The penthe are a humanoid species that can trace its ancestry to humanity at some pre-historical point. Biological testing has proven the penthe are indeed humans, despite their outward physical differences. Penthe in their native form are stocky humanoids with wide, flat facial features and exceptionally long arms with seven delicate, elongated fingers on each hand.
Their skin is a vibrant explosion of complex lambent pattern, like tree frogs hued in neon. Additional features of angle and expression created from self-generated pale energy enhance their visage, much like a holographic display, and range from subtle enhancements to full-blown projected masks. The visual expressions of individual Penthe are unique and shift through the penthe’s lifetime, a statement of their self-identity, purpose and position within their culture.
When penthe cross over to the Material Plane, however, much of this vibrant majesty is left behind. They retain a similar body shape but their skin dulls to a leathery gray. They lack all the dream-like beauty of their natural forms, and are commonly dressed in drab, utilitarian survival clothing to withstand the wind-blasted badlands that dominate their planet. Penthe in the Material Plane commonly mark their exposed skin with pigmented clays, a pale imitation of their true forms that help them feel more comfortable in the material plane.
Penthe have the ability to create waking avatars for short periods of time instead of physically going meatside, a process akin to dreaming in reverse. They enter a comatose stasis while resting or sleeping in the Dimension of Dreams and form a corporeal body identical to their physical form in the Material Plane. Most penthe encountered by outsiders at one of their outposts are waking avatars serving as guards, diplomats and other functionaries. Those penthe who act as longer-term guides on expeditions surface or who leave the planet to explore the universe always do so in their actual physical bodies.
Penthe speak their own distinct language that shares common roots with Common. The alphabet and language structure of the two are similar but have deviated far enough from each other over the centuries to require translation. Many penthe, especially those whose purpose places them in contact with other species, gain fluency in Common as well.
Penthe society is structured around individual purpose, with communal family units known as consortiums being composed of penthe of a single purpose or function, in many ways like a guild. Juvenile penthe learn the basics of their parent’s consortium but are tested for a wide range of aptitudes and interests in order to encourage growth towards their purpose. When penthe come of age, they undergo a ceremonial trial which reaffirms their purpose and places them in a new consortium. It is rare but not unheard of for a penthe to redefine its purpose later in life. Doing so is an undertaking not declared frivolously, as penthe who do so suffer a great loss of status and must leave their communal family behind to rebuild their reputation within a new consortium.
The majority of consortiums are centered in just a few penthe cities, but some have purposes that are spiritual or more esoteric in nature. These nomadic penthe travel the wilds, living a more primal lifestyle than their urban cousins. Their expertise in survival and knowledge of wildlife makes them frequently called upon as guides to visitors, and it is early contact with penthe from these consortiums that led to the outside universe’s initial assumptions that they are a relatively primitive species.
Outsiders frequently find the penthe’s technology a confusing jumble. Their clothing, equipment and vehicles within the Dimension of Dream are clearly influenced by the technology of races which have contacted them, including humans, the erahthi, and the okanta. At the same time, their society has developed over thousands of years and has envisioned technology of imagination that exists solely in the dreamscape. When penthe are meatside, they tend to rely on imported equipment and technology from other races as suits their needs.
Penthe Racial Traits
Despite the physical differences of their waking avatars and bodies, the penthe are a near-human race adapted to the unique geography and cosmology of planets with a psychic resonance for the Dimension of Dreams. Penthe have humans’ standard racial traits with the following exceptions.
Dream Denizen: The penthe are native to the Dimension of Dreams, physically present within that demiplane. They neither dream nor generate dreamscapes of their own but enter a dreamless rest functionally similar to sleeping and are considered to always be dreaming for the purposes of effects like the dream spell while in the Dimension of Dreams. Penthe can physically enter dreamscapes in the Dimension of Dreams and dwell within those dreams without disorientation or other debilitating effect. Penthe can also attempt impossible feats while in a dreamscape.
Penthe in the Dimension of Dreams can enter a stasis-like state while resting to create waking avatars in the Material Plane. These waking avatars appear with none of the penthe’s regular equipment and are immune to sleep effects, but otherwise act as if the penthe was physically present. Spells and abilities used by the penthe’s waking avatar are depleted as normal. Should the waking avatar die, the penthe awakens from stasis in the Dimension of Dreams and is fatigued. A waking avatar requires as much food and water as a Medium-sized creature but provides no actual nourishment for the penthe in stasis, and a penthe that spends too much time in its waking avatar will suffer from starvation and thirst regardless of how well it maintains its waking avatar’s needs.
Penthe can also physically enter the Material Plane, crossing at a fray or using the dream travel spell or other means of physically entering the Dimension of Dreams in reverse. A penthe physically present in the Material Plane gains sustenance from physical nourishment. This racial trait replaces the bonus feat trait.
Languages: Penthe begin play speaking Penthe instead of Common. Penthe with high Intelligence scores or the Linguistics skill can learn Common just as they could any other language. This modifies starting languages.
Alternate Penthe Racial Traits
Penthe can select any of the following alternate racial traits.
- Dreamcaster: Some penthe developed their magical talents exclusively in the unpredictable Dimension of Dreams. They gain a +4 racial bonus on caster level checks to prevent a spell or spell-like ability from going awry because of wild magic. This racial trait replaces skilled.
- Dreamspeaker: Many penthe have the ability to tap into the power of sleep, dreams and prescient reverie. Penthe with this racial trait add +1 to the saving throw DCs of spells of the divination school and sleep effects they cast. In addition, penthe with Charisma scores of 15 or higher may use dream once per day as a spell-like ability (caster level is equal to the penthe’s character level). This racial trait replaces skilled.
- Guarded Consciousness: Penthe who frequent the material plane develop resistances in their waking and sleeping mind. They gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects. This racial trait replaces skilled.
Wondrous Arsenal (Sp)
Penthe warriors are known for their prowess with dream-crafted weapons, and some even have the ability to briefly manifest such weapons in the material plane.
They gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls with any weapon conjured by impossible feat, conjured by this trait or crafted within the Dimension of Dreams. Once per day as a swift action while on the Material Plane, penthe with this racial trait can conjure a melee weapon with which they are proficient into their open hand(s). This weapon lasts as long as the penthe holds it, up to 1 round per character level. The weapon deals damage as normal for its type, and if its wielder is at least 5th level the weapon is treated as magic for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction. This racial trait replaces skilled.
Alien Codex © 2018, Legendary Games; Lead Designer: Jason Nelson. Authors: Anthony Adam, Kate Baker, John Bennet, Eytan Bernstein, Robert Brookes, Russ Brown, Duan Byrd, Paris Crenshaw, Jeff Dahl, Robyn Fields, Joel Flank, Matt Goodall, Robert J. Grady, Jim Groves, Steven T. Helt, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Nick Hite, Daniel Hunt, Mike Kimmel Marshall, Isabelle Lee, Jeff Lee, Lyz Liddell, Jason Nelson, Richard Pett, Tom Phillips, Jeff Provine, Alistair J. Rigg, Alex Riggs, Wendall Roy, Mike Shel, Neil Spicer, Todd Stewart, Russ Taylor, Rachel Ventura, Mike Welham, George Loki Williams, Scott Young.