5e SRD >Races >

Restless

The Restless are literal living skeletons and very true to their name. Unlike their monstrous brethren, they have somehow developed a sense of self. With this self, comes autonomy. With autonomy, comes the desire for purpose. So, they roam, seeking out some purpose. Few find it. Relics of the past, no chance for a normal future, they live as shadows displaced from time.

Walking Death

Restless are humanoid skeletons that have been reanimated by some dark magic or technological horrors. Smaller skeletons are less effective to skelemancers and so it is rare to see a restless halfling or dwarf, though not unheard of. Typically, they stand around 6 feet tall and are augmented in some distinct way. Inlaid with magical jewels, non-humanoid skeletal splicing, high technology, steam powered; Restless come in a variety of forms based on how they were brought back.

Since they are animated by peculiar means, they do not require sleep. This does not mean they are immune to degradation though. They must spend six hours daily maintaining their bodies, this being equivalent to a long rest. For some this is repairing machinery, for others this is recharging the magic that keeps them animate; either way they are unable to act more than a normal sleeping or deeply meditating creature. If they choose not to do this, they will not die in the traditional sense. Their exhaustion will grow to a point where they simply fall apart where they stand, remaining conscious in their immobile bodies. Eons may pass before their consciousness finally slips away into the unknown. For all restless, this is a fate far worse than their reanimation.

Regardless of their origins, restless are often a fearsome sight. They are almost always considered abominations and pushed away from civilization. Some try to cover up their terrifying form with clothing and masks. Others enjoy their horrific visage and use it to their every advantage.

Constructs With Conscience

For all intents, restless are alive. They have the spark of consciousness that most reanimated undead do not possess. They make decisions on their own, fight to preserve things they care about, and can even experience emotions like love and hate. They can resist the effects of magic on their person just like any other being. They have longings, fears, and an emptiness that must be filled. In this way, they are much like every other sentient being.

Some are brought back with bits of their former lives still trapped in their heads. These memories are almost never complete though. They may know how to speak, know the names of their family, and even retain magical ability, but these things are distant and disconnected from the beings they have become. Memories of their previous lives are like movies without sound. They are feelings endured without the understanding of why they must be endured. They lack mental anchors and come without context. In time, these memories fade into wistful daydreams as the restless accept their new lives. Because the past holds no permanent place in their mind, the restless search for a purpose within this new life. Some follow the commands of their creator, knowing full well they do not have to obey, but seeing no reason not to. Others spread out, searching for a way to regain their past lives, or to stave off the memory loss. Some become blights upon the world, living without care or consequence.

Reaper’s Orphans

The restless have no true place in the world. They are shut out of villages and cities, driven away from any remote settlement. They make their homes in abandoned temples and caves. Even well disguised restless are eventually found out; driving them to preplanned hiding spaces. There is no society that openly accepts them, even those who have built their cities on ruin. The restless of royalty often resent this, subconsciously desiring a finer life than a dungeon can provide.

The restless know their only chance at companionship is through individuals, as an individual creature can be shown there is nothing to fear, that the restless is not a mindless killing machine. Eventually a small group may accept a restless into their ranks, if they have proven themselves trustworthy. But regardless of that group’s influence, nothing can change the masses’ minds on reanimated skeletons. Because of this, some restless decide not to even try. They strike out on their own, searching for a purpose all alone. This keeps them out of the path of dangerous mobs but often puts them in the path of more dangerous adventurers.

Life In Undeath

The restless are not immortal, they just do not age like living beings. They have an expiration date, a day their machinery or magic will no longer sustain their consciousness and they will simply cease existing. Most restless know exactly how long they have but few will share that information. They do not require sustenance in the same way living things do. They must only repair or replenish their life support daily. They do not require air as part of their cursed existence, though they must continue to eat. Eating for a restless is not the same as it is for a living creature. Their arcane lifeline or cybernetics require energy to burn and food provides that energy. When they eat, the food passes through their maw, slopping down onto their ribs as a slimy ash, the essential energy of the food completely drained. Much like food, the restless can find no other pleasures of the living. A family is a distant desire, love an unfulfilled craving, and even dreams elude them. Even when a restless somehow obtains any of these things, they are left unfulfilled. So, they often start out again, leaving their impossible prizes behind them in search of something to satisfy their unending desire.

Searching For Meaning

The restless are flukes of reality. They should not be able to think or act beyond their designs, yet they do. Most restless understand that simply by being conscious, they have negated the purpose for their own existence. This is why they wander the world looking for, or creating, their own purpose. For some, this is to erase mistakes of their past lives. For others, it is to become as powerful as possible, possibly finding a way to reverse their unliving status. Still others seek a noble cause, to end that which created them in an effort to keep this from happening to anyone else.

Names

The restless, due to their very nature, have no consistent means of naming. Typically, they take whatever name they had in their past life. When this is impossible or unwise, they use a common name to the region or their previous species.

Other Species

The restless are openly feared and exiled, even by most “evil” species. There are legends of amazing restless heroes but many regard those as simply tall tales. They have a lot of ground to tread, because of their terrifying visage, before anyone will consider trusting them.

Racial Traits

Your restless may look like the skeletal form of another species, but they do not share any of those species’ traits. You may also have some of the bones of other creatures within your body, you gain no additional benefits from these either.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2 and another ability score of your choice increases by 1.
  • Ability Score Improvement Variant: Restless do not grow and develop like other creatures. Instead of an ability score improvement, take two feats. Additionally, whenever you gain the Ability Score Improvement or Power Up features for your class, you must instead take a feat.
  • Age: Age has little meaning to a Restless. One day, based on their method of automation, they will simply stop. Restless who are brought back from adolescents tend to be more brash and withdrawn. Restless brought back from older bodies are a little wiser and friendlier
  • Alignment. Though they often have evil origins, restless are not inherently evil. Even their past lives are not a definite indicator of their current alignment. Some restless choose to use this new life to make up for evil, while some see it as an opportunity to exact vengeance. Choose whichever alignment you think best suits your character.
  • Size: Typically, restless are between 5 and 6 feet tall. Your size is medium. If you choose to play a restless of small size, adjust your speed accordingly.
  • Speed. Medium sized restless have a base walking speed of 30 feet. Small sized restless have a base walking speed of 25.
  • Senses: You have darkvision up to 60 feet.
  • Poison Resistance: Unlike your undead brethren, who simply shrug off the damage poison causes their bones, you still feel it, albeit lessened. You are resistant to poison damage.
  • No Lungs: You do not require air and are immune to effects that would require you to breathe.
  • Languages: You can speak, read, and write common and one additional language of your choice.
  • Necromantic Sustenance: While you naturally heal over time like other species, you cannot receive healing from healing magic or magic like effects, including potions or blessed herbs. They do not damage you; they are simply useless. This is because your healing comes from whatever force keeps you alive. You are healed only by necrotic magic, recovering hit points equal to the necrotic damage you would have received. Because of your unique life force, any necrotic damage from cantrips simply fizzles away and is useless for or against you. If a spell would require you to fail a saving throw to be healed by the necrotic damage, you can willingly choose to fail that roll. If hit with an attack or spell that deals necrotic damage to you and heals the attacker some or all of that damage, you are healed with the necrotic energy, but the attacker receives no healing. You are vulnerable to radiant damage.
  • Unlife: You are not cut from the same cloth as creatures of your ilk. Abilities and magic that effect undead, such as Turn Undead, do not affect you any more than they would a living creature.

Subraces

There are three basic types of Restless: Defiled, Cybernetic, and Rebooted. The differences between them being their origin and mode of continued existence.

Defiled

Defiled restless are traditionally summoned by powerful mages or liches. In a desire to create a more powerful being, they inlay the skeleton with gems, precious metals, and terrible runes, all designed to trap the soul of someone within the celestial or infernal plane. Bringing such a soul into the world, often against their will, is no easy feat. Often it fails, rarely is it successful, and even more rarely, the soul refuses to cooperate. They leave their creators and strike out on their own. Choose whether your soul was on the celestial plane or the infernal plane. Celestial souls often have golden or silver tinted bones and a faint halo of energy can be seen atop their head. Infernal souls have a dull red or black color and have shards of bones that jut out from their skull.

Magic in your Bones: You can channel some of the energy that created you into your attacks. When using a spell attack, you may add +1 to the attack roll or spell save DC and +1 to the damage. When using a magical weapon, you may add +1 to the attack and damage rolls made with that weapon. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency modifier before finishing a long rest. Additionally, you gain proficiency in Arcana.

  • Soul Energy: Once per day, you can change the nature of a magical attack to match your origins. If making a magical attack with an elemental damage type, you can change the damage type to Necrotic for Infernal origins or Radiant for Celestial origins.

Cybernetic

Augmented with one of a kind technologies created by brilliant scientists, these restless are fearsome to behold. Usually, half their body is comprised by machinery that is unlike anything available to the public. With an AI installed in the empty skull, they were built to serve the purpose of their masters. However, sometimes this AI breaks beyond the bounds of its design, spontaneously becoming aware. Rejecting their creator’s influence, they go in search of understanding their new thoughts that have somehow become mixed with fragments of memory left in the bones of the body. Artificial Intelligence: You have advantage on all Intelligence checks and saving throws.

  • Hard Drive: You can recall, with perfect clarity, any event you have witnessed within the past year. Any events beyond this begin to slightly degrade and are no more reliable than an average creature’s memories.
  • Back Up AI: When you reach 0 hit points your defensive AI takes over your body. You continue to make death saving throws, falling dead and ending this effect if you die. However, your body does not stop moving until you are dead. Instead it will do one of two things: It will use all of its action to try and reach a safe spot and/or it will try to seek assistance from an ally. It will only attack if there is no other option. It makes all rolls, except death saving throws, with disadvantage. Once you have been stabilized or have 1 hit point, the backup AI deactivates. You must finish a long rest before using this feature again.
  • Scanning Sight: You can use a bonus action to override your normal vision and activate a set of scanners deep in your skull. This sight has a range of 60 feet and allows you to see through any non-magical wall up to this range. You cannot see in perfect clarity as everything in your field of vision becomes slightly faded outlines, rendering detailed descriptions impossible. Any moving creatures are outlined in bright red halos, with known ally creatures outlined in blue. The effect lasts 1 minute or until you use a bonus action to deactivate it.

Rebooted

Rebooted are the rarest breed of restless. Sometimes, for no discernable reason, hundreds or thousands of years after death, a well-preserved skeleton will snap to consciousness. They may have partial memories of their previous life, making this new world they inhabit difficult for them to understand. They may have no memories of their previous life, making the world easier to accept but just as challenging to comprehend. Many assume that the rebooted are created in much the same manner as the B-ugz. Instead of the energy of realities scraping together and creating an aberration from nothing, the energy finds a vessel in a long dead frame. Others hold that rebooted restless are the champions of long dead gods, the last of their power being used to restart a deceased acolyte. Whatever the reason, the rebooted do not understand why they were created, and go in search of their true purpose.

  • Glitched Frame: When you are created, the energy fusion twists your original bones. Roll on the Shiny Table and gain the effects of your new color. Re-roll the dice if you land on Sparkle, Glitch, Gray, or Wireframe.
  • Corrupted Birth: Your entire existence is based on corruption of the rules that govern your world. When rolling on the corruption table, you can roll the d100 twice and choose which corruption effect to gain. Additionally, you gain +4 hit points to your maximum for every layer of corruption you suffer from, losing them if the layers of corruption are removed.
Section 15: Copyright Notice
Lasers & Liches: Tales from the Retroverse - Test Wave 3 Player's MTX Creator(s) Chris Lock, Lluis Abadias Copyright 2021