Saturday, October 15, 2016

Complete Preview: The Dodoma

The Dodoma have always been one of my favorite Black Tokyo races, and here's a lengthy preview of how they'll be revised and expanded in the Black Tokyo Race Book, tentatively titled Blackest of Heroes. The art is by Amanda Webb, and I'm mostly posting this as an excuse to show it off.

Medium Humanoid (human)

The Dodoma are a tribe of attractive and petite humanoids with hundreds of eyes across their lithe bodies. Some claim that thieves and pickpockets are born into Dodoma families in the Tatakama when they die in the Earth-realm, and are brought up as master thieves by the nomadic bandits. Others, including the Dodoma themselves, claim that the Dodoma predate humanity. The multiply eyed rogues were supposedly an early prototype of the human form who were cast out of the heavens for stealing the gods’ coin purses.

Dodoma are comfortable walking the torii between the Tatakama and the Earth Realm. The boldest have very little fear of an excursion into the Black Else (if they can be convinced there’s some profit in it). Dodoma enjoy the sights and modern comforts of the Black Japan, and many lead rich, full mortal lives among cross-planar humans. Dodoma can usually be found walking the realms, running scams, filching treasures and carousing, but a few have been known to put their natural talents to nobler use as treasure-hunters, eerily perceptive exorcists or even….rarely…true and noble heroes.

Our Appearance
Dodoma closely resemble human of Asian descent, though they are uniformly petite and slightly built. They can pass for Japanese with difficulty, or for Chinese, Korean, Thai or Vietnamese with a little less effort. Both male and female Dodoma have soft, vaguely androgynous features. Their hair naturally grows in an assortment of vibrant, rainbow colors: greens, electric blue, screaming pink and canary yellow are only a few shades. A Dodoma’s hair color provides a clue to the humanoid’s clan of origin.

While a Dodoma is clothed, she might easily be mistaken for a mortal human. However, if the Dodoma’s clothes are removed her strange heritage becomes obvious. One hundred and eight blinking human eyes cover the Dodoma’s shoulders, breasts and back, and run down their arms. The Dodoma’s fingers end in tiny photosensitive spots like eyes, and a wreath of strange, lustful eyes surrounds their genitals.  

Our Sexuality
Though they share a shape with mankind, Dodoma cannot cross breed with ordinary humans. However, seduction and strange romances between Dodoma and men are not uncommon. Dodoma pregnancies last the same span as a human’s, but Dodoma mothers-to-be suffer one complication undreamed of by mortal women. For the last month of a pregnancy, a Dodoma female is blind, all her many eyes tightly shut until the birth of her child.

Dodoma live significantly longer than mortal humans, remaining energetic and vital into their 120th year, and the eldest crones of the race surviving as much as fifteen decades. Dodoma are great respecters of age, because their own elders are some of the most deceptive, cunning bastards in any realm.

Our Faiths and Beliefs
Dodoma are a little more religious than you might expect, but often in a shallow, superstitious way. They learn a little bit of this and that: some Taoist philosophy, a bit of Shinto animism, something from the darkness of the Tatakama, bits of misunderstood Filipino Catholicism and blend it together in a mélange that makes individual sense. They’re rarely Buddhists, except in their old age, as the religion is a bit too staid and stuffy for their tastes. Dodoma will light incense after a successful gig, or at the passing of a friend or comrade in arms, and might enjoy a religiously motivated street fair, but no more than that.

The Places Important to Us
Dodoma are rootless, often mistrusted nomads, who prowl the Tatakama’s trade routes in ragged caravans. A few Dodoma live as thieves and spies in larger human cities, covering their many eyes and passing for mortal. Dodoma are extraordinary vain creatures, and their homes will always be lavishly decorated with polished mirrors and reflecting bowls. In the modern world, they’ve a great love for neon and for long, tangled strings of holiday lights.

In the Earth Realm, Dodoma prefer larger cities, which provide a measure of anonymity and an opportunity to earn. For most, the terms Dodoma and criminal are synonyms, and small, tight-knit Dodoma families can be found in any Japanese city with a large Yakuza or Triad presence. Ordinary mortals might not know it, because Dodoma are masters of passing for human, but there are surprisingly large communities of the many-eyed rogues in both Hiroshima and Gunma Prefecture, clustered around the Jomo Mountain Range.

The Languages We Speak
Dodoma begin play speaking Japanese and one other language of choice, usually either Common, English or another Asian language: Korean, Cantonese and Vietnamese are popular choices, as many Dodoma pass as members of immigrant races when working in Japan. Dodoma with high INT scores can choose any language as a bonus language, except for secret languages like Druidic.

Play A Dodoma If…
·         You want the keenest eyes in the campaign and a lot of enhanced senses beyond those.
·         You plan to do a lot of pickpocketing, shoplifting and infiltration.
·         You want to play something street savvy and able to pass for human (most of the time).
·         You favor agility over heavy armor and favor a highly mobile fighting style. 

Dodoma Racial Traits
All Dodoma share the following racial traits.

Size and Type
Dodoma are Medium Humanoids with the human subtype. As Medium creatures, Dodoma receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Ability Score Modifiers
+2 DEX, -2 CON, +2 WIS.
Injuries to their many eyes can render a Dodoma incapacitated with agony, but their senses are far keener than a human’s, and most are as agile as trained martial artist.

Normal Speed (EX)
Dodoma have a base land speed of 30 ft.

108 Eyes (EX)
Dodoma’s entire body is covered in eyes. When unarmored, lightly armored or wearing armor with the Near Nudity property, the Dodoma’s enhanced senses are active. The Dodoma cannot be flanked, and receives a +4 racial bonus on Perception checks.

Dodoma possess lowlight vision. Their lowlight vision functions even when the other aspects of their 108 Eyes racial ability are suppressed, due to the Dodoma wearing heavier armor.

Human Blood (EX)
Dodoma count as human for all effects related to race.

Natural Thief (EX)
Dodoma receive a +1 racial bonus on Disable Device and Sleight of Hand checks, and these skills are always class skills for the Dodoma.

Thief’s Instinct (EX)
Dodoma are consummate thieves, who seem to have a sixth (or seventh) sense about where you’ve left your valuables. A Dodoma who merely passes within 5 ft of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Perception check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.

If the Dodoma’s 108 Eyes racial ability is suppressed, due to her wearing medium or heavy armor, this ability is also suppressed.

Thief’s Step (SU)
Once per day, the Dodoma can step partially between worlds, becoming as unsubstantial as a ghost. As a move equivalent action, the Dodoma can become ethereal, and can pass through solid matter. The Dodoma can maintain the ethereal state for a number of rounds equal to his or her CHA modifier (minimum one round).

Unaverted Gaze (EX)
If the Dodoma’s skin of eyes is exposed and her 108 Eyes ability is active, the Dodoma  cannot avert her gaze from any supernatural gaze attacks, and she automatically fails all saves to resist sight based attacks, such as a medusa’s lethal gaze.

Dodoma Alternate Racial Traits
Every Dodoma has adventure and crime in their heart, but various Dodoma clans boast unique powers. Don’t expect a Dodoma to ever tell you all of his talents; the shifty multi-eyed rogues like to keep a few secrets for just the right moment.

Dodoma Precision (EX)
Natural Thief
Some Dodoma actually make an honest living, and their 108 very sharp eyes serve them well when it comes to detail work. The Dodoma receives a +2 racial bonus on one Craft skill of choice where sharp vision would come in handy. This skill is always a class skill for the Dodoma.

Eyes of Ink (SU)
Thief’s Step
As a full round action, the Dodoma  can transform her 108 bodily eyes into the intricate, full body tattoos of a Yakuza soldier, or back again. These tattoos always depict animals with eerily glowing, cunning eyes, snarling at the viewer.

In her tattooed state, the Dodoma can automatically pass for human, and may use animated tattoo at will, as a sorcerer of her total character level. While her eyes are hidden in plain sight as Yakuza tattoos, her 108 Eyes racial ability is considered suppressed. 

Hitotsume-Kozo (SP)
Replaces: Thief’s Step
Though their lean child-like bodies are covered with 108 perceptive eyes, their heads have only one, a huge cyclopean eye in the middle of their bald forehead. Cute, perky and curious, Hitotsume-Kozo are the perpetual teenagers of the Dodoma race. They never seem to grow up, or lose their lust for the adventuring life.

Hitotsume-Kozo can cast each of the following spells once per day as a sorcerer of their total character level: Daze, Flare or Ghost Sound.  

Manipulative Insight (SP)
Thief’s Instinct
Dodoma can spot a sucker at a kilometer away, and have an uncanny sense of who’d be most receptive to their charms, their cons, and their schemes.

The Dodoma can cast one detect alignment spell of their choice (detect good, detect chaos, ect) at will as a sorcerer of their total character level. At 10th level, the Dodoma gains the ability to cast a second detect alignment spell of their choice at will, also as a sorcerer of their total character level.

If the Dodoma’s 108 Eyes racial ability is suppressed, this ability is also suppressed.

Magic Eyes (SP)
Thief’s Instinct
Your 108 eyes see the truth of things beyond the merely physical, granting you supernatural insight. Select any one first level divination spell with detect in the name, such as detect animals and plants, detect evil or detect secret doors. You gain the ability to use this effect as a spell-like ability at will.

If the Dodoma’s 108 Eyes racial ability is suppressed, this ability is also suppressed.

Petite Dodoma (EX)
Available To:
female Dodoma
Replaces: Thief’s Instinct
Your chest is flat and almost boyish, broken only by hard little nipples surrounded by strange, blinking eyes. You receive the Small Breasts Forever trait and gain Mega-Pettanko as a racial bonus feat.

Shirime (SU)
Natural Thief, Thief’s Instinct, Thief’s Step
Dodoma of the Shirime breed are more honest then the norm, but are acid-tongued, foul-mouthed and sarcastic in the extreme. They are among the greatest healers, surgeons and medics in all the Realms, but have absolutely no regard for tradition and zero respect for authority. Shirime have 109 eyes, not the 108 typical of their race- the hundred and ninth protrudes from their anus and stares sullenly.

The Shirime ability package is a major rebuild of the Dodoma race. It grants the following abilities.

Healing Instinct (EX)
A Shirime Dodoma who merely comes within 5 ft of a person suffering any disease may make a Heal check as if actively attempting to diagnose the disease.  The Shirime Dodoma can tell if a creature is healthy (at 75% or greater HP), wounded (at 75-25% HP) or grievously wounded (at 25% HP or less) merely by looking at a creature. 

If the Shirime’s 108 Eyes racial ability is suppressed, this ability is also suppressed.

Master Surgeon (EX)
The Shirime Dodoma is an incredibly skilled physican, and receives Skill Focus (heal) and Surgery as racial bonus feats.

The Dodoma receives a +2 racial bonus on Heal checks made to assist Humanoids and Monstrous Humanoids, and Heal is always a class skill for the Shirime Dodoma.

Spirit of Disease (SU)                                                                                       
Replaces: Thief’s Instinct
Some say the audacious Dodoma are spirits of disease. (The association of some Shirime Dodoma with the healing arts might have something to do with this stereotype.)

This Dodoma is immune to all diseases, including magical disease. However, any living creature (except other Dodoma) who spends more than an hour in the Dodoma’s company suffers a -2 luck penalty on FORT saves to resist disease for the next 24 hours.

You'll notice that I added a "Play an X if you like...." header to the racial description, which is totally stolen from Fifth Edition. It's just a good idea and interesting way to summarize a race quickly. 

Beyond gathering art and doing final layout for the race book, I'm also working on some Heavy Future and Otherverse America stuff. Look for a HUGE magic sourcebook for Heavy Future, and a Lifer Player's Guide coming (relatively) soon. 

Blessed Be, 

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