Creature Feature Friday: Draelik

With most neighbors, you only have to deal with the occasional request for a cup of sugar, or may a noise complaint if you’re unlucky. With draeliks, you have to deal with nihilistic cults and criminal enterprises, though at least their dogs won’t relieve themselves in your yard.

Draeliks are a playable race, and as such don’t have a load of special powers and abilities. They have a base of 4 hit points, and they get a +2 bonus to Wisdom and Constitution with a -2 penalty to Charisma. Like nearly everything that isn’t humans, they have Darkvision with a range of 60 feet, allowing them to see normally without light. Their most noteworthy ability is Draelik Magic, which lets them cast wisp ally once a day and gives them fatigue and ghost sound as cantrips. In addition, Lurker grants them a +4 racial bonus to Stealth checks while Necromancy Resistance gives them a +2 bonus to all saves against necromancy effects. Because they’re meant to be a playable race, they don’t have anything in terms of AC or weapons, leaving it up to the GM to decide with class levels and templates.

Don’t let that fool you though, draeliks still have a few other tricks up their sleeves. Their page mentions that many have a forehead tattoo of the Eye of Enlightenment created with inks derived from dark energies. This tattoo grants minor abilities much like a graviton Solarians, which can be seen in the NPC draelik stat block. The tattoo grants two abilities, Dark Matter (Su) and Dark Nova (Su). Dark Matter lets the draelik attune to graviton mode as per a solarian. This takes a move action to do and grants them DR 2/- until they exit it. Dark Nova allows them to use that attunement, becoming available after three rounds when they’re fully attuned. This ability lets them spend their standard action to deal 2d6 negative energy damage to all creatures within ten feet and lower the light of that same area by one step, as the cost of becoming unattuned. Unfortunately, rules are not provided for obtaining one of these tattoos yourself, but as their user is a CR 2 foe, it can be assumed that they are Tier 2 magic items and are priced accordingly. How they work with the two item limit on magic items is unknown, especially since the user can’t simply remove it if they want a different item, so I’d suggest not counting it against the limit or letting a player suppress the effects when they have two other magic items.

Draeliks have a heavily nihilistic culture, though not like you might expect. Their breed of nihilism is more that everything will eventually end and that’s that, not that everything  is meaningless so don’t even bother. This actually leads to a disdain for most nihilistic cultists who actively seek to hasten the end. To draeliks, such people are cheapening the whole thing by trying to rush it, like trying to bake a cake faster by increasing the temperature of the oven. However, I’ll put forth the same clarification as with all sentient monsters: this is a culture, not an indelible part of their mentality. So let’s take a look at what you can do for alternate cultures that could be similarly derived from their innate abilities. Necromantic Resistance is the most immediately unusual, because how many species have an outright bonus to an entire school of magic? There’s a couple way that could impact a magical culture. The first is that they end up specializing in necromancy by accident. To them, their necromantic powers are no stronger than any of their other magics, but when they bring them to bear against other races without that innate resistance they  may find that they’ve actually made much stronger necromancy spells just for them to act normally against thier own race. Another is that their resistance to necromancy persists even after death, which subsequently alters their entire cultural outlook. If it’s incredibly difficult to raise a draelik from the dead, whether as an undead or through resurrection, they may entirely abandon that school of magic early on. From there, a culture in which undead just don’t happen and death is the permeant end, no ifs, ands, or buts, imagine them venturing out into the greater universe where such things are common. Meeting an undead for the first time would be an encounter with a monster whose existence they never even considered, much less prepared to face. Here’s a few plot hooks to use them yourself:

  • A draelik professor has sought out a Devourer cult in hopes of educating them and elevating their philosophy above the screaming rabble that they act like. Unfortunately for him, he underestimated the half-mad cultists and they quickly took him hostage. Now they seek to use him as a bargaining chip to trade for a stockpile of negative energy weapons, which they hope to use to further their own crusade against life.
  • A cabal of thieves and assassins had eluded capture for decades thanks to a simple factor: they’re all undead. Masking this fact while on the job and in public using a mix of magic items, spells, tech, and routine misdirection, they use this to their advantage by posing as corpses to get out when the heat is on, trusting their draelik contacts to retrieve them under the guise of undertakers.
  • Seeking to rebel against the stereotypes of her people, a draelik has struck out as a paladin to aid the needy and the downtrodden. Thus far she has done an admirable job, taking down exploitive criminal rings and slaying deadly beasts, but her quest has a snag. Shortly before her departure, she was to be used as an unwitting delivery system by her own family, with a data nodule of sensitive information embedded in her arm while she slept, to be retrieved covertly by contacts in the city she was meant to visit.  Now the slighted criminals seek to retrieve the compromising information by any means possible,  a task made far more difficult by the many friends and allies she’s made in her quests.

About nwright

A freelance writer for the Open Gaming website who looks forward to building plots out of monster entries for you to enjoy as a player or DM.

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