Upheaval in Zhaltssom
Brief Description: Engineer lizards with a case of insecurity
Physical Description: The skinks are lizard-like humanoids about the size of a human child. They have long arms and legs, as well as somewhat lengthy tails that are capable of manipulating their surroundings. Additionally, the fingers and toes on a skink’s hands and feet are abnormally long for the race’s size, which when combined with the tails allows them to climb very easily.
While most skinks do not live to their full age, there have been documented cases of skinks living over 130 years without magical intervention.
Preferred Habitat: The skinks greatly prefer clearings within the bounds of forests, secluded enough from most interaction but close enough to resources that they use for their machines.
Culture and Society: Much like the vermis and the usagi, the skinks were taught a fascination for mechanical pursuits by the gnomes. However, where the vermis and usagi use these pursuits towards quality of life, the skinks use their love of machines towards city defenses and war. Skinks are credited with the development of the most advanced fortifications and siege engines known, and the race as a whole loves to build devious traps for their own safety. Along with this is a compulsion to try to surpass their peers – this tends to lead to a lot of accidents and many brilliant minds lost, but the skinks find this an acceptable price.
The other notable thing about skink society is that the youngest are always considered the most valuable, and the elderly are expendable. After all, what good is there in saving those who are the least likely to make further contributions to society? As a result, many skink leaders are in that point between the ages, just old enough to guide the youth and yet not so old that they won’t be of further benefit outside the leadership.
History, Myths, and Events: The skinks have been around since at least the previous pantheon, and no one knows how they were first discovered. What is known about the race’s beliefs is that the greatest enemy is indeed the person that tries the hardest to be your friend. Also, the skinks believe that aside from their own kin, those unstained by experience are the most trustworthy.
Relations: Races with a very strong sense of individuality, like the elves and accipiti, tend to look upon the skinks with measures of pity and contempt. Communal races, however, will be able to tolerate the skinks’ behavior. Thus, the vermis, usagi, ursin, and cerati get along well with the skinks.
Preferred Classes: Skinks get paranoid when close to someone hostile and are overall poorly-suited to the melee. The race as a whole is known to produce a lot of rogues and wizards, but the occasional ranger or archery-oriented fighter is also known.
As Player Characters: (What do players need to keep in mind when playing a member of this race?)
Starting Ages: Between 14 and 26 years
Heights: Between 2’6" and 3’3"
Weights: Between 25 and 45 pounds
Ability Score Racial Traits: Skinks are a nimble race of fast learners, but they’re not exactly durable. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, and -2 Constitution.
Type: Skinks are humanoids with the reptilian subtype.
Size: Skinks 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: Skinks have a base speed of 30 feet and a climb speed of 20 feet.
Languages: Skinks begin play speaking Common and Draconic. Skinks with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Gnomish, Verem, Anura, Ignan, and Soleno.
Battle Craft: Skinks gain a +2 racial bonus on Craft (trapmaking), Perception, and Profession (engineer) checks. Craft (trapmaking) and Profession (engineer) are always class skills for a skink.
Low-light Vision: Skinks can see twice as well as humans in conditions of dim lighting.
Prehensile Tail: For some unknown reason, skink tails are especially flexible and strong, so they’ve learned to use them for both movement and simple tricks. Skinks gain a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics and Climb checks, and can use their tails to draw a hidden weapon as a move action instead of as a standard action.