Darchnaim in the Metagame
Darchnaim Mojad (Ripper)
Damage: 1d4 (claw), 1d4 (claw), 1d2 (bite)
Special Qualities: Infected strike, mindless, poison/disease/acid resistance
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-12) or mob (4-20) or mass (10-100)
Alignment: True Neutral
Rippers are the first successful living creations of the silver riichnas. However, they can barely be considered life; they shuffle more-or-less randomly and only know hunger and pain. Usually, rippers resemble horrid stunted riichnas with a reptilian cast to their features and wicked, pus-encrusted claws on their hands and feet. Rippers attack any moving object that draws near, including each other; rare indeed is the ripper in the company of its own kind that does not have tatters of flesh hanging from garish wounds. Unharmed rippers should be given maximum hit points. Rippers cannot speak or understand any language.
Rippers are mindless, and so rush forward blindly in combat without regard for themselves or even basic tactics. The sheer numbers present during some attacks can wear down even the strongest opposition.
Infected Strike: A ripper who strikes a target vulnerable to disease with its claws forces the target to make a save against poison to avoid contracting a virulent illness known as ripper madness. This illness results in a hasty degeneration of the target’s INT, WIS, and CHR as their very body breaks down. It is fatal within one week if a Cure Disease spell is not cast on the target during that time. Any riichnas infected are not slain; instead they transform into new rippers as the disease progresses.
Mindless: Rippers have no higher intelligence to speak of, and therefore cannot be detected through means such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, or ESP. Telepathy draws no response from them and they have complete immunity to psionic attacks, as well as complete immunity to sleep, charm, confusion, and other mental effects.
Poison/Disease/Acid Resistance: Rippers’ bodies are supernaturally resistant to toxins. They are immune to all normal toxins and diseases and gain a +4 saving throw against supernatural or magical causes (such as Cause Disease). They receive half damage automatically from any acidic attacks.
Darchnaim Raead (Omnus)
HD 4 to 10
Damage: 1d4 (claw), 1d4 (claw), or by weapon
Special Qualities: Oracular spellcasting, poison/disease/ resistance
INT: High to Genius
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-5) or mob (3-6, with 10-100 rippers) or leader (5-10, with 20-200 rippers)
Treasure: V, plus armaments
Alignment: Usually True Neutral (with Evil tendencies)
Omni are astounding successes engineered by the silver riichnas. After refinement, the silvers were able to create a deadly being that combines higher intellect, generally increased strength and hardiness, and above all the innate ability to utilize magic. They are much more intelligent than their ripper brethen and usually steer the ripper hordes to their targets. However, their heightened cunning has also filled them with an abiding loathing of “pure” riichnas, who they view as manipulators of the flesh and shacklers of their free will; indeed, silver riichnas control “tame” omni with a concoction that effectively charms them. As with all charm effects, raeadim may break free of this compulsion if placed in immediate mortal danger, and therefore silvers are very careful to keep their “pets” out of harm’s way. Omni also have violent reactions to any renders they encounter; while they may stave off their hate for riichnas and wait for an opportune moment to strike down their oppressors, omni who see a render launch into an immediate, almost berserk attack. Omni stand between five and a half and six feet tall and resemble lanky riichnas with a faint green or brown cast to their finely scaled skin. A short tail extends from their spine. Raeadim most often have brown or hazel eyes, but may have eyes of any color that a riichna may have. Omni speak the riichna language and very few individuals deign to learn additional tongues (though the most common secondary language is Draconic).
Raeadim have the wit and cunning lacking in their brethren and put it to excellent use. When encountered singly, they attack only if they have a clear advantage over their opponents; groups of omni coordinate their attacks and spells to hamper their foes to the greatest extent. When found with rippers, they goad their degenerate cousins forward to tie up melee attackers while supporting them with ranged magic. Omni tend to use spells that incapacitate and weaken foes before launching decisive striks with direct damage spells, though they only use damaging spells as a last resort. In any group of darchnaim, the one with the greatest number of hit dice is the uncontested leader.
Oracular spellcasting: Omni cast spells as an oracle of a level equal to their hit dice, plus one. Omni may use spells from any riichna color, though they favor those of purple, gray, and black elemental alignments over others. While most omni lack the intelligence to use 6th-level spells, any omnus with 9 or 10 hit dice has access to those magics.
Poison/Disease Resistance: Omni are resistant to most toxins; they gain +2 to all saves against poison, as well as suffering only half the effect from a failed save. They also gain +2 to all saves against all diseases (including those with magical sources, such as Cause Disease), though they suffer full effects from a failed save.
Darchna Ceerad (Render)
HD 5 to 10
Movement: 40’/round, 10’/round climb
Damage: 1d6+2 (claw), 1d6+2 (claw), 1d4+1 (bite)
Special Qualities: Backstab, bleeding strike, improved evasion, infravision 120’, 40% MR, poison/disease/ resistance, rend, stealth
INT: Low (but high cunning)
Organization: Solitary or pack (2-6)
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral (with Evil tendencies)
Renders are near-perfect killers created by silver riichnas. With vicious claws capable of gouging even mithril armaments and vicious cunning, renders are the undisputed masters of the regions on Gymalle they inhabit. While superficially similar in appearance to omni, renders have been specifically bred to be mageslayers. As a result, renders and omni will attack without quarter if they encounter one another, until one side or the other is dead. Generally, unless outnumbered or assaulting a reasonably defended position, renders are victorious in these conflicts. Like omni, renders are kept “tame” through magical coercion but enough have broken free to inhabit some parts of the Darklands and make them even more frightening then they were originally. Renders are approximately six feet tall and vaguely resemble feral riichnas with mouths full of razor-sharp teeth. While other darchnaim are hairless, renders have a ragged mane of hair that cascades from their heads to their hips and is a uniform dusty gray color. This, coupled with dark gray skin mottled with brown and black, gives them almost supernatural camouflage in most environments. Their eyes are greenish-yellow and resemble a cat’s, while their hands and feet are tipped with four long digits, each with a wicked sickle of a claw. Renders understand the riichna language and some can even speak it, though their grammar is broken and their words are garbled by an ever-present growl.
Renders lurk in concealment and stalk prey, sometimes for long distances, before launching a quick attack that is intended to, ideally, kill a victim in a single strike before fading away and reengaging later. Simply knowing ceeradim inhabit an area is enough to cause paranoia in even the most seasoned riichna veterans, for it is a well-known fact that renders never give up pursuit until (and unless) some more promising prey appears. Silver riichna task forces sent to cleanse a wild render infestation often bring pacified omni with, the creatures’ sole purpose being a distraction for the renders so the riichnas can attempt an escape in dire straits.
Backstab: Renders gain bonus backstab damage as does a thief of a level equal to the render’s hit dice.
Bleeding strike: Any wound caused by a render’s claws continues bleeding, causing an additional 1 point of damage per round until at least 3 hit points have been healed through any means. Each additional hit by the render’s claws causes additional bleeding, and requires additional healing.
Improved Evasion: A render is able to avoid damage as would a monk of a level equal to the render’s hit dice.
Poison/Disease Resistance: Renders are resistant to most toxins; they gain +2 to all saves against poison, as well as suffering only half the effect from a failed save. They also gain +2 to all saves against all diseases (including those with magical sources, such as Cause Disease), though they suffer full effects from a failed save.
Rend: A render who hits with both claw attacks automatically rends the target for an additional 1d6+2 damage.
Stealth: Renders have a +3 bonus on all surprise rolls; in addition, they may Move Silently as a thief of level equal to the render’s hit dice and have a 10% bonus on the roll.