Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bestiarum vocabulum – Peri (New Race)

Peri are a fragile desert dwelling folk known for their unearthly guise, elusive nature, beautiful songs and potent charms. Legend holds that they're descent from fallen angels, exiled from Heaven because of his love for a djinn princess. Other sources claim that the Peri are actually descendants of a plane-touched queen called Sorush (probably an aasimar or even a half-celestial) who was seduced and corrupted by Ahriman. However, Sorush saw the evil in her ways and swore to atone before Heaven, never resting until the Lord of All Div and his spawn were vanquished.
The Peri are also known as the Hidden Ones, the Elusive Folk, Angelborn, Desert Fey and Green Feathered Ones.

Peri are lighthearted in a serene and shy way that led many to think of them either as fey spirits (because of their elusiveness) or monastic aasimars (because of their simple dwellings). Actually Peri are passionate and artistic, although they prefer to express their crafts and lore through pleasant and peaceful songs and exquisite weaving.  Peri silk is considered magical by most desert human tribes.
Peri nature is calm and balanced, though their wrath is like the desert – quickly, silent and unmerciful. Common folklore holds that only three things can ignite a Peri’s fiery anger: a broken vow, a man who spoils beauty and the presence of a div.

Physical Description
Peri are easily mistaken for aasimars or even celestials. They’re beautiful and graceful humanoids of pearly-white and almost luminous skin, feverish hot to the touch; their hair is usually white, bright red or shiningly gold, flowing on its own, even when indoors. Peri have an ephemeral quality to their bearing and are clearly creatures of otherworldly blood.
The most distinct trait of a Peri is its fey fragrance – Peri smells like full grown gardens in a summer night (or like the first summer nights in Heave must have smelled). It’s said that Ahriman (and divs in general) are intoxicated by a Peri’s fragrance. Many div hold Peri prisoners inside special magical iron cages that preserve them for eternity.

Peri are not called Hidden Ones or the Elusive Folk for nothing. Most desert tribes regard them as legendary creatures or as servants of the Gods, treating them either with religious awe or superstitious fear. Usually, the contact between Peri and the outside world is done through tribal princes, clerics, oracles, druids and paladins. Many Peri also disguise themselves “as mortals” to walk the world, easily being mistaken for paladins or holy men.
In great cities – like Merab, Azir, Katapesh and Katheer – Peri are relatively well-known (at least as far as plane-touched races are known). Aasimars and elves are usually happy to deal with them, while humans and halflings are always fascinated by the Hidden Ones. Gnomes obnoxiously believe that Peri are a lost fey race from the First World, while dwarves and half-orcs can’t tolerate the “perfumed desert elves”. Genies – especially Janns and Djinns – treat Peri (if weak) as potential and valuable servants or (if strong) respectful guests.

Peri tend toward Neutral Good, always displaying the more gentle aspects of both Neutrality and Good. Lawful Peri are called Angelborn by their brethren and treated as fanatics, while Evil Peri are known to suffer the ravaging effects of old age prematurely. Many believe that an Evil Peri that dies is reborn as a div.

Peri Lands
Peri are a very small and vulnerable race and make great efforts to remain hidden from the world. They don’t have nations or territories of their own, but possess a rich and millenary culture. They live in oasis secluded by illusions, enchantment and pacts with elementals and local outsiders.
Ironically, most Peri oasis in the Inner Sea of Golarion are located in the godless nation of Rahaudom, although the traditional families live in the deserts of Thuvia. The royal bloodlines of the Peri (like the sons and daughters of mythical Sorush) still live deep in the Windswept Waste, within the Empire of Kelesh, in Casmaron.

The Peri are respectful of the power of the Gods, but devote themselves to appease the celestials powers of the Outer Sphere – particularly the ruling archons: Ragathiel, Sandalphon, Jegudiel, Andoletta, Uriel, Melek Taus (specially this one) and Salaphiel.

Peri have their own language, Avestan, which seems to mix Kelish with Celestial. They also speak Common (Taldan), Elven, Gnoll, Sylvan, Sphinx, Draconic, Celestial, Abyssal and the elemental languages.

Typical Peri names can be found here

Most Peri adventurers are either curious wanderers or courageous (and mad) div slayers. A few are exiled from their families for crimes that range from kin slaying to falling in love with “mortals”.

Peri Racial Traits
·   +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution. Peri are unearthly and ephemeral.
·    Medium-sized.
·   Outsider (native).
·   Low-light vision.
·   Fire Resistance 5.
·   Artist Soul (Ex): Peri gains a +2 racial bonus on Performance checks. Once per day they can substitute one Handle Animal, Diplomacy or Bluff check for a Performance check. Performance is always a class skill for Peri.
·   Inspiring Muse (Ex): Once per day, a Peri can substitute one Craft, Profession, Knowledge, Spellcraft or Use Magic Device check done by an ally within 30 ft. with a Performance check.
·   Desert Bound (Su): Peri gains a +2 racial bonus on Survival checks while on desert terrains. On deserts Peri are constantly under the effects of endure elements and doesn’t require food or water.
·    Climb the Winds (SA): Under an open sky and unrestrained by chain or rope (and not grappled), a Peri can use at will use feather fall, fog cloud and levitate (on herself only) as spell-like abilities (using her character level as caster level). While using any of these spell-like abilities a Peri either glows warmly with ghostly flames or manifest spectral green feathered wings.
·    Heavenly Fragrance (Su): Peri exudes a powerful and flowery scent at all times. Creatures within 30 ft. of a Peri must succeed at a Will save (DC 10 + ½ character level + Char mod) or become spellbound by the fragrance. The Peri gains a +4 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Bluff against these targets. As long as the Peri refrains from violent actions, she’s treated as if under the effects of sanctuary against spellbound targets. These effects last for as long as the target remains close to the Peri and approximately 10 minutes after leaving the area. Creatures that succeed at the Will save are immune for the next 24 hours.
Heavenly Fragrances doesn’t affect constructs, outsiders, fey, undeads or any creature immune to charm. It also makes things really difficult for sneaking Peri, as the fragrance betrays their presence. Creatures with Scent gain a +8 bonus to track Peri.
·    Green Feathered Ones (Su): a 9th level Peri can spend a feat to gain this additional race feature. While under an open sky and unrestrained by chain or rope (and not grappled), a Peri can – as full round action – manifest green feathered wings. This is a supernatural ability that works like overland flight (caster level 9), with the restriction that a Peri can only use it while bathed by sunlight.

Disclaimer: These Peri are not those Peri
One of the things of RPGs (and literature in general) is that there can be multiple interpretations for the same legend, myth or tale. The Peri are a perfect example. I first heard of them in an old RPG.Net post and started instantly to search for references for these exotic Persian fey/celestial creatures. I just loved their flavor and the tales of how Djinns and Ghuls trapped Peri because of their beauty and perfume.
I wrote the entire race above without consulting reading the Peri “monster” stats from the Pathfinder Bestiary 3. Rereading now that entry stats I’m glad to find out that the official Pathfinder Peri are also fierce enemies of the div. It shows how Paizo treat is research and material. Although I really like the CR 14 Peri, I still believe that there’s a lot of potential for a player character race in this legend. Of course, nothing can stop you from using both versions of the Peri. Personally, I would use the “monster” Peri to represent the royal bloodline of the race (or just the first Peri).


  1. The flavor is quite nice indeed.
    In what system or setting are the gods you mention?

  2. Thanks! Glad you liked it.
    All setting references are to Golarion (the quoted celestials are Empyreal Lords). You can find most info here: