Sisters of the Swan (A to Z Challenge, S)22 April, 2015
Sisters of the Swan
The Abbey on the Lake of White Lilies was famous for the honor and learning of its sisters and the beautiful swans that populated the lake. They were not warriors but healers, scholars and gardeners. When the Dragons launched their attack on the gods, all the sisters could do was pray.
When the Empress visited the Abbey after the sundering, a fragment of a heaven had lodged in the lake and the lilies had changed to gold and the sisters and the swans had been melted together. The transformation was rough for some, wings for arms or exceeding long necks, others had been killed outright, their new bodies unsuitable for the world. The Empress used her magic to heal and reform them, making the form of woman and swan, separate, but allowing them to switch between the two.
The Abbey on the Lake of Gold Lilies remains under Imperial jurisdiction and remains a center of learning. It exports fine lace, goose down and illuminated manuscripts.
Physical Description: The Sisters of the Swan are willowy and graceful with long necks and usually pale skin, pale hair is common as well but their eyes are dark. Their faces tend to be narrow with large eyes. They have long delicate fingers and long toes on their feet, with webbing between their toes.
Very rarely a Sister is born with feathers rather than hair, goose feet or other more visible reminders of the bond their share with the swan.
Relations: The Sisters of the Swan have no serious enemies, they keep to themselves and rely on their isolated location and the watchful eye of the Empress to keep them safe. They manage a small amount of trade but not so much that they are much noticed.
Their numbers are retained by magically induced pregnancies, the rare lover and the even rarer marriage to a man.
Alignment and Religion: The Sisters of the Swan are very dutiful, working hard to support the Abbey. The goddess the abbey was originally built to honor has been long since forgotten and the Sisters follow the Way and offer good wishes, but not prayers, to the Empress. Occasionally their devotion to the Empress approaches worship, but it rarely crosses that line.
Lands of the Sisters of the Swan: The Sisters of the Swan are at home in the land surrounding the Lake of Gold Lilies rarely venturing beyond those confines except in times of great need.
Adventurers: The Sisters usually keep to themselves but occasionally one of the Sisters will feel and overwhelming need to travel and explore the world before returning to settle down in the Abbey.
Names: The Sisters are fond of virtue names such as Charity, Honor or Loyalty.
Sisters of the Swan Racial Traits
• -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma: the Sisters of the Swan are graceful and confident, but not physically strong
• Medium: Sisters of the Swan are medium-sized creatures and suffer no bonuses or penalties due to size.
• Low-light Vision: Sisters of the Swan can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
• Animal Ancestry: due to their unusual heritage, all Sisters of the Swan are affected by spells that target animals. However, they do receive a +4 circumstance bonus to resist such spells.
• Natural flyers: a Sister of the Swan always has Fly as a class skill and gains a +2 racial bonus to Fly check when in swan form.
• Perfect Grace: The Sisters are graceful in all things, gaining a +2 racial bonus to Perform (dance) checks and a +1 racial bonus to Acrobatics checks.
• Shapeshifter: All Sisters of the Swan have the shapeshifter subtype.
• Swan Form: A Sister of the Swan may change to and from the form of a swan a number of times a day equal to half their level (minimum one) plus their Charisma modifier (if positive). Up to a light load (for their humanoid form) transforms with the Sisters of the Swan, any additional weight falling to the ground where they transformed. While transformed they are small sized, move 5/fly 30 (average), +1 natural armor, beak 1d6/19-20, -6 Str, +2 Dex, and cannot speak or cast spells that require verbal component.
• Languages: Sisters of the Swan speak the Imperial Tongue and their own Language derived from the language spoken in the Nunnery before the Sundering and now known simply as Swanspeech.
Notes: One of the minor beastkine races in the Sea of Stars.