Polly (3.5e Race)
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| A number of polly subspecies. Top row: Bisporis, Lepistis,|
Boletis, Vernu. Bottom row: Morelis, Capitis, Ostris,
- 1 Polly
- 2 Polly Subspecies
These diverse-looking mushroom people live quietly within the Soggy Bogs of the Polly Forest from which they derive their name. Because of their seemingly quaint natures and the fact that they don't communicate verbally, they were often considered unintelligent and were at one point hunted to near extinction for their caps and stems, many of which possess unique alchemic properties. It is owing to their tenacious vitality and ability to grow from a single spore cluster into a mammal-sized entity over a long period of time that they exist to this day.
The full name of the genus is 'Polliform', owing to their humble beginnings as simple clusters of fungal spores. Sufficiently large and dense clusters of Polliform spores are endowed with an intellect roughly equivalent to that of humans.
Pollies are generally shy and withdrawn in non-polly company, as they lack the ability to converse like most humanoids do, instead relying on their silent telepathy and other biological functions to interact with one another (see Language). Many pollies shy away from confrontation, though they also have a very passive-aggressive tendency when confronted with something they don't like.
Pollies are generally languid and lazy, their sluggish fungal bodies not prone to fast movements. They often sink themselves in the earth to assume the guise of an ordinary mushroom in order to absorb nutrients from the ground and rest. Basically, they are often happiest when they can loaf around in their natural habitat.
Fully realized Pollies are about as large as a human, though they may remain fairly stumpy or grow to exceptional sizes depending on their subspecies and growth direction. Fungal clusters and stems approximate legs and feet in varying states of completeness, whereas the head is often part of the main stem or the cap. Pollies are unisex, and 'procreate' by mixing fungal spores, though the process of spores growing into a sentient newborn Polly can take years or even decades.
Pollies go out of their way to have as little contact as possible with the civilized races that they distrust, although living in swamps, woods and various underground biomes that are supportive of fungal growth, there are some creatures that they have come to tolerate and accept. Underground, they often coexist with slimes and gelatinous oozes for protection, and above ground, they have relations with fey. Their closest relationship with the more ordinary races is with gnomes, as they share their habitat with offshoots of forest gnomes above land and the svirfneblin below.
A Polly is most comfortable where funguses thrive; humid forests and jungles, bogs and marshes, moist caves and subterranean spaces are all prime habitats for Pollies to put their spores down.
Pollies worship idols of a vague entity they call the 'Fungal Queen', though they themselves are largely unaware of the roots of their religion. In truth, this worship started with Zuggtmoy, the Demon Queen of Fungi (see Book of Vile Darkness and Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss). Unbeknownst to the Pollies themselves, who only attained true sentience much later, they evolved from the discarded offshoots from the fungal slaves created by Zuggtmoy's clergy to do their bidding. Knowing this requires a DC30 Knowledge (religion) or Knowledge (the planes) check.
Pollies speak Polly, an incredibly intricate multi-layered language that uses tonal input generated through telepathy to convey basic meaning, where grammatical emphasis, context, and deeper meanings are added through a mixture of releasing various different fungal spores and very feint body language that non-Polly are very unlikely to pick up on. With careful study and practice the tonal input of the Polly language can be emulated by a creature with telepathy, but that only allows for the most rudimentary of conversations. Though most Polly lack actual mouths and have no vocal chords, they are also capable of learning and telepathically speaking in civilized languages; however, regardless of which party adjusts to the other, there will be a lot lost in translation unless a mutual understanding between the Polly and the other creature can be formed over the course of years.
Because of the way they communicate, native Polly names are tonal rather than verbal. Polly that mingle with civilized races will often adopt a name in the commonly spoken tongue of the area that echoes the meaning of their birth name.
Below are the traits common to all species of Polly. For further traits specific to individual Polly, see Polly Subspecies below.
- -4 Dexterity, +2 Constitution: Pollies are tough and hard to kill, but their sluggish fungal forms are not accustomed to moving at any kind of speed.
- Plant: Though they sport largely humanoid forms, at their base Pollies are a form of sentient flora.
- Medium: As a Medium creature, a polly has no special bonuses or penalties due to its size.
- Polly base land speed is 20 feet.
- Low-Light Vision: A polly can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- Plant Traits: Pollies possess all traits of the Plant type, except that they only have a +4 racial bonus to saves against mind-affecting effects, and only 50% fortification against critical hits. Other immunities remain.
- Ungainly Form: Polly are often oddly shaped, clumsy and not very athletic. They cannot run. They can hustle, but incur limitations as though they were running (i.e. having to make checks after a number of rounds equal to their Constitution score and so forth). They are considered unusual creatures for the purpose of buying and using armor, and have a native armor check penalty of -4 even when not wearing anything.
- A polly has telepathy out to 100 feet.
- A polly has light sensitivity and incurs a -4 penalty to saving throws against light-based spells and effects.
- Root (Ex): A polly may root itself into any natural surface as a full-round action. While rooted, a polly absorbs nutrients from wood, soil, stone, and groundwater and gains rapid healing equal to its effective character level. A rooted polly enjoys a +8 circumstance bonus to Hide and Disguise checks to impersonate an ordinary mushroom. For this purpose, a rooted Polly may hide in plain sight as a ranger.
- A polly roots itself to eat. It must be rooted in potable soil, natural earth or living wood for at least 2 hours per day to obtain enough nutrients, or 8 hours in case of arid or arctic climates. In situations where it cannot or does not for extended periods, starvation rules start to apply.
- Unrooting is a standard action.
- Hearth Mushroom (Ex): See The Polly's Hearth Mushroom below for more information.
- Fungal Spores (Su): Pollies have access to spores of various types. See Polly Subspecies for more information. Pollies are generally immune to the negative effects of Polly spores.
- Racial Hit Dice: A polly begins with two levels of plant, which provide 2d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +1, and base save bonuses of Fort +3, Ref +0 and Will +0.
- Automatic Languages: Polly
- Bonus Languages: Common, Terran, Sylvan. Non-tonal languages require double points for Pollies to learn.
- Favored Class: Varied; see Polly Subspecies.
- Level Adjustment: +0
- Effective Character Level: 2
The Polly's Hearth Mushroom
The hearth mushroom is the Polly race's closest-kept secret, and is one of the reasons why Pollies as a species have survived quietly for so long. By expending a portion of their lifeforce, a Polly can spawn a mushroom of the same species as them. Unlike their true body, this hearth mushroom is stationary and of Small size, permanently affixed to its location like an ordinary mushroom. A hearth mushroom has half the hit points of the Polly that spawned it and an AC of 11 + the Polly's natural armor value. Spawning a hearth mushroom requires 1 uninterrupted hour and a component of 1,000 XP, after which the mushroom takes a number of days equal to 20 minus the polly's character level to mature to a fully grown state.
Hearth mushrooms are named such because they often indicate the place where the polly feels most at home. They are generally placed in well hidden areas and closely guarded. Though hearth mushrooms are not sentient, they are highly receptive to their owner's telepathy, allowing pollies to communicate with their hearth mushrooms over a distance of 50 times their normal telepathy range (standardly 5,000 feet, or about 1 mile). When a polly is in range of its hearth mushroom, it can cast its senses and its telepathy through the hearth mushroom to observe anything around it as though it was their own body. As such, two polly can communicate with one another over large distances provided both are in range of their hearth mushrooms and those hearth mushrooms ar within the standard telepathy range of 100 feet of one another.
A polly may choose to release its fungal spores from a hearth mushroom in range (see Polly Subspecies below).
If a polly dies within telepathic range of its hearth mushroom, the hearth mushroom will grow into the polly's new body over the course of 1d10 days, consuming the mushroom in the process. A dead polly can similarly be returned to life by being brought into the radius of its hearth mushroom as long as the number of days since its death is less than half its character level. After this period, the dead polly's hearth mushrooms will all die.
|Middle Age1||Old2||Venerable3||Maximum Age|
|70 years||120 years||160 years||+3d20 years|
There are dozens of subgeni of the Polliform order, though below are listed some of the more prevalent ones. The traits of the polly species are in addition to the base Polly traits listed above unless otherwise specified. All ability score modifiers and racial bonuses stack.
The most numerous subspecies of Polliform, the Bisporis is based on the ubiquitous agaricus bisporus, otherwise known as the portobello mushroom that is widely consumed by the civilized races. Usually called simply 'bispors', they grow quickly, mature quickly and are the polly species most adaptive to change. Bispors are also the most likely to mingle with non-polly races due to the fact that they have a working mouth that with sincere practice can learn to emulate verbal speech. Bispor have a starting age that is 4 years lower than other polly species.
- +2 Dexterity; they are less dextrously impaired than most of their kin, but also do not excel further in other areas.
- +1 natural armor bonus to AC.
- Racial Hit Dice: Unlike the other polly species, a bispor begins with only 1 level of plant, which provides 1d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +0, and base save bonuses of Fort +2, Ref +0 and Will +0. This overrides the 2 racial Hit Dice indicated in the Polly basic racial traits.
- A bispor may spend 2 skill points to be able to learn to talk with its mouth. This allows it to speak verbal languages without using telepathy.
- Bispors have 2 slam attacks with a base damage of 1d4.
- Fungal Spores (Su): A bispor can use its fungal spores to emulate the effect of faerie fire three times per day as a standard action.
- Favored class: Any.
Polliform Bisporis are generally between 5 and 6 feet, and weigh around 150 to 200 pounds.
The gangly and easily frightened Lepistis are evolved from the mushroom genus lepista. Like most of those they are edible, and they hate it. Lepistis are the most reserved of the Polliform species (and they get stiff competition in that regard), making them the least likely to give any non-Polly lifeform the time of day. They generally use their camouflaging abilities to remain hidden, and use their spores to make hostile intruders more manageable.
- +4 Dexterity, -2 Charisma; they are the swiftest and most agile of the Polliform, but also some of the least pleasant to be around.
- +1 natural armor bonus to AC.
- Unlike other Pollies, lepistis are capable of running.
- Expert Camouflage (Ex): Lepistis have a +4 racial bonus to Hide checks. This bonus stacks with those from their Root ability, and they can hide in plain sight in forests, bogs and swamps even when not rooted.
- Lepistis have 2 slam attacks with a base damage of 1d4.
- Fungal Spores (Su): A bispor can use its fungal spores to emulate the effect of slow once per day as a full-round action, however the area is a 10-foot-radius emanation and the effect lasts 1d4+1 rounds.
Heavy, stocky and extremely round, the Boletis are based on bolete-type mushrooms and share their penchant for large heads and tough, reticulated skin. They are the toughest of Polly-kind, and its staunchest defenders. They stand in the front when the cluster is under attack, soaking heavy blows and using their spores to pacify attackers. However, of all Pollies, they hate moving the most, and prefer just spending all of their time rooted.
- +2 Constitution, -2 Wisdom; they are the toughest and most hardy of the Polliform, yet have a sometimes troublesome lack of common sense.
- +5 natural armor bonus to AC.
Large and heavy, with the recognizable 'wrinkled' cap with ridges and pits, the Polliform Morelis, usually simply called morels, are large, simplistic and incredibly strong. They are highly sought after by civilized folk due to morel mushrooms being a delicacy. Even so, the odd scattered tales of lost adventurers in dark forests being punched to oblivion by walking mushrooms likely started with these. Morel are often tasked with fighting off dangerous beasts and heavy lifting.
- +4 Strength, -2 Intelligence; morels are somewhat dull-witted, but know well how to throw their weight around.
- +3 natural armor bonus to AC.
- A morel has Powerful Build and Power Attack as racial bonus feats.
- Morels have 2 slam attacks with a base damage of 1d10 and a critical rate of 19-20/×2. A creature critically hit by a morel's slam attack must make a Fortitude save or become stunned for 1 round. The morel can choose to forcibly apply the stun effect to an attack by making a single slam attack as a standard action with a -4 penalty. In either case, the resulting saving throw is Strength-based.
- Fungal Spores (Su): Once per encounter, a morel can release a 10-foot-radius spore cloud centered upon itself that sickens living creatures for 5 rounds. Those caught within it must make a Fortitude save or be nauseated for the first 2 rounds instead. The effect is instantaneous and the spore cloud dissipates within a single round.
- Favored class: fighter.
Polliform Morelis are generally between 6 and 8 feet tall and weigh 250 to 550 pounds.
|Effective Character Level||2 +|
|Favored Class||Varied; see Polly Subspecies. +|
|Identifier||3.5e Race +|
|Level Adjustment||0 +|
|Racial Ability Adjustments||-4 Dexterity + and +2 Constitution +|
|Summary||These diverse-looking mushroom people live quietly within the Soggy Bogs of the Polly Forest from which they derive their name. +|