Dragonlance

Phaethon

2105



Phaethon
 PhaethonElder
Climate/Terrain:MountainsMountains
Frequency:RareVery rare
Organization:FamilySolitary
Activity Cycle:DayAny
Diet:OmnivoreOmnivore
Intelligence:Very (11-12)Highly (13-14)
Treasure:(I)Nil
Alignment:Lawful neutralLawful neutral
No. Appearing:1-101
Armor Class:3 (8)2 (8)
Movement:12, FI 18 (C)12, FI 18 (B)
Hit Dice:46
THAC0:1715
No. of Attacks:11
Damage/Attack:3d6 or by weapon3d8 or by weapon
Special Attacks:Flame hugFlame hug
Special Defenses:+3 to saving throws+3 to saving throws
Magic Resistance:Nil5%
Size:M (5’ tall)M (6’ tall)
Morale:Steady (11-12)Elite (13-14)
XP Value:270975

In their normal state, phaethons look just like very thin, short half-elves. Their hair color varies, though bright, coppery red is common. Their skin tends to be ruddy and weathered. All phaethons, however, have dark, brown eyes.

The clothing of phaethons is sample and rustic. They commonly wear a plain, waist-length tunic with baggy trousers which are gathered at the ankles. Sandals are worn in summer, replaced by soft boots in colder weather The only really colorful articles of clothing are a brightly colored and embroidered sash which is wound around the waist, and warm, wool caps, which are woven in intricate patterns.

The thing that sets phaethons apart is their ability to instantly sprout a set of magnificent, flaming wings, simply by willing them into existence. With these wings they can soar across their native mountains with the grace of an eagle and the splendor of a phoenix.

Combat: Phaethons are tirelessly vigilant in their home regions and very difficult to catch unawares; all phaethons gain a +1 bonus to their own surprise rolls.

Phaethons are usually armed with a knife and a quarterstaff. If they are expecting trouble, they may bring along spears and bows as well. Leather armor is worn when they leave their settlements, giving them AC 8.

In a one-on-one fight, a phaethon uses its knife and quarterstaff if it has a good chance to win (i.e., if it’s fighting something with only 1 or 2 Hit Dice). Against an opponent with 3 or more Hit Dice, the phaethon ignites its wings and uses them to batter the opponent. The combination of clubbing and burning causes 3d6 points of damage.

Alternatively, the phaethon can try to wrestle with its opponent. A successful attack causes normal wrestling damage (2 points for a phaethon) plus 1d6 points of flame damage. If, however the phaethon achieves a hold that can be maintained from round to round, it automatically inflicts 3d6 points of damage each round, as long as the hold is maintained (opponent can roll a Strength check, with a -2 penalty, every round to break free).

Besides making the phaethon more lethal, the heat and light from the wings improve its AC to 3. Also, while its wings are aflame, it receives a +3 bonus to all saving throws vs. flame or heat attacks of any sort.

Phaethons never attack anyone without a good reason. Strangers nearing the phaethons’ territory arc watched carefully from the first time they are sighted to determine their intentions. If the strangers behave well and treat the mountains with respect, the phaethons do not molest them unless the phaethons are directly threatened. If the strangers are destructive and disruptive, the phaethons still consider the situation carefully before launching any attack. Even if the characters are obviously evil, the phaethons let them pass if they seem destined for some other place. Only if the intruders seem bent on seeking out the phaethons’ home and attacking it or are causing needless destruction in the area do the phaethons consider attacking.

If the phaethons do consider an attack, they will first try to interrogate one of the intruders. A handful of experienced fighters (or one or two elders, if available) sneak into the intruders’ camp at an opportune moment and kidnap one of the intruders. This captive is quickly spirited away to a safe location away from the phaethons’ homes and made to drink a truth draught concocted of locally grown herbs and fermented roots (the formula for this truth draught is known to only a few of the most prestigious phaethons). After drinking the truth draught, the prisoner is questioned regarding the group’s origin, destination, and mission. If the answers to these questions are satisfactory, the prisoner is led back to an area very near his companions and released when the truth draught wears off, he remembers nothing.

If, on the other hand, the prisoner’s answers indicate that the group presents a danger to the phaethons, the prisoner is executed (mercifully) and an ambush prepared for the rest of the group.

Once the decision to attack is made, the phaethons are ruthless and merciless foes. If the phaethons believe that their opponents will carry along wounded comrades rather than abandon them to their fate, the phaethons aim their attacks to wound and incapacitate rather than kill. This burdens the enemy with wounded sodiers, slows them down, and lowers their morale. If the enemy abandons its wounded soldiers, then the phaethons fight only to kill.

In either case, their standard tactic is hit and run. Phaethons hide in rocks and ledges overlooking an area where they expect the enemy to pass. When most of the enemy group has gone by, the phaethons ignite their wings and swoop down on the tail of the column, fighting until each attacker has killed or incapacitated one enemy, and then fly away to safety. The attacking group always leaves one-third of its members posted on the overlooking rocks as a reserve in case a retreat becomes necessary, the phaethons who attacked (and are presumably tired and wounded) flee while the reserve delays pursuers.

It the phaethons believe that they have enough of an edge over their opponents, they may abandon the hit-and-run attack and launch an all-out assault. Even in this case, however, they still leave a reserve in case something goes wrong. If the attack is going well, the reserve may also be ordered to join in the attack and help finish the job.

Habitat/Society: Phaethon society is essentially the same as all other demihuman societies. The basic group is the family, which consists of an adult male, adult female, and a variable number of offspring. The typical family has one to three children.

Phaethons have a predominantly agricultural society. Their farms are built on the steep, terraced slopes of the mountainsides surrounding their homes. They raise grams, fruits, and vegetables, herd sheep and goats, and keep rabbits and chickens. Phaethons work hard and take tremendous pride in their farms and buildings. Their settlements, which consist of a dozen or so family buildings and plots surrounding a central village square, are always well ordered and immaculately clean.

To a phaethon, honesty and truthfulness are more important than any other quality. Lying for any reason is considered a more grievous crime than stealing. But crime of any sort is almost unknown among phaethons. Their devotion to lawfulness and honesty is so strong that many of them have a hard time understanding the concept of willfully committing a crime.

This devotion to honesty extends beyond the spoken word and respect for property. To phaethons, actions really do speak much more loudly than words. A man who lights a fire and then lets it go out through neglect is considered foolish. A man who chops down a tree and then lets it lie is considered a complete loss.

These attitudes cause a deal of friction when phaethons deal with other demihuman races. They are always willing to judge individuals on their own merits rather than the faults or strengths of others but telling even the slightest untruth for any reason permanently blemishes that person’s reputation.

Characters who are sent into the mountains to deal with the phaethons for any reason whatever must be prepared to be scrupulously honest at all times and about all things.

To avoid problems, phaethons customarily do not question each other or outsiders about their personal lives unless they are from the same family. The desire to give an honest answer often conflicts with the need for privacy or the need to not insult friends. Therefore, phaethons do not ask leading questions without first preparing themselves for the worst. For a stranger or an outsider to ask such questions is considered rude at best and a personal challenge at worst

Ecology: Phaethons want nothing more than to live lives of quiet contentment amidst their beloved mountains. They produce no items for trade because they are completely self-sufficient and have no need for imported goods. When the affairs of the outside world impose on the phaethons culture, however, they are ruthless and uncompromising in protecting their land.

Young phaethons learn to fly in the same way they learn to walk; by trial and error. This ability usually develops by the age of five or six.

Phaethons do not spend a great deal of time flying; it is a luxury to them, something to be done when work is finished. Still, on calm summer evenings, groups of them can be seen soaring above the peaks and swooping through the valleys.

Elder Phaethon

The life expectancy of most phaethons is 90 to 100 years. For a reason not even the phaethons understand, some do not die of old age; instead, sometime around their 90th year, they are overcome by a desire to fly toward the sun. They climb, and climb, and climb ever higher until either exhaustion or lack of oxygen or both causes them to pass out. As they plunge back toward Krynn, a marvelous transformation takes place and as they regain their senses, still thousands of feet above ground, they discover that they have metamorphosed into elder phaethons.

Elder phaethons are taller than phaethons, with snow white hair, black pupils, and copper-colored skin. Their flaming wings are brilliant and at least 30 feet from wing tip to wing tip. They can, quite literally, dance in the air.

Combat: Elder phaethons use much the same tactics in combat as normal phaethons, but they are solitary. They rely more on their speed and agility in the air to strike their enemies with multiple passes. They display the same ruthless cunning as normal phaethons.

One or two elder phaethons are often found accompanying groups of normal phaethons that are flying to intercept intruders. The presence of the elder phaethon raises the morale of the normal phaethons by 2.

Habitat/Society: Elder phaethons are solitary. They still know their family and friends, but they have no need or desire to return to them or to their farms. They spend their days soaring through the mountains, scouting for intruders, lost travelers, and anything else that is out of place or unusual. They are invaluable guardians for the phaethon settlements in that little happens in the mountains without their knowledge.

Most of an elder phaethon’s time is spent either in flight or sitting atop a mountain and scanning the world around. A panoramic vista and air beneath their wings seem to be their only concerns.

Ecology: Elder phaethons neither hunt nor gather. Their food requirements are very slight and are met entirely by the inhabitants of the phaethon settlements under their guardianship. The people of these settlements leave food out in the open and, approximately once a week, an elder phaethon stops by to pick up the food and relay any pertinent messages. These visits are always brief and formal.

Elder phaethons have been known to look after villages of humans and demihumans as well as those of normal phaethons, if the humans and demihumans have demonstrated that they are worthy of protection. If the village ever neglects to leave food for the elder phaethon or lies to him in any way, he will forsake that village forever.

However, if a village is under his wing, so to speak, he will defend it with his own life, if necessary.

In the absence of violence, an elder phaethon can live another 150 to 200 years.


Last Modified: June 10, 2010, 12:02:34 GMT

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition


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