Today marks the end of Psionics Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest. While I was certainly tempted to play around with a psionic monster, instead I thought I’d try something that might be of use to a slightly wider variety of players: a new psionic race.
These strange, grey-skinned creatures have an enormous natural psionic talent, and strongly favor intellect over everything else, from physical abilities to emotions. They generally live quiet, contemplative lives of learning and self-improvement. Considered heartless by many, and just plain strange by others, these eccentric creatures are nonetheless powerful practitioners of psionics.
Physical Description: Cerebreons are humanoid in appearance, with waxy skin that ranges in color from a dusty grey to lavender or sometimes a pale, faded blue. They are slightly taller than the average humanoid, with long, spindly arms and legs that are much thinner and more frail than those of most humanoids, especially the fingers, each of which is roughly nine inches long, and features one more joint than the fingers of most humanoids. Their bodies are thin and wispy as well, and it is unusual for a cerebreon to have enough muscle or fat for his ribs to not be visible beneath his skin. A cerebreon’s spine is always visible beneath the skin, and often bulges as much as two inches from the cerebreon’s back, allowing for individual vertebra to be counted by a close observer. A cerebreon’s head is similarly oversized, and bulges significantly at the back, giving their head a vaguely watermelon-like shape.
Cerebreons are entirely hairless, although when they are outside of their own society, many choose to wear wigs, scarves, hats, or other accessories that allow them to cover their head and better blend in with other humanoids. Even in their own societies, it is common for cerebreons to decorate their heads, especially foreheads, with gems, tattoos, or a mix of both. Cerebreons have very large eyes, which tend to have irises that are either bright green or royal purple in color. When a cerebreon manifests a psionic power, their entire eye glows with color, making it appear to be a solid purple or green, without any pupil or white. Cerebreons favor loose-fitting clothing, such as robes, generally in muted colors, with little ornamentation.
Society: Cerebreon society is generally very tranquil and subdued. Cerebreons value knowledge, intellect, and logic very highly, and much of their pursuits are devoted to these endeavors. Cerebreons have professions and fulfill societal roles much as other humanoids do, but it is deeply ingrained in cerebreon culture that such things are less important than a cerebreon’s duty (to both himself and his community) to improve his mind. As a result, most cerebreons spend the majority of their time in study, meditation, and contemplation, as well as working to harness their psionic talents, and this is considered to be a higher priority than whatever occupation the cerebreon might hold. In fact, those few cerebreons who choose to prioritize their trade, or other aspects of their life, above their personal mental development, are often scorned by others of their kind.
A cerebreon’s other main duty to society, besides improving his mind and talents, is to rear a replacement, in the event of his or her death. While there are male cerebreons and female cerebreons, the race as a whole places very little emphasis on gender, and frowns on natural procreation, preferring instead to use psionics to create their offspring. The cerebreon must first find a potential “donor,” then visit a specialist in such matters, referred to in Cerebric as a Tes’suar, who uses powerful and secret cerebreon psionics to create a new cerebreon from blood samples of the two parents. This process allows for incredible control over the traits passed on to the child, allowing the parents to “tailor-make” their offspring, who then grows in a crystalline sphere filled with life-giving fluid for about 12 months. A cerebreon child is always cared for by their “primary parent,” and while two cerebreons might mutually agree to serve as “donor parents” for each other (instead of the primary parent compensating the other with wealth, favors, or knowledge), each would still be a primary parent for only one offspring, and would not be involved in raising the other child. In times where the cerebreon population gets too low, cerebreons may be expected to produce more than one offspring in this way.
Relations: Most humanoids find the cerebreons’ lack of emotion and empathy to be mildly disturbing, and their reliance on cold logic to be aggravating. Their appearance also causes them to stand out quite a bit amongst humanoid races. As a result, cerebreons are not generally well-liked by most other races, although those who are fortunate enough to count a cerebreon community among their allies generally find that they are invaluable as such, even if they have a tendency to be somewhat more cautious and ponderous than many races have patience for. Cerebreons tend to prefer elves and humans over most other humanoid races.
Alignment and Religion: Cerebreons do not often concern themselves with matters of ethics or morals, and generally consider such concepts to be quaint and misguided. That said, they recognize the logical value of aiding others (as such things benefit the community, and by benefitting the community they benefit the individual), and so their outlook does not necessarily make them evil. Cerebreons can be of any alignment, and generally are more accepting of members of other alignments than other races are.
Adventurers: Few cerebreons feel the call of adventure, and those who do become adventurers often do so as a means to an end, rather than as a goal in and of itself. The most frequent reason for cerebreons to become adventurers is because they are searching for rare and unusual tomes, knowledge, or other artifacts. It is also not uncommon for a cerebreon outcast to become an adventurer. Such individuals are too reckless and emotional for their communities, although most other humanoids would still consider them somewhat wooden and robotic. Cerebreons favor psionic classes which use Intelligence as their primary ability score, and so are often aegises, cryptics, psions, and tacticians. Rarely, some cerebreons choose to focus on magic, rather than psionics, and so become wizards or witches. Cerebreons who do not use psionics or magic are rare, and tend not to be adventurers, but there are some cerebreons who become rogues, ninja, and so on.
Names: While there are male and female cerebreons, the differences between the genders are so downplayed that both genders share the same names. The following list recommends names for cerebreons of either gender.
Azatyr, Corzen, Fistat, Ibsis, Kybrin, Nutris, Rissau, Tyzmet, Wessyl, or Zyptan.
Standard Racial Traits
Ability Score Racial Traits: Cerebreons are physically very weak, but have an incredible intellect. They gain +4 Intelligence, -2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, and -2 Constitution.
Type: Cerebreons are humanoids with the cerebreon subtype.
Size: Cerebreons are Medium creatures, and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Base Speed: Cerebreons have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Cerebreons begin play speaking Common and Cerebric. Cerebreons with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).
Feat and Skill Racial Traits
Studious: Cerebreons are natural acquirers of facts, trivia, and other information. Cerebreons treat all Knowledge skills as class skills. Additionally, a cerebreon gains an additional skill point at each level, which must be spent on a Knowledge skill.
Unempathic: Cerebreons do not understand emotion or duplicity, and rely on their telepathic abilities to understand others. This leaves them remarkably ill-prepared to understand and interact with other individuals when they cannot rely on their psionic powers. Cerebreons suffer a -4 penalty on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive checks.
Psionic Racial Traits
Cerebreon Psionics: Cerebreons have a natural telepathic ability. They begin play with the ability to manifest the following psionic powers: conceal thoughts (self only), empty mind, and missive. When the cerebreon reaches 5th level, he also gains the ability to manifest the read thoughts power. The cerebreon must expend psionic points as normal to use these powers.The cerebreon’s manifester level for the purposes of these powers is equal to his total Hit Dice.
Naturally Psionic: Cerebreons gain the Wild Talent feat as a bonus feat at 1st level. If a cerebreon takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.
Psionic Reserves: A cerebreon has incredibly deep reserves of psionic power. Whenever a cerebreon gains a level in any class, he increases the maximum number of psionic points he can have at any one time by 1. If that class is a favored class for the cerebreon, he can choose to increase the maximum number of psionic points by 2, instead, but if he does so, he does not gain a normal bonus for taking a level of a favored class at that level.
Miscellaneous Racial Traits
Stunted Emotions: Because cerebreons rarely (if ever) feel emotion, they are highly resistant to effects that prey on emotion. A cerebreon gains a +4 racial bonus on saving throws made to resist spells or abilities with the emotion or fear descriptors. A cerebreon must make a saving throw to resist any spell or ability with the emotion or fear descriptor, if allowed, even if that spell or ability is harmless or beneficial to the cerebreon. Finally, whenever the cerebreon would gain a morale bonus or penalty, the amount of that bonus or penalty is halved (rounded down, minimum 0).