Under Feet of Clay
Rarely, the strange nymphs and hags of the Dark Forest of Chaos seduce soldiers, traders, or explorers. The results of these unions are the Changelings, the all female race whose blood is a mingling of the monstrous and the mortal. Once the infant is born, the hag or nymph will use their connection to the father to deposit the child on their doorstep in the middle of the night. Rarely raised as equal children, most Changelings are sent to the temples of Parthaenae, where they become chaste oracles. Others, however, balk this and escape as children to wander the fields and meadows, until the song of the forest calls them to return to their mother.
These daughters, with their porcelain skin, mismatched eye colors, and slender frames, are objects of fear and wonderment in civilized societies. Often forced into temples as much for their protection as use, Parthaenae’s priestesses are their most common guardians. When this is insufficient, Changelings flee to the wilderness. Understood as the monstrous equivalent of Aasimar, Changelings are seen as the wicked mingling of mortal and monster blood. When ill luck befalls a small settlement, whispers of the appearance of a Changeling are common. Should one surface, she will be driven out if she is lucky, and perhaps burned at the stake if she is unlucky.
For reasons unknown, as Changelings age, they begin to hear the rising song of the forest, a subtle yet maddening call in their minds compelling them to return to their mothers and be fully transformed into a new generation of hags and nymphs. Some resist this call, finding ways to shut out their lure and mature to adulthood only as Changelings. Naturally gifted with sensing and manipulating both arcane magic and occult energies, their curiosities of the immaterial world seem only to validate the fears of the commoners, while powerful mages might secretly employ adept Changelings as acolytes and apprentices.
Classes: Adept in all manner of occult energies, Changelings with psychic and spiritual power are among the most common of their adventuring kin. Similarly, many arcane schools come naturally to the Changeling, particularly sorcerers with arcane, fey, and starsoul bloodlines. They make natural witches and adept illusionists and enchanters. For the rare few who do not explore their magical abilities, the life of a rogue or ranger is most common. A select few emerge as oracles, most commonly of Parthaenae, and fewer still take on temple vows as a cleric. Fighters, paladins, and cavaliers are almost unheard of.
Common Names: Most often, Changelings take feminine human names or an elven name. They prefer common names that allow them to pass by unnoticed.
Example Adventure Hooks:
Cleo was raised in the care of a priestess of Parthaenae, but was always a terrible student of religion. She manifested minor psychic powers at a young age, and instead of rehearsing her verses or copying treatises, she would focus on levitating objects or igniting candles without drawing on the arcane forces around her. Finally, as a young woman, she was powerful enough to use her abilities to escape, manipulating windows and locks to let herself free. Though temple guards would likely be looking for her, she knew she’d be far away. Without being too picky, she stowed away on a merchant’s barge and waited to discover what city she would next emerge in.
Electra longed only to know her mother, yet feared becoming a hag or nymph herself. She adored mortals, and wanted little more than to be one of them. When her mother’s voice whispered in her mind and offered a bargain for her power, she quickly said yes. Now, with the power of her hexes and spells, Electra moves unnoticed, charming her way with word and enchantment from village to village without being recognized. She knows there will come a time when her mother calls her home, but the longer she spends among humans and especially halflings, the less sure she is that she is willing to give up this life.