The xax are an alien race that have been summoned from the dark tapestry and touched by the primordial chaos of the abyss. However, out of madness and pandemonium arose a race that gravitates towards logic, reason, and philosophy. Xax are introspective creatures, who seem at odds with their forms. In mind, they relate well to mortal folk, even feeling a sense of morals and honor.
In a world where sinister-looking half-orcs can be accepted as a player race, the xax may fit in very well. In many ways, they appear much less threatening than half-orcs or tieflings because they are of Small size. In other ways, the xax are much more hideous and alien. Not only do they have a rather slanted view of the world, but they lack many of the biological similarities that tie other races together.
However, this can be an advantage. One can never be certain what to expect from a xax. With their complex philosophies and sweeping paradigms, the xax could potentially justify just about any action. Without love, romance, or a familiar sense of family the xax are far from predictable.
The xax are also one of the few emissaries of the great black space between the stars that are not completely mad or diabolical. Through them this Lovecraftian concept can be more easily introduced into your campaign. Their strange blood may impart some extraordinary connection to this distant and terrifying realm.
In addition, xax are meant to add a fun random element to your game. In editions of yore, we grew fond of wild magic, the Deck of Many Things, and other fun tables and charts that were design to add a bit of the wildly unexpected to the game. The xax were written with the same flavor in mind. Gamemasters should feel free to experiment with bizarre results for creative ideas involving the xax and explain it easily…after all would you expect less from the product of chaos and insanity?
Xax in this text are presented as a fairly fresh race to the world. The exact date of their creation was purposefully left out so the Gamemaster can introduce them as needed. They do not need to be intertwined with your existing campaign history. This allows them to be placed in virtually any campaign setting with little work. As is, they require almost no adjustment to your world to begin play immediately.
However, if the back story will not work with your campaign, there are alternatives. In games with a different cosmology, the outer planes can easily be replaced by other alien or chaotic worlds. If other planes of existence or worlds are absent entirely, the xax could be the product of intense chaos or wild magic. Perhaps they are the direct result of tampering with the universal fabric; a terrible side-affect for those who dare delve into the more eldritch facets of reality.
Whatever the case, the xax will make a welcome addition to any game as a the strangest character in the group, an unusual option for a player seeking to play a philosophical character, a challenge for the player who likes to play everything, or even a fun alternative for those who like to roll lots of dice.
Physical Description: While their minds can be comparable to the mortal folk, in body, the xax are another thing entirely. Standing at only three and a half feet tall, the xax is a small, somewhat ape-like creature, with long arms that end in three-fingered hands that can drag along the ground as it walks on haunched legs terminating in long, two-toed feet. The xax completely lacks a neck, though does have a bony ridge atop its head that is suggestive of one. Its face, if one can call it that, is near the middle of its chest. Two eyes, one slightly larger than the other, rest on top of each other right above a vertical tooth-filled mouth. Bulbous musculature dominates the creature’s back and shoulders, covered by hairless, smooth grey skin that fades to a bluish tinge around its face. It has four pointy tongues that wriggle forth from its mouth when it eats. Despite its appearance, xax have an uncannily clear and intellectual sounding voice.
Ecology & Society: Xax do not have gender and reproduce through a form of budding. A xax will randomly develop a large tumor on its back, which will eventually erupt into a youngling xax. These younglings grow to maturity in about a week, and are ready for adventure within a month. They are born with the common knowledge of the area they were born into. For example, if a youngling xax starts life in a farming community, it will begin with a basic knowledge of agriculture. Xax have a lifespan comparable to humans, though they become extremely wrinkled as they age, and the bluish tinge of the face eventually expands to encompass their entire body as the creature enters its venerable years.
Xax are omnivores who enjoy a wide variety of food and drink. Their blood is a purplish tar, and their organs are all squirming tentacles that writhe from open wounds. The unique physiology of a xax demands strange nutrients. They will often consume large quantities of substances that other races would not find palatable at such a scale.
Xax are often devout philosophers with dizzying intellects. They have a fondness for finding patterns in seeming chaos, discovering connections between unrelated things, and generally solving mysteries that most fear to fathom. Xax are seldom selfish creatures, subscribing to the belief that we are all part of the great cosmic consciousness.
As one could imagine, keeping up with a xax’s rationale can be quite confusing. On one hand, they are peaceful philosophers who tote the virtues of brotherhood and “oneness,” and on the other they are brutal combatants capable of grisly acts of carnage and destruction. Only one thing can be said for certain; the xax will always have a rational explanation for everything they do, and that explanation will likely be convoluted.
Relations: Most races find the xax to be more than a little creepy. Even if one could get past the physical appearance of a xax, their intellectual nature and strange rationale might make some uneasy. Humans and half-orcs seem to get along best with the xax. Elves, gnomes, and halflings often find them repulsive on all fronts. Xax view all races as equals.
Relations to Remarkable Races: Xax are one of the few races that are so open-minded that they even understand the rigid anti-progressive nature of the mahrogs. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said in reverse. The zif, for example, see the xax as potential threats, and certainly tainted creatures.
Alignment and Religion: While xax revere chaos as a force of nature, most shy away from this outlook. Their minds are structured, perhaps insanely so, but enough to create a large percentage of lawful individuals. Most xax favor the side of good, as that seems to mesh best with their innate philosophy. Evil xax do exist, but often act as if they are acting a part in a play—over dramatic, stereotypical, and with very simple motivations.
Xax worship a variety of deities, though favor none in particular. They will not subscribe to any faith that is not congruent with xax philosophy, however.
Adventurers: Bordering on ascetic, the xax rarely adventure for wealth, greed, fame, or glory. They will adventure to gain knowledge, test theories, restore balance, and protect the innocent. Unlike most benevolent or peaceful creatures, they are not repulsed by creatures of evil or chaos. Instead, they see these beings as a necessary element in the universe. While many with such a philosophy would become pacifists, xax do not consign to that either. To a xax, violence can be a positive agent of change, and they are quite willing to destroy anything that they feel needs to be rebuilt.
Xax take a large variety of professions. They revere the creative side of magic, so they can be natural wizards and bards. Xax wizards often construct insanely multifarious devices that help to solve some obscure mystery. Xax bards enjoy complex musical instruments, and will often design their own unique versions. Xax can also be very spiritual, taking up the cleric or even druid class. A variety of other classes can be found among their race, though not nearly as commonly. Among those, those favoring martial arts are most prevalent, due to the xax’s enduring bodies and natural weapon skills.
Names: Bipok, Cosine, Eleven, Faren, Gravity, Infinity, Jeva, Kelvin, Quark, Radar, Rhombic, Tangent, Tetra, Uradium, Velocity, Wolden, Zero
1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.
The following feats are available to a xax character who meets the prerequisites.
The following classes and/or prestige classes are available to a xax character who meets the prerequisites.
You can exchange one or several of your character’s normal racial Traits, but of course you cannot exchange the same racial trait more than once.
As with any alternate or optional rule, you must first get the permission of your GM to exchange any of your character’s normal racial Traits for those listed here.
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, xax have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to all xax who have the listed Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.