With a mighty leap, the insectile Phraint springs thirty feet above his opponent. He hurls a javelin from the peak of his leap, then draws his greatsword before landing behind his unlucky adversary.
Converted from The Arduin Grimoire and Runes of Doom by Dave Hargrave.
I've tried to keep the race as true to the original descriptions and information as possible while keeping them PC-playable for Pathfinder. I used the Paizo Advanced Race Guide play test document as a way of getting a rough power balance on them (the actual book isn't out yet as I write this, hopefully it'll have lots of improvements over the test document.) This race comes out on the border between +0 and +1 levels versus the core races (about 15RP.)
I'll put some notes about toning down the Phraint below, if you feel they are overpowered as written for your campaign.
Phraints are a cold, emotionless insectile race that claims an origin on other worlds among the stars, though the truth is lost to time. Except for a very rare few, they are incapable of either feeling or comprehending emotion. Other races may employ them as mercenaries, as they are known for their intense loyalty and adherence to the specifics of their contracts. They are considered alien and strange by other races, even by such as the fey.
Physical Description: Phraints stand about nine feet tall overall (including their antennae) and are very light for their height. They are built like a combination of an ant and a mantis, though they have only two arms and two legs. Their limbs are articulated similar to a normal humanoid, though encased in chitin with rough spurs on the outside edges. Their hands and feet are claws, capable of firmly gripping normal implements. Their bodies may be of a solid metallic color of blue, green, black, silver-grey, or red, or they may have a mix of these colors in some pattern with areas of yellow. A pair of large feathery antennae rise from the top of their head, stretching from the top of their head to their full height, usually about 14 to 18 inches.
They are only capable of eating liquids or pureed foods, of which pureed horseflesh with honey, eucalyptus sap, and wood alcohol is a favorite. They are also capable of standing completely motionless for days.
Society: Historically phraints have lived in "Hive Homes" of from a few dozen to several thousand individuals. In the traditional hove home, only one female was present, the Queen, with chemical effects on the eggs causing them to yield only males except when the Queen triggered a female for her own replacement or the formation of a new hive home elsewhere. The lack of a Queen would also act as a trigger for the hatching of females, sometimes several simultaneously, resulting in a contest among the hatchlings to become the new Queen. More recently, however, environmental stresses have resulted in smaller hive homes being the norm (from a few dozen to several hundred individuals), with the hatching of infertile females being as common as the hatching of infertile males. Under the correct circumstances, these infertile members of the species may become fertile in order to establish a new hive home, usually with the intervention of an existing Queen. Phraint legends tell of a time when phraints lived among the stars, and bore carapaces of solid colors based on their caste within the hive home. They also tell of the mighty Black Warriors, artificially produced through genetic techniques to fight under environmental conditions that would kill any normal life form.
Phraints are hatched from eggs laid in groups on vertical poles ("sticks") within the hive home. Eggs on a stick at the same time will hatch together to form work groups of "Stick Brothers" (regardless of the actual sex of the hatchlings.) These groups will normally work together at simultaneous or complementary tasks for their entire lives. Groups range from 12 to 120 phraints depending on the size of the stick, hive home, and the needs of the community.
Relations: Phraints maintain cool and distant relations with other races, as the other races' emotion and lack of logic is confusing to them. They perceive emotion as a weakness, and the lack of logic as a form of insanity. They have no specific ties or needs for ties to other races, they normally live in a reclusive fashion. If their homes are attacked, they will counterattack in the most logical fashion and in a way that eliminates the physical possibility of a future attack from the same group. They do no parley, or accept (or understand) surrender as a race, only physical ability. Individual members of the race that venture outside the hive home are capable of developing a basic understanding of these concepts from a logical standpoint and acting upon them, however.
Alignment and Religion: Phraints are neutral, and act only in reasoned self-interest. They have no understanding of or interest in the concept of morality as expressed by other races. They have no religion. Though they recognise the demonstrable acts of immortal powers in the world, they do not seek to worship those immortals as other races understand it. If they decide to accept a religion, they do so on entirely pragmatic grounds, and will only follow and proselyte the religion on that basis. They have no interest in the alignment of any deity, and if they consider the tangible rewards of following a specific deity to be sufficiently rewarding for the effort, they will follow any deity that will accept them.
Adventurers: Phraints will typically only leave the hive home to work elsewhere to obtain something specific that the hive home requires, then return. For this purpose they become mercenaries and other paid servants of other races under contract to obtain specific goods or payment. Some rare phraints, however, will leave the hive home and live outside their own society for reasons that suit their own logic. In the rare instances where a phraint is capable of understanding and feeling emotion, they may feel alienated or outcast from their own society and thus choose to leave. Many phraints that leave their home hive, for whatever reason, often take names from the society that they are entering to suit the vocal capabilities of those societies.
Male Names: Phrzz-Kek, Occulus, Atheros, Tp'tket, Emphasio.
Female Names: Essett-btakt, Enorria, Salian, Wrrt'yppt.
Phraint Racial Traits:
+6 Dex, -2 Wis, -2 Cha: Phraints are almost supernaturally dextrous as a result of their low weight for size, and insectile built. Their lack of emotion makes them poor as leaders and they lack the wisdom that comes naturally for other races.
Medium: Phraints are medium creatures, in spite of their great height they are of light build and have only the normal reach of a medium sized creature.
Fast Speed: Phraints have a base speed of 45 feet.
Natural Weapons: Phraints have natural weapons for a Bite (1d3) and 2 Claw (1d4) attacks, or 1 Sting attack (1d3 plus 1 point Constitution damage on failed Fortitude save.) (Phraints must perform a swift action to change between a sting attack and any other form of attack.)
Phraint Chitin: Phraints have natural armor +6.
Phraint Immunities: Phraints are immune to fear effects, Bluff, and Intimidate.
Phraint Reflexes: Phraints receive a +2 racial bonus to Acrobatics and the Improved Initiative feat as a racial ability.
Phraint Jump (Ex):For Phraints, the base DC for vertical jumps is two times the distance to be covered.
Unemotional: Phraints may not use the Bluff ability, and they receive a racial adjustment of -2 to Intimidate and Sense Motive.
Freeze (Ex): A phraint can hold itself so still that it appears to be a statue. A phraint that uses freeze can take 10 on its Stealth check to hide in plain sight against unintelligent creatures.
Weapon Familiarity: Phraints are proficient with greatsword and javelin, and treat any weapon with the word "phraint" in its name as a martial weapon.
Languages: Phraints begin play speaking Common and Phraint. Phraints with high intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Orc.
Random Starting Ages:
Phraint Adulthood 15 years
Barbarian, etc. +1d4 years
Bard, etc. +1d6 years
Cleric, etc. +2d6 years
Middle Age 40 years
Old 300 years
Venerable 350 years
Max Age 350 + 5d10 years
Random Height and Weight
Base Height 8'-5"
Base Weight 80 lbs.
Phraint Emotion: You were born with the rare ability to feel and understand emotion. You may use the Bluff ability, and you gain +1 to your Intimidate and Sense Motive skills. You are affected by Bluff and Intimidate, but receive +2 on all saves versus their effects.
Black Warrior Breed: Your natural genetic makeup closely simulates the legendary Black Warrior artificial genotype. You may change weapons as an immediate action while executing a Jump, making a Reflex Save, or defending against an attack of opportunity. This ability may be used a maximum of once per round.
Phraint Charge: Prerequisites: Phraint race, BAB 4+
You use your race's signature attack of leaping over your opponent, attacking them at the peak of your leap, then coming down ready to fight on their other side.
As a full-round action you may move and jump over an opponent, attacking with a missile weapon from the peak of the jump, then change weapons before landing. This action does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The jump must start and end in squares from which the opponent could be flanked, and you must have a clear path while moving on the ground. You must not be mounted. You may move up to twice your speed. The Jump DC must be such that you would be successful if unthreatened and roll 10 on the check (though no actual check is performed.)
If you possess the Quick Draw feat or Black Warrior Breed trait, and have a BAB of 5 or greater, you may perform an additional standard action after your jump, but this action will provoke attacks of opportunity as normal.
NotesTo reduce the power of the Phraint class a bit to bring it closer to RP10 (which Paizo claims for all the base races, though in the case of Elves that's...a stretch) you can reduce the natural armor of the race by one (to +5), the speed to 40', and allow the player to select one of the weapon proficiencies rather than get both right off the bat.
If more toning down is required, the poison effect can be reduced by having it Stagger or Daze opponents on an unsuccessful Fortitude save, rather than having it do Con damage. Or reduce the racial Dexterity adjustment to +4.
Phraint Emotion was included because of notes in The Runes of Doom about Reds) and to make it easier to overcome the lack of race/class limitations in Pathfinder for this race. The cumulative effect of the racial -2 on Intimidate and Sense Motive with the +1 given by this trait still results in a net -1 to Intimidate and Sense Motive.
Bluff: phraints can put points into Bluff but they can't use the skill unless they take the Phraint Emotion trait. This allows phraint characters to use or do things that require points in Bluff, but not to actually bluff. Though it's worth asking if a normal phraint would do or use those things, either... ;)
Also, the typical names were included because they're standard Pathfinder format fare, not because I have any insight into phraint names. The ones I've known in play have names that range from the mundane to unpronounceable collections of characters. I tried to just put in a sampling.If you use this race in play, drop me a note (email below) to let me know how it worked for you, and any changes you've made!