Shibaten (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

A Shibaten Story


Shibaten or duck-folk are humanoids with the physical characteristics of ducks, much like tengu have the features of crows. They mostly live sedentary lives, but have a fierce temper and can be very competitive. Their tempers fade as quickly as they flare and rarely get them into serious trouble.

Physical Description: Duck-folk are small, about 3'6, with duck-like feathered bodies, large beaked heads, oversize eyes, and yellow or orange bird legs with finned feet. Shibaten are surprisingly strong and make excellent wrestlers and fighters despite their small size. Their compact, water-repellent body and finned feet make them excellent swimmers. Shibaten vary considerably in appearance. Plumage is normally white, but can be black, grey, speckled brown, or even bright colors like blue, green, red, orange, and purple. The head is often a contrasting color, especially in drakes. Bright colored shibaten often are a motley of different colors. White shibaten are considered aggressive, black shibaten sly, brown and grey ones shy, and motley ones vain. Some shibaten differ even further from the norm, resembling fowl other than ducks.

Shibaten in Mythology
Shibaten or shibatengu are diminutive Japanese spirits, at home on lawns and in streams, kin to kappa and tengu. As game creatures, they are humanoid ducks, related to ducks the same way tengu are related to crows.

Family: Shibaten live in small enclaves, usually close to or mixed with the dwellings of other folk. Their society is loud, intense, and seems violent to outsiders, tough most of this is posturing - shibaten love to show off. Families are loose, often with temporary relationships. After a comparatively easy gestation period of about a month, hens lay clusters of eggs that need close to a year of incubation. Part of this time the adults lie on the eggs, but incubation chambers ranging from the back of a stove to elaborate alchemical contraptions are usually used. The ducklings are even more noisy than adults and considered a chore to raise; it is not unknown for egg clusters to be divided in a community or clan before they hatch. Shibaten eggs are color-coded by the gender and plumage of the duckling inside, and sometimes the drake takes responsibility for the male eggs and the hen for the female ones. Other times ducklings are raised communally or by a permanent couple, who need not be their biological parents or even shibaten. Various kind of fostering are common, and sometimes shibaten will even put their eggs in the nests of other egg-laying creatures or even monsters, considering this a feasible way to give the chick a monstrous bloodline.

Society: Shibaten tend to specialize in water-related occupations, as fisherducks, ferryducks, and laundryducks. Some create their own niches, such as seaweed farming or oyster diving. They also farm and forage in marshes and lakes and make great rice planters, commonly forming bands of migrants to work paddies over a wide area — a very labor intensive part of rice farming where their work is much appreciated. Still others take to land-based occupations a human could do, especially in areas where land-dwellers are scarce or in cosmopolitan areas where races mingle. Some take to solo wandering and become itinerant craftsmen, mercenaries, or comedians. Yet others are unable to find contentment in any one role, and change professions regularly, trying first one thing and then another. Finally, some shibaten seek to avoid all kinds of work and schmooze of friends and neighbors and so form a class of expendable adventurers.

Relations: Shibaten are regarded as harmless troublemakers by most. While neighbors find them noisy, they are tolerated for their obvious joy-of-life, and their work in water-craft is useful. Shibaten get along decently with humans and well with grippli, kappa, tengu and half-orcs. Elves, half-elves, and halflings tend to shy away from their boisterousness, but accept them once they get to know them and realize they are not truly dangerous. Dwarfs often end up as enemies, answering to the duck-folk's aggressiveness with serious anger that won't blow over. Gnomes find duck-folk scary, and their styles of humor rarely mix, but when they do they can form amazing comedy duos, with the shibaten surprisingly often taking the straight-man role.

Alignment and Religion: Duck-folk are self-centered and boisterous and tend towards chaotic alignments in their personal habits. But they are rarely anarchists — they like to have a stable society to fall back on. They can have any alignment, but act with a flair that makes them seem more chaotic than they are. Shibaten are drawn to boisterous, brave-faced gods much like themselves, patrons that see the value of quick wrath and then moving on. They rarely pay more than lip service to religion, and when they do they often misunderstand the creed and become oracles preaching a distinctly unusual or even heretical version of their patron's teachings.

Adventurers: More aggressive shibaten adventure to express their exuberance, while others are forced into a life of adventure because they ran out of welcome or have been kicked out of their homes by bigger or more organized creatures. They make surprisingly good warriors despite their small size, and many are barbarians, bloodragers, cavaliers, swashbucklers, or even paladins. A good number of them display magical powers, especially as oracles, sorcerers or bards. Despite their size, they are too impatient and noisy to make truly good sneak rogues, but can do well as con-men. See the section on favored class bonuses for shibaten attitudes to various classes.

Names: Shibaten tend to take on the names of the culture around them, choosing names that indicate bravery, quick thinking, loudness, or hint that they are waterfowl.

Male Names: Ahiru, Akio, Arata, Atsushi, Haruo, Hiro, Hiroki, Isamu, Katsu, Ken, Kichirou, Masa, Orochi, Ryuu, Sadao, Sho, Takayuki, Takeo, Takeshi, Tatsuya, Tsuyoshi, Yasuo.

Female Names: Ahiru, Akane, Asami, Aya, Ayano, Chiharu, Etsuko, Hitomi, Kameyo, Kasumi, Kei, Kohaku, Mari, Mayumi, Nana, Natsuko, Ren, Sango, Takara, Toshiko, Yoshie.

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Racial Traits: +2 Strength, +2 Charisma, -2 Wisdom. Shibaten are amazingly strong for their size, creative, and good at taking the initiative. Their energy is infectious, but they are overly focused on one thing at a time and not sensitive to their surroundings.
  • Size: Duck-folk are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on their combat maneuver checks and to Combat Maneuver Defense, a +2 size bonus on Fly checks, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. See "can't shut up" below for more on Stealth.
  • Type: Shibaten are humanoids with the tengu subtype.
  • Base Speed: 30 ft.
  • Languages: Shibaten begin play speaking Common and Tengu. Shibaten with high intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aquan, Catfolk, Draconic, Gnoll, Grippli, Halfling, Sylvan, Vanara, and Yutu.
  • Random Starting Age: Base age 15 years
    Barbarian, Rogue, Sorcerer +1d4
    Bard, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger +1d6
    Cleric, Druid, Monk, Wizard +2d6.
  • Aging Effects: Middle Age 35. Old 55. Venerable 80. Max 80+3d20.
  • Height and Weight: Male Height 3'1 Weight 45 lbs. Modifier 2d4 Weight Multiplier x2 lbs.,
    Female Height 3'0 Weight 35 lbs. Modifier 2d4 Weight Multiplier x2 lbs.

Offense and Defensive Racial Traits

  • Sumo Aficionado (2 RP): Shibaten spend a lot of time wrestling and gain a +2 racial bonus on combat maneuver checks to grapple and on CMD against grapple attacks.

Movement Racial Traits

  • Bird Feet (Ex): Shibaten have the flat finned feet of waterfowl. They do not wear shoes, but their feet are resistant to wear and heat insulating in a way similar to what other races achieve with footwear. Ankle (properly tarsometatarsus) decorations of various sorts are not uncommon, and magical boots worn by shibaten automatically transform into such.
  • Paddle (Ex) (2 RP): Shibaten have a swim speed of 30 ft. They gain a +8 racial modifier on Swim checks and can always take 10 on Swim checks, even when in combat or under stress. A shibaten can swim on the surface without getting their gear wet and fight normally above the surface as long as they pass all Swim checks. Shibaten are not aquatic creatures, they cannot breathe water or hold their breath better than others and they suffer normal combat penalties underwater.

Skill Racial Traits

  • Quackitude (3 RP): Shaibaten have a +2 racial bonus on Intimidate checks, and ignore Intimidate penalties for being smaller than those they intimidate.
  • Natural Comedian: Shibaten have a +2 racial bonus on Perform (comedy) checks but suffer a -4 penalty on Perform (oratory, sing) checks.
  • Can't Shut Up (-1 RP): Despite their size, shaibaten are not good sneaks. They tend to lose their temper at just the wrong moment, and suffer a -4 penalty on Stealth checks. This counteracts their size bonus to Stealth.
  • Seed Finder (3 RP): Shibaten have very good eyesight at close quarters and are able to quickly distinguish small details and color differences. They get checks to spot nearby hidden things when they first come within 5 ft. of them, as if they spent a move action actively looking for such things. This includes concealed objects, traps, secret doors, and other hidden things that normally requires a move action to be spent on Perception. It does not include noticing creatures using Stealth or seeing through invisibility. This check should be made in secret by the GM.

Alternate Racial Traits

  • Climber: Some shibaten have fin-less feet with strong claws. They gains a climb speed of 20 ft. and can climb using the feet only, gaining a +8 bonus on Climb checks, and can take 10 on Climb checks even in combat or stressful situations. This replaces paddle.
  • Diver: The shibaten has greater lung capacity and can hold breath for 6 rounds per point of Constitution before running out of air. This lowers the shibaten's land speed to 20 ft.
  • Duckspeaker: The shibaten's voice is mesmerizing. Listeners might not remember what he said, exactly, but they remember liking what they heard. The shibaten gains a +2 racial bonus on Perform (oratory) checks but suffers a -4 penalty on Perform (act, sing) checks. This replaces natural comedian and is common among purple ducks.
  • Gambler: Some shibaten focus on gambling rather than wrestling and get a +2 racial bonus on Profession (gambler) checks and on Bluff, Perception, Sense Motive, and Sleight of Hand checks related to gambling. This replaces sumo aficionado.
  • Jockey: No shibaten has wings, but some have brains still set up for spatial navigation. Jockey shibaten gain a +2 bonus on Fly checks and on all checks made to drive a vehicle. This replaces seed finder.
  • Parrot: Some shibaten are amazing at mimicking sounds of both voices and things and gain a +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Disguise, and Perform checks based on mimicking sounds. This is common among blue shibaten and replaces natural comedian and quackitude.
  • Shy Quack: Some shibaten are less noisy and aggressive, making them better at sneaking. These get no racial skill modifiers to either Intimidate or Stealth. This is common among brown and grey ducks and replaces the quackittude and can't shut up racial traits.
  • Sly Quack: Some shibaten are tricky rather than rowdy, and their pushiness is channeled into trying to con others into accepting bad deals. They gain a +2 racial bonus to Bluff checks, and Bluff is always a class skill for them. This is typical among black ducks and replaces quackittude.
  • Stage Quack: Some shibaten are good at all kinds of performance, getting a +2 racial bonus on all Perform checks. Perform is always a class skill for them. This is common among those of motley plumage and replaces quackittude and natural comedian.
  • Temporary Obsession: Some shibaten have a tendency to obsessively pursue very fleeting objectives. Each day, the shibaten can select a skill. This is considered a class skill for the day and the shibaten gains 1 additional skill rank in the skill (to a maximum number of skill ranks equal to character level). This replaces sumo aficionado.
  • Vestigial Wings: No shibaten can fly or even glide naturally, but some still have vestigial feathered arms than give a +4 bonus on Acrobatics checks to jump and can be used to run quickly, increasing the run multiple to x5 both on land and in the water. This ability cannot be used in heavy armor and replaces seed finder.
  • Woodchuck Some shibaten have unusually strong beaks. The beak becomes a primary slam attack doing 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage. If used along with weapons or unarmed attacks, this functions as a secondary natural attack. This is common among red shibaten and replaces sumo aficionado.

Shibaten in Greyhawk

Shibaten are relatively common in Nippon and the Nippon Territories, and exist in small enclaves in Hepmonaland. Only a few individuals ever get as far away as the Flanaess, a place they consider cold and hostile. In Nippon, they exist in all social classes, but are often seen as upstarts or intruders. This in a culture where the duck-folk's impatience would seem to be a poor fit. But a highly formalized society needs safety valves, and this is how shibaten survive in Nippon; they are the annoying scapegoats everyone loves to be shocked at. Their chaotic natures make them rise and fall quickly in the strict hierarchies of Nippon, which is alien to most other inhabitants of that land.

Shibaten on Porphyra

Shibaten are native to Porphyra and once lived on the borderline between water and land, in coastal plains and marshlands. Back then, when their attitude got them into trouble with one faction, they survived by escaping into the territory of the other, and this is true for duck-folk even today. Always willing to move, shibaten have spread far but thin over the patchwork world. A few isolated families can be found almost anywhere, often acting as intermediaries between other peoples.

In dynamic societies where thrift and energy is valued over serenity and civility, shibaten can thrive. Such places include Azag-Ithiel, Bulwark, the Clockwork Lands, Creeper's Rift, the Fenian Triarchy, Freeport, the Haunted Sea, the Hinterlands of Kesh, Iffud, the Purple Mountain, the Pygmy Nations, the Seven Principalities, and the Trade Consortium of Blix. Never nation-builders, shibaten live as one of many races in these areas.

Many believe the islands of the Last Kingdom is the original home of all shibaten. The truth is unclear, but fact is that the Lost Kingdom has one of the larger shibaten populations on Porphyra, and this in a culture where the duck-folk's impatience would seem to be a poor fit. But even a highly formalized society needs safety valves, and this is how shibaten survive in the Last kingdom; they are the annoying scapegoats everyone loves to be shocked at. This attitude extends to the Green Bay area of the Lotus Blossom Steppes.

An isolated population of duck-folk live in the jungles of the Rainbow Isles, presumably surviving since before the NewGods War. Savages living in isolated villages, this is perhaps the closest to the aboriginal duck-folk and the closest to a "nation" they have on Porphyra, but not something civilized shibaten want any part of.

Religious shibaten honor Chiuta, Saren, Rajuk Amon-Gore, Veiloaria, or Yolana but often in simplified versions that miss the deeper significance of these cults. Chiuta is seen as a goddess of ponds and rivers, Saren a god of half-humans and exuberance, Rajuk as a king of rogues, and Yolana a goddess of riots and public feasting. Only the shibaten version of Veiloaria resembles what others expect as the protector of itinerant workers and wanderers.

Advance Race Guide Design Points

+2 Sumo aficionado
+2 Paddle
+3 Quackitude
-1 Can't Shut Up
+3 Seed Finder

9 points

Race Traits

  • Color Coded For Your Convenience (Race): To take this feat, you must be a shibaten of a color matching your alternate racial traits. If you have no alternate racial traits indicating color, you must be white. You thrive on stereotypes, and gain a +1 trait bonus on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks, and one of these skills is a class skill for you.
  • Duck of All Trades (Race): You are good at thinking outside the egg. You count as trained in all skills and can try to do tasks that are normally impossible unless you have training in the skill.
  • Pond Shirk (Race): Shirking from work in the rice paddies taught you some very useful tricks. You are good at hiding in water, only the tip of the beak exposed. You gain improved cover from opponents above the surface and still breathe normally, but you count as prone while doing this and can take no actions. You can use Stealth this way even when asleep.
  • Reckless Luck (Race): They say there is a god that looks out for fools—and duck-folk. Whenever you are surprised, whether by a trap or a creature, you can choose to fall prone at the start of the surprise round. You are never flat-footed while prone.
  • Spot in the Sun (Race): You have found your spot in the sun, the perfect job for you. Choose one Craft or Profession skill, you gain a +2 trait bonus to this skill.
  • Wak Wak Fu (Race): You gain a +2 trait bonus on combat maneuver checks for dirty trick maneuvers.

Racial Feats

Blow Over

When your anger blows over, you're no longer scary.

Prerequisite: Persuasive (feat) or natural comedian and quackitude (racial traits).

Benefit: When you use Intimidate to influence an opponent's attitude, you can limit the duration to 1d6 + 4 minutes. If you do, the target's reaction to you does not change to unfriendly after the duration expires.

Break the Ice

Your humor can make friends.

Prerequisite: Skill Focus (Perform [comedy]) (feat) or Natural Comedian (racial trait).

Benefit: You can change the initial attitudes (see Diplomacy) of non-player characters as a full-round action. Targets must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your Perform (comedy) skill check modifier) or their attitude improves by one step. This is a charm, enchantment, and language-dependent effect. You cannot make a creature helpful this way, the best possible attitude you can achieve is friendly. You cannot use Perform (comedy) to influence a given creature’s attitude more than once in a 24 hour period.

Fear My Power (Combat)

You know how to display your abilities to scare enemies.

Prerequisite: Intimidate 3 ranks.

Benefit: You can take a move action to make an Intimidate check to demoralize an enemy within 30 ft. This ends your turn.

Special: You are considered to know the Weapon Focus feat, but only for the purpose of qualifying for Dazzling Display and feats that have Dazzling Display as a prerequisite. If you learn Dazzling Display, you do not need a weapon to use that feat.

In Your Face (Combat)

You do not fear to fly in the face of much larger opponents.

Prerequisite: Shibaten, quackitude racial trait.

Benefits: You count as one size category larger, but only for the purpose of which creatures you can target with combat maneuvers. This does not change your size modifier to CMB or CMD.

Favored Class Bonuses

Shibaten appreciate grabbing fate by the tail feathers and holding on tight. They thrive in classes that requires guts and a strong arm, but there is at least one duck in each of life's ponds.

Alchemist: Shibaten enjoy bombs and the pure shock value of transformations, but recklessness and alchemy is a dangerous mix. Add +1/2 to Intimidate checks when using mutagen.

Assassin of Porphyra: (See Assassins of Porphyra, also by Purple Duck Games) A few quacks revel in fear and loathing and become assassins, usually gruesome assassins or rajuki dancers. 1/2 times per day, after damaging a creature with a sneak attack, the assassin can make an Intimidate check to demoralize the target of the sneak attack as a free action.

Barbarian: Shibaten don't see this class as barbaric; they see it as the normal and natural way to fight. Add +1/2 to Strength and Intimidate checks when raging.

Bard: The word bard doesn't cover duck-folk performers well, but think clown and they are the best! Add +1/4 to Intimidate and Perform (comedy) checks.

Bloodrager: Magically inclined shibaten thrive as bloodragers, and some parents go so far as to sneak eggs into the nests of monsters to give their ducklings that extra bit of magical power. Add +1/5 to the damage of melee attacks made in a bloodrage.

Brawler: Duck-folk love a good scrap. Add + 1/6 to the brawler's size category, but only to determine what size creatures the brawler can use combat maneuvers against. Aggressive stance stacks with other similar abilities, such as the In Your Face feat.

Brujo: (From Paths of Power I by 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming) Shibaten find brujo primitive, but enjoy the foreboding aura surrounding these wild witches. Add 1 point to the brujo's curse pool.

Cavalier: Duck-folk don't regularly keep animals suitable as mounts, but their neighbors often do and the shibaten sometimes learn from them. Add + 1/2 to CMD and Intimidate checks against the target of the cavalier's challenge.

Chi Warrior: (From Chi Warrior, also by Purple Duck Games) Now, this is what martial arts is all about! 1/2 times per day, but no more than once every two rounds, the chi warrior can make an Intimidate check to demoralize as a move action.

Cleric: Pro:I am the star. Con:Its not my show. Some shibaten play this for all its worth and just loves ceremony. Add 1 ft. to the range of the cleric's channel energy ability. Round this down to the closest increment of 5 ft.

Druid: Who are these guys, again? Add + 1/4 to both the druid's and her animal companion's Intimidate and Survival checks.

Fencer: (From Unarmored and Dangerous, also by Purple Duck Games) Ducks can make decent fencers, usually focusing on feints and repartee. Add + 1/7 use of parry each round.

Fighter: Another over-disciplined class, but oh so shiny! Add + 1/5 to the bravery bonus and on Intimidate checks.

Gunslinger: The loud noise and short range of firearms appeals to shibaten. 1/2 times per day, when wielding a firearm, the gunslinger can make an Intimidate check to demoralize as a move action. The target of the Intimidate check must be within the first range increment of the firearm.

Hunter: Hiding in the green stuff with an animal seems awfully uncomfortable. Add + 1/4 to both the hunter's and her animal companion's Intimidate and Survival checks.

Investigator: The investigator's ability as a know-it-all appeals to shibaten. Select 1/4 class skill. The investigator can use inspiration with this skill without expending a point of inspiration.

Inquisitor: Everybody hears the purple duck inquisitor! Add + 1/4 to the Stern gaze bonus.

Kineticist: Whoo-ho, quack and bang! The unlimited power of kineticism appeals to ducks, but few are called. Gain a bonus on Intimidate checks equal to twice the number of points of burn the kineticist currently has, to a maximum bonus of +1/2.

Kingpin: (From Kingpin, also by Purple Duck games) Take them out, oh my minions! Add 1 ft. to the kingpin's gang radius. Round this down to the nearest increment of 5 ft.

Magus: Look, its magic using swords! Win! Add a +½ bonus on concentration checks made to cast defensively.

Monk: The first rule of Quack-Fu; Quack! 1/2 times per day, the shibaten can make an Intimidate check to demoralize as a move action.

Occultist: You will never be forgiven for stealing those apples! A shibaten with the object reading class feature can read an object when making an intimidation check to gain a + ½ bonus on Intimidate checks against the item's former owner. This is a part of the action to make the Intimidate check. The information revealed is personal and significant to the target, but rarely to anyone else.

Oracle: And lo, God spoke to me, and he said "Let's party!" Add one spell known from the oracle spell list. This spell must have the sonic or language-dependent descriptor.

Paladin: Your doom has finally caught up with you, villain! Enemies in the paladin's aura of courage suffer a penalty of - 1/5 to saving throws against fear effects. Enemies in the paladin's aura of resolve take the same penalty on saving throws against charm effects.

Psychic: There are two kinds of psychic; I know how to party! Add 1 to the psychic's level to qualify for and use the detect thoughts, telepathic bond, and telepathy class features. This allows the psychic to gain these abilities at an earlier level. If the psychic's effective level for these abilities exceeds 20, add 10 ft. to the range of the telepathy ability for each effective level after 20.

Quartermaster: Oh, yes, it took some work to get here. But look at this go boom! 1/4 times per day, the quartermaster can make an Intimidate check as a swift action against all creatures that just damage from the quartermas­ter's dangerous devices ability.

Ranger: There is a whole world to explore out there. Add + 1/4 to both the ranger's and her animal companion's Intimidate and Survival checks.

Rogue: I am the best rogue there ever was, and I just had to tell those guys! How was I to know they were guards? Add +1/4 to Bluff and Intimidate checks.

Shaman: Spirits are all right but do I really need to meditate? The shaman gains 1/6 of a new shaman hex.

Skald: We need bigger drums! All targets of the skald's raging song gain a + 1/4 bonus on Intimidate checks.

Slayer: I am trying to hide here! Nobody look, or you're all dead! 1/2 times per day, the slayer can make an Intimidate check to demoralize as a move when hidden using Stealth. This does not reveal his location.

Vigilante: Life is an endless masquerade! Gain 1/4 additional social talent.

Sacerdote: (From Legendary Classes Sacerdote by Purple Duck Games) "And the Lord shall lead the fool to his just reward" Look, God, this means you have to help me! Add 1/2 new spell from the nobility domain to the sacerdote's domain spell list, beginning with level 1 and working up. Cannot be picked if the sacerdote already knows this domain.

Sorcerer: I am of the brood of dragons, fear my power! 1/2 times per day, as a full-round action, the sorcerer can make an Intimidate check to demoralize and then gains a standard action to use a bloodline power or cast a spell.

Spiritualist: An immortal, incorporeal spirit does seem like a cool thing to be. But why would I want to serve one? Add + 1/2 to the number of rounds of bonded manifestation the spiritualist can use each day.

Summoner: I think of my eidolon as my greatest fan! Add + 1/2 to both the summoners's and her eidolon's Intimidate checks as long as the eidolon is within 30 ft. of the summoner.

Swashbuckler: Turning anger into panache is the ultimate high! 1/2 times per day, the swashbuckler can make an Intimidate check as a move action by aiming a light or one-handed piercing weapon at a target within 10 ft.

Warpriest: Why would I bother to bless others? Add + 1/4 to sacred weapon damage.

Witch: Behold my power! 1/2 times per day, as a full-round action, the witch can make an Intimidate check to demoralize and then gains a standard action to use a hex or cast a spell.

Wizard: The laws of nature dance at my command! Add +1 point of electricity damage to spells that deal electricity damage cast by the wizard. This additional damage is not multiplied on critical hits or affected by metamagic feats.

Shibaten Archetypes

Shibaten Bloodlines

External Links

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