Hirudae

Basic Species Description

The hirudae are an enigmatic species from Arba, a mostly swampy moon of the gas giant Ostherrim. They are opportunistic parasites that will fall back on symbiotic fusion if unable to merely take what they wish, though they do have enough intelligence to both be reasoned with, and negotiate such agreements as offering them up the infirm, dying and criminals in exchange for giving those individuals a new life and purpose, as well as whatever else may be offered as part of the exchange. They mostly build vast cities in bogs and swamps in and under the muck, concealing most of their cities from prying eyes and only a fragmentary upper market and embassy visible most of the time. This practice makes them often called 'muckhaven', like the witreen. The young of this species feeds on the brain fluids and flesh of other species until it bloats enough to form a hard shell, and this process continues until it is mature. If the larva is unable to bloat due to prolonged starvation or injury, it will bury itself into whatever entity that it can regardless of sapience or sentience, and start converting the subject into a hybrid of that entity and the race it develops into, having a linked mind if the subject's mind is strong enough to resist being overcome, or subsuming and absorbing it if they are not, but having their memories. They have purple blood, and a mostly soft larval stage with spiked plating solely on the back and head, as well as a large horn or pincer, until it grows older. When grown traditionally it largely resembles a humanoid beetle with some soft spots, and when a hybrid it grows a partial exoskeleton over the host body and some other changes if a fifty-fifty merger, which is the most common, and other variations possible as well. The architecture of their cities is largely stone, wood and plant matter. Hirudae lay eggs, sometimes even in food and goods they trade with other species in the hopes of spreading their young far and wide, either to those that purchased from them if they do not have a working alliance or interest in them, or notifying them so as to request their eggs are deposited somewhere safe, if they have a vested interest in the continuance of that individual maintaining their own free will and present appearance and biology.

History of the Species

None are truly certain whether the hirudae evolved on Arba before the witreen or after, as the two species tended to largely avoid one another in their early histories and mythos, until an early tribe of each fought against each other and local flora and fauna in an area they were settling, ending up forced to cooperate to save the collective whole. Hence after, word of their combined effort spread, and while the two species usually do not build cities together, it is not uncommon for the witreen to offer up some who cannot be healed through other means or who are criminals to the hirudae in exchange for something and in order to keep the bonds between their two species strong.

Base Species Genetics

The genetics for hirudae are as follows:

(D5) Opportunistic Predator: This individual may bury themselves into another entity if in larval state, feeding, and later either take control or share the hybrid body with their host. They gain the 'Opportunistic Parasitism' ability, +2d10 Daily Flesh Domain Absorption, and may revert to larval form using retrogressive molting if already mature for the cost of 1 unspent EP for 1d10/2 hours.

Opportunistic Parasitism Rank I:
(Self, Aura, None)
(Swift, None, Situational)
(Natural, 95% Stability, EP Blowback)
(Flesh[Gestalt], Flesh[Stratagem])
(4 Cost, 3 Attempt, WIL Check)
This ability allows the user to burrow themselves if in a larval form in order to feed off of another entity and attempt to take control or join with them and form a merged mind. If the merger is agreed upon prior to entering the host subject, the larva and host automatically move to Merged state. If the host does not consent to entrance, the larva still feeds on them while putting them into a Charmed Status Effect and affects their MA; if the host succeeds in forcing the larva out, the larva uses the absorbed Fles Domain and flees to try again later; if the host fails in forcing the larva out, and the host loses all of their MA or SP, the larva and host automatically move to the Merged state.
Situation: Status Effects Merged & Regeneration: Two entities merge, creating a new entity with a new personality based primarily on the stronger mind, but with instincts and knowledge from both. The new entity has the two highest statistics and attributes, and lower of the rest. The new entity heals from the wounds the larva gave it and becomes healthier. This requires Flesh Domain Absorption equal or exceeding to the individual's MA in order to utilize.
Situation: The host gains the Charmed Status effect and the Afflicted Status Effect, preventing them from harming the larva as long as the Charmed Status Effect holds. This must be used prior to a feeding situation or the host will resist.
Situation: The host is Charmed or otherwise allows for the feeding of the larva before being merged, taking Rank MA Damage, and Rank FP Damage as the larva uses this to work on filling their Flesh Domain Absorption. If the Flesh Domain Absorption is filled, and the host still has MA and does not consent, then the larva will be unable to enter the merged status effect with that individual or any other that day.
Situation: The host is resists and the larva flees, using 2 points from their Flesh Domain Absorption to gain Rank Regeneration and Rank Charged Status Effects, maturing when at full health and endurance once again, if previously mature.
Condition: This ability may only be used when the individual is in larval form, regardless of other situation conditions.
Prerequisites: Hirudae species genetics, and either a rank high enough or enough FP to utilize it (12 points from cost, 1 point per FP for up to 20, 4 necessary for Regeneration, 10 necessary for Afflicted, 13 necessary for Charmed, 12 necessary for Charged, and 20 points necessary for Merge)

(D4) Armored Might: Normal shielded might, having +2 EP, and +2 on Might Checks if in non-larval form, and may regrow an adult form by spending their entire Flesh Domain Absorption, keeping their current stats and attributes but being able to use any unspent FP to regain 1d10/2 HP per FP spent while under max.

(D3) Weak Winged Hovering: This individual may glide, fly or hover at -2 MP while having -2 Might as they do any of the three.

(R4) Memory Leech: This individual has +1 Leech Magic Adaption, and the 'Memory Leak' ability.

Memory Leak Rank I:
(Touch, Aura, None)
(Swift, None, None)
(Leech Magic, 59% Stability, HP Blowback)
(Script[Stratagem], Script[Redirection])
(4 Cost, 4 Attempts, WIL Check)
The user of this ability touches an individual draining up to rank turns of memory, and drains rank knowledge of the user.
Conditional: Those in the cuboid must have a sense of hearing.
Prerequisites: Hirudae species genetics.

(R3) Charming Voice: This individual has +2 to Charming Checks.

Ethnicities

The thyden hirudae mostly have a jet black and forest green colored exoskeleton with ashen grey splotches along their back, compound black sclera, and an iris and pupil color and type tied to that of their last host, or solid black non-compound if not having ever had one. They tend to serve as the defensive guard of hirudae settlements. They have large pincers, large horns, no hair normally or shorter if merged with a host, and a general stoic nature.

(E-4) Spiked Shell: This individual has a spiked exoskeleton, having (1d10 + 1d10/2) Daily EP Advantage, and has +1 on Shielding Checks. [Thyden Hirudae]
(E-4) Berserk: This individual may add the Wrathful Status Effect to themselves using 3 unspent FP for 1d10/2 turns per FP spent. [Thyden Hirudae]
(E-4) Desperate Measures: This individual has may use any unspent FP for a 1d10/2 bonus on damage reduction while in a desperation state per FP spent. [Thyden Hirudae]

The gohyar hirudae mostly have an alabaster white and mint green colored exoskeleton with charcoal grey splotches along their back, compound black sclera, and an iris and pupil color and type tied to that of their last host, or solid blue non-compound if not having ever had one. They tend to serve as the scouts and rangers of hirudae settlements. They have small pincers, large horns, short tendril hair normally or medium if merged with a host, and a general curious and brave nature.

(E-4) Explorer: This individual has +2 to Navigation Checks, +1 to Stealth Checks and +1 to Observation Checks. [Gohyar Hirudae]
(E-4) Brave: This individual has +1 to Courage Checks, +1 to Morale Checks, +1 to Reflex Checks, and +1 Intimidate Checks. [Gohyar Hirudae]
(E-4) Ranger: This individual has +1 to Forage Checks, +1 to Filleting/Skinning Checks, +1 to Fishing Checks, and +1 to Trapping Checks. [Gohyar Hirudae]

The haygan hirudae mostly have a sunflower yellow and jet black colored exoskeleton with white splotches along their back, compound black sclera, and an iris and pupil color and type tied to that of their last host, or solid orange non-compound if not having ever had one. They tend to serve as the scholars and teachers of hirudae settlements. They have small pincers, small horns, medium tendril hair normally or longer if merged with a host, and a general curious and studious nature.

(E-4) Focused Mind: This individual has +1 to Linguistic Checks, +1 to Knowledge Checks, and +1 FP. [Haygan Hirudae]
(E-4) Learned Mind: This individual has +1 to Learning Checks, +1 to Studying Checks, +1 to Research Checks, and +1 Speed-Reading Checks. [Haygan Hirudae]
(E-4) Expansive Mind: This individual has +1 to Meditation Checks, +1 to Cultural Checks, +1 to Etiquette Checks, and +1 to Statistic Checks. [Haygan Hirudae]

The nagyer hirudae mostly have a periwinkle blue and jet black colored exoskeleton with white splotches along their back, compound black sclera, and an iris and pupil color and type tied to that of their last host, or solid violet non-compound if not having ever had one. They tend to serve as the laborers and craftsmen of hirudae settlements. They have large pincers, small horns, short tendril hair normally or short if merged with a host, and a general labor-driven mindset.

(E-4) Mighty Builders: This individual has +1 to Craft Checks, +1 to Repair Checks, and +2 to Might Checks. [Nagyer Hirudae]
(E-4) Tunneler: This individual has +1 to Excavation Checks, +1 to Climb/Repel Checks, +1 to Crawling Checks, and +1 Spelunking Checks. [Nagyer Hirudae]
(E-4) Strong Navigators: This individual has +1 to Might Checks, +1 to Grip Checks, +1 to Lung Checks, and +1 to Navigation Checks. [Nagyer Hirudae]

The kayvaris hirudae mostly have a lilac and alabaster white colored exoskeleton with red splotches along their back, compound black sclera, and an iris and pupil color and type tied to that of their last host, or solid forest green non-compound if not having ever had one. They tend to serve as the ambassadors and negotiators of hirudae settlements. They have small pincers, small horns, long tendril hair normally or extremely long if merged with a host, and a general charismatic mindset.

(E-4) Empathic Adaptors: This individual has +2 to Empathy Checks, +1 to Carousing Checks, and +1 to Etiquette Checks. [Kayvaris Hirudae]
(E-4) Beautiful Negotiators: This individual has +2 to Beauty Checks, +1 to Diplomacy Checks, and +1 Haggle Checks. [Kayvaris Hirudae]
(E-4) Charming Sonics: This individual has +2 to Charming Checks, and the 'Sonic Loyalty' Ability. [Kayvaris Hirudae]

Sonic Loyalty Rank I:
(Self, Cuboid, None)
(Lasting, Beneficial, Limiting)
(Natural, 95% Stability, EP Blowback)
(Breath [Perception])
(2 Cost, 1 Attempts, Stealth Check)
This ability allows the user to create a cuboid of subliminal sonic pulses, making those within gain the Controlled Status Effect.
Conditional: Those in the cuboid must have a sense of hearing.
Prerequisites: Hirudae species genetics. (6 points from cost, 1 point per FP for up to 20, 19 points necessary for Controlled)

Sexes

While hirudae do have all six potential sex genes presenting the nine combinations feasible, primarily the male and hermaphrodite sexes are more common, with pure males having the most political power.

(m1) Those with this sex gene have +2 to Memory Checks, and +2 to Courage Checks. [Hirudae]

(m2) Those with this sex gene have +2 to Knowledge Checks, and +2 to Morale Checks. [Hirudae]

(f1) Those with this sex gene have +2 to Reason Checks, and +2 to Learning Checks. [Hirudae]

(f2) Those with this sex gene have +2 to Charisma Checks, and +2 to Cunning Checks. [Hirudae]

(n1) Those with this sex gene have +2 to Stealth Checks, and +2 to Accuracy Checks. [Hirudae]

(n2) Those with this sex gene +2 to Observation Checks, and +2 to Wit Checks. [Hirudae]

For the sake of this playtest, the rules for food and drink that are optional are not being utilized, and respiration is utilizing the two-fail check mechanic for reducing from one level of respiration to another, rather than the more advanced mechanic.

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