Ghoran

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Ghoran ISBestiary.png

Ghorans are a race of sapient humanoid plants native to the world of Golarion, the setting of Pathfinder 1st edition. Debuting in the Inner Sea Bestiary, they have one of the most fucked-up backstories of any race in Pathfinder. In a nutshell, when the magocracies of Geb and Nex went to war, the battle saw the fertile heartlands of Nex being blighted, so ordinary crops wouldn't grow there. To keep his nation from starving, Nex (yes, the nation was named after the archmage running it) commissioned a rogue druid named Ghorus to invent a new kind of food-crop that could thrive in the blighted landscape. Ghorus created a mobile, semi-sentient plant creature - which he called "Ghorans", after himself - and set them to wander the cursed landscape. Hardy, adaptive and delicious, ghorans became a dietary staple... but also worked too well. Y'see, the magic in the ghorans grew and developed over time, so the race evolved into a fully sapient humanoid species - one that Nexians were still eating on a daily basis, even after their landscape became fertile again!

In fact, hunting the newly intelligent ghorans actually became a sport, popular amongst the Nexian elite. Until they pushed the ghoran evolution so far that ghorans began hunting them back; ultimately, they were forced to accept that ghorans were a sapient race and give them full rights. But ghoran "meat" still remains a delicacy, and thusly, whilst one is legally only supposed to take the flesh from dead ghorans, poachers have taken to murdering ghorans to sell them for meat, burning their Ghorus seeds (see below) to cover their tracks.

...Which is especially problematic, because ghorans can't actually reproduce on their own - and the secret of creating them went to the grave with Ghorus - so every Ghorus Seed burned is permanently depleting the ghoran population.

Ghorans were given PC writeups in both Inner Sea Races and in Ultimate Wilderness.

Ghoran Biology[edit]

The typical ghoran stands roughly as tall as a human and occupies a similar silhouette, but that’s where their similarities with humanity end. A ghoran’s “skin” is a complex layer of fibrous vines and rinds with a texture similar to moss-covered bark. Ghoran faces consist of layered petals that flush and flutter at a whim, allowing them to mimic the facial behaviors of their would-be devourers. They do not lack emotion per se, but ghoran “feelings” are primordial and abstract, making them utterly alien to most non-ghorans. A ghoran might laugh, smile, or raise its voice, but their companions seldom understand if these are displays of true emotion or merely more adaptive evolutions designed—like so many other aspects of their physiology—simply to keep them alive.

Ghorans have considerable control over their mass and can shape their bodies however they wish within the basic confines of a humanoid silhouette; this trait often gives them the impression of rustling about, especially when they are frightened or agitated. Ghorans who deal often with humanoids tend to adopt a masculine or a feminine silhouette based on their preference, but gender remains a fluid and somewhat elusive concept to them—an evolutionary adaptation of more import to the comfort of their companions than to ghorans themselves.

A ghoran has a deep cavity within its belly, housing a single seed the size of a balled human fist - this is the famous "Ghorus Seed". Roughly every 20 years, a ghoran’s body becomes decrepit enough to no longer function. The ghoran imprints its abilities and memories into this seed and then plants it in the ground. After 1 to 2 months, a new ghoran body is born from the seed, the consciousness from the original transferring over to the fully grown body and leaving the old body behind as a mindless mass of inert plant matter. In this way, a ghoran’s legacy lives on with every regrowth; while the body regenerates, the inner self and memories of the past endure.

Ghoran Society[edit]

A ghoran’s alien thought processes (to say nothing of the empty holes upon its flower-petal face roughly approximating its eyes and mouth) make it very difficult for other races to understand and empathize with, leading many ghorans to stick to themselves in segregated communities of cosmopolitan and magic-rich city-states or in the deepest wild places of their barren homeland and its neighboring kingdoms.

Ghoran architecture consists of round, multifloor greenhouse towers composed of fibrous plant material coated in organic resins that grant it the hardness of stone. The towers have no roofs and several wide, stylized windows, granting the colony of ghorans living within ample access to the essential life-giving rays of the sun. Within, the air is redolent with organic aromas that often induce soporific effects upon non-ghorans, making them pliant to ghoran suggestions and uneager to take aggressive action. When unobserved, ghorans belonging to the same colony sometimes array themselves around the edges of the tower’s internal balconies, swaying in unison to some unheard rhythm and basking in the communal warmth of daylight.

Ghorans are most comfortable with other intelligent plants (such as treants and vine leshys) and wary around plant-eating creatures (including humans, whom ghorans know created them as a food source). Because their regeneration brings minor personality changes with each incarnation, and due to the short lifespan an individual incarnation has, ghorans have trouble forming long-lasting relationships with long-lived races such as elves, dwarves, and gnomes.

Ghorans deeply distrust warmongering or environmentally destructive humanoids such as goblins and gnolls, especially those with pyromaniac tendencies. The ghorans’ relation with humanity is the most complex, for while they admire humans for their capacities and are grateful for their creation, they fear their appetites more, and it is difficult for a ghoran to trust that a human doesn’t simply want to eat it.

Owing to their delicious nature, ghorans seldom know peace the way that humanoid races do, and many are forced to contend with nature and learn to fight as a means of self-defense against capture and consumption. Many have taken to adventuring lifestyles either to aid friends and companions or out of a darker drive for vengeance. Others join adventuring groups in hopes of accumulating enough power and lore to, perhaps, determine a solution to their race’s central problem of reproduction, though so far no ghoran has solved this essential riddle.

Ghoran naming conventions seem random, as each ghoran is self-named and “born” with a near perfect recollection of every memory from previous incarnations. As a result, ghorans sometimes pick names they found pleasing in other lives or name themselves after people or places they once knew. Others maintain the same name over several incarnations, though minor personality and physical changes from life to life ensure that while the ghoran’s name might remain the same, aspects of the ghoran’s gradual change can often confuse and frustrate longtime friends and allies.

Ghoran Stats[edit]

+2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, –2 Intelligence: Ghorans are hardy, guileful, and eager to explore their emotions, but they process complex thoughts slowly.
Medium: Ghorans are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
+2 Natural Armor: Ghorans have tough, rugged skin.
Plant: Ghorans have the plant type but lack the immunities to mind-affecting, paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep, and stunning effects that type usually has.
Delicious (Ex): Ghorans take a –2 penalty on Escape Artist and combat maneuver checks to escape a grapple against a creature that has a bite attack with the grab ability.
Natural Magic (Sp): Ghorans with a Charisma score of 11 or higher gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—detect poison, goodberry (created berries bud from the ghoran’s own body), and purify food and drink. The caster level is equal to the ghoran’s level. The DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the ghoran’s Charisma bonus.
Seed (Ex): As a full-round action, a ghoran can expel the seed from an orifice in its abdomen. If planted in fertile ground and left undisturbed for 2d6 days, the seed grows into a healthy duplicate of the original ghoran, save that the duplicate can reallocate all skill ranks upon sprouting. Once a ghoran expels this seed, it gains 1 negative level, and it dies as soon as the duplicate sprouts. This duplicate replaces the previous ghoran character.
Light Dependent: Ghorans take 1d4 points of Constitution damage each day they go without exposure to sunlight.
Past-Life Knowledge (Ex): Ghorans have memories encoded in their seeds. They treat all Knowledge skills as class skills.
Languages: Ghorans begin play speaking Common and Sylvan. Ghorans with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages such as Druidic).

Alternate Racial Traits[edit]

Creator’s Legacy: Infused with the druidic magic of their creator, ghorans quickly take to nature-based spells and spellcasting. Ghoran bloodragers and sorcerers with the verdant* bloodline treat their Charisma score as 2 points higher for sorcerer spells and class abilities. Ghoran clerics and druids with the Plant domain use their domain powers and spells at +1 caster level. This doesn’t give the ghoran early access to level-based powers; it affects only powers that could already be used without this trait.

This replaces past-life knowledge.

Martial Recollection (Ex): The personal history of many ghorans is scarred with desperate struggles for survival, and memories of that conflict are deeply ingrained within their seeds. Whenever ghorans with this racial trait grow new bodies from their seeds, they reselect all combat feats known instead of reallocating skill ranks.

This alters seed and replaces nature magic.

Occult Scion: Created in part from an esoteric ritual, many ghorans are innately sensitive to psychic powers and influences. The ghoran gains Psychic SensitivityOA as a bonus feat and treats Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (planes) as class skills.

This replaces past-life knowledge.

Spelleater: Ghorans were originally created to survive and thrive in a magic-blasted wasteland, and over the centuries some ghorans have adapted greater abilities to overcome magic in general. Once per day, the ghoran can cast dispel magic as a spell-like ability, with a caster level equal to the ghoran’s character level. If the ghoran’s favored class is a spellcasting class, the ghoran gains a +2 racial bonus on dispel checks (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 272).

This replaces past-life knowledge and nature magic.

Starfinder[edit]

Things actually turn out pretty well for the Ghorans in Starfinder. They managed to get out of the Pact Worlds, establish their own world Ghorus Prime, and through the power of SCIENCE!!, they managed to finally create a new way to reproduce new Ghorans.

Too bad they're on bad terms with other races. They still haven't forgotten about how they were often devoured and hunted by pretty much anything with a taste for plant flesh, and it's been rumored that they fed information to the Vesk about the people of the Pact Worlds during the Silent War. So they don't trust anyone else, and the feeling is mutual.

So it's not all sunshine and roses for the Ghorans, but things are certainly better for them now than they were on Golarion.

Stats[edit]

Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Charisma, -2 Intelligence. Sapling Ghorans add +2 to Dexterity, while Oakling Ghorans add +2 to Constitution and Willowers add +2 to Intelligence
Type: Ghorans are plants. Sapling Ghorans are small plants, while Oakling and Willower Ghorans are medium plants.
Delicious: You take a –2 penalty to attack rolls and Acrobatics checks to escape a grapple against a creature that uses the grab ability with a bite natural weapon.
Limited Plant Benefits: Despite being plant creatures, ghorans don’t gain the standard immunities associated with creatures of the plant type. Instead, they gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep, and stunning effects, unless the effect specifies that it is effective against plants.
Past-Life Knowledge: Choose two skills from the following list: Computers, Culture, Engineering, Life Science, Medicine, Mysticism, Physical Science, and Profession (each Profession chosen separately). The ghoran adds the chosen skills to their list of class skills or gains a +2 racial bonus to checks with those skills if they are already class skills.
Photosynthesis: Ghorans undergo photosynthesis to gain nutrition instead of eating (although they can eat if they so wish). A ghoran can go without light (either sunlight or UV light, such as from starships) for 3 days, after which they must attempt Constitution checks to avoid starvation.

Alternate Racial Traits:'

  • Magical Talent: Some ghorans inherit magical aptitude from their ancestors. Ghorans with this trait gain a +2 racial bonus to Mysticism checks, and they can use detect magic and psychokinetic hand at will as spell-like abilities. This replaces Past Life Knowledge.
  • Psychosynthesis: Instead of light, some ghorans’ outer layers are sensitive to thoughts and emotions. Ghorans with this trait gain limited telepathy with a range of 30 feet. Additionally, they can avoid starvation by spending at least 8 total hours a day within 120 feet of a creature that doesn’t have the unliving trait and that has an Intelligence and Wisdom score of at least 10. This replaces Photosynthesis.

Gallery[edit]

The Races of Pathfinder
Player's Handbook: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human
Advanced
Race Guide:
Aasimar - Catfolk - Changeling - Dhampir - Duergar
Drow - Fetchling - Gillman - Goblin - Grippli - Hobgoblin
Ifrit - Kitsune - Kobold - Merfolk - Nagaji - Orc - Oread
Ratfolk - Samsaran - Strix - Suli - Svirfneblin - Sylph
Tengu - Tiefling - Undine - Vanara - Vishkanya - Wayang
Bestiaries: Android - Astomoi - Caligni - Deep One Hybrid - Gathlain
Gnoll - Kasatha - Munavri - Naiad - Orang-Pendak
Reptoid - Rougarou - Shabti - Trox - Yaddithian
Adventure Paths: Being of Ib - Kuru
Inner Sea Races: Ghoran - Monkey Goblin - Lashunta - Skinwalker
Syrinx - Triaxian - Wyrwood - Wyvaran
Ultimate Wilderness: Vine Leshy
Blood of the Sea: Adaro - Cecaelia - Grindylow - Locathah - Sahuagin - Triton
Planar Adventures: Aphorite - Duskwalker - Ganzi
The Races of Starfinder
Core Races: Android - Human - Kasatha - Lashunta - Shirren - Vesk - Ysoki
Legacy Races: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling
Expanded Races: Aasimar - Amrantah - Anassanoi - Astrazoan - Bantrid - Barathu - Bolida - Borai - Brakim - Brenneri
Cephalume - Contemplative - Copaxi - Damai - Dessamar - Dirindi - Draelik - Dragonkin - Dromada
Drow - Elebrian - Embri - Endiffian - Espraksa - Ferran - Formian - Ghibrani - Ghoran - Goblin - Gosclaw
Gray - Haan - Hanakan - Hobgoblin - Hortus - Ifrit - Ijtikri - Ikeshti - Ilthisarian - Izalguun - Kalo - Kanabo
Kayal - Khizar - Kiirinta - Kish - Maraquoi - Morlamaw - Neskinti - Nuar - Orc - Oread - Osharu - Pahtra
Phentomite - Quorlu - Ramiyel - Raxilite - Reptoid - Ryphorian - Sarcesian - Sazaron - Screedreep
Scyphozoan - Selamid - Seprevoi - Shakalta - Shatori - Shimreen - Shobhad - Skittermander - Spathinae
SRO - Stellifera - Strix - Suli - Svartalfar - Sylph - Telia - Tiefling - Trinir - Trox - Undine - Uplifted Bear
Urog - Varculak - Verthani - Vilderaro - Vlaka - Witchwyrd - Woioko - Wrikreechee