Wednesday, April 9, 2014

 I'm still working on the updated Races of Psi-Watch, and I thought I'd share another revamp with you.

One of the races I'm most dissatisfied with were the Blooded Ghosts from Psi-Watch's Ultimate Edition; I modeled them on the Daemonites, from Jim Lee's Wild Cats, but the race was never particularly interesting to me as a PC race. So I'm moving the Bleeding Ghosts (slightly renamed from Blooded Ghosts) to the monster section, and hopefully pumping them up a bit in the process.

Replacing them are the Xenobreed, which are a very fun crossbreed of Voodoo, as she appeared in the comic, and Sil from Species. I pretty much ripped Sil's origin for the race, and in doing so I'm establishing Puzzle Ops (which was a relatively minor faction in Ultimate Edition) as a more morally black, sadistic 'black science' organization, something akin to the institutionalized cruelty of Marvel's Weapon X Program.

That said, take a look at the new Xenobreed write-up.
Blessed Be,

The Xenobreed
Medium Aberration (Bleeding Ghost, Shapechanger)
            During the early 1970s, radio telescopes in the Philippines detected a data-burst from the region of space that would come to be called The Galactic Scar. Once decoded, the data-burst resolved into two messages. The first, the equations for stable cold fusion reactions, which convinced American scientists whoever sent the message was benevolent. The second, a complete map of an artificial gene-sequence that could be inserted into the human genome.

            Sometime after Watergate, Puzzle Ops followed the alien instructions, breeding a handful of alien-human hybrid children in an isolated experimental station in Utah. The theory that whoever sent the message was benevolent was quickly disproven as the hybrid children killed their way free of the Puzzle Ops facility and escaped to California. The hybrids were designed to easily assimilate into the human population, and were designed for exponential growth. Though Puzzle Ops gene-cleaners and repurposed Watchtower assault mecha were able to eliminate most (maybe even all) of the initial escapees, the damage had been done. The Xenobreed genome had entered the human gene pool.

            Xenobreed hybrids are outwardly human, and might appear to be any age, sex, or race. They are comfortable in a wide variety of situations and have an easy acceptance of different cultures and people- natural born travelers and xenophiles (or expert spies, depending on your point of view).

            However, their human shape is only a convenient disguise. Beneath the skin, alien organs give the hybrids phenomenal physical and metamorphic gifts. When aroused, afraid or sufficiently furious, Xenobreed transform into their monstrous true state, which resembles some kind of bastardized amalgam of human and Bleeding Ghost traits.

In their true form, Xenobreed are lithe, semi-bipedal reptilians. Their scaly hides are covered in a swirling mosaic of black, bronze and brown scales. The crown of their heads are sheathed in gnarled, crown-like horns made of biologically grown alloys, the same bio-alloys that give the race their phenomenal durability and inhuman strength. Xenobreed legs are digitigrade, increasing the hybrid’s speed and agility dramatically. When hunting, Xenobreed are as comfortable on four limbs as they are two, and drop down into a cheetah-like crouch when extra speed is necessary.

Reproduction and Biology
            Some Xenobreed are aware of their alien heritage. Most are not, though all grow up feeling uncomfortable in their own skin, like their gender, their race, their basic humanity is an ill-fitting suit. A subconscious desire to break free of their false human skin leads many Xenobreed to embrace body modification, ranging from the mild (tattoos and piercing, cosmetic surgery) to the extreme (transhuman experimentation and medical gender reassignment) before they discover their true metamorphic talents.

            Xenobreed are driven by an instinctive drive to procreate, to spread their genome. They seek out a variety of fit, human lovers, preferring intelligent, healthy, reasonably attractive humans successful in their chosen fields. Men of the species remain unaware of their alien heritage for longer than female Xenobreed, as Xenobreed pregnancies are often terrifyingly short. A male Xenobreed might have a one night stand and never see his lover again, unaware that she is undergoing a dangerous alien pregnancy that comes to term in only a few short weeks, while female Xenobreed are denied the luxury of ignorance.

            First generation Xenobreed children mature fast and learn phenomenally quickly, reaching maturity in less than five years. Later generation Xenobreed/human hybrids have longer pregnancies (though still shorter than the nine month human norm) and more normal childhoods, the better to establish a secret hybrid presence on Earth. Xenobreed mutations can persist over several generations; a seemingly human child or grandchild of a first-gen Xenohybrid offspring might appear normal at birth, only to display alien gifts at puberty.

Homelands and Culture
            Exponential spread.
            Xenobreed were designed to quickly and efficiently infiltrate humanity, and rapidly increase their numbers. The escaped hybrids fled initially to Los Angeles, and from there, spread out across the world. Xenobreed have an instinctive aversion to each other’s company and have no real culture of their own. The oldest surviving Xenobreed mimic human behavior and human emotions, while younger hybrids are more fully human, though they too struggle against the alien impulses encoded in their blood.

As Soldiers
            Xenobreed are designed, by nature and psychology, to be stealthy, urban predators. They prefer hit and run strikes and indirect action to frontal assaults. Most grow up as criminals and are dangerously good at what they do. Those who gravitate into black ops are valued for their dispassionate approach to wetwork, their shapechanging talents and their ability to sense other Bleeding Ghosts. 

Xenobreed Racial Traits
            All Xenobreed have the following racial traits.

Size and Type
            Xenobreed are Medium Aberrations with the Bleeding Ghost and Shapechanger Subtypes. As Medium creatures, Xenobreed have no special bonuses or penalties based upon their size.

Fast Speed (EX)
            Xenobreed have a base landspeed of 40 ft. They must assume Full Transformation into their true, hybrid form to move faster than 30 ft.

Climb Speed (EX)
Xenobreed have a Climb speed of 30 ft; they must assume either Partial or Full Transformation, into their true, hybrid forms in order to climb.

Ability Score Modifiers
            +2 to any one ability score of choice
            Xenobreed are as diverse as any human, and might manifest a variety of gifts.

            Adaptive Learner (EX)
Xenobreed learn quickly and adapt to changing circumstance easily. They are comfortable in virtually any situation, and know how to turn events to their advantage.

Xenobreed do not have to allocate all of their skill points or feats gained during character creation or any time they gain a level. They may, at any point in the game, suddenly allocate these skill points or feats. Doing so is a free action, and the Xenobreed can use the ability normally from that point onward.
            If the Xenobreed belongs to a class with selectable class abilities (such as a Rogue talent or a Paladin mercy), the Xenobreed may also choose not to allocate the class ability immediately. The Xenobreed can later assign the class ability as a free action and begin using the new ability normally.

Blood Scent (EX)
            Xenobreed gain the scent special quality; they can distinguish creatures with the Blooding Ghost subtype by scent alone, if they merely come within 30 ft of one. The Xenobreed can use her scent ability to detect (though not pinpoint) invisible or otherwise concealed Bleeding Ghosts.

            Darkvision 90 ft (EX)
            Xenobreed have Darkvision with a phenomenal range, but only gain access to this power they assume Partial or Full Transformation into their hybrid form.

            Hybrid Form (SU)
            Xenobreed can transform themselves into their true, monstrous form by an act of will. The Xenobreed can transform wholly or partially. In partial form, their limbs elongate and become clawed, and a scaly skin crawls across their body, though they are still recognizably human. In full hybrid form, the Xenobreed becomes a crouched, panther-like monster that strongly resembles a fearsome Bleeding Ghost warrior.

            The Xenobreed can assume either alternate form at will, but may not assume either alternate form while fatigued or exhausted.

            Partial Transformation
            The Xenobreed can assume her Partial Transformation as a swift action while in human form.

            In her Partial Transformation, the Xenobreed gains access to her Climb speed and Darkvision. In addition, she gains two claw attacks as primary natural attack that inflict 1d4 + STR modifier points of slashing damage (20/x2). Her slightly thickened hide provides her with a +1 natural armor bonus to Armor Class.

            While in Partial Transformation, the Xenobreed suffers a -5 racial penalty on CHA based skill checks (except Intimidate) against non-Blooded Ghost humanoids, and a -5 racial penalty on Handle Animal checks; her hybrid nature repulses and frightens animals.

            Full Transformation
            The Xenobreed can assume her Full Transformation as a standard action while in human form, or as a move equivalent action while in Partial Transformation.

            In addition to gaining all the benefits of Partial Transformation, the Xenobreed gains her Fast Speed. Her claw attacks inflict 1d6 + STR modifier points of slashing damage (20/x2), and her natural armor bonus to AC increases to +3.

            Once, during her Full Transformation, the Xenobreed can enter a Kill Frenzy as an immediate action. The Kill Frenzy functions identically to a Barbarian’s rage class ability, as well as providing the Xenobreed with the pounce racial quality. At the end of the round, the Xenobreed returns to her fully human form, and is exhausted for one minute.

            In addition to the penalties of Partial Transformation, the Xenobreed cannot use the aid another action, nor can she benefit from aid another or flanking bonuses provided by non-Blooded Ghost humanoids.          

Alternate Xenobreed Racial Traits
            The artificial genome that created the Xenobreed species is fairly stable, but a few Xenobreed display specialized adaptations.

            Draconic Xenoform (EX)
            Modifies: Hybrid Form (Full Transformation), Creature Type 
            The Xenobreed is a product of draconic DNA rather than Bleeding Ghost genetics, a result of a second signal received from the Galactic Scar, and put into practice before the Bleeding Ghost’s deadly genetic Trojan Horse ploy became apparent.

            The Xenobreed is a creature of the Dragon type rather than an Aberration, though she still possesses the Bleeding Ghost and Shapechanger subtypes. While in her Full Transformation, the Xenobreed is a creature of glossy ebony and algae-green scales, and her skull is crowned with ram-like horns.

            While in her Full Transformation, the Xenobreed can use a breath weapon as a standard action. This breath weapon takes the form of a 30 ft line of acid, that inflicts 5d6 acid damage (REF DC 12 + CON modifier). Doing so ends the Xenobreed’s transformation and returns her to her human form. The Xenobreed is exhausted for one minute after using her breath weapon.

This ability replaces the standard Xenobreed rage.

            Eyeless Xenoform (EX)
            Replaces: Darkvision 90 ft
            When the Xenobreed assumes either Full Transformation, she becomes blind, as smooth chitin plates grow over her eyes. The Xenobreed gains Blindsight 30 ft while in Full Transformation; she retains normal human vision, and does not gain Darkvison, while in her Partial Transformation.

            Hulking Xenoform (EX)
            Modifies: Hybrid Form (Full Transformation)
            When the Xenobreed assumes her Full Transformation, she becomes a larger than normal hybrid.

She becomes Size Large in Full Transformation, gaining a +2 size bonus to STR, but a -2 size penalty to DEX. She suffers a -1 size penalty to AC and attack rolls, but receives a +1 size bonus to Combat Maneuver checks and CMD. While in this large form, her two claw attacks inflict 1d8 + STR modifier points of slashing damage. This is a purely physical transformation, and does not affect the Xenobreed’s gear.

            Naturally Psionic (EX)
            Replaces: Adaptive Learner
The Xenobreed’s mental gifts manifest as innate psionic talent rather than accelerated learning potential. The Xenobreed gains the Naturally Psionic and Psionic Aptitude racial traits.

The Xenobreed gains the Wild Talent feat as a bonus feat at 1st level. If the Xenobreed takes levels in a psionic class, she instead gains the Psionic Talent feat. The Xenobreed gains the Psionic subtype.

            Whenever the Xenobreed takes a level in a psionic class, she can choose to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.

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