The baseline proto-lorm are similar in intelligence and behavior to great apes, particularly gorillas, though living in temperate swamps. When their eggs gestate within patches of lorm-moss, however, the resulting offspring possess intelligence on par with other humanoids. When a lorm dies, the moss roots itself in the ground where the body is left and slowly merges with the surrounding lorm-moss or creates a new patch. Because of this peculiarity of lorm life cycle, each lorm is considered to have three parents: mother, father, and the deceased lorm from whose corpse the lorm-moss patch sprouted.
Lorm-moss patches are key element to the lorm biology and culture—they are not only the source of their intelligence, they are also living ancestors, retaining fragmented, dreaming sapience of the original lorm from which the patch sprouted. Patches growing near each other gradually merge, forming larger plots and groves, acting as repositories of knowledge and culture, and occasional spiritual guides for the lorm communities that raise around them. Lorms do not bury corpses of the deceased, instead leaving them within lorm-moss patches and groves so their moss merge with the others, and their flesh decays and fertilizes the land. They are very stubborn in recovering corpses of their dead, as being left to decay in place where their moss can't survive, or being subject to death that will kill their moss as well is the direst fate imaginable. Those who willingly sacrifice themselves in a way that destroys their moss are seen as the greatest heroes, while those who willingly risk the eternal death are considered the insane.
Both lorms and their sub-sapient kin feed primarily on decaying plant matter, combined with invertebrates, eggs, fruits, and an occasional fish, bird, or other small swamp creature. They diet habits are often found unpalatable by many civilized races, but it also diminishes their competition over available food sources.
Physical Description: Lorms look like hunchbacked humanoid sloths, though their skin is brown and grey pebbly hide, not unlike the one of a turtle. They lack hair, though they have a green and yellow hair-like growth running from their head, over their hunched back, down to their hips, composed of their symbiotic moss's shoots. Lorms' torsos are stocky, with pronounced belly, and end with short tail. Their legs are thick and end with three-toed, hippo-like feet. Their arms are long, though not particularly dexterous, and their hands have four long fingers. They have quite big yellow eyes with a pair of nostril slits located between them.
Lorms prefer wearing thick robes woven of plant fivers of various sorts, though they occasionally make clothing and armor of bark or boiled leather. They are rarely seen without their damp robes, for it is mark of simple proto-lorn, to walk around naked.
Society: Lorms live in small communities centered around strips of lorm-moss, which act as communal gardens, courting sites, hatcheries, graveyards, and places of meditation. No lorm community can survive without lorm-moss patch, as the further generations would degenerate back to their proto-lorm state. In fact, it is a taboo for lorms to mate outside of lorm-moss plot.
Lorms have strong bond with nature and take care for their surrounding lands, trying to minimize their impact upon the environment. They are usually quite self-sufficient, primarily due to their easy to sustain diet, thick skin, and resilience. They do some trade with other races, purchasing tools for herbs, fibers, and pigments derived from swamp plants and creatures.
Groups of proto-lorms occasionally live nearby lorm communities, with lorms feeling a sense of duty to take care of them, earn their trust, and move their eggs to lorm-moss patches, so their progeny would be fully sapient.
Relations: Lorms and elves share mutual respect, though usually distant. Other races rarely interact with lorms, as their favored environment is usually considered barrens with little use by other races. Of the races that favor swamplands, they tend to have good relations with grippli. They try to live peacefully with lizardfolk and boggards, though they former are usually rather cold and xenophobic, and the later outright hostile neighbors.
Alignment And Religion: Lorms view the existence as an eternal cycle of life—growth, maturity, decay, and sprouting of a new life. Because of their continued existence as lorm-moss, they do view end of life as change, not death as such. Only an utter demise that prevents lorm-moss from growing, such as complete destruction of body, rapid transformation into undead, or dying in place that cannot support lorm-moss is considered the true death, a tragic event warranting mourning the lost spirit. Their perception of cyclic existence extends to other aspects of life as well, as they view old generations teaching new ones as "fertilizing" them with their knowledge. At the same time, they consider cultural changes between generations as natural "decay" and "sprouting", not resistance to be overcome.
In a cosmic sense, lorms know that the universe is in a dynamic balance, where changes happen, uphills of good and downhills of evil, with waves of chocking order and disruptive discord waxing and waning with time. In the longer time-scale, though, neutrality prevails, as the average of amplitudes of weal and woe. Lorms' spiritual ideal of tranquility is understanding those cycles with heart as well as reason, cherishing the good moments while not letting the bad moments break one's spirit. Many lorms view themselves primarily as caretakers of nature, living to the side of great events, finding their purpose in tending to the regrowth of the life after inevitable destruction.
Lorms venerate life and its cycles, feeling that inherent divinity of the universe itself expresses in them to fuller extent than in deities, which are viewed as personalized shards of that cosmic force.
Adventurers: Lorms are not particularly adventurous people, though they do occasionally happen to join groups of militant vagabonds and wandering heroes. While the lorms don't fear the death of the body, they are hesitant to take risks that would kill their moss as well.
When a lorm goes adventuring, it is usually done to bring balance to the world, to regrow life that was overwhelmed by death and decay, to learn more of the world and other races and bring back new knowledge, or to seek a place to die so a lorm-moss patch could sprout from one's corpse in a new place.
Due to their strong connection to nature, druids and hunters are the most common adventurers among lorms, followed by shamans, witches, and barbarians. On a rare occasions, lorm spiritualists appears, with their phantoms being manifestated personality of a lorm-moss patch.
Names: Lorms have long names that contain syllables taken from names of all of their three parents: father, mother, and the lorm-parent, with at least two syllables taken from each of the parents and intermixed with each other. They often shorten their names to two or three syllables in casual situations. Syllables of lorm language are composed of two consonants with a single vowel between them.
Sample Names: Zurrahmas'hundarzat, called Zurrah, Shansattielkordunnar, called Shansa.
Lorm Racial Traits
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, –2 Dexterity. Lorms are resilient and hardy people, in body and spirit alike, but they have slow reflexes and rigid bodies.
Type: Lorms are humanoids with lorm subtype.
Slow Speed: Lorms have land speed of 20 feet.
Low-Light Vision: In dim light, Lorms can see twice as far as humans.
Lorm-Fruit: Lorms who spend a day goring themselves on excessive amount of available food can sprout a fruit-like growth, a sphere filled with thick milky gel. They can sprout multiple such growths over multiple days, with a maximum number of lorm-fruits present at the same time equal to 7+their Constitution bonus. Each lorm-fruit contains concentrated nutrients that can be harmlessly harvested from the lorm's back and consumed, providing daily sustenance for a Medium-sized creature.
Swamp-Diet: Lorms can safely consume decaying plants and rotting meat without ill effects. They also gain +2 racial bonus to saving throws against disease, nausea, and sickened conditions.
Symbiotic Moss: Lorms are susceptible to effects that deal damage specifically to plant creatures (e.g. blight spell), increase damage to plant creatures (e.g. plant bane weapon property and favored enemy—plants), or detect presence of plants.
Thick Skin: Lorms have natural armor bonus of +1 and DR 2/— against swarm attacks.
Language: Lorms begin play speaking Common and Lorm. Lorms with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Boggard, Draconic, Elven, Grippli, and Sylvan.
Lorm Racial Feats
Lorms can select following feats enhancing their racial abilities.
Lorm-fruits that you sprout provide healing in addition to sustenance.
Prerequisites: Lorm, lorm-fruit racial feature.
Benefit: Anyone eating one of your lorm-fruits heals 1 point of damage. At 5th level, the healing provided by your fruits increases to 1d4+1. At 10th level, the fruit also heals 1 point of ability damage.
You can commune with lorm moss patches and let them guide your magic.
Prerequisites: Lorm, symbiotic-moss racial feature.
Benefit: You can spend 10 minutes meditating within a patch of lorm-moss, to commune with its spirit, and communicate telepathically as if it was an NPC. You also gain +1 bonus to caster level until you leave the patch or the contact is broken by putting you in state that prevents taking actions or killing the lorm-moss.
Special: Particularly big and old patches might grant +2 bonus to your caster level. Truly ancient lorm-moss groves might possess mythic sapience and grant up to +3 bonus.
You can bond with plant companions.
Prerequisites: Lorm, ability to select an animal companion or a mount that acts as an animal companion.
Benefit: You can select a plant companion in place of an animal companion or a mount. It is treated as your animal companion for the purpose of all abilities and effects. You can cast spells that target animals on your plant companion as if it was an animal. You can ride your plant companion as if it was a mount as long as it is one or more size categories larger than you. If you have wild empathy feature, you can use it on plant creatures with Intelligence scores of 2 or less (including mindless plant creatures), with a –4 penalty. You are considered to be a plant creature for the purpose of growing leshys.
Favored Class Options
Lorms can select following options as their favored class bonuses.
Barbarian: Increase natural armor by 1/3 while raging.
Brawler: Increase natural armor by 1/5.
Druid: +1 to DR against swarm attacks. This bonus is retained when polymorphed.
Hunter: Increase the companion's natural armor by 1/3.
Kineticist: Add +1/3 point of damage to wood element blasts that deal damage.
Metamorph: +1/6 of a tentacle evolution (representing a lorm-moss tendril). Tentacles gained in this way can exceed the maximum number of attacks a metamorph can make. They can't be exchanged for other evolutions when using metamorphic mastery.
Monk: +1/2 to the maximum number of lorm-fruits, and to healing they provide.
Shaman: +1/2 to healing provided with spells, hexes, and Heal skill.
Spiritualist: Increase the phantom's natural armor (corporeal form) and deflection bonus (incorporeal form) by 1/3.
Witch: +1/2 to healing provided with spells, hexes, and Heal skill.