Needlemus (3.5e Race)
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In the rolling plains and desert dunes grew a race of omnivorous mammals who fell prey to larger, tougher monsters. From this hardship, they evolved a back of vicious spines, allowing them to cower into spheres of prickly doom and avoid a delicious fate. Resembling closest to a hedgehog, the needlemus uses its potent array of spines to ward off others, and as something of an offensive weapon of their own.
Bred on a life of being prey more often than predator, the needlemus is typically a bit skittish and defensive more often than not. While their old ancient foes are no longer a threat (usually), they retain some of the memory and it shows in their culture, with an emphasis on caution, fortification, and knowing what situation one gets into. It has granted them insight into tactical advantages in the environment, as well as insight when engaging in "social battles" as well. With their recent liberation from the whims of nature, a few have broken away from the group, wild and curious, but the large majority remain cautiously conservative in their ways.
Needlemus are largely nonoffensive, to their design. They prefer to appear meek and below the notice of others, even if this is not the case. This leads to others misunderestimating them while the needlemuses outwit them. Always assume a needlemus is up to more than they say. With that said, the needlemuses are not terribly focused on deception; their priority is safety, and much of what they do, they do out of an unease with the rest of the world. Friends are few, and even then they should be watched lest one day they are backstabbed.
A needlemus appears as a humanoid rodent with a wide curved back covered in sharp and pointy hairs, the "needles", their edges sharpened naturally. These quills are often semi-spiky to flat when standing, but bristle as full when agitated or curled up. They carry a mild irritant inside them that causes a burning itchy sensation.
Needlemus are not terribly large, no bigger than halflings or gnomes, but they are surprisingly quick on their feet due to a history of running away from danger. Their lighter weight allows them to pull off more parkour tricks than their somewhat stocky bodies would seem to account for. They otherwise have normal rodent features, with pointed ears and a short, spiky tail.
Needlemus possess small burrowing claws not suitable for combat, but decent for making oneself a hole on the fly.
Needlemus prefer to remain unassuming and thus rarely play on the front line of any politics or battlefield. Though somewhat standoffish and cautious of others, they understand the value of a good friendship and usually try to befriend those who are willing, while keeping a safe distance to retreat if things ever sour between the two races. Only the most aggressive are ever rejected outright, and usually indirectly through non-interaction. Needlemuses traditionally live in burrow homes often akin and attributed to gnomes, which make needlemus towns difficult to see and even more difficult to raid.
Most needlemus are neutral, and while cautious, have no inclination towards law or chaos. Survival simply comes first, with simple altruism coming hand in hand.
Needlemus originate and live in rolling hills, plains, and deserts. They make burrow homes in the hills and dunes, using the slopes to conceal their position until the last minute.
Needlemus appear to revere nature, with a particular focus on wind and earth, with wind representing knowledge, freedom, and change and earth the principles of stability, safety, and protection. There are not direct gods; rather, they take the druidic approach and rever nature for what it simply is. Of course, their mythos is rich with various spooks and nightmares born of ancient fears of predators, and talk of trickster heroes who outwitted things far more dangerous than them.
Needlemus speak Common and Gnome, having much interaction with the Gnome race in their history.
Needlemus names usually are thematically appropriate to what they do or are invisioned to do, such as "Irons" being a blacksmith or "Hunter" being just that, with the House/Family name afterwards. Their name can (and often does) change as they grow from children to adulthood, and they retain their child original name as a middle name, spoken when asked or needed.
- -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity: Surprisingly nimble for their stocky bodies, they have survived by having quick reflexes and sharp spines.
- Humanoid (Anthro): Needlemus are humanoids, through they share many animalistic traits.
- Small: As a Small creature, a needlemus gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –4 size penalty on special attack (bull rushes, grapples, overruns, and trips) checks, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but it uses smaller weapons than humans use, and its lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
- Needlemus base land speed is 30 feet. Burrow 5 feet
- Darkvision: A needlemus can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and a needlemus can function just fine with no light at all.
- Rollout (Ex): A common tactic for ambush and escape would be to roll into a spiky ball while on a slope or while moving. As part of a standard action, they can roll up and make a single attack roll to every creature within their movement, provided they move in a straight line. They provoke attacks of opportunity from the movement as normal. If going down a slope, their speed is increased by +10 feet, and while going uphill their speed is reduced by −10 feet. In any case, at the end of their movement they are prone.
- Spiky Body (Ex): The needlemus is covered in sharp needles, forcing them to wear armor sized for unusual creatures (2x the mundane cost). They are effectively always wearing armor spikes for a creature a size larger than them (1d6 damage), and may be used and enhanced as a manufactured weapon and used with feats and abilities which use armor spikes. In addition, they provide protection whenever the needlemus is on the defensive. When using fighting defensively, creatures attacking them in melee with a non-reach weapon take their spines damage (no strength added) if they miss. If taking a total defensive action, they take the damage regardless if they hit or miss. Finally, the body naturally curls when prone into a ball of spikes. When prone, needlemus do not take a −4 penalty to AC for being prone, and deal damage as if they were fighting defensively.
- Racial Enemies (Ex): Needlemus gain a +4 dodge bonus against creatures with a burrow speed and creatures with the Earth subtype, having fought against hungry landsharks for ages.
- Needlemus Skills (Ex): Needlemus gain a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Sense Motive checks.
- Automatic Languages: Common, Gnome
- Bonus Languages: Auran, Halfling, Giant, Gnoll, Sylven, and Terran.
- Favored Class: Ranger or Rogue
- Level Adjustment: +0
- Effective Character Level: 1
|Middle Age1||Old2||Venerable3||Maximum Age|
|30 years||50 years||70 years||+1d20 years|
|Gender||Base Height||Height Modifier||Base Weight||Weight Modifier|
|Male||2' 10"||+2d4||35 lb.||× (1) lb.|
|Female||2' 8"||+2d4||30 lb.||× (1) lb.|
|Effective Character Level||1 +|
|Favored Class||Ranger + and Rogue +|
|Identifier||3.5e Race +|
|Level Adjustment||0 +|
|Racial Ability Adjustments||-2 Strength + and +2 Dexterity +|
|Summary||Resembling closest to a hedgehog, the needlemus uses its potent array of spines to ward off others, and as something of an offensive weapon of their own. +|