Appilon, Ortshell (3.5e Race)

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Complete Xeno (3.5e Sourcebook)/Appilon

Author: Ganteka Future (talk)
Date Created: 18 October 2009
Status: Stable. Please, comment.
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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An ortshell appilon holding a maul.

Ortshell Appilons[edit]

Armor-shelled aliens with rugged resilience and physical strength.

Appilons are shelled mollusk-like aberrations from the inhospitably harsh world of Messos Myonel. Appilons are hermaphroditic and capable of reproducing asexually. However, there are two distinct castes, the ortshell and the agiishell.

This race is designed for use with the Appilon, Ortshell Paragon (3.5e Racial Paragon Class).


Curious, thoughtful and intelligent, ortshell appilons spend much of their time communicating with each other, sharing stories, experiences and learned wisdom. They tend toward a serious manner concerning daily life, as the ever-changing dangers of their world force vigilant awareness on them which turn deadly without warning.

Highly social, ortshell appilons are connected to their neighbors and so on in a vast telepathic network. They frequently relay messages and information quickly and across great distances with ease. However, the constant communication, shared knowledge and shared experience works against individuality, forcing individuality to be gained through personal daily experiences and deep introspective thought. For that matter, ortshell appilons have a difficult time keeping secrets from each other, having been raised to openly share information with others. Ortshell appilons are less open with other species. Even when physically separated or out of telepathic range of other appilons, they continue to feel connected to their race. The Anagii, their collective consciousness and ancestral deific spirit, binds all appilons together. Most appilons describe the feeling of connection as "always being with one's family, friends and loves".

When the conditions are right, ortshell appilons venture out in there world in small communities, often led by agiishell appilons, exploring, tracking changes in the landscape, pondering, and searching for a good spot to bed down for a meal. In the late morning, before the midday heat boils off the last of the remaining liquid pools, appilons gather to feed on mineral solutions and blooms of microorganisms.

They quickly go about their business, ready to move on at a moment's notice. During the worst parts of the day, midday and the dead of night, ortshell appilons hole up in deep beds of sand or deep underground in crystalline caves where they either go dormant and rest or discuss matters and reinforce group bonds.

Ortshell appilons that find themselves away from the company of appilons often seek to form bonds with other intelligent creatures, nurturing and teaching. Most appilons have strong parental instincts, willing to defend their family and friends from dangers, giving their all, knowing that if they die, they go to join the Anagii.

Physical Description[edit]

Essentially, ortshells are a bullet-shaped shelled creature with four trunk-like legs.

Ortshell appilons have a roughly three and a half foot long parabolically conical shell that houses their softer innards. Their limbs are roughly twice the length of their shell when relaxed. A typical ortshell appilon weighs about 210 pounds.

Their shell is amazingly resilient. From years of punishment, it is often pitted, scarred and worn from weathering. Wavy patterning as well as spots of dim colors, tending toward grays and rust tones, decorate their shells. Some of this patterning is natural, while other bits are often from them "painting" their shells with various mineral clays, which bake into the pits and scratches of their shells. Natural shell color varies greatly, ranging from pale marble to pearlescent charcoal. Some ortshell appilons have greenish, bluish or purplish shells, however, these colors are more common among agiishells.

At the open end of their shell is a ring of a dozen disc-like stationary eyes. Each eye varies in color from black to light blue with a glassy shine, with the older eyes being darker in color. Due to the atmospheric conditions of Messos Myonel, these eyes often become etched from acid or fierce sandy windstorms. Ortshell appilons periodically shed their old eyes and grow new ones from underneath. Each eye possesses a sophisticated nerve ganglion that allows them to detect an array of optical information quickly. As their shells grow, their eyes are constantly kept on the bottom edge of the shell. This causes a bit of a ridged growth pattern to appear on the shell near the eyes, before it is worn down. The irregular growth of the shell near the eyes results in the color and patterning on their shells. Ortshells from particularly rough lives often have highly patterned shells while ortshells who live in safer areas have shells with less pattern. Ortshells raised in other worlds where they are less exposed to extreme elements may even have shells without any patterning.

From the open end of their shell, four long tubular limbs extend reaching a length of about twice the length of their shell when relaxed. Under weight, these limbs compress slightly. These limbs lack an exoskeleton or endoskeleton and are supported by cellular pressure and muscle tension. Each limb ends in a stubbed pad with four small, though surprisingly nimble, fingers. Their hide is tough like hardened leather but maintains exceptional flexibility and range of motion. The hide ranges in color from dull gray to charcoal gray, brown, clay, slate, moss green, sandy brown and pale violet.

At the base of the shell, at the center of their four limbs, they possess a four-lipped mouth with rasping dental plates for teeth and four muscular rasping tongues. Their dental plates are mostly used to grind down mineral clays and microorganisms, but ortshells have been known to feed on the various limpets and barnacles found near their temporary oceans and in deep underground caves.

At the corners of their lips are four breathing nares. Ortshells possess a complex respiratory system and metabolism, aided by their four lungs. These lungs allow them to breathe and process any atmospheric gases, though, they are unable to breathe water or other fluids. Appilons also have a four-lobed brain located near the tip of their shell. Oddly, the appilon digestive tract is rather simple, with their waste product being a dry, odorless pellet, much like dried clay.

Appilons have several forms of basic locomotion that they employ to navigate the terrain of Messos Myonel. Typically, appilons can be seen moving quickly with their shells up, often facing leaning back or leaning forward, depending on windward conditions, using all four limbs as legs. In calmer conditions, they employ an inverted-shell gait, in which their mouth faces skyward and their limbs bend down around to support them as they walk. Additionally, within either of these forms of movement, an appilon may utilize only two or three limbs as legs, rotating freely between which limbs are used for support. Appilons are most stable when on all four limbs.

The two castes of appilons are very different in function, but very similar in appearance. Key points of difference are size, being that ortshells are larger with thicker limbs, often less colorful in appearance and stouter. When full grown, ortshell appilons weigh about 210 pounds, while agiishell appilons weigh about 180 pounds and have shorter, narrower shells.


Despite the clear differences in ability, and the subtle differences in appearance, ortshells and agiishells coexist peacefully. For an appilon, caste is less a matter of race or station, and more a matter of function and ability. They recognize that each plays a role in their survival and strength.

Appilons are traditionally social creatures, with a strong sense of community. Any creature that shares similar values and is willing to accept them might be a potential ally or friend. However, with such differences from most creatures, misunderstandings do occur, leading to tension. Races or creatures with radically different values are likely to irritate or provoke them. While it is not used as a first option, appilons are willing to go to war and won't hesitate to defend themselves or their loved ones.

Relations with other other races can be strenuous, as appilons are mentally and physically very different from most creatures. They lack a defined face, which can hinder communication among some folk. However, if those folk are likely to be unable to get past their appearance, then most likely other problems will arise with interaction as well.


Being born from such a chaotic world, appilons have struggled to survive by finding order and unity, as such, they tend toward lawfulness and goodness. However, appilons are a varied group, and many have sought to seek their own path in life, and may be of any alignment.


Appilons originate from the world of Messos Myonel and are supremely adapted to live there. As the only sentient being native to the world, and one of the few higher orders of lifeform, appilons have free reign. Their only predator is the world itself, who's hazards continually claim lives as they have done for eons. As only the strongest and cleverest appilons have survived the test of time, they have become tough. Their struggle is viewed by outside races as a constant war against their planet, but in reality, appilons work and evolve with their planet, respecting its dangers, improving themselves with its test, becoming ever stronger in their struggle.

Appilons typically form colonies near where lakes form, in vast expanses of shifting sands, in cave systems or in eroded valley canyons and protected coves.

With little need for external resources, appilons rarely have possessions and have little need for economy. They do barter for knowledge, services and tradegoods. While they don't mint coins or work with metal, they do collect gemstones, shell and limpet pearls from the vast wastelands and shallow acid seas.

Appilon communities are also formed for the protection of eggs and young. As appilons are hermaphroditic, they may breed with any other appilon, ortshell or agiishell. Caste doesn't affect their offspring's genes, as caste seems to be determined by environmental factors during incubation.

Once every five years or so, an appilon desires to mate, later laying dark-shelled ellipsoid eggs in small clutches of one to three. Each egg weighs about 8 pounds. These eggs are protected with a mucus foam that quickly solidifies into a rugged resin. This resin layer acts as an impact cushion, thermal insulator and chemical barrier.

Young appilons are cared for and raised in communities, ranging from a few dozen to thousands. A group effort establishes strong community ties from an early age and makes raising young an easier task. Young appilons rarely venture out to the surface of Messos Myonel and typically stay within protected sanctuaries. Young appilons are trained and educated as well as taught to establish their connection to the Anagii. They do this by playing a fortune-telling divination game with small irregular-shaped stones. They concentrate, then name a constellation or formation of landmarks, dropping the stones to the ground, to attempt to divine the pattern the stones take after they hit the ground and roll about. The game may be played by many individuals, all guessing before the stones are dropped. Adult appilons occasionally play the game as a means of gambling.


With their great connection as a race, appilons praise their ancestors, whom they believe passed their spirit and knowledge on into their collective consciousness. As such, each appilon has access to thousands of generations of wisdom and history and knowledge so long as they are able to use their wisdom to read into it and divine the answers they search for. The collective spirit of those living and their ancestors is known as the Anagii (the collective energy).

Appilons also tend to revere the mystery and power of the Ark on Messos Myonel, a structure that eludes divination, explanation, exploration and the ravages of the world.


Appilons lack humanoid vocal chords, but can simulate most forms of speech by vibrating their four tongues. Their own language, Pylox, however is comprised mostly dental plate clacks, humming, popping and whistling sounds. They prefer to communicate with their telepathy for one on one conversation and when speaking conditions are poor (often due to weather or proximity).

Appilons generally like to speak, but enjoy listening as well. However, the unusual natures of other races can make them uncomfortable, which might keep them in silence.

Living in a world which constantly erodes and rebuilds, keeping anything permanent is a nearly impossible task. In order to maintain historical records and a collected cultural knowledge, appilons have established a strong oral tradition of record keeping and story telling. These stories and records are typically told by ortshell appilons from a historian's perspective, without embellishment or fanciful detail.

Ortshell appilons typically know a few additional languages of their personal preference, often Common and the languages of outsiders or elder races.


When an appilon is nearly hatched, the parent and its closest friends gather in a seance of sorts to commune with the Anagii. Together they focus and divine a name from the noise. These names vary in meaning and significance, but all are key to the formation of the individual. These names could be a defining characteristic, a prophecy about the future, a key value or moral lesson for others at a given specific time. Whatever their name, it holds significance to their fate, the fates of those that they will one day meet and the fates of those who hear of them in stories.

By following the will of the Anagii, the Anagii protects them by guiding them, allowing answers to be revealed as fate calls upon them.

Names might be the names of ancestors, heroes, cultural concepts, nouns, actions, locations, short phrases, abstract concepts or near incomprehensible gibberish.

Among appilons, ortshells are known as orts. Among other folks, they are also known as bullets, bulletshells, orts, apps and napiformes.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • 1 Robe/Armor (Protective Item)
  • 1 pair of Lenses/Goggles
  • 1 Amulet/Brooch/Medallion/Necklace/Periapt/Scarab
  • 1 Belt
  • 2 pairs of Bracers/Bracelets
  • 2 pairs of Gloves/Gauntlets
  • 4 Rings
  • Resistance to Energy 2 (Ex): An appilon has resistance to acid, cold, electricity and fire.
  • Omnipodal (Ex): Appilons function as quadrapeds when unarmed. While quadrupedal, an appilon gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground). Their carrying capacity as medium-sized quadrapeds is 150% of the that of a medium-sized biped. Additionally, an appilon is equally capable with all its limbs, which may function as arms or legs.
  • Meager Subsistence (Ex): An appilon may feed off of any organic or mineral material as food and needs only one quarter the amount of food and water per day that a human requires. See: Starvation and Thirst.
  • Hold Breath (Ex): An appilon can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to 2 × its Constitution score before it risks suffocation. An appilon who suffocates instead becomes completely dormant, stable and helpless at -1 HP. An appilon shakes off its dormancy, regaining consciousness, after being exposed to atmosphere for 1d4 rounds. Upon awakening, the appilon is slowed for 1d4 rounds afterwards.
  • Endure Atmosphere (Ex): An appilon has the extraordinary ability to endure elements, suffering no ill effects from a hot or cold environment. In addition, an appilon can breathe so long as there is an atmosphere. An appilon suffers no adverse condition to breathing smoke, volcanic gases or other vapors that are typically harmful to humanoids. Appilons are not damaged by the crushing pressure of high pressure atmospheres.
  • Greater Aid (Ex): An appilon grants a +3 bonus when it uses the aid another action (instead of +2).
  • Natural Born Weapon (Ex): A medium-sized appilon deals 1d6 damage with its unarmed attacks.
  • Telepathic Touch (Su): An appilon may communicate via mental transference with other creatures of at least 3 Intelligence that it shares a common language with. This requires that the appilon be touching the creature to allow wordless, silent communication between them.
  • Automatic Languages: Pylox.
  • Bonus Languages: Any (except secret languages such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill for other languages.
  • Favored Class: Any
  • Level Adjustment: +0
  • Base Effective Character Level: 1

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Ortshell Appilon Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
21 years +1d6 +3d6 +5d6
Table: Ortshell Appilon Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
95 years 240 years 360 years +3d10 × 10 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Ortshell Appilon Random Height and Weight
Shell Length Shell Length Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
3'0" +2d6 180 lb. × (2d4) lb.
  Relaxed Limb Length = Shell Length × 2.

Notes from Wandering Scholar Marza[edit]

"Oh, the monks at the Monastery of Wind certainly have the gift of welcoming. Their robes, the color of a soft sky certainly did well to brighten my eyes after a dreary week of travel. Travel I hoped would not be in vain, for the next step in my journey lay just beyond, and it would be at the monastery that I would find out whether the trip would be of scholarly value or merely an extended and dangerous sabbatical.

Now, the Monastery of Wind wasn't as much of an establishment for enlightened teaching as it was a school for combat arts. This was not why I had made my trip, for that reason was answered by the monastery's proximity to my final goal. The monastery sat at the foothills of Mount Rekurtak, a long dormant volcano in an otherwise inactive mountain range. While this perplexed me itself, the supposed hidden contents of that mountain peak were what I sought.

In my youth I had met a jovial monk from this monastery who spoke of a wise hermit who lived up at the mountain's top, and who had lived up there even in the days when the mountain would smoke and bellow and roar with ash and flames. Mountain hermit stories were always popular with the youth, so I could have easily dismissed it as entertaining nonsense, had the old monk not gone on to tell how the mountain hermit was from another world, and not another world to what most scholars are accustomed to thinking when it comes to enlightenment. According to the monk, who smiled brightly and flourished with his speech, the mountain hermit came from a world so distant, that its star would fail to shine in our night sky.

When I inquired how the mountain hermit had gotten all the way here, the monk smiled and shrugged saying 'maybe only the most important questions can be answered by venturing out for them'. Now, I shall admit that this had touched me deeply then, even if it was half in jest. Though, considering my current profession it should be of no surprise that I took it to heart. So, if this mountain hermit does exist, these monks would know and hopefully guide me before I take that next step for I'd be wary to not step in the wrong direction. With the dangers at large, a single step could mean life or death."

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewRaces

AuthorGanteka Future +
Effective Character Level1 +
Favored ClassAny +
Identifier3.5e Race +
Level Adjustment0 +
Racial Ability Adjustments-2 Dexterity +, +2 Constitution + and -2 Charisma +
Rated ByLeziad +
RatingRating Pending +
SizeMedium +
SubtypeXenoblooded +
SummaryArmor-shelled aliens with rugged resilience and physical strength. +
TitleAppilon, Ortshell +
TypeAberration +