It’s been a little while for this! Honestly, I feel extremely rusty and despite having an unlimited amount of inspirational material in birds, I kinda overthought and rethought and stalled on parts of this. I am gonna chalk it up to being really distracted with real life stuff this week. Anyway, on with the show!
Behold the proud ornithereans, who call the mountain passes and craggy cliffsides home and have since time immemorial. The ornithereans are believed to be an ancient people whose origins trace back to ages before mankind, but since the capricious fellows are known to be disorganized and decentralized, no cogent record exists. And, because they’re nothing if not full of personality, the records that these avian folk have kept are contradictory at best. The inquisitive birdfolk are quite independent, almost to a fault; so much so that their communities fragment constantly as individuals strike out on their own. Far from hosting mighty empires and cities teeming with life, the ornithereans are scattered in countless small, windy aeries neighboring each other as each generation seeks a space of its own. Often, emptied haunts are reused decades or centuries after the first ornitherean nested there, many years since it was last inhabited. Because they are often attacked by many wild beasts with a taste for poultry, they have adapted such that all ornithereans may lay eggs and all ornitherean egg clutches are laid year-round.
The ornithereans commonly harness weak magics, and have a greater-than-average likelihood of producing archmages. Most of their peoples are capable of minor spellcasting. The ancient species has become adapted to various environments as they’ve spread from range to range; it is not unlikely to spot downy, tufted, squat ornithereans near snowy conifers and, many leagues away, see lanky ornithereans with bright plumage and complicated feather patterns. Their diet is largely omnivorous, though, like their specific appearance and size, local populations are impacted greatly by adaptation to the bounty of nature. The ornithereans, being creatures of opportunity and curiosity by nature, are attracted to lives spent journeying. They are often fixated on baubles and riches. Favored weapons of the ornithereans include slings, bows, wicked daggers, and slender spears or javelins. They are not fond of armor or shields, and are penalized for wearing much of anything at all.
Basics in Brief
Requirement: Dex 10
Prime Requisite: Dex
Equipment Proficiency: Light armaments, no shields
Armor Proficiency: No armor
Save As: Thief
XP Advancement: Fighter
Other: Natural peck attack (1d4+1)
Your hollow bones do not support armors and heavy metal weaponry; you are of an ancient people whose history is unclear and tied to sorcery – and likely have access to minor magical effects yourself, as a result.
You aren’t a soaring eagle high in the sky. At best you’re a chicken, capable of flapping the hell out of your mediocre wings to make your landing a little softer. Once per day you can give it your all to slow a fall to a safe speed and land in one piece.
Iron Stomach: Passive; 1/week poison save bonus
Fermented fruits, sun-seared carcasses, and even many poisons are not enough to damage your sturdy guts. You can safely metabolize food of any kind, and alcohol cannot intoxicate you. Once per week, roll 1d4 and subtract it from any mundane poison save.
Regular exposure to sounds allows you to incorporate them into your songs, like a man-sized magpie. Once per day, pick any sound or short sentence you have heard and roll 1d20 under Charisma score. On a success, add that sound to the list of sounds you can reproduce at will.
At character generation, roll 1d6 on this table; note down the result.
Firestarter – Once per day, coax a small flame to life inches above your palm, suitable for sparking a candle, torch, or setting something else alight.
Birdtongue – Once per day, invoke your avian heritage and chirp back and forth to birds of any variety to communicate simple ideas and request favors, which mundane birds may not refuse (limited by their capability to perform the request).
Skysearch – Once per day, the position of the sun, stars, or moon – or maybe just the scent of the breeze itself – gives you the ability to know the cardinal directions with absolute certainty. Of course, this only works where the sky can be seen, smelled, or otherwise appreciated.
Evisceration Toe – Once per day, your weird chicken skin bird legs harden like steel and your talons become oversized and lethal. For 1d6 rounds, you may make attack rolls using your horrifying feet to shred foes. Your cassowary-like claws are treated as enchanted daggers for the purposes of damage and magical resistances.
Ancient Tongue – The decentralized nature of your people means tidbits of many civilizations of ages past have been incorporated, corrupted, and half-remembered by some of the countless ornitherean aeries. Once per week, you may read one magical scroll as a wizard.
Innate Augury – Once per day, you may roll 1d4 and note the result on your character sheet. You may add this as a bonus to any roll you make before the next day, given your keen observance of the auspices.
As leather (BX7)
As leather (BX7)
As leather (BX7)
As leather (BX7)
9D4 + 2 (No CON)
As leather (BX7)
9D4 + 3 (No CON)
As chain (BX5)
9D4 + 4 (No CON)
As chain (BX5)
9D4 + 5 (No CON)
As chain (BX5)
9D4 + 6 (No CON)
As plate (BX3)
Nothing this time. It must be bad luck!
Gain 1d6 HP in addition to your regular level advancement HP.
Duckfooted. Gain tremendous advantage to any situation involving swimming.
Defend the nest! Gain +1 to AC any time you are within sight of a place you have camped, slept at, or otherwise made your (temporary or permanent) home.
Gain +1 on to-hit rolls thanks to your eagle-eyed vision.
You can lay an egg and crack it once per day, with its yolk functioning as a Web spell.
Your beak gains a large pelican pouch underneath which can store a surprising amount of small objects or treasure.
The mites that inhabit your feathers have particularly shiny exoskeletons. Immediately gain +1 to save vs Wands.
Roosting is healing. Any time you sleep or camp somewhere, roll 1d4 and regain those hit points immediately. At level 10 and above, roll 2d4.
The patterning on your feathers makes it hard to spot you in dark environments. You can surprise a target on a 4, 5, or 6.
Rodent-like creatures, regardless of size, feel innate fear when they see you. They take a penalty of +3 on all morale checks.
Your plumage becomes especially exquisite, shimmering in the light with a nearly metallic gleam. Gain +1 bonus to save vs Spell.
A second head is good to have, and legends say it is a symbol of strong and righteous rule by divine mandate. Gain a second head, +1 WIS.
Your feathers become peacock feathers. Pull one out (it’ll grow back!) once per day, and the eye opens to show you what it sees for 1d12 hours.
Your lifetime of avoiding the prowling great cats of the cliffsides gives you a preternatural gift for dodging attacks; gain +1 bonus to AC.
Roll on a level-appropriate arcane spell list of the DM’s choosing, gaining the ability to cast that spell once per day.
Gain +1 bonus to save vs Breath as part of your ongoing commitment to avoiding becoming turkey dinner.
You stink to high hell. You’re penalized on attempts to avoid detection, but you also gain +1 AC on melee attacks as most foes are loathe to be near you.
Birdsong – Chirp a lovely song; as a spell-like ability, reroll reaction roll on meeting and receiving disfavorable results.
Choose a target and shriek an otherworldly tone at it, foretelling of its untimely demise. Target saves vs Spell or is penalized -1 on AC, initiative, and to-hit rolls.
Hard times have befallen you before, requiring you to snatch grubs from tree trunks. Your beak can be used to penetrate wood.
Carrion is good, but specific carrion is better. Choose one type of creature; eating its remains will heal you 1HP instantly once per day.
You are as light as air, so tripping your spindly legs is nearly impossible; you cannot be knocked prone by physical attacks.
Your aerie has a particularly exotic mating dance you only just recalled. Gain a +1 bonus to all reaction rolls with lawful beings thanks to your confident bearing.
You shimmer gently when you eat gold or silver. For every 100 gold pieces worth of treasure consumed, you illuminate your immediate area (20x20x20) for ten minutes.
You have mastered the art of regurgitation to feed young hatchlings. You can eat rotten or spoiled food and regurgitate it as safe, edible slop for your friends or babies.
Lullaby – Trill a soothing tune. Target creature must roll save vs Sleep or take a nap until save is made.
Sprout another set of wings, which take 1d4 weeks to fully develop. When they do, you can Glide (per your natural abilities) twice per day.
You lay an egg. A golden egg, which is worth 3000GP if taken safely back to civilization. It bears strange engravings…
You gain the ability to lay eggs as projectiles once per day. Treat as a sling attack.
Adapted for cracking hardshelled clams and crustaceans, your beak can be used to crack some stones.
Lightfingered. Any attempt to pickpocket or carefully steal an item or avoid tripping a trap by hand is done at great advantage.
Your egg was a legendary phoenix egg; you are reborn each time you die. Lose one level (and any additional experience) each time you die and are reborn.
As always, you can reach me once again on Twitter @dungeonspossums if you have any thoughts or just want to say hi and chat about RPGs!