidans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Talpoidans base land speed is 25 feet. They have limbs that are able to walk on land, but it is more awkward compared to their streamlined swimming parts.
  • A talpoida has a swim speed of 30 feet. It can move through water at its swim speed without making Swim checks.
  • Talpoidans also have a burrow speed of 10 feet, allowing them to move through soft earth like sand.
  • Superior Low-Light Vision: Talpoidans can see four times as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of low illumination.
  • Shell: While it is relatively soft at a young age, talpoidan shells do harden with experience, making them tougher. You gain a +1 natural armor bonus every 4 levels (rounding down), +1d2 HP/level
  • Lesser Planetouched: Talpoidans may have acclimated to their new home of exile, but they still did originate from elsewhere. They are susceptible to spells that specifically target outsiders. Banishment works against them. However, because they are also monstrous humanoids, they are immune to spells that only affect humanoids, such as charm person and hold person.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Aquan. Bonus Languages: None
  • Favored Class: Rogue
  • Level Adjustment: +2

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Talpoida Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
60 years +1d4 +1d10 +2d6
Table: Talpoida Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
60 years 80 years 100 years +120 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Talpoida Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 4’ 7” +3d6 130 lb. × (1d4) lb.
Female 4’ 7” +3d4 130 lb. × (1d4) lb.

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