Art by Megan Stevens

A race of sentient wooden constructs, marionettes appear to be humanoid puppets cut loose from their strings, complete with loose wooden joints. Astoundingly, marionettes have no trouble moving about or functioning, and pursue life with gusto. With the incredibly loose joints comes a distinct style of movement, which involves a great deal of flailing about and limbs flying around at odd angles. In addition, their faces are frozen images, forever locked into a single expression. Given their wooden expression, it comes as no surprise that marionettes cannot speak. Because of this, marionettes tend to express themselves more physically, making exaggerated gestures to convey their intent or emotional state. Where an annoyed person might pout, a marionette will throw a grand tantrum. Where a normal person might ask directions to the church, a marionette will launch into mock prayer before scratching its head.

The first marionettes were recorded as wandering into a quiet town from out of a nearby forest. Seeming unaware of the commotion their unusual appearance was causing, the marionettes would approach random people in the street and begin pantomiming their movements. It took some time, but eventually people realized that the marionettes were harmless, and the townspeople started observing the behavior of their new neighbors a little more closely. They determined that the marionettes learned by mimicking the actions of others, even if they didn’t understand the significance of an action.

One thing that was quickly noted upon was that marionettes loved any form of creative expression. Music would entrance them, and theatrical performances would command their rapt attention. It was from their striking resemblance to puppets that these strange creatures got their name. The name was lent further credence from the fact that marionettes always seemed to exaggerate any action they mimicked, to the point it became a comic parody of the original action. This has been credited more to the marionette’s lack of cohesion, and not to any real malice on the part of the marionettes.

Marionettes have failed to create a culture uniquely their own, content to instead wander into towns of others races and attempt to integrate themselves into an existing society. Few civilized cultures have any issue with this, as marionettes are unfailingly pleasant and amusing to be around. The one exception to their lack of cohesive culture is their love of performing arts. On the rare occasion that a large group of marionettes do form (often called a ‘troupe’), it inevitably forms into a sort roving circus act. The troupe moves from town to town, delighting in the amusement of others, gathering new acts and refining old ones as they go.

When asked about their origins, marionettes refer to someone called The Puppet Lord. Depending on which marionette you ask, this entity is either a benevolent guiding force, an overbearing control freak, a sinister scheming mastermind, or a convenient excuse for bad behavior. Because marionette adapt so thoroughly to the culture around them, it is difficult to tell how much is the marionette’s cultural memory, and how much is their newfound identity talking.

Racial TraitsEdit

  • Ability Score (-2 RP): Marionettes are profoundly expressive and surprisingly tough, but nobody would ever call them naturally graceful, and their charming nature comes in part from an air of blissful ignorance. They receive +2 Charisma, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, and -4 Dexterity

  • Size (0 RP): Marionettes are medium size creatures

  • Creature Type (20 RP): Marionettes are constructs (see living construct for more information)

  • Languages (1 RP): Marionettes begin play understanding Common. A marionette with a high intelligence modifier can choose from any language (except secret languages like Druidic). However, a marionette is mute and cannot speak.

  • Pull Together (2 RP): Because of their loose-fitting joints, marionettes view losing an arm or a leg as a setback, not a catastrophe. A marionette is able to reattach a lost limb as a full round action. A marionette doesn’t die if its head is removed with a vorpal weapon, but instead acts as though it was blind until it re-attaches its head. A limb separated from the marionette becomes inert until re-attached.

  • Living Construct (-11 RP): Marionettes are unlike any construct thus created, seemingly imbued with a manic life energy that renders them living. Their construct traits are modified in the following ways:

    • (-1) Marionettes have a Constitution score.

    • (-6) Marionettes are not immune to death effects, ability drain, ability damage, or energy drain.

    • (-2) Marionettes do not gain additional hit points points based on their size

    • (-4) Marionettes are not immune to mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).

    • (+2) Marionettes are not destroyed at 0 hit points. They are treated as humanoid creature for the purposes of dying.

    • Marionettes cannot eat. A marionette cannot use potions, although they can still use oils. A marionette cannot use woodwind instruments.

  • Fire Vulnerability (-2 RP): A sad consequence of their wooden construction, marionettes are incredibly flammable. They take an additional 50% fire damage.

  • Full of Life (2 RP): Few things seem able to depress a marionette, and nothing seems able to to dampen their spirit when it comes to life. A marionette receives a +2 racial bonus on all saves against death effects, saving throws against negative energy effects, and Fortitude saves made to remove negative levels.

  • Wooden Construction (2 RP): Like most puppets, marionettes are made of wood. This means that certain spells effect a marionette differently:

    • Warp wood deals 2d6 damage to the marionette on a failed save

    • Wood shape deals 1d6 damage to the marionette on a failed save. The caster may choose to have the marionette’s unarmed strikes deal slashing or piercing damage if the marionette fails its save.

    • Snake staff causes the marionette to polymorph into an advanced giant venomous snake

    • Ironwood gives the marionette a +2 natural armor bonus AC for the duration of the spell

    • Repel wood pushes the marionette along it’s path unless it can make an Acrobatics check each round (DC = DC of repel wood)

  • Theatrical Knack (2 RP): Marionettes have a fascination with theatre, music, and acting. They get a +2 racial bonus on Perform checks.

  • Expressive Trust (-2 RP): Marionettes, for all their charm, haven’t seemed to grasp the concepts of lying or subtlety. They receive a -4 penalty on Sense Motive and Bluff checks.

Total RP (12)

Random Marionette Starting AgesEdit





14 years

+1d4 years

(15 - 18 years)

+1d6 years

(15 - 20 years)

+2d6 years

(16 - 26 years)

1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.

2 This category includes bards, cavaliers, fighters, gunslingers, paladins, rangers, summoners, and witches.

3 This category includes alchemists, clerics, druids, inquisitors, magi, monks, and wizards.

Random Marionette Height and WeightEdit


Base Height

Height Modifier

Base Weight

Weight Modifier


4 ft. 10 in.

+2d10 in.

(5 ft - 6 ft. 6 in.)

150 lbs.

+(2d8×7 lbs.)

(164 - 262 lbs.)


4 ft. 5 in.

+2d10 in.

(4 ft. 7 in. - 6 ft. 1 in.)

120 lbs.

+(2d8×7 lbs.)

(134 - 232 lbs.)

Favored Class BonusesEdit





+1 rounds of bardic performance per day



+¼ to checks made to remain in a performance persona

LRGG Gonzo


Gain ⅙ of a new mocking performance

LRGG Gonzo


Gain ⅙ of a new gag

LRGG Gonzo

Alternate Racial Traits

Deadly Strings (3 RP): Some marionettes possess strings dangling down from various extremities which possess a surprisingly deadly sharpness. Those that are marked by these reminders of bondage seem less hopeful and exuberant than their non-stringed counterparts.  A marionette with this trait may use these strings as a primary natural attack that deals 1d4 nonlethal damage and have a 10 foot reach with the nonlethal weapon trait.  These strings are considered a whip for the purposes of determining the effects of feats or class features. This trait replaces full of life.

Section 15 OGL Copyright Declaration: Edit

• System Reference Document. Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on material by E.Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

• Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. Copyright 2009, Paizo Inc.; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

• The Book of Experimental Might. Copyright 2008, Monte J. Cook. All rights reserved.

• Tome of Horrors. Copyright 2002, Necromancer Games, Inc.; Authors: Scott Greene, with Clark Peterson, Erica Balsley, Kevin Baase, Casey Christofferson, Lance Hawvermale, Travis Hawvermale, Patrick Lawinger, and Bill Webb; Based on original content from TSR.

• Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player’s Guide. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn

• Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Combat. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Brian J. Cortijo, Jim Groves, Tim Hitchcock, Richard A. Hunt, Colin McComb, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, and Russ Taylor.

• Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Magic. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jason Bulmahn, Tim Hitchcock, Colin McComb, Rob McCreary, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Sean K Reynolds, Owen K.C. Stephens, and Russ Taylor.

• Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Race Guide. © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Jim Groves, Tim Hitchcock, Hal MacLean, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Owen K.C. Stephens, Todd Stewart, and Russ Taylor.

• Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Class Guide © 2014, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Dennis Baker, Ross Byers, Jesse Benner, Savannah Broadway, Jason Bulmahn, Jim Groves, Tim Hitchcock, Tracy Hurley, Jonathan H. Keith, Will McCardell, Dale C. McCoy, Jr., Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Thomas M. Reid, Sean K Reynolds, Tork Shaw, Owen K.C. Stephens, and Russ Taylor.

• Psionics Unleashed. © 2010, Dreamscarred Press; Jeremy Smith, Andreas Rönnqvist, Philip Leco II.

• Gonzo © 2014, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Scott Gladstein, Thomas Lee Hornyak Jr, Christos Gurd, Dayton Johnson, Caleb Alysworth, and Jeremiah Zerby.

• Lineage Draconis © 2012, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Caleb Alysworth, and Scott Gladstein.

• Fury of the Elements © 2012, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Caleb Aylsworth, Maverik Bishop, and Jeremiah Zerby.

• Heroes of the East II © 2012, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Scott Gladstein and Caleb Alysworth.

• Heroes of the East III © 2013, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Scott Gladstein and Caleb Alysworth.

• Primal Host © 2014, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Maverik Bishop, Scott Gladstein, Jeremiah Zerby, and Caleb Aylsworth.

• King of the Ring © 2012, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Jeremiah Zerby, Scott Gladstein, Caleb Aylsworth, and Maverik Bishop.

• Little Red Goblin Games Racial Guide 4: Nontradational Races © 2014, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Scott Gladstein, Christos Gurd, Ian Sisson, and Dayton Johnson.

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