Upheaval in Zhaltssom
Brief Description: Tinkering and adventurous rats who focus on their families
Physical Description: At a distance, the vermis resemble various species of rats and mice. Rats are by far more common within the species, as those who resemble mice tend to be the result of inbreeding and thus highly discriminated. All varieties of fur and eye colors are possible among the vermis, but gray fur and green eyes tend to be the most frequent.
Vermis individuals tend to live up to 50 years.
Preferred Habitat: The vermis can bring themselves to living anywhere, but they much prefer benefiting from the other races. As a result, they are most commonly found within cities, especially just underground.
Culture and Society: Vermis culture centers primarily around individual families that can sometimes get too large for their warrens to completely house. Up to four generations can regularly be found living under one roof, and sometimes five, but it’s usually the second generation in the warren that holds the most power and the third generation that holds the most wealth. With the first and fifth generations often being incapable of caring for themselves, it tends to fall to the fourth generation to bring the most outside influence to the family, so the fourth generation will often be out seeing the world and bringing back goods from other places.
The one constant in vermis culture and society is that they were definitely influenced by the gnomes’ mechanical fascination. Most vermis families will have at least one member dedicated to mechanical pursuits, with the rest of the family contributing on occasion. Vermis mechanics tend to focus on quality-of-life pursuits – as an example, a number of cities with pipe systems and sewers owe the development of these things to the vermis.
Vermis society shares its power equally among the genders, but generally the thing that will separate leaders from the rest of the race is breadth of experience with the outside world – leaders have seen the most and bring the broadest viewpoints to their communities.
History, Myths, and Events: Historically, the vermis are credited with discovering more of the other races than any other species in Zhaltssom, having been the ones to make first contact with the cerati, solenopsi, and macropods among other races. This is a byproduct of the vermis belief that they must make the most of their short lives and find everything they can so that future generations may benefit. However, the vermis also believe that their own species, indeed their own bloodline, comes before others. For most, this simply means that any benefits their actions give to other families or races are coincidental. Occasionally, a family takes a different view of this and believes they must take from others. Sadly, this leads to the fact that most criminal families in the realm of Zhaltssom come from the vermis.
Relations: The felids tend to have some issues with the vermis viewpoint and the accipiti tend to drive the vermis completely nuts with their behaviors. Other than that, the vermis can get along with any of the other races. The skinks, gnomes, and cerati especially enjoy the company of the vermis.
Preferred Classes: Vermis individuals like to explore the world and see new things, so a significant portion of this race has class levels. Oftentimes, these will be in a class like rogue or bard, relying on very varied talents and the occasional dirty trick to make their way. Those vermis individuals whose extended families dabble in the arcane will tend to have a strong magus tradition instead.
As Player Characters: (What do players need to keep in mind when playing a member of this race?)
Starting Ages: Between 12 and 24 years
Heights: Between 3’4" and 4’3"
Weights: Between 50 and 89 lbs.
Ability Score Racial Traits: The vermis are agile and clever, yet physically weak. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, and –2 Strength.
Type: Vermis are humanoids with the rodent subtype.
Size: Vermis are Small and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on combat maneuver checks and to their CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
Speed: Vermis have a base speed of 20 feet due to their shorter legs.
Languages: Vermis begin play speaking Common and Verem. Vermis with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Gnomish, Canis, Felis, Draconic, Skyspeak, Terran, and Soleno.
Tinker: Vermis and usagi gain a +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy), Perception, and Use Magic Device checks.
Rodent Empathy: Vermis gain a +4 racial bonus on Handle Animal checks made to influence rodents.
Swarming: Vermis are used to living and fighting communally, and are adept at swarming foes for their own gain and their foes’ detriment. Up to two vermis can share the same square at the same time. If two vermis in the same square attack the same foe, they are considered to be flanking that foe as if they were in two opposite squares.
Darkvision: Vermis can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.