In the lands of the Southern Sea, the ptorac are a rare sight, and seldom a welcome one. They are known in Llaza as traders of exotic goods, of potions of all kinds and medicines and poisons in equal amounts. They are rumoured to be slave-traders, dealing with the Black River Society and the Tuuma Cormayr in hapless souls. The Moa-Ruaki and the people of the Necklace of Plenty islands fear the arrival of the ptorac's lemon-sailed galleys as raiders and slave-takers, carrying off the able-bodied to an unknown fate. Throughout the lands of Conclave, the ptorac are feared, often hated, but also tolerated for the trade items they bring.

Physically, the ptorac appear human... at first glance. They like to dress in brightly-coloured, loose-fitting garments, pantaloon trousers or flowing robes, and most ptorac traders wear large turbans. There is, however, the touch of something alien about most ptorac, but this is only ever noticed out of the corner of the eye, or glimpsed in shadowy conditions. Perhaps their eyes suddenly appear with the golden sclera and slit pupil of a snake, perhaps a forked tongue flickers from the corner of their mouth, or sometimes something seems to move beneath their turban. These details are fleeting. A second look, and the ptorac looks human again.

The ptorac come from islands to the north and east of Perfection, the central continent. They are rumoured to be connected to the mysterious Ssth-Gar, a reptilian race about which even less is known that the ptorac. They are said to worship snakes, or lizards, or a dragon-god. Some say that the ptorac are an early stage of the ssth-gar, and that they become more reptilian through strange rituals. Others say that the ssth-gar created the ptorac to be their ambassadors to the world outside their islands. And some say that the ptorac have nothing to do with the ssth-gar except for trading with them the same as everyone else. There are numerous and lurid rumours about what happens to the unfortunates sold to a ptorac galley, but none have ever been seen again.

Ptorac, Medium Humanoid (Reptilian)
Hit Dice: 1d8 (4 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+1 Dex, +1 shield, +2 leather armour), touch 11, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
Attack: Scimitar +2 melee (1d6+1) or dagger +2 melee (1d4+1 plus poison) or shortbow +2 ranged (1d6)
Full Attack: Scimitar +2 melee (1d6+1) or dagger +2 melee (1d4+1 plus poison) or shortbow +2 ranged (1d6)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison use
SQ Darkvision 60.ft, immunities (+2 to saves against sleep and paralysis), serpent empathy
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +1, Will -1
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 9, Cha 6
Skills: Bluff +0, Climb +3, Intimidate +4, Jump +3, Sense Motive +1, Swim +5
Feats: Combat Expertise
Environment: Any Sub-Tropical
Organization: Trading group (2-4) or galley crew (10-30)
Challenge Rating: 1
Advancement: By character class

Combat: Ptorac are not brave warriors. They prefer to use missile fire and poison to remove foes, and will try to evade strong opponents. When they have the upper hand (usually against unarmed opponents), ptorac employ a range of non-lethal weapons to capture rather than kill.

Immunities (Ex): Ptorac enjoy a +2 racial bonus to all saving throws against sleep and paralysis effects.

Poison Use (Ex): Ptorac are experts at the use of poison, and never risk poisoning themselves with poisoned weapons. The ptorac warrior given here has treated its weapons with black adder venom (Injury, DC 11, 1d6 Con primary and secondary).

Serpent Empathy (Su): Ptorac have an ability to communicate with serpents, similar to a ranger's wild empathy ability. The bonus is the ptorac's character level plus Charisma modifier. If a ptorac has levels of ranger, he gains a +2 bonus to his wild empathy checks against serpents.

Skills: Ptorac have a +2 racial bonus to Bluff, Intimidate and Sense Motive checks.

Ability Scores: Ptorac have the following modifiers the their ability scores: Intelligence +2, Charisma -2. The ptorac warrior given above had the following scores before adjustment: Str 12, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 9, Cha 8

Ptorac Characters
Ptorac possess the following racial traits:

  • +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma.
  • Medium Size.
  • Reptilian subtype.
  • A ptorac's land-based speed is 30 ft.
  • Darkvision 60 ft.
  • +2 racial bonus to saving throws against sleep and paralysis.
  • +2 racial bonus to the following skills: Bluff, Intimidate, Sense Motive.
  • Poison use: Ptorac are experts at the use of poison, and never risk poisoning themselves with poisoned weapons
  • Serpent Empathy: Ptorac have an ability to communicate with serpents, similar to a ranger's wild empathy ability. The bonus is the ptorac's character level plus Charisma modifier. If a ptorac has levels of ranger, he gains a +2 bonus to his wild empathy checks against serpents.
  • Automatic Languages: Draconic

Using the Ptorac
The ptorac are mysterious traders and slavers. They are tolerated as long as they don't break any local laws, for the magic and medicines that they trade are highly valued. It helps that they also seem to be quite rich in gold as well. Adventures or campaigns involving the ptorac will usually entail rescuing slaves and chases across mysterious tropical islands ruled by cruel reptilian masters.

The majority of ptorac are envoys, proxies and servitors of the mysterious Ssth-gar, a reputedly reptilian race from islands to the north and east of Perfection. The ptorac worship the ssth-gar dragon/god known as Ma-Coer, and through a series of rituals known as the ptaca, or Rite of Ascension, they hope to become ssth-gar and ultimately attain the power of Ma-Coer. Some people theorise that the ptorac were once humans who followed these rites, but they now seem to be a separate race. It is unknown if all ssth-gar were once ptorac who underwent the ptaca, or if they too are a separate race.

There are elements of ptorac society who dislike this servitude to, and adulation of, the ssth-gar. Some see the ptaca as little more than a pyramid scheme, and realise that Ma-Coer and the other upper tiers would never allow the lower tiers to gain their kind of power. Secretly, these ptorac worship a mysterious demonic entity, which may be an aspect of Vuul. Many recognise that this entity is no more likely to share power than Ma-Coer, but even so they gain power more quickly through its worship.

Other ptorac are more peaceably aligned, and not interested in attaining god-like powers. These Ssatepta, or Renouncers, harken to the early days of the ptorac race, before they became an arm of the ssth-gar. They worship an entity known as the Earth Serpent and seek peaceful relations with other races. The Renouncers have the same skill with potions and poisons as the other ptorac, but they prefer to work on curing rather than harming.

Ptorac Racial Levels
Ptorac can take a few levels in the "ptorac" class to make them more exemplary of their race. Although this is sometimes seen as the first steps of the ptaca, even Renouncers can take these levels.

Ptorac LevelBase AttackFortitudeReflexWillSpecial
1+0+0+2+2+1 Dex, spell-like abilities, +1 spell-casting level
2+1+0+3+3+1 Int, spell-like abilities, +1 spell-casting level
3+1+1+3+3+1 Dex, spell-like abilities, +1 natural armour bonus, +1 spell-casting level
Hit Die: d8
Skill points: 4 + Int bonus per level, x4 if first character level
Class Skills: Concentration, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Knowledge (any), Listen, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, Use Magic Device.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Each level of ptorac grants proficiency in one of the following weapons: bolas, blowgun, dagger, dart-spitter, mancatcher, needle-knife, serpent-tooth ring, whip. The ptorac may choose a new weapon at each level. Levels of the ptorac 'class' grant no armour or shield proficiency.

Spell-Like Abilities: A ptorac gains a number of spell-like abilities per level of ptorac. Caster level is equivalent to character level, and the save DC is Int-based.

1st level: 1/day - darkness, hypnotism.
2nd level: 1/day - charm person, cause fear.
3rd level: 1/day - enthrall, see invisibility.

Ptorac levels stack with levels of an existing spell-casting class for the purposes of determining caster level for spells. They do not provide extra spells or spell slots. If the character has more than one spell-casting class, these levels stack with the highest.

Ptorac Weapons
The ptorac employ a selection of weapons seldom encountered elsewhere. As well as slaving weaponry such as the bolas and whip, they have a few special weapons of their own creation.

CostDamage (M)CriticalRange IncrementWeightType
Simple Weapons
Blowgun1gp (100 yen)1x210 ft.1 lb.P
Blowgun Needle (20)1gp (100 yen)---**P
Exotic Weapons
Needleknife4gp (400 yen)1d4x3-1 lb.P
Serpent-Tooth Ring5 gp (500 yen)1x2-**P
Mancatcher8gp (800 yen)1d4 nonlethalx2-8 lb.B
Dart-Spitter400 gp (40,000 yen)1d619-20/x270 ft.1 lb.P
** Negligible weight.

Dart-Spitter: The ssth-gar are adept at creating devices from living creatures. The dart-spitter is the only one commonly found in the hands of the ptorac. It is never sold, the price given above represents the typical value for one taken from a dead ptorac. The dartspitter resembles a snake-like creature that entwines around the user's forearm. It fires a tooth-like dart in response to a subtle signal from the user. Because the dart-spitter is able to use its own senses as well as those of the user, it grants a +1 equipment bonus to attack rolls. A dart-spitter can be used to make iterative attacks by users with a +6 or greater base attack bonus. A dart-spitter can hold up to 24 darts in a sac-like organ, and can regenerate one dart per hour, provided it is fed and watered.

Upkeep for a dart-spitter costs 1 sp (10 yen) per day, and a dart-spitter will die in 1d4 days if not fed. It will not regenerate darts on a day that it is not fed. Some dart-spitters come with poison glands. These glands provide enough poison to coat 6 darts per day, and cost double the value for a dose of whatever poison they contain.

Mancatcher: A pair of grasping jaws on a pole-arm, the mancatcher is designed to entrap, not to wound. The damage given above is if it is used as a crude club. On a successful hit, the user may automatically make a grapple attempt against his opponent, and on subsequent rounds may perform any grapple maneuvre as if he were engaged in the grapple himself. He may also attempt to drag his opponent to the ground, as if making a trip attack. Mancatchers are only useful against Medium or Small opponents. They have reach, and may not be used against opponents in adjacent squares.

Needleknife: The ptorac needleknife has two stilleto-thin blades with a broad gap between them. It is used as a thrusting weapon, commonly poisoned, and also provides a +2 bonus to attempts to disarm an opponent whilst wielding one. Some needleknives are tipped with obsidian rather than the finely-crafted ssth-gar steel. These are designed to break off in an opponent and further discomfort them. This occurs automatically on a critical hit, or on a successful DC 12 Strength check following a successful hit. A broken needleknife is fairly useless, reverting to 1d3 damage and a x2 critical multiplier, but an opponent with the tip broken off inside them suffers a further point of damage each round that they perform anything other than a single move or move-equivalent action. Removing a needlknife point requires a successful DC 15 Heal check.

Serpent-Tooth Ring: A simple ring, with a hidden needle, used for delivering poison. A serpent -tooth ring only requires a touch attack to successfully use, and holds one dose of a chosen poison.

Ptorac Trader
Ptorac Exp5/Ptorac3: CR 5; Medium Humanoid (Reptilian); AL NE
Abilities Str 8 (-1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 9 (-1), Int 15 (+2), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 13 (+1).

Initiative +1; Speed 30 ft.
Armour Class 15 (+1 Dex, +1 natural armour, +3 bracers of armour) touch 11, flat-footed 14
Saves Fortitude +1, Reflex +5, Will +7
Hit Dice 5d6+3d8-8; hit points 23

Base Attack/Grapple +4/+3
Melee Needleknife +3 (1d4-1 plus poison, crit. x3 )
Melee Serpent-tooth ring +3 touch (1 plus poison)
Missile Bolas +5 (1d4-1, 10 ft.)
Special Attacks Poison use
Special Qualities Darkvision 60.ft, immunities (+2 to saves against sleep and paralysis), serpent empathy +9, spell-like abilities

Skills: Appraise +10, Bluff +14, Decipher Script +4, Diplomacy +14, Forgery +4, Hide +6*, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (geography) +10, Knowledge (local) +10, Listen +3, Sense Motive +13, Spot +3, Use Magic Device +7
Feats: Negotiator, Persuasive, Skill Focus (bluff)
Languages: Draconic, High Imperial, Low Imperial, Moa-Ruaki
Possessions: +3 Bracers of armour, needleknife, serpent-tooth ring, bolas, vial of dragon bile, vial of blue whinnis, ornate robes, ssth-gar cloak.

Spell-like Abilities (Sp): 1/day - cause fear (Will DC 13), charm person (Will DC 13), darkness, enthrall (Will DC 14), hypnotism (Will DC 13), see invisibility. CL 8th.

A ssth-gar cloak is, effectively, a cloak of elvenkind in a world where there are no elves. The ssth-gar also make boots. The ssth-gar trader usually uses blue whinnis on its serpent-tooth ring, and dragon bile on its needleknife.

Ptorac Religions

Ma-Coer, The True Way. A self-actualised draconic god of the ssth-gar, Ma-Coer is held as the ideal for ptorac to try to attain. His religion is a mystery cult, imparting little of its actual teachings to acolytes but holding out the promise of greater power as one moves through the ranks. Few ptorac clerics of Ma-Coer surpass 5th or 6th level. Ma-Coer offers the domains of Charm, Magic, Scalykind and Water. Clerics of Ma-Coer usually wield a needleknife. Ma-Coer is usually represented as a dragon's eye.

Shai-Tar, The One Who Will Lead. A hidden cult amongst the ptorac who follow Ma-Coer, this entity promises the attainment of power without the intercession of the ssth-gar, a faster method than the empty promises of Ma-Coer. Worship of Shai-Tar is punishable by death in ssth-gar society. As with Ma-Coer, there are little in the way of tenets or mythology, just the simple appeasement of a powerful being for a taste of that power in return. Shai-Tar offers the domains of Fire, Nobility, Strength and Trickery. Its clerics also use the needleknife, but Shai-Tarites prefer the obsidian tipped variety. Shai-Tar is rarely depicted, although fiery symbolism, or a fist wreathed in flames, are sometimes employed. If you have access to the Book of Vile Darkness, some followers of Shai-Tar may take levels of the Disciple of Mephistopholes or Thrall of Graz'zt prestige classes. The fact that one is a devil and the other a demon makes no difference in Conclave where evil all has the same root - the Netherworld. Whether Shai-Tar is an aspect of these beings that has entered Conclave, or whether it is a simple matter of similar mechanics is a mystery for the GM to decide.

Teth-Xar, The Earth Serpent. Worshipped by the atavistic Ssatepta, the Earth Serpent is a reconstructed religion based on ancient memories of a cthonic proto-deity. The Earth Serpent represents the power of the land, of life, of death and renewal. Teth-Xar worship is similarly outlawed under pain of death in ssth-gar society, and most of the ssatepta live in secret colonies far from ssth-gar lands. The Earth Serpent offers the domains of Earth, Healing, Knowledge and Protection. Its followers use no weapons, but some employ the quarterstaff as the tool of a mendicant priest. It is usually depicted as a serpent swallowing its tail, striped in the colours of the rainbow.

The Saman
The saman are brute servitors created by the ssth-gar life-sculptors. Sometimes they accompany ptorac as bodyguards or enforcers, and they are often used to crew the black-hulled galleys of ptorac slavers. Centuries of cultural indoctrination have given the saman unshakeable loyalty to the ptorac and the ssth-gar. They use standard lizardfolk stats, and their scales are black and orange mottled. The ssth-gar find them a great delicacy.
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