This concept was originally found on the WotC forums, but has apparently been lost to the ages. I have significantly repurposed the race, and devised new mechanics.
- "We are aware of our ztrangenezz to you. But you are ztrangenezz to ourzelvez."
Wherever life can exist, some will find a way to flourish: nowhere else is this made as abundantly clear as in the case of the zzithrani people. On the harsh plains of Ganymede, insects similar to those found on Adnez found a way to survive and, in time, flourish. What began as something similar to bees became, eventually, something more: a true hivemind appeared, aware of itself, but only when the hive came together did the mind establish itself.
Evolution took its course, and specialization appeared: individual insects in the hive became more specialized: some forming dense carapaces of chitin, akin to bone; some developing flight, to allow them to better forage for the hive; and a dozen other functions, all working towards the health of the hive, at the center of which is always a queen zzith, the focal point of the hivemind.
Researchers in more recent years who have studied the zerg and tyranids have found a striking resemblance between the zzithrani and the two alien races from beyond the edges of the Philomenic system, and believe that it is possible the zzith were originally a tyranid offshoot, much like the zerg. However, unlike the tyranids or zerg, the zzithrani developed multiple independent hive minds. It is theorized, however, that continued zzithrani evolution may lead to a similar species.
However, unlike the tyranids and the zerg, zzithrani seem friendly enough towards most other races - they are not driven to consume all before them, apparently, and instead possess similar curiosity about other races as other races do about them. While they are certainly alien and bizarre in their thinking, they are welcome enough in Ganymedian societies.
Personality: Of all the races native to the worlds of Trinity, the zzithrani are the most alien, having originated as an ancient off-shoot of the tyranids.
Physical Description: In their natural state, zzithrani hives often taken on spherical shapes, or adapt to fit into crevices on the surface of Ganymede. When interacting with humanoids, however, the hive will usually reshape itself into something vaguely resembling humanoid form. This is possible through the specialization of hundreds - or perhaps even thousands - of individual zzith.
An individual zzith is often not particularly large, usually the size of an average small beetle. However, each is incredibly structurally different: there are zzith that serve as skeletal elements of the hive; others that serve as musculature; messenger zzith that transmit information or resources from one part of the hive to the other. The largest of the zzith is the queen, which serves as the heart of the hive: ranging from double to triple the size of other zzith, the queen is the heart of the hive mind, and without her, the hive will rapidly disintegrate.
In addition, many hives are able to manipulate their genetic stock, one of the last holdovers of their origins as tyranids. This allows the queen to foster the production of larvae with new and unusual abilities: what would take numerous generations in any other race can be accomplished in days by a zzithrani dedicated to the purpose. Zzithrani are incredibly adaptable, and nearly each is unique not just in the sense that they are individuals, but also in particular zzith makeup.
Relations: Most other humanoids tend to be somewhat alarmed by zzithrani, especially if they are aware of the race's tyranid origins. Specifically, individuals who have not spent significant time on Ganymede are typically most alarmed, while those who grew up on Ganymede see them as simply another race.
Zzithrani often find specific trouble relating to ancelari, as they recall their homeworld being destroyed by the zerg, and thus often retain a significant distrust of insects or other entities that are related to the tyranids in any way.
The following is a rough overview of some of the highlights of zzithrani culture.
Zzithrani Are Responsible For...
Zzithrani Racial Prestige Classes
- Zzithrani Zoanthrope: Combining their natural telepathic abilities with their ability to manipulate the genetics of their composite zzith, these zzithrani become masters of their "bodies" and their "minds."
Zzithrani Racial Traits (d20)
- -2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Cha. Zzithrani hives are not built for strength, and their alien physiology and outlook tend to be off-putting. On the other hand, the rapid maturation rate of zzith gives them a degree of resilience.
- Vermin: Zzithrani are vermin, not humanoids. As such, they are not affected by spells or effects that normally only affect humanoids. Unlike other vermin, however, they are subject to critical hits.
- Small: +1 bonus to Armor Class, +1 bonus on attack rolls, +4 bonus on Hide checks, -4 penalty on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits ¾ those of Medium characters.
- A zzithrani’s base land speed is 20 feet.
- Darkvision: Zzithrani can see in the dark up to 60 feet + 10 feet/+1 Perception modifier (a negative modifier reduces this distance). Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and zzithrani can function just fine with no light at all.
- Hive Mind (Ex): So long as the zzithrani has at least 1 hit point per HD, it retains its Intelligence score, but if its hit points fall below that number, it becomes mindless. As a mindless creature, its Intelligence score becomes Ø, automatically fails Intelligence checks, and becomes immune to mind-affecting effects.
- Telepathy (Ex): Zzithrani are telepathic, and can communicate telepathically with others within 30 feet. A creature who would be communicated with telepathically is aware of the attempt, and can refuse to communicate in that manner. This is a mind-affecting, language-dependent effect.
- Swarm (Ex): As a standard action, a zzithrani can disincorporate into a swarm of its composite zzith. In doing so, the zzithrani acquires the creature swarm template. However, the zzithrani has the following changes to that template: the swarm takes half damage from bludgeoning weapons, rather than being immune to all weapon damage; the swarm is subject to critical hits; and the swarm only occupies a 5-foot square. The zzithrani can resume his normal form with a full-round action, provided that the swarm has not become mindless and has not dispersed due to hit point damage.
- Automatic Languages: One Common language and one Trade language. Bonus Languages: Any.
- Favored Class: Choose one - metamorph, psionicist.
Zzithrani Paragon (d20 Class)
|+1 level of existing metamorph class
|+1 level of existing manifester class
|Choose one: +1 level of existing metamorph class or manifester class
|Ability Boost (Int +2), Zzithrani Apotheosis
|Choose one: +1 level of existing metamorph class or manifester class
Rather than pursue normal professions, some zzithrani choose to focus on their unique natures, testing the limits of their ability to improve their hives and their minds. Such zzithrani spur on the evolution of their hives, breeding new varieties of zzith for more specialized, and sometimes bizarre, purposes; while at the same time, the queen works to improve her mental faculties, investigating the legacy left to her kind by the Tyranids.
The result is a hive that is simultaneously physically and mentally imposing.
Game Rule Information
Zzithrani paragons have the following game statistics.
Force Alignment: Psionics and Nature.
Force Resistances: SR 5 + level, TR 5 + level, DI 5 + level, VI 5 + level.
Abilities: Intelligence and Constitution are most important for a zzithrani paragon, as these abilities impact their psionic abilities and mutations.
Hit Die: d6.
Class Skills: The zzithrani paragon's class skills are Concentration (Con), Fly (Dex), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Knowledge (Psionics) (Int), Psicraft (Int), Reason (Int), Search (Per), Survival (Wis), and Vitality (Con).
Skill Points: 2 + Int modifier.
Starting Age: Simple.
Starting Gold: 4d4 x 10 gp.
The following are the class features of the zzithrani paragon class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Zzithrani paragons are proficient with all natural weapons, but not with armor or shields.
Manifester Level: At each level, a zzithrani paragon gains new powers known as if it had also gained a level in a previous psionic manifesting class. It does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (such as other class features).
If a zzithrani paragon has no levels in an appropriate class, it instead chooses a single Psionics-using class at first level. It gains PPs, powers known, and discipline access as if it had gained levels in that class. It does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (bonus metamagic feats, and so on).
If you had no levels in an appropriate class before taking levels in this class, you must also select a psionic focus.
- Psionic Focus: Select one of the psionic disciplines - imagiportation (Dex), ratiovitality (Con), psychokinesis (Int), telepathy (Wis), clairsentience (Per), or metacreativity (Cha). Your key manifesting ability is based upon your selection (listed in parentheses). The metapsionic cap for any psionic power that is not within your chosen psionic discipline is one-half your manifester level, while the metapsionic cap for psionic powers within your discipline is equal to your manifester level. You gain a +3 bonus to manifestation checks for powers within your discipline.
Metamorph Level: The zzithrani paragon has unlocked the secrets of its own genetics, and can breed new types of zzith that can serve unusual functions. Mutations are physical effects, and while their specific manifestations might vary, they always change the appearance of the zzithrani. Refer to the metamorph class for more information; zzithrani progress as though they were a member of that class, though they do not gain its class features other than mutation grade, MPs, and EPs.
Bonus Feat: At 2nd level, the zzithrani paragon gains a bonus feat. This bonus feat must be spent on a racial feat that the zzithrani paragon qualifies for.
Zzithrani Apotheosis: At 3rd level, a zzithrani paragon automatically qualifies to take levels in the zzithrani zoanthrope prestige class, even if it does not meet the class's prerequisites.
Add your zzithrani paragon levels to your zzithrani zoanthrope levels for all calculations that involve your zzithrani zoanthrope level, including abilities from that prestige class that are reliant on class level as opposed to character level.
The following are a selection of feats that are relevant to zzithrani.
CHITINOUS CARAPACE [Racial]
|Your skin is more chitinous than normal.
|Prerequisites: Dromite, zzithrani.
|Benefit: You gain a +1 natural armor bonus to AC. This bonus stacks with any existing natural armor you have from racial or class features.
|Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Its effect stacks.
ZZITH BIOWEAPONRY [Racial]
|You can redirect some of the hive's resources to producing weapons as part of the hive's architecture.
|Benefit: If you spend one hour concentrating, you can form part of your body into a non-Force-aligned weapon with which you are proficient. You cannot be disarmed of this weapon, but sunder attempts against it deal damage to you rather than to the weapon. Drawing or sheathing such a weapon is a free action, but you can only have a number of such weapons equal to 1 + one-half your level (rounded down), to a maximum of your Constitution modifier, at any one time.
|If you use your swarm ability, choose one: the weapon is left behind, and your maximum hit points are reduced by 5 for each such weapon, and when you reform, if you do not do so in the square the weapons were left in, you take two points of Constitution damage for each weapon, and your max hit points return to normal; or, the zzith composing the weapon immediately revert to their natural state, destroying the weapon but allowing those zzith to rejoin the swarm.
|You can eject the weapon willingly from your body at any time. If you do, you take two points of Constitution damage for each weapon; if a weapon is returned to your body, the Constitution damage is healed.
|Special: Creatures that are not native to Ganymede that do not have at least one rank in Knowledge (Xenobiology) automatically fail to notice or find any such weapons if they are "sheathed," even if you are searched by such a creature.
ZZITH FLIGHT [Racial]
|Your zzith have wings and are capable of flight.
|Benefit: Your component zzith are individually capable of flight. While this does not grant you the ability to fly in your "humanoid" form, when using your swarm ability, you gain a fly speed of 30 feet. Fly becomes a class skill for you.
ZZITH FORAGERS [Racial]
|A number of your component zzith are dedicated to the act of foraging, allowing you to search areas much faster.
|Benefit: The zzithrani can search a creature, object, or area in half as much time as normal. If its Search check would normally require a full-round action or less, it becomes one step shorter along the following progression: full-round action, standard action, move action, swift action, immediate action.
ZZITH GLOWWORM [Racial]
|A number of your component zzith can generate soft light from their abdomens.
|Benefit: You have special glands that allow you to shed light as a torch from your body as a free action. You can extinguish your light as a free action.
ZZITH SILKSPINNER [Racial]
|A number of your component zzith can spin silk.
|Benefit: A zzithrani can use the silk glands of its zzith to create a 50-foot length of silk rope. The zzithrani may do this a number of times per day equal to its character level. The rope decomposes and is destroyed after 24 hours.