Fantasy Races: Nyr Erain

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Fantasy Races: Nyr Erain

Nyr erain are a spiritual salvage from a universe that is no more, collapsed in an uncertain disaster that left few traces. Somehow, before its final moments, an unknown group or force managed to scavenge whatever was left of the mortal souls of their dying world, and to cast them across dimensions, together with a seed that grew in the depths of the Shadow Plane into the city of obsidian and darkness. There, the saved spirit remnants were patched together into new souls by the esoteric machinery of the city, and reborn into bodies designed of what was available at hand—volcanic glass and shadows.

Now, nyr erain are seeking their place in the greater universe, learning of its wonders, of their origins, and of themselves, but they are also full of hope for new existence here and now.

Their name, nyr erain, like their whole language is approximate recreation of some common elements of the languages used on their vanquished world. Nyr means something close to "We" or "People", while erain might mean "refuges", "saved", "escaped" or "exiled".

Physical Description: Nyr erain have lithe, mostly anthropomorphic bodies with skin the color of ink or a starry night. While they have pair of arms and a pair of legs, like humanoids they were shaped to resemble, instead of head they have a vaguely head-shaped flame, dark green, dark blue, or dark purple, with a number of brighter sparks moving within—physical manifestation of nyr erain's soul, formed out of shards of spirits of beings that nyr erain were in their native universe. Nyr erain head-flame visibly dims, diminish, and calms down when they sleep or are unconscious, and goes out when they die. Their bones are shaped of obsidian and their flesh is made of the stuff of the Shadow Plane, evaporating within hours of their death, leaving skeleton of black volcanic glass.

Nyr erain flesh is cool, smooth, and supple to touch, lacking any hair whatsoever. Nyr erain typically prefer to wear clothing colored white, ivory, or brighter hue of their own spirit-flame.

Nyr erain bodies are more temporary than bodies of mortals, failing after twenty five to thirty five years, releasing their spirits to return to their city.

Society: Nyr erain have only single settlement of their own, Erain, their hidden citadel of obsidian and gloom, drifting through the vast depths of The Shadow Plane. There, at its heart arrays of soul-conduits fuse shards of nyr erain spirits into living souls and attach them to bodies made of shadowstuff grown over obsidian bones.

Around the heart lies the inner city, a labyrinth of chambers, buildings, and corridors, where newly awakened nyr erain learn the basics of their existence, attended only by shadowy phantasms until they are ready to step into the outer city. While the heart of the city, and its inner part function seemingly autonomously, driven by esoteric machines that recycle nyr erain souls and build nyr erain bodies, the outer city is a much more conventional settlement, where thousands of nyr erain live before they venture into the world beyond. Occasionally, planar travelers reach Erain, meeting and trading with its denizens. As nyr erain need no food or drink, they produce little of those, but they still have some craftsmen making clothing, tools, weapons, and armors for their kin. They also have a number of defenders, protecting the city from possible intrusions, mostly hunting shadowy monstrosities and undead that crept in. Still, even the outer Erain would be foreboding and alien place to other mortals, with its dark alleys, obsidian walls, and omnipresent living shadows.

Erain lacks clear leaders, with each newly created nyr erain being instructed about world and existence by shadowy phantasms manifesting themselves in the inner city, often in dreams that might or might not be vestiges of memories inherent in spirit shards that compose their souls. The outer city is lacklacks true government either, with nyr erain usually simply acting on their own initiative when they perceive the need for specific action for the good of the community—their well developed compassion and empathy makes antisocial activities rare.

There are a few nyr erain settlements outside of Erain, often loosely governed by a council of the most experience nyr erain. They are all reliant on arrival of new nyr erain from Erain, though, because their people don't reproduce naturally.

Relations: Nyr erain are recent arrivals to this universe, knowing little of other peoples, though eager to learn. This is complicated by their strange appearance that might disturb folks unused to exotic people. Many nyr erain wander away from their people, in company of adventurers of other races, making impression of being unique being, often mistaken for an undead, a magical construct, or taken for some sort of extraplanar being, with the later being technically true, though mostly misleading.

This slowly changes, however, as the numbers of errant nyr erain grow, combined with their shared willingness to help driven by both pragmatism and compassion.

Alignment And Religion: Nyr erain have tendency to be compassionate and willing to help others, though it is not clear if it was inherent preference for good back in their native universe, quality that increased chance of the soul to be salvaged during the end, the reaction to being saved from impending doom, or a quality instilled in the reformed souls, deliberately or as a side effect of the spirit-fusing process.

A few nyr erain turned to evil—those who were corrupted by utter despair into nihilistic hatred of existence, and those who obsessed on bringing order and safety to the point of accepting absolutely any means available, becoming ruthless and callous in execution of their duties, and being blinded by their convictions to the point where they no longer care about those they protect.

Nyr erain are not a part of the natural cycle of souls. Instead, when they die, their souls unravel back into the constituent spirit shards. They slowly seep through the planes over days, weeks, or months, until they reach Shadow Plane and return back to Erain, where they are recaptured by soul conduits and join the commonality of nyr erain spirit shards stored within. There they await being refused into a new soul and bound to a freshly made body.

Adventurers: Basically each and every nyr erain is an adventurer, a champion seeking the place for their people in this new, strange universe. The common heroic classes among nyr erain are paladins, slayers, and spiritualists, fighting evil, hunting monsters, and tending to vestigial shards of nyr spirits.

Names: Nyr erain names are composed of three to seven short syllables.

Sample Names: TeMaTaNaRi, IteWaKa, NeKaTeMa

Nyr Erain Racial Traits

Ability Scores: +2 Strength, +2 Wisdom, –2 Constitution. Nyr erain bodies made of shadow and obsidian are capable of exerting significant force but are not as resilient as real flesh. They also have an occasional insight of souls much older than they are.

Type: Nyr erain are outsiders with native subtype.

Normal Speed: Nyr erain have land speed of 30 feet.

Darkvision: Nyr erain can see in the dark up to 60 feet.

Absorb Shadows (Su): Once per day, nyr erain can attempt to draw shadow energies with a touch. This works like touch-ranged targeted dispel magic against illusions and effects with the shadow descriptor. If a shadow effect is dispelled in this way (but not a non-shadow illusion), the nyr erain gains temporary hit points equal to caster level of the effect. Against creatures and objects created from shadow or summoned from the Shadow Plane, it works like vampiric touch. Either effect uses the nyr erain's character level as a caster level.

Flesh Of Shadow: Being made mostly of essence of shadows, nyr erain always treat Illusion (shadows) as fully real, never making Will disbelief saves, though they make any other saving throws required by interaction with shadows normally. Because of the ties, they recognize majority of illusions (shadow) as being powered by the Shadow Plane like themselves. Nyr erain don't need to eat or drink, though they can consume food and liquids to gain their magical effects. As a weird side effect, any attempt to use a nyr erain as a basis for simulacrum effect, instead of creating regular simulacrum, has a 25% chance that it will work like clone spell for the nyr erain copied, 25% chance it will attract unbound nyr erain spirit, giving life to a completely new, fully fledged nyr erain, and 50% chance it will fail to work at all.

Spirit-Flame (Su): Nyr erain spirit-flame is manifestation of their spirit and not actual light, despite its appearance. It only dimly illuminates ethereal and incorporeal creatures and objects within 5 feet, revealing their presence but little else.

Unraveling Shadows (Su): Nyr erain can voluntarily unravel shadows composing their bodies, effectively killing themselves with a standard action (though they can never be compelled or convinced to do that against their fully conscious and independent choice). When nyr erain die violently (except when killed by death or disintegration effect) or voluntarily unravel their bodies, they release the shadows they were composed of, allowing the deceased to duplicate a single evocation or conjuration spell effect with the spell level not exceeding half their character level (rounded down). This is an illusion (shadow) with a Will disbelief saving (20% effectiveness for those who make the save) in addition to any saving throws included in the effect itself and lasts for no longer than 3 rounds.

Language: Nyr erain begin play speaking Common and Erain. Nyr erain with a high Intelligence score can choose from the following: Abyssal, Aklo, Dwarven, and Elven.

Nyr Erain Feats
Nyr erain can select following feats enhancing their natural abilities.

Dissolve Shadows
You can use your absorb shadows ability in a area of effect burst.
Prerequisites: Nyr erain, absorb shadows racial feature.
Benefit: You can use your absorb shadows to affect creatures and objects in a 20-ft. radius burst centered on you. If your absorb shadows steals life from one or more shadow creatures, you gain temporary hit points equal to the highest number of hit points lost by any one of those creatures. You can use absorb shadows one additional time per day.

Shadow Bane
You fight against hostile shadows.
Prerequisites: Nyr erain, absorb shadows racial feature.
Benefit: You can spend one of your absorb shadows daily uses as a swift action to ignite your hands with your spirit-flame. For a number of rounds equal to your character level, your unarmed, natural, and weapon attacks gain bane weapon property, gaining bonuses against creatures and objects created with illusion (shadow) effects and creatures native to Shadow Plane. You can use absorb shadows one additional time per day.

Shadow Healing
You can be healed with shadow magic.
Prerequisites: Nyr erain, absorb shadows racial feature.
Benefit: Anyone casting a spell or spell-like ability with shadow descriptor can decide to use it to heal you instead of producing its normal effects. The caster must touch you and you heal 1d8 points of damage per spell level of the spell used.

Spirit Flare
You can intensive the glow of your spirit flame for a short time.
Prerequisites: Nyr erain, spirit-flame racial feature.
Benefit: Once per day, as a standard action, you can cause your spirit-flame flare with unearthly glow for a number of rounds equal to your character level. The glow reveals all invisible, incorporeal, and ethereal creatures and objects within 30 feet, outlining them with a faint light of the same hue as your spirit-flame. You can use your absorb shadows racial ability as a vampiric touch on living and undead incorporeal and ethereal creatures revealed by your spirit flare.

Favored Class Options
Nyr erain can select following options as their favored class bonuses.

Fighter: +1 to all healing received. Shadow flesh might be less durable than real one, but it is also easier to mend.

Metamorph: +1/4 of an evolution point. Nyr erain flesh is malleable.

Paladin: +1 foot to radius of spirit-flame, dissolve shadows, and spirit flare.

Slayer: +1/4 additional use of absorb shadows per day.

Spiritualist: +1/2 of an illusion spell selected from bard, psychic, or sorcerer/wizard spell list with spell level equal to or lower than the highest current spell level available is added to the spiritualist spell list and spells known.

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