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Harrowed

The harrowed are one of the most despised and feared races. They are no less than the result of the unholy and abominable union between mortal humanoids and the foul undead. To the subjugated populace, the very existence of the harrowed is a constant reminder of their undead overlords. These creatures are royal bastards, neither fully mortal nor fully undead, caught between the two worlds.

The origin of some harrowed is all too understandable, as some undead have both mortal and immortal lusts. However, not all are the result of vampire lords and ladies exercising their rights and pleasures over their mortal subjects. Harrowed are just as easily birthed from even more terrifying circumstances: organized defilement and punishments for resistance meted out by undead armies, children conceived while the partner was possessed, or even unnatural magical experiments performed by liches.

Harrowed are treated by others depending on the circumstances of their birth. Those deliberately conceived by an undead lord hold positions much like those of illegitimate children in any noble family. They might receive money and even be treated as a minor noble, they might even rise in the ranks of their sire or dam’s house to become a trusted lieutenant—if never a true leader.

If they were produced from a punishment or a chance embarrassment, then they are treated no better than any other mortal peon, though the general populace will likely still resent them for being a reminder of their subjugation and because of their perceived privilege, even if it is not genuine.

Harrowed exist in large numbers now, especially in cities controlled by the undead and in freshly conquered lands.

They serve as a means of subjugation and conversion, a “mingling” of populations such as happens on other worlds during occupations. While the harrowed nobility are far smaller in number and exist on a rarefied level, some “common” harrowed have banded together into their own communities and ghettoes within the cities, making them safer but more alienated from the other peoples who surround them.

Racial Traits

The harrowed are a unique race, said to exist in the thin line between life and death. As an unholy fusion of the living and the undead, your harrowed character shares certain traits in common with others of your kind.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by +2.
  • Age. As one of the living dead that does not suffer from decay or aging, harrowed can live as long as their corporeal body remains intact.
  • Alignment. Harrowed are typically pulled in two directions by their heritage; thus, harrowed of all alignments exist. The detachment of their undead taint leads them toward neutrality, while their mortal desires and diminished conscience pull them down the path of chaos. Some seek to bind their churning desires within a cage of lawful beliefs, and some are swayed to the causes of either good or evil, though bastard harrowed tend to fall in line with the evil designs of their sires and dams.
  • Size. Harrowed range from 5 to well over 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Living Dead. You only need to eat, sleep, and breathe half as much as a normal human. You can hold your breath for a number of minutes equal to double your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2 minutes).
  • Necrotic Fusion. Your hit point maximum cannot be reduced.
  • Undying Flesh. You gain advantage on saving throws against disease.
  • Languages.You can speak, read, and write Common and Harrowed.

Variant Racial Traits

  • Almost Human. Some harrowed are more living than dead. You can easily pass for a normal human. Only a direct Medicine check with a DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1) can detect anything abnormal about your physiology compared to other humans. You must, however, eat, sleep, and breathe as much as a normal human. This replaces the darkvision racial trait.
  • Shade. Harrowed with this trait are created through terrible experiments or strange rites involving incorporeal undead such as shadows. While in dim or dark lighting, you have advantage on Stealth checks. In addition, you gain resistance to cold damage. This replaces the necrotic fusion racial trait.
  • Blood Lust. Harrowed with this trait are born from forbidden trysts with vampires, and as a result, they display their undead parent’s hunger for blood. You receive a bite as a natural melee weapon attack that deals 1d4 points of damage plus your Strength modifier. This racial ability replaces the undying flesh racial trait.

Personality

Harrowed inherit a detached viewpoint from their undead parentage, a separation in outlook from the material and mortal realm. However, these ideas are accompanied by many of the drives and desires of humanity. This detachment and lack of empathy coupled with mortal desires—albeit dimmed—make the harrowed passionate, ambitious, and more than a little selfish, sometimes to the verge of being sociopathic. Despite all this, the harrowed do form relationships with those persistent in their interest or those whom they are interested in all their own. Those who prove themselves useful or necessary to a harrowed are most likely to receive their loyalty, a loyalty unlikely to change—another trait inherited from their undead parents.

Physical Description

Harrowed vary in appearance, but often appear quite human.

However, they normally have skin of inhuman coloration, either chalk white or an unhealthy grey pallor. Their skin is slightly translucent at times, revealing the musculature beneath, while sometimes takes on a slight oily sheen like a rainbow or darkens like spoiled meat. Finally, they tend to have white hair and red or black eyes uncharacteristic of the average human.

Relations

Whatever their social status or position, the harrowed are generally seen as part of the ruling classes simply due to their nature. This perceived position tends to make them resented and hated by the subjugated humanoids; at best, they might be grudgingly accepted based on their personal conduct. The harrowed tend to feel as part of a common cause with the other half-breed races who, like the harrowed, are often caught between two worlds and share the experience of being disjointed and rejected. The exceptions to this feeling of kinship include the khymer, who regard themselves as truly undead, and the exalted, who regard the harrowed as a terrible abomination and an injustice wrought upon the helpless population. The lykians tend to regard the harrowed as unnatural, complaining that they have “no scent,” which is as wrong to a lykian as being invisible or incorporeal would be to another race.

Lands

Some harrowed live within the houses of the ruling undead classes. Others live in human settlements—if not mingled with the general populace, then in the harrowed ghettos colloquially known as “graveyards.” These areas often only hold to local laws and are considered apart from the rest of the town or city, though they are still subject to the lord’s oversight and discipline. The harrowed within make their livings mostly as sell-swords, crafters of fine goods, or adventurers, bringing wealth back to their homes.

Religion

The harrowed typically pay only lip service to religions. They tend to be self-interested and see little to gain from devoting themselves to gods. When they do worship a deity, it tends to be whichever god is worshiped by the whole of the local populace or by their sire or dam. These tend to be gods of evil, death, and shadow, even if the harrowed does not conform to that alignment or definition themself; after all, it is as good an idea to appease a dangerous god as it is to worship an altruistic one.

Names

Bastard harrowed take their family name from their sire or dam, whereas their first name conforms to the naming conventions of the people or culture upon whom they were foisted. Their last name is prefaced by “Sir” or “Dam” to indicate the gender of their undead progenitor. Thus, the name of a typical bastard harrowed might be Aran Sir Drakul, which would read as Aran, son of Lord Drakul. Common harrowed have mortal names like any other, but tend to only go by their first names in all dealings.

Male Names: Determined by culture of mortal parent

Female Names: Determined by culture of mortal parent

Family Names: Sir Drakul, Dam Orien, Sir Lykas, Dam Abraxiel, Sir Xaddan

Adventurers

The harrowed often become adventurers: the bastards because they have something to prove or because their ambitions are frustrated, the commoners because adventuring is often the only way to pick themselves up out of squalor and carve a place of respect and power.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Races of Obsidian Apocalypse Copyright 2018 LPJ Design; Authors JP Chapleau, Kalyna Conrad, Eric Hindley, Jeff Lee, Owen K.C. Stephens, Richard Pett, Rich Redman, Louis Porter Jr., Mark A. Hart