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Gnorri

As in the waking world, the oceans of the Dreamlands are places of beauty and mystery to those who dwell upon their shores or ply their waves. Also as in the waking world, the oceans can be as perilous as they are breathtaking. Drowning, terrific storms, churning vortices, crushing pressures, dangerous animals, and the threat of horrific sea monsters populate frightful tales told of the sea. These last, perhaps above all else, inspire endless terror in the imagination of many.

It should come as no surprise to learn that many sailors and coastal dwellers view the gnorri with a mixture of fear, loathing, and hatred, for here are creatures that ape the vestige of humanity, yet are little like humanoids at all. Their strange-colored skin, mutable number of arms, and tentacle-like lower bodies seem designed by a malevolence bent on evoking many of humanity’s deepest fears. The gnorri lurk in the lightless depths of unplumbed ocean trenches and shadowed reefs, mysterious and alien to those who breathe air and abide upon the land.

Yet not all that dwells beneath the waves is malevolent. While there are those among the gnorri who harbor sadism and cruelty in their hearts, this is no different than any sentient race; on the whole the gnorri are more interested in trading than warring with land dwellers. Indeed, in certain ports, the initial fear and suspicion of the gnorri has given way to respect and support, and today the gnorri are valued as trade partners and scouts, plying their extensive knowledge of the sea and its hazards as guides. This skill with alchemy and surgery makes an alliance with the gnorri very valuable to surface dwellers (see Culture for more detail).

History

The oceans of the Dreamlands have been the home of gnorri enclaves as long as humanoids have dreamed. Since the first dreamers sought to sail those cerulean waters, they have spotted strange bearded faces peering up from below and wondered.

The gnorri themselves are unusual among many cultures in that they are not particularly interested in where they come from or, indeed, where they’re going. To the gnorri race, it is enough to believe that they have always existed, and thus they are comforted in the knowledge that they will always exist. Certainly, their coral cities and grottos often have the appearance of great age, indicating that their presence in the sea has lasted much longer than humanity’s presence on land.

Certain rare texts suggest that the first gnorri existed before humanity grew to understand the peculiarities of dream. Indeed, the first tribes of coastal-dwelling societies understood and feared the ocean, and in their troubled dreams imagined ways of surviving in the depths. Over the course of eons, these primitive humanoids learned to build boats and sail. In so doing, they lost their waking fear of the sea, and their awed aquatic dreams acquired lives as the gnorri. Or so the texts suggest, at least.

Of course, those who suggest such a genesis to a gnorri will likely be laughed at or attacked for the insult. If anything, to the gnorri race, it is their own nightmares of being stranded on land that gave birth to life on the surface above.

Playing a Gnorri

Gnorri are driven by individual accomplishment and seek greater success in their fields of interest. This leads some gnorri to want to explore lands above and beyond their aquatic homes. Gnorri are capable of living on land as they are in the ocean. They can even survive in desert climates (although no more than most humanoid races). However, most gnorri find being “tied down” to the land disturbing. The ocean is a three-dimensional existence; on land, only creatures that can fly can experience a “normal” state of being. Given gnorri cannot fly without magic that allows them to do so, it can be an adjustment to “always live on the bottom” (which is what it feels like to a gnorri).

If you’re a Gnorri, you likely:

  • …are curious about surface dwellers, but have trouble telling them apart and are disturbed by how rigid and unchanging their bodies are.
  • …value your friends for their diversity and differences rather than any similarities they might have to you.
  • …have several close friends (gnorri or otherwise), but do not have a concept of family; you do not know your parents, your siblings, or your children and have no need to know them.
  • …understand that there are many dangers in the sea, but your appreciation of the beauty of the ocean depths and its denizens cannot be tainted by its perils.

Others probably:

  • …think you’re a sea monster who means to drag them below the waves to drown.
  • …assume you’re a primitive since you prefer to use tools of bone or stone.
  • …mask their jealousy of your ability to breathe water with insults or fear.
  • …want you to help them deal with something underwater, such as recovering a bit of sunken treasure or finding good fishing.
  • …can’t tell your gender, and may not know that there are three genders of gnorri.

Physiology

Gnorri appear vaguely humanoid from the torso up, yet the more one learns about how gnorri bodies work, the more their humanoid appearance seems a coincidence.

Gnorri have a chiseled body like that of a humanoid above the waist and a tentacular lower trunk. Some gnorri even have suction cups along their tails, but this is uncommon. Above water, gnorri exude a thin layer of glistening slime that keeps them looking freshly emerged from the sea. Gnorri’s fingers are webbed to aid in swimming but they can absorb this webbing partially into their flesh when they wish to wear rings or gloves.

What appears to be hair on their heads is actually a forest of thin tendrils more akin to the undercarriage of a jellyfish than anything else. All three genders possess this fringe of tendrils along the chin and sides of the face, giving them their distinctive “bearded” look.

These tendrils are fish-like gills. When the gnorri head is fully dry its hair-like tendrils fall off along with any fins they may have. A gnorri missing their “beard” and “hair” can drown in water. Fortunately for such gnorri, these tendrils swiftly regrow when the face is exposed to water over the course of 2d4 minutes. While this regrowth is occurring, the gnorri can hold their breath for a long time (equal to five times their Constitution in rounds instead of the normal two times). Likewise, the fins grow back at the same rate when the gnorri body is exposed to water. If a gnorri is drowning, they can retreat above the waves to breathe air via their amphibious lungs.

One of the most unusual features of gnorri physiology isn’t their “hair” or their long tentacle-like lower torso but the eerie mutability of their flesh and bones. While the basic gnorri shape remains solid and fixed, upon close examination, one can watch their scales slither and slide slowly over their body or the ridges and wrinkles of their tentacles shift and change.

This fleshy fluidity is even greater inside, with entire organs “swimming” within their bodies, severing and re-attaching connections seemingly at random. At one moment, the heart may be situated within the chest, but in another it may descend into the belly to be embraced by the entrails while the liver slithers up into the chest to nuzzle against the air bladder or lung.

This trait not only allows gnorri to withstand sudden trauma to their bodies, but more amazingly, it allows them to modify their number of limbs at will. By concentrating, gnorri can extrude additional arms or withdraw arms back into their bodies by reallocating flesh, muscle, and bone. The process takes ten minutes or so, and is so exhausting gnorri cannot change the number of their arms more than once per day. Technically, gnorri could have one or no arms, yet they gain no significant advantage from such a change. Gnorri cannot extrude more than four arms at once and rarely even create that many unless they wish to wield multiple weapons, for their mass does not change; while they have three or four arms, their bodies are weakened from the redistribution.

Most gnorri dwell within the relatively shallow reaches of the ocean, near the coastlines at depths of a few hundred feet. In fact, strange physiologies afford them great flexibility in choosing a home. Gnorri who dwell in deeper waters often adapt to a darker and more dangerous environment, taking on stranger shapes or becoming bioluminescent, larger, or more powerful. Those who dwell in the depths are generally more savage and less interested in mixing with surface dwellers, and the relative scarcity of food results in a corresponding relaxation of taboos against such acts as feeding on sentient races or, in the most extreme cases, cannibalism.

Gnorri have three genders: female, male, and builder. The females produce eggs, males fertilize them, and builders are responsible for the creation of the grottos that gnorri live in. No gender in gnorri society is held at any greater or lesser esteem than any others. Gnorri judge individuals by their merits and not their gender.

Family

Gnorri are confused by many things that surface dwellers take for granted, but the concept of family may well be the most alien to their kind. While gnorri value companionship and engage in something akin to sexual intercourse with favored partners, such actions are not linked to the act of perpetuating the species (see Life Cycle below for details). In any event, as a result of their unusual “childhoods,” no gnorri knows or much cares about the identity of its parents or how many siblings it might have, and a gnorri never really desires to know its children. Gnorri are capable of forming friendships, and these can last for entire lifetimes in some cases, yet the concept of familial love is a curiosity at best to the gnorri.

Life Cycle

Once or twice a month, a female gnorri expels a mass of eggs from her body, abandoning them to drift on the currents. These eggs can drift for days or even weeks before losing viability. When in the presence of gnorri eggs, a male gnorri exudes sperm in an almost unconscious reaction more akin to sweating than sexual release. Once fertilized, gnorri eggs hatch within 24 hours into microscopic plankton-like creatures that drift and churn among others in their myriad numbers.

Since it is traditional among gnorri to exude their eggs in certain designated areas, and numerous gnorri use the same areas to store their eggs, there’s really no way to keep track of how many hundreds or thousands of children might arise each generation or to identify the parents. Most newborn gnorri are consumed by predators, but the sheer volume of young ensures enough survive the two to four months it takes to grow to adulthood. During this time, the gnorri shed their outer skin multiple times to make way for their rapidly expanding bodies.

Upon reaching maturity, a gnorri plankton achieves the size and rough shape of something akin to a human-sized eel. It sheds its skin one final time and emerges a gnorri, growing to full size after another three or so years spent in constant hunger. Since gnorri are fully capable of laying and fertilizing eggs immediately upon emerging from this eel-like shape, they can be biologically considered mature adults, but in most cases they wait until they are full grown to seek roles in gnorri society.

Once a gnorri reaches its full size, its metabolism slows dramatically. Whereas it takes only a few years for a gnorri to go from freshly-hatched plankton to full-sized member of its race, an adult gnorri can live for centuries unless killed through violence, misadventure, or illness. A gnorri becomes middle aged at 150 years, old at 250 years, and venerable at 500 years. Once venerable age is reached, though, a gnorri’s body swiftly begins to degrade, and the fluidity of its flesh and bones rapidly vanishes. Upon becoming venerable, a gnorri loses their ability to adjust the number of their arms and the protective features of their amorphous entrails.

They live every moment of their life in increasing pain, causing most venerable gnorri to take their own lives or to seek death via the great walk. For a gnorri that is not killed prior to the natural expiration of life, death comes painfully as a rigor mortis-like condition sets in within months, resulting first in general paralysis, followed shortly thereafter by heart failure and death.

Society

Family ties are only one surface-creature “tradition” that is lost upon the gnorri. As they have no concept of heredity or birthright, no true aristocracy exists among the gnorri. In a gnorri settlement, accomplishments are what determine merit, rather than bloodline or pedigree.

As gnorri age, they seek greater accomplishments, and as a result, leaders among the gnorri tend to be older.

In the sad case of gnorri whose age outstrips their accomplishments, exile may be a preferable fate to constant ridicule or pity from the mouths of younger, more accomplished generations.

Gnorri do not build complex cities, but settlements can grow quite large in size. They tend to be in tune with their environments, using nearby materials for construction—especially coral. Gnorri coral shapers are masters at guiding the growth of coral through diverse methods, ranging from physical carving to alchemical enhancement. Often, naturally-occurring caverns or rifts along the cave floor will serve as a gnorri settlement, but in most cases, they wed such natural features to crafted palaces. Bones are a valued building material for weapons and buildings alike. When a great sea beast dies, gnorri are quick to strip the body of its flesh and harvest the bones to serve once more as a skeleton—only this time as the superstructure for a coral building rather than a flesh-and-blood beast.

While gnorri are omnivorous, they generally prefer lives as vegetarians, for their teeth are not sharp and have difficulty chewing through flesh. This is, of course, a strange disconnect for very young gnorri, who in their plankton stage are dedicated carnivores who feed only on flesh. Gnorri keep large farms of kelp and other seaweeds, but also raise slow-moving slug-like creatures or pens of jellyfish as livestock. These creatures are generally not kept for food, but as resources for gnorri alchemists.

Faith

Some societies of gnorri are particularly wise, and with that wisdom comes an intrinsic understanding that they are not the center of the world: that there exist truths out in the world greater than themselves. Gnorri don’t have a specific god or pantheon they worship. They of course recognize that there are powerful entities in the universe, some of which grant power to their servants.

Nor do they have a concept of a “Mother Earth” or “Heavenly Father,” as they have no concept of family.

Gnorri believe that nature, in all its diversity and wonder, is sufficient unto itself in terms of eliciting the intellectual and emotional responses associated with spiritual experience, and that there is no need for faith in traditional anthropormorphic concept of gods or similar ideas.

They have no creation myths or foretold apocalypses to concern themselves with. Nature has always existed and will always exist and so it is with the gnorri.

They recognize the existence of ghosts, spirits, and other things that “prove” that there is life after death. But they have no concern about these or any introspection on what happens to individuals after they’ve died. They have a “does it matter” perspective on what happens after life ends.

While they respect nature, they neither worship nor revere it. While they work in harmony with nature, they don’t avoid manipulating the world around them to suit their community’s needs. An example of this is how they use their innate magical ability to turn rock into mud to make grottos.

As a society, gnorri don’t build places of worship within their communities. They see no need to.

Those who wish to harness the power of nature are often called to a druidic lifestyle. While recognized as druids by druids of the lands, gnorri do not view themselves as part of a religion or sect. While a land druid who has disrespected a gnorri would be kicked out of their sect by other members, this is not the gnorri’s doing but a result of the land druid’s beliefs about gnorri as a society of “nature lovers.”

Gnorri druids do gather in groups to learn from one another, but not to worship. They recognize that some of these teachings can lead to great power. To protect this power and to trade learning with land druids, gnorri druids have adopted the secret Druidic language.

Although they rarely write in Druidic themselves, they are capable of reading and writing in Druidic.

A gnorri druid can have animal companions from any environment that can support that type of animal.

While ocean herders always have animal companions with a swim speed, the gnorri druid who travels the land will ceremoniously summon an animal companion best suited for that environment.

Other gnorri divine spellcasters do exist beyond just druids. Gnorri oracles focus on ideals and virtues often find collaboration with deities (but still do not worship them). Gnorri society view an oracle with powers and curses naturally born that way. They see no cause for concern as to how or why that particular gnorri is an oracle.

Clerics are not part of typical gnorri culture; in fact, most gnorri cannot comprehend the attraction to worshiping a god. While not outcasts, clerics and other gnorri that are followers of a god or pantheon operate outside the grottos that house gnorri communities as there is literally no place for them to gather and worship. This holds true regardless of whether the cleric and followers worship a virtuous god or a Great Old One.

Gnorri Weaponry

As denizens of an aquatic realm, gnorri prefer to utilize piercing weapons in combat. When two-armed, gnorri prefer larger weapons that can take advantage of their increased strength, but when fighting with three or four arms, they prefer to use light weapons in order to minimize off-hand fighting penalties.

Below are new weapons designed and used by gnorri. Gnorri weapons are almost exclusively made out of the steellike bones of the dahg gahdohl, which is a terribly vicious and dangerous large fish. It is considered taboo to sell the bones to non-gnorri, however, finished weapons are, in rare cases, traded for things of value to the gnorri that owns a given weapon.

These weapons, although made from bone, do not have the fragile quality. Unlike most weapons, dahg gahdohl bone weapons can be worked to improve them to masterwork even after they’ve been manufactured.

Table: Gnorri Weapons
Weapon Price Dmg (S) Dmg (M) Critical Range Weight* Type Special
Martial Light Melee Weapons
Shardspear 4 gp 1d4 1d6 ×3 20 ft. 4 lbs. P or S
Exotic One-Handed Melee Weapons
Gnorri shardsword 35 gp 1d6 1d8 ×3 4 lbs. S or P See text
Two-Handed Melee Weapons
Gnorri biting bident 20 gp 1d6 1d8 19–20/×2 8 lbs. P See text
Gnorri longspear 100 gp 1d8 1d10 18–20/×2 10 lbs. P or S Reach, see text
Ranged Weapons
Gnorri spearshot 60 gp 1d6 1d8 ×3 60 ft. 12 lbs. P See text
Shotspears (5) 5 gp

* Weights are for Medium weapons. Small weapons weigh half as much and Large weapons weigh twice as much.

Gnorri Biting Bident: This long-handled, heavy military fork has particularly nasty, flexible barbs near the tip. When you confirm a critical hit with the bident, the weapon stays fixed in its target and cannot be easily removed. This can be exploited in two ways: the most simple is to let go of the affixed bident. The foe must succeed at a Reflex save against DC 10 + 1/2 wielder’s base attack bonus or the bident sticks; if this happens, the foe gains the sickened condition due to the pain of a long, sharpened pole protruding from its body until it shakes off the bident with a successful Reflex saving throw as a swift action. You can also opt to keep hold of the bident, giving the enemy the entangled condition but preventing you from making further attacks with the arms that hold the bident. The foe can also remove the bident by succeeding at a grapple combat maneuver check against your CMD.

Gnorri Longspear: This spear is about 6–7 feet in length, 3 feet of which is the blade. The spear is made completely of bone. You can use a gnorri longspear with reach as a martial weapon. It can be used as a non-reach weapon if you are Large or you have the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (gnorri longspear). If you have the ability to use the gnorri longspear as both a reach and a non-reach weapon, changing grip is a free action.

Gnorri Shardsword: This 4-foot weapon has a slight curve with a wide blade and jagged parts that tear the flesh. You may use a gnorri shard sword as a martial weapon. If you are a gnorri with the weapon familiarity racial trait or have the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (gnorri shard sword) feat, for the purpose of two-weapon fighting you can treat it as a light melee weapon; for all other purposes it is a one-handed melee weapon. These weapons are favored as off-hand weapons by elite gnorri hunters who have learned to attack with three or more weapons.

Gnorri Spearshot: These darts can be fired underwater or into water from air, but every 1 foot traveled in water counts as 4 feet for purposes of range increments. A spearshot can be used one-handed but requires another hand to reload. Reloading a spearshot is a move action, or a free action if you have either two free hands (in addition to the hand holding the spearshot) or the Rapid Reload (gnorri spearshot) feat. This launcher is powered by elastic ligaments and deep-sea animal gut, like a cross between a bow and a slingshot. It launches a small spear into the target. When fishing, the gnorri attach a line to the dart, allowing them to retrieve skewered fish. In war, this is less practical; instead, gnorri often poison their darts.

Shardspear: This spear is about 2 feet in length with about half its length being the blade. It is balanced in such a manner as to be suitable as a thrown weapon. When thrown, the damage is only piercing.

Culture

The gnorri live relatively simple lives, despite the size of their society. With matters of family not being an issue and merit in society being determined by personal accomplishment, each gnorri swiftly settles into a chosen specialty without the expectations and pressures of raising more gnorri. This is all with the aim of doing the best an individual gnorri can in order to ensure greater personal prestige while simultaneously bolstering the society as a whole. Although the gnorri aren’t particularly interested in the deep history of their species, they value other aspects of their history and culture, along with faith and science. They are far from a primitive society, but their underwater environs have resulted in their written language following a different path from those of surface dwellers, who utilize paper and ink to write. Traditional gnorri writings have been carved on stone surfaces or tablets using metal tools scavenged or traded from surface folk or magical methods of inscription. As their culture has grown, other, less cumbersome and less expensive methods of writing have developed.

Gnorri invented a method of preserving kelp in parchment-like strips and pioneered the use of alchemically treated urchin spines as writing styluses.

With a treated urchin spine, the natural toxins in the spine are augmented so that using a spine to scratch the surface of a strip of kelp causes an immediate change in coloration, bleaching the kelp white and leaving a permanent and indelible mark. With this method, any gnorri can use strips of kelp and a collection of spines to write whatever comes to mind. The gnorri language uses an alphabet composed primarily of dots and straight cuts rather than curves since it’s easier to inscribe dots and slashes with chisels in stone or spines in seaweed. This method of kelp writing has an advantage over paper and ink in that the method remains viable above and below water.

Traditional gnorri building methods utilize magic, but also integrate nature and terrain. A gnorri group looking to establish a town is more likely to pick as the site of their new home a craggy section of underwater rifts and caverns than an open expanse of lush seaweed plains. This gives the gnorri additional defenses against sea monsters and other dangerous denizens of the deep.

Without the ability to easily manufacture metal, glass, and pottery under water, gnorri who desire these items must rely on trade.

Fortunately for the gnorri, two of their cultural specialties are very much in demand from surface dwellers—alchemy and surgery. Rather than focusing on potions and fluids, which are difficult to contain and manage in an aquatic environment, gnorri alchemists focus on thicker, more solid media—ooze, plant life, and small animals. A gnorri alchemist uses a collection of venomous crustaceans, a wide array of aquatic plants, and flesh harvested from a wide range of invertebrate creatures for a diverse and versatile take on alchemy. This work has made gnorri particularly adept in the crafting of poisons, as much of their work involves using and repurposing venoms extracted from their living tools.

The gnorri’s deep knowledge of biology aids them in larger healing projects involving more complex organisms as well, and gnorri surgeons are among the most gifted under the seas and above the waves alike. While almost all gnorri display a talent for minor applications of first aid and other applications of healing, some among their number have taken this science even further, with the ability to graft flesh and transform subjects using a wide variety of methods.

While it’s easier for them to perform these flesh-altering procedures on fellow gnorri, those who specialize in operating on surface dwellers find their talents in much demand. Gnorri surgeons can earn their communities a huge haul of glass and metal tools by performing a single operation to graft gills onto a human merchant, for example.

Relations

Gnorri enjoy the beauty of their aquatic regions and have, as a general rule, a productive relationship with local wildlife built on deep understanding, but they are the first to admit that many undersea cultures are isolationist at best and violent at worst. While a typical gnorri settlement is on good terms with neighboring gnorri towns, beyond that things start to break down, as communities grow more different as they are further removed, becoming more and more opposed in belief and teaching. Always self-sufficient, with populations that embrace the dual concept of specialization and supporting the community as a whole, gnorri have traditionally not depended much on extensive trade or support networks with their aquatic neighbors.

Nevertheless, there are many things that gnorri cannot build or acquire with ease underwater, particularly when it comes to objects that must be forged. Items made of metal and glass are particularly valued by the gnorri, both as luxuries and as necessities. Scavenging for items from shipwrecks is a long tradition, but unless gnorri specifically target trade ships and sink them for goods, it’s impossible to depend on sunken salvage as a constant supply source.

Since the gnorri are, as a whole, loath to prey upon the ships that sail above, they have turned to more peaceful options, setting aside long-standing superstitions and fears about the surface world.

Still, gnorri have difficulty interacting with air breathing creatures. Most trade groups employ at least one diplomat, who serves as a translator, as well as an ambassador to help handle confusing differences in culture, but this is only of limited use. For example, telling one air breather apart from another is a constant struggle. A group of gnorri whose first contact with air breathing creatures happens to be with centaurs is likely to assume all air breathers are centaurs, even though humanity is typically much more diverse. Comments about humans being “half-centaurs” or an inability to understand that a human and his horse are not the same creature that suffered a cataclysmic magical curse or wound that separated their bodies might be a common misunderstanding on the part of the gnorri.

The concept of legs is endlessly fascinating to the gnorri and somewhat disturbing. It is as strange and unsettling for a gnorri to see a humanoid walk by putting one foot in front of the other as for a human to watch a gnorri’s tail slither out in front of their upper body like a snake. Gnorri are baffled and at times disgusted by the rhythmic “sawing” of legs moving back and forth, bending only at the knee and ankle but otherwise rigid—a trait that many gnorri can’t help but associate with the infirmities of age.

Adventurers

To the gnorri, the single greatest drive for adventure is curiosity. Particularly, they long to learn about the nature of those who dwell above the waves. However wondrous it might seem to humans, the underwater world seems mundane to gnorri who have lived all their lives there. While a gnorri character can be a significant boon to a group needing to travel underwater, to a gnorri such excursions are often dull. As a result, the vast majority of gnorri adventurers seek out surface parties in order that they might accompany them on their escapades and quests above the waves.

The gnorri’s focus on specialization means that it’s unusual for many to multiclass. Those who do pursue such paths tend to do so out of a sense of wanderlust.

To many gnorri, this lack of focus is doubly troubling: not only do such gnorri abandon their homes to travel with surface dwellers, but also lack the focus to become properly specialized in a chosen field. Such gnorri are often not welcomed back into their homes, and in the unfortunate circumstance that sees such an unfocused gnorri’s return, the gnorri’s outsider accomplices ironically find themselves more welcome than the gnorri.

Racial Traits

The gnorri are an aquatic race of vaguely humanoid creatures. Their size and additional arms make them a rather powerful option for a player character race, despite the fact that they (like centaurs) are limited to smaller weapons than their size would normally suggest.

GMs should consider carefully the implications of allowing a Large creature with multiple arms into their campaigns as player characters.

Type: Gnorri are monstrous humanoids.

Senses Gnorri have deepsight 120 ft. (darkvision only underwater) and low-light vision.

Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Gnorri are slow to grasp concepts outside of their society and have a hard time interacting with and understanding air-breathers, but have minds as deep as the oceans in which they dwell. A gnorri’s Strength and Constitution scores can shift, depending on their number of arms (see Limb Allocation).

Size: While the gnorri’s upper torso, head, and arms are approximately the same size and girth as a particularly robust human, their longer lower bodies push them into the next size category—gnorri are Large creatures. A gnorri has a space of 10 feet, but only has a reach of 5 feet. They take a –1 penalty to AC, take a –4 penalty on Stealth checks, and gain a +1 size bonus on combat maneuver checks and to combat maneuver defense.

Speed: Gnorri have a land speed of 20 feet and a swim speed of 40 feet. They gain a +8 racial bonus on Swim checks and can choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered when swimming. They can use the run action while swimming, provided they swim in a straight line.

Amorphous Entrails (Ex)

A gnorri’s internal organs shift and slither around, and are never in exactly the same place from one moment to another. As a result, they have a 25% chance to ignore additional damage caused by critical hits, sneak attacks, and precision-based damage.

This ability also grants gnorri immunity to damage caused by water pressure.

Amphibious (Ex)

Gnorri can breathe both air and water.

Cannot be Tripped (Ex)

As gnorri do not have legs, they cannot be tripped.

Gnorri Science (Ex)

Gnorri gain a +2 racial bonus on all Craft (alchemy), Heal, and Knowledge (nature) checks. Gnorri are adept with poisons, and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison to a weapon or using toxic materials when crafting alchemical substances.

Hard to Discern

Gnorri find it difficult to discern individuals of other races, and suffer a -2 racial penalty on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive when dealing with non-gnorri.

Limb Allocation (Ex)

Gnorri can absorb or extrude their arms, although the process is somewhat painful and slow, and can only be performed once per day. A gnorri must concentrate for ten minutes to adjust the number of arms it currently has, during which time it is considered to be flat-footed. If the gnorri’s concentration is disrupted during this time, it must begin the process of limb allocation from the beginning, but it does not lose its daily usage of this ability. A gnorri can’t attack with more than two arms during a full attack but can otherwise use a third or fourth hand normally (carry shields, using items, etc.). Added hands are always offhand, even when making attacks of opportunity.

  • Two Arms: If a gnorri elects to have two arms, it can concentrate more of its muscle mass in those limbs and as a result, gains a +2 bonus to its Strength.
  • Three Arms: If a gnorri elects to have three arms, it must allocate its muscle mass more evenly and gains no bonus to its Strength, but neither is it forced to self-cannibalize its body to maintain a fourth arm, so it takes no additional penalty to its Constitution.
  • Four Arms: If a gnorri elects to have four arms, it must allocate additional muscle mass, flesh, bone, nerves, and circulatory system reserves to the fourth arm. It gains no bonus to its Strength score and suffers a –2 penalty to its Constitution as a result of overburdening its body.

Undersized Weapons (Ex)

Although gnorri are Large sized, their upper torsos are the same size as those of Medium humanoids. As a result, they wield weapons as if they were one size category smaller than their actual size (Medium for most gnorri).

Weapon Familiarity: Gnorri treat all exotic weapons with “gnorri” in the name as martial weapons.

Equipment Slots: Gnorri can wear armor or use body slot items, but only if the armor or item is specially tailored for gnorri. They cannot utilize these items if they are crafted for humanoids. In addition, a gnorri must match the number of arms a suit of armor or item uses in order to use that item. Gnorri lack legs entirely and as such can never utilize items that take up the feet item slot. A gnorri’s usage of hand and shoulder slot items is limited to one each, and its ring slots are limited to two, as if it were a typical humanoid creature, regardless of the number of arms it currently has.

Languages: Gnorri speak their own language and Common. A gnorri with a high Intelligence score can choose Aboleth, Aklo, Aquan, Deep One, and Draconic as bonus languages.

Builder Magic (Sp)

Gnorri, mostly belonging to a third sex, sometimes have the ability to wield potent magic when assisted by gnorri without builder magic. The gnorri can cast mending at will, but only to repair stone objects. In addition, the gnorri can use this ability twice per day to cast any spell they meet the prerequisites for from the following table. As they gain levels, they gain access to additional options, but can still only use this ability twice per day. The gnorri must be of a minimum character level, have a minimum Wisdom score, and have a minimum number of gnorri without this trait within 60 feet. If the gnorri has the chosen spell on their class spell list and can cast spells of that spell level in that class, they can ignore the minimum number of other gnorri required. The gnorri otherwise casts the spell as a spell-like ability at the druid spell level. The gnorri’s caster level is equal to their total character level. The save DC is Wisdom-based. This racial trait replaces gnorri science.

Gnorri Builder Magic

Most gnorri naturally produce subtle magic pulses that other gnorri, known as builders, use to shape earth and stone. Gnorri society traditionally expects these builders to be neither male nor female, but to belong to a third sex. However, other gnorri have been known to demonstrate this talent at times. This magic is normally used for grotto construction, but in times of war can be used offensively as well. Gnorri with builder magic have the following alternate racial trait in place of gnorri science.

Table: Gnorri Builder Magic
Spell Min. Character Level Min. Wisdom Other Gnorri Needed
Magic stone 1st 11 1
Soften earth and stone 3rd 12 3
Stone shape 5th 13 5
Spike stones 7th 14 7
Transmute rock to mud 9th 15 9
Transmute mud to rock 9th 15 9
Move earth 11th 16 11
Wall of stone 11th 16 11
Repel metal or stone (stone only) 15th 18 15
Earthquake 15th 18 15

Variants

The gnorri who are most likely to interact with surface dwelling people (and are thus the ones focused upon in this section) are but one variant of a diverse species.

Deeper waters host other types of gnorri that have different hues of skin color. Each of these variants has slightly different abilities, as summarized below.

Black Gnorri: The deepest ocean trenches are the domain of gnorri with inky dark flesh. These gnorri have the see in darkness universal monster ability and +2 Intelligence instead of +2 Wisdom.

Brown-Green Gnorri: This mottled variant dwells in coastal swamps and is more comfortable out of water. They have a land speed of 25 feet but lose amorphous entrails.

Red Gnorri: These gnorri hail from deeper waters than typical gnorri. They gain a +2 bonus to Constitution but lose the ability to grow a fourth arm using limb allocation.

White Gnorri: Dwellers of arctic seas, white gnorri possess cold resistance 5 but suffer a –2 penalty on saving throws against fire effects.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2017, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.