Bisoni are strong, buffalo-like mercenaries whose entire lives are based around honor and discipline. They are proud warriors who revel in battle, regardless of the cause. A typical bisoni towers at least 9 feet in height, with broad shoulders and thick limbs to match, as well as a powerful pair of horns atop their wide heads.
Bisoni are found serving aboard vessels of nearly any race: As long as the pay is good and battle plentiful, most bisoni are happy simply to obey orders. That said, they won’t long serve a master who doesn’t treat them with respect, and most bisoni will speak up in defense of others who are being treated unfairly.
- Physical Description
- Alignment and Religion
- Standard Racial Traits
- Racial Traits
- Alternate Racial Traits
- Racial Subtypes
- Racial Archetypes
- New Racial Rules
- Bisoni Vital Statistics
- Bisoni Equipment
Bisoni are tall, hulking humanoids with strongly bovine features, including horns, a flat snout, and cloven hooves on their feet. They walk upright and have front appendages as dextrous as human hands, but can drop to all fours during a charge or run as well.
Their horns can be straight, kinked, or spiral shaped. Male bisoni are generally larger than females, though any bisoni towers over the average human. Bisoni are well-known for not keeping many possessions, so one will often find a bisoni wearing little more than a loincloth and a snarl.
Other races know bisoni only as deadly and bloodthirsty mercenaries available to the highest bidder, which suits most bisoni just fine. This also means that most bisoni remain neutral in disputes between planets or races, and are therefore tolerated across the galaxy with little complaint, and a bisoni will often be asked to stand guard over business transactions in the more lawless regions of the galaxy. More sociable bisoni often find themselves being hired as diplomatic couriers between warring races, and were the originators of the term “don’t gut the messenger”.
Alignment and Religion
Bisoni generally sway toward lawful, following their own code of ethics, which can sometimes be detrimental to their allies, but they represent a diverse spectrum of religious and spiritual belief systems. Many are drawn to Israfel thanks to the tendency of his worshippers to remove heads with greataxes, while a select few feel a kinship with Shamash as they take universe-spanning trips through the void often with the god of long journeys on their side.
Bisoni are often hired to go on adventures for others, but some find the pull of the unknown to be enough, and step out on their own to learn secrets or find ancient treasures. Bisoni adventurers often take on melee roles in adventuring parties thanks to their brute strength, but may also find a calling as a pilot or trapsetter. Bisoni spellcasters are rare, but those who follow such pursuits generally find ways around their own natural magical resistance.
Male Names: Argat, Cregmar, Dremtak, Parmat, Turglam.
Female Names: Elsma, Fandel, Mevma, Neeral, Vendal.
Standard Racial Traits
Racial Hit Points: 8 HP
Size and Type: Bisoni are Large humanoids with the bisoni subtype.
Battle Horns: Bisoni are always considered armed. They can deal 1d6 lethal damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn’t count as archaic. Bisoni gain a unique weapon specialization with their battle horns at 3rd level, allowing them to add 1–1/2 × their character level to their damage rolls for their natural weapons (instead of just adding their character level, as usual).
Honorbound: Bisoni are noble creatures, honor and duty driven. A bisoni suffers a -2 morale penalty to attacks, skill checks and saving throws if he ever willingly commits an act which violates his personal code of honor (though this personal code can vary widely, see examples below). This penalty is permanent until the character is able to redeem himself, such as through an atonement spell.
A bisoni PC must work with his or her GM to define this code of honor at character creation.
Powerful Charge: When a bisoni charges and attacks with its battle horns, it deals an additional 1d6 points of damage, and adds 1-1/2 x Strength bonus instead of the usual 1x Strength bonus.
Stubborn Spell Resistance: Bisoni are naturally resistant to magic. A bisoni gains spell resistance equal to 6 + their character level.
However, a bisoni cannot voluntarily lower its spell resistance, even for beneficial magic such as healing. The bisoni spell resistance includes even magic items they wear or use. Any magic item has a 10% chance of simply not functioning when activated by a bisoni. If it does not function on the first activation, that bisoni is never able to use it.
Thick Hide: Bisoni have unusually thick hides, granting them a +3 racial bonus on their kinetic armor class.
Languages: Bisoni begin play speaking Common and Bisoni. Bisoni with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following additional languages: Dwarven, Elven, and Orc
Playing an Bisoni
- Rush into problems without thinking first, trusting to your muscles to see you through.
- See everyone else as honorless, and unable to hold to a strict code of life.
- Feel conspicuous as you tower over most other creatures, and have a problem getting comfortable in most quarters, as you are simply too big.
Other Races Probably…
- Think of you as a barbaric throwback.
- Don’t believe that you can stick to a code of honor in the modern age, and consider it to be an outdated concept.
- Feel intimidated when you stand next to them, due to your sheer size.
Sample Honorbound Codes
Bisoni codes of honor, while inflexible once chosen, can vary widely. Below are a few example codes which a bisoni may adopt. These are by no means an exhaustive list, and it is important to work with your GM in order to determine a code you may respond with statements such as, “I prefer to not answer that question.” or “Answering that question would betray the trust of a friend.” Code of Just Combat: You shall not face a foe that does not stand upon equal (or greater) footing with you. You will not face a PC or NPC with a CR below your level, and you will not attack creatures that are 4 or more CR below your level. For characters or monsters with CR greater than your character level, you will not accept any assistance of any kind (including spells or items that enhance your combat abilities) from other characters unless their CR is 4 or more greater than your character level. Should your opponent drop or otherwise lose his weapon, you will allow him to regain it before continuing the combat, or you will fight them unarmed. If your opponent has natural weapons, such as claws or fangs, you may use a weapon in combat as normal.
Code of Reparation: Your honor prevents you from leaving those in need without your assistance if you are responsible in any way for their misfortune. Should you encounter any NPC that is disadvantaged in any way by any of your actions (or inaction, such as failing to rescue the captain’s daughter, or failing to deliver a shipment of food to a starving colony), you must spend at least 25% of your time and/or resources toward helping those NPCs to recover from that misfortune. This can include avenging the loss of someone you failed to save, working to pay for and build homes for the homeless in your down-time without receiving any compensation, seeking the favor of gods to right an injustice that is beyond your control, or spending part of your wealth to provide critical resources (such as medicine or food) to a failing colony.
Code of Vengeance: When you or one of your allies are physically harmed and the creature who caused that harm is not defeated, you will not allow that slight to be left unpunished. You must which makes sense for your bisoni character.
Code of Fair Claim: To the victor go the spoils, but it is important to respect the claim of others.
You shall not take unattended items, or items owned by another, unless you can definitively identify that item’s real owner and best that owner in combat. If the owner of an item is defeated by you or by an ally within 90 feet, or if the owner offers the item freely, you may claim it as a spoil of victory. You may borrow items without the owner’s knowledge only in order to complete a specific task, and the items must be returned promptly after that task is complete, along with a generous rental fee of 5% of the item’s cost per day.
Code of Filial Piety: You respect your elders, parents, superiors, and ancestors, not only for their wisdom, but for their experience and knowledge. Provided that orders given to you by your parents, family elders, or superiors within an organization that you belong to (such as the Infinite Star Legion or the Red Tang Spice Guild) are not suicidal in nature, do not immediately put you in harm’s way, or do not conflict with previously standing orders given to you by someone with greater authority within the hierarchy, you must follow those orders to the letter. Additionally, you may not act in a fashion that brings shame upon your family or any organization that you belong to, such as misrepresenting that organization, failing to fulfill a promise, failing to support your family or peers within your organization, or failing to act to bring an errant member of your family or organization to justice for their misdeeds.
Code of Forthright Speech: You shall never deliberately or intentionally lie, nor shall you omit relevant facts from any statements that you make that could mislead another to believe something that is not entirely true. You shall not be evasive with your answers when asked questions, though continue to attack that creature at least once per round until you have successfully dealt damage (either lethal or nonlethal) to them. If the target is not within reach of your weapons, you must move toward them. If the target escapes from your vengeance, you must attempt to follow them unless some set of circumstances physically prevents you from doing so.
Alternate Racial Traits
The following racial traits may be selected instead of the standard bisoni racial traits. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.
Magic-Tolerant: Some bisoni have been raised around the study of magic, and have learned to tolerate magical energies better than their brethren. These bisoni have no natural spell resistance, but do not have the difficulty using magical items that their cousins do.
This trait replaces stubborn spell resistance.
You can combine various alternate racial traits to create bisoni subraces or variant races, such as the following.
Some bisoni are significantly smaller than the majority of their large, brutish cousins.
These runts are Medium-sized, do not gain the powerful charge racial trait, and have the following racial traits instead: +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence: Runt bisoni lack the raw brute strength of their cousins, but do not suffer from their clumsiness, and are generally more hardy as well.
Size and Type: Runts are Medium sized humanoids with the bisoni subtype.
Self-Defense Training: Runt bisoni grow up constantly aware that the larger members of their race will push them around. They gain a +4 racial bonus to EAC against other bisoni.
Hardy: Runt bisoni are invariably less cautious than their kin, always feeling the need to prove themselves in ways other than brute strength. As a consequence, they are exposed to dangers during youth that give them some limited protections later in life. Runt bisoni gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities.
While bisoni raised within their own culture are bound by honor and duty, some who grow up on vessels, surrounded by less honorable vagabonds, find the embrace of chaos and mayhem to be particularly delicious. These bisoni will often shirk the law and any perceived duties simply for the fun of getting away with it, and have no concept of being held to honorable actions, standards, or codes. As a result, voidblooded bisoni do not gain the honorbound or thick hide, and have the following racial traits instead:
Void Scavenger: Bisoni who grow up on a spacefaring vessel never miss an opportunity to use whatever they have on hand to accomplish their goals. They gain a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks to find hidden objects (including traps and secret doors). Further, they don’t take the -2 on Engineering checks when you do not have an engineering kit available.
Bonus Feat: Runt bisoni often need to learn life’s harsh lessons early in their lives to make themselves useful to those around them, and often begin training at an earlier age than most other bisoni. A runt bisoni selects one extra feat at 1st level.
The following racial archetypes are available to bisoni.
Tauric Shinobi (Soldier Archetype)
The honorable nature of your upbringing has called you to follow the path of honor, and you’ve learned to tame your inner beast and focus its energy into devastating attacks.
Special: A Tauric Shinobi must take the Blitz fighting style as their primary fighting style.
Charging Slice: A tauren shinobi is a master of his own inertia, turning reckless charges into deadly and precise attacks. When a tauren shinobi charges, he gains an additional +2 to his attack rolls during the charge, and if he confirms a critical hit as part of the charge action, he deals additional damage equal to his tauric shinobi level.
This ability replaces the primary style technique gained at level 1.
Seeing Red: A tauren shinobi is able to harness the chaotic anger of his tauren ancestors and direct it at his enemies with precision.
They can rage for a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + Constitution modifier. For each level after 1st, the tauric shinobi can rage for 2 additional rounds per day. Temporary increases to Constitution do not increase the total number of rounds that a tauric shinobi can rage per day.
A tauric shinobi can enter a rage as a free action.
The total number of rounds of rage per day is renewed after resting for 8 hours, although these hours need not be consecutive.
While in a rage, a tauric shinobi gains a +2 bonus on melee attack rolls, melee damage rolls, thrown weapon damage rolls, and Will saving throws. In addition, she takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class. She also gains 2 temporary hit points per level. These temporary hit points are lost first when a character takes damage, disappear when the rage ends, and are not replenished if the tauric shinobi enters a rage again within 1 minute of her previous rage. While in a rage, a tauric shinobi cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skill (except Athletics, Acrobatics, and Intimidate) or any ability that requires patience or concentration (such as spellcasting).
A tauric shinobi can end her rage as a free action, and is fatigued for 1 minute after a rage ends. A tauric shinobi can’t enter a new rage while fatigued or exhausted, but can otherwise enter a rage multiple times per day. If a tauric shinobi falls unconscious, her rage immediately ends.
This replaces the primary style technique gained at level 5.
Perfect Slice: At 17 level, a tauren shinobi’s focused anger can be used to slice through almost anything. Once per day during a rage, when he makes an attack with a melee weapon, he may ignore 30 hardness or damage reduction of the target (of any type), dealing an additional amount of damage equal to twice his tauric shinobi level. He may instead target a spell effect with this ability, targeting the spell with the effects of a greater dispel magic with a caster level equal to her tauric shinobi level.
This replaces the primary style technique gained at level 17.
New Racial Rules
The following options are available to bisoni.
At the GM’s discretion, other appropriate races may also make use of some of these.
Many bisoni make use of the following feats.
You’re in tune with your herd instincts, allowing you to take advantage of your allies’ distractions to destroy those threatening the herd.
Prerequisite: Bisoni, base attack bonus +10, powerful charge racial trait
Benefit: When an ally within 30 feet of you charges a foe, you may charge the same foe as an immediate action. You must be able to follow all of the normal charge rules. If the triggering ally has either this feat, you may treat that ally’s square as if she were not there for the purposes of determining your line of movement for this charge, though you may not end your movement in your ally’s square.
You’ve learned the age-old bisoni art of cleanly gutting your foes with your razor sharp horns.
Prerequisite: Bisoni, battle horns racial trait
Benefit: When you successfully attack a target with your gore natural attack, the target begins to bleed. Each round, the target takes 1 bleed damage. This bleed damage continues for up to a number of rounds equal to your Strength modifier, or until the target receives magical healing, or succeeds at a Medicine check (DC 15).
When your base attack bonus reaches +5, +10, +15 and +20, the bleed damage inflicted by this ability increases by 1 (to a maximum of bleed 5 at a base attack bonus of +20).
Your resistance to magic is stronger than others of your kind, sometimes to your detriment.
Prerequisite: Bisoni, stubborn spell resistance racial trait, character level 10+
Benefit: Your spell resistance increases to 11 + your character level, but this spell resistance may not be voluntarily lowered for any reason, and the chance that a magic item will fail to function for you increases to 25%.
Your inertia can carry you past your enemies, and in many cases over or through them.
Prerequisite: Bisoni, Improved Combat Maneuver (bull rush), powerful charge racial trait
Benefit: When you successfully attack a target at the end of a charge, you may continue your movement and perform a free bull rush combat maneuver against the target. If you successfully bull rush the target, allies within 30 feet gain a +2 circumstance bonus on attack rolls against the target for 1 minute.
Normal: You must end your movement after a charge.
Bisoni Vital Statistics
|Race||Avg. Height||Avg. Weight||Age of Maturity||Maximum Age|
|Bisoni Male||8-½ – 9-½ ft||420 – 450 lbs||18||8+2d10 years|
|Bisoni Female||8-½ – 10-½ ft.||450 – 490 lbs||18||8+2d10 years|
Bisoni Magic Items
Bisoni prefer magic that is often practical, utilitarian, and simplistic in nature. Bisoni prefer their magic to be easy to use and to have a clear purpose. Overly complex magical items are not common to this direct race. The following magic items were invented by bisoni crafters, and are rarely found outside their close-knit communities.
|Amulet of Reckless Casting||5||4,500||L|
|Snoutring of Foraging||3||3,000||L|
AMULET OF RECKLESS CASTING
Some bisoni spellcasters have found ways to use their own natural proclivities toward reckless abandon to enhance their spellcasting instead of more martial pursuits. Three times per day, when the wearer of this necklace casts a spell with a range of touch, she may charge a target within her movement range as a Swift action, and can attempt to deliver the spell with a single touch attack at the end of the charge. The user must follow all normal rules for when she may charge.
If the user has the ability to deliver touch-range spells through a means of attack other than a touch attack she may make a single attack of that type to deliver the spell at the end of the charge instead.
SNOUT RING OF FORAGING
Bisoni have roots in herd culture and foraging for their food, and these rings can help a bisoni find their lunch much more quickly. While wearing this snoutring, a bisoni gains a +5 circumstance bonus to Survival checks to forage for food, as well as the scent special ability with a range of 30 feet.