Rastipede
Name of species
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Biological information
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Sociological information
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Rastipedes are extremely rare in AC, which as a merchant culture should be somewhat surprising to outsiders. Perhaps the competition is already too fierce or perhaps the standing slave bounties offered by the neogi, Eladrin, illithids, and others for rastipede helmsman ensure they will be rarely seen.

Description


The rastipede is an insect-like creature that can be encountered virtually anywhere, usually accompanying a wide variety of other creatures. A rastipede has a hard shell covering its body, which accounts for its low Armor Class. This is fortunate, since their odd body shape makes it impossible for them to wear any standard type of armor protection.

Rastipedes have long lower bodies. Their eight legs enable them to scoot around very quickly. They also have a vaguely humanoid torso and one pair of arms. They strike spacefarers as a kind of insectoid centaur.

The rastipede has a pair of antennae on its head that provide it with a very keen sense of smell. This sense is so keen that the rastipede cannot be surprised by a creature behind it, as long as that creature exudes any odor whatsoever. Also, the rastipede is ambidextrous and fully double-jointed.

Combat


Rastipedes can use the full range of weapons available to humans. Their specialty is a long bow designed and used specifically by their race. This long bow has ranges of 10/20/30, and it inflicts 1d12 points of damage on a successful hit.

Rastipedes are inherently peaceful, however. This accounts for their preference for a missile weapon in combat. Also, the speed of the insectoids enables them to avoid many an unpleasant encounter.

Habitat/Society


Rastipedes are born from eggs, which are laid by a queen that reputedly lives deep within ground in a secluded cavern, wherever they creatures have nests. Rastipedes grow up with a strong sense of duty and responsibility to the nest and the community. All rastipedes are well taught in the literature of their own race, which is quite extensive, and mathematics.

A nest of rastipedes might contain anywhere frown 100-600 individuals, half of which are immature, incapable of combat. The adults, however, are fanatically committed to the defense of the nest above all else.

Many rastipedes study the magical arts. About 1 in 6 rastipedes encountered is a mage of 1st through 4th level. Though no rastipede has ever been known to learn a spell higher than 2nd level, they have sufficient skill to operate a spelljammer helm. In fact, a helm operated by a rastipede performs as if operated by a mage of three times the rastipede's spellcasting level. Thus, a rastipede who casts as a 4th-level mage can operate a spelljammer helm as a 12th-level mage!

The primary interest of rastipedes, however, is trade. They commonly employ crews and hire ships to transport goods back and forth across wildspace, usually turning a profit with every voyage. Rastipedes engage in selling and buying of virtually any product, though most of them adhere rigidly to laws against smuggling or slave trafficking.

Rastipedes are favored henchmen of the arcane. Very often, characters who seek an arcane find themselves dealing with a rastipede go-between. One reason for this is the well known bargaining skill of the rastipedes. Rumors suggest a darker, more sinister connection between the two races, but there is no evidence to indicate that any such association exists.

Ecology


Rastipedes can survive on virtually any kind of food. They need lots of water, but sunlight is apparently not a requirement of the race. Young rastipedes, born in the nest, might spend their first decade underground.


walking limbs and a vaguely humanoid torso with two upper "arms," all covered in a chitinous exoskeleton. Their heads have two large compound eyes, a chitinous mandible, and a pair of long, whiplike antennae. Rastipedes are born from eggs, which are laid by a queen that reputedly lives deep within ground in a secluded cavern, wherever they creatures have nests. Rastipedes grow up with a strong sense of duty and responsibility to the nest and the community. AIl rastipedes are well taught in the literature of their own race, which is quite extensive, and mathematics. Some slothful rastipedes wish to escape from the rigid structure of the nest, and so they seek adventure where they can use their natural abilities to great effect. Many of them go on to become bards, taking advantage of their innate charisma.

Rastipedes are inherently peaceful and avoid combat whenever possible. However, they are not cowardly and can (and do) use the full range of weapons usable by humans.

Rastipedes are the penultimate traders of the Known Spheres. Only the Arcane are more willing to exchange valuable goods, but the rastipedes seem unconcerned with such niceties as uniform pricing and fair dealing. A spacefarer who makes a deal with a rastipede is advised to count his money, his crew, and his limbs.

Rastipedes are not truly dishonest, however. They rarely renege on a bargain once struck, and as a rule they deliver their side of the bargain at the time and place specified. The problem is that the rastipedes delight in meeting the letter of the bargain, rather than the spirit. They are particularly fond of making a deal knowing that the other party is assuming something that is not true. They will sell you a lottery ticket with this week's winning numbers on it—but it will be last week's ticket. Rastipedes will buy and sell anything they think will be profitable, although most scrupulously obey smuggling and slave-trafficking laws.

This propensity for hard bargaining has brought the rastipedes in contact with the Arcane. In fact, rastipedes are favored henchmen of these mysterious traders. Very often, characters who seek an Arcane find themselves dealing with a rastipede go-between. Rumors suggest a darker, more sinister connection between the two races, but there is no evidence to indicate that any such association exists.
Rastipede Names

Rastipedes earn names that are indicative of their productivity to the nest. Such names are more a matter of status. Rastipedes can also earn names due to important jobs they do such as forager or bloodspiller . To these names of status or positions all rastipedes carry the nest name, which seem to be used only when rastipedes meet other rastipedes from another nest.

Names of Nests: Aphidgarden, Goldhill, Water Raiders

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