( Dragon Compendium, p. 10)


Size: Medium
Base speed: Land 30
Strength: +0
Intelligence: −2
Dexterity: −2
Wisdom: +0
Constitution: +2
Charisma: +0
Level adjustment: +1
Space: 5 feet
Reach: 5 feet
Natural armor: +4
Automatic languages: Common , Diopsid
Bonus Languages: Dwarven , Orc , Terran , Undercommon


Diopsids are Underdark creatures that resemble a cross between a humanoid and a beetle. They occupy large, sprawling caverns deep beneath the earth where they carve settlements into the walls and floors of their domains. Diopsids have a deep love of metal weapons and other objects, but they lack the technical ability to manufacture such goods. Thus, they work as mercenaries, laborers, hunters, and scouts for other races. To the folk of the Underdark, diopsids are simple but dangerous barbarians best dealt with via a mercenary contract rather than open engagement. Tough, strong, and skilled with a variety of weapons, diopsids make terrifying opponents and valued allies.

Diopsids work with almost anyone who meets their asking price, and they are quite willing to push aside an ally to work with a new paymaster. Diopsids are opportunistic and somewhat greedy, particularly when it comes to metal weapons, tools, and armor. They take care to protect their reputation as mercenaries.

Personality: Diopsids are stolid, dependable, and somewhat dull. A diopsid tends to think over a problem first and act later. They find other races endlessly fascinating, especially humanoid surface dwellers, and they sometimes prove annoying with their endless questions and conjectures. When it comes to metal weapons and tools, a diopsid becomes a frenetic, energized explorer. It might turn a weapon over in its hands, stroke its length, and test it on a handy rock or giant mushroom.

Physical Description: A diopsid is a large beetle with six limbs. It uses its rearmost limbs as legs, allowing it to walk upright like a humanoid. Its four arms form two markedly different pairs. Its upper arms are strong and powerful, allowing it to heft weapons, carry heavy loads, and manipulate tools like a humanoid. Its middle pair of limbs is situatedjust below its arms. These small, slender limbs are much weaker than its legs and upper arms. Generally, diopsids use them to assist their primary arms. A diopsid warrior can carry a greatsword with one upper arm and its corresponding lesser, weaker arm. In this manner, a diopsid warrior can fight with a pair of two-handed weapons.

A diopsid has a pair of stalks that project outward from the sides of its head. Each stalk ends with a large, multifaceted red eye. These stalks are immobile, and diopsids see a wide gap between the two as an indicator of strength, power, and beauty.

Relations: Diopsids are friendly with almost every other race. They see strangers as potential customers for their services as mercenaries and as a source of metal weapons and tools. A diopsid settlement is likely to traffic with drow, dwarves, and other folk without prejudice. As insects, diopsids see all humanoids as one indistinguishable mass. The differences between a dwarf and a drow are trivial in their eyes, considering the vast gap between a diopsid and any other humanoid creature.

Alignment: Diopsids are typically neutral. In the wild and dangerous lands of the Underdark, they are renowned for their ability to survive and mingle with a staggering range of creatures, from cruel drow and mind flayers to the friendlier svirfneblin and dwarves. Diopsids rarely engage in warfare with others unless provoked. Their prowess in battle makes attacking them a poor option, especially when they are ready and willing to serve as mercenaries for the highest bidder. Even when in service to other creatures, diopsids rarely take pleasure in causing pain or misery. They simply fight for their masters and rarely spread more havoc than needed to defeat an enemy.

Diopsid Lands: Diopsids occupy large caverns within the Underdark, typically in areas isolated from other folk. While diopsids remain neutral in most conflicts, they prefer to avoid such entanglements rather than risk their safety and security. A typical diopsid settlement consists of stone towers built into the sides of a cavern's wall. Diopsids build up along the cavern, digging into the rock and scattering the debris down upon the cavern floor to create a rough, treacherous zone of rubble. Over time, diopsids slowly stretch their corridors and chambers to the cavern's roof. A visitor to a diopsid cavern might believe he has somehow stumbled back to the surface world during the night of a new moon. The flashing lights of diopsids' natural luminescence looks like twinkling stars across the black canvas of the cavern's walls and floor.

Diopsids use their unique abilities, particularly their ability to drift safely down from any height using their wings, to defend their lands. Diopsid watchtowers flash beacons back to their settlements. Once alerted, warriors march to the upper passages in the cavern roof When the battle is joined, these elite diopsid warriors jump down upon their enemies. These simple but effective tactics have taught many would-be enemies that diopsids are better met with barter than battle.

Religion: Diopsids possess a simple set of beliefs that surface dwellers find simplistic and amusing. Diopsids worship the goddess Diophia, the patron of diopsids, their creator, and their guardian. Her domains are Earth, Protection, Travel, and War, and her favored weapon is the greataxe. The most noteworthy bit of diopsid religious lore lies in their regard for the surface world. Diopsids see the realms above as a terrible place of fearful ordeals, dangerous monsters, and horrific peril. The air moves and slashes, the ground slopes high into unimaginable reaches of the ether, and torrents of endless water batter the earth in an endless assault. A diopsid who ventures to the surface is regarded as a mighty hero, one worthy of the highest praises. Because of this belief, diopsids tend to regard humans, elves, and other travellers from the surface with something close to pity. Diopsids see them as lost souls cast out of the comforting grasp of the earth and forced to survive in a deadly, alien land.

Language: The diopsid native language consists of an intricate code of light flashes generated by luminescent glands situated on their bodies. This language uses the intensity of the light, the speed and length of individual flashes, and similar cues to form words. The diopsid language has no system of writing, a critical handicap that prevents diopsids from developing any advanced technologies.

A diopsid is capable of speaking and understanding Common and other spoken languages. A diopsid's voice is usually dry, hollow, and punctuated with clicks of its mandibles.

Names: Diopsids lack names they can communicate in languages such as Common. The patterns of flashes they use have no analog. Thus, diopsids usually allow others to pick nicknames for them. Diopsids embrace new names and drop old ones with ease. They see such monikers as devices of communication devised by and for their trading partners and employers. They care little for their nicknames and rarely grow attached to them.

Adventurers: Diopsid adventurers are usually ex- mercenaries who grew bored of working for others. Spurred on by stories of the horrific outer world— unlike other, more docile diopsids who see that world as a source of terrors real and imagined— these diopsids strike out in search of fame, glory, and metal weapons and tools. Many of the most powerful diopsid war chiefs and leaders once acted as adventurers. By demonstrating their resourcefulness and making grand gifts of metal goods to potential allies, these wanderers cement their political status after a successful adventuring career.


Racial Traits

  • Monstrous Humanoid: As monstrous humanoids, diopsids are immune to spells that only affect humanoids, such as charm person and hold person.
  • +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence: Diopsids are tough, but they are clumsy and slow witted compared to other races. A diopsid's young age at adulthood makes it inexperienced and ignorant compared to other folk.
  • Medium: As size Medium creatures, diopsids gain no special benefits or penalties due to their size. Diopsid base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision: Diopsids can see in the dark to a range of up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and diopsids can function just fine with no light at all.
  • Bioluminescence: A diopsid has a number of glands on its body that allow it to shed light much like a firefly. At will, the diopsid can shed light in a 10- foot radius around its body. Shadowy illumination extends another 20 feet around this area. The diopsid can create or douse this light as a free action.
  • Natural Armor: A diopsid's tough carapace gives it a +4 natural armor bonus.
  • Wings: Diopsids have a pair of stubby wings that, while too weak to provide them with flight, allows them to gently guide to a soft landing regardless of how far they fall. A diopsid does not take falling damage as long as it is capable of taking actions. As an immediate action, it can unfurl its wings and float slowly downward at 60 feet per round. A paralyzed, unconscious, or otherwise incapacitated diopsid cannot use its wings in this manner.
  • Extra Arms: Diopsids have four arms: their two primary limbs and a secondary, weaker set of arms. Their weaker limbs are poorly suited to carrying weapons or shields, but they do an excellent job of providing stability and support to the upper limbs. The diopsid's extra limbs allow it to use weapons one size category larger than normal without penalty. The diopsid's secondary arms must be free for it to gain this benefit. This benefit does not extend to larger weapons. For example, a diopsid can wield a Large longsword with a single primary arm without penalty by steadying the blade's pommel with its lower limb. A diopsid can wield a pair of two-handed weapons by using all four of its limbs. The diopsid gains the full benefits of wielding a two-handed weapon, such as 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus on damage rolls. The diopsid suffers the standard penalty for fighting with two weapons and carrying a non-light weapon in its off hand. A diopsid wielding a pair of two-handed weapons is a fearsome sight. It shifts and twirls the two weapons between its four hands, hammering its opponent with tremendous strikes while defying its normally clumsy, fumbling nature. If a diopsid carries a weapon or shield in its secondary arms while one or more of its primary arms also carry an item, it suffers a number of penalties. When using a shield, the diopsid takes the shield's armor check penalty on its attack rolls and skill checks even if it has proficiency with the shield. When using a weapon, the diopsid gains only half its Strength bonus on damage rolls. It takes a -4 penalty on all attacks for each light weapon used in this manner. This penalty increases to -8 for one-handed weapons. The diopsid cannot carry a two-handed weapon with just its secondary arms. A diopsid with at least one empty hand can cast spells with a somatic component.
  • Limb Symmetry: A diopsid's four arms allow it to carry and use multiple items with relative ease. A diopsid can use its third and fourth limbs to steady a weapon held in its primary arms, shift its weight, and maneuver it to attack or defend. A diopsid ignores the Dexterity prerequisite, if any, for any feat that has the words "two-weapon" in its name, such as Two- Weapon Fighting. The diopsid must fulfill the rest of the feat's requirements as normal.
  • Insect Body: The diopsid's beetle-like body makes it unsuited to use many tools and magic items designed for humanoids. A diopsid has trouble wearing bulky armor even if it has the appropriate feat. A diopsid can wear light armor without penalty. When wearing medium armor the diopsid takes a -2 penalty to Dexterity. This penalty increases to -4 if the diopsid wears heavy armor. The diopsid's multiple limbs and bulky form make it poorly suited to using heavy armor. For such a suit to offer its full protection, it must restrict the diopsid's movements. In any case, the diopsid must purchase custom-made armor. This armor costs the same price as if the diopsid had to purchase armor one size larger than normal.
  • Immune to Sleep: Diopsids do not need to sleep and are immune to all sleep effects.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Diopsid. Bonus Languages: Dwarf, Orc, Terran, Undercommon. Diopsids learn the languages of the Underdark to facilitate trade with other folk. The diopsid love of new weapons and metal goods is powerful enough to overcome their normally sluggish intellects. The diopsid native tongue employs their luminous glands, allowing them to flash messages across the largest Underdark caverns without a sound. Diopsids can also create flashes of "light" visible only to creatures with darkvision, allowing them to "whisper" without tipping off their presence to creatures that rely on normal vision. An observer can detect a diopsid communicating in this manner with a Spot check rather than a Listen check. While creatures that lack bioluminescence cannot "speak" Diopsid, they can understand and translate it.
  • Favored Class: Barbarian. A multiclass diopsid's barbarian levels do not count when determining whether it takes an experience point penalty. Diopsids are strong, tough warriors who prefer brute force to elegant fighting styles. Thus, the barbarian class is a perfect match for them.
  • Level Adjustment: +1.

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