View Full Version : The Piscaethrex [Race]

2008-02-04, 09:15 PM
The Piscaethrex


The aboleth lurk beneath the world’s oceans, undisputed masters of the deep. These hideous and utterly ancient slavedrivers use their dominating psionic powers to seek out fresh prey to enslave. One of their most feared attacks is a deadly alchemical mucus that infects the unfortunate target. Feared by all of the short-lived races, this gruesome slime transforms skin into a transparent membrane while the subject is wracked with exquisite pain.

Most of the time, the aboleth is able to dominate the victim of its terrible poison and steal them away to work as a slave in the deep. However, through bravery and pure effort of will, sometimes the recipient of this dreaded curse manages to escape from the aboleth overlord. The damage is healed easily enough, the toxin removed... But everafter there remains something of the aboleth in that victim. A taint, a hideous touch, that resides just under the skin waiting to be unleashed.

The result of such a situation is a hideous, malformed being. Tainted by the touch of the aboleth, a victim who goes on to have a child may cause the touch to manifest itself. Twisted and warped by the legacy the aboleth left behind in its parent, this child grows up apart from those around it. With no idea of who he is, where he came from, or why the world loathes him, this creation is driven to the brink of madness. Unsure of what is real and what is false, this abomination is apart from all those around him.

The aboleth call these beings ‘piscaethrex’, or ‘blood traitors’. They hold no love for these half-human monstrosities, no more than a humanoid culture cares for the child who has been tainted by the touch of the aboleth. With no culture or legacy to call home, piscaethrex are left alone to discover what is true and what is not. All too often, this leads to the edge of sanity for the already fragile piscaether. Shunned by those who should love him, reviled by those who made him, a piscaether is part of nothing and nothing is part of him.


Piscaethrex stand about five and a half feet tall, and are utterly alien in appearance. Weighing between 150 and 180 lb for the most part, piscaethrex are covered in hard, rigid skin. Piscaether skin is completely unblemished, and wounds seal up as they heal without leaving a mark. Neither does piscather skin tan or change colour; they are born a milky, translucent white, and that is how they die.

In truth, this covering is closer to a kind of external bone than true skin, in some ways an exoskeleton. Piscaethrex have narrow heads with three eyes set one atop the other. The most common colour for eyes is red or orange, but any colour can come about.

Hair is unknown to piscaethrex, being unable to grow in the bony skin covering the head. That being said, some piscaethrex have unnatural tendrils that emerge from their face that occassionally writhe by themselves. Piscaethrex have two mouths, an internal mouth with a mutitude of tiny gnashing needle teeth and an external mouth with larger teeth to grip food.

Aside from their faces, piscaethrex are mostly humanoid. They have two arms with anywhere between three and six fingers to a hand. Their legs are similarly nonstandard, with varying numbers of toes.

Piscaether Racial Traits

• +2 Cha, +2 Con, -2 Dex, -4 Wis. Piscaethrex are rigid and tough, but they lack in nimbleness and maneuverability. By dint of their polluted blood, their minds are especially fragile and they are a step removed from reality, leaving them weak of will.
• Medium. As Medium creatures, piscaethrex have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
• Piscaether base land speed is 30ft.
• Naturally Psionic: Piscaethrex gain 1 bonus power point at 1st level. This benefit does not grant them the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as levels in a psionic class.
• Trinocular Vision (Ex): Piscaethrex have three eyes, giving them better depth perception than most races. They receive a +4 racial bonus on Spot checks, a +2 racial bonus on Search checks and darkvision to 60ft.
• Hideous (Ex): Piscaethrex are hideous to behold by aboleth and humanoids alike. They receive a -4 racial penalty on all Charisma based skill checks when interacting with any non-piscaether with the exception of the Intimidate skill.
• Streamlined (Ex): Through a mix of humanoid anatomy and aboleth fins, piscaethrex are fairly well-adapted for swimming. They receive a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks.
• Rigid Structure (Ex): Piscaethrex have hard and bony skin, giving them a +1 bonus to natural armor and acid resistance 5.
• Favored Class: Wilder. A multiclass piscaether’s wilder class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

Creating Piscaether Characters

A piscaether has many helpful abilities to offer an adventuring party. With a natural talent for psionics, a piscaether can easily fill the role traditionally reserved for the arcanist. Alternatively, the aboleth taint gives piscaethrex some helpful skill bonuses to a party willing to overlook deformities. A piscaether has natural skill in the water, and his three eyes can make him excellent at reconnaisance or fine detail work. In a dungeon environment, the piscaether is a bit sturdier than his peers and can use darkvision to see without light even without the aid of magic. Finally, acid resistance means that he is able to offer some protection to the rest of the party if they come across a trap or monster that plans to use acid against them.

Piscaethers work best as either front-line fighters, arcanists, or psionicists. However, no matter what class you choose, consider investing some ranks in Spot, Search, or Swim. With a bit of effort, you can increase the piscaether’s natural talent for such endeavours to truly stand out when aquatic action or reconnaisance is required.

Due to their innate talent, piscaethrex make excellent wilders. However, this is not the only path open to them.

Barbarian: With a boost to Constitution and some natural armor to boot, piscaethrex can make reasonable barbarians. They have a certain affinity for rage with their own mental fragility, but most of the time their rigid bodies are a drawback when it comes to the quick movements neccessary for a barbarian. Piscaethrex wishing to pursue the way of the barbarian will have to overcome their poor Dexterity, but the race also offers abilities such as darkvision and swim bonuses, which can be helpful to a barbarian in the front of the party.

Bard: Piscaethrex try to be social by nature, constantly seeking acceptance. Despite this, the path of the bard is an uphill battle for them. Penalties to Charisma-based skills mean that a piscaether won’t be a particularly good face for the party in social situations. Combined with a penalty to Dexterity and restriction to light armor, bards offer little to attract the piscaether.

Cleric: Despite being desperately religious, the piscaethrex have too loose of a hold on reality to make effective clerics. Divine magic requires an ordered mind, and none but the most faithful piscaethrex are ever able to grasp the structure and insight offered by the gods.

Druid: Perhaps no class appeals less to the piscaethrex than that of the druid. With their grasp on the real world tenuous enough as it is, almost none of them seek to enforce the natural laws. A piscaether has no connection with nature, and as such is practically unable to gain any kind of power from it.

Fighter: The figher is a common choice for a piscaether who responds to the inattention of the world with violence. With the right selection of feats, a piscaether can be a deadly and versatile melee opponent. The simplistic way of the warrior appeals to many a confused piscaether, and their natural proclivity for action before thought allows them to gain more from the study of battle than most. For alternative options for a piscaether fighter, see the piscaether fighter substitution levels.

Monk: Sturdy of body and intimidating as all get out, one would think a piscaether well suited as a monk. Their alien minds, however, are unable to wrap around the stricutures of a monk’s regimen. Although physically able, piscaethrex usually fail to understand and accept the monk’s dogma.

Paladin: Only the most righteous of piscaethrex pursue the path of a paladin. It is a path seldom turned, mostly because of the persecution most piscaethrex face in their early life. Unfortunately, those that do take up the mantle of the paladin often find themselves unable to grasp the divine magic they could wield.

Psion: Piscaethrex have a natural affinity for psionics, and many take to the psion class in an effort to hone their mind. Although not as common as wilders, piscaethrex often take up the rigourous training of the mind inherent in the path of the psion.

Psychic Warrior: If there’s one psionic calling that rarely appeals to the piscaethrex, it is that of the psychic warrior. Meditation and reflection are not the way of these twisted aboleth creations, and the blending of physical prowess and mental devotion ill becomes them.

Ranger: The freeranging wandering life of a ranger appeals to many a piscaether. Unfortunately, they often find themselves ill-suited to life in the wilderness. Their penalty to Dexterity limits their archery and two-weapon fighting similarly suffers. Their penalty to Wisdom makes them abysmal spellcasters. As such, piscaether rangers are fairly uncommon.

Rogue: Although not as nimble as most other races, many piscaethrex take up the way of the rogue. This class allows them freedom as well as purpose. Their bonus to Constitution makes them hardier than the typical thief, and their racial bonuses to Spot and Search make them ideal for keeping a lookout for trouble and watching for traps.

Sorcerer: Piscaethrex make quite good sorcerers. Those that have a touch of dragon blood in them find that their loose grip on reality aids them in channeling their latent arcane might.

Soulknife: Few piscaethrex turn to the path of the soulknife. They generally have enough trouble coming to grips with reality, let alone forging their already unstable mind into an external weapon.

Wilder: The way of the wilder is by far the most common outlet for a piscaether. This class offers them the means to vent their emotions and find an outlet for their insanity. Many piscaethrex who turn to this path find themselves drawn even closer to madness than their brethren; for more options for these kinds of piscaethrex, see the racial substitution levels for piscaether wilders.

Wizard: Only the most academic piscaethrex turn to wizardy, and then only those that seek an alternative to normal life. Tomes of arcana have been the escape of many a shunned or rebuffed piscaether hoping to redefine himself with magic.

Piscaether Fighter Racial Substitution Levels

The battlefield is a place of ultimate calm for a piscaether. Those who choose to become a fighter enhance their already formidable defensive abilities and also are able to use the lucidity of battle to unlock some of their innate aboleth powers.


To take a piscaether fighter substitution level, a character must be a piscaether about to take his 2nd, 4th, or 6th level of fighter.

Class Skills: Piscaether fighter substitution levels grant the same class skills as the standard fighter class.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier

Hit Die: d10

Table: Piscaether Fighter Substitution Levels
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

+0|Battle sanity, ossification +1

+1|Memento mori, ossification +2

+2|Master of the deep, ossification +3


All of the following are class features of the piscaether fighter’s racial substitution levels.

Battle Sanity (Ex): Through the swing of the blade and the strike of the hammer, the piscaether fighter finds lucidity in reality while in battle. The ordered attacks and comfortable chaos of a fight provide him with the framework neccessary to temporarily order his mind. On any round in which the piscaether fighter makes a successful attack roll against an opponent, he may add a bonus to his Will saving throw until the start of his next turn. This bonus is equal to the value by which his attack roll exceeded his opponent’s AC. This ability replaces the standard bonus fighter feat gained at 2nd level. He may only add this bonus once per round, and only on the first attack which hits an opponent.

Ossification (Ex): By constant practice and melee fighting, the piscaether fighter can toughen his bony skin. Each time he takes a fighter replacement level, he gains a +1 bonus to his natural armor bonus.

Memento Mori (Ps): The piscaether fighter is able to use the taint of the aboleth in his blood to harness some of the ancient memories harvested by his creators. By successfully killing an opponent in melee, he is able to unlock some of the memories buried in his subconscious. For 24 hours after killing this opponent, he gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks as well as damage rolls made against enemies of the same type and subtype. If the piscaether has ranger levels as well, the bonuses from his Favored Enemy class feature stack with these bonuses. This ability may be used once per day per point of Charisma modifier. This ability replaces the standard bonus fighter feat gained at 4th level.

Master of the Deep (Ex): Through deep exploration of the taint hidden in his blood, the piscaether fighter is able to tap into the aquatic abilities of his aberrant creators. He gains a swim speed equal to his land speed, a +4 racial bonus to Swim checks, and can always choose to take 10 on such a check to avoid a special obstacle or hazard, even if stress or distraction would normally prevent it. In addition, he may now breathe water as freely as he does air. This ability replaces the standard bonus fighter feat gained at 6th level.

Piscaether Wilder Racial Substitution Levels

The wilder is the most common calling for a piscaether. It provides an outlet for the psionic power in their tainted blood, and allows them to purge themselves of the rage they often feel at their arbitrary status in life.


To take a piscaether wilder substitution level, a character must be a piscaether about to take her 4th, 12th, or 20th level of wilder.

Class Skills: Piscaether wilder substitution levels grant the same class skills as the standard wilder class.

Class Skills at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier

Hit Die: d6

Table: Piscaether Wilder Substitution Levels
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Power Points/Day|Powers Known|Maximum Power Level Known

+4|Brink of insanity +1|17|3|2nd

+8|Brink of insanity +2|126|7|6th

+12|Brink of insanity +3|343|11|9th


All of the following are class features of the piscaether wilder’s racial substitution levels.

Brink of Insanity: A piscaether wilder’s psionic outbursts bring her even closer to the edge of madness than most piscaethrex. Beginning at 4th level, whenever she uses her wild surge ability, madness infuses her psionics. This manifests in an aura of insanity that surrounds her. This aura has a radius of 5ft. per level of her wild surge and is centered on her. All beings within the area of the aura take a -1 penalty to Will saving throws. Correspondingly, the piscaether’s mind becomes razor-sharp as she releases her psionic power. She gains a +1 bonus to Will saving throws per being within the aura. The effects of this ability last until the beginning of the piscaether’s next turn.

If the piscaether is overcome by psychic enervation following her wild surge, she gains no bonus to her Will save, but beings within the area still take a penalty.

At 12th level and at 20th level, if the piscaether chooses to take another racial substitution level, the penalty applied and the bonus granted by this ability improves by +1.

This ability replaces the surging euphoria class feature of the wilder. If a piscaether chooses only to take one or two of the racial substitution levels, she gains the Surging Euphoria ability as normal, but she begins at a +1 bonus to it, no matter when she takes the first normal wilder level.

2008-02-05, 08:33 AM
So they look like people beat over the head with the ugly/mutant monster stick but some-how they have a +2 Cha?

Explain that one, I see you posted they constantly seek social acceptance, but looking like something out of most people's nightmare's might just make it a "touch" harder for them than for most to get that acceptance.

2008-02-05, 08:55 AM
I think the bonus to charisma has to do with an extremely forceful personality. This is more than balanced out by the -4 penalty to social checks. That penalty is a representation of their horrible ugliness.

2008-02-05, 09:42 AM
So they look like people beat over the head with the ugly/mutant monster stick but some-how they have a +2 Cha?

Explain that one, I see you posted they constantly seek social acceptance, but looking like something out of most people's nightmare's might just make it a "touch" harder for them than for most to get that acceptance.

This is exactly why I dislike CHA and one of the main reasons I think it gets so little play. I usually house rule CHA to be force of character (their presence if you will) and beauty to be a fluff stat to go with their background. Such thinking seems to be taken into account with the Hideous racial ability.

That being said I would modify the Hideous ability to not affect Intimidate as their ugly visage would scare the crap out of me.

If a Piscaethrex is made/birthed from a member of non-medium-sized race is the child always mediun sized or does this assume it is mostly humans and elves that are captured by the aboleth?

2008-02-05, 10:48 AM
They seem kinda cool. My one problem though is the -4 to Wis. They get a +2 bonus on search and spot due to their six eyes but with the wis penalty they are just as good as an ordinary human. WTF?

2008-02-05, 07:30 PM
If a Piscaethrex is made/birthed from a member of non-medium-sized race is the child always mediun sized or does this assume it is mostly humans and elves that are captured by the aboleth?

The size of the creature that gives birth to a piscaether doesn't matter. Piscaethrex are a unique race unto themselves, and don't gain any traits based on the race they're born from; it's the taint of the aboleth manifesting itself.

As for the Spot/Search, I stupidly forgot that Spot is Wis-based. I'll bump the Spot bonus up to +4, but keep the Search at +2, being Intelligence-based. That puts them ahead of Joe Shmoe on both counts. :smallsmile:

Also: good call on Intimidate.