Zaello (5e Race)

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If one thing is representative of science and magic gone mad, it is the Zaello. — Professor Lamnelae, arcanobiologist

Physical Description[edit]

Standing roughly at a Dwarf's height, but perpetually bent forwards, Zaello balance themselves with their semi-prehensile tails. Their beady, wet eyes retain some bestial personality of their recent animal nature, as do their curved spines. Zaello vary greatly in their scale colorations, from dull, chalky blue to muddy orange to mottled olive green, and their small black nails are somewhat reminiscent of a kobold's. Of course, there is not a drop of dragon in them; in simple terms, Zaello appear to be some unholy combination of Human and eel.

The Newest Race[edit]

Zaello are a monstrous species that evolved from eels. However, they evolved in an impossibly short timespan of roughly 150 years, agitated by powerful wild magic. After this period, during which they grew limbs and attained a roughly bipedal frame, they rapidly gained sentience, acquired language, and formed complex societies all in about fifty years. Now, Zaello are established as a species of Humanoid intelligence, and groups of them occasionally leave their homes in the magical wastes and settle elsewhere.

This is not to say they are trusted. Elves, with the longest cultural memory, don’t even register them as intelligent. Humans are eager to take their money and goods, but find it difficult to peer into their fishy eyes. Dwarves may or may not see them as edible. Only Halflings, as generous and thoughtful as ever, are willing to induct them into their society.

Social Aliens[edit]

The way that Zaello rapidly grew to a full-fledged race left them with physiological and social oddities from their relatively recent time as eels. First, and most strikingly, Zaello are protandrous. That means that all Zaello are born as male, and at some point halfway through their lives, they become female. Because of this, social roles in Zaello society are not tied to sex and are not tied to gender. Instead, they are tied to choice and personality. The few Zaello who decide to leave their homes and venture into the outside world take note of the strange way that other races treat male and female, and some have begun to think on these differences.

Second, Zaello choose roles for life, and they find individuality through their different expressions of those roles. Zaello are biologically driven to choose between a passive “gatherer” role, the Herbalist, and an active “hunter” role, the Hunter. After they do, though, they still decorate their lifestyles with flourishes and techniques. For example, an Herbalist might dress in the traditional Herbalist leaf skirt and foot wrappings, but they might decorate their dress with a variety of dried plants. Some Herbalists might choose to wear something completely different, as long as it isn’t too close to the Hunter's mode of dress. That would be improper.

Zaello Names[edit]

Zaello take their common language from Goblins, which they evolved close to. However, their names are more guttural, onomatopoeic of the swamps in which they reside. Due to the nature of sex and gender in Zaello society, all Zaello names are neutral.

Blukrom, Bolgun, Drokul, Gulmnuk, Krakt, Olug, Pitzrilt, Rurgurn, Shtrik, Stezt, Unkrisht, Zuln

Zaello Traits[edit]

Anthropomorphic eel creatures that dwell in the wastelands.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Zaello do not live long. A zaello reaches adulthood by the age of 5, and most live to around 30. In addition, zaello are physically male until around the age of 15 and spend most of their adult lives physically female. This is called protandry.
Alignment. Due to their recent, animalistic origins and culture, neutrality is more than a trend in Zaello.
Size. Zaello stand between 4 and 5 feet, tending to shrink as they age. Most of their height appears to be length, as their spine is bent forwards. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your walking speed is 25 feet. In addition, you have a swim speed of 25 feet.
Darkvision. 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.
Poison Immunity. You are immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.
Slippery. You have advantage on skill checks and saving throws you make to escape being grappled or restrained.
Swamp Dweller. You do not suffer movement penalties in difficult terrain caused by natural swampy conditions, and you can hold your breath for up to ten minutes at a time.
Biological Roles. At 3rd level, you choose from one of two roles: Herbalist or Hunter. If you choose Herbalist, you gain proficiency with the Nature skill. If you are already proficient in this skill, you may double your proficiency bonus for checks with it instead. If you choose Hunter, you gain proficiency with nets and longswords, and your walking speed and swim speed are both increased by 10 feet.
Languages. You speak Common and Goblin. Zaello inherited their spoken language from nearby Goblin tribes when they became sentient.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

3′ 4″ +2d12 90 lb. × (2) lb.

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

(one vote)

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