Tcho-Tcho CR 1/2
This small human woman’s polite smile doesn’t quite hide her pointed teeth.
Str 14, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 6
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 17
Skills Climb +6, Knowledge (nature) +4, Perception +7, Sense Motive +2, Spellcraft +4, Stealth +7, Survival +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception, +2 Survival
SQ poison use, track +1, wild empathy –1
The Tcho-Tcho are humans, though their ancestry does boast some magical crossbreeding with amphibian and/or reptile stock. As they primarily resemble their human ancestors, Tcho-Tcho are able to pass for full human under almost all circumstances. Typical Tcho-Tcho are smaller than an average person and often weigh less than a hundred pounds. They frequently shave their heads and many Tcho-Tcho sharpen their teeth artificially. Tattoos and body modifications are common but not universal.
Tcho-Tcho adventurers are exceptional. Like most of their kin, they are selfless for the sake of the group and travel and fight in order to find ways to assist their clan that are best suited to their skills and abilities. An adept treasure seeker might serve the clan by discovering valuable and potent relics, while a rogue might infiltrate and undermine current or potential rivals of the clan.
Some Tcho-Tcho reject the intensely xenophobic tenets of their culture, often after observing other ways of living, and adventure to find their own way in a world that often hates and fears them. Even if they no longer want anything to do with the toxic culture of their origin, all but the most violently rebellious or distant of good-aligned Tcho-Tcho can expect regular communication from their clans. Clans view even these rebellious members as part of the family, expected to do whatever is within their power to further the family’s schemes and protect family interests. Even if a renegade member declares the family’s goals or methods immoral, the family typically views the outburst as a petty affectation. Eventually, the member’s refusal to do reprehensible deeds tends to result in the family ceasing to rely upon the wayward member. Instead, the resentful family merely demands the passing along of intelligence or the destruction of evil mutual villains.
A Tcho-Tcho who categorically refuses to help in any way is targeted for assassination if deemed a liability.
The Tcho-Tcho are an unusual subset of humans, whose long separation from others of their race has resulted in a subtly different evolutionary pathway. They rarely intermarry with outside folk—human or otherwise— and do not engage in many friendly transactions with other cultures (a Tcho-Tcho merchant is rare, for example). The Tcho-Tcho as a group tend to share some physical traits, but most fall within the human range.
They tend to be small in stature and heavily pitted with acne scars. Almost all Tcho-Tcho file their teeth, which tend to be slightly larger than the norm. Their hair, skin tone, and other physical features resemble those of the humans they split off from; the most well-known group has black hair and light brown skin.
The Tcho-Tcho are not master metalworkers nor builders. Instead, they are highly knowledgeable about the ways of the Mythos, as well as biological and otherworldly science. Their leaders are able to produce cancerous growths, deadly plagues, parasites with horrendous abilities, and magical infections. This is their true power.
Tcho-Tcho devices include the assassin’s teapot and Tcho-Tcho oculus. More innate modifications generally rely on rituals like the acid blood curse or the secret mouth. The Tcho-Tcho also know how to manufacture selenine and can even emulate mi-go digestive replacement.
The difference between Tcho-Tcho and average humans exists largely within the brain and the psyche: fundamentally, Tcho-Tcho do not think like other humans. It is hard to tell how much of the difference is cultural, and how much is inherent, but there is clearly a difference. The Tcho-Tcho are far more ruthlessly cunning and heartless than most sentient beings, and almost never make emotional decisions.
They have almost no sense of pride: a Tcho-Tcho will happily grovel or crawl before a stronger enemy with no hesitation. The Tcho-Tcho almost never engage in warfare, preferring a longer game. When a stronger group attacks their tribe, they immediately surrender, then promptly begin subverting their conquerors, often by bribing or extorting the enemy leaders. Notably, the Tcho-Tcho never seek revenge for wrongs committed against them. They will certainly destroy their enemies, but it is always coldly-calculated, and they are as likely to bring doom to a neighboring tribe who has never harmed them as to their most hated foe.
The neighbors of the Tcho-Tcho hate and fear them not because of Tcho-Tcho raids or attacks, but due to other forms of duress. Quite commonly, the Tcho- Tcho will send an emissary to a neighbor and demand tribute—often in the form of nubile youths and maidens. Failure to obey results in dreadful retribution in the form of manufactured diseases and other such scourges.
Tcho-Tcho disease vectors are not restricted to sentient beings. If the Tcho-Tcho want to destroy an elf forest, for example, they blight the trees themselves and leave the region a wasteland. If rival groups take over Tcho-Tcho grazing lands, their cattle or goats often end up with hideous growths, start giving poisoned milk, or suffer from other horrific ailments.
Because the Tcho-Tcho never engage in open warfare, most of their weapons are designed for assassination, extortion, and ambushes rather than open battle. To the Tcho-Tcho, a blowgun that fires a deadly spider is more useful than a two-handed axe.
Almost all of the Tcho-Tcho weapons are envenomed in some way. They favor poison, disease, and sleep drugs, but they also use hallucinogens, mind-control drugs, and magic potions.
The Tcho-Tcho are organized into tribes. All Tcho- Tcho in a given area belong to the same tribe, and each tribe controls an area that might be as large as a province or as small as a single valley. These tribes are often separated by a considerable distance, though they do send messengers back and forth to maintain communication. The Tcho-Tcho view all their separate tribes in the world as part of the same group, and their people are interchangeable between tribes.
Tcho-Tcho do not mix well with other peoples and they rarely live among them. Some large cities have Tcho-Tcho “ghettos,” which are notoriously dangerous.
The alien nature of the Tcho-Tcho mind inverts expectations of their power structure. Their leaders are not the most ambitious and selfish among them (as is often the case among other sentient beings), but instead are the most single-minded, dedicated, and unselfish of the Tcho-Tcho. Leaders live to serve the tribe and the Great Old Ones (not necessarily in that order). The leaders are “touched” by the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods and behave accordingly. Tcho-Tcho leaders, though granted amazing powers by biomagical science and the entities the Tcho-Tcho serve, often burn out quickly and live short lives, after which another leader must be selected.
In addition, the Tcho-Tcho can use their biomagical power to enhance their leaders. For example, if they have a need for keen calculation, they may modify their chosen leader’s brain size to swell massively.
This would cause the leader’s brain to protrude, at the expense all other limbs, necessitating that the leader be kept in a tub (or on a throne). Or they may select a Tcho-Tcho to be modified to become astonishingly sexually attractive, intended to be used in seduction of a rival civilization’s leaders.
Tcho-Tcho are defined by their class levels—they do not possess racial Hit Dice. Tcho-Tcho have the following racial traits.
Special Abilities: Tcho-Tcho gain the following special abilities.
Tcho-Tcho have developed a taste for human flesh. Once per day as a standard action, a Tcho-Tcho may consume a portion of humanoid flesh it carries or harvests from an adjacent dead human. When it does so, the Tcho-Tcho gains a number of temporary hit points equal to its Hit Dice and gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saving throws for 1 hour.
Poison Use (Ex)
Tcho-Tcho are skilled in the use of poison and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves.
Special Defenses: Tcho-Tcho gain the following special defenses.
Warped Mind (Ex)
A Tcho-Tcho’s mind is warped and no longer truly resembles a human mind. They are immune to all mind-affecting effects that target humanoids specifically (such as charm person), and gain a +2 bonus on all other saving throws against mind-affecting effects.
Languages: Tcho-Tcho begin play speaking Common. Tcho-Tcho with high Intelligence can choose bonus languages from among the following languages: Abyssal, Aklo, Draconic, Ghoul, Goblin, Halfling, and Serpentfolk.
Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2017, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.