Archive for the ‘Beings’ Category


Ratikin Species for Dungeons & Dragons (5E)

20 November, 2019

"This ends now!"“We have always lived in the undercity, for more generations than you can count, keeping the city safe from what lies beneath.  But they do not appreciate our work, calling us vermin or worse, but we persevere, as we must.”


The origin of the Ratikin species is unknown, however, there is no indication of them existing before the Sundering so they are believed to have been created by that cataclysmic event.  The Ratikin, like their animal namesake, have spread widely through the Sea of Stars living in the shadows of, and on the castoffs of, the big folk.

The Ratikin tend to keep to themselves, working (and stealing) at the edges of the larger society and, generally, society likes it that way.  The Ratikin organize themselves around family groups which in turn fit into larger clans that come together for mutual defense or larger projects.

Ratikin are usually tolerated at best and often scorned and shunned.  Dwarven communities can always find tasks for them and so many end up in the outer edges of the Dwarven lands.  The Visse, as a general rule, despise the Ratilkin and try to keep them out of Imperial lands when possible. The Dark Star Dominion has impressed all the Ratikin it can and uses them as sappers and expandable engineering troops making it both hated and feared.

Ratikin Traits

Your Ratikin character has a number of traits in common with all other Ratikin. Read the rest of this entry ?


Catfolk of Felix Talis, for Dungeons & Dragons 5E

2 October, 2019

Play some music, you cool catYou can learn more about the Catfolk here,  But as I have a player in my D&D game who wants to play one, figured I needed to update them for play in 5E.

Catfolk Traits

Your catfolk character has a variety of natural abilities, the result of being a magically uplifted cat.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity and Charisma scores increases by 1 each.

Age. Catfolk mature slightly quicker than human, becoming fully adult around the age of fourteen, and their life span, on average is just slightly shorter usually living around three score and ten, if something does not happen to them first.

Alignment. Catfolk, like the cats they evolved from, are fiercely independent, seeking their own way even when going along would be the easier path. They are notable self-centered and self-satisfied. But they are firm friends and spiteful enemies.

Size. Catfolk fall in the human ranger, averaging around five foot, eight inches range (172.5cm) and then toward a lith and slender build. They are fur-covered, in any of the patterns typically found on cats, with a nimble tail and large cross-slitted eyes, their ancestry is quite obvious. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Animal Ancestry.  Due to your unusual heritage as an uplifted creature, all catfolk remain vulnerable to spells and magical effects that target animal. However, you do gain advantage to resist such spells and effects.

Darkvision. Like the cat you are, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Keen Senses. You have cat-like sense and thus you have proficiency in the Perception skill.

Natural Stealth. They do not call sneaky people cat-footed without reason, you have proficiency with the Stealth skill.

Languages. The catfolk have an efficient, if eclectic and informal education system and you can speak, read, and write the Felix Talis dialect of the Imperial Tongue.

Subrace, or you a semi-wild alley cat or a more stylish urbane cat?

Alley Cat
You are used to surviving on your own, relying on your wits and quickness to get you our of whatever trouble you end up in.

Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity Score increases by 1.

Cat-like reflexes: You gain advantage on Initiative checks if you are not surprised.

Urbane Cat
You rely on charm and your innate sense of society functions to get by.

Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma Score increases by 1.

Polyglot: You have a natural talent with languages, choose two more languages that you can speak, read and write. The first time you are speaking to someone in their native tongue, if you roll a 1 on the d20 for a Charisma check, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.

Notes: Image closer detail from the lower margin of the folio of a cat playing a fiddle from the British Museum and used under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.


Xenogenesis in the Sea of Stars (A to Z, X)

27 April, 2019

Do you lay eggs?The world of the Sea of Stars in deeply infused with magic, in many cases the supernatural and the natural have intertwined so far as to become indistinguishable from one another  This constant interplay of forces means that strange things sometimes, just happen.

One of those is xenogenesis, birth of an offspring that is unlike its parents, which is rare but far from unknown.  Draconic blood flows through the veins of so many people and occasionsal, children are born higher up the draconic chain of ascension than one would expect, while no child not of a dragon has even been born as a Dracona (half dragon), Dracovi and Dani have appears as children to parents who were far removed from their draconic ancestors.

Occasional fragments of divine ancestry (“god-spark”) will manifest often leading to a very unusual child with strange appearance and potent magics, such children must be hidden from the dragons who will kill them or, at the very least, try to control such potential power.  The Empress recruits such children, when found by her agents, into her household, though she also has them rendered sterile, she has no wish to see the return of the gods.

Alignment with one of the elemental powers sometimes find their way into children conceived in areas rife with such activity.  These children are sought after by wizards and other specialists in the arts of magic as they can interact with their aligned element in very useful and productive ways.

And other changes to biology are known to happen, strange coloration, extra (or fewer) fingers or toes or both, and other physical abnormalities but rarely are they negative or harmful changes (though the possessor may not consider them positive either).  It is almost as if the magic wishes to expand the variety of people.

Notes: More excuses for players to be able to play the character that they want and X is a tough letter to find things to work with.

Image The Selenetidae women giving birth to eggs. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY.



Whales, sky and otherwise, in the Sea of Stars (A to Z, W)

26 April, 2019

Whales in the seaWhile the seas and oceans were shattered, along with the rest of the world, in the Sundering, the whales were surprisingly unaffected almost as if they knew what areas would be safe.  Some of the whales, of course, were lost in the seas that poured away.  The whales went on with their lives, mostly, a few decided that they wishes to travel to places that they could no longer swim to . . . and took to the air instead.

The sky whales usual avoid urban areas and other areas where people gather, they prefer the purity of flying over empty oceans, deserts, steppes and star fields.  So seeing them is rare, unless one also travels in such area.

For the crews of the sky ships, seeing a pod of sky whales is considered good luck, and most would never consider hunting them.  The Sen’tek and some groups of pirates have no such scruples, as their bones can be used to make sky ships though the magic bleeds from them quickly and such ship can only fly for a matter of months without a fresh infusion of bones to renew their ability to fly.  The Empress disapproves of such hunting and Imperial Navy ships are occasionally tasked to watch over the whales when there are rumors of predation upon the sky whales.

Not that whales, of sea or sky, are helpless in the face of whalers without outside intervention.  Whaling is popular, and profitable, in some climes though the ocean born whalers watch the sky, for sometimes the sky whales act to protect their oceanic brethren.

Notes: Image “Whales!” by Hot Grill is licensed under CC by-nc-sa 2.0


Insects in the Sea of Stars (A to Z, I)

11 April, 2019

Insects of several typesInsects are everywhere in the Sea of Stars, just as they are here, but in even greater variety.  Due to the presence of magical flows, some insect are able to overcome the square law rule and grow to enormous size.  Occasional insect-animal hybrids (such as MothLions and sting squirrels) exist and are more common in some regions than others.  (So, insects, giant, unusual and hybrid, are all viable forms of threat.)

While magic can be used to eliminate large numbers of insects at once, there are always more, but in general the farms and large cities of the Sea of Stars are no more troubled by insects than such are in our modern world.  Though occasionally a new, invasive species with upset the balance in a city or island with catastrophic effects before a balance is reestablished.  There are a small number of wizards who specialize in large scale extermination of vermin, not just insects, and they rarely lack for work somewhere.

Of course, very few know that the insects of the Sea of Stars are occasionally influenced by the mysterious Pattern which acts through them to achieve its inscrutable goals.

Notes: Sorry this is late, yesterday was just a terrible day for productivity.

Image Five insects of the Orthoptera order, including a grasshopper, locust and mantid. Coloured engraving by J. O. W from the Wellcome Collection. CC BY.


Cats in the Sea of Stars (A to Z, C)

3 April, 2019

A variety of big catsAs one would suspect, the dragons of the Sea of Stars feel a certain kinship with cats, natural predators with a disdain for others.  Many of the draconic houses have both working cats and cats for pets, not that their dragonish masters have to under take any of the unpleasant tasks of having cats leaving such to the Visse and other servants.

Some among the dragons have adopted larger cats, lions, tigers, leopards, or even more exotic felines, for use as guards, hunting animals or even decoration.  (It is amazing how some people are cowed when their ruler is surround by a subservient pride of lions.)  The hunting cheetah of the Crystal Plains are justly feared and cooperate effectively with dragonkine when hunting.  While the crimson leopards from the Bloodwood Forests are exceedingly effective as guards and have a petranatural ability to communicate among themselves.  The grey-gold lion prides of the Amber Savannah willingly accept dragon as the leader of their pride even when they have adopted human form.  Needless to say, the Visse do not care for having to deal with big cats and actively recruit larger handlers when such in in a household.

While dragons like cats, their relationship with the Catfolk of Felix Talis has been more fraught, the Independence that manifest in a pet is one things, less so if they talk back, especially less so if they argue philosophy with you.  The Catfolk, however, respect all the dragonkine and are careful not to twist their tails . . . too far.

Cats are a popular choice among the familiar animals for spellcasters and many have developed considerable intelligence and some even have acquired their own magical abilities.

Notes: Art from the Wellcome Collection and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.


The Empress is Watching.

16 March, 2019


The Empress

Here is the official piece for the Draconic Empress of the Sea of Stars, in her human form because it is much easier to get administrative work done when you are not at risk of destroying all of the paperwork the empire requires to function on with a twitch of a tail.

This lovely piece is by the ever-talented Ron Randall, comic book artist and creator of the Trekker series (which I also recommend).  Who I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with at many Portland Comic Cons back in the 1990s.  The photo does not fully do it justice and I will need to get a big flatbed scanner to get it converted to an image for use in the Sea of Stars campaign book.


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