These are the children of the winged terrors of the underworld, the ahool. Compared to their elders they are considerably smaller and seem less of a threat, but many denizens of the depths would disagree. The demanding life of ahool society irons out the failings and weaknesses of these youthful creatures quickly, but when one is led too far astray or abandoned by their tribe, they pursue whatever path life provides for them (sometimes never reaching their full primal potential).
Small collectives of ahooling are said to live outside the brutal societies of the predatory ahool, eschewing the bestial traditions of their greater cousins.
Ahooling are not considerable in size, though they tend to be very lean and well-muscled. Each bears marks of what it may grow into as the ahooling ages, but the creatures are remarkably adaptive and their bodies evolve to suit their behaviors and environments. Still, they all bear some similar traits—long, piercing fangs that peek from out of their mouths, bodies covered in fine, coarse dark brown hair, vestigial wings that jut out of their shoulders, taloned hands, and large ears that rise from their narrow skulls in short triangular folds of flesh. The irises of ahooling are predominantly yellow—the eyes of nocturnal predators.
The core of their being demands a diehard approach to life from the ahool, and even their lesser cousins, the ahooling, lead brutal, hardscrabble lives. They collect trophy fetishes, though only the strongest wear them openly; duels for assuming the spoils of victory from another are commonplace.
Ahooling treasure the drinking of blood; the more types of creatures one can legitimately claim to have succored from heightens their social status. Thus the most respected of the beastmen are either fierce combatants or purveyors of their most valued cultural tradition: vino sanguinis (blood wine). While few in number, ahooling moss caverns (which are located on the floor of a cave rather than on the ceiling, unlike the ahool’s moss gardens) are always ruled over by a native that has traveled the Underworld and returned ascended, a full ahool. When found by their more bestial cousins, these conclaves are quickly subsumed, whittled down until only the toughest ahooling remain.
Their warriors are as much hunters as anything else, but the lesser beastmen show greater reverence for the arts and magics, allowing for their settlements to survive hidden from their stronger cousins.
Ahooling are respected and feared by other underworlders, regarded as powerful—albeit dubious— allies. Some can be quite civilized, but they are natural cutthroats. Most explorers remain wary of the ahooling; they avoid killing captives, instead subjecting them to long, torturous existences as preferred livestock for the vino sanguinis brewers.
Alignment and Religion
Ahooling are predominantly chaotic and evil, but not exclusively so. More than a few of the true ahool’s demonic lesser forms were discovered by adventurers that cleansed them, creating good impurities in the creatures before letting them loose once again.
Sometimes these impurities surface in an ahooling, creating a beastman devoted to the purest ideals and goals. Though quite rare, paladin ahooling (and ahool) are spoken of in hushed tones by the malicious elder denizens of the endless caves, and hunted down whenever a true ahool learns of their existence.
The demanding lives of ahooling turn them into exquisite hunters, effective scouts, deft warriors and brutal barbarians. Those that leave their home cavern exemplify the drive and focus of their race—these explorers find their primal urges prove invaluable as they travel.
While they are normally best suited to bear a weapon, some take to spellcasting and make powerful sorcerers or oracles.
Male Names: Asht’haht, Gympth, Kolschak, Riktha, Rorsk’haht, Tek’ta’kaht, Worlpth
Female Names: Errell’atht, Fisscourth, Graix, Nedrazt, Preall’atht, Sol’kla, Syrralth, Vanes’satht
Ahooling Moss Caverns
The homes of ahooling are expansive networks of caverns overgrown with moss that hangs from the ceiling and traps in moisture, making the interior warm and inviting compared to the cold passages of the underworld.
Were it not for the greater respect that lesser beastmen show for magic, these settlements would never survive.
A PC that succeeds on a DC 20 Intelligence (Nature) check can determine from the tribal markings shown around an ahooling moss cavern just how barbaric and dangerous its residents are likely to be. A moss cavern of ahoolings typically becomes an ahool moss garden (suspended in the air) after whatever initial founder’s influence passes into the annals of history.
Your ahooling character has an assortment of inborn abilities that are part of your nature.
- Ability Score Increases. Your Constitution score increases by 2 and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
- Age. Ahooling mature slower than humans; they’re considered young until the age of 32. On average, they live about 120 years.
- Alignment. Most Ahooling are chaotic evil, believing in a cut-throat, savage and predatory view of the world and all within, valuing power and survival above all else.
- Size. Ahoolings stand between 5 and 6 ft. 5 in. tall and average about 185 pounds. Your size is Medium.
- Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
- Ahooling Wings. By flapping your vestigial wings, you can slow your descent to 60 feet per round. You do not take falling damage and land on your feet. If you are incapacitated, paralyzed or petrified before reaching the ground, you begin falling normally. To use this ability, you can’t be wearing medium or heavy armor.
- Bite. You can use your bite as a simple melee weapon with which you have proficiency. Your bite has the finesse and light properties, a reach of 5 ft. and deals 1d6 points of piercing damage.
- Light Blindness. Abrupt exposure to bright light blinds you for 1 round.
- Minor Blood Thirst. Ahoolings must drink the blood of others to fuel their metabolism. Every week, you must consume one gallon of blood per Hit Die or suffer from level 1 exhaustion. For every additional day without feeding, you increase the exhaustion level by a further +1. This exhaustion cannot be alleviated by any means apart from consuming blood equal to one gallon per exhaustion level incurred. If an ahooling manages to drink one gallon of blood, they reduce their exhaustion level by 1. A Medium-sized, healthy humanoid generally is assumed to have about 1. 2 gallons of blood, though extraction of a whole gallon of blood is fatal to a single individual. Medium creatures drained for more than 1/2 gallon of blood suffer from level 1 exhaustion. For the purpose of this ability, assume creatures to have twice as much blood per size category above Medium, half as much per size category below Medium.
- Radiance Vulnerability. You are vulnerable to radiant damage due to your dark heritage.
- Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, you have disadvantage on attack rolls as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
- Superior Darkvision. Accustomed to life in the lightless depths, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 120 ft. 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.
- Underworld Resistances. You are accustomed to the harsh conditions of the underworld. You gain your choice of either cold and thunder resistance.
Languages. You can speak read and write Infernal and Common and generally can understand the basics of Draconic. Ahoolings generally tend to converse in hissing, visceral-sounding Infernal.
There are three subraces of ahooling: aquatic fledgling, terrestrial fledgling and vampiric fledgling ahoolings. Choose one of these subraces.
Ahooling that bear the heritage of ahool spawned from the demons near aquatic realms develop differently than their airborne counterparts; they do not receive wings, but are well-suited to water.
- Born Swimmer. You have proficiency in the Athletics skill and gain advantage on all Strength (Athletics) checks made to swim. Once you gain 5th level, you gain a swim speed equal to your base speed.
- Change Shape. At 3rd level, you can use polymorph, except you can only target yourself and you can only assume the form of a swarm of insects (crabs in the case of most aquatic fledglings) for 1 hour. You must take a long rest to use this ability again.
- Gills. Aquatic Fledglings are at no risk of suffocation from being underwater, but can survive out of water only for 24 hours before they start to drown: You are immediately subject to the suffocation rules after this period. You require enough water to fully immerse yourself in it and spend at least 10 minutes inside the water to reset this timer.
Not every ahooling evolves to take to the air or the water; some scamper along the walls and squeeze into the minute cracks of the endless caves, living as rat kings of the Underworld.
- Born Climber. You have proficiency in the Athletics skill and gain advantage on all Strength (Athletics) checks made to climb. Once you gain 3rd level, you gain a climb speed equal to your base speed.
- Change Shape. At 3rd level, you can use polymorph, except you can only target yourself and you can only assume the form of a swarm of rats for 1 hour. You must take a long rest to use this ability again.
- Ground Control (Recharge 5-6). At 5th level, you can use your action to touch the floor of any subterranean cave, unworked stone or rock to make it ripple at your command. The terrain in a 5 by 30 ft. line originating from you becomes difficult terrain. When you use ground control, all creatures in the area must succeed a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone. The DC for this saving throw is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier.
The most feared (and common) type of ahooling is the vampiric fledgling; feared for their powerful predatory instincts and their propensity for blood.
- Blood Thirst. Vampiric fledgling must drink the blood of others to fuel their metabolism—more so than other ahoolings. Once per long rest, you must consume one gallon of blood per Hit Die or suffer from level 1 exhaustion. For every additional day without meeting the requirement, you increase the exhaustion level by a further +1. If an ahooling manages to drink one gallon of blood, they reduce their exhaustion level by 1. This exhaustion cannot be alleviated by any means apart from consuming blood equal to one gallon per exhaustion level incurred.
- Change Shape. At 3rd level, you can use polymorph, except you can only target yourself and you can only assume the form of a swarm of bats for 1 hour. You must take a long rest to use this ability again.
- Flight of the Vampire. At 5th level, your wings develop further. You have a flying speed of 35 feet.
- Vampiric Bite. As a reaction to hitting a living (nonconstruct, non-undead) creature with a bite attack, you may heal 1d8 + your Constitution modifier hit points. This ability recharges on a short or long rest.
Underworld Races and Classes © 2017 AAW Games LLC; Designers: Thilo Graf and Mike Myler