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Rai

Long ago, there was an anomaly. A sect of elves came into contact with a rift in the Vector Wilds and were permanently changed. Their beauty marred, their home destroyed, their bodies coursing with mutated energy; they resolved to adapt. Little did they know that their bodies, having unlocked to key to rapid evolution, would adapt regardless of their decisions. As a side effect of their rapid mutations, the Rai are born with innate ability to channel the energy around them. Most commonly this is electricity but there are many others can channel ice, grass, smoke, and even corruption. They use their powers to augment their tall and slender frames, making them phenomenal combatants. Thankfully, their peaceable nature and nomadic sensibilities have kept them away from ideas of domination. Most of the time.

Impossibly Adaptable

The Rai are no longer related to the elves in a biological sense. They share some minor physical traits but even this is not consistent throughout the whole of the species. The unknown anomaly that changed them so long ago did so by unlocking a latent mutagen deep within their physiology. This mutagen allows (or enforces) the rapid adaptation of their species. They can undergo amazing evolutionary reconstruction within their lifetime, changing their appearance and abilities whole cloth. This allows their species to live in nearly any environment, even places that could not normally host life.

Identity Ocean

Personal and communal identity is something that the Rai often struggle with. Their ability to live anywhere means they never truly feel they belong in any one place. Their adaptability also keeps them from having a single contiguous personal identity. This comes in direct conflict to one of the few facets of the elven ancestry they have not completely lost; a strong sense of superiority. They have largely adapted to this part of their lives, but some can become enraged or depressed when their bodies begin to adapt to a new environment and change in ways they don’t want. Rai often have a deep subconscious belief that they are the pinnacle of evolution for their species and any changes to that can be deeply unsettling. The flawed belief that they can “trick” their bodies into evolving perfect mutations, or that such a thing even exists, is a thing rai philosophers have debated for centuries. Rai travel together in small tribes, setting themselves up wherever they please. Cities, deserts, remote islands, it does not matter to a tribe of rai. Any member of the species is allowed to integrate into another tribe, though many require the new member to prove themselves a valuable addition. As Rai spend years around one another, their physical traits become homogenized, reducing or enhancing other traits. Rai that have spent several decades together may be indistinguishable to the casual observer and even sometimes to the rai themselves. Rai come in a plethora of sizes, easily ranging from 5 feet to 9 feet tall. Shorter rai tend to be stockier while the tallest look almost wraithlike in their gaunt features. Their outward appearance can also range wildly depending on what environment they have adapted to. It is not uncommon to see gills, augmented eyes, tails of several types, and any hue of skin coloring. The most common form of rai is 6 feet tall with a dark yellow skin tone and slightly webbed fingers.

Adaptation Via Adventure

Rai may have many personal reasons for adventuring out on their own but underneath all of that is a latent desire to improve themselves; though what improvement means varies on a rai to rai basis. It can take a decade or more for noticeable evolution to occur within them and so they may spend years searching for the perfect environment. They may search for a place of learning that enhances their mind, a place of hardship that improves their bodies, or some place that may result in a desired special ability being formed. Some find adventuring with others to be simply a means to an end, while others see the act of questing itself to be an excellent way to ensure the mutations they desire. In a twist of irony, adventuring often disrupts this mentality, their cold logic and obsession with genetic “improvement” coming against the sheer vastness of the lives and ideals that surround them.

Early in rai history, they sought out mates purely for the traits that could be passed onto their offspring. While this logic seemed reasonable at the time, it fell to the wayside after a few generations. Though a few clans still hold onto the past, it is well known among rai that any traits passed onto a child are rapidly overwritten simply by a change in environment. For this reason, while they are highly concerned with their own bodies, rai are rarely concerned with the genetic lineage of their mates or children. Regardless of the species involved, offspring of rai mating will always be rai. Rai are never born alone, being born as twins or part of a litter, depending on the parent species involved. Given enough time, rai can adapt to mate with nearly any species or sex, their bodies changing over several years to adapt to the mating requirements. Some have even been known to reproduce asexually, though this is extremely rare.

Rai Names

Rai take pride in their ancestry, with their names being a reflection of the past. When Rai are born they are given a complicated full name, the first part of which is the name they are most commonly referred to as. Groups of rai children are given a similar first name that only deviates by one or two letters among the whole group. For example, a group of 6 rai siblings may have the first name Derrik, Dyrrik, Derrak, Durrik, Darrik, and Dorrik. The full name is a convoluted process that seems to make sense to the rai but can confound other species tremendously. Their full name includes a first, middle, and last name. Each group has its own set of rules and an additional set of unwritten rules that seem to vary between rai tribes. Typically, this is the standard: The first name is given to them at birth and is used for most circumstances. The middle name is both of their parent’s first (or only in some cases) names, with the maternal coming first. Their last name is the combination of their parent’s last names, the maternal coming first again, with no discernable limit. If you know a rai’s full name you know who their siblings are, who their parents are, and every branch of their family tree for several generations. For this reason, rai typically keep their true names hidden unless absolutely necessary. An example of a full rai name would be: Derrik Ara-Matthias Hallow-Juniper-Grack-Fulton-Adamantit-Markins-Thallow-Hister-Swallow-Watt. Some rai drop the legacy last names down to a manageable limit while others insist that children learn a list of names hundreds of generations long.

Because of the influence of other species and the disparity of tribes, there is no type of first name that sticks out more than any other among the rai. If mating within their own species, they will typically adopt names from the surrounding culture. If mating with an elf, orc, human, or otherwise, they will choose first names usually associated with those species.

Other Species

Rai come in such a huge variety that other species are forced to regard each one as a new encounter. It can be assumed that most rai have a neutral temperament but beyond that it is hard to know how they will react or be reacted to. Some rarer breeds of rai, such as the Void Rai and Razor Rai, are typically avoided because of their fearsome frames and disposition. While Angel and Beat Rai are often welcomed into villages and cities, based on their appearance alone.

Racial Traits

Like everything else, rai very wildly.

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity, Constitution, and Intelligence score increase by 1.
  • Age: Although they have a very distant elven heritage, rai lives move at a faster clip. Typically reaching maturity at 30 and living 400 or so years. Though some sects have focused their genes on creating longer lived subspecies, with rumors of their ages exceeding well past 1,000 years.
  • Alignment: Their nomadic lifestyles instill a sense of balance within most rai. They tend towards true neutrality, seeking to find harmony within their existence. Though, like most things within the rai species, there are less common tribes that spread along the entire alignment spectrum.
  • Size: Your size is either small or medium, depending upon your ancestry. Choose whichever suits you.
  • Speed: Your base walking speed is 30, regardless of natural size.
  • Improved Hearing: Elongated ears and excellent hearing is the singular trait shared among all rai. They can clearly understand sounds as quiet as a whisper up to 15 feet away. Roaming: You have proficiency in the Survival skill.
  • Sleep: Your elven ancestry has all but disappeared, meaning you do require sleep. However, you only require 5 hours of sleep to gain the benefits of a long rest.
  • Languages: You can speak, read, and write common and one language of your choice. The language should be that of your parents or of a culture your parents have settled in or around. For example, you would know Gnomish with a Gnome mother or Elvish if your clan settled in elven territory when you were born.

Variants

  • Rai come in myriad shapes, sizes, and colors. The major types are listed here but there may be other types that exist with your world, work with your GM if there is a different type of rai you would like to create. All rai have some limited control over elements, the exact power being influenced by their environment. A rai can change their abilities by spending a minimum of 20 years evolving their bodies through purposeful action or living in a particular environment. Doing so will almost always override their previous abilities.
  • Elemental Specialty: Each variant has a type of element they have minor control over. They can use this ability to cause harmless and minor effects with that element or damage type. The effect cannot be used to create detailed objects, attack directly, or stop an effect or attack. Once per day, they can focus and overcharge this energy, creating one of two effects. This changes to twice per day, once the rai reaches 12th level
  • Effect Attack: When you make a melee or ranged attack, you can use a bonus action to channel the element or damage type into your weapon, augmenting its damage. The attack does an additional 1d10 damage, the type of damage is determined by your Elemental Specialty
  • Rai Shield: You can use a bonus action to cover yourself in an offensive barrier that lasts until the start of your next turn. When you are hit by a melee attack, the creature that attacked you takes 1d10 damage, the type of damage is determined by your Elemental Specialty. Additionally, your rai has resistance to the damage type you are specialized with.

Variants

Aqua

Aqua Rai have adapted to the water and enjoy swimming more than walking. They have webbed fingers and toes and a set of gills. Their skin is generally a deep blue with hints of green throughout. Waterborn: Aqua Rai have a set of gills that allows them to breath underwater. They have a swim speed of 30.

Elemental Specialty: Aqua Rai have minor control over water. Their damage type is cold.

Void

Some Rai has spent far too long in the Vector Wilds, their bodies becoming twisted and grotesque. They are tall and gaunt, with appendages that seem eerily long. Their skin is often a wild mixture of black and white fractal patterns or spirals.

Corrupted Absorption: Due to your constant exposure to corruption, your body has adapted to its influence. Once per day, you can spend 1 hour touching a creature and either take a level of corruption from them onto yourself or transfer one level from yourself onto them. When the transfer is complete, the creature who gained one level of corruption must roll on the corruption table and take the new effect. Once you begin this process, you must remain touching the creature or the process is interrupted, and you must finish a long rest before you can attempt it again. Once you have used this feature to transfer corruption onto another creature, you cannot take that level away with this ability. Additionally, as a Void Rai, you do not suffer the effects of the first level of corruption you have, positive or negative, but it still counts towards your total corruption levels.

Elemental Specialty: Void Rai have minor psychic abilities. They can use their action to move objects weighing 1 pound or less up to 15 feet. They can also send two-word messages telepathically to willing creatures within 30 feet. Their damage type is psychic.

Celestial

Celestial Rai are adapted to life on a higher plane of existence. They may never have been to this plane but instead their tribe may have made their home on ancient hallowed ground, the holy energy seeping into them over time.

  • Glow: You know the light cantrip. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this cantrip.
  • Holy Mutation: Once per day, you can temporarily mutate another willing creature’s body. The effect lasts 1 minute and can be any one of the following:
    • The creature grows gills, allowing the creature to breathe underwater
    • Toughen a creature’s flesh and mind, adding +1 to all their saving throws
    • Boost a creature’s natural healing ability. As long as that creature has at least 1 hit point, they regain 1 additional hit point at the start of their turn.
    • Increase a creature’s movement speed by +5.
    • Add +2 to any healing the creature receives for the duration.
    • The creature gains Darkvision up to 30 feet.
  • Elemental Specialty: Celestial Rai have a holy inner light. Their damage type is radiant.

Ember

Ember Rai have acclimated to intense heat and flames. They often resemble walking lava, their skin pulsing a dull red with large dark patches spotted over them. Their flesh is hot to the touch and most of their clothing is singed.

  • Fire Blood: Once per day, if hit with a fire-based attack, you can use your reaction to absorb the fire and are healed a number of hit points equal to the fire damage you would have received. When using this move, you immediately lose your resistance to fire damage until the start of your next turn. This means that you absorb the full fire damage from the initial attack.
  • Elemental Specialty: Ember Rai burn with an inner passion. You have minor control over fire and can touch an object to start or snuff small fires at will. If using this minor fire against an enemy, they will not take more than 1 fire damage from the attack. Their damage type is fire.

Storm

A Storm Rai was likely born on or around the Thunderplains and has spent their life dodging bolts of lightning since they could crawl. Their skin ranges from a deep yellow to light brown. They have a slim and tall frame with toned muscles.

Quick Reflexes: All Storm Rai have amazing dodging reflexes. You can add +2 to your Dexterity saving throws.

  • Quick Attack: When going against quick opponents, you can edge out just a little faster than them. When you roll initiative, if you tie with a creature, you can add +1 to your initiative. If this results in another tie, then you take your turn before the creature you tied with.
  • Elemental Specialty: Storm Rai can channel electricity through their bodies. They can send small currents through metal and give harmless static shocks. Their damage type is electric.

Razor

Razor Rai stand as a testament to the strangeness of evolutionary mutation. Their bones have become an organic metal that is constantly growing. Because of this, they are covered in splinters and spikes that sprout from underneath their skin. They claim to suffer no pain from this condition.

Natural Weapon: Your unarmed strikes do 1d4 + your Strength or Dexterity modifier piercing damage.

  • Weapon Entangle: If an enemy of medium size or smaller makes an attack against you with a melee weapon, and misses by 2 or less, you can use your reaction to try and entangle the weapon in your body. Make a Strength contest against the creature, stealing the weapon away from the creature if you succeed.
  • Elemental Specialty: Razor Rai cannot control elements in the traditional sense. They can, however, exert some control over their bones and place small barbs of their bones onto objects and into the air. Their damage type is slashing.

Stone

A Stone Rai is close to the dirt and the rocks of the earth. They are typically short with deep browns and greens on their skin. They are found in mountainous regions or desert plains.

Ability Score Improvement: Your Constitution score increases by +1.

  • Sand Armor: Once per day, you can use your action to coat yourself in an almost imperceptible layer of sand or dirt. It is nearly invisible to the naked eye but can protect you from some harm. This effect increases your AC by +1 but is shattered immediately upon being hit with any attack. This shield lasts until it is destroyed or until you use this ability again.
  • Elemental Specialty: Stone Rai can control small amounts of sand, dirt, and rocks around them. They can fling stones as if they were using a sling. Your damage type is bludgeoning.

Rhythm

Rhythm Rai spend their entire lives creating beautiful music. As such, they have become attuned to the Beat of the World and can exert some control over it. Their skin is typically hot pink or green with splotches of neon coloring all over.

  • Crank it Up: Twice per day, you can harmonize the Beat within yourself or others. Using your reaction, you can increase you or an ally’s attack roll by +1. You can do this before or after the attack roll, but before you know the outcome of the roll.
  • Elemental Specialty: Rhythm Rai are in love with beautiful music and are often moving to an unseen beat. Your damage type is thunder.

Spectral

Spectral rai walk the line between realities, slipping through dimensional barriers by will or accident. They are often the shard of a whole, their form being scattered across the planes at birth. Over a short time, the shards become their own entity but are still linked and driven to reconnect with their other selves. This link is where they draw their power and is akin to a dimensional web. As each shard dies the web grows weaker and will eventually collapse without a full reunion of the Rai.

Shard Transference. Energy ebbs and flows on the incomprehensible lines between you and the other shards. You can take advantage of that by pushing and pulling life force into yourself from the others. Once per day, as a reaction to taking damage, you can roll any number of your available hit dice. The number rolled is subtracted from the damage taken, with any remainder recovering hit points equal to it. If you do this, roll a d20, on a 1 you permanently lose one of your hit dice as a shard is removed from the connection web.

Elemental Specialty. The connection between you and other shards may be tenuous but it is strong enough for you to derive power from the dimensional links. Your damage type is Force.

Toxic

Toxic Rai drip with poisonous fluids, the composition of which can be used against any manner of species, except themselves. They are often a deep purple, sweating brightly colored poisons that differ depending on their diet.

  • Poison Creation: As a Toxic Rai, you can spend one day collecting your own fluids to create a harmful but not deadly poison. The type of poison depends on the food you have eaten, changing to harm creatures or plants similar to those you consume. You can create an intentionally deadly poison from your excretions, but this is very harmful to you. Doing so subjects you to a level of exhaustion that can only be removed by magical means and a week of time. During this time, you must concentrate wholly on filtering and condensing the poisons in your body and as such, may not engage in any strenuous activity.
  • Elemental Specialty: Toxic Rai are not well accepted in society, due to the danger of their mere poisonous presence. Your damage type is Poison.

Eternal

Eternal Rai have seen death and have laughed in its face. Their visage is ghostly, and a quick glance will leave some having trouble telling them apart from wraiths or banshees. Defeat Death: Eternal Rai will never die of old age; their bodies having mutated beyond it. They can still die of disease, poison, injury, etc. Eternal Rai still age and grow weaker with time, just more slowly. They will eventually reach a point where they are little more than a pile of thoughts and bones.

Last Memories: Once per day, you can spend 1 minute touching a dead creature to see the last 30 seconds of their life through their own eyes. Once you have done this, you cannot do it again to the same creature.

  • Elemental Specialty: Though you may have defeated death, you are still mired in it, the energy of death surrounding you like an aura. You damage type is necrotic.
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Lasers & Liches: Tales from the Retroverse - Test Wave 3 Player's MTX Creator(s) Chris Lock, Lluis Abadias Copyright 2021