Rhydan (Intelligent, talking animals)

Written by Jason Tseng.

GM NOTE: These rules are meant to mimic the Rhydan from Blue Rose, or the intelligent Animal companions from the Romantic Fantasy genre, more broadly (i.e. Mercedes Lackey, etc.). Feel free to call these animals by another name. The reason for so many racial powers and abilities is because Rhydan also miss out on gear and other game features. This is an attempt to make playing a talking intelligent animal just as interesting or exciting as playing a humanoid.

Flavor Text:

Secluded deep in the wild places across the world, far from civilization, the enigmatic Rhydan dwell. Intelligent, magical animals imbued with the power of speech, these magnificent creatures act as guardians of the wild and emissaries of the animals to civilization. Rhydans, no matter their species, tend to represent the pinacle of their type, and are usually large versions of their species. For example, a Rhy-Wolf or Rhy-Cat can be as large as a small horse; Rhy-Birds are large avids and can be the size of a typical human or larger.

Occasionally, the Rhydan will empathicaly bond with a humanoid. This bond, called a Rhybond, is lifelong and powerful, and is only severed by death.

GM NOTE: Although many Rhydan are large enough to serve as mounts, being wild animals, no self-respecting Rhydan would permit any humanoid as a rider. The only exception would be their Rhybonded companion. And even in that case, they would ride without a saddle. Rhydan are still wild animals, no matter how familiar with civilization or humanoids.

Racial Abilities and Feats

  1. Wild at Heart: The Rhydan, no matter what their species, is most at home in the wild. Gain +6 to background dealing with Survival/Nature/Tracking/Animal Handling/etc.
  2. Look Ma, No Hands!: Rhydan lack the fine motor control of humanoids with hands. All checks requiring fine motor control such as paging through a tome or picking a lock, recieve penalty of -6
  3. Tooth and Claw: Lacking hands to use weapons such as swords and staves, Rhydan have natural weapons which are listed below under each Rhydan type.
  4. Live off the Land: Rhydan start the game with no wealth, but gain one relationship point with a chosen icon. Suggested: Elf Queen, High Druid, Orc Lord
  5. Custom-Gear: Rhydan do not start with any gear, but they may purchase armor from vendors, however because this armor is being made for an animal, as opposed to a humanoid, this armor typically costs 50% more than typical armor. Rhydan are common enough in this world that armorers and other vendors are familiar enough that such requests are not unusual. However, it is unlikely, but not impossible for such items to be in stock. Areas closer to the various woods where Rhydan are prevalent are more likely to stock Rhydan-sized armor and gear. Such vendors oftentimes will barter with Rhydan for gear instead of requiring monetary payment. Normal benefits and penalties to wearing such armor and gear apply.

 

  1. Adventurer Feat - Rhybonded: You are empathically linked to a humanoid character. No matter how far away, you can always sense your bonded companion's emotions. You also can always gain a sixth sense for their location. Receive +2 to rolls locating or searching for a missing Rhybonded companion. Because of this bond, once per battle when you or your companion must save against psychic affect, the unaffected Rhybonded character may spend a recovery to allow their companion to re-roll overcome the effect. If you are bonded to a PC, that player must also take this feat. If you are bonded with an NPC, you must take this feat twice, and your Rhybonded companion is always a level lower than you. see rules for Ranger`s animal companion for stats.
  2. Champion feat: You can now send thoughts and images to each other as a free action, no matter the distance. You gain +2 to attack rolls when assisting your Rhybonded companion. If two PCs are Rhybonded, both must take this feat for both to gain the benefits. Otherwise, communication can only be sent one way from the character who took this feat; and only the character with this feat would gain attack bonuses.
  3. Epic feat: You and your Rhybonded think, act and fight as one. You and your companion combine your HP and recoveries into one pool, although both roll recoveries separately (i.e. if an effect causes both Rhybonded characters to use recoveries in the same round, two recoveries would be rolled, even though HP and recoveries are pooled). If only one character takes this feat, than HP and recoveries are NOT pooled, but once per battle (recharge +16), the player with this feat may heal their bonded companion using one of their recoveries.

 

Rhydan Species

Rhy-Arachnid (Tarantula, Scorpion)
+2 Str OR +2 Int
Poison Bite/Stinger(Scorpion) 1d8 ongoing damage; Claws/Pincers(Scorpion) 1d8
Racial Power - Spray weapon: Once per battle, you may spray 1d4 nearby enemies. Roll a d20 + highest ability vs. PD. Spiders spray webbing. On hit, target is entangled and cannot act but to free themselves (hard save 16+). Scorpions spray acid from their stinger. On hit, target receives 1d8 per level ongoing acid damage. Miss does half damage.

Rhy-Bear (Black bear, Brown bear, Grizzly bear, Panda bear, and other Ursids)
+2 Str OR +2 Con
Bite 1d10; Claw 1d8
Racial Power - Bear's Fortitude: Once per battle, after taking damage, you may increase your AC by +2. Roll to recharge this ability (+16) after you use it. If you fail, you cannot use this again during this battle. If you are successful, on the next damage you take, you may activate again. At the end of the battle your AC returns to the normal level.

Rhy-Bird (Eagles, Falcons, Owls, Ravens, Heron, etc.)
+2 Dex OR +2 Wis
Beak 1d8; Talons 1d6; Wings 1d4
Racial Ability - Skyborn: You can fly. You gain +6 to all checks related to vision while in flight. This does not stack with Wild At Heart benefit.
Racial Power - Aerial combat: Rhy-Birds can disengage as a quick action, and only triggers attacks of opportunity from ranged attacks. While in the air, only other flying enemies are considered engaged. You still are vulnerable to ranged attacks.
Adventurer feat - Borne aloft: You can now carry up to one normal sized individual or two small individuals in your talons while in flight. While carrying a target like this, you move at half your flying speed.
Champion feat: You can grab an engaged average sized or smaller individual in your talons as a standard action and take to the air as a movement action. On your next action, you may drop the target to the ground as a free action dealing 1d10 per movement action spent gaining altitude. Those in your clutches can attack you at half damage to free themselves, after which point they receive falling damage as normal. If you take damage from a captive, you can make a hard save to continue holding them (hard save 16+) if you choose.

Rhy-Cat (Cougar, Tiger, Lion, Lynx, etc.)
+2 Dex OR +2 Int
Bite 1d10; Claw 1d8
Racial Power - Nine lives: Once per battle, when you take damage that would bring you to 0 HP or below, this attack brings you to 1 HP, no matter how much damage it does.
Racial Power - Feline Reflexes: Once per battle, before a target rolls to attack you, you may increase your AC by +2 for that round.

Rhy-Deer (also Elk, Moose, Reindeer, Antelopes, Gazelle, etc.)
+2 Dex OR +2 Int
Antlers 1d10; Hoof 1d8
Racial Power - Fleat-footed: Once per battle, you may sacrifice your next standard action to disengage an enemy. This does not have to be on your turn,nut still triggers attacks of opportunity. However that damage is halved.

Rhy-Hare 
+2 Dex OR +2 Wis
Bite 1d10; Kick 1d8
Racial Power - Vigilant: When ambushed, the Rhy-Hare can roll a d20 + their highest ability + level against the stealth check of the attacking party. If the Rhy-Hare beats this roll, she senses danger before they strike and she can warn her allies. This is usually done by thumping the ground with her strong hind legs.
Racial Power - Fight or Flight: Once per battle after being engaged by an enemy, the Rhy-Hare can give up her movement action from her next move and disengage from the attacker, even on her attacker's turn. This does trigger an attack of opportunity, but any damage is halved.

Rhy-Horse (Horse, Donkey, Zebra, etc.)
+2 Con OR +2 Cha
Kick (only can be done from rear) 1d10; Hoof 1d8
Racial Power - Trample: Once per battle, as a move action + standard action, a Rhy-Horse may attempt to trample 1d4 nearby enemies by making standard attack roll vs AC. If hit, targets take 1d8 per level damage. This attack does half damage on a miss.

Rhy-Snake (Rattlesnake, Cobra, Python, etc.)
+2 Dex OR +2 Cha
Poison Bite 1d8 ongoing damage; Tail 1d8
Racial Power - Entrancing Gaze: Once per battle, you may entrance a single engaged enemy your size or smaller. Roll a d20 + Highest ability vs MD. If successful the target is entranced and cannot act for as long as you hold their gaze (hard save 16+ cancels effect). At the beginning of your next turn, if you choose to attack the target, their AC is halved, ending the entrancement. If you choose to continue holding their gaze, you must roll to sustain the effect (save +11). You also cannot act for as long as you hold your gaze. If the target is attacked by another person, the effect is cancelled and they can act on their next action.

Rhy-Wolf (also Wild dogs, Raccoon Dog, Dingoes, other Canids)
+2 Str OR +2 Cha
Bite 1d10; Claw 1d8
Racial Power - Howl: Once per battle, a rhy-wolf can use it's howl to intimidate 1d4 enemies nearby enemies. Level + Cha + d20 vs MD. Those affected are stunned and lose their next turn. This power is useless against large or huge enemies.

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