Ankou Wraith (5e Race)
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Eyes fluttering open, Trex looked into the inky blackness. He felt groggy, the last he remembered he had fallen asleep in a safe-house. My wounds must have been extensive, he thought, for it is now surely dark. Movement gave him all he needed to know, he was trapped and trapped inside of a coffin.
The dead are not easily bought back. Even though strong will brought your soul back to your body does not mean you get it all back. Your body is now old, withered, and decayed. Depending on how long you have been dead will determine the extent of your body's decay. Most ancient beings have turned to skeletal remains, What holds your body together remains to be decided by you and the Dungeon Master; However, it is likely a sigil of magic, some otherworldly being, or in Trex's case Death itself.
|Psychopomp - LucasGraciano (Deviantart)|
For ages beyond understanding, records have documented Death's emissary and mortals being raised or woken from death. Wraiths are not uncommon, though most are quite content to hide from society, fearing adventurer's and peace keepers alike. Often these people are brought back for a purpose, defined by their creator. Some have been entombed with the intent of returning someday, others have been chosen to rise again. Though all are usually chosen before death's decay takes the body from this world. Rites and rituals preformed can assist in the body's return, but time will eventually take it's toll on the body. In the case of Netrexius (Trex), Death marks his emissaries and brings them back for a limited time to do his bidding (Often CE, it is for Death after all). Trex has been dead for centuries, Death has slowed his decay, but not without decay taking parts of his body. An'kou are Death's or a god of death's emissary. These beings leave behind a trail of blood, though none are quite clear on who they are anymore. From the moment they return, they have no memory of their past life. Half of their worldly task is to recover their memories and life they had before.
This will depend heavily on the campaign setting that the An'kou is playing in. Though often, in many worlds and nations, there are havens that support few wayward An'kou. These can range from the dank uninhabited corners of city sewers, to rural communities. These people are sometimes, through rarely and warily, accepted into smaller communities. Though few brave adventuring, those that do tend to be very cautious that they never reveal their decay, for many have never returned from a short walk into town.
An'kou Wraith Names
The name of the wraiths may depend on your setting. It is advisable to work closely with your dungeon master to understand the lore that your character would know, influence, and shape the naming of your character. Some things to consider is when you died, how closely should your name resemble what is common when you are reawoken. Location will also determine what your character will be named. The Ancients of J.R.R. Tolkien's world were very different than those of the third age after all. Your name could also be fluid, changing from town to town. From here, it is also advisable to consult the PHB under your original race.
|Wraith - Matt Hubel (ArtStation Gwent Art Contest)|
An'kou Wraith Traits
AUTHOR'S NOTES: It is advisable to begin applying these features after you have created the majority of your character using the race your character originates from (i.e. Dwarf, Elf, Human, Tiefling, or other homebrew race) AND under no circumstances can any ability surpass 20. Apply the following ability scores atop your original racial bonuses.
The An'kou Wraith is an undead that has been brought back to mortal flesh, but there is always a catch.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength decreases by 2 and your Dexterity decreases by 1.
Age. An'kou are beings brought back from death, sometimes forced, Because of this their bodies now expire at a normal semi-rate. Though the lifespan varies by species, lifespan ranges from one year after resurrection to their maximum lifespan.
Alignment. Again this depends on the species, however, with lacking memory and past moral compass, some can be swayed towards evil.
Size. Size is based upon your character's original species
Speed. Your base walking speed is dependent on your original species. If degradation resides in either or both legs, reduce your speed by 5 ft.
Degradation. Your body sustains some form of decay. You may choose between any specific limb to loose completely or choose to rot two limbs, including the torso and skull, down to bone.
Auravision. Living creatures stand out to an An'kou, even in darkness they are aware of living things or objects that have been recently handled. An uncanny feeling is often attributed to this phenomenon.
Undead Affinity. In your new state you have become resistant to Necrotic damage, the trade off is you are now vulnerable to Radiant damage.
Amnesia. You remember nothing of your past self though, funnily enough, you can remember the general history of your life before. i.e. places, organizations, factions, common knowledge of your trade, and the daily life of your time.
Out of Time. Time has lapsed since your death (to be deliberated between you and your DM). Because of this, your knowledge of customs and colloquialisms is outdated. Your knowledge of Common is now the Old Common (or other distinguished language), and although racial languages are also subject to time, their understanding does not change.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write the Common language of your time and one other of your choice.
Subrace. The conditions upon which you are brought back determine the subtype of An'kou you are. You are either Death's Emissary, resurrected by A Divine Blessing, or kept alive through Arcane Stasis.
As Death's Emissary, it is your job to clean up the world one person at a time. You have been chosen by Death to live again and do its bidding. Your DM may have you fetch specific souls for Death or have Death act as a warlock patron requiring sacrifice to elongate their stay in the mortal realm.
Death's Ward. Your soul has been revitalized, your Constitution increases by 1
Black Fungus. Death's cost is heavier than most. The fungus that helps keeps you alive now leaches on your memory. Whenever you are required to make a history check roll a d10. If the number is under 2, then you take a -10 penalty to your check on top of any bonuses that you may receive for History. As time goes on, a time determined by the DM, your memory will grow worse. At these intervals, you must now role under 4, 6, and in the final stages 8. It is after that that death finally puts your soul to rest.
A Divine Blessing
Hel gives a tug on your soul, "your services are once again of need. Go forth and save our people."
Domain of Death. The god you serve must be the keeper of a domain of death. He or she has granted you passage back to the other side. Such gods could include, but are not limited to: Hades, Osiris, Odin, Hel, and Yama.
Drag of Necessity. Due to the hurried nature of your resurrection, your Constitution decreases by 1.
Clerical Strength. The upside is that your deity has imbued you with new brawn, your Strength increases by 1.
Divine Will. Blessing though it may be, your god called upon you for a reason. Your god is keeping you alive through some restorative magic, when you have served your purpose it is time to return to your afterlife.
By all accounts Arcane stasis is the cleanest and most efficient method of life after death. Though often demonized through public opinion of mages labeled as litches, those who choose arcane stasis are closer to their previous selves than most.
Arcane Sickness. Your Wisdom decreases by 1.
Breath of Vigor. The sacrifice was worth it. Your Strength increases by 1.
Clear Completion. Your body sustains little decay in stasis, meaning your body is mostly whole (this negates the effects of Degradation); though this does not exempt you from the fact that you still had to die to get here.
As a final parting note, I invite any who play this "race" to impart their knowledge and experience back into the build. I, the creator, intend
to use and polish this race myself and want to cultivate this concept into a more plausible reality. Best of luck and happy hunting.