Oaklings are unusual plant creatures distantly related to treants, though much further removed from the forces of nature. While a fairly new race, their origins are a mystery even to themselves. The first oaklings crept from the darkest forests en mass a little over a dozen decades ago, with little memory of or interest in where they came from.
Survival is of primary concern to an oakling, and they are seldom known to be self-sacrificing or precocious. Unlike most plant and tree-like creatures, oaklings are not bound to the forest in any way. Instead of getting a feeling of comfort being close to nature, they feel crowded and uneasy. Though many find this race to be sinister and alien, oaklings are not necessarily evil and find no benefit in angering other sentient beings. They simply find it difficult to relate to the concepts of sympathy and sentiment; seeing no advantage in preserving useless historical relics, common nonsentient plants and animals, or keeping anything that cannot be put to good use.
Oaklings are presented as a fairly new race to the world. Their origin is a mystery, even to them. This allows them to be placed in virtually any campaign setting with little work. As is, they require almost no adjustment to your world to begin play immediately. One down side to this “newness” is that they lack tradition, language, and history common to other PC races. This has several ramifications including no racial heritage and not many items tailored especially for this race. However, there are many boons as well. Oakling player characters can be bold pioneers, inventing their own paths, their own history, and their own unique traditions.
Optionally, the Gamemaster can create a more detailed back story for the oaklings. Perhaps they are an ancient race of dryads who starkly split from the wilds to pursue earthly gain. Or maybe they are simply highly evolved plants from a forgotten time, resurrected accidentally by some quirk of nature. Another possibility is that oaklings were the result of an experiment gone awry—an attempt to blend man and plant.
Whatever the case, the oakling will make a welcomed addition to any game as a representative of the plant kingdom, an unusual option for the player seeking something different, a challenge for the player who has played everything, or just a good match for those that like to cast aside humanity for a little while and see things from a different angle.
Physical Description: Oaklings have long, tree-like appendages with two arms that end in three to six spindly fingers and a thumb. Their legs end in rooty clumps. The oakling’s grayish-brown, bark-covered torso is much like a tree trunk; round and uniform. From their backs and shoulders sprout branches that meander off several feet above their total height (making them appear even taller). The heads of the oaklings are simple wooden orbs. However, their faces are composed of an intricate pattern of green oakish leaves that form an impressive mane. The leaf mane hides the oakling’s thin neck and generally makes its head appear quite a bit larger than it is. An oakling’s face is a rather plastic and emotionless mockery of humanity. They also have solid dark blue expressionless eyes. Many find the face of an oakling even more unnerving than that of an obitu.
Oaklings have a male and female gender; females being slightly more slender and having muscle nodules that resemble breasts. Gender is also expressed through their leaf-faces. Male oaklings have more masculine faces and many more leaves than the females. Their apparently intentional resemblance to mammalian races is something of a mystery to sages who study them. Many feel this is because they may have dryad ancestry.
Oaklings smell of leaves and fresh cut wood, making them fairly difficult to track by scent in woodland environments. Their voices are reminiscent of sawing wood; harsh and grinding with a hint of creaking wood when they shout or yell.
Society: Oaklings are plants which lack the same internal organs common to other organisms. In fact, they lack most organs entirely, having only a crude digestive, circulatory, and nervous system— similar to those found in invertebrates. A cross section of oakling flesh reveals a sponge-like inner structure that maintains many functions at once. Oaklings have no bones, hearts, brains, lungs, or other such internal features as non-plant creatures know them. The skin of an oakling, with the exception of their faces, is a pliable grey-brown bark which is in a perpetual state of growing, drying, and peeling. Their “blood” is a sticky yellow sap that becomes brittle when exposed to air. Oaklings eat and drink much like any other creature (through their mouths), though they lack a refined palate and will consume just about any organic material, preferring food that is high in nitrates. They enjoy sunning themselves regularly and derive some nourishment from that as well.
Oaklings reproduce much like plants. The female is pollinated once in her life via facial contact with the male and begins to sprout several fruit from her shoulder branches. When ripened, these pale blue acorns are buried in fertile soil and will sprout within two weeks. Oakling sprouts look much like any other tree sapling and do not develop their distinguishing and mobile features until they are nearly an adult, about 2 decades later.
Seedlings are often and deliberately planted near civilized areas so that they may observe and learn. When they “spring to life” they often have a great deal of information about the area they were planted in—the fruit of 20 years of uninterrupted and unfiltered observation. While a bit unsure of their movements and slightly awkward in speech, the newly mobile oaklings have many years to learn, as they live for centuries. When faced with the cause of survival, oaklings are relentless— often shocking others with chillingly logical maneuvers which rarely give remorse or sympathy a second thought. They prefer open spaces; fields and small towns especially. Oaklings often view large cities the same as they view forests—over-crowded. Unlike most nature-folk, the oaklings are not conservationists. Some would call them cruel and heartless; though they seldom do anything for the sake of pleasure or sport. In actuality, they are coldly neutral, preferring to side with their own well-being over that of others. Cool logic pervades an oakling’s mind, expressing any emotion weakly compared to other races. One aspect that redeems the oakling is its clear logic and wisdom. While in it for strictly selfish reasons—something they are quite up front about—they also believe in sharing the benefits. Oaklings understand the worth of powerful allies and that even though they do not share the same sentiment, other races will feel indebted to them for the execution of good deeds. This will drive oaklings to perform many seemingly charitable services, thus improving the overall bad reputation of their race.
Relations: Oaklings get along well with all industrious races, especially dwarves, humans, and half-orcs. Any race willing to work rationally in order to get something done will be looked upon favorably by an oakling. Conversely, they are often at odds with gnomes, elves, and halflings. The oakling disfavor with these races is mutual. Elves especially expect a plant creature to behave a certain way, and oaklings are unwilling to meet those expectations.
Relations to Remarkable Races: Oaklings work well with boggles, numistians, and relluks. These three races value an oaklings coldly logical outlook. Other races may take issue with the oaklings lack of sentiment, and are viewed as overly emotional by the oaklings. Mahrogs and oaklings almost never get along, as they have opposing viewpoints; oaklings are in favor of progress and civilization, and mahrogs are religiously against it.
Alignment and Religion: It is important to note that despite their frigidly rational tendencies, oaklings are not evil creatures. They do not take pleasure in killing, nor do most feel that deception and corruption are logical paths. While they lack sympathy, they also lack malice. This puts them coarsely on the neutral path. While not typically religious, they occasionally take up a religion related to civilization or progress. Unlike most sentient plant creatures, they do not normally revere gods of nature or plants.
Adventurers: Oaklings adventure for personal gain of some sort; usually something tangible, such as wealth or powerful magic. Sometimes, an oakling can be found on a quest for knowledge or to strengthen connections with an important ally. It is very rare to find an oakling adventuring for fame, glory, or vengeance as they do not often value these things. Likewise, they only bond with a strong group of adventurers, leaving the weak to perish.
Oaklings make good rangers and fighters, preferring a direct and final approach to most things. Often their motto is “kill or be killed,” and they take threats very seriously. Occasionally an oakling will take up the cause of a neutral or unaligned deity and find the relationship to be mutually beneficial, thus becoming a cleric. Although physically well suited to the barbarian class, many oaklings find it difficult to get in touch with their “inner rage” and deem such an act to be illogical. Oaklings can be found in most other classes, as all provide some sort of benefit that would be appealing and useful.
Male Names: Brawnheart, Burlyroot, Deathshade, Doomtree, Fastleaf, Grimfoot, Hard-head, Iron-bark, Nimble-limb, Oakhammer, Stone-eyes, Strong-branch, Swiftbeam
Female Names: Deeproot, Flitterleaves, Greenbud, Keen-eyes, Mudfoot, Red-thorn, Silverleaf, Snowbark, Tangle-branch, Townsprout, Willowheart, Wise-root, Woodsong.
Plant Language: Plants communicate at high frequencies beyond the range of human hearing. They can communicate only their status: hungry, thirsty, injured, and so on. Anything beyond a one-word remark concerning the immediate state of the speaker’s self cannot be conveyed in this “tongue,” and plant language has no written form. It is a universal language that only other plants know. It cannot be learned by a non-plant. All plants, sentient and otherwise, speak this language.
The following feats are available to an oakling character who meets the prerequisites.
The following classes and/or prestige classes are available to an oakling character who meets the prerequisites.