Pipers are the offspring of satyrs that, for various reasons, aren’t full-blood satyrs. Most pipers are the children of druids who had dalliances with satyrs, which leads many to speculate that their hybrid appearance is a result of the druids’ shapeshifting abilities instinctively attempting to make the new life match the mother’s form. A few other pipers are known to have come from satyrs who were transformed into females and then gave birth, suggesting that a female satyr isn’t quite the same species as a male satyr. Perhaps this very difference in gender is why 75% of all pipers are female, and often born as twins.
Pipers can have fiendish origins just as easily as fey ones. It’s not hard to see how small horns, hooves, and alluring voices could come from succubi or other demons of temptation. Indeed, such fiendish individuals might claim to have satyr ancestry just to deflect investigations into their true background. Pipers might also be the natural result of druids shapeshifting while pregnant, with no interaction by satyr parents at all. Given that polymorph spells generally lack the power to create fey, pipers could also be a mad wizard’s experiment, a stepping stone in his quest to transmute people into dryads, sprites, and brownies.
Physical Description: Pipers are generally similar in appearance to short elves, with only a few important differences. Most notably, pipers have two small horns growing from their foreheads, and their feet are hooved. Unlike many hooved humanoids, piper’s general leg structure is not changed, appearing elven all the way down to the ankle. The foot itself is a bit leaner and, rather than ending in toes, ends in a delicate, curved, split hoof. Piper’s naturally walk in a tiptoe stance, as if always lifting themselves onto the balls of their feet. Pipers can easily and safely run over rough terrain barefoot, but some prefer to conceal their hooves in specially constructed boots or shoes. (Such footwear cost 5gp extra, and must have a very tall heel to keep the piper’s foot comfortably elevated. Pipers wearing these often claim they are cavalry boots—designed to keep their feet in stirrups—or dancer’s boots).
Society: Like half-elves, pipers rarely gather in large enough numbers to form their own societies. They most often settle in small, loosely-knit groups such as clans of druids or elven scout outposts. These groups have strong interpersonal relationships and an abiding respect for independence, traits that pipers strive to maintain even when they travel into the broader world. Pipers are, in some respect, always seeking to build tiny communities around themselves and populate it with friends and loved ones. Acceptance with and loyalty to a small community is the norm for pipers, and they generally assume those qualities will be echoed in anyone they choose for their surrogate family as well.
Relations: Pipers are well accepted by elves, half-elves, gnomes, and halflings. Indeed, pipers and gnomes get along so well that more than one scholar has sought in vain for some indication their origins are somehow connected. Pipers often suffer unfortunate fates at the hands of orcs and half-orcs, who for some reason find them particularly objectionable. Pipers forced to spend time with such groups, though, still struggle to find acceptance and forge some kind of family unit.
Dwarves and humans are often wary of pipers, but outright hostile toward them. Because pipers have a natural knack for music and are often spellcasters, humans and dwarves tend to see them as potential troublemakers. Dwarves, on the other hand, see pipers as naive (or worse, stupid). This stems from pipers’ tendency to assume that they are trusted and loved to the same degree they trust and love their own companions. The effort that pipers immediately put into forging close relationships with their neighbors and business partners often exacerbates these stereotypes, and can result in dwarves and humans to find a piper to be clinging and petulant.
Whenever a piper gains the trust and friendship of another person, no matter what race, the piper considers that bond as strong as if the two were flesh and blood kin.
Alignment and Religion: Pipers can be very strongly shaped by the beliefs and ethics of those who raise them, so most worship gods that attract many druid followers—those that seek a balance between the elements of civilization and nature, as well as law and chaos. However, not all pipers are raised in such rural environments, and some pipers leave their homelands precisely because they never feel they fit in. While most pipers are essentially good-hearted, those who give up on ever finding the acceptance they crave can become dangerously bitter. Some give up the cause of good in an effort to bond with companions who are, themselves, cloaked in darkness.
Music is another strong motivator for pipers, and many end up worshiping gods of song, dance, and drum even if, in their youth, they favored more nature-oriented gods. Music can also draw pipers along moral paths, depending on what crowd they fall in with. A piper spending time with good-aligned bards or lillends is very different than one drawn to the fell song of banshees and harpies.
Adventurers: Pipers are, at heart, musicians. They often leave their homes in search of inspiration (if performers) or new sights and sounds (if devotees). Coupled with this search is a largely subconscious desire to forge a new family group that is better in synch with the piper’s personality than the friends and neighbors at home (who, while beloved, never really understood the young piper). Some pipers feel a need to prove themselves—to take up careers such as gladiators or bodyguards just to prove they are not bound by the natural inclinations of their heritage.
Male Names: Aineyr, Cador, Drustan, Gest, Hael, Maelhoc, Myrdden, Rhyydech, Taliesin, Vorcant.
Female Names: Aedynn, Branwyn, Brenci, Esselt, Gwencyn, Keyna, Llyrann, Perem, Rhiann, Urielle.
1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.
The following feats are available to a piper character who meets the prerequisites.