As the ancient stone sentinels of Mioura even long after the planet was shattered, the colossi resemble animated statues with a persistent light seemingly trapped inside. The vast majority of them take the form of various animals, but a rare few among them maintain their original form, for the colossi were all once precursors and only the most powerful had the right to truly ascend to the godhood that colossi represented. However, the ascension to godhood comes at quite a cost, for all colossi are created from the undead corpses of al-Kaniali's chosen people.
- 1 Etymology and Other Names
- 2 Biology
- 3 Sociology
- 4 History
- 5 Subspecies
- 6 Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
- 7 Racial Traits (D&D 4e)
Etymology and Other Names
In Shekzardic, the language now called Ancient Precursor, the colossi were called dlenruk, which could be taken to mean "god-of-you". The immense strength of a colossus is apparent just in their thunderous footsteps, and their strongest representatives could undoubtedly be considered deities among other races. Due to how colossi are not well-known among the modern population of Ealdremen, most modern languages do not have a standardized name for colossi except for general descriptive terms such as "stone monster".
The most striking feature of a colossus is their usual size, befitting their name; it is rare, but not unheard of, for a colossus to be close to a typical precursor's size. Most colossi resemble the stony, armor-plated sentinels outside old Miouran temples that were created to ward away intruders or evil spirits. The inherent inflexibility of stone requires colossi to have articulated joints along their limbs where they must move. They often lack the ability to move other parts of their body, such as their heads; a colossus attempting a gesture such as a nod, then, would try to approximate it with a full-body movement.
Colossi do not age in a conventional sense, but their bodies may show weathering as they grow "older". Scars from battle manifest as breaks in their stony hides that never heal. Rain might erode away distinctive features. As a colossus' body breaks apart, the light within the stone becomes increasingly obvious. While all colossi have bright glowing eyes, light may shine elsewhere through the cracks of the colossus' body. Especially dormant colossi may have vegetation such as moss or mushrooms take root upon them, particularly where rainwater might collect in gaps between stone plates or in large breaks in the colossus' body. As colossi are fueled by necromantic energy, sometimes plant growths on them will wither and die away, or become "bleached" by the intense flow of undeath within a colossus.
A colossus could conceivably resemble any animal, ranging from serpents and birds to lions and dragons. Many times, the transformation into a colossus favors an animal form that the individual was connected to in life or that represents their strengths or personality. For example, the necromancer siblings Felaji and Thorn, when transformed into colossi, respectively became a crow and wolf in a fascimilie of their lives and familial connection to one another; in addition to the animals being associated with death, the two animals are symbiotically connected in the wild. The ascension into a colossus form is an extension of the individual, not a replacement.
Colossi are too few in number and often too scattered to have a true culture of their own. Much like precursors in modern society, a colossus would have to hide and avoid detection to survive; unlike their precursor brethren, however, virtually no colossus would stand a reasonable chance of integrating into mainstream society, and they are consequently very unlikely to share modern societal mannerisms. A rare colossus away from Mioura likely feigned being nothing more than an inert statue taken away for research or archival purposes, then escaped into the world at large. From there, they would quickly learn that most people fear the colossi and that they ought to stay away from civilization; in some cases, a colossus may enjoy an immortal existence as a local deity for a fringe religion.
As colossi were all once precursors, their disconnect from modern society usually results in them maintaining old cultural norms or beliefs. Like the stone bodies they now dwell in, however, these beliefs might erode over time in the absence of a surrounding culture. The beliefs might also grow corrupted or distorted over time, as with the colossi under the control of Dokani the Necromancer. Fitting with the Orian culture they originally came from, they had a strict hierarchical structure and relied mostly on euphemistic titles to refer to one another. In the case of the colossi, they were called by a number denoting their "birth" order, such as the Fourth Colossus. These colossi obeyed their leader without question and attacked modern-day Kylians on sight to protect the ruin called Dokani Castle, in a sort of twisted mirror to how the Orians waged war upon their neighbors in the final days of their empire.
Colossi may be overall solitary even in the company of others, as they come from a world that no longer exists and have likely witnessed the rise and fall of country after country throughout their immortal lives. They are fueled by necromancy and can feel an inherent pull towards locations such as graveyards or battlefields. However, because their connection of necromancy is so overpowering, they lack the univeral magic affinity of the precursors. This, in conjunction with the difficulty of performing the gestures often needed for casting spells, means many colossi gradually fall away from their spell-wrought lineage and become mere conduits of the magic already present in their bodies, unable to manifest it into spells.
The history of the colossi begins before the very first colossus set foot upon Mioura. All throughout the planet, even in disparate cultures, there was a recurring belief that the gods took the form of animated stone statues. As such, when the precursors envisioned their eventual ascension to godhood, they believed they would be as these gods -- immortal creatures of stone that carried divine power in their steps. The method of ascension, however, was far beyond what most of them would have expected.
The colossi were created during the ritual that altered the precursors into shapes close to modern-day Ealdremen races. The living precursors by and large became the aforementioned Kylian ancestors; the undead created by the machinations of Dokani the Necromancer became colossi under her control. They tore across Mioura and sent its scattered people into hiding, the colossi intent on extinguishing the "mutants" that had not ascended into godhood with them. The eventual exodus of the precursors from Mioura could have well been because their own homes had become overrun with colossi that relentlessly hunted them across generations.
Over time, colossi from elsewhere could be spotted throughout Ealdremen, though these rare few universally have incomplete, fragmented, or even incorrect memories. It is possible that this forgetfulness comes from the original precursor mind being ill-equipped to archive thousands of years of history, and it leads to the colossi themselves not having a truly defined history that they can remember. The Godbomb tends to mark where their memories begin again in fuller detail.
Colossi do not have any true subspecies; despite the variety in animal forms, all these colossi are considered part of the same species. Colossi that resemble precursors are significantly more powerful than their animal counterparts, but there has only been one known instance of such a colossus, that being Dokani the Necromancer's colossus body. As such, precursor-shaped colossi cannot be called a separate subspecies, having only one representative.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
Colossi, much like the precursors they come from, are functionally extinct in modern Ealdremen. They also represent a type of character that can be even more difficult to play in many games, as colossi are obvious and especially difficult to disguise as something less conspicuous. A colossus' presence and the ramifications thereof should be carefully considered before being allowed in a game.
Playable colossi can be Medium or Large; Large colossi inherit the typical bonuses and penalties for their size, and Medium colossi have the juggernaut subtyping. Colossi that are bigger than Large should not be player characters but might be used for non-player ones. Some colossi may have the quadruped subtyping if they have four or more legs. Colossus characters may choose either +2 Strength and -2 Dexterity or +2 Constitution and -2 Charisma to be applied to their starting attributes. The might of a colossus comes at the cost of litheness and flexibility, and their immortal fortitude often frightens others.
Revived Power (Ex)
A colossus holds within it a fragment of al-Kaniali's power -- and with that, they can temporarily render themselves less vulnerable to damage or even turn an ally into a facsimile of the colossus themselves. By calling upon the same might that changed the colossus into their current form, the colossus can protect themselves or others from harm.
Once per encounter as a swift action, a colossus may grant themselves or another willing creature within 30ft DR 5/magic for 1d4+1 rounds. At character level 5th, this damage reduction becomes DR 5/--. At character level 10th, it becomes DR 10/--. Once this damage reduction has absorbed an amount of damage equal to the colossus' character level x10 (e.g. 10 damage at character level 1, 20 at character level 2), it ends, even if the normal duration has not expired.
- Keywords: Active, extraordinary ability, swift action, encounter
Sign of the Colossus (Natural Ability)
Though not every colossus has the perpetual blessing of al-Kaniali that would make them impervious to conventional weapons and even many types of magic, colossi are still beings of stone nonetheless. Their hides make them difficult for weapons to strike true in spite of their normally large size.
Colossi have a +1 racial bonus to Natural AC. This increases to a +2 racial bonus to Natural AC if the colossus is naturally Large. This increase to Natural AC does not occur if the colossus' size is increased by other means, such as a spell or item.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability
Liberated Guardian (Natural Ability)
Not only are colossi physically intimidating, but their mere visage is that of an ancient lost god. Creatures that look upon them might not know the full significance of the colossus, yet all the same, their very souls react to the godhood that serves as the essence of a colossus and intrinsically desires to either bow down or flee.
Colossi have a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability
Racial Traits (D&D 4e)
Stalwart and indomitable, sentinels of a dying world, broken stone facsimiles of godhood.
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Strength or +2 Wisdom
Size: Large (you deal an additional 1 damage per tier on weapon damage)
Speed: 6 squares
Skill Bonuses: +2 Intimidate, +2 Endurance
Alternate Skill Bonuses: +2 History, +2 Perception
Sign of the Colossus: You have a +1 racial bonus to Fortitude.
Demise of the Ritual: Your spirit is bound to al-Kaniali, the true god of Ealdremen, and so you are considered undead for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin. You are also considered a living creature.
Liberated Guardian: You are a living construct. You do not need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. You never make Endurance checks to resist the effects of thirst, starvation, or suffocation. All other conditions and effects affect you normally.
Revived Power: You have the Revived Power racial encounter power.
Encounter / Immediate Interrupt / Personal
Trigger: You are hit by an enemy's power that requires an attack roll.
Effect: You add 1d6 to the defense that the enemy hit. If this would prevent you from being hit, the attack is considered to have missed.