Endless Blue – Week 14 – Ceph   6 comments

Biology

Ceph – Vermin of the Known World

Eventually when enough of the races in the Known World of Elqua banded together, they were able to over-throw the tyrannical Kraken Empire.  Perhaps that victory made the occupiers lose face with their eldritch gods and were abandoned, even cursed.  Since then the one mighty, one massive race has devolved into the cephalopods known today as simply “the Ceph”.

Personality: The Ceph continue to suffer abuse and scorn on a daily basis, and their station as second-class citizens has an effect on their outlook.  They are a hard working people, taking the thankless jobs, dangerous work conditions, and pitiful reward that they can in order to eke out a continued existence.
Physical Description: They are the only race in the Known World to not possess the easily identifiable piscean form — head, torso, arms, and tail — and instead look simply like larger versions of their aquatic ancestors.  The race actually has three ethnicities, but few except other Ceph can clearly tell them apart.  They have eight tentacles, two of which are slightly longer than the others and end in a wide pad.  Above those are pair of golden eyes with a unique “w”-shaped iris, one widely situated on either side of their bulbous bodies.  They lack any form of a skeleton, except a sub-dermal plate over what would be considered their foreheads.  This plate is ridged and forms a rippling of the skin that overlaps it.  At the nexus of their radially arranged tentacles is there mouth, protected by a sharp but flat beak.  Their skin is covered in tiny pigmentation cells that change color at will.
Relations: Relations with other races are completely on a per individual bases.  The one thing the Ceph have learned is that despite how they are treated, they know other races are individuals, each with different urges, goals, and drives.  They will often overlook personal attacks by any one stranger, knowing that as a rule the whole race is not as judgmental.
Alignment: The fall of the Kraken was swift, and the degeneration into the Ceph even more so.  A history of prejudice and persecution has caused the need for the Ceph to adopt a more chaotic life style, never knowing if at any second everything about their life could be irrevocably shattered.
Homeseas: The Ceph have no homesea.  Though their ancestral home would be the Maw, no one still sane inhabits the Ruins of the Kraken Empire.  The Ceph have dispersed throughout the Known World, and settled down where ever they discovered a niche to be filled.  There are no pure Ceph settlements, but it is rare to ever find a city that doesn’t have some level of Ceph in its populace.
Religion: Their abandonment by their eldritch gods has not spoiled the Ceph on worship,  Now, instead of making sacrifices to unknowable entities, the devote their souls to Olyhydra, the stern mistress of Law.  The understand her dogma that life is toil and only hard work will be rewarded..
Language: The Ceph speak a pidgin language, combining words from surrounding settlements into a patchwork language.  It is difficult, even for other Ceph, to speak with a Ceph who learned to speak too great a distance away, as it could almost be considered a different language.
Names: Names are of great importance to the Ceph, usually chosen by the individual.  Having been called racial slurs for so very long, they have taken to keeping nicknames given to them, answering to them instinctively.  A well travelled Ceph could have dozens of these bestowed names, and he would answer to each and every one of them.
Nick Names: Bait, Squid, Sucker, Wiggler
Formal Names: Ika, Onag, Surume, Tako,
Adventurers: Ceph treat adventuring just as they do survival.  If any race had a more honest viewpoint of the adventuring lifestyle, it would be the Ceph.   They treat it as a job, a means to an end, a way to keep them alive, keep their families alive, just another step in the never-ending cycle of work and rest.

Racial Traits
Ability Adjustments: Dexterity +2, Strength -2.
Automatic Class Skills: Disguise and Hide in Shadows
Skill Bonuses: Disquise +4, Move Silently +2.
Bonus Hit Dice: None
Natural Armor: None.
Natural Weapons: The beak of a Ceph can be used as a natural weapon, inflicting 1d3 points of slashing damage on a successful hit.
Movement: Small creature (1 cube tall), base speed 20 cubes.
Senses: Ultravision, Low-Light Vision
Buoyancy: Shore (adjustable)
Camouflage (Ex): Pigments saturating the Ceph’s rubbery skin are malleable, and with a successful Disguise check a Ceph can blend in with its surroundings.  This gives the Ceph the Hide In Plain Sight feat and adds a +10 racial bonus to Hide checks.  The Ceph must maintain his concentration while using his camouflage ability to maintain this effect for more than a round, however failing the Concentration check does not result in the Ceph breaking its camouflage, just losing the racial bonus (he failed to adjust his coloration to take into account an observer’s movement, etc.).
Multi-Tentacled (Ex): Most Ceph use their major tentacles (the ones with the flat pads at the end) as their grasping apendages, to holding ungues and nautiluses for example.  The other arms cannot be used for combat unless the Ceph takes the Multiattack feat, meeting all the prerequisites for it first.  This allows for a second pair of tentacles to be used just like the first pair, and taking the feat subsequent times adds another set of two tentacles, to a maximum of four pairs of arms.  The Ceph must still follow the same procedures to accomplish two-weapon fighting to use both arms of a set in combat.
Favored Class: Rogue is the favored class of Ceph, employing their natural camouflage and stealthiness to the greatest extent and is what has made the Ceph so adaptable.
Social Flaw: Self-Depreciating
Base Height: Male: 2′ 8” (+ 2d3 in.).
Female: 2′ 7″ (+ 2d4 in).
Base Weight: Male: 30 lbs. (+ height mod. x 1d2 lbs.)
Female 26 lbs. (+ height mod. x 1d2 lbs.)
Automatic Languages: Ceph, Elquan
Bonus Languages: Chelon, Koutonese, Locanthic, Sahaguin.
Level Adjustment: None

Life as a Ceph is life as an untouchable.  As prolific and ubiquitous as they may be, they spend lives of never been noticed, never included, never praised.  If anything, they take the brunt of the other races’ historical ire.  It has never been forgotten that these seemingly simple and honest people were once blood-crazed tyrants who called the Known World their own, even though generation after generation has come and gone since then, leaving no one remaining alive that lived through the tragedy of Kraken occupation.  But the Ceph typically do not let this prevent them from integrating themselves into society and eking out a living as society’s lowest class.

Their own practicality enables them to ingrain themselves into cultures in almost any capacity.  They are the ones willing to do the demeaning work, the servitude to an erudite community.  Ceph lack the hubris and racism of the ancient civilization, and know that if they are to survive as a people they must adapt to the new order or die completely.

“Despite their universal revilement, Ceph have an unerring knack
for getting themselves into positions of indispensability…”

A shrewd observation of Ceph survival skills

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