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Rhydan

The most unusual people of Aldea, rhydan are animals gifted with intelligence and arcane abilities. They “awaken” from otherwise ordinary beasts of the wild, gaining intelligence, awareness, and psychic potential— all the gifts of a soul from the Eternal Dance. Rhydan awaken from many of different animal species, but the most common of them known in Aldis and the surrounding lands include big cats, dolphins, horses, and wolves.

Beast in Form

Outwardly, rhydan look like ordinary animals, although often with a certain intellect and empathy shining from their eyes. In some cases, an awakened rhydan is “marked” by some unusual feature like a patch or pattern of fur, feathers, or scales of unusual color(s) or strangely colored eyes, for example, but most are physically indistinguishable. Some rhydan are noticeable for what they are by wearing various adornments: collars of leatherwork or metal, often bejeweled, occasionally decorative or practical harnesses, or even jewelry. This is particularly true for rhydan living in civilization, since it is considered polite for them to “announce” themselves and avoid being mistaken for unawakened beasts.

Awakened in Spirit

Although rhydan look like animals, they are not. They are as intelligent and capable of awareness and understanding as other people (more so, according to some rhydan). All rhydan can communicate psychically, and most also learn to understand spoken (and even written) language, even if they are not capable of speaking themselves. Some rhydan are quite fond of the “two-legged” peoples, others more wary, but in general, rhydan are cautious in their dealings others, although the rhy-fen are close allies with the sea-folk.

Their nature makes all rhydan somewhat solitary. Even the more common types, such as rhy-wolves, are separated from their animal kin by their awakened nature, just as their bestial form separates them from the two-legged world. This leads rhydan to treasure the emotional bonds they do find and forge in life. One particularly important example is what they call the rhy-bond: A deep psychic, spiritual, and emotional connection that forms between a rhydan and a two-legged person.

The origin of this bond is unknown—some believe it is a soul connection from the dawn of time, others a particular spiritual resonance. Whatever the case, it is often the most profound relationship of the bond-mates lives.

A Different Perspective

Rhydan are close to nature and its cycles. Since they are relatively few in number, and scattered across different species of animals, rhydan do not have the same kinds of civilizations or communities as other people. Some rhydan continue to dwell largely in the wilderness, while others come together in small groups, or choose to dwell in the settlements of other peoples, particularly in Aldis. Rhydan life tends to be somewhat ascetic: they have less use for material possessions and goods, and often prefer smaller, cozier dwelling spaces. Rhydan often focus on either the life of the mind, becoming scholars and experts in particular fields, or on the awareness of the body, delving the potential of a beast form guided by an awakened mind.

Names

Rhydan generally choose their own names, although some allow others to name them, or adopt a name or nickname given to them. This means there is virtually no rhyme or reason to rhydan names, which are as varied and individual as they are: human-style names from any culture, or descriptive ones like Dapple, Soot, Snap-jaw, and others. Often the chosen names of rhydan, especially those fairly new to civilization, are based on images or thought-complexes difficult to translate into spoken language, yielding things like “Runs-Sharp-Upon-the-Forest-Floor” or “The-Pure-Light-of-Newly-Dappled-Leaves” to name a few. Such rhydan adopt nicknames or tolerate a shortening of their chosen name for the convenience of their speaking friends, such as “Runs-Sharp” or “Pure-Light.”

Rhydan Traits

Your rhydan character has the following traits.

  • Age. Rhydan physically mature like other beasts of their kind but, after their awakening, they live about as long as a human or animals of their beast form, whichever is longer.
  • Alignment. Their psychic abilities strongly incline rhydan towards good, but some retain their more bestial instincts and remain neutral or even fall to Shadow to become evil.
  • Beast Form. You have the physical form of a beast with a Challenge Rating of 1/4 or less, including giant beasts. You have the physical abilities of that beast, including Armor Class, Speed, Senses, Special Abilities, and Actions. You do not have the beast’s Skills, Hit Dice, or Hit Points. These are determined normally by your class. Your ability scores are determined normally and modified according to the type of beast (see Abilities, following). Note that rhydan cannot speak unless their beast form is capable of doing so, and they are limited to manipulating objects by the capabilities of its beast form.
  • Abilities. If your beast form is a medium-sized or larger beast, you have the usual ability modifiers (see Ancestries and Abilities, previously). If your beast form is a small or smaller beast, your maximum Strength score is equal to that beast’s normal Strength score + 2.
  • Awakened Spirit. You have the Psychic and Psychic Shield feats (see Feats in Chapter IX for details).
  • Rhy-bond. You can establish a rhy-bond with one humanoid of your choice. This bond is permanent while both of you are alive, linking you and your bond-mate. You can communicate with each other telepathically over any distance, so long as you are both on the same plane, and you each automatically sense if the other is injured or in distress. Effects that block divination spells and telepathic communication can temporarily block your rhy-bond. You can only have one rhy-bond at a time, and it is rare for rhydan to take on a new bondmate after losing their first.

Rhy-Cats

Rhy-cats are the size of leopards, with coloring and temperaments similar to those of Siamese cats. Rhy-cats are the most common rhydan in Aldis, and the most closely associated with humanoids, although, rhy-cats have a reputation as both aloof and potentially dangerous when encountered in the wild.

  • Size. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 feet and you have a climb speed of 40 feet.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d6 + Str piercing damage.
  • Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d4 + Str piercing damage.
  • Keen Smell. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on smell.
  • Pounce. If you move at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hit it with a claw attack on the same turn, the target must succeed on a DC (9 + Str mod) Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, you can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.

Rhy-Fen

Rhy-fen are awakened dolphins, with a long history of friendship and cooperation with sea-folk and islanders. Both people consider rhy-fen their peers and allies; harming or killing any dolphin is just as serious a crime as attacking a member of their own communities. Sea-folk in particular often live together with pods of dolphins and rhy-fen and have bonded companions among them.

  • Armor Class. Your natural Armor Class is 11 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • Size. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your swimming speed is 80 feet. You have no “walking” speed and can only crawl at a speed of 5 feet on land.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d6 + Str piercing damage.
  • Charge. If you move at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hit it with a ram attack on the same turn, you can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.
  • Ram. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d8 + Str bludgeoning damage.
  • School Tactics. You have advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
  • Sonar. You have blindsight out to 60 feet while under water.
  • Water Dependent. You suffer a level of exhaustion for each hour spent out of water.

Rhy-Horses

Masters of the plains, rhy-horses look much like unawakened horses and have the same ranges of coloration, although pale and dappled hides and blue eyes are more common for them. Rhy-horses are fiercely independent; \they allow no one except a bonded companion to ride them on a regular basis. Rhy-horses are most common on the plains of Rezea. They are long-time allies of the Rezean people, who revere the “lords of the plains” and help protect them from harm. Rezean rhy-horses often have Rezean names and belong to clans, just as humans do (see Rezean under Cultures, following).

  • Size. Your size is Large.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 60 feet.
  • Hooves. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 2d4 + Str bludgeoning damage.

Rhy-Wolves

The most reclusive of the rhydan, rhy-wolves are most commonly found in the woods of the Pavin Weald. They live in tight-knit packs, and a friend of theirs is a friend for life, so they do not bond easily. They can be found in the company of forest folk, and some packs have adopted whole forest folk communities and live together with them (see Forest Folk under Cultures, following). Rhy-wolves are eminently practical, sometimes ruthless, but also proud and honorable.

  • Armor Class. Your natural armor class is 11 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • Size. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 feet.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 2d4 + Str piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC (9 + Str mod) saving throw or be knocked prone.
  • Keen Hearing and Smell. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on hearing or smell.
  • Pack Tactics. You have advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
Section 15: Copyright Notice
Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide, Copyright 2020, Green Ronin Publishing; Lead Designer: Steve Kenson, based on original material by Jeremy Crawford, Steve Kenson, Alejandro Melchor, and John Snead.