Ayagazi (Race)

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"We the Ayagazi do not fear Death. It is our equal, not our master."
—{{{2}}}


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An image of an Ayagazi that is more photogenic than average.


None know exactly how the reviled birdfolk known as the Ayagazi arose to trouble the unhappy world. Guesses are whispered, tinged with fear, ranging from vultures gorging upon the magic-saturated corpses present at some slaughter in antiquity, to carrion birds accidentally exposed to an accursedly powerful strain of ghoul fever, to the familiars of mad necromancers who were fed bloody, runescribed gobbets carved from their masters' dismembered rivals until they grew ambitious and cunning enough to escape. Today, the Ayagazi plague the land of Dorukaya, sapping the last remnants of life force from the expanding wastes and raising those who die there as their thralls. Perhaps the forbears of these spiteful shamans arose from a distant, forsaken plane or some doomed reality. Surely there could no being twisted enough to have created them on purpose!


Species Data

...data from Mizunomics Research Database 10.0 recovered...

Physiology: Ayagazi have six limbs. They appear as vultures that have hominid arm-like appendages, and these are capable of precise manipulation.
Average Height: About 2 feet, and always less than 30 inches. Ayagazi are quick and cunning, but their compact and lightened muscle structure and hollow bones that allow them to fly make them physically frail, and keen to find servants to accomplish their labors.
Wingspan: Roughly 1.5 feet at birth, doubling in the first year. Adult wingspan is between 7 and 10 feet. Every Ayagazi is born with the potential to be a great flyer.
Average Weight: 20-24 lbs. Maximum weight for large individuals is about 28 pounds.
Diet: Ayagazi are unapologetic scavengers, and can survive eating almost anything without apparent ill effect. Daily caloric and water intake are low, and an adult can go without sustenance for long periods. These tyrannical birdfolk seem almost suspiciously well-adapted to the desert canyons and wastes where they rule supreme, and are hardy in the extreme. The body of an Ayagazi seems to be extremely stubborn when it comes to dying in methods not involving violence.
Locomotion: They have vast endurance and can soar for long periods. Ayagazi can fly moderately quickly at about 41 miles per hour, or about 80 feet in six seconds, but their awkward posture due to the presence of their arms hampers their flying somewhat, in spite of their compact frame. Ayagazi are not nearly as swift moving over land. Birdfolk are not nearly as fast running across the ground as they are flying over it.
Feathers: Similar to a vulture, base color runs from black, to dappled brown, to deep tan. Chicks have plumage of reddish-pink to scab-colored, growing brown as they age. Ayagazi have no feathers on their heads, which they routinely stick into carcasses to feed.
Eyes: Frequently red or orange, especially in males. Black is the most common color in females. Brilliant blue and teal green are not unknown. The wide, owl-like eyes of the Ayagazi are adept at finding prey and servants under moon or sun.
Scent: Though many carrion birds lack a sense of smell, Ayagazi seem to ably find carcasses and victims by wounds alone. Much like some dogs can smell disease, and flies are drawn to the orifices of those on the verge of death, this race seems to be quickly able to pick up on scent cues that indicate injury or infirmity, and the manner in which the Ayagazi treats that creature changes drastically. In line with their harsh environment and personalities, Ayagazi are quick eat any meal they needn't work hard to kill.
Population: Unknown; probably spread across multiple planes of existence, but the more of them collect in one place, the worse things seem to get.


Society

Ayagazi, especially in large groups, are known for their unthinkable callousness toward anyone they perceive as outsiders or a liability, yet also show very different behavior in small groups where they are clearly the minority or in any situation where they are dependent upon others. The race is quick to perceive when membership in a collective outside their species benefits them, and will not hesitate to take risks to protect non-Ayagazi whose survival is in their best interest. A lone Ayagazi is small and weak, and will prove a shrewd and loyal companion to any being whose physical strength is perceived by the Ayagazi as complimentary to their own magical abilities.

Even collectively, Ayagazi are simply too physically frail to easily perform many of the physical tasks demanded in a civilized society, so they habitually create undead to serve them in order to free themselves from labor. Born into a culture that is so dependent upon and intermingled with necromancy and undead labor that they are unable to live without them, Ayagazi have, in their recklessness and greed for servants and power, been known to channel such vast quantities of necromantic power and negative energy through their bodies in the pursuit of their aims that it progressively cripples them and leaves them a physical wreck. So detrimental to the health and spirit is the power of undeath that they call upon that the difference in appearance among those that practice necromancy to a vast extent and those who do not is very clear cut, with Ayagazi with limbs and wings twisted and maimed by fell power limping around instead of flying, or being carried by the zombies their power has grown enough to command.

The intrinsic ability possessed by every grown member of the Ayagazi race to profane and animate a deceased body to make it a weapon or servant in their service is without a doubt their most foul capability, and the vulturous race is completely unapologetic, known for their despicable behavior of circling around a stricken desert traveler without offering aid, waiting for them to die, and then feasting upon the body or raising the dead as an undead thrall. In point of fact, they often do both!

An Ayagazi enclave is a horrifying sight, filled with screeching and cackling voices, the air saturated with the stench of foulness and death, and the sight of wretched and warped Ayagazi hobbling around--their bodies ruined by the power they wielded to gain slaves to do their bidding—-many of them so twisted they are indistinguishable from the undead servitors shambling around to defend the nests to unendingly perform the bidding of their callous masters.


Racial Traits Breakdown

Sum = 20 Points

(3RP) Monstrous Humanoid: Grants Darkvision 60 feet for free. Monstrous Humanoids must eat and sleep.

(0RP) Small Size: Small races gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on combat maneuver checks and to their CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. Small races have a space of 5 feet by 5 feet and a reach of 5 feet.

(-1RP) Weakness Ability Score Set: -4 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Wis

(2RP) Desert Runner: Members of this race receive a +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion, as well as any other ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, and hot or cold environments.

(Free to Monstrous Humanoids): Darkvision 60 feet

(1RP) Carrion Scent: Members of this race have a natural ability to sniff out carrion. This functions like the scent ability, but only for corpses and badly wounded creatures (creatures with 25% or fewer hit points).

(6RP) Flight: 40 foot speed, poor maneuverability

(-1RP) Slow Movement: 20 foot Base Land Speed

(0 RP) Standard Languages: Begin play with Common and Native language with up to 7 bonus languages from high Int.

(1RP) Plagueborn: Benefit: Members of this race gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease, ingested poisons, and becoming nauseated or sickened.

(1RP) Skill Training Knowledge Religion and Fly are always class skills for this race.

(1RP) Undead Resistances: Members of this race gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease and mind-affecting effects.

(-1RP) Negative Energy Affinity: Though a living creature, an Ayagazi reacts to positive and negative energy as if it were undead—positive energy harms it, while negative energy heals it.

(1RP) Resist Level Drain (Ex): An Ayagazi takes no penalties from energy drain effects, though he can still be killed if he accrues more negative levels then he has Hit Dice. After 24 hours, any negative levels an Ayagazi takes are removed without the need for an additional saving throw.

(3RP) Fell Magic: Benefit: Members of this race gain +1 to the DC of any saving throws against necromancy spells that they cast. Members of this race with a Wisdom score of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities, with the caster level is equal to the user's character level:

                          1/day—bleed, chill touch, detect poison, touch of fatigue.
The DC is equal to 10 + the spell's level + the user's Wisdom modifier.

(4RP) Spell-like abilities: 1/day: Animate Dead


Necromancy

Ayagazi are drawn to carrion not only for feeding, but also to death itself, for its power seemingly resonates within their bodies and the race as a whole, who have a reputation for being particularly fearsome necromancers. Many powerful Ayagazi shamans claim that death is their equal, not their master. A bold claim, but the birdfolk have vestiges of many immunities undead beings are known for, and Ayagazi have been documented reacting to some attacks if they were already dead, so close is their bond with the grave. Many Ayagazi necromancers that are too ambitious or distrusting to work with others of their kind and attempt to control undead on their own instead of as part of a group become hideous and wretched, sacrificing the integrity of their physical bodies to channel enough negative energy to control the lifeless. These blackened and emaciated creature with withered bodies and shriveled wings that will never fly again are served instead by large numbers of mighty undead who perform physical activity for them.

Animating the Dead

Ayagazi can only control 2HD of undead (instead of 4HD) per caster level used in activating their racial Animate Dead ability. An Ayagazi can use their caster level or Hit Dice to determine how many undead they can control, whichever is greater.

Any Ayagazi can choose to push their bodies to the limit, ignore this limitation and focus enough negative energy to command up to 4HD of undead for each caster level or HD they possess, but only if they sacrifice 1 RP of abilities for each 2HD of undead they control above their normal limit, as the burden of the negative energy they invoke overwhelms and eventually cripples their living body. Every point of Racial Ability sacrificed by an Ayagazi permanently raises their caster level for the purpose of controlling undead by 1.

Ayagazi can reduce or ignore the Material Component cost when casting Animate Dead, and instead power the spell with their own life force, but that Ayagazi's Maximum Age and all other age categories are PERMANENTLY reduced by 1 year for each GP of material component cost they elect not to pay. Groups of Ayagazi invoking Animate Dead at the same time can opt to evenly split these penalties and drawbacks among their members, rounded up. This would explain why a typical specimen has been shown making considerable sacrifice on behalf of its flock--Ayagazi are far stronger in groups than singly, and their magical power seems to scale with their numbers, a fact which fills all neighbors of a large flock of Ayagazi with unending dread.