Today is the end of Afflictions Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest. While many of the new afflictions in our recently released book, Scourge: The Deluxe Guide to Disease and Poison are truly encounters in and of themselves, you came here for monsters, and monsters (in the form of a player character race) is exactly what you’re going to get. Of course, the sossivi are still very much in tune with a poisonous theme, so keep your healer’s kit ready as you learn about the latest Necromancers of the Northwest release.
The sossivi are a puzzling and often misunderstood people. They are obviously serpentine in appearance, from their scaled bodies to their long, prehensile necks. Although they are literally venomous, they are not nearly as malicious as many imagine at first glance, and actually have a rich culture and warrior tradition. A proud people, much of sossivi culture revolves around delicate balancing acts, as they struggle to maintain and grow their honor, without allowing themselves to be bound by it, and as they are constantly careful to provide everyone they interact with the exact amount of proper respect: not too little, and not too much, either.
Physical Description: From the neck down, sossivi have a fairly standard humanoid shape, with two arms and two legs in the correct places and relative proportions. Their bodies are covered in fine scales, which are just large enough to be easily visible. Generally their skin is a pale white-blue or white-green color, but some individuals have streaks or patterns in their scales that have a much richer emerald or sapphire hue, and in very rare cases, a sossivi’s entire body may take on this coloration. Roughly one sossivi in 1,000 has a red tint to their skin, rather than a green or blue tint. A sossivi’s body is pale and slender, and they have six fingers on each hand.
A sossivi’s neck is, on average, four feet long. It is prehensile and serpentine, and roughly 1 foot in diameter, tapering slightly as it nears the base of the head. Its head is vaguely serpentine in shape: oval and slightly elongated, but is otherwise humanoid in shape. Its eyes are similarly reptilian, with vertical slits for pupils, and golden-yellow irises. The final foot or so of the sossivi’s neck, at the base of the head, is actually covered in a thick mane of hair (generally bright red, but sometimes black, dark blue, dark green, or, rarely, other colors), giving the appearance that the sossivi’s head is sticking out from a bush, or something similar.
Society: The sossivi are in many ways a warrior culture, although they value cunning, stealth, and tactics far more than they do brute strength. There is a delicate balance in sossivi culture between maintaining one’s honor and using one’s wits: clever solutions and outwitting one’s opponents are things that are encouraged, but only in certain ways and means. Certain tactics are considered dishonorable, and are frowned upon, instead, and the sossivi revile both the craven who rely too heavily on dishonorable tactics, and also the stupidly honorable, who allow their honor to weigh them down like a stone. Only those who have immersed themselves in the sossivi’s rich folklore, much of which involves tales of the exploits of honorable, yet cunning, heroes, are likely to be able to safely navigate the sossivi perception of honor.
For the most part, sossivi fight exclusively with bladed weapons. Battles between two sossivi almost never involve attacking the body, and sossivi virtually always kill one another by severing the neck. Because a sossivi’s head can survive for a brief time after being severed, it is considered cowardly not to cleanly sever the neck, and allow the slain opponent a chance (however slim) to continue the fight, even though it is rare for a prepared opponent to be struck by a severed sossivi’s head, and even rarer for such a bite to be lethal, given the race’s resistance to poisons. Typically, the only sossivi who wield non-slashing weapons are those belonging to the elite Sor’shall caste, who are warriors that fight on behalf of all sossivi, and are sworn never to harm another member of their race for any reason, focusing instead on protecting their kin from their race’s many enemies.
The sossivi have a well-defined but fairly fluid caste system. The caste of a sossivi’s parents has some influence over his or her own caste, especially in childhood, but a sossivi from any background can potentially end up in any caste, upon reaching adulthood. A sossivi is always aware of whether the person he is speaking to is his superior or his lesser, and even though this is subject to change, he will treat them according to their station: even the seemingly kind act of treating someone as though they were of higher status than they actually are is seen as a great insult (perhaps even greater than not providing someone of higher status the respect they are due). Unlike most humanoid races, sossivi rarely mate for life. Instead, members of either gender typically seek out suitable mates of somewhat lower station. The prospective mate can refuse, but rarely does so, as the prestigious and monetary honors are great. Once the child is born, the lower-ranked of the pair raises the child until the age of 8 or so, at which point the higher-ranked parent typically comes to claim it.
Relations: Sossivi are cautious in regards to other races, but they are not necessarily hostile towards them. Because they make their cities deep underground, and only very rarely live near the surface, let alone above it, they are more familiar with the races of these incredibly deep subterranean areas than they are with most other races. Being neighbors with drow, derrow, and svirfneblin, in and of itself, would be enough to give any race a dim view of other cultures, and the sossivi’s honorable warrior mindset leads them to see most other races as completely untrustworthy and without honor, at least until they prove themselves otherwise. Similarly, many surface races assume that a race of serpent-like humanoids from deep in the bowels of the earth will be hostile and untrustworthy, and treat them accordingly. To date, there have been very few contacts between the sossivi and races such as humans and elves, and the sossivi are somewhat curious about those races. They are more familiar with dwarves, who are among the few races that they generally consider too honorable, rather than not honorable enough. It is generally accepted among the sossivi that theirs is the only race capable of striking the appropriate balance between the two.
Alignment and Religion: Sossivi can be of any alignment, although they tend not to be lawful or chaotic, rather embracing a mix of both. They are equally inclined towards good and evil, and such things are generally less important to a sossivi than maintaining a careful balance between rigid honor and fluid creativity.
Adventurers: There are a variety of situations that might lead a sossivi to take up adventuring. Members of the Sor’shall caste are specifically devoted to defending members of their race against other races, and spend much of their time outside of sossivi society. Sossivi who are deemed too rigid or too dishonorable for sossivi society may also be driven out, and may become adventurers in this way. A few sossivi may specifically be seeking to interact with other races in order to learn more about them and pass that knowledge on to other sossivi. Such sossivi “ambassadors” may well take up a life of adventuring, as this both allows them to see how their party members respond under the pressures of adventuring life, and also to meet a wide array of other humanoids.
Male Names: Cassi’il, Ib’liss, Mas’sar, Orssoon, Sa’hail, Sarkess, Sem’bal, Sorva’ak, U’srest, Yssr
Female Names: Asha’sa, Coshi’sel, Misheless, Oshy’la, Sashar, Shinsu, Shesti, Sossis, Ynsi, Ysha
Standard Racial Traits
Ability Score Racial Traits: Sossivi are quick and lithe, while at the same time very hearty and resilient to adverse conditions, but their bodies lack much of the physical power of other humanoid races. They receive a +2 bonus to Dexterity and Constitution, and suffer a -2 penalty to Strength.
Size: Sossivi are Medium creatures, and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Type: Sossivi are humanoids with the sossivi subtype.
Base Speed: Sossivi have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Sossivi begin play speaking Common and Sossivi. Sossivi with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aklo, Aquan, Elven, Sylvan, Terran, and Undercommon.
Defensive Racial Traits
Head Separation: If a sossivi is beheaded, or if it dies as a result of a critical hit with a slashing weapon, its head and neck can survive for a brief time afterwards, potentially allowing it to take a final vengeance on its killer. While in this state, the sossivi is treated as though it were a tiny creature, although its ability scores and bite damage are not recalculated. It has a movement speed of 10 feet, is always considered prone, and cannot take any action that requires hands. The sossivi’s severed head has a number of hit points equal to its Constitution score, and can survive in this state for up to 1 round per point of Constitution it possesses, after which it dies.
Poison Resistance: Sossivi receive a +4 racial bonus on saving throws made to resist poisons. The sossivi’s poison sacs racial trait effectively renders the sossivi immune to ingested poisons.
Feat and Skill Racial Traits
Keen Senses: Sossivi receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
Offensive Racial Traits
Critical Specialists: A sossivi receives a +2 bonus on attack rolls made to confirm critical threats.
Natural Weapon: A sossivi has a bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage. A sossivi’s long neck allows it to make attacks with its bite as though it had a reach of 10 feet.
Poison Sacs: Any poison that a sossivi ingests (whether it is an ingested poison or not) is automatically stored in the sossivi’s poison sacs. A sossivi can store up to 3 doses of poison in its poison sacs at any one time. At any time, as a swift action, a sossivi can expel one dose of poison from its poison sacs to automatically coat its fangs with the poison, allowing its bite attack to deliver the poison. If the sossivi does not use the poison within 1 minute, that dose is wasted. If the sossivi has doses of different types of poisons in its poisons sacs, it chooses which one to use. Any doses of poison that would be stored beyond 3 are wasted. There is never any chance of a sossivi accidentally poisoning itself in this way, and this ability also renders the sossivi immune to ingested poisons.
Senses Racial Traits
Darkvision: Sossivi can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.