The looming threat of the Darkplane is an ever-present reality for a mimessarch. Some develop their aberrant qualities through contact with the unnatural climes of the Darkplane or its native creatures. Others experience inexplicable physiological changes, only to discover an aberrant taint in their bloodline. Whatever the cause, mimessarchs manifest a powerful deformity while maintaining the at times vague appearance of their born race.
Mimessarchs know that they can’t escape their fate. The unnatural deformity remains as a permanent mark of the Darkplane’s influence over them. Many attempt to regain a semblance of normal life, hiding the deformity and the abilities it grants. Others throw caution to the wind and embrace the fear their alien features inspire.
All mimessarchs give birth to mimessarchs, though the natural race may prevail until later in the child’s life. Communities have been discovered that span several generations of born mimessarchs within a single family, from those who have not changed at all to those that are distorted beyond recognition. The deformity of the child nearly always matches that of the parent.
Whether reclusive or bold, mimessarchs are defined by their relationship to the aberrant. Some worship and revere powerful Darkplane entities. Others despise and fight against these forces.
TWISTED IN BODY AND MIND
In many instances, the unnatural metamorphosis of a mimessarch has drastic psychological ramifications, ranging from self-loathing to schizophrenia and other forms of madness. Those who don’t hide from public view by their own choice are often shunned or driven away.
The Darkplane may deform mimessarchs, but it compensates them with flashes of genius. The touch of madness brings an eccentric brilliance that can make a mimessarch a valuable ally. Ironically these moments of genius are interpersed with strange compulsions that can confuse and offend those who associate with the mimessarch. Phobias, addictions, obsessions, and odd speech patterns are the everyday fare of these unfortunate creatures.
Most mimessarchs develop a cynical philosophy. They disbelieve in moral strictures, dismiss religion, and spurn offers of spiritual redemption, particularly those that come from organized groups. Their pursuit of greatness is most often motivated by a desire to conquer, harness, or minimize their aberrant nature. Some do so through disciplined meditation, some through physical training, and others through darker practices.
A mimessarch’s appearance depends on two factors: his or her natural race and the type of Darkplane deformity that manifests. Small creatures that become tainted retain their diminutive size, for example.
Even individual cases of the same deformity manifest in different ways, however. Tentacles may be of different colors, and aberrant countenances may have wildly different features. Common to most Darkplane deformities are tuberous extrusions, a slimy mucus coating over the skin, and the presence of anomalous orifices.
When properly disguised, a mimessarch can pass as a normal member of his or her natural race. Such a disguise can be challenging to pull off, especially when the deformity covers large portions of the body or face. At best the mimessarch looks awkward but natural. Many simply make no effort at disguise whatsoever.
STATUS AS A MEANS OF PROTECTION
Shunned and gawked at by others, mimessarchs are forced to distinguish themselves as deserving of respect. Unlike other races that hide their true nature, they don’t necessarily depend on anonymity for survival. Though they do what they can to hide their deformity, mimessarchs are more likely to protect themselves through status. Whatever the method, it’s common for a mimessarch to obsessively seek to prove to the world that he or she is more than a freak. Often this comes in the form of power and station, which deriders won’t be able to argue with.
This isn’t always difficult for mimessarchs to achieve. They have stared the mad cosmos in the face and survived. The experience leaves them with a glimpse of knowledge beyond mortal reach, making them prone to flashes of incredible genius—but likewise taints their mind with spurts of psychosis. The severity of the conditions differ, but many mimessarchs manage to achieve great things despite their disturbing aspect.
It is rare that a mimessarch assimilates seamlessly into mainstream society. Some seek the sequestered work of a farmer or laborer, others rob and raid for their living. It’s common for mimessarchs to have dealings and connections in underground communities such as organized crime or hidden arcane cabals.
There are households, colonies, even entire villages where mimessarchs gather for refuge. Most are run by a specific family or individual whose bloodline is irreversibly tainted. A few are organized by chapters of Senfaerist monks who are all too familiar with the terrors of the Darkplane threat.
Mimessarch havens range from communal and benevolent to abhorrent and brutal. Most are unsanitary; all can be frightening to the average person. Few of them are appealing to those inexperienced with the aberrant, or bothered by mental illness.
CLIMBING THE LADDER
Because the background of each mimessarch is so unique, they can be found in a variety of roles in the adventuring world. If they haven’t retired from public view, they chase pursuits connected to hierarchy, such as membership in adventurer guilds. Achievement and recognition help them forget the repulsiveness the Darkplane has consigned them to.
Mimessarchs generally keep their given name. See the examples of names provided in the description of your secondary race.
You gain a variety of unique traits stemming from your Darkplane deformity.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Age. The Darkplane infection kills many living things outright, and mimessarchs have been known to die early of biological complications resulting from their deformities. There are also those whose changing bodies remain living far beyond what would be expected of their natural race. It's yours to decide which you are.
Alignment. There isn’t much room in a mimessarch’s life for moral certainty. Having the insight they do into the alien cosmos tends to shake their confidence in virtue or principle. That being so, mimessarchs gravitate toward neutral alignments.
Size. See Natural Heritage below.
Speed. See Natural Heritage below.
Aberration. You are considered an aberration as well as a humanoid. You have advantage when making Intelligence checks related to knowledge of aberrations and the Darkplane.
Horrifying. You have advantage when making Charisma (Intimidation) checks. You can spend an action to intimidate one creature you can see that isn’t an aberration, undead, or construct. If you win a contest between your Charisma (Intimidation) and the creature’s Wisdom it is frightened until the end of its next turn.
Unless you’re wearing a suitable disguise (at your DM’s discretion), you add your proficiency bonus to the DC of any Charisma (Performance) or Charisma (Persuasion) check you make.
Natural Heritage. Choose a race other than mimessarch. You are also considered a member of that race. When determining your name, size, speed, and languages, reference your natural heritage.
Languages. See Natural Heritage.
Darkplane Deformity. Your body has been twisted in a way that enhances your biological capabilities. The deformed area might be easily hidden, such as the back or abdomen, but it might be in a glaring place like the face. Decide with your DM which one of the following deformities you have and where it is. Three of the options are presented here.
You have extra eyes bubbling from irregularly located orifices. There might be one extra eye or thirty—either way they grant you heightened perception, including the ability to see in absolute dark.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2.
All Eyes. You have advantage when making Wisdom (Perception) checks, and you cannot be surprised.
Perfect Darkvision. Your aberrant eyes allow you to see better in complete darkness. You can see in darkness and dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Your body is covered in six-inch, fibrous spindles. They might extend from your hands, arms, legs, face, or other body parts. When the spindles touch a surface, they can read vibrations to give you a clear idea of other moving objects that touch the same surface. If you’re in water, this means you can sense other creatures in the water. If underground, you can sense vibrations in the stone that tell you what other creatures might lurk about.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2.
Tremorsense. You can see creatures and objects within 20 feet, even if they are invisible, hidden, obscured, or otherwise out of sight. Both you and the creature or object must be in contact with the ground or another substance (a wall, line, web, water, etc.).
You have one or more tentacles, up to 4 feet in length, that sprout from anywhere on your body—perhaps your arms, legs, or abdomen. Their coordination is somewhat limited, but they make you very fast in water. They can be used to apply force to objects, but cannot hold items.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Cephalopod. While swimming, your speed increases to 50 feet. Your unarmed attack deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage, and creatures grappled by your tentacles have disadvantage on saving throws to escape.