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Reapers

Random Reaper Starting Ages

Adulthood Intuitive1 Self-Taught2 Trained3
18 years +1d6 years
(19 – 24 years)
+1d8 years
(19 – 26 years)
+2d8 years
(20 – 34 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.

Random Reaper Height and Weight

Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 5 ft. +2d10 in.
(5 ft. 2 in. – 6 ft. 8 in.)
110 lbs. +(2d10×4 lbs.)
(118 – 190 lbs.)
Female 4 ft. 7 in. +2d10 in.
(4 ft. 9 in. – 6 ft. 1 in.)
75 lbs. +(2d10×4 lbs.)
(83 – 165 lbs.)

General Info: Reapers are usually the result of the extremely rare case of interbreeding between mortals and psychopomps, though they may also rarely arise from other races when a mortal suffers an extraordinary brush with death or makes a deal with a psychopomp to extend her time on the material world in exchange for assisting the psychopomp’s goals. As rare as tieflings, aasimars, and elemental planetouched are among the mortal races, so much rarer are reapers than these, as most psychopomps remain aloof and impartial, and the nosoi, who are most likely to have congress with mortalkind, are usually unable to conceive children due to their size and form.

Physical Description: Reapers are built similarly to humans, though they tend to stand slightly taller and leaner. Their skin is paler, and their features slightly more angular, with hair that is usually long and dark. Reapers often wear elaborate funereal masks reminiscent of those worn by psychopomps, and the eyes that gaze out of the eyeholes of those masks are often of a color rare or unseen in humans, such as silver, pale blue, or dark purple.

Society: Reapers live both among mortals and apart from them, just similar enough to other mortals to seem somehow ”off”. Reapers do their best to adjust to life in the community—usually a human one—where they choose to live. However, a reaper finds that the role that suits her best is connected in some way to death, whether she works in a mundane job as a mortician or takes up a more active role as a homicide detective, or even takes up the family business as a shepherd of lost souls.

Reapers are often conflicted creatures, with their human nature causing them to seek companionship but their connection to death keeping them distant and otherworldly, interfering with attempts to foster intimacy or camaraderie with others. Extremely rarely, two well-traveled reapers might cross paths and form a bond of friendship or love, unburdened by the reapers’ usual problems and instead enhanced by the shared affinity to death. Any such reaper courtships and romances are often quiet and understated to the public eye but incredibly deep and fierce beneath the surface. Often, such reapers will exchange their masks as a reminder that they hold the other’s heart in their hands. Reapers can mate freely with humans and other reapers. The resulting child is either a human or a reaper, with a slightly higher chance of being a reaper if both parents are reapers. Even generations later, atavisms can occur, so a child with two human parents and a reaper somewhere in the family tree might be a reaper. Since it is not obvious at first that a child is a reaper, reapers have names as appropriate for the human culture to which they were born.

Reapers are almost universal in their hatred for those who would voluntarily become undead and their pity towards those lost souls who have been stranded from the afterlife or have undeath forced upon them. However, it is not unheard of for a reaper who is treated poorly for being different by a xenophobic society to turn her back upon her former home and pervert her connection to death into a powerful talent for necromancy, forming a new social group of the undead to be her friends and playmates. Other than those poor forsaken souls, reapers tend to excel at magic that combats the undead and eases the passage between life and death, often using divine healing magic and protections such as death ward with equal facility.

Reapers put a great deal of energy and effort into festivities meant to honor the dead or help guide souls to the afterlife. It is not unusual to see a reaper stand silent vigil on Lantern Night, long after the children have collected their candy and gone to sleep, watching from dusk to dawn for literal lost spirits to guide onwards. Those societies who accept the reaper might find this quaint or overly-literal, while others find the practice creepy and suspect the worst, and yet others know the truth—that the reaper not only believes the old stories in earnest, some years she actually finds spirits and guides them on.

Reapers channel an equal amount of their focus, if not more, into decorating their masks. Because of this, some reapers have become noted artists in the medium of masks or sculpture—a reaper’s obsessive attention to detail combined with her zeal for masks and her otherworldly font of inspiration can lead to an artist whose works are desired as the height of fashion in high society’s masquerade balls.

Many communities that have an active reaper in them are not aware of all the reaper does to protect them and helped their loved ones’ spirits move on. Some reapers refer to their quiet struggle against the undead as ”The Twilight War,” referring to the tendency of evil spirits to stir up when the sun begins to sink below the horizon. The Twilight War aside, reapers are extremely hesitant to join military campaigns among mortals, as the proximity to massive amounts of deaths, violent or senseless deaths in particular, can be disconcerting, as the reaper hears the screams and laments of the unquiet spirits not only on the battlefield but also in her dreams for weeks after a major battle.

Reapers are blessed and cursed with unusually long lifespans, which means that, barring violent or unnatural deaths, they are guaranteed to outlive any human friends and relatives. Much like elves who live among humans, this can occasionally cause reapers to become more and more aloof and distant as the generations pass and the reaper begins to stop herself and assess whether or not another generation of friendships and romance is worth the inevitable heartache. Reapers tend to be practical and well-adjusted about death, however, so they are more likely than elves to pursue the cycle of relationships, births, and deaths, enjoying what they have and seeing the passing of their loved ones as natural.

In the extraordinarily rare instances in which several reapers find each other, they will often form somber councils to quietly discuss local supernatural threats, contemplate the meaning of existence, tell quiet tales of their noteworthy deeds, and remember those who have passed on. Occasionally, such a council will take efforts to record these tales of guiding lost souls and defeating undead menaces as well as remembrances of those noteworthy individuals who lived and passed on in their local area. Such chronicles, though often kept private by the reapers out of habit, can be an invaluable resource for any in the region seeking to analyze patterns in supernatural activity, as well as those interested in biographical information of the deceased, as these reapers show the same zeal and dedication to their chronicles as other reapers do to their own pursuits. Reapers, like psychopomps, do not have a particular planar language of their own, so reaper chronicles are usually written in the vernacular of the region, though some reapers prefer to use one of the three main languages of the afterlife, Abyssal, Celestial, or Infernal.

Alignment and Religion: Most reapers worship the same deities who command the loyalty of their psychopomp forebears, usually those who preside over the cycle of birth and death, who shepherd or judge the souls of the dead, or who work toward the destruction of undead. Reapers are usually true neutral, though they are more likely to be lawful than chaotic. Aeacan, the scribe of the underworld and Hrista, the guide of the lost, are two commonly-worshiped deities described below.

The occasional reapers who go insane and embrace the undead as their new kindred tend toward neutral evil alignment and typically worship deities of undeath.

Names: Because nothing short of divination can identify whether any given child is a reaper at birth, reapers usually have names that are typical for the humans in the region from which they hail.

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Modifiers: Reapers have supernatural insights from their psychopomp blood and reflexes to match, but their connection to death can leave them distant and withdrawn from normal social interaction. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma.
  • Size: Reapers are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Type: Reapers are outsiders of the native subtype.
  • Base Speed: Reapers have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Languages: Reapers begin play speaking Common and either Abyssal, Celestial, or Infernal. Reapers with high Intelligence scores can choose any of the following: Abyssal, Aklo, Celestial, Draconic, Dwarven, Halfling, Infernal. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.

Sense Racial Traits

  • Darkvision: Reapers have darkvision allowing them to see perfectly in darkness up to up to 60 feet.
  • Soul Sense: Reapers have a dim sense of the souls of others who are very near. If a living or undead creature comes within 5 feet of a reaper, the reaper becomes aware of the creature’s presence, its location, and whether it is living or undead. This ability functions similarly to blindsense with a range of 5 feet against living creatures and undead. If an undead consciousness possesses or controls a living body (as with a ghost’s malevolence ability), this sense detects only the living creature.

Feat and Skill Racial Traits

  • Shepherd of Souls: While reapers find themselves disconnected from must living creatures, they possess a special connection to psychopomps and undead. Reapers receive a +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks made against such creatures.

Defense Racial Traits

  • Grave’s Mercy: Psychopomps instinctively recognize a reaper as one of their own and pause before taking a reaper’s soul to the afterlife. Once per day, when a reaper would die from hit point damage, the reaper does not die until the end of the reaper’s next turn. If the reaper receives enough healing by then that the reaper’s hit points are at an amount greater than the reaper’s negative Constitution score, the reaper does not die.
  • Mask: Reapers feel an affinity for funereal masks reminiscent of those worn by psychopomps. While wearing a mask of any kind, they gain a +1 racial bonus on saving throws against death effects, energy drain, and negative energy effects. Reapers wearing a mask cannot wear any other magic item in the face slot. However, if the mask possesses a magical properties, they gain the benefit from this item as well.

Offense Racial Traits

  • Reaper’s Scythe: Reapers can spend a swift action to wreathe their weapons with an otherworldly glow. While wreathed in the glowing energy of the grave, the reaper’s weapons count as ghost touch for the purpose of damaging incorporeal creatures and can deal critical damage to incorporeal creatures unless they are also immune to critical hits from a different source (such as in the case of a ghost ooze). Furthermore, the reaper’s weapon attacks can deal damage to haunts as if they were positive energy attacks. A reaper can use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to the reaper’s character level. These rounds need not be consecutive.

Alternate Racial Traits

The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

  • Psychopomp Affinity: Some reapers have a stronger connection to the magic running through their psychopomp blood. If they are sorcerers of the psychopomp bloodline, they treat their Charisma score as 2 points higher for all sorcerer class abilities. This ability replaces the reaper’s scythe racial trait.
  • Fleeting Spirit: Some reapers possess such an affinity with spirits that they are able to briefly manifest as a spirit themselves. Once a day, when dying or dead, they may manifest their incorporeal spirit in their square as a free action on their turn. They may then act for one round with whatever abilities they can still use while incorporeal, and at the end of their turn, the spirit fades away. The spirit has an amount of hit points equal to the reaper’s full maximum hit point total, but if an enemy somehow destroys the spirit during the reaper’s turn, the reaper may never be raised or resurrected. This ability replaces the grave’s mercy and soul sense racial traits.
  • Hunter of the Walking Dead: Some reapers focus more on corporeal undead than on spirits, ghosts, and other such intangible creatures. They learn special techniques to better hunt such creatures, gaining a +1 bonus on attack rolls and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against corporeal undead. This ability replaces the reaper’s scythe racial trait.
  • Relentless: Some reapers are known to scout their opponents for weaknesses and return to finish the job, or to lose a battle only to vow to hunt down the creature that defeated them. Beginning the next day after they observe an opponent in combat, they receive a +1 insight bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and AC against that opponent. There is no limit to the number of opponents for which a reaper can use this ability at any given time. This ability replaces the reaper’s scythe racial trait.
  • Dedication: Many reapers have a particular hobby to which they are dedicated, whether it be art, lore, or some other pursuit. They receive a +2 racial bonus on any one Craft, Knowledge, Perform, or Profession skill of their choice. This ability replaces the shepherd of souls racial trait.

Favored Class Options

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.

Racial Archetypes

The following racial archetypes are available to reapers:

Racial Feats

The following feats are available to a reapers character who meets the prerequisites.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Book of Heroic Races Compendium. © 2014, Jon Brazer Enterprises