Friday, December 11, 2015

Featured Creature: Dolphin

Dolphins have a reputation among longpaws as playful, benevolent sea creatures with great affection for land-dwellers.  But at best, they only half-deserve this reputation.

Much of it comes from the dolphins' ancient feud against shark-kind; whenever a dolphin or group of dolphins protects a swimming longpaw from sharks, it is mostly to deny the shark a meal and not because they have any special affection for humanoids.

Dolphins are also predators, so from the point of view of many fish species, they are fearsome monsters.  Even among themselves, dolphins are prone to violent rivalries and even sexual assault, with losers of conflicts often finding themselves in lonely exile for the rest of their lives.

Nonetheless, dolphins are highly intelligent and social creatures, usually forming strong bonds of friendship within their pods.  In classic fantasy-style campaigns, they can even become Magic-Users, and often form alliances with longpaw races like merfolk and sea elves.

     AC: 5
     AT (Dam): 1 head butt (1d7+1 [2d4])
     Beginning HP: 9 [10]
     Habitat: Oceans
     MV: 12 swimming only
     SZ: Medium

Species Traits: 
  • Air Breathers:  Unlike most sea creatures, dolphins cannot breathe water.  They must surface every 15 minutes to take in fresh air.  They can extend this time between breaths by 1 minute per Total Level, after which they must begin making Trauma saving throws.  Failure on this save means they have begun drowning, and must be aided to the surface by companions or they will die.
  • Detect Magic: In high fantasy campaigns, dolphins can detect magic to a range of 360 feet underwater.
  • Echosight: Dolphins can "see" by means of a natural form of sonar that has a range of 120 feet, enabling them to detect objects or creatures within this range.  If blinded, they can even rely on this echosight to continue acting normally with a successful Scout lore check each round (or other relevant unit of time). This ability is negated by spells or other effects that create areas of unnatural silence.
  • Far Speech: Dolphins can communicate with each other over a range of 50 miles underwater, using their language of clicks and whistles (related to whale speech).
  • Growth Spurt:  Dolphins become Large in SZ at 3rd Total Level/Hit Dice.
  • Legless:  Dolphins have no natural means of moving about on dry land.   Without the aid of magic or super-science, they are confined entirely to aquatic environments.
  • Low-Light Vision
  • +2 bonus on all Warrior lore checks to formulate plans against sharks and their allies.
  • +1 bonus on all attacks vs. sharks and their allies.
  • +2 bonus on all lore checks to detect hidden objects or hear noise while underwater.
  • Suitable Niches: Healer, Runner, Scout, Seer, Trickster, Warrior.

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