Succedaneum (3.5e Race)

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Author: Ganteka Future (talk)
Date Created: 12 September 2008
Status: 15 January 2014: v3.2
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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The succedanea are a race of shapechanger that assumes the form of humanoids. This rewrites bits of their personality and soul in the process, allowing them to impersonate an individual with great precision. Sadly, this ability to serve as a replacement is often unnecessary around humanoids, who's diversity has made the succedaneum's niche redundant. They are still, however, capable creatures, if poorly understood and subject to speculation.


Succedanea are an ancient bloodline of shapechanging aberrations that have bred down through the ages to imitate humanoid form. They naturally mimic humanoid appearance and mannerisms, though unquestionably alien thoughts operate their minds. Humanoids find them difficult to predict and understand. Succedanea are typically peaceable and docile. As they mimic emotions and behaviors, when their ire rises, they may either lash out with raging fury or cold malice. Most succedanea present an indifference or aloofness to the world around them. Incidentally, because of their ancient breeding, many succedanea attempt to fit in among humanoid societies to satisfy their natural instinct and curiosity. However, they often fail at this task and their numbers have grown low in recent ages. They are a relic of an older, richer age.

They are instinctually driven by impulse and lust. Their desires and motivations urge them forward. Most succedanea have a poor sense of humanoid social graces and rarely respond to insults, threats or intimidations.

When under duress, a succedaneum often lets out a loud screeching cry, forgoing language or cursing as expression.

Physical Description[edit]

A lone succedaneum watches you.

In their natural form, they appear as lanky, medium-sized humanoids. Their skin and sinews hold tight to their frames, making them appear shriveled and gaunt. Most naturally slouch their shoulders when not imitating humanoids. Their facial expressions often come off as curious and confusing, with unsettling grimaces and odd glances.

Their skin runs a range of pale bluish hues. Their deep-set eyes are wholly black. Their hair tones range from black to white, with gray being the most common, though many succedanea are naturally hairless. Their nails are as the same color as their hair. Among the hairless, this often means having white nails.

They are a diverse group. Through the ages, many strange quirks have developed in their bloodline. Odd mutations like divergent skin tones (often in shades found among local humanoids), a lack of external ears, golden-hued eyes and a differing number of fingers and toes have all been reported.

It is unknown if succedanea have sexes or if their appearances are simply the result of imitating humanoids. Common specimens have been found lacking any reproductive capability in a natural form, while others possessed dual-sexes (as hermaphrodites). On occasion, a members of the race have mixed or additional reproductive traits. While rare, it is not unknown for "female" succedanea to become pregnant after imprinting a soul onto itself.

Newborn succedanea are roughly four times the size of a typical humanoid child, appearing as a child of a few years. In fact, newborn succedanea are reported to be capable of walking within minutes of birth. It is unknown how long succedanea gestate for. Some scholars believe that they may become pregnant at will while others contest that they are capable of delaying development of the fetus after conception.

Scholars have recently begun studying the "nocturnal lunar reaction" found in some succedanea. Notably powerful members of the race undergo an odd transformation at specific lunar events (most often the new moon) during night-time. Most notably, the succedanea gains a straightened posture, bronze-toned skin and sunny yellow eyes. Though this only appears to happen when the creature is in its natural state and appears to have no other effect.

Their clothes are often cheap and worn if they're in their natural form. Those that imprint, attempt to blend in more suitably.


Research has led scholars to believe that succedanea share a common ancestor with doppelgangers. The two races have been noted as not sharing any undue animosity and exhibiting curiosity and comfortable relaxation when among each other.

Typically, most humanoid common folk distrust succedanea for their strange habits and abilities.


A succedaneum may be of any alignment, but neutral is the most common. A succedaneum that uses its Soul Imprint ability often changes alignment.


Succedanea often attempt hide amongst other races when in large cities. It is easier for them to successfully blend in among a diverse population. This often means frontier settlements and trade towns where humanoid races freely intermingle. When not among other races, succedanea are noted to be found in abandoned buildings, ruins or other places where humanoids have left their mark on the land and left enough interesting artifacts behind.

Occasionally, small communes of succedanea appear in isolated lands. They are thought to gather for breeding rather than a need for community amongst their own kind. These communes often don't remain for more than a year or two at most.


Succedanea are rarely religious and hold no proclivity toward piety, as most deities cater to the vast populations of humanoids. However, some succedanea find a religious calling after taking particularly pious individuals as soul imprints. Clergy and scholarly monks have left records of succedanea devoting their ageless lives for the cause of their church. Many churches are loathe to grant positions of authority to these unnatural creatures who've gained their calling in such a questionable and fickle way.


Succedanea typically speak Common, often better than most races, getting the most meaning out of their words. They push languages to their limits of conveyance of meaning. With their unusual mindsets, a disjoint in a conversation (by using words that might sound out of place or context) in invariably likely given time. Occasionally they'll use racial slurs if they find them to be of appropriate detail and flavor, being unaware of social graces and verbal harm. They also learn the languages of those civilizations around them to help them blend in better.


Succedanea are also known as fakemen, gauntlings, screamers, screechers and soul leeches.

Succedanea give names to their offspring based on whatever whim strikes them at the moment. Typically, this means names based off the lands around them, archaic words from ancient tomes they study, or even their fellow companions. Succedaneum names aren't cohesive as a group and don't hold much significance to their racial identity. Succedanea may change their names after taking on a particularly impacting soul imprint.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • Aberration (Shapechanger)
  • Medium
  • Succedaneum base land speed is 30 feet (6 squares).
  • Darkvision: A succedaneum can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and a succedaneum can function just fine with no light at all.
  • A succedaneum is proficient with all simple weapons.
  • Racial Skills: A succedaneum gains Bluff, Disguise and Speak Language as class skills for all its classes.
  • Linguistic: A succedaneum gains two additional languages of its choice. A succedaneum relies on languages to complete its disguises.
  • Soul Imprint (Su): Once per day when a succedaneum is adjacent to a living Medium-sized humanoid when it dies (typically when its Hit Points are reduced to –10 or below), the succedaneum may take a free action to imprint part of its soul with the slain humanoid's soul. The humanoid's soul is unaffected by this ability. The succedaneum may make (or voluntarily fail) a Will save (DC 10 + the humanoid soul's HD) or have its alignment shift to that of the humanoid and force it to gain basic surface memories, such as the recognition of familiar places, objects, names and individuals. Only on a failed save may a succedaneum assume a supreme imitation with that imprint. Once the soul is imprinted, the imprint remains until the succedaneum takes a new imprint. Taking a new imprint causes the succedaneum to lose all bonuses and memories from its old imprint (though it retains any new memories of any such things it encounters itself). It gains the form of the humanoid as an Alternate Form. While in the imprinted humanoid's form, it is able to imitate how the imprinted humanoid thought, acted and felt. This Alternate Form grants a +14 bonus to Disguise and Bluff checks made to impersonate that individual. An imprinted form cannot be dispelled, but a succedaneum reverts to its natural form when unconscious or dead. A true seeing ability reveals a succedaneum's natural form. Using a soul imprint is straining on a succedaneum and powerful forms take their toll. When a succedaneum assumes a form through a soul imprint, it takes a –1 penalty to attack rolls, saves, skills, ability checks and DCs for any of its abilities for each value of ECL the form is over its own. A succedaneum still counts as its own ECL despite the ECL of an imprint it might assume. Example: An ECL 5 succedaneum takes a –3 penalty while assuming an ECL 8 imprint.
  • Supreme Imitation (Su): A succedaneum may choose to assume a supreme imitation of an imprint. A supreme imitation replaces a succedaneum's entire mind and body with that of the imprint but retains its will and motivation. Its gear changes to fit its new form (though it returns to normal if it leaves the succedaneum's possession). A succedaneum replaces its entire character save for the following features: It retains and adds its darkvision, known languages, soul imprinting and imitation ability and is still treated as a shapechanging aberration. A supreme imitation begins with no prepared spells or daily-charged abilities. A supreme imitation can't cast spells or use abilities gained at a higher ECL than its own. A succedaneum may only change to and from a supreme imitation soul imprint while at full HP (though other afflictions and ailments transfer over as applicable). Example: An ECL 4 succedaneum deals the killing blow on an ECL 6 lizardfolk shaman (cleric 5, rogue 1) and purposely fails his imprinting save to gain a supreme imitation soul imprint. The succedaneum's player takes the lizardfolk shaman's sheet and places it on top of his character. As the lizardfolk shaman is 2 ECL higher, he takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls, saves, skills, ability checks and DCs and cannot use any class abilities available to a 5th level cleric. After resting, he may prepare and pray for spells as a cleric of his own ECL (4), but is still treated as a 5th level cleric (taking the –2 penalty).
  • Automatic Languages: Common.
  • Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
  • Favored Class: Any
  • Level Adjustment: +0
  • Effective Character Level: 1

Racial Feats[edit]

The succedanea often hone their racial abilities as they grow stronger. Here are a few [Racial] feats designed for use with the succedaneum race:

Improved Soul Imprint, Maddening Screech, Obscuration, Shapechanger's Resilience and Shattering Screech.

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Succedaneum Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
110 years +4d6 +6d6 +10d6

Succedaneum do not have effects from aging beyond adulthood.
They have no maximum age. They do not die of old age.

Table: Succedaneum Height and Weight
Sex Base
Any 5' 6" +1d6 135 lb. × (2d6) lb.

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewRaces

AuthorGanteka Future +
Effective Character Level1 +
Favored ClassAny +
Identifier3.5e Race +
Level Adjustment0 +
Racial Ability AdjustmentsNone +
Rated ByFoxwarrior + and Tarkisflux +
RatingRating Pending +
SizeMedium +
SubtypeShapechanger +
SummaryA shapechanger that rewrites bits of its personality and soul when impersonating humanoids. +
TitleSuccedaneum +
TypeAberration +