In the decades since first contact with greater galactic society, the Venari have invited other forms of life into their Choir and begun to experiment with space travel, bonding "newborn" Shards to willing hosts who volunteer as so-called Shardbonded. While the resulting hybrid beings are unique intelligences, individual and distinct from their home Choir, they serve to represent Choral interests in the galaxy at large. In exchange for the implanted Venari's potent mastery over Chrono, the Shardbonded symbiont is expected to become a diplomat and ambassador for the Venari, lending the node they carry the ability to speak, interact with, and come to understand the rest of galactic society by ordinary -- that is to say, traditionally biological -- means.
Appropriately, such Shardbonded diplomats are referred to by other Venari as Voices.
Biology & Anatomy
Venari Shardbonded greatly resemble their original hosts, albeit with deposits of venarite crystal typically found on the head, along limbs, and on the cheeks, temples, or sides of the face. While they retain their original hair color, their eyes typically become blue or blue-tinted, and other natural blue pigmentation -- such as in shallow-set veins -- becomes more pronounced. Pale-skinned Shardbonded often gain prominently visible "spiderwebs" of surface veins due to this effect.
Sociology & Culture
(Main article: Venari)
Candidates for Shardbonding are selected after intense academic and psychological examination of a potential host, and then created via a simple surgical procedure that grafts one Venari node to the spinal column and another to the skin, typically near or on the head, chest, or back. The resulting symbiotic being is a blending of both the original Choir and the newfound host's personalities, with the latter serving as an instrument of the former to operate in galactic society.
"Shardbonded" is a template that may be applied to any humanoid creature. In a surgical procedure that typically takes several hours, the host is granted a Venari symbiont node, and the bonding process takes place over the course of the next several days, during which the host suffers severely painful physiological changes and is typically kept in an artificially-induced coma. 72 hours after the initial procedure, the host becomes Shardbonded, gaining the following traits:
• Joint Intelligence: +2 to a mental attribute of the player's choice. Symbiotic interplay between the two minds that make up the Shardbonded whole causes some inner turmoil -- many Shardbonded develop schizophrenia and other personality disorders, and hosts are selected for resistance to these conditions -- but the bond ultimately refines the thought process of the whole person.
• Musical Attunement: Gain Blindsense 30 ft. and +2 Listen. Venari primarily experience the world through vibration and resonance prior to bonding, and are intimately familiar with the patterns that arise within sound.
• Chrono Manipulation: Gain a single cantrip or orison. Even small Venari nodes, such as the symbionts used in Shardbonding, are capable of some amount of Chrono manipulation.
• Gembonded Skin: +1 natural armor.
• Level Adjustment +1