The Satyr is a mythological being famous for being a race of horny drunken bastards. Naturally, it follows that such a race would be quite indiscriminate about boning anything that'll stand still long enough, which ultimately leads to the creation of Half-Satyrs. At least, this was the logic of Dungeons & Dragons, and as such half-satyrs have popped up in a few places.
They are a definitely niche idea; aside from appearing for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1e in Dragon Magazine #109, their other appearances were all in third-party sources for 3rd edition; Dangerous Denizens for Kingdoms of Kalamar, and Dragon Magazine #313. The Green Ronin sourcebook Bastards & Bloodlines also contains the Piper, which are half-satyrs born to elven or halfling mothers.
One distinctive oddity of the D&D half-satyr is that, for some reason, they almost always portrayed as an all-male species. Which makes absolutely no sense when you think about it for a moment: after all, if satyrs themselves are an all-male race that reproduces by bonking the women of other races, then logic would dictate that sons would be pureblood satyrs and that it'd be the daughters who are only half-satyr.
But, D&D and reproductive logic can be kind of screwed up - witness the Sphinx - and so it continues. Though at least the Tellene Half-Satyr is noted to have female half-satyrs exist (they're just rare) and the Piper is equally likely to be male or female.
Dragon #109 Half-Satyr
Debuting in the article "Hooves and Green Hair", alongside their Half-Dryad sisters, half-satyrs in this source epitomize the "half-X is a playable version of X" approach to racial design, although in fairness they're more sensible than some examples of this style.
See, both satyrs and dryads can give birth to half-satyr offspring. When a human woman falls pregnant by a satyr, she has an equal chance of giving birth to either a half-satyr son or a half-dryad daughter. The same thing happens when a dryad allows a human lover to impregnate her. Half-satyrs born to human mothers are typically a source of great embarrassment, since they are almost always illegitimate (if not adulterous), whilst dryad mothers tend to abandon their sons to be raised by humans - not necessarily the biological father, because they're not picky.
At birth, a half-satyr looks almost perfectly like a handsome human boy, save a slight bend at the knees and naturally calloused feet. The problem comes when they reach the age of 11 to 13, because half-satyrs have to go through puberty even worse than normal boys - in addition to all of the usual stress and struggle, they have to deal with their legs turning into goat legs, complete with fur, their feet turning into hooves, and dinky little horns rising from their head. Add in the raging hormones which come in earlier than many human societies deem "proper", the rejection that tends to come from being so visibly a not-human freak, and they hardly need an instinctive draw to the forests to ultimately abandon civilization and return to the wild, where they intuitively are drawn to bands of pure-blooded satyrs.
Many half-satyrs simply never leave this life, blending in with their pureblooded kin and being indistinguishable from them. The true mark of their human ancestry is that some of them retain enough human drive and curiosity about civilization to leave the life of wild revelry and go on to become adventurers. Like a true satyr, they are playful, frivolous, fond of partying and strangely charming despite their overly friendly approach towards women. Unlike a pureblood, though, they possess a deeply private side, since almost all half-satyrs possess an acute sense of being an outsider that they never entirely outgrow. This deeper side makes them far more capable of commitment than a pureblood satyr.
Like all fey-blooded creatures, half-satyrs have a deep fondness for the forest and its creatures, and are less than overly fond of large cities. They tend towards neutral alignments and get on best with elf and gnome companions, slightly prefer half-elf companions to human ones, are indifferent to dwarves and often react with antipathy towards half-orcs - the bloody hypocrites.
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 3/18, Dexterity 3/18, Constitution 3/18, Intelligence 5/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 5/18
- Ability Score Adjustments: None
- Class & Level Limits: Druid 8, Fighter 8, Ranger 8, Wizard 7, Thief 12, Bard 14
- Multiclass Options: Fighter/Wizard, Ranger/Wizard, Fighter/Thief, Ranger/Thief (Neutral Good only), Wizard/Thief
- Racial Thieving Skill Adjustments: -5% Move Silently, +5% Hide in Shadows, +5% Detect Noise, -15% Climb Walls
- Cannot wear metal armor other than elven chain, but can use any kind of shield.
- 50% chance to correctly identify plants, animals and pure water.
- 50% Resistance to Charm spells cast by nature-associated creatures and to spells cast by music or song; this check is made before the normal saving throw is made.
Dragon #313 Half-Satyr
Since this come out in in 2003, this article holds no punches about the fact that half-satyrs are usually born of magic-aided rape because, seriously, who didn't figure out what those damn satyrs were doing with their Charm Person pipes? Most commonly found amongst human and elf communities, half-satyrs are apparently also born to dwarf mothers (the fuck?) and orc mothers (the FUCK?!) on a regular-enough basis to be worth noting. They are sometimes seen as boons, and other times as devil-spawn. Half-satyrs resemble ruddy, rugged individual's of their mother's race with curly red or black hair and protruding foreheads; they may have small rudimentary horns and often have fused toes that make their feet look like hooves. They are charismatic, but full of bravura and daring, which can either make them natural leaders or see them shunned and outcast as reckless fools. They have an inherent affinity for music and rhythm, so they naturally gravitate towards bardic roles.
The half-satyr template can be applied to Giants, Humanoids and Monstrous Humanoids of Small to Large size, and has the following effects:
- +2 Natural Armor Bonus.
- Gain a Headbutt attack that does 1d3 damage for Small, 1d4 damage for Medium, and 1d6 damage for Large.
- Fey Bloodline (Ex): Half-satyrs are treated as Fey creatures when targeted by Enchantment magic and can activate magical items restricted to fey creatures.
- Low-Light Vision (Ex)
- +2 racial bonus to Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and 1 type of Perform skill.
- Level Adjustment: +1
Known as "Vrastand" in Modern Brandobian, "Koremo" in regional Gakite, "Ihokkar" in Fhokki and "Meirbhurm" in Sylvan, Tellenish half-stayrs are extremely rare, because 9 out of 10 of them die in childhood, either killed by an angry mob or getting themselves killed due to inherited fey stupidity.
Physical appearance of the race is actually not discussed, beyond them being "almost always male". In stark contrast to satyrs, half-satyrs tend to be serious minded, though with a buried mischievous streak - this is due to their tendency to suffer hardships and taunting in their youth.
Loners and wanderers by nature, with a strong tie to the forest over cities, half-satyrs often become adventurers. They naturally have strong kinships with humans and satyrs, and likewise have an innate feeling of kinship with elves and other half-breed races. They like gnomes and halflings, distrust dwarves and hobgoblins, and cannot stand orcs.
Mechanically, Tellenish half-satyr stats... well, they fucking suck, because Kingdoms of Kalamar was written for 3.0 by a team who didn't really have a clue what they were doing.
- +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Strength, -2 Intelligence
- Base land speed 35 feet (35 feet in medium or heavy)
- Low-Light Vision
- Fey Blood: For special abilities, magic item usage and other effects that check race, half-satyrs are considered fey.
- Natural Weapon: Headbutt, does 1d4-3 bludgeoning damage.
- +1 racial bonus to Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Perform and Spot.
- Favored Class: Bard
Precisely why pipers are only born to an elf or halfling mother is never made clear. Perhaps the author wanted to give a nod to those races distant, ambiguous fey ancestry - hey, halflings were suggested to be a "mortalized" breed of brownie back in AD&D!
Anyway, pipers, also called fetches, panlings, pucks and rakes, are almost always raised by their mothers, because satyrs make absolutely lousy deadbeat dads - not abusive, but irresponsible, incapable of offering discipline, and generally lackluster at putting any effort in beyond being affectionate. Which you'd honestly expect. Unfortunately for their poor mothers, pipers take after their fathers in terms of personality and are born party animals. Indeed, these lusty, play-loving folk not only believe in living and enjoying every moment to the fullest, they actively disbelieve in being depressed or moody. They have a point when they observe that no situation can be improved by such behavior, but still, it's noted that this constant giddiness makes pipers quite annoying, even to people who know them well.
Such is the cheerful and boisterous nature of pipers that they can maintain a positive atttiude even in the face of certain doom. They're not fools, though, for all that they like playing the role of jester; they know that evil exists, and are willing to take up arms against it. While they tend to prefer to "help" the world by acting as sources of cheer and encouragement to the downtrodden and inspiration to those who could be great, they are quite willing to become adventurers. Indeed, like all fey, the capacity for primal rage runs deep and strong in pipers, and more than one person who dismissed a piper as a "useless romantic" has been surprised.
When roused to anger or sorrow, a piper doesn't set that emotion aside easily. They are a passionate breed, for good and for ill.
Physically, pipers resemble hearty fey humanoids, most closely resembling a half-elf with their combination of broad shoulders, strong arms & backs, striking facial features and long, elfin ears - longer than average for an elf's. All pipers sport a pair of 2-inch long, slightly backwards-curving horns that protrude from their forehads. Their feet are human-like, not the hooves of their fathers, but they are extremely tough - a minority have elongated feet and require specialized boots to help them emulate the distintive tip-toe gait of a satyr, which means they become quite slow should they loose access to their shoes. They tend to be dusky in color, with dark brown or ruddy skin and black, brown or auburn hair. This hair grows quite robustly; male pipers invariably sport heavy facial hair, with stubble reappearing within hours if they shave, and dense hair on their limbs and torsos, whilst female pipers have little body hair but sport huge volumes of curly, fast-growing locks on their head.
Ironically, despite saying that there are male pipers, their entry in Bastards & Bloodlines talks almost exclusively about female ones... which is a nice change because, again, you'd kind of expect that if satyrs are all male, it's the sons who become more satyrs whilst the daughters are the ones who get only "half" of that fundamental satyrness.
Pipers who are somehow allowed to grow up in satyr company become true wild children, and whilst they may occasionally be taken in by dryads, nymphs or treants who seek to better their minds, they usually never leave the forest. Ironically, these "wild" pipers usually meet sticky ends, since they lack the formidable natural defenses of their fathers.
Civilized pipers are a true trial to their mothers and their communities; they just cannot follow rules that forbid anything that looks fun or sounds interesting, and whilst they reach physical maturity quickly, becoming seeming adults by the age of 13, emotional maturity falls far behind the human norm, never mind the elven; most pipers don't learn the wisdom to overcome their impulses until decades old. Fortunately, they have natural respect for their mothers, so those with strong mothers learn faster, and they can actually make something of themselves as skilled bards, rangers and druids.
In terms of racial relationships, obviously, pipers get on best with their sylvan relatives - elves, halflings, gnomes, etcetera. They also have a particular approval of humans, which needs no further explanation beyond the fact that pipers inherit the libidos of their satyr fathers. As you'd expect, these pretty-looking, flighty creatures may not have a particular antipathy for dwarves and half-orcs, but they have a definite knack for annoying them and so few of these races can stand them.
Class-wise, pipers get on best with those who embrace the magical or natural world - clerics, sorcerers and wizards alongside the expected druids and rangers. Of course, their absolute favorite class to hang out with are bards.
- +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma
- Base land speed 40 feet
- Low-Light Vision
- Speak With Animals (Sp): Can be cast as a free action a number of times per day equal to the piper's Charisma bonus (1) with a casting level as per a cleric of the piper's character level.
- Musical Component: Pipers casting spells with verbal components must play some form of pipes instead of speaking. On the plus side, they increase the save DC of Charm and Sonic type spells by +2.
- Racial Skills: Animal Empathy, Bluff, Gather Information, Innuendo and Perform are always class skills for pipers.
- Musical Soul: Pipers gain a +3 bonus to Perform checks made when dancing or playing woodwind instruments.
- Favored Class: Bard
- Level Adjustment: +2
|Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Races|
|Core:||Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human|
|Dark Sun:||Aarakocra - Half-Giant - Mul - Pterran - Thri-kreen|
|Dragonlance:||Draconian - Irda - Kender - Minotaur|
|Mystara:||Aranea - Ee'ar - Enduk - Lizardfolk (Cayma - Gurrash - Shazak) |
Lupin - Manscorpion - Phanaton - Rakasta - Tortle - Wallara
|Oriental Adventures:||Korobokuru - Hengeyokai - Spirit Folk|
|Planescape:||Aasimar - Bariaur - Genasi - Githyanki - Githzerai - Modron - Tiefling|
|Spelljammer:||Dracon - Giff - Grommam - Hadozee - Hurwaeti - Rastipede - Scro - Xixchil|
|Ravenloft:||Broken One - Flesh Golem - Half-Vistani - Therianthrope|
Book of X:
|Alaghi - Beastman - Bugbear - Bullywug - Centaur - Duergar |
Fremlin - Firbolg - Flind - Gnoll - Goblin - Half-Ogre - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Mongrelfolk - Ogre - Ogre Mage - Orc - Pixie
Satyr - Saurial - Svirfneblin - Swanmay - Voadkyn - Wemic
|Dragon Magazine:||Half-Dryad - Half-Satyr - Uldra - Xvart|