Zanthani (5e Race)
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|“||I guess you are what you eat...||”|
|—Recent Zanthani "Victim"|
Zanthani are typically horrifying to see for normal people. They resemble a skeleton but made of wood and other materials. The bones are made of wood and the innards are typically fungus. This fungus has luminescence and often moves, mimicking that of real organs. For movement, their bones are joined by green muscles. This material is believed to be plant-based and is semi-translucent. It glows with duller luminescence than the innards. In their skull sockets are glowing green lights made by the fungal brain. Leaves decorate the body, sprouting randomly.
Zanthani scare many people due to their appearance. However, they are not known to have hostile intent. Zanthani are closely related to a creature known as a zantin: A mostly gelatinous shapeshifting, bloblike scavenger; mindless and fairly harmless. This is because the first zanthani were created when humans ate zantin without cooking it properly. The story changes from realm to realm but generally follows the same format. A group of refugees, tired, weary and desperate retreat from some great terror that razed their homeland and seek refuge in the Underdark. Their travelling party finds a zantin, slurping across a cave wall, its small fungal brain encased inside a wooden cage. They stick a weapon in its brain and declare it dead, not being Underdark hunters themselves. Meanwhile, the zantin tries to figure out what's going on with it's limited intelligence. It wonders what the light tingling feeling is as the refugees try roasting it, then it fades into a mindless slime as the refugee's carve up and consume it, craving food beyond all else. They did not expect it to make a meal of them. The mindless mold grew throughout their bodies, slowly and painfully infecting and devouring them. However, it does so oddly, as it goes it replicates the human tissue it was consuming on an essentially cell-by-cell basis, remaking human tissue into its own. This includes the brain; the duplication being so close that the personalities of those who "lived" through the process typically survived the transformation intact. Late in the process of having their brain matter replaced, they effectively "die" on a spiritual level. Their soul detaches from their body and travels to whatever afterlife awaits it and a new zanthani soul is formed, mirrored from the original. They are in essence, clones of the original creature. The moral debate of whether They are in essence copies made from zanthani tissue of the original human; and the old question of whether a good enough copy of a person qualifies as the same person becomes even more confusing when verifiable souls are involved.
Zanthani are often rejected by societies, particularly those with strict religious beliefs against undead or about death. They're all dead, but they violate the sanctity of death by not being fully so. On occasion, zanthani have contacted their original soul and held conversations with it. There's even been occasional instances of zanthani being haunted by their own ghosts, usually returned in the form of vengeful spirits like wraiths. Thus, most zanthani avoid the Ethereal Plane and fear death, which would take them to the Fugue Plane.
The few zanthani that exist either form Underdark enclaves of hunters and gatherers, or pursue lives in major cities, usually as herbalists, guides, wizards or sorcerers. These zanthani act sometimes as members of a magic guild as they are continual experiments watched by them. Zanthani in general can take a wide variety of professions. However, this is only possible for zanthani living where their appearance is tolerated with a certain amount of prejudice. Zanthani today can breed to reproduce, rather than rely on humans eating zantin. These new zanthani have a natural soul.
Zanthani often do not know themselves to be clones and so use the names of those they impersonate.
Male: Billy, O'Reilly, Prago
Female: Julie, Kyri, Polly
Wooden skeletons with fungal innards
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Zanthani who are born rather than transformed (through a fusion then triple division of both parents, leaving the two parents and the new "child") with the mentality of a teenager and reach mental maturity within 5 years, from this age they live long, as both their unchanging slime and slow-growing tree heritage slows down aging dramatically, effectively extending their lifespan to over 300 years.
Alignment. Zanthani vary in alignment almost as much as their human ancestors. They are comparable to tieflings in alignment, with many either making their heritage a grindstone underneath their neck to become paragons of virtue (or just nice people if the zanthani makes bread) or revel in their monstrous appearance and descend to evil. However, they are also conflicted in other ways; some want normality and order restored to their lives, leading to lawful alignments, whereas other seek to embrace the chaos to find peace, leading to chaotic alignments. Others still seek to abandon emotion for the unfeeling embrace of the ooze, resulting in a true neutral alignment. No matter what, zanthani always tend towards the extremes. A neutral good zanthani, for example, is almost unheard of.
Size. Zanthani, as do Humans, vary widely in height and build, from barely 5 feet to well over 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 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.
Generational Mind. You retain some skill from that of your mimicked self. You are proficient in one skill of your choice.
Limited Shaping. At 1st level, you can cast mage hand at will. Instead of a spectral hand of force, a vine-like, wooden hand emerges from a point on your skeleton and is connected by a thin, yet flexible and durable wooden vine.
At 3rd level, you can cast the shield spell at will once, regaining use after you finish a long rest. This spell takes the form of a wooden shield growing out from your body.
At 5th level, You have mastered your malleable form, and can now change your body over a short rest to replicate other creatures forms. You can cast the alter self spell once at will. You regain use of this trait upon finishing a long rest.
Photosynthesis. Due to the leaves growing from your body, you do not require food as long as you have spent at least 4 hours in bright sunlight. You must still drink, and you must still eat if you don't do this.
Languages. You can speak, read and write in Common.
Random Height and Weight
|5′ 2″||+1d12||140 lb.||× (3) lb.|
*Height = base height + height modifier