Posts Tagged With: Character Race

Do dwarves take baths…?

So, the other day a picture of a chinchilla came up on my Tumblr, and I was struck for a moment by the image of one taking a dust bath. I immediately wondered if dwarves took dust baths? Do dwarves bathe? They don’t like deep water, they pretty much can’t swim (too dense), and the big reason to take a bath is because of sweat and I didn’t even know (because I’d never thought of it) if dwarves even sweat…

I kind of liked the idea though, the idea of dust baths and maybe filing away callouses and the like – or just a really good pumice scraping. So I took the idea to my dwarf player, KT, and talked it over with her. She kind of liked the idea as well, and after some discussion of physiological issues involved (no sweating means different ways of shedding heat, etc) we decided that it was a fine idea and added to it. Dwarves take dust baths, as well as baths with sand or some other coarse abrasive when they need to get rid of stains or caked on whatever. They have generally use pumice or a file to remove calluses and trim nails, and occasionally will slake themselves in oil and scrape themselves down – plus they’ll use oils on their beards occasionally to help shaped them and otherwise keep them healthy after being soaked in water to avoid lighting on fire at the forge.

Dwarves tend to keep their beards tucked into pouches, soaked in water, when they work at the forge in order to keep them safe. I can’t remember if that’s an old Ed Greenwood detail, or one that came from some old Tolkien illustration, but I distinctly remember liking it from somewhere, somewhen.

In fact, the only dwarves who are ever likely to actually wash with water are Hill Dwarves, because they are travelling so often. They don’t like it, and are likely to look a bit dirtier than the average Mountain Dwarf or Dwimmervolk for that reason – which of course adds to their reputation as being the “poor relatives” and vagrants who are at least (thankfully) better then those filthy, clanless and honorbroken Druegar…

We also decided that whatever the temperature regulation mechanism was for dwarven physiology, they just weren’t as bothered by temperature ranges from an comfort level. They aren’t resistant to heat or cold, but their “comfort zone” was far broader than that of a human.




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Casting spells and wearing armor (5e)

So, as I go through the list of things that I like about 5e as compared to 1e, and things I like much, much better in 1e the whole concept of wearing armor and casting spells comes up. In 5e, this is simply a matter of proficiency – if you are proficient in the armor, then it doesn’t interfere in your spell-casting. Now, in 1e spell-casting and armor was severely limited and was one of the great balancers for non-human races, fundamentally for Arcane Magic.

Now, truthfully, there are all sorts of different flavors of Arcane Magic now (and we’ll ignore my “historical game” switched all sorts of things up, like Druids using Arcane Magic, blah, blah, blah…) but, in the quest to nerf the idea of level-dipping, and continue to add back at least some of the verisimilitude that made my campaign world make sense…

Divine Magic has no inherent limits on armor (just like 1e), it is simply a matter of the armor training you get from your class. A character Deity is happy to pump divine energy into you, whatever you’re wearing, as long as you’re doing “the right stuff”!

Arcane Magic is where it gets wonky…

Wizards, Eldritch Knights, Arcane Tricksters, and Sorcerers may only wear only wear Ultralight Armor.

Bards and Warlocks may wear Ultralight and Light Armor.

Elves, High Men, Half-Elves, Sh’dai, Dwarrow, the Old Race, and Gnomes (this could expand as additional races are detailed) may wear non-metallic Light and Medium Armor and cast Arcane Magic, they may also wear enchanted metallic armor of the same types.

This gets us back to the image of locking wizards into specially-made suits of armor as a way to neutralize them without having to cut their tongues out or cut off their fingers and hands… It’s also the reason why these races are likely to get targeted first by tactically knowledgeable opponents, they are going to be assumed to be spell-casters, no matter what they actually are, and are perceived as mysterious, dangerous, and the most significant threat sans any more obvious target.



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Player Races

So, in picking up 5e again after the short break for Call of Cthulhu, and reading Volo’s Guide to Monsters, I’m struck at how 5e handles character races. I get that there are many problematic pieces to level limits (ala 1e), or even experience point penalties (ala 3.5e), the latter especially given that I’ve moved to story-based advancement rather than tracking XP. But for the life of me I have no reason to vote “for” playing a human in 5e and many more for playing another race – save for strictly flavor-text RP preference, unless the GM mandates some sort of ratio.

Now, I had pretty much banned folk from playing elves in my campaign world (with a couple of very notable exceptions) because I didn’t think anyone could play the mindset very well. I dropped that, at the same time I have a world where I want things to feel very “human -centric” – quite unlike the far more cosmopolitan Forgotten Realms for example. For me this makes the actually cosmopolitan areas stand out more.

But I’ll be damned about how to incentivize people to play humans over other races – and racial bonuses to stats make this even worse. Honestly, I think I’m going to switch statistic modifiers back to something more in-line with my 1e rules, perhaps even penalizing my non-humans more stringently. That was always a thing about playing a non-human yes, you got the stat bonus but there was always an associated penalty…

Now, this is probably at least partly a shared problem with my players. As one example, Ilda the Dwarf Bard might as well be Ilda the Elven Bard or Ilda the Human Bard, there is nothing especially “dwarvish” in the way that KT plays Ilda and while this is certainly something I’ve allowed, it’s also a failure on the part of the player to fully embrace the character’s race. MS always plays humans because he has said that he’s not interested in making things harder for himself, so I think that has stood out in his play of Lord Devin. That wasn’t always the case because I can remember when Ilda took some very strong stands against looting tombs.

When people have played nonhumans before, I’ve been used to them embracing the race and running with it. Sometimes playing a large part in creating that races culture – two of my previous characters did that with gnome. There is a reason why they are Celtic-ish, kilt-wearing, Druidic, hard-drinking folks rather than the version portrayed in other settings.

I also noticed that in the last couple of sessions I’ve dropped almost all of my descriptive detail – and that’s not good for the game. If I’m not setting the mood and the tone well, my players will follow suit and pretty soon were not role-playing, we’re roll-playing and essentially miniatures wargaming using the 5e rules. Not exactly a bad thing, but not what people came to do.

But getting back to character races, taking a page from Character Backgrounds, I think each nonhuman character race needs a real hook that serves as a foil. For my high elves and wood elves it is their lack of understanding of money, KR has done a good job of using that to build flavor into Gwynneth, but I don’t quite have anything like that for the other races. I should probably review each race and build something in on that level as I review statistic bonuses and penalties.



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The Shadowlands (Environmental Effects)

So, when the party travelled to the Shadowlands, they discovered that it has rather grievous effects on non-natives. Being so close to the Realm of the Dead, this creates a drain on those not born to it. The following are the basic rules for how the Shadowlands affects creatures and classes who travel for any length of time there without magical protection.


  • Humans: Must make a DC15 Charisma Check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Khazan: Must make a DC5 Constitution Check monthly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Half-Elves: Half-Elves suffer from much the same penalty as both of their kin, just to a lesser degree. Use of their Faerie Magic requires a DC15 Con check, and they must also make a DC15 Charisma Check weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Dwarves: Dwarves are generally unaffected by the Shadowlands, merely needing to make a DC15 Constitution Check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Gnomes: Closely tied to the Mortal Realms and Faerie, Gnomes lose their Speech with the Wild Things and Mask of the Wild feature. Use of their Faerie Magic requires a DC15 Con check. They suffer greatly from the lack of sun (see their Disadvantages) and they must make a DC15 Charisma check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Elves: Closely tied to Faerie, Elves are grievously affected when within the Shadowlands. They lose their Faerie Mien unless they make a DC15 Con check to call it forth – and then must maintain Concentration upon it. They must make a DC15 Charisma check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.

For periods spent Carousing in the Shadowlands the roll to check for Exhaustion may be reduced to a DC5 Check.

Exhaustion levels may be reversed for each week spent Carousing. Sanity loses may be partially reversed in the Mortal Realms for every month spent Carousing, if started weeks equal to the 1 + the Wisdom modifier of the character in question. If Sanity is lost, no more than half can be regained in this way (rounded down).


  • Long Rest only restores 1HD (not half), unless accompanied by the excitation of strong physical and emotional passions (or by some forms of intensely focused meditation).
  • Death Saving Throws are at Disadvantage. A Healer’s Kit is and a DC10 Wisdom (Medicine) check is needed to stabilize a creature.


  • Bard: Song of Rest will restore +1HD if played during a Short or a Long Rest. Bardic Inspiration may also be used to restore 1HD per use of the Bardic Inspiration. Recovery of Bardic Inspiration requires a DC15 Charisma check. After a Bard has resided in the Shadowlands for 1 month per level they recover Inspiration as normal.
  • Cleric: Clerics of the Life, Light, and Nature Domains must make a DC15 Wisdom save to use their Channel Divinity feature. They also only regain one (1) use between rests. Clerics of a Death Domain do not suffer from Racial or Healing & Rest Penalties, and have the same benefit as the Druidic Natural Recovery feature.
  • Druid: Due to the alien nature of the Shadowlands, until a Druid has resided there for months equal to their level, they only regain half the number of spells as normal after a Long Rest.
  • Monk: Due to their studious discipline, Monks may recover HD as normal. Monks of the Way of the Shadow have Advantage in Combat, and only need spend 1 Ki to use their Shadow Arts.
  • Paladin: Paladins of the Oath of the Ancient must make a DC15 Wisdom save to use their Channel Divinity feature. They also only regain one (1) use between rests. Until they have resided in the Shadowlands for months equal to their level, they only regain half the number of spells after a Long Rest.
  • Ranger: Rangers have Disadvantage when using their Natural Explorer feature until they have resided in the Shadowlands for one week per level of experience.
  • Warlock: The nature of Pact magic means that there is no mechanical issues for Warlocks in play. Those with the Archfey Patron may find that they must make Charisma tests to use Patron-related features, while those with a Patron among the Great Old Ones are likely to become the targets of the Wild Hunt…
  • Wizard: Those who study the School of Necromancy do not suffer from Racial or Healing & Rest Penalties, and have the same benefit as the Druidic Natural Recovery feature.


  • Cold, Necrotic, Poison, Psychic, and Radiant damage is +1 per die of damage.


  • Non-magical equipment and gear from the Mortal Realms suffers from -1 Penalty each week of existence in the Shadowlands. After no more than five weeks (and a potential -5 penalty) it finally reaches a functionally useless state.
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Lost to Shadow – the Shades

Most sages agree that Shades are, or more accurately were, normal people who, through arcane magic or dark science, traded thier souls or spirits for the essence of shadowstuff. Others suggest instead that Shades are cursed by the Unborn or the Witches of the Shadowlands, perhaps even the High Lord himself, while yet others insist that Shades are not what they appear to be at all, and are instead some alien creature masquerading in familiar forms. In any case, the method of turning a creature (any human, humanoid, or demihuman with a spirit or soul) into a Shade has been lost for centuries.

Shades are readily identifiable by the learned and the wise due to their dusky grey skin, and their eyes, which have no white but instead have a dark grey or purple iris and pupil. They tend to prefer clothing of greys and blacks, and rarely wear brightly colored clothing or jewelry. The transformation brings about a gloomy broodiness, for the Shadowlands weighs heavily upon them. The most ancient among them have great power and respect in the Shadowlands, but they are feared as well, and they must all maintain constant vigilance against those that seek to harm or control them. The wise Shade quickly learns to trust no one, especially another Shade.

  • Shade Sight: The character can see in Dim Light as if it were Bright Light.
  • Mask of Shadows: The character can Hide in Dim Light as a Bonus Action.
  • One With Shadows: The character has Advantage when in Dim Light.
  • Unnatural Vitality: The character does not age as normal, and they are Immune to Disease. The character has Resistance to Poison, and they will regrow lost body parts (save their head) in 1d4 weeks if they stay in Dim Light or Darkness for the entire period. If slain the character will dissipates into Shadows and reappears in Great Realm of the Shadowlands after a decade per level (or hit die) of the character. In Dim Light the character automatically Stabilizes upon reaching zero hit points, and doubles the hit points regained from each Hit Die spent.
  • Shadowstrider: At 3rd level, when in Dim Light, the Shade is under the benefit of a Longstrider spell – the effectiveness of which increases by 10′ per maximum spell level.
  • Shadowstep: Gathering existing Shadows around themselves, at 5th level the character may Teleport up to 30′ away to an unoccupied space that they can see as long as it is in Dim Light. This range increases by 10′ per maximum spell level. This ability may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Gloomcalling: At 7th Level, the character may summon forth a deep gloom, blanketing a 20′ radius of Bright Light in conditions of Dim Light that creates a heavily obscured area. The radius increases by 10′ per maximum spell level. This may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Shadowpath: At 11th level the character, in conditions of Dim Light, can travel to the Great Realm of the Shadowland. This takes one round and Concentration. This ability may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Light Sensitivity: Bound as they are to the Shadowlands, the character is at Disadvantage for all activities in conditions of Bright Light. Shades are Vulnerable to Radiant damage, and they may not heal naturally while in Bright Light.
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Vajra, the Dragonblessed

Some individuals, known as Vajra by members of the En Khoda Theos Kirk, have the favor of the Great Elemental Dragons. The reasons for this favor are often unknown, as the goals and motives the Powers involved are often obscure and misunderstood. They can be found among all races, and even among the learned and the wise of the En Khoda Theos Kirk there is no agreement of the Vajra are born or made. There seems to be no requirement made upon the Vajra by the Great Elemental Dragons, or if there it is, it is unknown even to them. While Vajra are often found within the En Khoda Theos Kirk, there are some that follow the Old Faith and other religions – as well as the rare individual who has fallen to Dearth. These cursed individuals are often considered to be the greatest of enemies by the En Khoda Theos Kirk and they are hunted down ruthlessly.

Vajra of the Great Dragon of Air

Marked by the constant but faint breeze which accompanies them, Vajra of the Air invariable have hair in shades of white or silver, while their eyes are a brilliant, electric silver or rarely clear as crystal. They leave no scent in their passage, though the breezes which surround them mirror their moods in temperature and intensity.

  • Ability Score Increase – They have a bonus of +1 to Dexterity.
  • Spiritspeaker – All Vajra can speak El’aum, the language of elementals and the world of life and growing things.
  • Innate Resistance – Missile Weapons, Thunder
  • Unending Breath – The Vajra of the Air never run out of breath, sustained by their Great Dragon even when incapacitated or unconscious.
  • Innate Cantrips (Constitution) – Gust, Message, and Thunderclap
  • Innate Spells (Constitution) – Dust Devil, Levitate. Innate Spells may be cast once and are then restored after a Short or Long Rest. They also count as memorized spells for the Vajra, and spell slots (if any) may expended for further uses as desired.
  • Windlords – At 11th level, a Vajra of the Air may add Investiture of Wind to their Innate spells.

Vajra of the Great Dragon of the Earth

Marked by the dust that constantly sloughs off them which accompanies them, Vajra of the Earth invariable have hair in shades of brown or bronze, while their eyes are a brilliant, glowing topaz or bronze. For some, their skin takes on a rough, rocky texture in shades of stone. They smell of freshen turned earth and loam, though earth and stone leaves no sign of their passage.

  • Ability Score Increase – They have a bonus of +1 to Strength.
  • Spiritspeaker – All Vajra can speak El’aum, the language of elementals and the world of life and growing things.
  • Innate Resistance – Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing Damage
  • Tremorsense – The Vajra of the Earth have Tremorsense out to the distance of 60 feet.
  • Innate Cantrips (Constitution) – Mold Earth, Magic Stones, and Resistance
  • Innate Spells (Constitution) – Maximillian’s Earthen Grasp, Spiderclimb. Innate Spells may be cast once and are then restored after a Short or Long Rest. They also count as memorized spells for the Vajra, and spell slots (if any) may expended for further uses as desired.
  • Stonelords – At 11th level, a Vajra of the Earth may add Investiture of Stone to their Innate spells.

Vajra of the Great Dragon of Fire

Marked by the constant but the smoke and steam which accompanies them, Vajra of the Flame invariable have hair in shades of red or copper, and their eyes are a brilliant, glowing ruby. For some, their skins takes on an ashen or blackened appearance. They often smell of various forms of smoke and fire.

  • Ability Score Increase – They have a bonus of +1 to Intelligence.
  • Spiritspeaker – All Vajra can speak El’aum, the language of elementals and the world of life and growing things.
  • Innate Resistance – Fire Damage
  • Darkvision – The Vajra of the Flame can see in dim light within 60 feet as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. Their ties to the Great Dragon of Fire make their Darkvision unusual: everything they see in darkness is in a shade of red.
  • Innate Cantrips (Constitution) – Control Flame, Create Bonfire, and Produce Flame
  • Innate Spells (Constitution) – Burning Hands, Pyrotechnics. Innate Spells may be cast once and are then restored after a Short or Long Rest. They also count as memorized spells for the Vajra, and spell slots (if any) may expended for further uses as desired.
  • Flamelords – At 11th level, a Vajra of the Flame may add Investiture of Flame to their Innate spells.

Vajra of the Great Dragon of Water

Marked by the constant but faint breeze which accompanies them, Vajra of the Waters invariable have hair in shades of blue or sapphire, while their eyes are a deep sapphire. Their skin is often dappled in glistening dew and they smell like a newly fallen rain or the aftermath of a storm.

  • Ability Score Increase – They have a bonus of +1 to Wisdom.
  • Spiritspeaker – All Vajra can speak El’aum, the language of elementals and the world of life and growing things.
  • Innate Resistance – Acid Damage
  • Seamaster – The Vajra of the Waters breath both air and water and cannot drown, and they have a Swimming speed equal to their normal movement speeds.
  • Innate Cantrips (Constitution) – Shape Water, Acid Splash, and Poison Spray
  • Innate Spells (Constitution) – Fog Cloud, Melf’s Acid Arrow. Innate Spells may be cast once and are then restored after a Short or Long Rest. They also count as memorized spells for the Vajra, and spell slots (if any) may expended for further uses as desired.
  • Waterlords – At 11th level, a Vajra of the Waters may add Investiture of Water to their Innate spells.

Rumors continue to persist that there are other Vajra that are blessed by the other Great Dragons, with similar though different abilities.

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The Warforged, Survivors of the Great Fleet

“I was once a human like you, but the ravages of the Mad God’s War were dire and we chose to transcend weak flesh. Once we served the Iron Court, now we are the Iron Court and we rule what remains of the Old Tierna. We remain warriors, though our war has changed, and comport ourselves with the discipline and focus that this needs. Though born in the chaos of the old world, we do our best to bring order to the new one we find ourselves in.”

-Fifth Scout, Third Company of the Warlord’s Own Regiment


The Warforged are the remnants of the Great Fleet of Tierna. After fleeing from Witch King and the chaos of the aftermath of the Mad God’s War they travelled across the Mortal Realms and eventually ended up in the Great Waste where they survived and ultimately even thrived. A little over three-hundred years ago they returned to the Heartlands of Avalon to retake the remnants of Tierna. The Iron Court holds the secrets of creating Warforged close, and rumors abound about the process – that the Warforged are actually bound undead, summoned fiends, clever constructs that were never actually human, or worse. The transition to Warforged does not merely change the physical form, it also creates a certain remove from the hot-blooded passions of humanity. By human terms the Warforged often come across as dispassionate, but this in no way should be taken as a lack of dedication to their goals, values, or ideals – but their emotions have become abstracted in many ways. They are also rarely found outside the environs of the Iron Court, though a few Warforged have “mustered out” – though this more often translates as “deserted” by the authorities of the Iron Court.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -1 Charisma, -1 Wisdom

Languages: Old Tiernaese, Tiernaese

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Warforged stand 5′ tall (+2d10), and weigh 160 lbs (x4d4) lbs. Their Size is Medium and their Speed is 30 feet per round. They are somewhat taller and broader than humans, but much heavier. The oldest of the Warforged are barely or even non-gendered, but over time more and more gendered features have been added with new converts. In appearance they are made of plates and cables of metal and stone, with expressionless faces – though their eyes will brighten and dim with emotional intensity. While the basic appearance of Warforged is essentially the same, the various Forges which create them tend to use subtly different materials that can be discerned by those of sufficient knowledge. All Warforged also a set of runes at the nape of their neck with their rank and unit, as well as any titles that they may have been granted.

Common Dress: In the lands of the Iron Court, the Warforged tend to wear battle harness and little more. In other lands they may adopt kilts or robes in acknowledgment of local customs (though they are often mistaken for golems). Rogue Warforged are known to wear all manner of clothing, use bodypaint, as well as various accessories and jewelry – or continue to follow the customs of the Iron Court.

Lifespan: Warforged essentially have no childhood or adolescence, they are at “physical maturity” at the moment of creation. There is a very short (measured in weeks) period of physical acclimation, and since they are all created from a previously living human they all have the basic knowledge of the world and life that might be expected. The upper end of their natural lifespan has not yet been discovered, the oldest among them are over a thousand years old and remember the chaos following the Mad Gods War. They generally begin play at 10 +1d4 years of age.

Common Culture: The culture of the Warforged is rooted and Old Tiernaese military culture and society, but filtered through centuries of survival hidden in the Great Waste and elsewhere. It’s also impacted by the generally dispassionate nature of the Warforged themselves, becoming somewhat more disciplined and intellectual where it is was once filled with soldiers and sailors who frequented bawdyhouses. Centuries of discipline and refinement has also created a military machine that retains a clear hierarchy but is also remarkably egalitarian – the mission matter more than rank. Since returning to the Heartlands, the Warforged have held themselves somewhat aloof from their subjects, somewhat at a loss as to how to deal with …humans. It takes Warforged decades to build up an appreciable predictive understanding of human emotions, as well as the nuanced understanding of their own muted emotional responses (including related concepts as humor).

Common Backgrounds: The Criminal, Outcast, Outlander, and Soldier Backgrounds are most appropriate for Warforged.

Naming Conventions: Warforged choose nicknames from a variety of sources over their lives, formally their “name” if their rank and unit designation in the Great Fleet – with occasional noble titles for those of the greatest achievements.

Common Alignments: The Warforged center around the Neutral alignments – Neutral and Lawful Neutral being quite popular. Due to their changes, Warforged often seem to have odd or obscure views on morality, so they can easily fall into Neutral Evil or less commonly Neutral Good territory, and similarly some also follow the Chaotic Neutral path.

Common Religions: The Warforged almost exclusively worship the Great Elemental Dragons, belonging to a variant philosophy and organization known as the Svastika. Unlike the Quatrefoil, the Svastika espouses a martial philosophy that emphasizes the survival of the fittest along with a dedication to the various aspects of the Great Elemental Dragons. Those few Warforged who don’t belong to the Svastika tend to worship Godlings of the Court of Flint and Steel.

Common Classes:  Preferred — Monk, Fighter, Rogue; Common — Barbarian, Ranger, Paladin; Uncommon — Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard; Rare — Cleric, Bard; Very Rare — Druid

Common Professions: The original Warforged were created out of the Great Army of the Mad God that fled in the aftermath the Mad God’s War, as such they were all members of military units – primarily infantry and scouts. Since then, and especially since returning to Avalon, there have been Warforged created with a less militaristic outlook. To this day, almost the entirety of the Warforged remain loyal to the Iron Court, only a comparative handful have turned their backs on their brethren and struck out to forge a separate destiny.

Racial Traits

Composite Plating: The Warforged construction incorporates wood and metal, granting them a base Armor Class of 12.

Living Construct: Fundamentally the Warforged are a living creatures, albeit ones that have been transformed into sorcerous amalgams of metal, wood, and spirit. As a result of this they are immune to disease, nor do they need to eat or breathe, though they can ingest food and drink if they wish. They are also immune to the Exhaustion condition.

Unsleeping Sentinel: The Warforged have moved beyond the need to sleep. Instead, they settle into a resting state, remaining semiconscious for 4 hours each day, though they are aware of their surroundings. After resting in this way, they gain the benefit of a Long Rest.

Warforged Resilience: The Warforged have advantage on Saving Throws against Poison, as well as Resistance against Poison damage.

Self-Stabilizing:  Warforged have advantage on death saving throws.

Psionics: Reserved

Death: Upon death, the spirit of a Warforged travels to the Realm of the Dead. They may not be Raised or Resurrected, only True Resurrection (and Revivify) works – which returns them to a human body. The same is true for Reincarnation.

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Khazann, the Goblin-Kin

“You look at me like I am a barbarian. I am not a barbarian, I am a savage – bred to warfare by mages from time out of mind. Blood and fire are our heritage, and we have survived where so many other races have fallen. Out of slavery we have become free to thrive where others are weak. We respect strength and seek it out, both to serve and to test ourselves against. We despise weakness, and when we find it we do what we will and take what we want. Our lust for life is only matched by our willingness to embrace death like a lover.”

-Ulric Khazan, Huntsman in service to the Necromancer, and once Redcap of the Boneripper Tribe.

The Khazann are a race of humanoids created via fell biomantic sorceries during the Wars of Binding as a tool of chaos and terror. Mixing the races of Goblins and Humans, the Khazann breed true within themselves as well as with Humans and all races that Humans can interbreed with. In the years that have followed the Khazann have continued to live amongst both Humans and Goblins, often becoming leaders among the latter race and criminals in the former. At their most beneficent, the Khazann pursue simple bodily pleasures of feasting, dancing, and strenuous athletics. Even so the Khazann are fierce race, bred for war, and at their worst are full of bloodthirsty passions, often driven to rape and slaughter by their inherent nature. In any case, they have strong emotions and tend to be quick-tempered and prone to action rather than contemplation.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -2 Charisma

Languages: One Human Language, The Dark Tongue

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Khazan stand 4′ 10″ tall (+2d10), and weigh 140 lbs (x2d6) lbs. Their Size is Medium and their Speed is 30 feet per round. Both sexes tend to have muscular builds with greyish-greenish skin. Facially, the Khazann have the pointed ears, prominent fangs, and yellowish, cat-slit eyes. Their hair comes in various shades of brown or black and the Khazann wear their hair in a variety of styles, often mimicking their preferred culture, though various forms of decorative close shaves and topknots are popular.

Common Dress: The most common clothing for Khazann is whatever those Goblins or Humans around them are wearing, often preferring leather and furs as materials. Warriors kit of some sort is often preferred, and the Khazann seem to have a strong preference for body piercings, tattoos, scarification, and branding in addition to any other form of body decoration. Normal wear tends towards the practical for considerations of camouflage and travel, while festive wear can be among the most garish mixes of color and fabrics found among the intelligent races.

Lifespan: Khazann were designed to come to maturity very quickly. They are considered young adults at age 10, considered mature adults at around age 15, and rarely live more than 75 years of age. Identical to Goblins, there is the very rare Khazann (more rarely than occurs with Goblins) who live far beyond the normal lifespan, some reported to be several centuries old. They generally begin play at 10 + 1d4 years of age.

Common Culture: The Khazann are known to live in both human and goblin society. Those raised by goblins generally have a whole host of characteristics that make them unsuitable for living in human society – cannibalism, rape, assault, theft, are all the basic building blocks of goblin society. Those raised in human society are either lucky and blessed enough to have grown up in relatively enlightened surroundings with little prejudice (usually more rural areas, as orphans) or in situations where the full weight of human prejudice surrounds them (usually urban areas). In goblin society they often achieve roles of leadership in some way, either as chieftains or as Redcaps, or as commanders of goblin forces for a human superior. In human society the Khazann are almost invariably relegated to the Lower or Underclass, working as thieves and assassins, brigands and bravos. In both cases, Khazann invariably gravitate to groups that respect strength and physical prowess – or savagery and cruelty as the case may be. The Khazann epitomize the goblin axiom that “Nine fingers own only when the tenth is bitten off” – they are both simple and brutal in their understanding and application of any laws and their place and role in any society.

Common Backgrounds: The Criminal, Outcast, Outlander, and Soldier Backgrounds are most appropriate for Khazann.

Naming Conventions: Khazann, like Half-Elves, often have names that reference both parents in some way. For those raised in Goblin society they will reference both tribe and their nature as Khazann. For those raised in human society “Khazann” is sometimes used a surname, as well as other variants upon that (Goblinkin, Goblinson, etc.).

Common Alignments: The Khazann are plagued by their origins and their nature. They are predisposed to Chaotic ethics, and Evil or Neutral morals. This is not to say that with the proper upbringing or commitment that a Khazann cannot hew to the tenets of the Lawful Good (and there are whole communities of Khazann following the Church of the Lords of Light in Kistath), but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Common Religions: The whispers of the Goblin Court are heard in the ears of all Khazann, and those Godlings often have the majority of worship and veneration by the Khazann, with a distinctly dark version of the Old Faith having the much of the rest. That said, there are Khazann who are drawn to worship of the Great Elemental Dragons, as well as the Horned Society – in addition to those that fall to the worship of the Dearth.

Common Classes:  Preferred — Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue; Common — Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock; Uncommon — Cleric, Paladin, Ranger; Rare — Bard, Wizard; Very Rare — Monk

Common Professions: The Khazann prefer professions that promote violence, even in more intellectual or arcane pursuits. They work as mercenaries or operate as bandits most commonly, also working as street thugs, bravos, and enforcers. Some also work as a bodyguards, and some work as hunters or guides in wilderness and rural areas – rough work as they are often assumed to be willing to lead travellers to their doom. Khazann are also common as slavers, and can often find work for powerful evil humans who need someone to liaise with or command Goblins, Ogres, and Trolls.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Due to their Goblin heritage the Khazann have superior Darkvision. They can see in dim light up to 60 feet as if it were normal, bright light. They can see in darkness as if it were dim light, not seeing colors, only varying shades of grey.

Menacing: Have Proficiency in the Intimidation skill.

Hardy Constitution: Resistant to Disease and Poison.

Tireless: Khazann can benefit from a Short Rest after 30 minutes, and a Long Rest after four hours.

Bearers of Burdens: Khazan increase their Encumbrance by 150%.

Hard to Kill: When a Khazann is reduced to 0 Hit Points, but not killed outright, they may drop to 1 Hit Point instead. They may not do this again until after a Long Rest.

Savage Attacks: When a Khazann scores a Critical Hit they may roll the weapon’s damage dice one more additional time and add the result to the damage total.

Breeding Frenzy: Roughly once every four months or so a Khazan (male or female) is driven by an essentially irresistible urge to repeatedly mate (the Khazan refractory period is measured in minutes), and it is worth noting the presence of a single Khazan in their breeding frenzy tends to trigger the breeding frenzy in other Khazan. This lasts for 1d6 (+Con Mod) days, and easily (and often) results in violence if their needs are not met. Certain drug regimes (and spells) can temper this period. It should be noted that Khazan are only cross-fertile with Humans, Half-Elves, and other Khazan.

Psionics: None, they are unable to be psionic though there are always rumors of rare bloodlines that able to.

Death: Upon death, the spirit of a Khazan goes either to the Realm of the Dead or to the Goblin Court if they are powerful or holy enough. They may not be Raised or Resurrected, only True Resurrection (and Revivify) works. If Reincarnated they invariably come back as a Khazan, and only in the very rarest of circumstances as a human (or goblin).

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Dragonborn, the Drahk’la’darin

“I am Ardeth. and my word is my bond. So be warned, challenge me and your doom is certain.”

-Ardeth, Sorcerer and Warrior-Monk, interrupted in his meditations on the 17th Treatise of the Orm Bel Orm in comparison with the tenets of En Khoda Theos Kirk as described by the philosopher Yevaud while guarding the Wailing Bridge at Starfell Pass against the passage of Urmhaur the Insane and his warband.

The Drahk’la’darin as they are called by the Elves, but more commonly known as the Dragonborn, are a mysterious race whose origins are lost in the mists of time. They are found throughout the Mortal Realms and are known to infrequently travel to both the Faerie and the Shadowlands. Existing over the ages in splendid isolation they have begun to travel and settle close to the lands of men for unknown reasons and despite the fears on the part of humans everywhere. Deeply respected by the wise for their knowledge and insight into arcane matters, as well as for their deeply honorable and traditional natures, the Dragonborn find themselves to be objects of curious apprehension by many. They often have a manner that many view as formal or reserved, and while often eloquent though far from anything that could be described at garrulous, but they form deep and abiding friendships and relationships with people of any race if they find a connection there.

Statistic Bonuses: +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, +1 Charisma

Languages: One Local Human Language, True Speech, Demonspeech (on touch)

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Dragonborn stand 5′ 6″ tall (+2d8), and weigh 175 lbs (x2d6) lbs. Their Size is Medium and their Speed is 30 feet per round. They appear much like tailless, wingless bipedal dragons or drakes standing upright, easily taller than the largest of men. They are covered in fine scales of a combination of vibrant, metallic hues such as rusty-iron, scarlet-gold, copper-green, and polished brass. Less commonly hues of graphite, silver, platinum and electrum are found – the Dragonborn themselves lay no significance on the color of their scales. Their feet and hands are strong, with three fingers and one highly flexible and rotational, opposable thumb (Dragonborn feet are quite prehensile, and this is often a surprise for those unfamiliar with Dragonborn) – the strong talons grant +1 Damage in hand-to-hand/unarmed combat. They all have tawny, yellow-gold eyes with slit pupils, with double eyelids that protect from both wind and water. Dragonborn also have prominent horns, with ridges and frills that many humans almost mistake for some sort of hair.

Common Dress: The most common form of dress among Dragonborn “in the wild” is a combination of harness and straps to attach equipment to. For Dragonborn among other races robes, surcotes, or greatcoats are popular merely to avoid a certain amount of staring. Dragonborn generally prefer Light or Medium armor, though some warriors prefer Heavy armor.

Lifespan: Dragonborn mature quickly, they are considered young adults by age 10 and mature adults by 15. They are known to live up to 500 years of age though there are rumors of Dragonborn of exceedingly ancient age that make the oldest elves seem babes in arms. They generally begin play at the 10 + 1d4 years in age.

Common Culture: One of the most particular aspects of the Dragonborn is that they have no known history of organized settlement or organization – though some obscure legends suggest a presence in the First City. They seem to have always lived fundamentally simple lives either in solitary contemplation or as part of a small village. Those Dragonborn who are interested in a more “civilized” life have traditionally travelled to live with other races – though no race has proven to be more or less popular than any other with the exception of the Serpent Folk of Ith (who have an atavistic fear of Dragonborn and Lizard Folk due to their vague similarity to the Serpathians). Life among the Dragonborn is governed by group council and accord, with the most important social unit being that of the Gens (or clan). The threat of being cast out from the Gens and access to the rights and rituals that come with that is one of the greatest that can face a Dragonborn.

Common Backgrounds: The Acolyte, Hermit, Outcast, Outlander, Sage, and Soldier Backgrounds are most appropriate for Dragonborn.

Naming Conventions: Dragonborn have exceedingly simple names using merely a given name followed by their Gens using the following nomenclature.

<Given Name> Gens <Name of Clan/Gens>

Commonly Dragonborn only use their Gens among other Dragonborn, or among those educated enough to know the significance of the Gens (which is quite rare among non-Dragonborn). Use the examples given in the Player’s Handbook.

Common Alignments: Dragonborn prize and honor tradition greatly, as such they are primarily of Lawful ethics. Morality, as might be suspected from such a alien race, is far more variable, and it is not uncommon to find Lawful Good and Lawful Evil Dragonborn living and working together, side by side.

Common Religions: Though it is not well known (or at least confirmed rather than suspected), the Dragonborn are the originators of the En Khoda Theos Kirk, or the Church of the Great Elemental Dragons. This religion still commands the majority of the Dragonborn’s faith, though an ancient cult following the Primordial Dragon Orm is also venerated. Similarly, those Dragonborn who have fallen to evil and chaos often follow the Forsaken (Typhon and Tiamat).

Common Classes:  Preferred — Fighter, Monk, Sorcerer; Common — Barbarian, Paladin, Wizard; Uncommon — Bard, Cleric, Druid; Rare — Ranger, Warlock; Very Rare — Rogue

Common Professions: Dragonborn seem to be drawn in two opposite directions, one of combat and the other contemplation. Most Dragonborn pursue both at different times of their life. In general, Dragonborn are capable of taking care of themselves in isolation as well as a living in small groups, as a result no profession is generally more common – though they are rarely overly concerned with money. Because of this, both merchants and thieves are rare.

Racial Traits

Extraordinary Senses: Dragonborn have keen vision and senses. They can see in dim light up to 60′ as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. They cannot discern colors in darkness, merely varying shades of grey. They also have Blindsight within 20′.

Breath Weapon: Dragonborn have a Breath Weapon of Flame. It can be used in either a line (5’x30′) or a cone (15′), the line requires a Dexterity save, the cone a Constitution save (DC = 8 + Con Bonus + Proficiency Modifier). Damage is 2d6, then 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level. Once it is used it cannot be used again until after Short or Long Rest.

Dragonhide: Dragonborn may always add their Constitution modifier to their base Armor Class.

Draconic Constitution: The Dragonborn have Advantage against Poison, and Resistance to Fire, Cold, Acid, and Poison.

Draconic Appetites: Dragonborn are, as might be expected from their size and heritage, not just omnivorous but generally require prodigious amounts to eat and drink (though they can adapt to any clime). As a result, their requirements and costs for sustenance are five times that of a human (this also applies to Lifestyle expenses).

Arcane Blood: Due to the Arcane Energies flowing in their blood, Dragonborn never have need of an Arcane Focus no matter what their class (Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard – or Eldritch Knight or Arcane Trickster).

Special Vulnerabilities: Born of arcane energies, the Dragonborn are always considered magic-using creatures when considering the effects of Orikalkum.

Psionics: Reserved

Death: Upon death, the spirit of a Dragonborn returns to the Maelstrom where they wait to be reincarnated. They may not be Raised or Resurrected, only True Resurrection (and Revivify) works. If Reincarnated they invariably come back as an Dragonborn.

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Humans, The Serpent Folk of Ith

“You really have no idea what you’re doing do you? You think that because you’ve won out against these weak northern assassins and spies that you are ready? Haven’t you heard of the Poisoning of Imris? Ithians are bred of a thousand, thousand generations of intrigue. They can whisper so softly in the ear of your best friend that they become the most casual of enemies, a lover becomes crazed attacker, and the unknowing simply follow orders without even know that they are. Worst yet, you will never know who is the quick-witted agent or their dim-witted dupe. Never trust an Ithian, their words are poison and their poisons are worse.”

-Azperi, Bastard Ithian Half-Blood, Mercenary and Duelist

The Ithains are the scions of the Serpent Kings, the descendants of the human slaves of the elder kingdom of the Serpathians. While human in many respects, the miscegenated blood of the Serpathians also flows in their veins, and this has left its reptilian mark. Degenerate and monstrous abominations are occasionally born and hidden away by their families, or used in dark and secretive rituals designed to further the aims of the Eternal Emperor. The Ithians rule over the remnants of the Serpathian Empire, wise in ancient lore and antediluvian secrets – and ever in fear for the return of their ancient masters. They rule as their masters did, though fear and sheer mystical power and psychic force, from oppressive basalt towers and cities in the jungles of Ith over legions of slaves who keep them in decadent and glorious splendor. Considered a cold and dispassionate people of monstrous appetites (literally), capture by Ithian slavers is almost as feared a fate as being taken by the Sh’dai.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Charisma, +1 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom

Languages: Ithian, Demonspeech

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Ithians are all Medium in Size and their Speed is 30. They stand 4’8″ tall (+2d10″), and weigh 110 lbs (x2d4). Both sexes tend to have a slender and muscular builds, with alabaster or ivory skin – often with scattered fine scales that does not tan in the slightest. They tend towards either human beauty or a monstrous grotesquerie. Body and facial hair is non-existent in Ithian pure-bloods, and they are often bald or have minimal head hair. Those that can grow a head of hear have exceedingly straight locks cultivated very long to show off, usually in black or some shade of white. It is not uncommon for Ithians to have a long forked tongue like a snake, or serpent eyes of amber or green.

Common Dress: In their homeland, Ithian dress is minimalistic, primarily consisting of loincloths, silken robes, and bare skin due to the heat and the desire to flaunt their serpentine traits. In other lands they dress far more modestly, both for warmth and for privacy. Jewelry tends towards body piercings (often mimicking scales), bracelets, and necklaces – though tattooing is uncommon and seen as declassee compared to actual scales.

Lifespan: Ithians are young adults at age 15, considered mature adults at around age 25, and can live up to 250 years of age before they either die or begin to transform into some else... They generally begin play at 13 + 2d4 years of age.

Common Culture: The Ithians are an ancient and proud people of deeply held traditions – and a brutal, decadent society that reflects their own origins as a slave race of the Serpathians. This racial trauma plays out in the treatment of their own slaves, as well as their deeply held paranoia about the Serpathians. The rulers of their own Empire, built upon the ruins of the Serpathians, the Ithians have castes of warriors, priests, sages, nobles, merchants, and slaves. They thrive on secrets and intrigue, deception and indulgence, seeing life as an eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth – life feeding on itself to beget more life. Bloodlines and family relationships are carefully traced and recorded – though incest and bastardy is common and merely cause for note rather than any automatic disqualification or inherent prejudice. Ithian life is a chaotic and confusing mess of serene and detached contemplation marked by orgiastic frenzies of incest, bloodletting and other debauchery. For the Ithian, all is permitted with the proper ritual, the correct payoff, or the right blackmail.

Common Backgrounds: Ithians are commonly of the Acolyte, Criminal, Harlot, Noble, Outcast, Sage, and Soldier Backgrounds.

Naming Conventions: Ithians have simple given names, with surnames that derive from their caste. Professional and noble titles are considered quite important – and in the lower castes may even be used as a given name or surname. Names are inspired by Indic and Mesoamerican source material.

Common Alignments: While the Ithian Empire is a tradition-rich, even hidebound institution, the indulgent and self-serving nature of Ithian’s themselves, combined with a ruthless desire for power and disregard for the life and freedom of other brings a fair amount of chaos to what would normally be a Lawful Evil society. As a result, individuals that survive and thrive are most commonly Neutral Evil (with the worst offenders being Chaotic Evil) – Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Neutral, and Neutral are also common and probably provide the stability that ancient empire needs to survive. Few Ithians rise above their beginnings to actually have or maintain a Good alignment.

Common Religions: Religion in the Ithian Empire is a curious thing, with ancestor worship through the person of the Eternal Emperor as the representative of the Great Devouring Serpent, being the primary form of organized religion (as an often bloody variant of the Old Faith). Other religions are often ruthlessly suppressed, and the only ones that have any real foothold is the Church of the Lords of Light and the Horned Society.

Common Classes: Ithians prize raw magical and psychic power. Preferred — Monk, Sorcerer, Rogue; Common — Barbarian, Fighter, Warlock; Uncommon — Wizard, Druid, Ranger; Rare — Paladin, Cleric; Very Rare — Bard

Common Professions: Ithian culture is part of a deeply traditional society with tightly regulated caste system. In this system, pure-blooded Ithians sit at the top, almost exclusively of the aristocratic and ruling classes – the middle and lower classes are comprised of Common Men and Ithians of mixed breeding. As a result, Many Ithians have no profession and are used to a life of luxury as a sybarite. Outside of their homeland, Ithians are commonly encountered as merchants and diplomats, occasionally as travelling wizards and sages – alternately they are outcasts due to some political misstep or other infraction on the laws and traditions of the Empire. Ithians can often trade on their race to become poisoners and spymasters for those in other lands.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Due to their heritage from the Serpent Kings, Ithians can see in dim light up to 30 feet as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it was dim light. They cannot discern color in darkness though, only shades of grey. They also have Blindsight at the range of 10 feet, this does not allow them to discern details of appearance it does allow them discover many features and characteristics.

Serpent Blooded: Ithians are Immune to Poison.

Snake Lords: Ithians are able to communicate with snakes and serpents of all kinds and they are considered to under the effects of an Animal Friendship spell at all times.

Magic Resistance: All Ithians have Advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.

Legacy of the Serpent Kings: Strong and innate Psychics, an Ithian’s natural psychic abilities are based on Charisma and do not require material components, and are not considered magic per se. All Ithians have the Prestidigitation, Friends, Message, Mage Hand and Poison Spray Cantrips. Upon reaching 3rd level they may cast Suggestion once per day, they may use it an additional time per day for every odd level after that. All of these are Psychic in nature.

Special Vulnerabilities: Beyond social prejudice and stereotyping from the Common Men and other races, Ithians have Disadvantage on all saving throws against Serpathians. Furthermore, Ithians all suffer from an inbred, psychic Dominate Person effect that any Serpathian can use.

Psionics: Reserved (But Highly Psychic)

Death: Upon death, the spirits of Serpent Folk travel to a large basalt crystalline egg contained in the depths of their family’s stronghold. They may not be Raised or Resurrected (though Revivify and True Resurrection work as normal). If Reincarnated they invariably come back as Serpent Folk, usually some form of horrific abomination or another.

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