Upheaval in Zhaltssom
Brief Description: An ant race living primarily beneath the earth
Physical Description: The solenopsi vaguely resemble various species of ants, though they have only four limbs instead of six. Also unlike their minuscule cousins, solenopsi have lungs instead of spiracles – practically a necessity at even their small size. Solenopsi eyes are specifically tuned to seeing well in darkness, but they simply are incapable of properly adjusting to light.
Solenopsi are fairly long-lived due to their darkness affinity, lasting 500 years on average.
Preferred Habitat: The solenopsi generally live way underground, with the few above-ground entrances to their hives squarely in very secure and darkened regions of the world.
Culture and Society: The solenopsi culture is one of complexity. As the entire species is capable of lifting more than its weight, even if only for a small portion of a day, strength has no value to them. Instead, the culture prefers to deal in intellectual pursuits, especially the pursuit of magic. Nearly every solenopsi hive-city has several arcane libraries, and even young children are all trained in some way in understanding how magic works – usually in the form of comprehending the negative energy that pervades the shadowy parts of the underground and using it to their advantage.
Solenopsi society is both slightly female-dominated and strongly magocratic. Males can actually still gain a lot of status, but only females can hold the highest offices. Meanwhile, even a slight amount of magical talent is mandatory to even run for any offices in the first place.
History, Myths, and Events: The same vermis expedition that uncovered the ceratos some thousand years ago also discovered the solenopsi, as a hard-working subterranean race that could carry far more than they actually weighed and believed that they needed to be the race that dominated the underground. The belief has backed off since that expedition, but the solenopsi have instead developed a patronizing attitude and now believe that they must work to expand the underground around the other races there.
50 years ago, the solenopsi made an astounding discovery while expanding their dominion – a lone tribe of arvicols who had survived the massacre at the tail end of their empire. The solenopsi were willing to bring them back to their hive-city to teach them, but found that the race abhorred the very negative energy that all solenopsi are taught to understand. Though the solenopsi eventually got around that hurdle and trained the arvicols in understanding the new world above, they suggested ten years ago that the arvicols go up to the surface and make their own amends with the other races.
Relations: Solenopsi despise bright light in all forms. As a result, they don’t get along too well with either the dynastini or the ursin. The solenopsi do get along very well with the ceratos and the vermis, and they are the race that first re-encountered the arvicols and were willing to help them cope with their new place in the world.
Preferred Classes: Considering their size, the solenopsi make surprisingly good fighters due to their racial strength. However, the race has higher intellectual capabilities and likes to focus on complexity, so they much prefer the wizard and magus classes.
As Player Characters: (What do players need to keep in mind when playing a member of this race?)
Starting Ages: Between 50 and 100 years
Heights: Between 3’1" and 4’2"
Weights: Between 30 and 50 lbs.
Ability Score Racial Traits: The solenopsi are surprisingly strong for their size and quite intelligent, but have an aura about them that makes them somewhat repulsive. They gain +2 Strength, +2 Intelligence, and -2 Charisma.
Type: Solenopsi are outsiders with the native subtype.
Size: Solenopsi are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on their combat maneuver checks and to Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
Base Speed: Solenopsi have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Solenopsi begin play speaking Common and Soleno. Solenopsi with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Elven, Gnomish, Verem, Anura, Aquan, and Terran.
Deathless: Their supreme connection to the shadows gives the solenopsi a small measure of resistance to the negative energies within. Solenopsi gain resistance 5 against negative energy damage. They do not lose hit points when they gain a negative level, and they gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against death effects, energy drain, negative energy, and spells or spell-like abilities of the necromancy school, as well as Constitution checks to stabilize if reduced to negative hit points.
Shadow Predators: The solenopsi are consummate masters of the shadows and have developed some measure of extraordinary awareness and stealth related to them. They gain a +1 racial bonus on Stealth and Perception checks, and these two skills are always class skills for them.
Carrier: The prodigious strength of the solenopsi isn’t wholly natural – some of it has supernatural qualities. Once per day, a solenops may cast ant haul as a spell-like ability, with a caster level equal to their character level.
Shadow Magic: A solenops adds +1 to the DC of any saving throws against spells of the shadow subschool that they cast. Solenopsi with a Charisma score of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities (the caster level is equal to the user’s character level): 1/day—ghost sound, pass without trace, ventriloquism
Supreme Darkvision: Solenopsi can see perfectly in the dark up to 120 feet. However, abrupt exposure to bright light blinds solenopsi for 1 round, and on subsequent rounds they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.