Triaxians are the dominant race on a world whose erratic orbit causes exceptionally long and disparate seasons. Though eerily similar to humans, elves, and the other mammalian humanoids, Triaxians have developed certain adaptations to their environment that mark them as indisputably alien.
Just like human ethnicities, Triaxian populations vary in size, weight, and other distinguishing physical characteristics, based primarily on the geographical regions in which they reside. Most Triaxians, both males and females, are around 6 feet tall but somewhat lean compared to humans, rarely weighing more than 200 pounds. Their ears are elongated, but rather than being pointed like elves or half lings, these appendages are instead notched in a feathered or comb-like pattern. The flaps created by these notches constantly move to adjust the ear’s shape, operating both consciously and unconsciously to help Triaxians focus on specific sounds, not unlike the maneuverable ears of dogs, cats, and other such animals.
Like many creatures on their world, Triaxians have evolved to shift along with their environment, resulting in differences between generations of the same family that would seem bizarre to other humanoids.
In the warm summer years, Triaxians are completely hairless, with skin that ranges from deep red to coffee-colored to charcoal black. This configuration allows them to better survive in the sweltering heat of the planet’s tropical summers, with the increased melanin in their dark skin protecting them from the sun’s intense rays.
These Triaxians breed true for many generations—yet as the planet begins its rapid seasonal shift, so do the Triaxians. Newborn Triaxians begin to evince new adaptations to the cooling environment, and by the time winter has come on in full, Triaxians change markedly: their pale bodies are covered in fine, insulating white fur like that of an ermine, while their eyes narrow to elongated slits to protect against snowblindness. These new traits similarly breed true until the seasons begin to change once more, at which point the eyes widen and fur recedes, starting the cycle anew.
Just as Triaxians differ physically depending on which season they’re born into, so do their cultures and customs change. Triaxians born in the winter are defined by the hardship of a world whose very environment seeks to starve or freeze them. They tend to be stolid, hardworking people, with an ironclad sense of honor stemming from the knowledge that in winter, a broken promise can mean death for a whole clan. Even within large communities, the focus remains on survival for one’s family and friends, with individuals willing and ready to share, serve, and die to protect the group. Oaths of friendship are serious affairs; once given they are rarely transgressed, and doing so risks a blood feud. With the exception of those nomadic hunter tribes that migrate in pursuit of herd animals, most settlements are permanent and fortified against the predatory horrors that stalk the blinding blizzards.
Source: People of the Stars
Imbued with the primeval potency of their planet’s seasons, those druids known as season keepers guide Triaxian communities through the stark transition from summer to winter (and vice versa). The nature spirits that season keepers allow to possess their animal companions inspire both awe and dread in onlookers, but all value the gifts of the seasons that the season keepers bestow on their communities.
Starting at 1st level, each day when she prepares spells, a season keeper can imbue her animal companion with the spirit of summer or the spirit of winter.
Spirit of Summer: The season keeper’s animal companion projects a 15-foot-radius aura of cooling and vigor. Allies in the aura can exist comfortably in hot conditions as if they each had the seasoned racial ability of a Summerborn Triaxian. At 3rd level, the aura increases the power of the season keeper’s healing magic—whenever the season keeper targets an ally with a spell that has the healing descriptor, the target also gains fast healing 2 for a number of rounds equal to the spell’s level. At 9th level, allies within the aura leave no trails in natural grassy or forest environments, thus can’t be tracked in such terrain. At 15th level, the duration of the fast healing effect increases to 2 rounds per spell level and affected allies can ignore difficult terrain caused by natural undergrowth such as non-magical thorns, briars, overgrowth, and similar terrain.
Spirit of Winter: The season keeper’s animal companion projects a 15-foot-radius aura of warmth and calm. This aura allows allies to exist comfortably in cold conditions as if they each had the seasoned racial ability of a Winterborn Triaxian. At 3rd level, allies gain resistance 10 to cold as long as they remain within the aura. At 9th level, affected allies leave no trails in natural snow or ice, thus can’t be tracked in such terrain. At 15th level, affected allies gain resistance 20 to cold and can ignore difficult terrain caused by ice or snow.
A season keeper gains this ability at 6th level, except that her effective druid level for the ability is equal to her druid level – 2. If she has imbued her animal companion with the spirit of winter, she uses her full druid level when taking on the form of an ice elemental. If she has imbued her companion with the spirit of summer, she uses her full druid level when taking on the form of a plant. A season keeper cannot use wild shape to assume the form of an elemental except an ice elemental, and can assume that shape only if her animal companion has the spirit of winter. Similarly, she can assume a plant form only if her animal companion has the spirit of summer. This ability modifies wild shape.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #70: The Frozen Stars © 2013, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Matthew Goodall.