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Cryptborn

I like to have changes from previous campaigns alter something about my future campaigns, and in this case, the best influence I can think of are the new appearance of both warforged and cryptborn as playable races. While the warforged were the created construct army now free after the defeat of the usurped Ollochian throne, the Cryptborn were created well before. They were a successful experiment to lengthen the lives of the Ollochian people, turning them into sentient undead. The lost ritual severed the connection between soul and body before quickly binding the body to that same soul. Done swiftly enough, the still living tissue can be controlled by the soul. This grants the Cryptborn greater control over the processes of their living bodies at the cost of their body slowly dying. Long-term rot and decay were initially an issue for the Cryptborn until they began to supplement their diets with fresh living tissues and organs compatible for their spirit to cannibalize to repair bodily degradation. This dietary supplementation was not well received by neighboring kingdoms or non-Cryptborn Ollochian citizens.

Modern Cryptborn supplement their normal human dietary needs with specially grown flesh substitutes: trees that bear human organs as fruit and livestock bred to contain similar vital fluids as humans. Ollochian leadership dedicated prodigious efforts to a source of replacement flesh that could withstand foreign sieges and one that did not make diplomacy impossible. While most humans would still find the dripping and raw ‘fruits’ distasteful, some, like elves or dragonborn consider the Ollochian food a delicacy.

While the original method of creation has been lost to overly paranoid secret-keepers, the Cryptborn continue to slowly increase their numbers through a facsimile of reproduction. Conceived children of Cryptborn parentage are soulless bodies but with the right magical components, the souls of the Cryptborn parents may intertwine to create an offspring soul bound to the new body. Despite their longevity, the difficulty in timing this ritual and in maintaining the body of the child until it is old enough to control itself means that few Cryptborn children are created. When a child soul is old enough to induce a heartbeat, usually around one month, is when a Cryptborn child is considered fully alive and is often the subject of a grand celebration.

Cryptborn that take up the adventuring life are often old by human standards, having taken time to fully master their control of their bodies such that they can be away from other Cryptborn who would be able to correct any fatal errors in their control. A typical Cryptborn adventurer would be around 50 years old. The most careful Cryptborn are able to stretch the life of their body a great deal, pushing middle-age to 150 years and senility to 200 but even they will eventually succumb to death at between 200 and 300 years of age.

With long lifespans and guidance from other long-lived Cryptborn during their formative years, Cryptborn are typically drawn towards neutrality and a long, patient view of events. While they often worship gods of death, it is mostly out of practicality to avoid drawing ire due to their adjacency with necromancy. Most worship at one other deity as well.

Cryptborn are the same general size, shape, and build as humans could have, but thanks to their finer control over their internal systems, they are often healthy, fit, and at the peak of human variation. This also allows a Cryptborn some measure of control if its own appearance, tweaking their body’s natural systems over time. A Cryptborn has a +1 bonus to Constitution.

Living Dead

While Cryptborn are nominally undead, their close attachment to a body that is technically their own gives them advantage on rolls or saves against any effect that targets undead but not the living as well as resistance to necrotic damage and saves against death. The separation of body and soul also grants a Cryptborn advantage on saves against fear. Their bodies heal the same any living body. If their body is destroyed, they die the same as any other mortal creature.

Adaptability

As part of a short or long rest, Cryptborn can turn their attention inward, shifting around how their body prioritizes blood flow and resources. They gain a +2 bonus to an attribute of their choice until they use this ability again.  


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