Shardmind

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They might be unusual in appearance, but they get in the same adventures as any other humanoid adventurer.

Shardminds are a PC race new to 4e. They get bonuses to INT and WIS or CHA, they can resist psychic attacks and they're versatile. That's not the important thing, though.

The important thing is that they're made of thousands of tiny crystals, shards of an ancient gate designed to keep the Illithid and various other Great Old One-esque beasties out of the Universe. That kind of fell through, so now Ioun is busy keeping any more nastiness from getting through while the Shardminds try to rebuild the gate. Only problem is, they disagree on how to do this. Should they build a new gate, rebuild the old one, or murder each other and send their souls to the gate? Decisions, decisions.

Physically, they don't actually have genders, though some seem vaguely male or female. Over the time that Shardmind gain a self-awareness, they base their physical shape on what they see around them. Though they are most often humanoid, they can be of any variation you want. Additional head? Shaped like a Kobold? Built like a Minotaur? Or growth on the head like a Genasi? You name it. As for their personalities, they're a bit like Warforged - some are brooding and introspective, some are brainless dutyfags and some are wide-eyed and naive, learning about the world. There are several possible paths you can follow as a Shardmind, these are the most common:

  • Thought Builder. They believe that it is their duty as parts of the Living Gate to restore it to keep the Far Realm away. By standing together and working on the barrier between the worlds they can make this happen. There are some problems with this though: according to the setting psionics came into being after the first Living Gate broke, and it's not sure if fixing it means the disappearance of psionics and/or the death of all Shardminds. Most Thought Builders are Good aligned: if you play one that's willing to give up its own being for the human(oid)s of this world under siege by an alien force, put on your best Peter Cullen voice.
  • God Shard. They believe that they are still part of the Living Gate; by learning and becoming more powerful they strengthen the barrier. They also fight the Aberrants that already are in this world. Most God Shards are unaligned.
  • Shard Slayer. They believe that when a Shardmind is destroyed, its life force returns to the Living Gate, strengthening its defenses against the Outer Realm. By seeking out both unawakened and awakened (ie: other Shardminds) parts of the Living Gate and destroying them, you bolster the barrier between worlds. In other words, you're a Highlander. They aim for those of other philosophies first, fighting in the knowledge that in the end, there can be only one.
A Shardmind with a feminine shape.
A Shardmind in its swarm shape.

Remember that the Shardminds are beings of logic and reason. Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that some might come to the realisation that working on the Living Gate is useless, for a variety of reasons:

  • It broke the first time. Why shouldn't it break again? Why die or kill those of my kind just to show we haven't learned from the past?
  • Are the humanoids of this world worth protecting? The Shardminds protect the world from being raped in every opening by the denizens of the Far Realm, but who protects the world from itself? And why even bother with the Living Gate if it destroys itself?
  • The Living Gate shattered because of the actions of the gods: who can tell this will not happen again?

Shardminds usually stay calm, but when they get emotional, they get really emotional. Like, Carrie with blood all over her emotional. So don't piss one off!

PC Stats[edit]

Ability Scores: +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom or +2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common, Deep Speech, one other
Skills: +2 Arcana, +2 Endurance, +2 one other
Crystalline Mind: You have Resist 5 psychic. The resistance increases to 10 at 11th level and 15 at 21st level.
Immortal: Your spirit is native to the Astral Sea, so you are considered an immortal creature for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin.
Shard Swarm: Racial Encounter Move power. You gain combat advantage to all enemies within Burst 1 and can then teleport half your speed.
Telepathy: You have Telepathy 5.

S'yeah. Here's another iconic race for psionics alongside the Githzerai, though you can honestly excel in any non-physical class, like Wizard and Artificer. You also have the benefit of a ton of feats that ride off either your racial power or telepathy and three unique Paragon Paths.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races
Player's Handbook 1: Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Player's Handbook 2: Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter
Player's Handbook 3: Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden
Monster Manual 1: Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
Monster Manual 2: Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku
Dragon Magazine: Gnoll - Shadar-kai
Heroes of Shadow: Revenant - Shade - Vryloka
Heroes of the Feywild Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr
Eberron's Player's Guide: Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged
The Manual of the Planes: Bladeling
Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Mul - Thri-kreen
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide: Drow - Genasi