Human-shaped, the average bladeling stands about 6 feet tall. The resemblance to humankind ends there. Bladeling eyes glow like translucent chips of glacial ice tinged with purple. Skin and bones protrude in the form of sharp blades of wood and ice and steel, jutting out at all angles; bladelings have no soft flesh. They have blood the color and consistency of oil.
Bladelings are quick to leap into a fray. When entering combat, a bladeling wades in hands first. Striking twice with its metal-encrusted fists, the creature inflicts 1d6 points of damage with each successful attack. Then again, a bladeling might instead wield a weapon of nearly any type. Some bladelings are truly brave. These attack the wielders of the weapons most dangerous to other bladelings first, trying to get a measure of their enemy.
Bladelings are entirely immune to rustiug, acid, corrosive attacks of all types, and normal piercing missiles or bladed weapons. Bladelings are magical beings; their bodies – composed of elements stronger than mere flesh – are resistant to some types of magic. They take only half damage from cold- and fire-based spells. There’s not a whole lot that can hurt the them – and they press that advantage. Magical or bludgeoning weapons inflict full damage against them. Other spells affecting metal will work normally on a bladeling; the heat metal spell, however, causes double damage. Other heat-based spells, unless specifically designed to work on metal, do nothing.
Once per week, a bladeling can create a razor storm. The creature explodes a piece of its outer skin, sending a 5-foot wide hail of blades up to 15 feet forward. The shrapnel attack causes 3d12 points of damage to any within the blast area, though the victims can save vs. breath weapon for half damage. The drawback to this attack is that it weakens the bladeling’s natural armor, reducing it from 2 to 6 in the frontal torso. Any attacks striking this area inflict double damage upon the bladeling; fire- and cold-based spells inflict normal damage if directed at this weak spot. In addition, the bladeling’s magic resistance falls to 5% untll the bladeling has regenerated the lost blades (typically 1d4 days later)
Not much is known about the bladelings, for they discourage any investigation into their lives – harshly. They are highly superstitious, and most are exceedingly xenophobic. Though they are courteous to strangers encountered outside their home, they tend to administer swift death to those who invade their territory. Bladelings can become conjurers, priests or fighters. Female bladelings may become fighter/priests, while males may become fighter/wizard (conjurer) specialists.
Certain bladelings have the ability to call on their unknown gods. These bladelings, usually (but not always) female, can achieve 10th level as priestesses. They are the rulers of bladeling society, guiding it as they see fit.
The bladelings live in Ocanthus, the fourth layer of Acheron, amidst the whirling blades of ice and iron. Their city, Zoronor, lies in the Blood Forest. This pulpy mass of wood (and other less savory, unidentifiable material) protects the residents from the whirling blades that are the main feature of this layer.
Zoronor is the only known bladeling city. Here, bladelings obey their priest-king fanatically, having followed his tenets and gained some measure of security, which they will defend with their lives. The city itself yields litle except assassins and travelers.
Life in Ocanthus is difficult at best. For this reason, bladelings learn to trust in their neighbors and to protect them as well. Though they are prone to internal strife and their priests and priestesses in particular are prey to politics (sometimes to the extent of embroiling parts of the city in their maneuvers), bladelings pull together quickly when faced with outside threats.
Though not originally from Acheron, bladelings have established themselves on the plane and are now considered native. They were nearly wiped out in the first years after their arrival. Rust dragons inhabiting the plane destroyed large numbers of bladelings with their corrosive breath weapons. Through magical experimentation, however, bladelings finally developed a resistance to rust of any sort.
Personality: Many bladelings are extremely xenophobic. Those who have traveled outside of Acheron often learn to deal with strangers, but they are always suspicious of anyone who is not a bladeling. Those who have not left their home plane are usually openly hostile to strangers and can be provoked to violence with little motivation. Unlike many Lower Planar races, bladeling society instills into all its members a strong sense of duty and community; as a result they think foremost of their community and only secondly of themselves. Nevertheless, they fit poorly in societies consisting of other races, as this respect for community does not extend toward them. Bladelings are also highly superstitious, and as their beliefs are passed on from one generation to the next the bladelings will not abandon them, even when presented with evidence that suggests that they are in the wrong.
Physical Description: Bladelings have a humanoid form, and stand on average 6 feet tall, but otherwise share few qualities with humans. Most noticeably different is that bladelings are covered with patches of metallic spines. Their skin also looks metallic, giving bladelings the appearance of animated constructs. Some scholars speculate that in their initial battles with rust dragons the bladelings developed their immunity to rust and corrosion in order to survive against these foes. Furthermore, their eyes, usually blue or purple, glow with a sinister light that unnerves anyone willing to meet their stare. Overall, this gives bladelings the appearance of being fiendish, which for many of their race is an accurate description. They have little interest in superficial clothing, and many rely on their natural armor for protection.
Relations: Within their own community bladelings are very closely tied together, for without this unity they would not be able to resist the dangers of Ocanthus. However, the isolation of most bladeling cities causes them to instinctively distrust other races. Natural xenophobes, bladelings often find it difficult to deal with other races, or even other communities of bladelings. Bladelings almost never learn to trust non-bladelings completely, and will always carefully watch even long-time companions. Because of this distrust, others find it hard to befriend a bladeling, and are thus more likely to turn against them. This merely reinforces the bladeling’s ideas about the unreliability of other races.
Alignment: Most bladelings share the alignment of their home plane of Acheron, lawful evil. However, a small portion of the population is lawful neutral, and it is from this group that many adventurers are found. Even the lawful neutral bladelings may have some evil tendencies, arising from the upbringing that they must overcome.
Bladeling Lands: Bladelings are found in the greatest concentration on Ocanthus, the fourth layer of Acheron. The primary bladeling city is Zoronor. Also called the City of Shadows, Zoronor is surrounded by a shell of wood called the Blood Forest that, for the most part, protects the inhabitants from the deadly environment of Ocanthus. Other bladeling cities are undocumented, although the number of bladelings one may encounter surely indicates there are more. It is rumored that the race did not always hail from Acheron, but that they left some other plane to move to Ocanthus in the distant past. The truth of the matter is likely lost, and the bladelings themselves seem uninterested.
Clerics are prevalent among the bladelings, who as a whole seem to be a religious people. Some clerics devote themselves to Bane, others who hail from Zoronor worship the Blood Forest as a lesser god called Hriste, the Gray Whisperer. However, the majority worships an unknown force or pantheon, and they will not speak about this belief to anyone, not even to their closest companions. Bladelings who find themselves in Sigil will most likely be attracted to the Sodkillers, as their harsh interpretation of justice appeals to both the lawful nature of bladelings and their darker tendencies, or to the Fraternity of Order, as they too are interested in the pursuit of order. They are never attracted to the Xaositects, the Free League, or other chaotic factions as they cannot understand their disrespect for the law. Few can understand the Athar, as their teachings go against the strong religious ties in bladeling society.
Language: Bladelings speak Planar Trade and Infernal.
Names: Bladelings are given a name at birth by their parents. When they reach the age of adulthood they pick a descriptor to follow their name which either reflects their abilities or is intended to frighten their enemies.
Male Names: Bladac, Cutaros, Glearan, Rajin, Shadi, Tarkai, Velassi
Female Names: Abalido, Ortoris, Higaria, Delara, Evensha, Jidika, Yolatis
Descriptor: Shade’s Doom, Silent Killer, Shadow Walker, Death Drinker
There are generally two types of bladelings found adventuring on the planes. The first group is made up of explorers and traders who were sent out by their communities to gather knowledge about the other planes and to bring back goods that can help the bladelings survive on Ocanthus. Bladelings of this type will usually make periodic returns to their community to share their knowledge and acquisitions with their city. The second group are outcasts from bladeling society, who are now trying to set up new lives for themselves outside of Acheron. Outcasts are usually afraid to return to Ocanthus, as there their former brethren may attack them. For this reason, outcasts usually conceal their status to avoid reprisal.
Roleplaying a Bladeling: Darkness pulls at you from the back of your mind, causing you to do things others do not approve of. You must resist these impulses to survive, yet giving in is so much easier. This is the fault of the others; their non-bladeling ways have made you weaker. They are responsible, not you. Always watch your back; you never know when your so-called friends will turn on you.