Tikbalang (5e Race)
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|“||If that really was the legendary demon horse... then why did it save me?||”|
|—Villager found alive amid wolf carcasses|
The tikbalang is a creature straight out of myth. It has the form of a muscular humanoid male body, usually with tan or brown skin. The head and neck, however, is that of an equine creature, usually a horse. Some say a mix of a mare or a mule. They have big strong hands and thick manes of hair along the ridge of their neck, like horses, which cascades down and grows down to their back, ultimately ending in a horse tail by the buttocks. While their arms and hands are human, their legs are bent back and they have hooves instead of feet. They are also known to be quite tall compared to a human, towering even as much as perhaps seven feet at a time.
Tikbalang are believed to be the guardians to the Underworld and the Outer Plane of chaotic neutrality. Their form derives from animist beliefs of the power in horses. When fetuses die an untimely death and are sent to Limbo, tikbalang are allowed to make the trip to the Prime Material Plane, as an exchange of sorts. They are therefore not too common in Toril, as they mainly reside by the gates of Limbo. Kingdoms of the elements have been known to seek out the protection of tikbalang, who are vicious and vigilant keepers of territories. They are known to ward off malignancies as guardians.
People have also tamed tikbalang for their own purposes, using them as slaves similar to how one may subjugate a mermaid or selkie. To do so, one has to find the spines hidden along the mane hairs of the tikbalang's spine. By obtaining the thickest one, the person becomes the master of the tikbalang. There is another method, which is finding the three golden hairs in the mane and plucking them. This will force the tikbalang to be servile until it dies. All these methods come with a high rate of death, due to the restless nature of the tikbalang, like that of a wild stallion. They are also known to eat people who fail to subjugate them. After trampling them half to death, of course.
Tikbalang are not known to have a cohesive society in the Prime Material Plane, though their numbers have grown through the years. They usually are solitary creatures that stalk the deciduous areas of dark forests and moist coniferous terrains. This has earned them the unflattering title of the 'demon horse' among some natives. Tikbalang are known to be seen mostly at night, despite not being nocturnal. They are very territorial and one tikbalang will often take charge of one area, guarding it. People who pass by either must not disturb them or ask for safe passage. Tikbalang have been known to trick strangers and lead them astray in the wild. They commonly live alone in abodes built in sparsely populated, densely wooded areas of overgrown foliage. Thus, they have been known to favor plants that grow quick and obscure, like bamboo.
In the Underworld, tikbalang act as gatekeepers. They are fiercely keeping of traditions, like weddings. Like wardens, they convene with others in their resting areas, where they also live in Limbo. They have a society there, living among the populations in the chaos.
Tikbalang in Prime are just called 'tikbalang.' They do not give out their names, which are used more in the Underworld, easily. These names are often similar to what we know as tagalog.
Male: Ghika, Kalumpang, Negross, Phampa
Female: Balite, Lagay, Nate, Sempca
Equine guardians of the woods
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength, Constitution and Wisdom score each increases by 1.
Age. Tikbalang age much quicker outside Limbo, where they live to about 250 years. Elsewhere, they live to about only 200 years.
Alignment. Tikbalang are typically neutral, as they are guardians. Some can be chaotic and lash out much more easily. In Limbo, however, they are known to be lawful keepers.
Size. These creatures are taller than the average human. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 feet.
Darkvision. Tikbalang are often said to be more active at night, when their eyes may look blank and glow like a kelpie's. 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.
Hidden in Foliage. Tikbalang are hard to find due to their knowledge of the forests they dwell in and protect. You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to find shelter or navigate in swamp or forest terrain.
Equine Dash. Like a horse, the tikbalang can run very fast and far quicker. When you take the Dash action, you can move an additional distance equal to your base walking speed. You must finish a short or long rest before using this trait again.
Mezuki. As a guardian of not only the wilds on Prime but also a gatekeeper of Limbo, tikbalang are often trained with weapons. You are proficient with either the greataxe or pike.
Hefter. Due to people often going after their backs to try and tame them, tikbalang have developed enormous stamina and strength to carry weights and perform feats to throw off clingers. Whenever you make a Strength (Athletics) check related to pulling or throwing something, you are considered proficient in the Athletics skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write in Common and Infernal.
Random Height and Weight
|5′ 9″||+2d8||200 lb.||× (8) lb.|
*Height = base height + height modifier