Obitu (“Oh-Bee-Two,” singular and plural) are neither dead nor undead. They are magically created living creatures that have undead origins. In ages past, the obitu were created during a conflict by necromancers who sought to design a foot soldier that had the strengths of the common skeleton without the weaknesses. The solution was to devise a method of using positive energy as an animating force rather than negative energy.
The necromancers were immediately successful; completely immune to turning and sharing none of the vulnerabilities of the undead. Thousands of obitu were created through a process that involved infecting true undead with obitu blood; slowly transforming the infected into mindless living skeletons. However, unbeknownst to the necromancers, these were merely fledgling obitu.
A few short years later, the obitu’s young psyches began to mature. The positive energy not only animated the obitu, it also allowed them to grow. By the time the creators of the obitu realized what was happening, it was far too late; the now free-willed and intelligent obitu rebelled against their creators and seized a hold of their own destinies.
Since the time of their creation, obitu only mingle with undead peacefully when they are fledglings, and then only for a short time. Even this would be a very rare occurrence; happening when a low-level undead is unknowingly infected with the vivification virus and then left behind in its lair.
The obitu in this document are presented as a fairly new race to the world. As a newly developed life form, they are still struggling to find their place in an already well-established social ecosystem. This allows them to be placed in virtually any campaign setting with little work. As is, they require almost no adjustment to your world to begin play immediately.
One downside to this “newness” is that they lack tradition, language and history common to other PC races. This has several ramifications, including no racial heritage, and no special items tailored specifically for this race. However, there are many boons as well. Obitu player characters can be bold pioneers, inventing their own paths, their own history, and their own unique traditions.
Of course, there are some challenges to playing a skeletal PC. These challenges can be mild to extreme, based on the campaign setting. If your campaign sees a plethora of strange creatures in every town, then the obitu might fit in without too much prejudice. However, if your campaign is used to the standard core races only, the obitu may have to go about dressed in ominous robes, gloves, and a mask just to get by on the streets. After all, the obitu is a walking symbol of death, and is not likely to be well received by the uninitiated. The level of acceptance should be determined by the Gamemaster before the new race is added. Ranks in the Disguise skill may even be necessary to blend in with the public.
Optionally, the Gamemaster can create a more detailed back story for the obitu. Perhaps the necromancers who created the obitu used an old recipe from a fallen empire, not knowing the full consequences. It is even possible that other powerful creatures stumbled upon the obitu formula, and the race has been thriving for centuries. Yet another possibility is that the obitu infection arose naturally in an environment that was terribly infested with undead.
The obitu will make a welcome addition to any game as the spookiest member of the adventuring party, an unusual option for the player seeking something different, a challenge for the player who has played everything, or just a good match for those who revel in the absurdity of the macabre.
Physical Description: At first and even second glance, an obitu appears to be the undead or animated skeleton of a deceased humanoid, most often human, but always of Medium size (the process of vivification fails if the subject is too small or too big, thus destroying the undead host, and not yielding a viable obitu). They are, in fact, walking skeletons. Their form is also one of death; they wear the shell of a skeletal corpse.
Closer inspection reveals a few differences. Most observers first notice their eyes; vibrant pools of green luminescence. Obitu bones are warm to the touch; smooth, pulsing, and devoid of the dryness and wear that is common to undead skeletons. The bone color is almost always a deep beige. However, the most effective way to tell an obitu from an undead is by wounding one; if bright red living blood issues forth, it is likely an obitu. Some less noticeable differences include a thin membrane under the jawbone, pinkish tendons slightly visible at the joints, and if one listens closely, shallow respiration can be heard
Ecology & Society: Obitu have no true gender, despite the gender of the bone donor. Their voices are universally similar—a hollow, harsh whisper that actually radiates from inside the skull. In actuality, most of the biological functions of an obitu take place within its skull. A small, wormlike feeding tube extends into its mouth cavity when it eats. Regardless of its appearance, obitu eat, drink, and breathe much like other living beings, consuming as much as a creature of Small size. An obitu has no heart, relying on muscular contractions inside its bones to circulate blood. They have an unnaturally long lifespan, comparable to an elf.
While obitu do not reproduce naturally, they do have means of making others of their kind. The secret, referred to by the obitu as “vivification”, is in their blood; an infectious organism that activates when exposed to sustainable amounts of negative energy, such as inside the body of an undead creature. This is a disease that affects undead regardless of their immunity to disease and infects undead exclusively. Being blood-borne, the undead must ingest the blood, be injected with it, or be in contact with large amounts of it. Afterwards, the magical infection works much like a disease does for the living (described later).
At the demise of the undead creature, provided that it is Medium-sized and basically humanoid in shape and composition, all remaining flesh on the subject drops off, and the corpse reanimates. At this stage, the creature is nearly indistinguishable from an undead skeleton, and lacking sufficient blood, a brain, and other organs to truly be called a living thing.
Fledgling obitu behave much the same as skeletal undead; mindlessly obeying commands and following orders. However, this is an obitu in its infancy. In just three short months, sentience sets in. The brain and organs develop, and the remaining necrotic energy is consumed by the infection. The green orbs of light appear in the eye sockets about the time that the obitu gains true consciousness. For several years the obitu is still considered a fledgling, learning how to fully communicate and defend itself. While still a bit naïve, an obitu is considered mature around 5 years of age.
Obitu are often morose, sullen and generally pessimistic. Having arisen from death, negativity generally sets the tone for their entire life. Beginning their existence in the form of a monster with the mind of a child, they often see society as cruel and superficial. They despise being connected with undead and often avoid evil acts because of this. They also hate being manipulated and will fight for freedom at great cost. They strive for individuality as well, dressing or acting in their own unique way. In addition, many feel a sense of duty to their body’s original owner—often going on great quests to find out whose bones they are walking around in.
Relations: At first, none of the mainstream races receive obitu well. After all, they are walking symbols of death, and many harbor a deep seated fear of the undead, which the obitu assuredly rouse. However,given time,most races do warm up to these macabre not-undead. Humans, half-orcs, and halflings seem to have the easiest time letting go of their prejudices. An obitu’s self-flagellating nature tends to disarm many fears that these races have. Especially stubborn dwarves and arrogant elves are known to never let go of their discrimination against these creatures. Obitu are quick to forgive, and most view themselves in a similar way and are unable to forgive themselves for living in someone else’s bones.
Relations to Remarkable Races: As most Remarkable Races face similar prejudices, they tend to get along a little better with the obitu. Those without an internal skeleton, such as the entobians, oaklings, relluks, squoles, and zifs often have little or no issue with an obitu’s appearance. The rest often simply view them as just another strange-looking race.
Alignment and Religion: Due to their appearances and the stereotypes of undead creatures, Obitu usually abhor evil and will actively hunt down and destroy any other obitu purported to be evil. All obitu struggle with a bad reputation, and none want this standing worsened by a disreputable member of their race.
Obitu worship most deities, especially those with a special abhorrence towards undead. While initially skeptical, most clergies will allow obitu simply based on their willingness for total repentance and dedication to their cause.
Adventurers: While the obitus’ nature tends to gravitate towards antisocial, untrusting, and introverted, they feel a need to prove themselves. Consequently, they will thrust themselves into social situations, inferiority complex intact, especially if they can prove they are not evil undead creatures. Likewise, a mission revolving around uprooting tyranny, evil, or oppression will also see the obitu working well with others. Obitus adventures often share these motivations.
Names: Obitu are often initially named by those around them, and consequently start with funny sounding nicknames like “Johnny Longbones” or “Skinny.” However, as time goes on and they realize the jest, they try to come up with unique and ostentatious names such as “Plaxtarius the Good” or “Vardullisto the Death Slayer.” As the obitu matures, however, these names get shortened. Some obitu, if they are fortunate enough to find their mortal origins, will re-name themselves in honor of their bone donor.
- Ability Score Modifiers Obitu are supernaturally strong and quick, though often lack the self-confidence to be charismatic or charming. They gain a +2 bonus to Strength and Dexterity, but suffer a -2 penalty to Charisma.
- Type: Obitus are outsiders with the (native) subtype.
- Size: Obitus have no bonuses or penalties due to size.
- Speed: Obitus move at base speed of 30 feet.
- Senses: Obitu can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
- Languages: Obitu begin play speaking Common. Obitu with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Elven, Halfling, Gnome, Goblin, or Orc.
- Fossil Fortitude: Obitu gain a +4 racial bonus on saving throws against disease and poison.
- Improved Initiative: Obitu gain the Improved Initiative feat at first level as a racial bonus feat.
- Nimble Form: Due to a preternaturally thin and agile body, obitu gain a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics, Escape Artist, and Sleight of Hand skill checks.
- Negative Energy Resistance: Obitu have negative energy resistance equal to 5 + ½ their character level. This resistance applies to damage from channeled negative energy and spells that harness negative energy to cause damage such as inflict light wounds and harm.
- Sleep Immunity: Rather than sleep, obitu enter a meditative state known as trance. They are fully aware of their surroundings while in this state. In addition, obitu are immune to magic sleep effects.
The following feats are available to an obitu character who meets the prerequisites.
Onset 1 minute; Frequency 1/day.
1d4 Charisma damage. If the subject reaches a Charisma value of 0 or less, it is slain, its flesh melts off its bones (if any), and it rises as a fledgling obitu within 24 hours.; Cure 3 consecutive saves.
Special The vivification virus bypasses a corporeal undead’s normal immunity to disease. In addition, this disease has no effect whatsoever on the living. This disease only affects corporeal undead. All obitu carry this disease, and some even manage to master control over it through certain feats. Undead who are not Medium-sized humanoids that die from this disease, do not rise as obitu. Vestiges related to the type of undead, as well as any damage to the skeleton itself, disappear by the time the obitu reaches basic sentience (at about 6 months old). This disease cannot be cured by magical means.
You can exchange one or several of your character’s normal racial Traits, but of course you cannot exchange the same racial trait more than once.
As with any alternate or optional rule, you must first get the permission of your GM to exchange any of your character’s normal racial Traits for those listed here.
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, obitu have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to all obtiu who have the listed Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.
Remarkable Races: Compendium of Unusual PC Races, Pathway to Adventure Edition. Copyright 2009, Alluria Publishing; Author: J. Matthew Kubisz.