This fourth and final installment of beastfolk from the BySwarm project includes the last one which is definitely the weirdest – intelligent humanoid bee-swarms.
Lupines have formed the backbone of the Sascrian military for generations (even more generations as the Wolfmen reckon). They serve as the mobile, brutal shock troops of Sascria, and are feared abroad as much as they are honored at home.
Lupines are fiercely self-confident, particularly when they are part of the Sascrian military, in which they serve as elite shock troops. Posturing and status are very important to every Lupine – they will always seek to determine exactly where they fall in a hierarchy, and will test superiors to make sure they are deserving.
Lupines are large and muscular, slightly hunched, and covered with layered fur ranging in color from light grey to nearly black. Their undercoat is white, and they shed relentlessly in warm weather. Lupine eyes are piercing in color and shine golden in the dark when they catch a bit of light.
Because of their reputation, outside of Sascria Lupines are often mistrusted and relegated to manual labor or mercenary work. They fall into jobs like bodyguard and bouncer when they have a less adventuresome spirit.
Alignment and Religion
Lupines tend toward Neutrality. Their own nature is a balance between fierce self-reliance and pack mentality. They tend to ferociously defend their allies and also hunt their foes without mercy.
Within Sascria, Lupines are almost universally Fighters and Rangers, often serving in the Sascrian military or sometimes discharged from it and working as adventurers-for-hire. Outside Sascria, it is rare that Lupines go to school or are fully integrated into society, and they are more often Barbarians. Lupines respect and fear magic, and think of it as something that other people do. There are some, however, who delve into their animal nature and find they have a talent for the ways of the Druid.
Lupines often dispense entirely with personal names and go by their epithet instead. Skull-breaker, Scar, Ghost-runner, Shatterbone and so on serve to both identify Lupines and to spread their reputation, whatever it might be. Amongst themselves, they maintain hierarchy with those in authority often coming up with insulting nicknames for those under their command, or simply beneath them in social rank.
Lupine Racial Traits
+2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence. Lupines were bread for endurance and skill rather for deep, rational thought. Sascrian Lupines who tend toward the scholarly life are often simply beaten down by their peers and made to serve in the military anyway.
Brutality: because of their widespread reputation as merciless shock troops, Lupines receive a +2 racial bonus to Intimidation and a -2 racial penalty to both Bluff and Diplomacy
Fangs: Lupines receive a bite attack, made at -5 and dealing 1d4 damage
Pack Mentality: When a Lupine is flanking a target, he gets a +1 to his Combat Maneuver Bonus against that target. When two or more Lupines are flanking their opponent, this bonus increases to +2. Lupines do not question orders from superiors they fear and respect, and as a result of this tendency to obey are at a -2 to save against [Mind-Affecting] spells, regardless of school
Taste for Blood: Because they eat only meat, Lupines’ meals and cost of living are twice what they would normally be. The extra cost is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that the meat does not need to be cooked.
Winter-bred: Lupines have damage reduction 5 against cold
Lupines automatically speak Common as well as the dialect where they received their training – most often, that means Sascrian.
Houndings were the first attempt of the Sascrian Wizards to create companion beastfolk who would serve as personal slaves. It was a simple decision to draw upon the domestic dog for source-material and information. What was unexpected was how utterly charming and loveable
Houndings are the most socially adept Beastfolk, and tend to integrate seamlessly into most Human cultures.
Houndings have diverse appearance, depending on the type of domesticated dog they were derived from. The majority, however, are literally hound-ish. Houndings are around the same height as the average Human, but tend to be heavy-boned.
Houndings were designed to be like domestic dogs – they really want to get along with everyone, and the do.
Alignment and Religion
Houndings tend toward the Good. They natrually tend toward cooperation.
Houndings tend to be either filled with wanderlust or complete homebodies. They tend to gravitate toward the Bard class, making the most of their social abilities, or the Ranger, since they are natural, peerless trackers.
Houndings often simply take appropriate cultural names, and many of them specifically detest dog-ish nicknames some Humans insist on giving them.
Houndings Racial Traits
+2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma. Houndings are tireless and charming, but long generations of domestication of the dogs from which they were created has dulled them a bit.
Best Friends: As dogs were domesticated, they became the most adept animals at reading Human emotions and at making their emotions clear to Humans in turn. Houndings gain a +2 racial bonus to Sense Motive checks and Humans gain a +2 racial bonus to Sense Motive when dealing with Houndings. Houndings also gain a +2 racial bonus to Diplomacy, Gather Information and Perform.
Bestial Nature: Houndings can communicate with domestic and wild dogs at will. They do not, however, speak wolf.
Scent: This functions exactly as the Scent ability http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/rules-for-monsters/universal-monster-rules#TOC-Scent-Ex-
Sharp Senses: Houndings receive a +2 to all Perception checks
Buzzkin are beastfolk created by mingling human stock with that of honeybees. They were originally created to fill a vital role in the Sascrian Mageocracy’s agrarian workforce, namely they were experts in cross-pollination and the interbreeding of new plant species. There are three sub-types of Buzzkin – queens, drones and workers. Queens are the largest Buzzkin and are responsible for leadership and reproduction in a hive. Drones are the male Buzzkin, and they mate with the queens and do most of the manual labor in a hive. Workers are all females who are not queens – the smallest Buzzkin – charged with much of the labor and defending the hive from intruders. With the exception of queens, Buzzkin rarely work independently, and rather form small teams that act as a single unit.
Buzzkins tend to short in stature, and almost childlike in appearance. They have the torso & wings of a bee with the arms, legs, and head of a human, and are capable of flight. Buzzkin tend to prefer warmer climates, and are capable of hibernation in colder weather. Buzzkin drones are able to build hives, pollinate flowers, and produce honey in the same manner as normal bees, while Buzzkin queens are able to birth entire generations of Buzzkin larvae. There are typically only one or two queens born each generation in a given hive, and all but one of the queens are normally driven off and must found their own hives.
History & Relations
Sascria’s original intent was to breed only queens and drones – ‘surplus’ female larva were killed off magically and alchemically. Over time, the queens were able to communicate via drone messengers between hives, and hatched a plan to raise a generation of worker-warriors and win their freedom from the Magocracy. The Buzzkin learned the alchemical formulas used to kill the ‘surplus’ female larva and created antidotes in secret, administering them, and raising the resulting female warrior-bees in secret.
The revolt was sudden and violent, but once the Sascrian overseers were stung to death, it was an easy task for the Buzzkin to pack up their meager belongings and simply fly away, founding new hives in remote areas of Gondal. There, they opened up limited trade with Humans and other Beastfolk, trading special hybrid crops, honey and alchemical admixtures for raw materials and crafted goods. Many Beastfolk who fled Sascrian captivity ended up living near Buzzkin hives, and alliances were formed, most notably with the Ursians.
Over time, the desire grew for vengeance against Sascria, but the idea was rejected time and again because of the incredible arcane power of the Magocracy and the Arcane Schools.
Then, there came the Collapse…
Personality & Society
Buzzkins are often noted as accomplished artisans and crafters, especially in fields relating to gardening, herbal healing arts, alchemy and the cross-pollination of new plant strains.
The Buzzkin share a hive mind mentality with other members of their hive, which they use for limited communication (see racial traits below). Regardless of hive mind connection, however, Buzzkin are very tight-knit and share a very rigid and complex social structure. Under the old mageocracy, Buzzkin queens were accorded status and privilege akin to that usually reserved for artisans, master craftsmen, or even minor nobility, while Buzzkin worker drones were at best treated as a marginalized worker class and at worst treated as a slave caste.
Despite being extremely intelligent and quite capable of complex reasoning and problem-solving, Buzzkin worker drones typically have a very limited sense of independence. A typical drone lives to serve his queen and better his hive by performing the tasks assigned to him to his utmost capabilities. The average Buzzkin drone simply wouldn’t choose to seek personal advancement over the advancement of his hive.
Buzzkin queens, on the other hand, are allowed far more independence, and are free to act on individual goal separate from those of the hive. They are trained to think “outside the collective” in this fashion so that they may deal with threats to the hive and make decisions that affect the future of their hive. In this manner, Buzzkin queens are praised for their creative problem-solving skills.
The new breed of Buzzkin workers seem to fall somewhere in the middle ground between the queen and drone breeds. They are much more self-reliant than drones, but still subservient to their queens. Their role as tacticians also allows them to think in a much more non-linear fashion that the average Buzzkin drone. Buzzkin workers also recognize the need for personal strength and advancement as an extension of their duty to better defend their hives, as anything which makes them stronger also makes them better defenders.
Alignment & Religion
Buzzkin have an extremely strong work ethic, and tend to be lawful in alignment. If they have a religion, it is entirely unknown to outsiders. Occasionally a small swarm of Buzzkin workers might develop an independent streak, and these are the most likely to become adventurers.
Buzzkin adventurers are most likely to be of the worker breed. Indeed, some worker Buzzkin have begun adventuring as a means of bettering themselves and their hives. Occasionally, a Buzzkin queen might venture out from the hive, either to further her own agendas or for trade or diplomatic relations, but such an expedition will almost always be accompanied by a contingent of worker-warrior guards and drone servants.
Buzzkin drones can become superb Alchemists and powerful Bards, though their musical taste is alien to say the least to most Humans and other Beastfolk. Buzzkin workers who take up a life of adventure are often Barbarians, Fighters and Rangers.
Buzzkin drone and worker names tend to be short and often involve doubled letters which are attempts to transliterate sounds from the Buzzkin lanugage. Names like Zzak, Riik, Vvrax, and Sevv are common. Buzzkin queen names tend to be just the opposite, usually filled with vowels and very flowery – Lulorieni, Felianne, Siliansili and the like.
Buzzkin Racial Traits
Small Humanoid Swarm
Drones are always male and workers are always female.
-2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom. Buzzkin working together are about as strong as other Small races, but they are very nimble and perceptive.
Hive Menality: Though the Small swarm is composed of, on average, four Tiny individual creatures, they cannot accomplish anything complex individually – nothing more complex than scouting ahead or gathering tiny objects.
Pheromone Communication: Buzzkin can communicate with each other silently as long as they are no more than 10′ apart via pheromones. This is the equivalent of telepathic communication, and occurs at the same approximate rate as speech.
Swarm Traits: Small Humanoid Swarms have the vulnerabilities of all swarms. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/swarm.htm). Small humanoid swarms such as Buzzkin function for the most part as if they are small humanoids. Small humanoid swarms do not attack by engulfing an opponent’s square in combat, but can attack like any other Small creature, and have a base reach of 1 with any weapon. In combat, each individual memeber of the small humanoid swarm wields a tiny weapon – the aggregate of these multiple tiny weapons are treated as a small weapon for the purposes of calculating damage. Unlike other swarms, a small humanoid swarm is subject to both flanking and critical hits. When there is a rules-related question, treat the small humanoid swarm as a small humanoid creature.
Vulnerable to cold: The temperature at which buzzkin must make Survival rolls to avoid damage from cold weather is 20 degrees higher than for other (mammalian) races. Cold attacks deal 150% damage to Buzzkin.
Wings: Fly speed of 30′ with perfect maneuverability (ability to hover, etc.)
Drones: Drones receive +2 to Craft: Alchemy and all of their Alchemical bombs (including alchemist fire/cold/etc.), extracts and mutagens have +1 to numerical effects or their duration multiplied by 1.5 – chosen at creation.
Workers: Worker Buzzkin are individually smaller than drones, but have stingers which drones lack. A worker’s sting is only usable once per day. The workers can attack with their stingers at their full attack bonus, dealing 1d4 damage. If they hit and deal damage, they deliver their poison. The Fortitide save DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 Buzzkin class level + Wisdom bonus. The damage is initial and secondary 1d6 Dex. Unlike their smaller cousins, Buzzkin workers who sting do not die, they simply cannot produce more than one dose of venom per 24 hour period.