Talpoida (3.5e Race)
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A strange cross between a giant salamander and a human.
Talpoida are generally a mysterious species, as they do not often interact with humans and other surface dwelling civilizations, due to primarily living in the ocean. They used to live harmoniously in both water and on land, having good relations with native tribes, but were forced to hide in deeper water after the introduction of foreign human settlers. Talpoida have a strange ability that almost no living human truly understands, which is the innate ability to influence the natural world, as well as the energy around them. Some specifically talented Talpoida can even control this ability, using it in ways that most people would consider to be magic. Eventually, they figured out how to allow others to breathe underwater, how to control the flow of water, and after enough time, even create what looks almost like fire underwater.
On the whole as a people, Talpoida do not necessarily share the same beliefs of social interaction as humans. They of course still live together as tribes, but in the early days of their survival, before they discovered how to go on land, there was no main language to their civilization, so they never developed a way to clearly communicate with each other. As a result, they developed more of a mutual understanding of how to work together, and functioned similarly to how a pack of lions or wolves might. They are affectionate and caring with each other, but don't necessarily interact just for the sake of interacting. Due to their long lifespans they are not necessarily welcoming of outsiders, but unless someone posed an immediate threat they would not be turned away, at least if they managed to arrive at the tribe's location in the first place. Due to Talpoida having developed their society away from human norms and culture, a normal peaceful talpoida can be perceived as more violent than a normal peaceful human, with some general combatants having been known to bite a man's head off.
Talpoida are quite strange looking creatures. From a distance, you might think it was a human, but once you got closer that would be very apparently false. The most prominent detail is the fact that they look like a giant humanoid salamander. They are shorter than average humans, with a height generally ranging from four to five and a half feet, and having stranger proportions still. They have shorter legs compared to their height than a human, with frog like feet, standing solely on their toes, which are webbed, and of which there are only three. They are weightier than other species of their size, coming in at an average of 300 lbs at five feet tall. As a result of this, despite being much stronger and more muscular than humans, they look chunkier and softer, with no real defined muscle, save for a few rare specimens. They have arms close to the length of their bodies, ending in three toe-like fingers, rather than four human fingers, and an opposable thumb, with webbing connecting all fingers together. Their toes are similar, possessing four webbed toes that stick out on feet that are stood on solely via the toes. Most notably, the talpoida have very strange heads, with a cross between a salamander and an odd lizard like snake. Talpoida do not have ears, instead they have open ear drums, similar to what you might see on a lizard, allowing them to hear far more clearly when underwater, as well as being able to filter out sounds using strange internal organs indescribable to a human. Furthermore, talpoida have long, thick tails that range from three to four and a half feet in length, resulting sometimes in a third of their body weight. The tails can be long and sleek, or more frilly and leaf like, potentially even varied in other ways, depending on where the specific talpoida is from. Unlike other aquatic creatures, talpoida do not have gills, instead they breathe the same way under water as they would on land, their lungs simply filling with water and pulling the oxygen from it. Due to their lungs having water in them while they themselves are in the water, they are able to more clearly communicate verbally underwater than other living creatures. The last detail of talpoida is their thick skin, which creates an almost slimy coating when out of water, in order to protect them from dry environments. Their thick skin helps prevent them from attacks by oceanic predators.
Talpoida generally are not necessarily an exclusive community, but due to the fact that they mostly live underwater, they don't have many interactions with people outside of their civilization. That being said, the talpoida had formed good relations with native tribes, settling on a mutual understanding of natural beliefs and spirituality, with both cultures respecting the world and everything living within it. They helped each other advance culturally and scientifically, helping each other fill in gaps of things that could not previously be explained. Despite distrusting unknown people, if someone is brought in by a trusted member of their own, they will be welcomed.
Talpoida are typically a lawful people, as they see no reason to sew the seeds of chaos into the world. Their moral compass is however different from a human's, so what they see as good may be considering the greater good, and less of the good of individuals. As a result, the most common alignment for a talpoida would be lawful neutral, with outliers running occasionally to being good or true neutral, and rarely chaotic or evil.
The typical areas chosen by the talpoida to live in are oceans, with a few tribes living in wetter parts of the land, such as swamps jungles or bogs. While bogs and swamps may be inhospitable to most bipedal creatures, the ability of the talpoida to protect themselves from harsh environments as well as filter out sounds has allowed them to survive, and thrive in such environments.
Talpoida settlements are very strange to onlookers, and some would even consider them impossible, due to the usage of materials that would require cutting from custom made tools, tools specifically made of metal. Due to the ability to manifest fire while underwater, the talpoida managed to forge tools to advance their underwater livelihood. Many of the tribal settlements are relatively small, housing between 100 to 500 talpoida, but some settlements, specifically around more busy ecological areas of the ocean that possess possible trade with humans, resemble massive cities, spanning for miles along the ocean floor, with some of the largest cities having tens of thousands of residents.
The culture of the talpoida is fairly similar to that which you might see from native tribes. They have spiritual connections with the land that they inhabit, having studied it and harvested its resources for thousands of years. Similarly to many native tribes, they have value for other life, and though they are predatory creatures, they do not waste anything, and have found miraculous uses for even the most mundane of resources. As people who can live for hundreds of years, they tend to have closer relationships with each other than most. They tend to stay with their tribes for their entire lives, meeting only people of their own.
The primary significance of the lands chosen by the talpoida is that they have a high quantity of water, allowing them to hunt more easily, as well as stay more comfortable due to their natural biological design. However rather than simply living in wetter parts of the world, talpoida seem to consistently settle in areas that are rich in plant life and biodiversity, allowing them better control of their abilities. Certain talpoida cities are even built on top of old burial sites or ruins, containing old sorts of runes, some of which inspired the talpoida to be able to create fire underwater.
The talpoida began their colonization of of the oceans several thousand years ago, slowly developing small groups that would later form tribes. They used rudimentary tools made of rocks and shells, but most things that they needed to accomplish were able to be done by hand. For reasons likely due to the strange unknown origin of the species, a few individuals began to notice strange tendencies happening around them, such as unnatural flowing of water, strange visions, and bubbles forming around them when they were distressed. As time went on, these odd affinities were studied and practiced, resulting in the ability to control the water around them, and, with the help of strange runes found at certain more developed tribes, they learned how to create heat. They began forging tools and structural elements out of metal, allowing for them to quickly advance their society. With their long lifespans, they developed skills as master craftsmen, expert hunters, and even combatants, due to the existence of rival tribes. Eventually due to mutual understandings, the talpoida tribes elected to live peaceably together, in favor of protecting each other from various outside threats encroaching on their surface dwellings. Human colonizers and invaders began attacking native human tribes, as well as surface talpoida tribes. They were able to fight back humans in the water, as they could attack from the sea, destroying naval ships and destroying forces, but they were outnumbered on land, forcing them to retreat into the oceans, and live there for the next several hundred years. There are still talpoida settlements on the surface, but they are now all near the ocean, away from the central parts of any continents where they could be at great risk of harm.
Talpoida do not follow any specific religions, as they have always had a more scientific understanding of the world. They are however very spiritual, constantly trying to find ways to connect with the world around them. Talpoida of higher standings in tribes tend to wear more simplistic natural clothing as a result of this belief system. Talpoida have also studied many of the mystical elements of the world, such as magical creatures and magic itself, hoping to one day understand their own existence.
Due to talpoida beginning as a species in the depths of the ocean, they never really developed a real language used to communicate with each other, as their lungs were always filled with water. Because of this, the primary language of the talpoida used to be deep speech. However, due to them later venturing up to the surface and talking with native tribes, they learned to speak human languages, specifically common, which is now their most used language, even underwater, having learned how to speak it with lungs full of either air or water.
While not necessarily hard to pronounce, talpoida names are like harder to spell. They are slightly unusual, certainly nothing a human would be named, but stranger names certainly exist.
Male Names: Dathunn, Reiethn, Larrenth, Drihjn, Tthulnm
Female Names: Anmrahj, Iralhi, Ehbrimn, Atleema, Olhminne
Titles: Shaman, Elder, Great Elder
It is uncommon for a talpoida to become a traditional adventurer, due to their nature as a tight knit tribe who stays together. That being said, certain events can lead to individuals feeling driven to leave in order to accomplish something different with their lives, or they feel uncomfortable with the circumstances in their tribe. There has never been a documented case of a talpoida leaving their tribe without first consulting an elder to inform them of their decision to leave, as well as tell them what they plan to do. Even when a talpoida has no plans to return, they still honor their tribes traditions and culture.
- +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -1 Dexterity, -1 Charisma
- Talpoida base land speed is 20 ft. Talpoida base water speed is 30 ft.
- Amphibious: Talpoida are able to breathe and speak perfectly clearly both on land and in water. They have a +4 to swim, and are able to move in water without making a swim check, as well as having a +3 to reflex saves while in water. Due to bearing a high resemblance to a salamander, talpoida have a -2 to intimidate, and a -2 to disguise, also completely losing the ability to attempt to disguise as anything that resembles a human.
- Darkvision: Talpoida are able to see up to 60 ft. in complete darkness in perfect clarity. Everything beyond is hard to make out. Darkvision is perceived in black and white.
- Slippery Skin: Due to being native to wet climates, talpoida have glands that serve a dual purpose. Their slippery skin protects them from water and dry climates, keeping their skin at the correct hydration. The slippery skin of a talpoida gives them a racial +1 to escape artist, -1 to use rope, -3 to grapple checks, and +3 to opposed grapple checks.
- Tail: Talpoida have tails, giving them a +2 to balance checks, and an extra appendage to attack with, doing 1d4 bludgeoning damage. However, tails mixed with their heavier wight make it harder to start moving in combat, giving them a -2 to initiative.
- Quadrupedal: Talpoida are four-legged creatures, and, unlike humans, are adept at using all four limbs to move around. As a result, while their move speed on land may be 20 ft., their sprint speed is still 4x30 ft., as they travel faster while down on all fours.
- Natural Predator: Talpoida are hunters, and have been since their inception. They are able to bite, dealing 1d4 piercing damage. Furthermore, as predators, they are more adept than humans at hiding in their environment. Talpoida are able to make a hide check with no penalties while only partially obscured by either light foliage or water. Furthermore, talpoida have a +2 to hide while in swamps or jungles.
- A Strange Natural Affinity: Talpoida have an unexplained ability to connect with the energy and environment around them, which can be harnessed in a unique racial skill called Talpoida Nautral Affinity, which can be used to feel and decipher vibrations in the ground or water as visions, as well as detect traces of magical energy. Depending on class, this can also manifest in the ability to control water more easily, and cast fire spell while underwater. Talpoida are also more resistant to burns.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Deep Speech. Bonus Languages: Abyssal, Draconic, and Primordial. See the Speak Language skill.
- Favored Class: Druid, Fighter
- Level Adjustment: +0
- Base Effective character Level: 1st.
|Middle Age1||Old<sup2||Venerable3||Maximum Age|
|140 years||200 years||300 years||+2d100 years|
|Gender||Base Height||Height Modifier||Base Weight||Weight Modifier|
|Male||4'8"||+2d3||250 lb.||× (2d4) lb.|
|Female||4'4"||+2d3||210 lb.||× (2d4) lb.|
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