The cannesh tribes are shapeshifting fey folk of the northernmost Legoran forest lands, not far from the Northern Wastes. They are mysterious, but very down to earth folk, and are not often found as adventurers outside of the Legoran lands. Their nature as blessed beings of the spirits makes the Legoran people reverent and fearful of the Cannesh tribes.
The cannesh are a remnant of the ancient past, descended at one time from Legoran stock. The Cannesh are the descendants of Legoran men and women who intermarried at one time with a now legendary fey folk of the north, a mysterious society of animist spirit folk who are described in the ancient myths as a race of spirits, freed from the crags of the earth at the time of the apocalypse to, "dance upon the edge of the world in a swirling pattern of light and dark." No mortal being who interacted with these fantastical spirits could resist them, and it is said that the most ancient and favored Legoran people were nurtured and cared for by these beings through a time of great darkness before being released back in to the world, forever changed and unique.
Preservationists claim these ancient Fay Spirits were among the many spirit servants of the gods cast down from the heavens in the apocalypse, but the legorans claim that they were ancient forest spirits who always existed apart from the realms of men and gods, and that they appeared then to help the legorans survive through the harsh centuries after the destruction of the world. Because of this, the legorans treat the touched descendants of these people, the cannesh, with a mixture of fear and respect.
The cannesh themselves claim to still know of the existence of the fey spirits, but are not fearful or curious of the mysterious northern beings which spawned their kind. Instead, they love to recount tales of their first legendary clansman, Yagirin Hedor, who led the young race southward to seek out the heart of the world. It is said that this migration was because of an exile, that Yagirin and his peers sought to capture the essence of the heart of the forest, and that in doing so, it forever altered them. Others claim that this was a gift freely given, and when it was accepted, the cannesh were considered ready to return to the mortal realms.
Cannesh are humanoid in appearance, although the nature of the possessing beast within each cannesh's heart has an overall affect that shows in his humanoid side. A bearfolk cannesh in human form looks large and burly, while a Vollfluen wolf folk will have sharpened canines and a healthy body of hair. Hidihirin and rastakats are short, and mistaken as Halflings, although the sharp, pointed and bird-like features of the rastakats shows through, just as the lean and athletic features of the hidihirin give them away for their rabbit nature.
Cannesh, as shapeshifters, can transform in to their spiritual animal form, and may do so at will. Their animal form will have all of the characteristics of the animal in question, but the hit points, skills, and level-based modifiers of their humanoid form.
Each Cannesh belongs to one of the following tribes:
Bacgruit (the Bear folk)
Hidihirin (the Rabbit folk)
Vollfluen (the Wolf folk)
Rastakats (the Raven folk)
There are several other lesser tribes (badger folk, skunk folk, serpent folk, fish folk, etc.) In addition, rare cannesh are born as the feyweres (Cannesh Lords), who can shapeshift in to any animal form they wish.
Cannesh characters must choose from one of the aforementioned tribes. Cannesh in humanoid form have all of the outward physical characteristics of humans or halflings, but with the following racial characteristics that are dependent on their native tribe:
Traits Common to all Cannesh
Language of Animals: Cannesh can speak with animals of their own kind using their racial tongue, as well as speak to others of their species.
Tribe: Choose from one of the following tribes of cannesh. Each type gains a shapeshifting form, and the abilities of that form can only be access when shape-shifted. The tribe of choice also grants a language specific to the animal type they can shape change in to. This language allows for communication between cannesh of the same tribe, as well as animals of the same type.
Uncivilized: Cannesh do not understand or embrace civilization. Cannesh who spends too much time in civilization and away from the wilderness will gain a -2 penalty to all charisma and charisma based skill checks as a result of his increasing sickness at being away from the wilderness. When in civilized lands (a city, for example) the cannesh gains the charisma penalty. He will lose this penalty when he leaves the city and returns to nature.
Conversely, cannesh are more cunning in the wilderness, and gain a +2 initiative bonus when in the wilds. This bonus does not apply in civilized or man-made regions, such as towns, dungeons and cities.
Shapeshifting and Gear
When shapeshifted cannesh normally lose the benefit of any armor worn in humanoid form. Equipment remains at the location they change shape, although cannesh often wear harness-like clothing that will remain worn when they shape shift. Such garb normally costs the same as normal clothing if purchased in a cannesh community, and must be crafted by cannesh tailors. If the armor is purchased outside of a cannesh town, or is made by a non-cannesh, treat it as a variant masterwork suit of armor for purposes of cost only.
A cannesh with the appropriate tool proficiency may attempt to adjust his armor so that it will conform to his animal form; it requires 1D6 hours and a DC 15 skill check for light armor or hides, DC 20 for most other armor, and DC 25 for half plate; full plate cannot be customized this way. If the check fails, then that particular suit of armor cannot be adjusted to fit his beast form.
Basics on Cannesh Shapeshifting
Cannesh retain their base abilities, proficencies, hit points and most passive traits in their animal forms. They only retain armor benefits if wearing custom armor (above), and may gain natural armor. Shapeshifting takes an action, but they can also move while shapeshifting. Seeing a bacgruit run at you while transmogrifying in to a bear can be a morale-checking experience! They can shapeshift as often as they like, and without restriction.
Unless otherwise noted, any skill or ability that requires fine digitation is not possible in animal form. However, all cannesh spell casters learn how to invoke their spells with verbal and somatic elements in both humanoid and animal form, and so are not impaired by their shifting. In animal form cannesh can speak any language fluently; they do not suffer from the language limits of normal animals. As magical fey beings, this is a simple matter for them.
Bacgruit (the Bearfolk)
Average Height: 6’2”-7’
Average Weight: 225-400 lbs.
Ability Scores: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution
Size: Medium (human) or large (bear)
Speed: 30 feet
Vision: Low Light
Languages: Bear-Tongue, Tradespeak, and one other
Cave Bear Form: Bacgruit shift in to the form of large cave bears (brown bears per the MM). In this form the cannesh is large sized. The cannesh gains the following traits and attacks:
Scent: the bacrguit gains advantage on Wisdom (perception) checks for smell while in bear form.
Natural Armor: the natural form of the cave bear has AC 12 (plus dexterity modifiers, if any).
Multiattack: the bear form grants two attacks each round, one with claws and one with bite.
Claws: the bacgruit can strike with its claws for 2D6 plus strength modifier damage.
Bite: the brown bear can bite for 1D8 plus strength modifier damage.
Hidihirin (the Rabbitfolk)
Average Height: 4’ to 4’10”
Average Weight: 65-150 lbs..
Ability Scores: +1 Dexterity, +1 Charisma
Size: Small (both human and rabbit)
Speed: 30 feet (40 feet in rabbit form)
Vision: Low Light
Languages: Rabbit-Tongue, Tradespeak, and one other
Rabbit Form: Hidihirn change in to the form of an unusually large winter hare (they remain small in size, but rabbits are usually tiny creatures). While in rabbit form, the hidihirn gains a movement speed of 40 feet, and is extraordinarily quick and nimble. The hidihirin gains a natural attack in the form of a kick.
Kick Attack: hidihirin can kick for 1D6 plus Strength damage.
Racial Skills: hidihirin have advantage on Wisdom (perception) and Dexterity (stealth) checks when in rabbit form.
Rastakats (the Ravenfolk)
Average Height: 3’2” to 4’6”
Average Weight: 50-125 lbs.
Ability Scores: +1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom
Size: Medum (human) or Small (raven)
Speed: 25 feet on foot, 40 feet flying
Vision: Low Light
Languages: Raven-Tongue, Tradespeak, and one other
Giant Raven Form: The rastakats can transform in to the shape of a giant raven with a six foot wing-span. While in this form they may fly at 40 feet per round and gain a natural dive attack.
Swooping Attack: rastakats in raven form can dive attack with their beak, dealing 1D4 plus Dexterity modifier damage. As a reaction when doing this the rastakat can attempt a dexterity (sleight of hand) check to filch a random item.
Racial Skills: Rastakats gain advantage on Dexterity (sleight of hand) and Wisdom (perception) checks related to sight when in raven form. Although their beaks are nimble, they cannot perform complex digital tasks in this form, but excel at quick pick-pocketing maneuvers.
Vollfluen (the Wolffolk)
Average Height: 5’3” to 6’4”
Average Weight: 125-300 lbs.
Ability Scores: +1 Dexterity, +1 Constitution
Size: Medium (both human and wolf)
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low light vision is common among volfluen, and they can use it both in human and wolf form.
Languages: Wolf-Tongue, Tradespeak, and one other
Wolf Form: Vollfluen transform in to wolves as their animal form. There are rumors of dire wolf tribes and winter wolf tribes, but they are regarded as folklore by most vollfluen.
Bite Attack: like regular wolves vollfluen can bite in wolf form, with a reach of 5 feet, dealing 2D4 plus dexterity modifier damage. A target bitten in this way needs to make a Dexterity check (DC equal to 10 plus the vollfuen’s strength modifier) or fall prone.
Pack Tactics: when adjacent to a friendly ally who is also in wolf form, the vollfluen gains advantage against the target.
Keen Senses: in wolf form the vollfluen gains advantage on Wisdom (perception) checks for hearing and smell.
Cannesh Racial Feats:
Feywere - Cannesh Lord
Prerequisites: Race-Cannesh, any 2 attributes 16+
The cannesh discovers his heritage as a true shapeshifter. He loses his tribal affiliation, but gains the ability to transform in to any listed cannesh animal forms (bear, rabbit, wolf, raven, and others at the DM’s discretion). Use the Animal Form abilities as listed for each tribe: the feywere gains all of them. Note that his base abilitiy and racial modifiers (determined by his initial tribe) do not change; he merely gains the Animal Form trait of each tribe instead. The feywere also gains a +1 increase to one attribute of choice.
Prerequisites: Race-cannesh, proficiency in Arcana, Wisdom 13+
A cannesh with especially keen intuition gains an enhanced ability to divine the magical nature of things around him. He can "see" fey forms and spirits, circles of power and ley lines. He can extend this to conventional magic. The cannesh gains permanent advantage when using the Arcana and Insight skills, and can identify any fey creature or spirit correctly by making an arcana skill check, against a DC equal to the 10+the level of the target inspected. He also gains the ability to cast the Detect Magic cantrip at will.