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Cephalid

Cephalids are humanoids whose progenitors served or encountered beings from the Outer Realms. Some passed through portals and momentarily found themselves in the presence of Azathoth or Yog-Sothoth. Simply by being in the presence of such entities warps mortal beings in profound ways, and these experiences cannot be expressed in mortal language. Other humanoids joined cults and worshipped being from beyond space and time like Nyarlathotep or Shub-Niggurath and were transformed, though whether this was as a reward or a punishment is uncertain.

Either way, these experiences warped their minds and transformed their bodies, resulting in the ancestry now known as the cephalids.

Ancestral Traits

Cephalids are humanoid, with skin that is rubbery and slick, like that of an octopus or squid.

The colors vary from purple to gray to green. To heighten the cephalopod connection, cephalids also have tentacles extending from the bottom half of their heads, behind which lurks a sharp beak of a mouth, making them appear something like a human with an octopus for a head. The cephalid’s tentacles are one to two feet long and prehensile, and cephalids use them to bring food to their concealed mouths. Beyond that, they are thin and relatively tall, with long, spidery fingers.

Cephalids have certain traits.

Age. Cephalids are born in watery pools of slime from eggs that their parents jointly secrete in a process that some non-cephalids find disturbing. After the eggs are laid and fertilized, the parents eat many of them, until only a few remain, which eventually hatch a few weeks later. From this point, cephalids take ten years to reach adulthood, though they can live to be upward to 70 years old.

Size. Cephalids are the same size and weight as humans. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base speed is 30 feet.

Concealed Beak. Hiding behind the face tentacles of a cephalid is a sharp beak, which you can use to make unarmed attacks. On a hit, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier.

Head Tentacles. Cepahlids have four to six tentacles growing from the bottoms of their faces, with which they can grapple foes within five feet. You can make an unarmed attack with your head tentacles. On a hit, you successfully grapple your foe and can bring them in for a beak bite as a bonus action. The target’s escape DC equals 8 + your proficiency modifier + your Strength bonus.

Cultural Traits

Cephalid communities are fundamentally influenced by those among them who are of cephalid ancestry. And many of those individuals carry with them an unusual perspective on reality, inherited from their forebears and their close proximity to the Outer Realms. Indeed, outsiders tend to find cephalid communities to be eerie, preternatural places, full of strange practices and unsettling folk. To be fair, most cephalid communities are indeed odd in the extreme, though they need not be malevolent at all. Rather, they are as often idiosyncratic and unusual as they might be truly disturbing. For example, some cephalid communities still worship the gods of the Outer Realms, hoping one day to open a portal to bring them to our plane; 13 unsurprisingly, many visitors find this upsetting.

Yet many other cephalid villages simply want to go about their relatively mundane lives in peace, even though they do indeed sing strange, atonal songs to their children and dance unnatural jigs in silence at their seasonal ceremonies. Thus it can be hard to generalize about those who grew up in cephalid communities.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2 and your Constitution by 1.

Alignment. Those who grow up in cephalid communities are quite often more in tune with the disorder of the Outer Realms. As such, they communities tend toward chaos.

Eldritch Psionics. Cephalid communities have forebears who gained unnatural psychic practices learned from the Outer Realm. You know the eldritch blast cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the hideous laughter spell once with this trait. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the alter self spell once with this trait. Because you use psionics to create these effects, you do not need to use any spell components when casting these spells and Intelligence is your spellcasting ability. You regain the ability to cast these spells with this trait when you finish a long rest.

Eerie Intuition. Those who grow up among the cephalids become used to their uncanny ability to tell what might be bothering someone. You have proficiency in Insight.

Languages. You speak, read, and write Common and Deep Speech.

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