Advanced (20 RP)

Step 1: Concept

From the darker parts of the realms of the faeries comes the arasai, a small race of winged fey who have bonded with the darkness that lurks in the corners of nightmare, inured to the cold and venomous nature of the beasts of the shadowed places with free but slightly tainted souls.

Personality: As a race the arasai are more often than not unconcerned with the vagaries of the mundane lives other races seem to live. To them it is more important to live out an exciting story, creating a narrative and seeing their lives not as a process or a path but as a work of art. Living is the reward, itself! They would rather do something fun than something practical, something risky than something sure and something glamorous than something prudent. Their cuisine and art are avante garde and fantastic and their romances are passionate and powerful, just as likely to end in a month as they are in a hundred years. When the world seems too horrible and disheartening for most, the arasai find joy in the small things and beauty even in the darkness and blood, weaving dark fantasy to sustain themselves.

Arasai are born fully grown. When any two arasai, regardless of gender, mate successfully there is a chance they produce a spirit seed that can be planted to become a spirit bloom. Growing a bloom from a spirit seed, a process that can take years of cultivation, allows it to become the vessel of a departed arasai's soul in a form of reincarnation. When an arasai dies and are not resurrected through magic they wait in a form of discorporate hibernation until a fully grown bloom becomes available, when they can be born again as a new and different arasai. As such arasai don't understand bonds of blood or clan, they build their own families as they see fit.

Most arasai share a common confusion of the mortal races and their ideas of taboo or political correctness, speaking frankly and openly about topics others might otherwise avoid and not understanding why certain actions are considered 'bad' to a culture or society. Theft and murder they can always understand as being forbidden as those are violations of another being's rights to life and ownership, but other actions confuse them as to their wrongness. Their humor can be as dark and morbid or light and whimsical as their mood commands and though they aren't a madly emotional folk the oddest little things can seem to strike them and shift their mood entirely around. When they are subject to betrayal or have their livelihoods or loved ones attacked one can expect to see an arasai's unbridled viciousness when they retaliate. They always take revenge and never forget treachery, holding grudges sometimes for hundreds of years, working to destroy their rival when convenience allows.

Despite their sometimes morbid attitudes and lack of restraint the arasai are not a particularly chaotic or evil people. They might be disturbing at times but they are never fatalistic and always seek a new road without accepting an end, living and loving as if they will live forever. They are a people who are devoted to the truth of their word, who swear unbreakable oaths and forge friendships that they would die for without a moments hesitation. They tend to be generous since material goods and gold beyond what they need to be effective and comfortable only weighs them down. They make great long term companions since they are trustworthy and constant. A befriended community of arasai is likely to come to the aid of those who have been kind to them in the past. Of course one must also never forget the fury and terror and nearly childlike glee in carnage that a wronged and vengeful arasai can bring to bear. That same community of arasai could also quickly join the enemy of those who have wronged them out of sheer spite.

Physical Description: The arasai are a small people with wiry, tough musculature and agile forms and might be mistaken for halflings if it weren't for their more fey traits. Their skin and hair both come in dizzying varieties of colors, from the shades and complexions any human might have to much stranger pastels and bright floral hues. They tend towards paler skin tones and darker hair and wing patterns. Both male and female arasai prefer their hair cut short so it won't bother their wings and enjoy wearing it in free, spiky, messy styles that are nevertheless artful in their creation (like an artificial 'just rolled out of bed' look). Their large exotically almond-shaped eyes are solid jewel-like orbs of color and their ears are mostly human-like with just the smallest tapering to rounded points. They never age and are born fully formed looking between teens and mid 20s. Time will never kill them, but they can be felled by disease, enemies or their own reckless attitudes fairly easily, meaning there are few truly ancient arasai.

Their most distinguishing characteristics are their wings, which come in a dizzying variety from butterfly wings to cloak-like bat wings to ribbons of stained-glass paned flesh. There is almost always a sort of Gothic artistry to their shapes and their wings always tend to have darker, harsher colors than their skin or hair. Regardless of shape they are smooth, soft and warm to the touch. Being offered to touch an Arasai's wings is considered an honor and also a sign of romantic interest or intimate trust. The only rule to their wings is that they are never feathered or birdlike.

Relations: As a people who often mix with other civilizations rather than build their own the arasai always draw mixed reactions within society. They are lovely creatures rife with art, creativity and knowledge. They fearlessly tread ground others do not dare. They are honest, faithful and don't go back on their word. These same traits, though, can also be off-putting. They can be blunt and hold long grudges just as easily as they make friends. They unintentionally shock people with their lack of taboos. Their recklessness and disregard for prudence or the seriousness of situations can be very worrisome. They tend to get along best with halflings and humans and with races with traces of the fey within them. Their racial disregard for alignment means they don't hold a bias against certain monstrous races and so they can be seen trucking with the ones who do not threaten them personally.

Alignment: In general the arasai tend towards neutrality rather than good or evil and law or neutrality rather than chaos. Amongst their own people alignment isn't really an issue, or even a concept! The idea that something can by its nature be 'good' or 'evil' is ridiculous. As long as one doesn't break their promises, steal or kill wantonly then one is accepted as arasai. That a group would associate with one arasai with 'good' traits and another with 'evil' ones is extremely boggling to them.

Arasai Lands: The arasai do not claim kingdoms or governments of their own. They exist in egalitarian villages and cities where each arasai contributes to the whole so that as little work is done by each individual as possible. This egalitarianism doesn't stem from a racial outlook of altruism, mind, rather it comes from the unimportance of hierarchy and political power to the arasai mindset. If one arasai wants to rise up to become the leader of her village because she feels like that would be an exciting chapter in her story then few are likely to oppose her unless it would be interesting for themselves to do so. If her reign is considered bothersome or oppressive then arasai are far more likely to pick up and leave than challenge her.

As long as arasai have places they can call their own, gardens to grow spirit blooms in and enough food and water then they can and will live anywhere. They always prefer shadowy places, though, so they tend to live in warrens in large cities, under the canopies of forests and jungles, in areas that are commonly rainy, cloudy and cold or in caves and underground areas. They aren't a particularly nomadic people so when they pick up roots they like to find somewhere to put them down again quickly and establish secure homes. Arasai communities work together towards 3 main ends: to provide for each other, to be players in each others games and stories and finally to protect the spirit blooms. The political status of the nation they settle in is rarely something they even consider, let alone let trouble them. If it seems like fun all the better and they join in, if it doesn't they'll create their own fantasies or pick up and move again.

Religion: Arasai are generally likely to follow gods, though less out of true faith and more out of a sense of gravity and drama that religion and rite bring to them. To them it is more of a facet of a community since they will all share a common faith, and they revere the tales and legends more than they adhere to any tenets of living that the religion might provide. They will commonly adopt deities from whatever culture they are inhabiting or if that isn't available then they will follow a dark faerie queen's legends and allow that to inspire and awe them. An arasai paladin or cleric is an odd idea, but it isn't unheard of for them to be so moved by a deity's stories and ways that they wish to be part of that legend and devote themselves to them.

Names: Both male and female arasai tend towards either elven names or names that reflect facets of their environment. They don't have family names but they may take surnames or titles that fit their experiences. Examples: Sky, Gloam, Veil, Whisperwind, Canopy, Shade, Glare, Dapple. Surname/Title examples: Giant-Killer, Valestalker, Windrider, Shadeborn, Deathglider, Mageblood, Silvergleam.

Adventurers: It may be more apt to ask which arasai has NOT been an adventurer for at least a short time. Nearly all of them go through at least a short period of wanderlust before returning home. The ones that end up staying adventurers tend to do so because of the bonds they have made with others whose stories have enraptured them, for those that seek power or knowledge for the sake of such or those who believe they haven't yet received enough glamor and glory for their deeds. Greed and opportunism very rarely factor into an arasai's plans to adventure, more often it's the challenge, excitement and cameraderie that drives them. This isn't to say that arasai don't like shiny magical things or that they won't accept some coin in order to keep themselves living comfortably.

Arasai have little preference in choosing classes as they see the same merit in magical, martial, divine and any other kind of power. As long as it makes them more impressive and interesting they will pursue it. That said, few of them become clerics, monks or druids. Sorcery is fairly common in the magical blood of the arasai, especially when evoking their fae or shadowy natures. Fighters, rogues, rangers, alchemists, magi and wizards are also fairly common because of the impressive skill and dedication required to take those paths. Bards are loved and cherished because of how much the arasai love art and how easily they weave magic into it, bards often responsible for all of arasai history-keeping. Witches and Oracles quickly become respected folk to receive advice from. Absolutely paradoxically many arasai who have the will and dedication and the proper alignment and can become a paladin WILL become one. The promises, oaths and responsibilities of a paladin (or ANTI-paladin) can be very attractive indeed to these fey folk.

Step 2: Traits

Type: Fey (1 rp)
Fey have the low-light vision racial ability. Fey must eat and drink and sleep normally.

Size: Small (0 rp): Small races gain a +1 size bonus to their
AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on combat
maneuver checks and to their CMD, and a +4 size bonus
on Stealth checks. Small races have a space of 5 feet by 5
feet and a reach of 5 feet.

Speed: Normal, 30 ft (0 RP)

Ability Score Modifiers: Advanced Modifiers (+2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con, +4 Cha, -2 Wis) (4 RP) Arasai are wiry, healthy, agile and compact with great charm, wit and beauty but their dark whimsy and aversion to reality's troubles distracts them from the value of everyday wisdom.

Languages: Standard (1 RP) (Common and Sylvan starting. Elven, Dwarven, Draconic, Goblin, Orc, Giant, Undercommon)

Step 3: Racial Abilities

Flight: Speed 50 ft, Average maneuverability (8 RP)

Poison Resistance (1 RP): Prerequisites: None; Benefit:
Members of this race gain a racial bonus on saving throws
against poison effects equal to their Hit Dice.

Shadow Resistance (2 RP): Prerequisites: None; Benefit:
Members of this race gain cold resistance 5 and electricity
resistance 5.

Shadow Blending (1 RP): Prerequisites: Shadow
resistance racial ability; Benefit: Attacks made against
members of this race while they are in dim light have a
50% miss chance instead of the normal 20% miss chance.
This ability does not grant total concealment; it just
increases the miss chance. This is a supernatural ability.

Light Blindness (-2 RP): Weakness: Abrupt exposure to
bright light blinds members of this race for 1 round;
on subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they
remain in the affected area.

See in Darkness (4 RP): Prerequisites: None; Benefit: You
can see perfectly in darkness of any kind, including that
created by deeper darkness.

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