Pygmy

Pygmies are small jungle-dwelling creatures that inhabit (many would say “infest”) patches of tropical forests.While they are humanoid, they are so savage and feral that most attempts to establish some form of meaningful communication with them have been doomed to failure.Pygmies speak their own language, which is made up mostly of clicking sounds and harsh, clipped hand gestures.

Pygmies are small, even for small creatures.Even the tallest pygmy stands only to a halfling’s shoulder.They tend to have large, sloping foreheads, wide noses and large mouths, an appearance that seems to match their barbaric and uncivilized manner.There is little obvious physical difference between males and females, except that female pygmies develop breasts during pregnancy, which remain until about a month after the child has been weaned.Adult pygmies tend toward piercing their ears, nose and cheeks, but rarely wear much more decoration.In fact, most pygmies are encountered completely naked.

Pygmy Society
Pygmy society is almost non-existent.Pygmies live together in tribes that inhabit the same general area, but observers have noted that most members of a given tribe don’t interact with one another except to gather for a hunt or to feast on a large kill.There seem to be no leaders of these tribes, and the direction in which they move seems essentially random.Pygmies know they are small and weak, so they never leave the tribal area in groups of less than three unless they are outcasts (see below).The tribe never develops any sort of shelter, and members generally sleep under bushes or in the branches of tall trees.The tribe moves from place to place within the jungle as food in an area becomes more scarce, though some tribes have been known to become sedentary upon discovering the odd cavern structure or ancient stone city that is large enough to house the whole tribe.

Pygmy tribes are generally very large, owing to the high birth rate and low gestation time during pregnancy.Pygmy gestation is only about five months and pygmies reach adulthood after only two years.The high mortality rate of living in the jungle coupled with the pygmy’s short lifespan (only about 25 years) keeps most tribe sizes in check and prevents them from completely overrunning the jungle.Additionally, pygmies are occasionally cast out of their tribes for various reasons, such as failing to participate in hunts, murdering other members of the tribe or manifesting magical abilities (see below).Such outcasts rarely live very long on their own, but very occasionally, they leave their jungle and explore the world, constantly struggling to survive.

Pygmies have an innate fear and distrust of both magic and technology.Creating a fire by using flint and pieces of metal they have discovered is as advanced as pygmies get.Any member of the tribe that manifests magic of any sort is immediately set upon by the other members of the tribe.If cooler heads prevail, the unlucky pygmy is exiled from the tribe, sent into the jungle to live or die without any aid from his former tribe.If the pygmy is less lucky, the tribe simply beats him to death.It bears mentioning that while pygmies occasionally engage in cannibalism, there is no known instance of a pygmy tribe cannibalizing a killed member of the tribe that manifested magical ability.As a general whole, pygmies seem to take magic for a curse.

Combat
Pygmies hunt and make war as a tribe.While their blowgun darts might be a mere annoyance to larger prey or opponents, forty such darts at once will often times be more than enough to bring even the largest prey down, especially when coated with poison.Pygmies are master crafters of poisons and some explorers venture to the jungles in the hope of discovering the secrets of pygmy poisons.Few such explorers ever return, and those that do always bring horrible tales of slaughter and cannibalism at the hands of these tiny hunters.

Pygmies are completely at home under the jungle canopy and are masters of the terrain.They are able to effectively ambush almost anything that walks, swims or flies in the jungle.Attacking as a cohesive, if somewhat chaotic team, they strike simultaneously, catching their prey by surprise.After using their blowgun, each pygmy retreats back into the forest to reload and wait to see if another wave of attack is needed.If pursued, pygmies run and hide, often climbing trees to do so.If cornered, a pygmy will fight with a chaotic ferocity that surprises even enraged barbarians.

Pygmy Characters
Pygmies possess the following racial traits:

  • +4 Dexterity, +4 Wisdom, -4 Strength, -4 Intelligence
  • Small size.+1 bonus to Armor Class, +1 bonus to attack rolls, +4 bonus on Hide checks, -4 penalty on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits ¾ those of medium characters.
  • A pygmy’s base land speed is 20 feet.
  • Darkvision out to 60 feet.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Pygmies may treat blowguns as martial weapons rather than exotic ones.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen checks.
  • +4 racial bonus on Climb checks.
  • +8 racial bonus on Craft (poisonmaking), Hide and Move Silently checks while in a jungle environment.
  • Automatic Language:Pygmy
  • Level Adjustment +1
  • Favored Class: Barbarian

The Pygmy warrior presented here had the following ability scores before racial adjustments: Str 10, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 9.

Challenge Rating: Pygmies with levels in NPC classes have a CR equal to their character level. Pygmies with levels in PC classes have a CR equal to their character level +1.

Pygmy, 1st Level Warrior
Small Humanoid
Hit Dice: 1d8 (4 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+3 Dex, +1 size), touch 14, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-3
Attack: Blowgun +5 ranged (1 plus poison) or club +0 melee (1d4-2)
Full Attack: Blowgun +5 ranged (1 plus poison) or club +0 melee (1d4-2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft.
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3
Abilities: Str 6, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 4, Wis 16, Cha 9
Skills: Climb +2, Craft (poisonmaking) -3*, Hide +10*, Listen +3, Move Silently +6*
Feats: Stealthy
Environment: Tropical jungles
Organization: Party (3-6), Tribe (20-40) or Large Tribe (50-100)
CR: 1
Treasure: Triple standard (poison)
Alignment: Usually Chaotic Neutral
Advancement: By character class
LA: +1
*A pygmy gains a +8 racial bonus on Craft (poisonmaking), Hide and Move Silently checks when in a jungle environment.

The soft sound of wind being blown through a hollow reed precedes a stinging pain in your neck.Reaching up, you feel the dart from a blowgun.Instantly, you hear wind being blown through dozens of reeds...

Combat
Pygmies gang up on their prey and bring it low with a blowgun dart from each of their number.For the animals they hunt for food most often, this is usually more than enough.However, for larger game or against threats to the tribe, pygmies generally use poisoned darts in their blowguns.Since each pygmy makes a separate attack, the defender will likely have to save against poison dozens of times.Most unfortunate targets end up as dinner.

Poison: Pygmies produce a number of poisons from their jungle environment that are rarely, if ever, seen elsewhere.They constantly keep their ammunition pouches filled with these poisons for use in hunting prey and stalking victims.In addition to any of the standard poisons (see Dungeon Master’s Guide page 296) that the DM feels are appropriate, two new examples are given below:

Pygmy Poison
Type: Injury DC 14
Initial Damage: 1d4 Dex
Secondary Damage: Unconsciousness
Cost: 200 gp

Pygmy poison, called so because the only thing known about it aside from its effects is that pygmies are the only race to use it, is the most commonly used poison among pygmies.Compared to other poisons, it has a relatively low DC, but pygmies generally don’t have much trouble using it to bring down prey or opponents due to the fact that due to the numbers pygmies use in hunts or ambushes, the subject will have to make literally dozens of saves.

Mamba Serpent Poison
Type: Injury DC 18
Initial Damage: 2d6 Con
Secondary Damage: 3d6 Con
Cost: 4000 gp

Mamba serpent poison is a particularly deadly toxin milked from the fangs of the extremely rare green mamba snake.Few people have ever been bitten by this serpent and lived.The high mortality rate among snake handlers and the serpent’s general rarity make this poison a rare commodity.Occasionally, pygmies manage milk enough poison from a killed green mamba to treat down into a lasting poisonous goo.This substance is a bit easier to resist than the actual bite of the snake, but even so, few can resist its effects.Pygmies can’t eat anything they kill with this poison, so they only use it when the threat is beyond their ability to stop otherwise.Mamba poison is rare, even among pygmies, and only the most elite pygmies are liable to have a dose.