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“True ‘tis, I saw it wit’ mine own eyes! This huge an’ beautiful an’ sweet smellin’ flower blossomed in front of me, and out stepped a wondrous woman, made of plant fibers and such. Even born just now as she was, she smiled knowingly at me, wrappin’ a large leaf around herself and runnin’ off. I ain’t ne’er seen such a thing in all my life!”
– Korgan Timbersplitter, human Woodsman
The briarborn are a race of plant-like humanoids that grow from the earth in secluded, untouched virgin lands. They are born of the essence of nature, a distillation of that untouched terrain. While rare, they are not uncommon in lands unspoiled by other races. As a race, they are born of a collective intelligence, working in tandem with their brethren despite any distance. It is said that they also speak freely with nature’s creatures, and seek to right the wrongs of those that would bring harm to the world.
The briarborn are nature’s protectors, being born of the world’s need for defense. When nature’s enemies ravage her gifts, the briarborn blossom and grow to protect her.
Physical Description: A briarborn is a humanoid creature, standing nearly as tall as a man, seemingly made of bark, vines and foliage. They are of a kind demeanor, with the facial appearance of a faint and almost fey-like deer. They vary greatly in appearance, as wild as nature itself. They range the colors of all plant life, tending towards shades of green and brown. Their hair grows leaves and branches. The older they are, the more growths they have, sometimes becoming long twisted vines that hang to their waist or longer. Their flesh is odd and disconcerting, being rough and prickly, a number of their kind having bark or even spiny briars that protrude from within. Their eyes are said to vary, being virgin wood green, morning sun gold, rich brown earth, or deep sky blue.
Society: When a briarborn is first flowered, they sprout from the ground, growing in an undefiled location, far from the eyes of other creatures. They are immediately the size of an adolescent, growing to maturity quickly over the course of a single year. Once they have sprouted, the adolescent briarborn instinctively know the way to the nearest knot, or collective home of Briarborn. They live in communities grown from their natural surroundings, using druidic magic to shape and weave the natural environment to suit their needs. Their homes are well defended and surprisingly well-camouflaged. Without knowing what one is looking for, a briarborn knot could complete elude a passerby. The briarborn are thought to draw their collective knowledge and wisdom directly from nature itself. At the heart of each knot is almost always some form of exaggerated living tree. This is a Dreaming Tree, their most sacred spot within the community. It is believed that the tree has some divine powers, granting the briarborn spells and imparting knowledge about the surrounding environs. Should a Dreaming Tree ever be killed, all of the briarborn connected to the knot are stricken with a profound sadness. They disband the knot, allowing the site to return to its natural state. They will seek out other knots and feel lost until they find another community. Many lost briarborn become adventurers. Fallen briarborn are allowed to lie where they fall, quickly composting into nurturing mulch. Other races find this practice abhorrent, but the briarborn see this as completely natural. All things return to the world, having been born of it.
Relations with other Races Briarborn are generally peaceful and therefore get along well with most good-aligned races.
- Crimbil: As a fey race, the briarborn are not often the targets of the Crimbil’s child-snatching. They are however on the alert for their presence, as they are often spies for the fey courts, and secrecy is paramount to the success of the briarborn as a race.
- Dwarves: Few briarborn are familiar with dwarves, finding them a curiosity. They love to stroke dwarves’ beards, complimenting them on their fine fur: something dwarves detest immensely.
- Elves: Most elves are steadfast allies of the Briarborn, and some claim that the elves brought seeds of the briarborn to the prime material plane from the Dreaming. briarborn recognize them as ancient allies. Elves often live among the briarborn as ambassadors, helping protect one of nature’s rarest gifts.
- Glimmerkin: These strange creatures have a measure of respect from the Briarborn. They do not desecrate nature and they seek a life of solitude and peace. The briarborn find them odd, but understand their ways.
- Gnomes: As creatures of the fey world as well as creatures of nature, briarborn are immediately friendly with gnomekind unless they prove to be adversarial.
- Half-Elves: The briarborn are indifferent towards humans, having learned to keep their distance. Half-elves, with their dual bloodlines are a mystery to the briarborn. They sense the elven blood within them, but are still suspicious of their human ancestry.
- Halflings: The halflings are often seen as jovial playmates. briarborn are friendly towards halflings, enjoying their company.
- Half-Orcs: As the progeny of humankind and orc, the briarborn steer clear from them, treating them indifferently at best.
- Humans: briarborn are naturally afraid of humans, having been on the receiving end of human encroachment for ages. They attempt to hide their existence from men, lest they come looking for them.
- Kitsune: The mystical and mercurial kitsune are a rare treat in the eyes of the briarborn. They love to play with them, similarly to halflings, deeply enjoying their company.
- Orcs & Goblinkind: Truly hated are the orcs and other Goblinkind. The briarborn will actively seek to remove such pests from their lands if they find them and it does not endanger their knot. The orcs know of their existence and seek to burn their communities to the ground. Ages of treacherous guerrilla warfare exist among members of these two races.
- Sylfaen: While the briarborn serve natural order, the Sylfaen serve the wild fey. This means there is mutual respect between the two, but not complete trust. In most cases they serve the same goals, but not always.
- True Changeling: The briarborn may be of fey-like origins and tied to The Dreaming through their mythical trees, but they are subject to the malcontent of the Unseelie Court as much as any other race. Their close proximity makes it even more likely. They greatly distrust True Changelings and their simple nature makes it very difficult for them to detect an infiltrated changeling.
- Vanara: The briarborn find these monkey-like humanoids an entertaining and curious commodity. They are friendly with them, but largely stay out of their way.
Alignment and Religion: briarborn do not serve gods as a general practice, rather serving nature itself. They also tend to be good and neutral in practice. The average briarborn is of Neutral good alignment, though their communities typically have a more neutral outlook by necessity. Should a briarborn become lost, it is certainly possibly that they could come to follow a nature-oriented deity.
Adventurers: A PC briarborn is often newly-grown, still seeking its purpose. They can be grown anywhere, even in harsh climates, though they tend to be most often found in temperate forests. While they do form natural cities in some deeply wild regions, they are also often found in solitude. A PC hero might be a wanderer seeking to eliminate a blight in the natural order. Other PCs could easily be those lost briarborn, whose knot community was destroyed. They wander looking for community, sometimes finding kinship with other adventurers.
Names: It should be noted that briarborn have little identity of self, and that their names reflect that of their duties and function, as opposed to any personal effect. Also, no role is limited to either sex, the briarborn have complete equality. In addition, though many share the same name, the collective briarborn never seem to have any problem distinguishing among one another, having a collective knowledge shared amongst themselves. Those few that leave their knots and become adventurers tend to eventually take names and find self-identity. They find elven or other sylvan sounding names pleasing.
Example Names (Male and Female) Digger, Elf-trader, Forager, Groomer, Grower, Hunter, Knot-ward, Lore-keeper, Orc-bleeder, Plant-shaper, Skinner, Tender, Tree-herder, Waterer, Weapon-maker and Weeder.
|1 year||+1d4 years||+1d6 years||+2d6 years|
1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.
2 This category includes bards, cavaliers, fighters, gunslingers, paladins, rangers, summoners, and witches.
3 This category includes alchemists, clerics, druids, inquisitors, magi, monks, and wizards.
|Gender||Base Height||Height Modifier||Base Weight||Weight Modifier|
|Male||5’4”||+2d8”||110 lbs.||+2d8 x 5 lbs.|
|Female||5’4”||+2d6”||90 lbs.||+2d6 x 5 lbs.|
Note: Briarborn are constructed using the Advanced Race Guide’s custom race building rules using 20 RP (Race Points.) As a result a briarborn PC has an Effective Level of +1 (Advanced.)
- Ability Scores: The briarborn are vigorous and full of life, recipients of the world’s wisdom. As such they gain +2 Constitution and +2 Wisdom.
- Type: Briarborn are humanoid-shaped Plant creatures. As a plant creature, briarborn have low-light vision, Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms), immunity to paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep effects, and stunning and, as plants, briarborn breathe and eat, but do not require sleep.
- Size: Briarborn are Medium-sized and so have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Base Speed: Briarborn have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Languages: Briarborn begin play speaking Sylvan and Common. Briarborn with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following additional languages: Elven, Giant, Gnome, Halfling and Treant. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.
- Forest-born Briarborn gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC when in forest terrain.
- Barkskin Briarborn have tough hides, granting them a +2 natural armor bonus to their Armor Class.
- Forest Camouflage Briarborn gain a +4 racial bonus to Stealth checks in forest terrain.
- Skill Training Perception and Stealth are always considered class skills for briarborn. If they already have either of those skills as a class skill, they instead gain a +1 competence bonus in that skill.
- Spell-like Ability [Plant-Speaker] (At will) Briarborn can speak with plants as a spell-like ability.
- Spell-like Ability [Tree Shape] (1/day) Briarborn may use tree shape as a spell-like ability with an unlimited duration.
- Low-Light Vision: Briarborn have low-light vision allowing them to see twice as far as humans in dim light.
- Fire Vulnerability Briarborn are vulnerable to fire and flames, taking extra damage (+50%) from such attacks.
- Weakened by Cold As the winter slows the growth of trees, it also tires and weakens the Briarborn. If a briarborn suffers cold damage, it withers and wilts, needing to make a Fortitude save equal to 10 + the half the damage suffered. Failure to save means the briarborn is staggered.
The following alternate abilities may be selected in place of one or more of the standard abilities above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.
- Rune-carved Some briarborn carve spiral runes of the Dreaming World into their flesh, reducing their natural armor, but granting them greater access to magical abilities. These runes allow you to cast enchantment spells at +2 effective caster level. This trait replaces the barkskin spell-like ability.
- Coniferous You are born of the wilds in the great northlands. As such, you have growths of pine needles and thinner bark. You lose your weakness to cold. Your natural armor bonus is +1 and you have a +2 racial bonus on Stealth checks while within forest terrain. This trait replaces the forest-born and barkskin spell-like abilities and the forest camouflage ability.
- Lost One You are one of the lost, a knotless Briarborn. Increase your Charisma by +2 and reduce your Wisdom by -2 as you depend more upon yourself and less upon your brethren. You also gain a +1 bonus to Fortitude saves. Due to your lost connection to the Dreaming, you may no longer tree shape. This trait replaces the tree shape spell-like ability.
The following traits are “race” traits (as defined here) and may be chosen by briarborn PCs.
- Buoyant: You gain a +4 competence bonus to Swim checks and a 20′ swim speed.
- Collective Memory: Choose any two Knowledge skills. These become class skills for you.
- Rooted: You receive a +2 racial bonus to your CMD when resisting bull rush or trip attempts while standing on the ground.
- The Lone Path: Your independence and new found self-reliance grants you a +1 trait bonus to Willpower saves and a +1 trait bonus to Survival skill checks.
- Thick Bark: You gain a +1 racial bonus to Fortitude saves and a +2 save bonus vs. fire attacks.
- Thorned Skin: Any creature that grapples you or strikes you in melee combat with a natural weapon suffers 1d3 points of piercing damage.
The following favored class options are available to all characters of this race who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.
- Alchemist The briarborn have few alchemists, but they are not unknown. While briarborn fear fire, they well-know the power of magical elixirs. briarborn alchemists are frequently of the Beastmorph or Preservationist archetypes.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1/6 to the number of Discoveries the alchemist knows.
- Barbarian In the deep wilds there are some briarborn knots that are very insular and wild. The briarborn protectors there could be barbarians, having little civilized contact with other races. Those few barbarians are often of the Superstitious or Totem Warrior archetypes.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1 to the number of hp gained when using Renewed Vigor.
- Bard Some briarborn take to song and magic very easily. They find harmony within nature. briarborn bards are frequently of the Animal Speaker, Archivist or Songhealer archetypes.
- Cleric The briarborn do not worship gods, but a lost cleric might venerate a philosophy such as community, good, nature, etc. briarborn clerics are frequently of the Separatist archetype.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1/2 to the cleric’s channeled energy total when healing creatures of the animal, fey, and plant types.
- Druid briarborn are very often druids. The druid is a revered component of briarborn communities. Many are Menhir Savants or Pack Lords, and those elven druids that help tend the knot’s plant-deity are Treesingers. Rumors subsist that the elves have taught some briarborn to be Treesingers as well.
- Fighter While proper fighters are less common than rangers in briarborn society, they do employ guards and specialized warrior camps. A lost fighter briarborn is most often of the Lore Warden archetype.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1/5 natural armor bonus.
- Magus Melding the eldritch powers of the Dreaming with that of combat, the Magus serve as elite defenders of a briarborn knot. Those that take up this mantle are often of the Myrmidarch, Skirnir or Soul Forger archetypes.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1/4 point to the magus’s arcane pool.
- Oracle A rare occupation, some briarborn are gifted with the ability to communicate with the knot’s divine tree. These oracles assist in reading the instructions that nature provides its children. These Oracles are most often of the Seer archetype and frequently have the Ancestry, Lore, Nature or Wood Mysteries.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1/6 to the oracle’s number of revelations.
- Paladin While not of divine natures, the briarborn are capable of producing paladins. They serve as stalwart leaders in the offense against darkness and evil. Typically, those paladins are of the Divine Defender archetype.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1/2 hp to the paladin’s lay on hands ability (whether using it to heal or harm).
- Ranger Most all martial briarborn are either rangers or multiclass with ranger. Common archetypes include the Battle Scout, Beastmaster, Falconer, Guide, Infiltrator, Shapeshifter, Spirit Ranger, Warden and Wild Stalker.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1/6 to the number of the Ranger’s combat style feats.
- Rogue With their natural camouflage, briarborn make excellent rogues in natural settings. Most briarborn rogues are of the Chameleon, Investigator, Scout, Sniper, Spy or Survivalist archetypes.
- Favored Class Bonus Add a +1/2 bonus on Disable Device checks regarding wilderness traps and a +1/2 bonus to trap sense regarding wilderness traps.
- Sorcerer Born of the Dreaming, briarborn retain much of their magical nature within and sorcerers are not uncommon. Frequently they are of the Fey or Verdant bloodlines, often with the Wild-blooded archetype and the Groveborn or Sylvan mixed bloodlines.
- Favored Class Bonus Whenever you cast a spell with a range of personal, you gain a temporary bonus to your hp equal to the spell’s level.
- Summoner Having such a strong connection with nature and the fey world, briarborn make surprisingly good summoners. They are most frequently of the First Worlder archetype.
- Favored Class Bonus Add +1 hp to any creature summoned with summon nature’s ally.
- Witch Wielding the more arcane forces of natural magic, they are frequently of the Beast-Bonded or Hedge Witch archetypes.
- Wizard briarborn wizards are definitely rare, but not entirely unheard of. They are great assets to a knot and often work with the druids there. Not surprisingly, some multiclass with druid and become Mystic Theurges.
The following racial archetypes are available to briarborn:
Characters with Knowledge (nature) may know more about the reclusive briarborn. Make a Knowledge (nature) skill check and compare the results to the below chart. Elves and other Fey creatures gain a +2 competence bonus to this roll.
DC 12 – The briarborn are a race of tree-like humanoids grown from the earth itself.
DC 17 – It is believed that they are born wardens of nature, and that the elves have been aware of their presence for many ages.
DC 22 – The briarborn grow to maturity in a single year. It is said they are born in response to a great need by nature itself.
DC 27 – In truth, the briarborn are born of the sentient Dreaming Trees, an intelligent plant that grows deep within the feywilds. They serve these trees and protect their environs.
There are a few feats unique to the briarborn, or which are especially suited to briarborn characters.
- Ashen Bark
- Fists of Amber
- Gift of Nature
- Gift of the Darkwood
- Grow Armor
- Grow Limb
- Nature’s Wrath
- Oak Lord
- Oaken Fortification
- Oozing Sap
- Photosynthetic Healing
- Sticking Sap
Dwellers in Dream: The Briarborn. Copyright, January 27, 2013, Total Party Kill Games. Author(s): Brian “Necroblivion” Berg, Richard “AWizardInDallas” Hunt