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Phanaton MC Mystara.jpg

The Known World of Mystara introduced many strange and wonderous creatures to Dungeons & Dragons, even way back when it all begin. Alongside races like the Rakasta, Lupins, Aranea and Diaboli, one of the older races in the setting are the Phanatons.

Originally introduced in the Tom Moldvay / Zeb Cook module X1: The Isle of Dread, Phanatons are a race of beast-folk native to that terrible place. Roughly the size of halflings, phanatons resemble a "cross between a raccoon and a monkey", because they didn't trust us to know what a lemur looks like. The original artwork gave us a big monkey with a raccoon's head and a tail in the black & white banded coloration of a raccoon's. Phanaton feet, although capable of gripping and enhancing their climbing skills, aren't dexterous or long enough to be used to wield weapons or other items, and the same applies to their 4ft long prehensile tails. Perhaps their most unique physical feature is the fact they bear patagia - wing-like membranes of fur and skin, connecting each wrist to its adjacent ankle - like a flying squirrel, which allows these forest-dwelling creatures to glide on currents of wind.

Phanatons are (not-entirely-)peaceful forest-dwelling creatures, often aligned with woodland protectors like wood elves, dryads and treants. Omnivorous, they favor fruits and vegetables, but their favoured protein comes from bugs. Specifically, spiders; they are absolutely nuts for the taste of spider-meat, and voraciously prey on giant spiders that might enter their territory.

Incidentally, this may be part of the reason to blame for their long-running enmity with Aranea - who, after all, happen to be giant spiders with genius-level intelligence. The two races despise each other, and phanatons have a tendency to fly into berserk furies and blindly attack the spellcasting spiders. It probably goes without saying that such phanatons tend to end up as a snack.

From X1, Phanatons spread to X9: Savage Coast - unstatted, on the assumption that if the DM had bought the Expert Set, said DM still had its copy of X1 lying around. They also got a whole demiplane in M5: Talons of Night... which they have to share with the aranea. D'OH!

They owe a lot to Dragon Magazine, as they were promoted to playable twice over in its pages.

Basic Race/Class[edit]

The Basic D&D version of Phanatons appeared in Dragon Magazine #188, as an appendix to that issue's copy of The Voyage of the Princess Ark. Spanning 9 levels, the Phanaton racial class is divided into two versions; the Common Phanaton and the Phanaton Shaman.

Common Phanaton:

Level 1: 0 XP to reach, 1d8-1 Hit Dice
Level 2: 1,800 XP to reach, 2d8-2 hit dice
Level 3: 3,600 XP to reach, 3d8-3 hit dice
Level 4: 7,200 XP to reach
Level 5: 14,400 XP to reach, 4d8-4 hit dice
Level 6: 28,800 XP to reach, 5d8-5 hit dice
Level 7: 56,600 XP to reach
Level 8: 112,200 XP to reach, 6d8-5 hit dice
Level 9: 225,000 XP to reach, +2 hit points

Phanaton Shaman: Phanaton Shamans can cast Druidic spells, but require a minimum of 12 Wis and 12 Cha to do so. If using the Wrath of the Immortals ruleset, Phanaton Shamans can devote themselves to one of the three Immortals they worship; shamans of Ui can Move Silently and Hide in Shadows as per a thief of equal level, but only in the trees; shamans of Mother Earth can Speak With Animals like a Mystic, and shamans of the Huntsman add Tracking and Alertness to their skill list.

Level 1: 0 XP to reach, 1d8-1 hit dice
Level 2: 3,000 XP to reach, 2d8-2 hit dice, can cast 1 first-level spell per day
Level 3: 6,000 XP to reach, 3d8-3 hit dice, can cast 2 first level spells per day
Level 4: 12,000 XP to reach, can cast 2 first level spells and 1 second level spell per day
Level 5: 24,000 XP to reach, 4d8-4 hit dice, can cast 2 first level spells and 2 second level spells per day
Level 6: 48,000 XP to reach, 5d8-5 hit dice, can cast 2 first level spells, 2 second level spells, and 1 third level spell per day
Level 7: 96,000 XP to reach, can cast 2 first level spells, 2 second level spells, and 2 third level spells per day
Level 8: 200,000 XP to reach, 6d8-5 hit dice, can cast 2 first level spells, 2 second level spells, 2 third level spells, and 1 fourth level spell per day
Level 9: 400,000 XP to reach, +2 hit points, can cast 2 first level spells, 2 second level spells, 2 third level spells, and 2 fourth level spells per day

Both normal and shamanic phanatons can climb to levels higher than 9th at a cost of 300,000 XP per level, and gain +2 hit points each time they gain a new level. Constitution bonus to hit dice only applies for levels 1-8.

Regardless of racial class, all phanatons gain the Glide, Flight and Pass Plant abilities at level 1, 4 and 7 respectively.

Glide allows a phanaton to move forward horizontally when they jump, covering a distance equal to three times their starting height at a rate of 50 feet per round. A gliding phanaton cannot fight, cast spells, or otherwise do anything that would require the use of its hands; it has to keep all four limbs spread in order to catch the wind. For every 100 cn of weight they are carrying, a phanaton's gliding rate is slowed by -20 feet per round.

Flight is the ability of experienced, 4th level phanatons to catch updrafts and the wind to propel themselves back up into the air, gaining 10 feet of altitude for every 60 feet covered in normal winds (or for every 30 feet covered in strong winds).

Pass Plant is the magical ability of all 7th level phanatons to emulate the druid spell of the same name, which they can do 1/day.

All phanatons have the following racial maximums for ability scores: 16 Strength, 15 Intelligence, 15 Wisdom, 18 Dexterity, 18 Comeliness, 18 Charisma. Common Phanatons receive -2 Str, -1 Int and +2 Dexterity at character creation, whilst Phanaton Shamans receive 2 Str, -1 Int, +1 Wis and +1 Dexterity at character creation.

Phanatons suffer a -1 penalty to Charisma checks against humanoids and a -2 penalty to Charisma checks against humans and all demihumans other than elves.

The phanatons have a natural AC of 9, with a +2 bonus to AC and all saving throws due to their small size and agility.

3.5 Race[edit]

It goes without saying that when phanatons resurfaced in issue #351, a tie-in to the return of the Isle of Dread as part of Dungeon's Savage Tides adventure path at the time, they were a lot simpler than their Basic D&D depiction above. In fact, their depiction in #351 was actually a reprint of their statblock from an earlier issue, #339, but with some more attention dedicated specifically to the Isle of Dread's inhabitants.

-2 Strength, -2 Constitution, +2 Dexterity
Base Speed: 20 feet
Low-light vision
Natural Weapon: Bite (1d4 damage)
Forest Awareness (Ex): +1 racial bonus to all saving throws when in forest terrain.
Gliding (Ex): Can negate damage from a fall by gliding, covering 20 feet of horizontal terrain for every 5 feet descended. They have a glide speed of 20 feet with average manueverability, cannot glide if carrying a medium or heavy load, and falls from the air if it becomes unconscious or helpless whilst in midair.
+4 racial bonus on Move Silently (increases to +8 in forests), +2 racial bonus on Climb, Jump, Listen and Spot.
Favored Class: Rogue

5e Phanatons[edit]

Sadly, phanatons have yet to reappear in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition as even a monster, but Mr. Welch turned them into a PC race in his Mystara Player's Handbook:

Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dexterity, +1 Constitution
Size: Small
Speed: 30 feet
Darkvision 60 feet
Arboreal: Proficiency in Perception, Climb Speed 30 feet.
Patagia: If you are not encumbered and wearing light armor or no armor, you can glide when you jump. You gain a flying speed of 30 feet until you land. At the end of each of your turns, your altitude drops by 5 feet. Your altitude immediately drops to 0 at the end of your turn if you don't fly at least 30 feet horizontally. You are immune to falling damage unless restrained or incapacitated.
Prehensile Tail: You can use your tail like a third arm to manipulate items, but it is too weak to be used to wield a weapon or a shield.


Midgard is home to a royalty-free version of the phanatons called the Kaguani, or simply "lemurfolk". They first debuted in the Pathfinder edition of the setting as part of the Southlands bestiary as both a monster and a playable race, and have since made it into Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, just like the Nkosi... sadly, unlike the Nkosi, Kobold Press has stated that the kaguani are too minor a race to be included in the upcoming 5e Southlands Player's Guide, though they might eventually get an update on the Kobold Press website.

Kaguani don't try to obfuscate what they are, perhaps due to being in an era where people might actually know what ringtailed lemurs are, although they do retain the phanaton oddity of having patagia as well. They are a primitive, tribal race of hunter-gatherers who dwell in the treetops of tropical jungles and hunt prey with the aid of blowguns.

The lemurfolk tribes of the Southlands are a varied and rather pompous lot, and they are present in every jungle from the Southern Fringe to the wildest islands in the Tethys Sea. The most famous are the Feathertails of Zanskar, who are notorious pirates, bandits, and nuisances to the xorn—and a welcome relief to their slaves. The Feathertails are close followers of Eshu and Isis. They believe themselves to be divinely ordained to bring “merriment and honey” to the downtrodden, and they steal gold and jewels whenever the opportunity presents itself. However, their thievery comes with gifts, as well—they provide honeycomb and fruits and nuts to the slaves of Zanskar, and thus they claim that they are “purchasing” the gold or precious stones that they take. The slaves are always happy to see the lemurfolk bring their goods or offerings.

The xorn find the whole thing extremely unamusing, and they sometimes offer bounties for lemurfolk hides or tails. On one famous occasion, a lemurfolk tribe somehow conjured dozens of such hides with some form of minor magic and split the reward with the human priest of Eshu who turned them in to the authorities. The lemurfolk refer to this as “the Tale of Our Tails” and find the whole matter worthy of frequent (not to say near-constant) retelling and elaboration.

+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Strength
Speed: 20 feet, Climb 10 feet
Darkvision 60 feet
Camouflage (Ex) A lemurfolk gains a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks in forest or jungle terrain.
Silent Glide (Ex) A lemurfolk can launch itself into the air and glide along for 1 minute, making almost no sound, and gaining a fly speed of 40 ft. and average maneuverability. A gliding lemurfolk gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Stealth checks.
All-Around Vision: A lemurfolk can't be flanked.
Weapon Proficiency: Blowgun


Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Races
Basic Set: Dwarf - Elf - Hobbit - Human
Creature Crucible 1: Brownie - Centaur - Dryad - Faun - Hsiao
Leprechaun - Pixie - Pooka - Redcap - Sidhe
Sprite - Treant - Wood Imp - Wooddrake
Creature Crucible 2: Faenare - Gnome - Gremlin - Harpy
Nagpa - Pegataur - Sphinx - Tabi
Creature Crucible 3: Kna - Kopru - Merrow - Nixie
Sea Giant - Shark-kin - Triton
Dragon Magazine: Cayma - Gatorman - Lupin - N'djatwa
Phanaton - Rakasta - Shazak - Wallara
Hollow World: Beastman - Brute-Man - Hutaakan
Krugel Orc - Kubitt - Malpheggi Lizard Man
Known World: Bugbear - Goblin - Gnoll
Hobgoblin - Kobold - Ogre - Troll
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