The Zhurl are an ancient people, possibly one of the oldest in all the known world. Their way of life has remained relatively unchanged for millennia, and they are often considered backwards and primitive by other races. The Zhurl are content to let the others continue with this assumption. Within their ancient practices and solemn demeanor are potent magic and wisdom handed down through generations without count.
They are most common to the islands of the West, where they erect their settlements along the coasts and in the shallow waters of the shore.
The Zhurl are physiologically distinct from most other humanoids, and share many traits in common with nautilus, octopi, and other cephalopods. They are large and muscular, with adults weighing an average of 400lbs and stretching nearly 9ft in length, most of which is their tail-like lower trunk. They are an hermaphroditic race,with each member capable of both siring and bearing offspring. Their flesh is powerfully muscular, and has a rubbery texture. This musculature, along with a cartilaginous skeleton , supports their mass on land and in water. Their fore limbs are long tentacle-like arms, terminating in grasping appendages that serve as fingers. Additionally, their forelimbs are dotted with small suction cups to aid their grip. Their skin secretes a layer of slippery mucus that keeps their flesh moist and aids their movement upon land.
Their heads have a beaked maw, with a bifurcated lower jaw and large flat teeth capable of grinding matter into pulp. Their most distinctive feature are the ridged shells that protect their backs, with lighter plating protecting the torso and skull. Their face plating is another distinguishing feature, with the structure of the plate being unique to each individual. Coloration varies, with most Zhurl having dark flesh in hues of green, violet and blue, patterned with stripes or mottled with spots in white or black. Zhurl shells are typically lighter colors with similar hues.
The Zhurl are a nocturnal race, preferring the dark of night to the glare of day. They are omnivorous, capable of eating most animal and plant matter, whether fresh or spoiled. As such, the Zhurl have limited sense of taste, but relatively acute hearing and tactile senses.
Zhurl only mate under the full moon during the spring and summer, with each participant impregnating the other. Zhurl gestation is typically 6 months, after which the Zhurl lays clutch of 1-4 eggs. The eggs much must keep moist (preferably in wet sand) for an additional 3 months before they hatch. Zhurl raise their hatching communally, and it is rare for a Zhurl to know (or care) who his biological parents are. Young Zhurl mature somewhat slowly. While they are considered self sufficient within only 5 years, they don’t achieve full adulthood until their 20th year.
The central social construct of Zhurl society is the colony. A colony is a large gathering of Zhurl, typically between 300 to 10,000 or more individuals. The Zhurl have an intensely communal society, and all members are expected to contribute to the welfare of the group. Any who cannot meaningfully contribute are cast out. This practice normally applies to criminals, but is often extended to those left infirm by injuries or disease. Certain communities prefer ritual cannibalism rather than exile. Leadership positions are usually held by a middle aged Zhurl that has demonstrated great leadership capability, with previous leaders than have grown too old advising them.
The Zhurl have a great respect for history, and many Zhurl keep journals written upon stone, driftwood, or sharkskin. A Colonies archives of event can reach back generations and the Keeper of Records is a sacred tradition.
The Zhurl are a generally reclusive people, rarely meddling in the affairs of other races. Most Zhurl conflicts are against rival Zhurl colonies. These skirmishes can become bloody feuds that linger on for years at a time. They also clash with hostile races that share the same territories (such as the Karkinoi, Sahuagin, and Skum). They have a special hatred for Aboleths, and the races have been enemies since antiquity.
The get along favorably with the Alunir, but treat nearly every other race with polite indifference.
Alignment & Religion
The Zhurl have a reverence for nature, both in its country and in its occasional cruelties, making them typically neutral. Their sense of tradition and order give them a slight preference for law as well. While there are a good number of evil Zhurl, only those who cannot keep their tendencies in check are frequently exiled.
The Zhurl are deeply spiritual, worshiping earth and ocean spirits, but revering Ataralu as their chief deity.
Zhurl that have chosen the life of adventure are commonly warriors with a sense of wanderlust. Such Zhurl are typically Fighters, Monks, or Rangers. Zhurl take naturally to worship, and most Zhurl spell-casters are Clerics, Druids, or Oracles. While not normally inclined to arcane magic, some Zhurl become potent Sorcerers (Usually of the Earth or Water Elemental Bloodline) or Witches. Zhurl hold a special place of reverence for Bards, who are the Keepers of Records and entrusted with preserving the extensive history of their people.
+ 4 Strength, -2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma; The Zhurl are remarkable strong, but they are slow moving and introverted.
Medium Size Humanoid (Zhurl, Aquatic)
Speed: Zhurl base land speed is 20ft. Zhurl base swim speed is 30ft.
Low-Light Vision: Zhurl can see twice as far as a race with normal vision in conditions of dim light
Amphibious: Zhurl are amphibious and can breathe both air and water.
Crushing Arms: Zhurl have muscular tentacle-like arms and gain a + 2 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to grapple or trip an opponent.
Eat Anything: Zhurl can easily digest meat and vegetation too decomposed for other races to stomach. Zhurl gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease, ingested poisons, and becoming nauseated or sickened.
Legless: Zhurl have no legs, and therefore cannot be tripped, but cannot equip items that require the boots slot.
Shell: Zhurl grow a heavy shell that covers their backs, with lighter plates that protect their heads and torsos. This grants the Zhurl a +3 Natural Armor bonus.
Stature: Whenever a Zhurl is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for a Combat Maneuver Bonus or Combat Maneuver Defense (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the Zhurl is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him. A Zhurl is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature’s special attacks based on size (such as grab or swallow whole) can affect him. In addition, the attack roll penalty for using weapons too large for their size is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 0).
Unusual Build: Zhurl must purchase armor (but not weapons or equipment) as though they were one size category larger.
Water Dependent: Zhurl weaken gradually while away from water. Zhurl take 1d4 points of Constitution damage each day they go without spending at least 1 hour a day completely submerged in salt or fresh water. Drinking at least 3 gallons of water a day also satisfies this requirement.
Aging Effects: Adult 20 Middle Age 50 Old 75 Venerable 100 Maximum 100+5d20
Languages: Zhurl begin play speaking Zurlog and and one other language (typically Aluam or Western). Zhurl with high intelligence scores can choose from the following; Aboleth, Aquan, Draconic .
Alternative Racial Traits
•Crushing Blow: Zhurl with this ability use their powerful limbs to strike rather than constrict. The Zhurl gains a natural Slam attack that deals 1d6 damage. This is considered a primary natural attack. This replaces Crushing Arms.
•Deepsight: The eyes of the Zhurl are adapted to deeper and darker waters. The Zhurl receives Darkvision to 60ft, but are dazzled as long as they remain in an area of bright light. This replaces low-light vision.
•Ocean Camouflage: The Zhurl can alter his skin color and texture to blend in with watery environments. The grants the Zhurl a +4 racial bonus to Stealth in Swamp or Water terrain. This replaces Eat Anything.