Thebestyns are a faction in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons introduced in Dragon Magazine #266. Spiritual kin to swanmays, they are an order of human wizards who have developed the power to magically transform themselves into birds.
Thebestyns belong to an order of wizards who prize the collection and dissemination of knowledge. To this end, they use the form of the ibis, a bird sacred to a god of knowledge, to further their studies and to track down knowledge wherever it goes. Most concern themselves with scholasticism and history, but will share their knowledge freely and unselfishly. Only the finest of scholars can hope to join the ranks of the thebestyns, so it's quite a prestigious position.
Ironically, despite their being incensed by those who claim that "there are secrets we were not meant to know" and scholars who seek to keep their discoveries a secret, thebestyns keep their own existence and association a secret. But then, they'd hardly be the first bunch of wizardly hypocrites.
Thebestyns gain a +1 bonus to their Intelligence and Wisdom scores, which grants them maximums of 19 in those scores and requires they have a minimum of 14 Int and 16 Wis. However, they suffer a -1 penalty to their Strength and Constitution scores, which also impacts their ability maximums (17 for both). A certain level of dexterity is also required to qualify for the transformation, so no thebestyn has a Dexterity lower than 9.
Restricted to "any Neutral alignment", thebestyns can only be wizards, either taking the path of the generalist "mage" (14th level) or the Diviner (16th level). And you had better be good at that magic-using & skill-monkeying, because thebestyns are forbidden to learn weapon proficiencies, instead dumping them all into non-weapon proficiencies.
Which is freaking well ridiculous... seriously, even the damn Undead Master got to have ONE weapon point to defend itself!
Thebestyns require a magical talisman to shift into their ibis form, in which they have AC 8, movement 6, and fly 18 (D). If this talisman - which radiates Alteration/Transmutation magic and is thus easily detectable - is stolen or destroyed, the thebestyn is stuck until they either recover it or replace it. And replacing it requires 500 gold pieces per level worth of rare metals and 2 months of work, minus 1 day per Intelligence point. And no, you can't get somebody else to do it; only you can enchant it to work on you.
Thebestyns have a magic resistance of 2% per level, which they can use in either form and which doesn't interfere with their own spellcasting. Additionally, they can choose one field of study and be considered a Sage in that field, allowing them to answer any question that falls in that category.
The thebestyn's array of nonweapon proficiencies includes (deep breath) Ancient History, Astrology, Engineering, Etiquette, Gem Cutting, Heraldry, Herbalism, Languages (Modern or Ancient), Navigation, Observation, Poetry, Reading/Writing, Spellcraft, Alchemy, Anatomy, Arcanology, Bookbinding, concentration, Papermaking, Research, and Scribe. Quite the skill monkey, but you can obviously tell that this race was aimed at NPCs more than PCs, can't you?
In the article proper, they're supposed to be servitors of Thoth and use Ankhs as their transformative talismans. But, come on, you don't really want to use real world mythology in your games, do you?
|The Therianthropes of Dungeons & Dragons|
|Laridian - Loup-garou - Loup du Noir - Lythari - Red Falcon - Seawolf - Selkie - Shifter - Swanmay - Thebestyn - Vodoni - Werebaboon - Werebadger - Werebat - Werebear - Wereboar - Werecat - Werecrocodile - Werefox - Werehyena - Werejackal - Werejaguar - Wereleopard - Werelion - Werepanther - Wererat - Wereraven - Wereray - Wereseal - Weresnake - Wereshark - Werespider - Wereswine - Weretiger - Werewolf|
|Antherions: Aranea - Song Dragon - Jackalwere - Wolfwere|
|Third Party: Werealligator - Wereanaconda - Werebunny - Werecheetah - Werecobra - Weremustela - Werepossum - Wereraccoon - Werestag - Werewolverine|