Climate/Terrain:Quasiplane of Mineral
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:Genius to supra-genius (18-20)
No. Appearing:2d4
Armor Class:2
Hit Dice:6
No. of Attacks:1
Damage/Attack:1d4 or by weapon + gem bonus
Special Attacks:Spells, impale
Special Defenses:Nil
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (5-6’ tall)
Morale:Steady (11-12)
XP Value:2,000

Even most primes know that gems and jewels contain magical essences at their very core. That’s just a fact. So why’s it so surprising, then, that some of the greatest mages in the multiverse come from the Quasielemental Plane of Mineral? It’s true. They’re called the tsnng. (By the way, a body shouldn’t worry if he can’t pronounce that word – nontsnng never can. Their tongues just ain’t crystalline enough. Most bashers say “tiss-ning” or something like that. It’s not like the tsnng care. Truth is, hardly anyone can understand their weird crystalline language without magical aid.)

Basically, tsnng are a race of anthropomorphic gemstones. Most folks’d describe them as extraordinarily thin and spindly. Their multifaceted bodies shine and sparkle with a plethora of color, never the same pattern twice. Their long, narrow heads have only small, black eyes and a tiny mouth to distinguish them from large, baguette-cut gemstones. The rest of their bodies look like spun crystal of brilliant hue and luster. Normally, strange garments of black, gold, or silver cover some or all of a tsnng’s form.

Combat: All tsnng can claw with their hard, sharp fingers, inflicting deep wounds in soft flesh (and causing 1d4 points of damage). Their gemlike bodies give them an impressive natural Armor Class, and their AC would be even better – if the creatures weren’t so spindly and fragile. Some’d describe them as downright brittle. When struck in combat, they don’t bleed, but they do break and eventually shatter when slain.

Although it’s impossible to tell them apart outside of battle, once a fight breaks out it’s easy to see that there are two kinds of tsnng – warriors and wizards.

The warriors engage in melee and missile combat with foes, using weapons made of fine gemstones. Javelins of ruby and long diamond knives are not uncommon in their arsenals. These weapons aren’t magical, but they do add a bonus of +1 to +4 (DM’s discretion, based on the kind of stone) to attack and damage rolls. Plenty of folks’d love to learn the dark of creating such weapons, but the tsnng wouldn’t share that kind of information with other races even if they could.

’Course, tsnng warriors are quite capable even when unarmed. Like all members of their race, they can strike with their sharp claws. However, warriors can reshape one or both of their hands into spearlike extensions that impale foes on a natural attack roll of 19 or 20. Such a blow inflicts quadruple damage (4d4 points). The warriors need a full round to alter the shape of their hands, and obviously they can’t hold or grasp anything while in spearlike form.

Tsnng wizards are even more notorious in battle. Each has the spellcasting ability of a 6th-level wizard, and many advance far beyond that (their Hit Dice totals and other statistics do not increase, however). All tsnng wizards can memorize twice the number of spells as they should normally be able for their level. A few graybeards have theorized that it’s as though each spellslinger inherently possesses the power of a potent ring of wizardry.

This leads some to think that it’s possible for a nontsnng to harness this ability through training, or even by using a tsnng’s body as a kind of component in a magical item. Most likely, though, it’s not.

Not surprisingly, in combat the warriors take to the front ranks to protect the wizards while the spellslingers work their magic. This doesn’t mean that the warriors are drones guarding their masters, or that the wizards consider their protectors expendable. On the contrary, the two types of tsnng are equal in every way – they just specialize in different areas. The warriors are every bit as intelligent and crafty as the wizards and present just as much of a threat.

Because of their magical power, the tsnng often use various enchanted items of their own manufacture. ’Course, these objects – scrolls inscribed on sheets of gold and platinum, rings and amulets cut from huge gemstones, bejeweled weapons, and more – are also valuable for the materials from which they’re made.

Habitat/Society: Tsnng gather together in small enclaves and then never associate with any other members of their race. These leaderless, autonomous cabals usually consist of eight to 20 tsnng. Each group establishes a lair in a spectacular, gem-filled cavern – almost an amphitheater, really – the likes of which most folks will never see. Oddly, rather than consider itself a tribe or community, each cabal thinks of itself as a council of rulers with dominion over the entire quasiplane of Mineral.

Fact is, while a few cabals have managed to convince other natives of the plane that the tsnng are indeed their masters, most mineral quasielementals just ignore them. Further, as each cabal looks upon itself as the ultimate authority, and because there are uncounted tsnng enclaves, any one particular group has little chance of accomplishing much on a planar scale. They do, however, wield a great deal of local power.

Ecology: The main enemy of the tsnng is, really, other tsnng. The various cabals often skirmish over control of an area of Mineral or a group of its inhabitants (sometimes without the inhabitants even knowing). Theye’re generally hostile to outsiders from the rest of the multiverse, as well, so planewalkers should take note.

Tsnng eat virtually anything, consuming the matter within their furnacelike guts. Because they can use any material as sustenance, require no sleep, and have no reproductive urges, they’re free to spend all of their time learning new enchantments and contemplating elaborate schemes for their domains and their subjects.

Last Modified: June 10, 2010, 12:06:00 GMT

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

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