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Of all the intelligent creatures of the wastes, none are quite so alien as the mantisfolk. Resembling giant mantises that walk on two legs (as their name befits), the mantisfolk are intelligent creatures —but said intelligence is so unlike that of other humanoids (or, as the mantisfolk refer to them, the “softshells”) that to seek a direct comparison of intellect between a mantisfolk and, say, a human, is guaranteed to lead only to frustration and failure.

Besides their distinctive mantid appearance, the mantisfolk are also notable for two features: their extra set of arms, located in the middle of the abdomen; and an inability to speak any tongue but their own.

Mantisfolk secondary arms are notably weaker, and cannot wield heavy weapons or other bulky equipment with any degree of effectiveness.

Otherwise, they are fully capable of performing all other tasks that any humanoid might do with their own two arms.

The mantisfolk tongue may well be the single greatest source of confusion between mantisfolk and other humanoids. More than simple verbiage, the mantisfolk language is comprised in equal parts of complicated clicks and whirs, scraping chitin, and subtle movements of the antennae. Some softshells learn to understand the mantisfolk tongue, and it is likewise not uncommon for a mantisfolk – especially a wandering one – to become familiar with humanoid speech; however, it is physically impossible for a mantisfolk to actually speak as other fleshy creatures do, and vice versa.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your quick, spindly frame is covered in a chitinous exoskeleton that reduces the impact of small injuries and shields you from the heat of the sun. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.
  • Age. Mantisfolk reach physical maturity about six months after hatching, and rarely live longer than 30 years.
  • Alignment. The mantisfolk mind is alien in comparison to those of other humanoid species. The actions and temperaments of the mantisfolk differ between individuals, but they all tend towards neutral alignments.
  • Size. Most mantisfolk stand from five and a half to six and a half feet tall on two long, slender back legs. You size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet
  • Languages. You can speak Threek, the language of the mantisfolk, and read and write, but not speak, Common. A mantisfolk’s vocal system cannot produce the sounds necessary to speak any language other than Threek.
  • Sleepless. You don’t need to sleep when taking a long rest, and may instead remain alert and perform light tasks. Magic cannot put you to sleep. Some theorize that this ability is the reason for the short lifespan of the mantisfolk.
  • Leaper. You are always considered to have a running start when jumping.
  • Chameleonic Carapace. Your chitinous outer plating changes color to match your surroundings. If you do not take actions on your turn while lightly obscured or pressed against a rough surface, you may make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to hide.
  • Extra Limbs. You have two extra arms that grow from the middle of your torso. You may wield extra weapons or equipment with these hands, with the following restrictions:
    • You may only wield light weapons with these limbs
    • If you wield a shield, you cannot use these limbs to wield weapons at all.
    • In order to use two-weapon fighting with a weapon you wield with your secondary limbs, all your weapon attacks that you make with that Attack action must be usable with two-weapon fighting. For example, a mantisfolk with the Extra Attack feature could not make one attack with a longbow and one attack with a light melee weapon, and then use two-weapon fighting. If one of your secondary hands is free at the start of your turn, you may perform one additional interaction with an object on your turn.
  • Mantisfolk Weapon Training. You are proficient with the double spear and the throwing disk.

Mantisfolk Quirks

d8 Quirk
1 When I kill a foe, I cut off their digits, as these cure easily and make for excellent snacks.
2 This concept of money” is hard for me to grasp.
3 I find a particular kind of clothing fascinating, and collect and wear such garments.
4 There is no greater delicacy than the raw meat scraps fed to domesticated guard animals.
5 I cannot sing, but I enjoy whistling softskin songs.
6 The concept of softskin mating makes me uncomfortable. How can the mother be expected to survive if she does not eat at least part of the male for sustenance?
7 My companions associate themselves with particular noises. One day, I will be able to make these noises myself.
8 I create all my gear from my old shed carapaces.
Section 15: Copyright Notice
Deadworlds: A Post-Apocalyptic Expansion for the World's Greatest Roleplaying Game Copyright 2017 PondStrider Games. Author George Sutherland Howard