Upheaval in Zhaltssom
Brief Description: A race of deer-like machines, originally created by the arvicols
Physical Description: The core of an odocoil’s construction generally consists of a skeleton of tough metals around a gemstone heart. (The original odocoils’ hearts were generally rare gemstones like diamonds, though the odocoils themselves discovered that poorer quality gems work just as effectively. Quartz is generally used nowadays.) From there, a layer of flesh – occasionally that of other races, but usually grown artificially by a technique that only the odocoils still know – surrounds the skeleton and acts as musculature. Finally, a layer of stone and more metal acts as the ‘skin’ of the odocoil. The rites to create an odocoil from this construction imbue the gemstone heart with power, strengthening the flesh to prevent it from deteriorating or being crushed by the outer stone and metal and giving the creature life. What little is known about the rites of creation is that they always require two participants and that the odocoils do not need to know any forms of magic to perform them, though they can only perform them twice a year at most.
The heads of odocoils are generally shaped in the forms of deer, although occasionally they are designed with the heads of bulls or related animals. Hands generally consist of two fingers and a thumb, and the ‘feet’ more resemble hooves. The hooves are broad enough, however, that odocoils can wear boots shaped for other races without as much difficulty as expected.
Odocoils do not properly bleed when injured, but seep a watery substance generated by the gemstone heart that appears to serve the same purpose as blood. Rapid loss of this liquid can weaken the odocoil, and the gemstone heart is capable of translating healing magic into something that can rebuild the odocoil.
The gemstone heart, while it can be de-powered by sufficient damage to the rest of the odocoil, tends to otherwise last about a hundred years, though an odocoil is perfectly healthy up until its final hours. During those final hours, the energy rapidly departs from the gemstone, causing the creature to collapse on the spot and “die” permanently.
Preferred Habitat: The odocoils prefer to live in mountainous areas. There, they use their knowledge of stone and ores to construct secluded cities with limited access. The odocoils know that completely cutting themselves off from the rest of the world means they will stagnate in their craft, but they do not want most races constantly interrupting them for favors or access to resources.
Culture and Society: Odocoils do not place any significant value on expression in their conversations, relying a lot on body language to determine what their acquaintances are feeling. Body language is a lot easier for the race to perform than verbal expression, because the mouths of the odocoils were not well designed for variation in sounds. Odocoils place a very high emphasis on artworks during their celebrations, rather than music or dance, although the latter two are not completely abhorred. Indeed, music (almost always with string or percussion instruments, as odocoils do not breathe well) is considered a craft on par with the more substantial art forms.
Odocoil society is generally dominated by close cooperation and a hierarchy that individuals can literally work their way up. One strange quirk is that odocoil cities and regions that odocoils inhabit will have a lot of graffiti, as they widely believe in practicing their art in the early stages and they find the lack of permanency in graffiti to be a perfectly legitimate practice ground. In fact, odocoil cities will sanction the creation of graffiti under the pretense of training their newest members to understand art.
History, Myths, and Events: The odocoils have been in existence for roughly 250 years, slightly longer than the destruction of the arvicol empire. This is important, in fact, because the destruction of that empire can be closely traced to the original practices used to make the odocoils – combining the body parts of other races with stone and metal. As a result, the odocoils feel a strong desire to “make it up” to any races that were around at the time of that empire’s destruction. Additionally, the odocoils strongly believe that any form of necromancy or using the body parts of other races to build new individuals will attract the wrath of the gods, without fail.
On the other hand, the odocoils discovered that the destruction of the arvicol empire had the side effect of giving them souls. Rather than being powered solely by the type of magic used to create other constructs, odocoils now possessed a life energy very similar to the other races of Zhaltssom and possessed their own means to create new individuals. The odocoils believe this is basically an apology from the gods for their forced creation, and the vast majority feel that they owe the gods favors throughout their lives.
Relations: The odocoils share a love of construction that is respected by the dwarves and cerati, and their deep religious fervor tends to give them a certain kinship with the canids. The gnomes, vermis, and skinks tend to have at worst a neutral reaction to the odocoils as well. Most other races, however, do not react well to these more-or-less artificial beings, generally treating them like second-class citizens.
Preferred Classes: Odocoils that take class levels often prefer to put their size and durability to good use and train as fighters. A surprising number also embrace their magical nature and train as wizards, generally specializing in conjuration or transmutation. Very few train as rogues or bards, as their stiff natures and lack of proper sociability interfere with these paths in life, and few have yet trained as clerics despite their religious bent, as they have not fully understood what crafts can be done in the name of the gods.
As Player Characters: (What do players need to keep in mind when playing a member of this race?)
Starting Ages: Between 10 and 30 years
Heights: Between 5’8" and 7’1"
Weights: Between 180 and 250 lbs.
Ability Score Racial Traits: Odocoils were built to be tireless, self-sufficient workers, and no allowance for self-worth or sociability was designed in their original construction, so they struggle to understand standard social norms and their own place in the world. Their bodies are somewhat stiff, as well. Odocoils gain +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Dexterity, and -4 Charisma.
Type: Odocoils are considered humanoids with the half-construct and odocoil subtypes. This gives them the following traits:
+2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease, mind-affecting effects, poison, and effects that cause either exhaustion or fatigue.
No requirement to eat, breathe, or sleep unless they want the benefits of these activities. (For instance, an odocoil can still use potions and can still rest to recover spells.)
Unlike most constructs, odocoils have been properly integrated into the cycle of souls, so they can be raised, resurrected, or reincarnated.
Size: Odocoils are Medium-sized and thus suffer no bonuses or penalties.
Base Speed: Odocoils have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Odocoils begin play speaking Common. Odocoils with high Intelligence scores may choose from the following languages: Dwarven, Elven, Gnomish, Draconic, Verem, Anura, Canis, and Felis.
Dual-Minded: The odocoils are an extreme example of the infusion of mechanical construction with life energy, designed to be dedicated to their tasks. This dual nature gives the odocoils a +2 bonus on all Will saving throws.
Craftsman: Originally designed as builders and crafters, the odocoils continue this proud tradition now that they are independent of their creators. Odocoils gain a +2 racial bonus on all Craft or Profession checks to create objects from metal or stone.
Stonecunning: Odocoils know their way around stonecraft and were programmed to determine flaws in stone construction. As a side effect of this, they receive a +2 bonus on Perception checks to notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors located in stone walls or floors. They receive a check to notice such features whenever they pass within 10 feet of them, whether or not they are actively looking.
Weapon Familiarity: All odocoils are proficient with warhammers and light hammers, as hammers are one of the key tools of the crafting jobs they were originally meant to do.
Low-light Vision: Odocoils can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim lighting.