Ashiera

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Climate/Terrain: Coastal Regions
Frequency: Rare
Organization: Community
Activity Cycle: Any
Diet: Omnivore
Intelligence: Very
Treasure: C, 4
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
No. Appearing: 10-20
Armor Class: 4
Movement: 6, 6 swim, 6 fly
Hit Dice: 6
THAC0: 12
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: 2-12
Special Attacks: Coldfire
Special Defenses: Fog cloud
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: M (5Ā½' tall)
Morale: Elite (13-14)
XP Value: 975

The Ashiera are an intelligent race of aquatic humanoids who, in ages past, were greatly affected by Wild Magic. The Ashiera's unconscious manipulation of their home world's natural power dramatically changed their physiology in only a few generations. Before the Wild Magic lost its power, the Ashiera had gained the innate ability to fly through the skies as well as swim in the oceans. While they are not good flyers, their ability to exist underwater and in the air make them formidable opponents.

The Ashiera are short and stocky. They have gray skin, small ears and noses, and little body hair. Ashiera have gills on their necks and slightly webbed fingers and toes. Ridged layers of gray-blue skin sweep back from their brows. They wear little clothing, most of it slick and form-fitting. Their flying ability is innate, and they use a modified swimming motion to propel themselves across the sky. A few Ashiera wear Ashieran armor (see DRAGONĀ® Magazine Annual #1).

The fierce territoriality and aggressiveness of the Ashiera usually leads to their complete control over the island chains around which they build their settlements. On occasion, the Ashiera occupy abandoned coastal cities, but they lack the foresight and interest to establish a land-based empire. They are easily angered and often lash out at nearby settlements if they feel they are threatened.

All Ashiera have the ability to generate coldfire 1/day from their fingertips. This special ability manifests itself as an ice storm in the air, causing 2-12 hp damage to any creatures in a 10' diameter circle. Underwater, the coldfire ability produces three ice daggers that inflict 1-6 hp damage on a successful attack roll (one roll per dagger). The range on both coldfire applications is 30 feet.

Combat: The Ashiera have relatively unsophisticated combat tactics. They prefer to swarm attackers both underwater and in the air, trusting in their superior movement to escape any losing battle. They use their coldfire ability and Ashieran lances (see below) to attack enemies from a distance before closing for melee.

The Ashiera can wrap fog around themselves twice a day for five rounds, creating a misty barrier that affords a -2 penalty to all missile attacks against them. Large groups of Ashiera use this ability to great psychological effect by approaching enemies as fast-moving storm clouds.

Ashiera are highly susceptible to fire, suffering an extra 1 hp damage per die of fire damage.

Habitat/Society: The Ashiera are, for the most part, an aquatic race. They build nothing on land, and their settlements under the sea vary greatly in size. Most settlements are built in shallow waters near uninhabited islands, with vast distances between each settlement.

Because of the distance that separates Ashieran settlements, their society is difficult to categorize. Geography plays an important role in determining how different settlements develop. Settlements near rich natural resources often develop more sophisticated economic and political structures, while Ashiera in harsher climates live as hunters and gatherers.

The one constant of Ashieran society is its adaptability. Ashiera are short-lived. As a race, they place little emphasis on custom and tradition. Ethics, values, and laws change quickly from generation to generation, and Ashiera are quick to embrace new technologies or military concepts. Ashieran society tends toward isolationism. It is rare for any settlement to have long-term contact with any other civilized race.

Ecology: The Ashiera are the most powerful of all intelligent aquatic races. They have been known to attack and occupy the settlements of other races, particularly aquatic elves. In addition, vessels sailing through their territorial waters are often raided for supplies and treasure, although the Ashiera occasionally welcome trading ships to their settlements. The Ashiera often possess treasure that they have salvaged from sunken vessels or forgotten underwater cities.

The Ashieran diet consists of fish, which they harvest, and an occasional land animal brought back from a raid.

Telvar

Roleplaying Notes

The Ashiera are the most likely of the four flying races to join an adventuring band. The ties that bind them to their society are not as strong as those of the other races, and their ability to travel underwater gives them a wide range of locales to visit.

Ashiera do not take orders from others well, and they often change plans to take advantage of new circumstances. They do not always communicate these changes well, leading to misunderstandings and complications with non- Ashieran companions. In addition, Ashiera do not think twice about breaking oaths if it is to their benefit. Survival of the fittest is the one overriding philosophy of all Ashieran adventurers.

Ashiera hate to be defeated. Thus, they are fierce opponents when the odds are against them. The more dire the situation, the more passionate their response.

Ashiera must immerse themselves in saltwater at least once every three days, for at least an hour. Ashiera that are unable to immerse themselves lose 3 points of Strength and Constitution every day past the third day, and they will die within one week of such deprivation.

Ashieran Magical Items

Sword of Free Action

Ashieran warriors must be able to fight both in the air and under the waves. The most powerful warriors among them wield swords of free action. These weapons can be enchanted from +1 to +4 and grant the wielder same benefits as a ring of free action.

XP Value: 1,500 per "plus", GP Value: 3,000 per "plus"

Ashieran Lance

Many mid-level Ashieran warriors use a specially enchanted pole arm as their primary weapon of choice. The Ashieran lance is an unwieldy flat-bladed pole arm that suffers a -2 penalty to attack and damage when used in melee combat (2-12 hp damage). The bottom of the pole arm appears to have a spear-like point. However, at a mental command of the wielder, the spear tip discharges cold energy that causes 1-8 hp damage to a single target within 30 feet (save vs. spells for no damage). This ability can be used 6/day and is effective underwater as well as in the air.

XP Value: 500, GP Value: 1,000

Coldfire Shield

The Ashiera pose a threat to many coastal towns. In response to that danger, certain druids have created shields specifically designed to protect against the Ashieran coldfire ability. Coldfire shields lend a +2 bonus to AC and give the bearer immunity from all cold-based attacks. In addition, the shields are enchanted to absorb energy from the coldfire attacks of the Ashiera, healing the bearer for 1 hp damage for each hp damage absorbed. The bearer can be healed only to his normal maximum hit points. Any additional points of healing are lost.

XP Value: 1,000, GP Value: 2,500