Shallwood Empire

Shalwood sword and shield

Also known as the Forest of Masks, this vast woodland ranges from wintry conifers in the north to tropical jungles in the south. It is known to house extremely powerful and ancient forest spirits as well as truly massive totem beasts. Many cultures tried to settle the forest in the past, but only those communities that blended into the wood survived – the ruins of other attempts still dot the woods, waiting to be explored. By custom, travelers and natives alike always wear simple masks while outside anywhere in the wood, to hide from the wrathful eyes of the ancient spirits roaming the forest.

Government: Imperial dynasty, with decentralized nobility.
Current Ruler: Empress Jael Nokemani
Common Qualities: Observant, spiritual, energetic, compassionate, zealous.
Origin Benefit: +1 origin bonus to Perception and Stealth. These are automatically considered class skills for all Shall characters.
Languages: Shallish, racial dialect/bonus language.
Bonus Languages: Nationals (any), Sylvan, Tribe, Horde, Terran.

Origin Feats

Shadow In the Trees [Origin]
Shallfolk are adept at moving through forested areas, and finding concealment in the slightest of natural surroundings. Their ability to walk within the forests they love is legendary, and this feat helps demonstrate exactly why.
Prerequisite: Level 6+; Survival 2 ranks; Stealth 2 ranks; Shallwood Empire nationality. You also must be wearing your spirit mask, and have applied a special mixture of herbs and body paint. Applying this mixture takes a move action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, and lasts for a number of hours equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). This mixture costs 1 silver and takes five minutes to make per dose, but does not require an actual Craft skill to manufacture.
Benefit: You do not treat forests or jungles as difficult terrain for the purposes of movement, though you still leave tracks unless you have some ability that negates them. In addition, your degree of cover/concealment is automatically increased by one step while in forest or jungle areas (though not to the point of invisibility); this improvement is a free action in those areas. As a standard action, you may increase your cover in this fashion in other natural areas as well, though this ability does not work indoors or in urban areas. This improved concealment lasts until you move, at which time it requires another action to improve. You also gain low light vision in forest or jungle areas; if you already possess low light vision, your visual range doubles. Lastly, you receive a +2 origin bonus on Stealth and Perception checks made in forest or jungle environments.
At 10th level, your origin skill bonus doubles, and your forest vision increases again (low light doubles, doubled low light becomes darkvision). Forest concealment improves two steps, though it still cannot make you actually invisible, and gaining improved cover in other natural surroundings becomes a swift action. Lastly, once per week you may spend a story token to tree stride as though cast by a druid of your character level; naturally this only works with actual trees, not any other plants or environmental features.

Spirit Whistle [Origin]
Having developed a bond with a particular totem animal spirit through your spirit mask, you have learned a secret call that summons one of those animals to your side in times of need.
Prerequisite: Level 6+; Level 5+; Knowledge (Nature) 2 ranks, Animal Handling 2 ranks; Shallwood Empire nationality. You also must have your spirit mask on your person to use this Feat, though you do not necessarily have to be wearing it.
Benefit: Once per day, You may spend a full round standard action to “whistle” for your spirit animal. This animal can potentially be any non-dire, non-magical beast, subject to DM approval. This animal is treated as having HD equal to your character level. The animal may remain for a total number of rounds each day equal to your character level, and these rounds can be divided up in one-round increments (though each whistle takes a standard action). You may dismiss your beast at any time as a free action. Treat this animal as an animal companion with abilities as if you were a Ranger of the same level. The creature appears wispy and smoky, but is not actually incorporeal once summoned. Exactly what this means depends on whether or not you are summoning the companion in or out of combat:
Combat: The spirit animal appears next to you and fights for you to the best of your ability, for a number of rounds equal to your character level. If it suffers fatal damage, it simply dissipates into wisps of smoke. It is otherwise a normal creature of its type.
Non-Combat: The animal serves for ten minutes per character level. It understands simple instructions and descriptions given to it by the character, but cannot perform particularly complex tasks. It could be entrusted to carry a message, guard a person or location or scout ahead and report back. If it comes into combat, count every ten minutes already spent in this world against the number of rounds it can remain.

At 10th level, this Feat may be used twice per day, the animal’s Intelligence becomes 10 (if not higher), treat this companion as if you were a Druid of the same level. You can communicate with it empathically and understand its responses, and its type changes to magical beast for the purposes of defeating damage reduction and the like. You may call upon this animal for a total number of minutes per day equal to your character level.

(Changes from the original version are noted.)

Shallwood Empire

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