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Thrallspawn

Everybody wants to rule the world.

This is one of the first lessons that a thrallspawn is taught by its creator. The desire for power, for control, is a universal trait among sapients. Every being wants the power to ensure that harm does not befall it, that prosperity comes to it, and that the things and people it has deemed valuable are similarly protected. No matter their moral creed, their supposed principles or the god they choose to worship, say the verizal who create thrallspawn, there is not a single creature that fails to seek this power in its own way.

Their insights are surprisingly truthful, yet deeply flawed.

Thrallspawn are not a wholly natural race; instead, they are the products of many decades of (admittedly still ongoing) research by the somewhat solitary verizals into the nature and creation of elans and an answer to the eugenics programs supported by the sinister Phrenic Hegemony. Verizal create thrallspawn from their humanoid slaves, typically after such a slave has been conditioned into absolute loyalty and thus no longer needs active mind control on the part of the verizal. Once created, the new thrallspawn loses most of its memories, usually retaining only its loyalty to the verizal and shattered fragments of its personality which eventually become part of its identity as a new individual (one thrallspawn retains the sadism it had in life, while another may remember an unexplained fondness for quiet reading). From those origins, a thrallspawn quickly becomes a favored servant of its master, a combination of child, apprentice, and slave that is trained and sent out into the world to do the bidding of the verizal.

Appearance

Thrallspawn appear to be humanoids, and are often deliberately modeled after humans as part of their transformation, though they may have strong traces of other bloodlines that were used in their transformation process (or remnants of their former bloodlines, if the verizal creating them was sloppy or lazy). Thrallspawn are typically healthy and physically fit, if a little lacking in actual body strength, and can sometimes be picked out because of the odd rise-and-fall of their chest, as though their breathing patterns are off.

When a thrallspawn reveals its true nature for whatever reason, its appearance changes significantly; a cavity in its chest, gurgling with acidic fluids, opens up and releases a spidery parasite that clamps around their mouth and extends attack tentacles (these parasites explode into sizzling goo if removed from the thrallspawn, and another is produced by the chest cavity within mere minutes). Some thrallspawn manage to close the chest cavity afterwards; most do not, and they drip sizzling acid as they lurch into the attack. Thrallspawn are significantly more aggressive with their parasites attached, and can indeed become jittery, unable to pay attention, and prone to random fits of violence if they don’t find a vent for their emotional energy. As a result, most thrallspawn attach their parasites only if ordered to or in the heat of battle—or the privacy of the torture chamber.

Demeanor

A thrallspawn’s personality is often very dependant on its master; that is, thrallspawn with very involved masters tend to be obedient, submissive, and lack personal initiative as the result of their psychic conditioning. More trusting masters —or cases where their verizal is dead or the thrallspawn’s domination was shattered as part of its transformation—lead to more independent thrallspawn. All thrallspawn share a certain will to power, and even those of good alignment seek personal and sometimes political power, driven to control the environment around them by the remnants of their conditioning and the “childhood” they shared with their master. Sadism, self-discipline, pragmatism and ruthlessness are traits most thrallspawn learn from their masters, and from there a thrallspawn gradually develops a new personality based on its lessons, the broken fragments of its old identity, and its interactions with sapient creatures outside of its master’s influence.

Backgrounds

Even those thrallspawn that are now free remember what it was like to be slaves. Thrallspawn can have a surprising amount of empathy for beings who surrender their power or agency in exchange for safety; thrallspawn understand the relief granted by giving over one’s decisions to a master. Most are raised to be agents for the verizal who created them, and this purpose-built nature comes out in their attitudes; too many thrallspawn have difficulty viewing the world outside of the context of their intended purpose, be it political power, artifact retrieval, or the acquisition of slaves. Shedding these psychological limitations can take a long time, if it ever happens at all.

Thrallspawn are subjected to brutal training regimens, usually at the hands of other slaves of their verizal, and are expected to complete their tasks at any cost. The result is that thrallspawn display amazing acts of valor and courage in the pursuit of their missions, even if they manage to free themselves from control, and cowardice is virtually unknown amongst them. At the same time, that lack of emotional attachment also means that thrallspawn “grow up” both powerfully lonely and nearly completely without pity, and they can have difficulty trusting others, let alone forming meaningful attachments.

Adventures

As purpose-built beings, thrallspawn are adventurers almost by definition. They are created as agents, assassins, hunters, sages, spies, and more by their verizal masters, who reinforce this with training meant to prepare them for the wider world before sending them forth. Most thrallspawn report regularly to their master, and return to their “home” with varying degrees of frequency, which can sometimes complicate their memberships in various societies or adventuring parties if the verizal is not willing to accept magical communication. Thrallspawn favor psionic classes heavily, with arcane spellcasting taking a close second place as their route to power, and have a respect for the loyalty and service displayed by clerics, cavaliers, and paladins even if they don’t agree with or respect their ideals.

Racial Traits

Ability Score Adjustments

+2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Strength: Thrallspawn are tough and intelligent but their transformation leaves them physically weak.

Size

Medium: Thrallspawn are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Type

Humanoid (aberrant, psionic): Thrallspawn are humanoids with the aberrant and psionic subtypes.

Humanoid Heritage: At first level a thrallspawn must choose from the dwarf, elf, gnome, halfling, or human subtype. They gain the chosen subtype in addition to any other subtypes they possess.

Other Racial Traits

Speed: Thrallspawn have a base speed of 30 feet.

Acidic Spittle (Su) As a standard action, the thrallspawn may spit a corrosive mind acid; it makes a ranged touch attack, and if it hits the victim suffers 1 point of acid damage and loses 1 power point. Each round, at the beginning of the victim’s turn, the acid intensifies —it deals another point of damage and the victim loses an additional power point (so 2 on the second round, 3 on the third, and so forth). Acidic spittle lasts until the victim dies or wipes the acid away as a full-round action.

Naturally Psionic (Ps): Thrallspawn gain the Wild Talent feat as a bonus feat at first level. If a thrallspawn takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.

Tentacles (Ex) Thrallspawn have a parasitic creature with a powerful tentacle concealed in a cavity in their chest. This creature can be “drawn” as a free action, leaving the cavity and attaching to the thrallspawn’s face; this grants them a tentacle attack. The tentacle deals 1d8 damage and has an additional 5-ft. of reach. Returning the parasite to the chest cavity is a move action.

Darkvision (Ex) A thrallspawn can see in the dark up to 60 feet.

Resist Control (Ex) A thrallspawn is either currently under control of a verizal or has broken free and is now bent on never falling under another’s sway again. They gain Iron Will as a bonus feat.

Languages: Thrallspawn begin play speaking Common and Aklo. Thrallspawn with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Draconic, Giant, Goblin, Infernal, Ignan, Necril, and Orc.

Alternate Racial Traits

None

Favored Class Options

Aegis: Add +1/4 to the aegis’ customization points.

Alchemist: Increase the potency of the thrallspawn’s acidic spittle by +1/5.

Bard: Reduce arcane spell failure chance for casting bard spells when wearing medium armor by +1%. Once the total reaches 10%, the bard also receives medium armor proficiency, if he does not already possess it.

Cryptic: Add +1/3 to the rounds per day of the cryptic’s alter defense total rounds per day.

Dread: Add +1/2 to the thrallspawn’s daily uses of terrors.

Harbinger: Add +1/4 use of grim news.

Marksman: Add +1/3 to damage rolls made with ranged or thrown weapons when expending focus on psionic shot.

Magus: Add +1/2 points of acid damage to magus spells that deal acid damage.

Monk: Add +1/4 to the monk’s ki pool.

Psion: Add +1/2 power known from the psion power list. This power must be at least one level below the highest power level the psion can manifest.

Psychic Warrior: Add 1 to the psychic warrior’s CMB and CMD when involved in a grapple.

Soulknife: The soulknife gains +1/6 of a new blade skill.

Sorcerer: Add +1/2 bonus on Use Magic Device checks.

Tactician: Add +1/3 to the tactician’s saving throws versus mind-affecting effects.

Vitalist: Treat the vitalist’s level as +1/2 higher when using the transfer wounds ability.

Witch: Gain 1/6 of a new hex.

Wilder: Reduce the chance of suffering psychic enervation by 1/3% (maximum 5% reduction).

Wizard: +1/2 on Will saves.

Zealot: +1 power point.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens