Race Option: Monkey

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April 8, 2016 by dlnsctt

Swinging from branches and vines, a small furry Monkey with a scroll gripped in one rear paw howls his greeting and return greetings of hoots and ululation echo from the massive trunks of ancient trees in return. The sound of activity – boards being nailed together in the canopy, nuts and fruits being harvested, Monkey children going to school. The messenger is greeted warmly in the vertical city, deep in the forest. Walkways span the distance between platforms high in the trees.

A shaggy orange shape slips through the underbrush, gathering sacred leaves that have fallen from the immense tree he worships as a god. He smells them – the tree has been dying for months now. He slips them into his bag and begins shaking his staff and incanting, alone in the forest primeval.

Sacred Tricksters

Legends tell of the Monkey people, chosen by their gods from amongst their fellows to have the power of speech and thought. They eschew the societal conventions of humans and other races and are known as jokers. This is charming when a Monkey steals a hat off of your head and makes you answer a riddle before giving it back, but it’s significantly less charming when a Monkey steals a heavily guarded jade scepter and throws it in a refuse pit simply because they thought it would be funny to see you dig around in the garbage for it.

A People Divided

Monkeys are sharply divided along racial lines: the Macaque people, and the Orangutan people. The macaques are highly social, preferring to live together in cities built on platforms attached to trees. Skyways connect the platforms just as social bonds tie the macaque people to one another. The macaques are fond of jokes and are most of the source of the Monkeys reputation as tricksters. The orangutans, on the other hand, prefer to live the solitary life. Mother orangutans raise their young until maturity, and then leave them. In fact, in orangutan culture it would be considered highly insulting if she stayed, implying that they couldn’t fend for themselves. Nevertheless, they pass on much ancient wisdom to their children, as their is a rich oral tradition among the orangutans. Curiously, orangutans don’t seem to feel the same antipathy towards other species as much as their own. It is not uncommon to see a lone orangutan living in a village of macaques or humans.

Leaving the Forest

Monkeys join the adventuring life either out of necessity, or wanderlust. Many Monkeys are simply curious and want to know more about the outside world. Some want to prove their strength. Some of them feel the need to protect their community or their forest from outside invaders or magical blights.

Monkey Traits

Your Monkey character has certain traits in common with all other Monkeys.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.

Age. A Monkey reaches adulthood by the age of 15 and rarely live longer than 75.

Alignment. Monkeys are almost always chaotic, though they rarely turn to evil. The closest they get is Chaotic Selfish.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Languages. Monkeys can speak, read, and write Common and Monkey. The Monkey language sounds to the casual ear like the howls and hoots of a common monkey. They typically write on treated tree bark or leaves, which are rolled into scrolls.

Paws. Your two rear paws are as dexterous as hands. You may use one of your paws as a hand, allowing you to make use of an extra piece of equipment: you can wield a weapon, shield and torch simultaneously, make item interactions or load a weapon with the loading quality while your hands are full.  When you use the attack action, you may use a bonus action to attack once each with a light weapon in your off-hand and rear paw, but do not add your ability score to the damage with either weapon and the paw attack is made at disadvantage. If you take damage while using a paw in this way, make a dexterity check with a DC equal to the damage you just took. On a fail, you drop all of your wielded items and fall prone.

Monkey Climbing. A life in the forest and your natural gifts have given you a remarkable facility with climbing. This functions as the spell Spider Climb, except that you may not move along upside down surfaces unless they have vines, tree branches, or some other rope-like surface. In addition, you may not use the Paws feature (above) while climbing.

Subrace. There are two Monkey subraces, Orangutans and Macaques. Choose one of these subraces.

Orangutan

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2.

Language of the Forest. You speak Druidic, even if you are not a Druid. You learn one cantrip of your choice from the Druid spell list.

Size. Your size is Medium.

Macaque

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2.

Quickness. Your AC increases by 1 when using light armor, unarmored defense, mage armor or no armor.

Size. Your size is Small.

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