Posts Tagged With: Character Race

Humans, The Common Men

“Humans are the most populous of the races in the Mortal Realms. We are different from the other races, collectively not quite having quite the focus of any of the races but somehow managing, as individuals, to be as good or better at anything that any other race does. Nor are we defined by some “essential nature” in the same way that the Fae or the Goblinkin are – or perhaps our essential nature is that we are a race of defined by our variety and by the organizations and institutions that are the focus for our passion and loyalty in the face of a hostile world.”

– Alexian, Sage and Historian.

 

Humans, the Common Men, are the most populous race of the Mortal Realms – easily comprising 80% of the intelligent life present. They are adaptable enough to have even expanded into the Underdark and the Shadowlands in limited amounts, even though those realms are dominated by other races. Considered one of the “Younger Races” (if not the youngest race), humanity can thank their sheer adaptability , as well as a general resilience, to their success. They have no unified culture, no unified language, and no unified religion. Capable of amazing heights of both magic and technology, humans have a truly unique ability to take the best of other races and capitalize on it. As a race, humans are likely to ally with each other, ignoring differences in alignment or religion, in the face of threats from other races. Similarly, while human biology seems to allow an amazing amount of racial miscegenation, the primary human prejudice is not over skin color or ethnicity, but over breeding and relationships outside of the human race – with very few exceptions. Half-elves are accepted with a minimum of distrust for the most part and Sh’dai are looked at askance but the other half-breeds (the Khazan, Half-Ogres, and Half-Trolls) are almost universally reviled. Other half-breeds are either not seen as half-breeds at all (the High Men and the Ithian Purebloods) or not really recognized as human at all (the Beastmen and the Old Race). Despite this bigotry, half-bloods can still find a place within human society – though usually in its lowest echelons.

Statistic Bonuses: None

Languages: Local Human Language

Appearance: Humans, the Common Men, are all Medium in Size and their Speed is 30. They stand 4’8″ tall (+2d10″), and weigh 110 lbs (x2d4). In the Heartlands and in other cosmopolitan settings Common Men are often a mixture of bloodlines, most commonly having a mixture of Avalonian, Kistathian, and Thulian body types and complexions. Of special note is that red hair is quite uncommon and treated as a sign of sorcery or psychic powers, and is not found in individuals without the Talent, though it may be latent or not yet manifest.

  • Acadia/Acadians – Medium skin tone from white to brown, that rarely burns and tans deeply. Straight black hair is the most common, with dark brown and amber eyes . Facial hair is sparse and body hair is moderate. The nose is usually long and narrow. Acadians maintain average to above average height, with a wide range of body types and sizes.
  • Atlan/Atlanteans – Light, pale skin that rarely seems to burn or suntan. Most commonly blond hair in various shades with blue, green, grey, and amber eyes. Facial and body hair is moderate. The nose is often prominent. Atlanteans tend to be among the tallest of humans, with lean and muscular bodies.
  • Avalon/Avalonians – Olive skin of a moderate complexion that rarely burns and often tans. Hair in browns and blacks are most common, with facial and body hair both heavy. Eyes are most regularly blue, brown, or hazels. Avalonians are generally average in both height and weight.
  • Ith/Ithians – Deeply pigmented skin that ranges from dark brown to black that never burns and tans easily. Kinky black hair is most common. Facial and body hair are both moderate and eyes are commonly dark brown. Noses tend to be broad and flat, Ithians have quite a range in size, from the shortest to the tallest of humans, with similar wide ranges in builds.
  • Khem/Kistathian – Dark brown skin that rarely burns and tans very easily. Curly hair in browns and blacks are most common with brown eyes . Facial hair is heavy, body hair is moderate to sparse. Kistathians are average-to-below average in height and generally slender in build.
  • Khitain/Khitainese – Creamy white, fair complexion that sometimes burns but tans uniformly into an almost bronze shade. Straight black hair, with dark brown eyes. Facial hair is moderate, body hair is sparse. Their noses tend to be small and flat, and their eyes have a pronounced epicanthal fold. Khitainese are shorter and generally slender in build.
  • Thule/Thulians – White, fair complexion that tans minimally and burns easily. Blond hair is most common, with blue, green, or hazel eyes. Facial and body hair is heavy. Thulians tend to tall, big-boned and broad of build to the point of being barrel-chested or stout.

It is also possible for humans, especially within a family line, to display traits that reveal a non-human forebear. Slightly pointed ears of an elf, elongated canines of goblin, or any number of even more subtle features that will barely register in the viewer but which can provide clues for the discerning or knowledgeable observer.

Common Dress: The greatest strength of Humanity is that of variety. Unlike the non-human cultures with their relatively monolithic cultures, the Common Men have multiple cultures within each continental group with often dissimilar dress. Within that, dress can and will vary according to class and profession as well. That all said, due to weather and other commonalities some broad statements can generally be made regarding dress and clothing of each continent – with the same caveat that “mixing pots” like the Heartlands and other cosmopolitan areas can be quite the mix of customs.

  • Acadia/Acadians – The Acadian natives tend to towards loincloths or breeches and shirts for men and skirts and tunics for women, all made of soft leathers. Soft boots are common, while jewelry is usually necklaces and bracelets. Body piercing and modification (including tattoos) is also common. Armor is uncommon, Light generally being the heaviest found, and common weapons are Spears, Axes, and Bows.
  • Atlan/Atlanteans – A shattered land with a scatter people, layered robes with high soft boots or sandals are traditional. Jewelry is commonly rings, bracelets, necklaces, and diadems, but body piercing and other modifications are quite uncommon. Armor tends to Heavy and common weapons are Swords, Spears, Polearms, and Bows.
  • Avalon/Avalonians – Men tend to wear pants and shirts in Avalon, while women tend to wear blouses and skirts. Shoes or low boots are common, and jewelry is most commonly rings, bracelets and necklaces. Body jewelry is not uncommon though other body modification is less so. Armor ranges from Light to Heavy based on class and profession, the Heavier the better as far as most warriors are concerned. Common weapons are Swords, Axes, Spears, Bows, and Crossbows. Hill Folk maintain their own traditional culture, men wear shirts and kilts, women wear dresses – both with soft boots. Jewelry is armlets and torcs, with Light and Medium armor preferred. Common weapons are Swords, Axes, Spears, and Bows.
  • Ith/Ithians – Due to the generally oppressive heat and humidity, clothing in Ith is minimal. Both men and women mainly wear loincloths or short wraps with bare feet, and jewelry is commonly used to indicate status along with tattoos. Armlets, bracelets, necklaces and pectorals are all common, along with body piercing and various forms of body modification. Armor is invariably Light, and the common weapons are Spears, Axes, and Javelins.
  • Khem/Kistathian – Hot and dry, the predominate clothing in Khem is robes and sandals for both men and women, with head scarves equally as common for both genders as well. Jewelry is common, necklaces and bracelets being most common, in combination with body piercings of various sorts. Armor tends to be Light (with some Medium), with Scimitars, Lances, Spears, Bows, and Crossbows being the most common weapons.
  • Khitain/Khitainese – Distant Khitain favors a wide range of clothing. Robes and wraps are common for both genders, though men also wear pants and tunics, commonly with slippers or boots. Veils and hats are common for both genders. Jewelry is common among women, with rings, necklaces, and bracelets preferred. Body piercing and body modification (including tattoos) are practiced in varying degrees. Armor tends towards Light and Medium, with Polearms, Spears, Lances, Swords, Bows, and Crossbows all being common weapons.
  • Thule/Thulians – Due to the general cold, clothing in Thule tends towards heavy furs and leathers, with pants, tunics, and high boots being common for men, with dresses and high boots common for men. Men and women wear bracers, necklaces, and armlets as jewelry. Armor ranges from Light to Heavy, with Chainmail being prized. Swords, Axes, Spears, and Bows are all common weapons.

Lifespan: Common Men are young adults at age 15, considered mature adults at around age 25, and can live up to 120 years of age. They generally begin play at 13 + 2d4 years of age.

Common Culture: Across so wide a set of geographical space it is ridiculous to talk about common culture among the Common Men. But in truth, the Common Men do have some things that cleave true across nationalities and continents. Humanity is loyal to ideals not merely people, they build institutions that last across generations (religions, nations, organizations), and they are similarly able to work together, across alignments, in the service and defense of those institutions against threats.

  • Acadia/Acadians – A tribal society that is nonetheless organized into muti-tribal nation states, Acadian culture is a relatively egalitarian though matrilineal. Extended family is important and plays a large role in child-rearing, and many aspects of culture are segregated by gender.
  • Atlan/Atlanteans – Classic Atlantean culture is highly stratified, with strictly delineated roles for men and women. Spirituality and mysticism play an important part of life, and both men and women play very important, but very different, roles in society.
  • Avalon/Avalonians – Avalon is often considered a continent of immigrants, a rich melting pot of different cultures which have formed their own unique mix over the centuries. The native Avalonian Hill Folk have a deeply spiritual, clan-based society organized into many kingdoms, usually with some over-arching High King. It is a distinctly matrifocal culture, with a strongly patriarchal ethic.
  • Ith/Ithians – Organized along tribal lines and living primarily in small villages (with several notable exceptions) under the rule of the Ithian Empire. Culture is matrifocal and matrilineal, though tribal leadership is patriarchal. All of which are dominated by the Ithian Serpant Folk as a tyrannical ruling class.
  • Khem/Kistathian – Comprised of a number of kingdoms with established aristocratic families, Kistathian culture is relatively patriarchal (though matrilineal). Urban dwellers are organized by household while rural dwellers and nomads maintain close-knit tribal ties.
  • Khitain/Khitainese – Dominated by a series of dynastic empires, this highly stratified culture is extremely focused on the family and alternates between patriarchal and matriarchal depending upon who sits on the Imperial throne. Throughout all of the changes a large civil service bureaucracy maintains the status quo.
  • Thule/Thulians – A remarkably egalitarian society, men and women share power in many, relatively democratic ways. Society is made up of innumerable noble households that rule over small settlements, themselves part of larger kingdoms.

Backgrounds: As the most populous and widespread race, any Background is appropriate for the Common Men.

Naming Conventions: As can be imagined, names different from culture to culture. Some generalities can be observed and certain patterns are generally followed.

  • Acadia/Acadians – Individuals have given names generally based on natural or supernatural phenomena observed at the time of their birth. Names are also quite fluid, being changed based on important life events. Surnames are rarely used, and when they are it is a patronymic. Tribal and national membership is important but not considered part of an individuals name, per se. Names are inspired by First Nation and Mesoamerican Source Material.
  • Atlan/Atlanteans – Individuals traditionally only have a given name, though for official records a patronymic may be added, as well as a organizational or locational identifier. Names are inspired by Roman and Greek source material.
  • Avalon/Avalonians – Individuals tend to only have a given name, with either a patronymic or a cognomen to differentiate them. Surnames are generally only used by nobles or gentry. Depending upon the culture, names are inspired by English, French, Italian, and Spanish source material. Hill Folk derive their names from Celtic source material, use a given name, a patronymic, and their clan name (which serves as a surname).
  • Ith/Ithians – Individuals tend to simply have a given name, of which them may accumulate several over their lifespan (some of which may be cognomen). Tribal membership is also important, and village of residence also plays an important part of identification. Names are inspired by Central and Western African source material.
  • Khem/Kistathian – Names are generally long and complicated. A personal name, a church name (‘Abh/’Amah-), a cognomen/descriptor (nickname), a patronymic (or series in some cases) (ibn/bin –), and in the most important families a surname. Names are inspired by Arabic, Persian, or other Middle Eastern source material.
  • Khitain/Khitainese – Names are generally quite simple, with Surname given first, then the individuals Given Name – either of which can by followed by a cognomen or a profession. Names are inspired by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean material.
  • Thule/Thulians – Given names, then a patronymic, with a cognomen following based on either a profession or a nickname. Surnames are generally only used by those with a respected family lineage (most commonly nobles or aristocrats). Names are inspired by Scandinavian, Germanic, or Russian source material.

There are two additional identifiers in names used primarily in Avalonian and Kistathian names, primarily as additional religious identifiers. In the Church of the Lords of Light, ‘Sanc’ (abbr. Sc.) indicates a surname associated with one of the Elect. In the Old Faith, the signifier “hyr Anciens’ marks the individual as one “of Ancient Blood” or alternately as “of the Ancients” and as having a notable and distinguished bloodline.

Common Alignments: The Common Men exhibit the full range of morals and ethics, no alignment is more or less common than any other.

Common Religions: Unlike the various non-human races, the Common Men are responsible for a wide range of religious institutions. For those of lawful and good alignment the Church of Lords of Light is common, while for those of a more neutral and rural bent the Old Faith is equally as common. But beyond those common religions there are a variety of Mystery Cults as well – the Mysteries of the Moons, the Perihelion, and the worship of Lady Night are all popular across the land. For truly evil folk, the Horned Society is probably the most attractive, with the Cult of the Dragon and the Cult of Shator often being the refuge of the insane.

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

Common Professions: Given their nature, no profession can be said to be more or less common save as is found within the regular demographic distribution.

Racial Traits

Accomplished: For one of the Common Men to begin a life of adventuring, they are already more accomplished than their peers in fundamental ways. They are allowed to choose one Feat at first level.

Knack: The Common Men all seem to have a knack for something, as a result they gain one additional skill of their choice.

Special Vulnerabilities: None

Psionics: None

Death: Upon death, Common Men travel either to the Realms of the Dead or into the service of their deity if they are holy enough. There are no restrictions on Raising or Resurrection. If Reincarnated they invariably come back as Common Men, though some come back as Half-Elves, Sh’dai, or even High Men if they have had sufficient contact with the right Realms.

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Dwimmervolk, the Dwarves of the City

“Thank you for the drink! While the common folk know that we provide well-made goods for a fair coin, it is your nobles and merchants who understand our true worth as allies and partners. We provide access to the goods and services of our deep-kin, and our financial services are the backbone of the economy of the Mortal Realms. Not simply the goods we create ourselves and sell, but our banking and investments, the goods we move, and the trade we facilitate between the lands of men and the folk of the Underdark. Our engineers and alchemists have been responsible for some of the greatest wonders of the Mortal Realms and our services are in the demand of kings and mages across lands, oceans, and time – from the First City to the Great Works of Albion and Aquitaine we have been there, working beside humans to make a better, more beautiful, and more functional world.”

-Haegarth”the Keen” Glimdurin, Investigating Auditor-Accountant of the Great Clan of Glimdurin

Compared to their kin the Mountain Dwarves, the Dwimmervolk are a welcoming and friendly, cosmopolitan group of cityfolk who populate both the cities men and the large dwarven cities of the Mortal Realms. Like their kin, they are devoted to their craft, have a deep and abiding hated of goblins, trolls, and worse, with almost as great a reputation for greed and tight-fistedness as their kin. But rather than miners and smiths, the Dwimmervolk are bankers, financiers, and clockwork engineers and tinkerers. As intensely private as the Mountain Dwarves, who they consider shield-brothers and clan-kin, they keep their language and lore secret from outsiders. The term “Dwimmervolk” was given to them by the early humans, it means “the Magic-Folk” and referred not to their skill at the arcane arts per se, but to their skills with clockwork mechanisms, alchemy, and enchanting. Just like the Mountain Dwarves, they are organized along family and clan lines, but the Dwimmervolk have no kingdoms, preferring to “acculturate” into human lands and kingdoms instead, as well as hold titles with their kin in the Underdark.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Constitution, -1 Charisma

Languages: Two Human Languages, Dwarrune, Dark Tongue.

Appearance: Dwimmervolk stand 3’8″ tall (+2d4″), and weigh 115 lbs (x2d6). They are Medium in Size and their Speed is 25 (though they are not slowed by Heavy Armor). They tend to have stout builds (though slimmer than Mountain Dwarves) and tawny skin – it isn’t tanned, but merely a darker hue than that of their mountain-dwelling kin. Even young Dwarves tend to have features that look old by human standards, with deep lines and pronounced features, but this is not universal. Dwarven hair begins in generally dark hues, with occasional reds and blonds, but as in humans, it goes gray or white as the Dwarf ages. Dwarves tend to wear their beards and hair long, often with simple braiding to keep it it of the way in forge or fight. The Dwarven beard is a mark of pride and honor and insulting a Dwarf’s beard is a tried and true method of starting a fight with not just that Dwarf, but all their kin as well if it is dire enough. Dwarven eyes are dark, blacks, browns, and greys, but they glitter underneath craggy brows.

Common Dress: Dwimmervolk dress much like the humans they live beside, though they make a point of wearing fine cuts and fabrics that display their wealth. They also wear a fair amount of jewelry in the way of bracers, necklaces, armbands, and hair and beard rings. Clothing tends to be in browns, and the darker shades of greys, blues and greens, with brighter colors common in travelling cloaks and fest clothing – the only colors that are uncommon are whites and blacks. It is also quite common to wear and use rapiers and firearms rather than the axes and hammers of their Underdark kin.

Lifespan: Dwimmervolk are young adults at age 40, considered mature adults at around age 60, and can live up to 525 years of age. They generally begin play at 40 + 5d4 years of age.

Common Culture: Clan and Family are of the utmost importance to Dwarves, accompanied by being a productive member of society. The only members of society that are not expected to remain an active artisan are priests and soldiers (and they usually do so anyway is some small way so deep is this value instilled in Dwarven culture). Dwarves have an even more deeply held prejudice against the practice of Arcane magic save through a scant few methods (Alchemy, Divination, and Runic Magic being the foremost, the Truesmith bloodline being the other). One oddity of the Dwarven race is that Dwarves do not have a gendered society, not that there are no male or female dwarves by sexual characteristics, but by language and thought they have no gender – though each dwarf has an acknowledged parent, and some dwarves may assume a gender to simplify relations with humans.

Common Backgrounds: Folk Hero, Guild Artisan, Guild Merchant, Noble, Ordinary Man, Outcast, Skald, and Soldier all make suitable Backgrounds for Dwimmervolk that require minimal explanation.

Naming Conventions: Dwarven names can potentially go back hundreds of generations, though only the skalds or the priests generally know anything beyond about twenty generations or so, and are considered the property of the clan, not the dwarf themselves – when exiled they are cut off from any connection to their former family. Dwarves give state their name in the following lineal fashion:

<Given Name> <Nickname(s)>, <Honorific(s)>

Born of (Parent), of the Clan of <Clan Name>,in the line of <Dynastic Forebear>,

<Rank & Guild Membership>, Great Clan of <Great Clan Name>, in the Kingdom of <Kingdom Name>.

Iterations of the “Child of Parent” can go back as long as preferred, along with acknowledgements of changes in the lineage of that ancestors clan and dynastic forbear. Many Dwarves have nicknames attached to their names, granted by the clan-mates and friends. There is no limit to the number of nicknames that a dwarf can accumulate, but few save the most renowned gain one or perhaps two. Honorifics note special status, such as being Stoneborn, a Truesmith, and special religious status (clergy or champion). Dwarves also specifically note their guild membership as part of their name, which will include their rank or status within that guild. At a bare minimum, dwarves will relate Given Name along with Parent and Clan, anything less is considered rude and anything obscuring (but not a lie, which is dishonorable) is considered an insult (“Ragnarn, of the Dwarves”) as it implies that the addressee cannot be trusted.

Common Alignments: Dwarven culture promotes Lawful ethics and Good morals as the ideal, though there are plenty of more Neutral and even Evil Dwarves. Dwarven psychics, Wizards, and Sorcerers tend to be Chaotic in alignment, as their very nature puts them at odds with many of the most tightly held Dwarven beliefs and attitudes. Most chaotic Dwarves will effectively voluntarily exile themselves rather than risk being labeled Derrokin and have their names struck from the rolls of their families.

Common Religions: Dwarven religion is an even more private matter than the rest of their affairs. Dwarves have a great deal of reverence for the Great Gods and even a grudging respect the human religions of the En Khoda Theos Kirk (the Great Elemental Dragons), but their primary spiritual pursuit is pursuing “the riddle of steel” though “forging their souls” by trial and perseverance. They also venerate their ancestors, living and dead, holding up the best and the worst as exemplars of the best and worst of Dwarven nature. Dwarven Priests are the “Ancestor Lords” – those that have a special connection to the Ancestors, while Dwarven Oracles are skilled with both Runes and “Stonesight”. Dwarven Bards are Lorekeepers and Runesingers, all working with chants, runes, and primarily drums and harps as instruments to bolster morale, speed up work, and hone battlefury as needed.

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

Common Professions: Dwimmervolk culture exists in synergy with the ecologies and cultures of the Mortal Realms and the Underdark. Any profession is possible, but the Dwimmervolk prize technical skill as well as the skills and talents inherent in trade and commerce. Identical to their kin but unlike human society (let alone Elven) Dwarven ethics do not allow a leisure class, and even Dwarven nobles work to excel at a craft of some sort, though the Dwimmervolk consider “merchant” a worthy craft in and of itself. All Dwarves are also all skilled warriors though few will make a sole profession of arms.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to life underground, Dwarves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. 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.

Dwarven Resilience: Dwarves have Advantage on all saving throws against poison, and have Resistance to poison as well.

Dwarven Toughness: Dwarves have a +1 to Hit Points at each level, with an increased maximum of one for each level as well.

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

Tinkerers: Dwimmervolk are premier tinkerers, in addition to Proficiency with Tinker’s Tools and Clockwork Tools, Dwimmervolk can spend 1 hour and spend roughly 10sp on materials to construct a Tiny clockwork device (AC5, 1HP). The device ceases to function after twenty-four hours (unless an hour is spent on upkeep and repair, which provides another 24 hours of operation). A Dwimmervolk tinker can have three (3) clockwork devices , plus their Intelligence modifier, in operation at any one time.

  • Clockwork Toy: It must be an animal, monster, or person. When placed on the ground it moves five feet in a random direction on each of it’s turns. It makes appropriate noises for the creature it represents and moves about for Levelx2 rounds.
  • Fire Starter: The device produces a miniature flame which can be used to light candles, torches, or campfires.
  • Music Box: When opened, this music box plays a single song at a moderate volume. The song stops playing when it reaches it’s end or the box is closed.
  • Autolancer: This device automatically lashes out with a razor-sharp needle for 1HP of damage on contact. It often used for pest disposal or the lancing of infected wounds.
  • Autogyro: Normally a somewhat abstract shape, this is flying device that flies about in a random direction, five feet in distance each round, maintaining the same relative height that it was released at. It moves about for Level in rounds.

With some effort (DC15 and 5sp of materials), the Dwimmervolk can combine two or more of these devices into one. This does not reduce the amount of time that must be spent building or maintaining each sub-mechanism.

Dwimmervolk Skill at Arms: All Dwimmervolk are skilled in Light Armour, and in the use of Hammers, Handaxes, Smallswords, Rapiers, & Firearms.

Psionics: Reserved

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Wood Elves, the Forgladrin

“What brings you to the Forest mortal? With each clumsy step you bring death closer to it’s heart and we can hear you breathing hoarsely in the dark, panting with fear of that which you do not know and cannot understand. You came seeking treasure and you found us, the walkers of the wildways and the guardians of the Golden Wood. We stand with our brethren the Fae’hher, whom you know as the High Elves, in our Covenant against the Dearth that they unwittingly unleashed upon the world in their hubris. But where they have lost their way and become enamored of an easy life of indolence and luxury we have remained true to the traditions of our forebears, the Elvendar, the People of the Stars. We are the hunters in the dark, the midnight archers, and we wander far in our search for the taint of the Dearth in the wild lands of the Mortal Realms.”

– Fylwynlyr, Great Huntress of the Gold Wood and Slayer of the Shadow of Winter

 

The Wood Elves are in many ways the elves that are truest to the most ancient of the Elven traditions and customs. Organized by family and clan, there are few Wood Elf kingdoms in the Mortal Realms – most notably the Goldenwood and the hidden Vale of Myrten with the Great Tree that is the center of all Wood Elf culture. There are many more families and clans of Wood Elves that live hidden in woods and wild places and borders of the civilized lands, coexisting with Gnome and Humans and others. They work closely with human institutions with the goals of the preservation of the wilderness, combatting the Dearth and their minions, and the reverence of nature. They scorn urban living, as well as living underground, and have much less of a prejudice against Half-Elves than their High Elven kin.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Dexterity, +1 Strength, -1 Constitution, -1 Intelligence

Languages: Faerie, Dark Tongue, Trollish, One Human Language, One Other Language

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Wood Elves stand 4′ 6″ tall, +2d10, and Weigh 100 lbs (x1d4) lbs.. This makes them Medium in Size and they are fleet of foot having a Speed of 35. Wood Elves are generally muscular in build, and coppery in complexion. Their hair tends to blacks and dark browns, occasionally blond while their eyes are often green, brown, or hazel. Red hair, as always, is very, very rare and is considered an ill-omen.

Common Dress: Wood Elves dress in rustic colors of browns and greens, with blues and greys more common than whites and reds. Clothing tends to be close-fitted and minimalist in order not to catch on branches or rocks and is often made of supple leathers and exotic furs and fabrics. Pants, vests, high boots or low slippers, and tightly woven cloaks and mantles are preferred. Wood Elves love jewelry, but often in the forms of torcs, bracers, brooches, and the like rather than “dangly bits” – and often adorn themselves in body paints and tattoos. Piercings are not uncommon, but not particularly common either.

Lifespan: Wood Elves are young adults at age 150, considered mature adults at around age 250, and can live up to 2000 years of age. They generally begin play at 125 + 5d6 years of age.

Common Culture: The epitome of wood elven culture is that of a semi-nomadic band that lives in the deep woods and along the ancient Dragon Paths, moving as the seasons and the mood strikes them. In truth, Wood Elves maintain a series of permanent towns that merely cycle through inhabitants, as well as similarly permanent encampments near High Elven outposts. Their one city is maintained around the Great Tree in Faerie, though the Wood Elven concept of city is almost unrecognizable as such to human eyes unless the scale were to be revealed. Wood Elves all take on the stewardship and care of their local land (driven by the instructions of their Druids) and generally keep their travels to within the bounds of the lands they watch over, and allied and friendly more often than not with other races of similar creeds and beliefs (Gnomes, humans that follow the Old Faith, etc). While the High Elves can certainly lay claim to being the most “magical” of the Elven raves, the Wood Elves are easily the most mystical – still living their lives according to the most traditional of elven codes and practices. Eating no meat save that which has been freshly caught, no plant which has not been recently harvested – a hunter-gatherer code that keeps a natural balance and prevents hoarding.

Common Backgrounds: The Acolyte, Entertainer, Hermit, Noble, Outcast, Outlander, and Ordinary Person Backgrounds are the most appropriate for Wood Elves.

Naming Conventions: Like so much else in the Faerie language, Elvish names are fluid and beautiful. Wood Elves have a complicated naming process, much of which is not shared with non-Elves simply because the nuances are often not understood. Given names are made up of several elements and can be quite long, nine or ten syllables is quite common. Surnames and septs are important, as is the relationship to birth sign and clan – which the Wod Elves place a great premium on. They do not have noble house or have membership within the Great Houses of the Elven Court – their clan chieftains and kings are afforded equivalent status. All of this is described in the following lineal taxonomy, usually presented as a single word:

<Given Name>”<Surname>ʑ(“el”)<Birth Sign>

ℓ(not discernable to human ear)<Gens>₀(“æ-“)<Sept>‽(“tua-“)<Clan>

With the younger races, Wood Elves will commonly use a shortened version of their Given Name (two or three syllables) and either the Surname or less often their Sept or Clan. Wood Elves wishing for anonymity with others, Elven or otherwise, will use one of two gens, “Forgladrin” (“Dweller of the Golden Forest”) or “Elturin” (Follower of the Stars), as a surname (or a loose translation or one or the two combined for non-Elvish speakers) – though it is considered as rude to not clarify ones actual name if asked as it is to ask for that clarification in the first place. Rank is denoted if needed or desired by various prefixes with varying cases to each Surname, Gens, Sept, and Clan.

Common Alignments: Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Neutral, True Neutral, uncommonly Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral, more uncommonly Neutral Evil – rarely Lawful Evil or Chaotic Evil.

Common Religions: Wood Elves follow the philosophical path or personal spirituality known as Liavikor or “Ruling Passion” combined with a healthy appreciation of their living ancestors, the Elvandar. That said, there are those Wood Elves , the ‘Elin, that are closer in spirit to the Elvandar, the forebears of the Elves, and often have the abilities of Druids and more rarely as are Warlocks with an Archfey Patron.

Common Character Classes: Preferred — Bard, Druid, Ranger; Common — Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue (Scout); Uncommon – Sorcerer (Elven Scion), Warlock (Archfey), Wizard; Rare — Cleric (Knowledge, Life), Paladin (Vengeance); Very Rare — Monk

Common Professions: Wood Elven culture is one of living in harmony with nature and each other, one does not have a “profession” one merely has pursuits that you enjoy and are skilled at and the position in society that you were born in to. They commonly have skills in one or two artificer skills that they have developed over time.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, Elves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. Under the light of the stars, they can see perfectly normally, in other conditions they can see in dim light up to 60 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.

Keen Senses: Proficiency in the Perception Skill.

Gift Economy: Classic Elven culture has no concept nor any need for money, working off of a combination of mutual gifting, barter, and simply need-based distribution of goods and services. As a result, Wood Elves have little concept of currency (seeing coins instead as small, poorly-made, highly repetitive , and derivative works of “art”) and also have Disadvantage when attempting to engage in any form of trade outside of their own culture.

Contemplative Artisans: Wood Elves are also artisans that can rival the best of any other race save in one aspect, they are contemplative by nature and producing work takes them five times as long (and often longer, it is not unheard of for a elven fletcher to take a year or more to create a single arrow, working on it “as inspired”) and it also takes them five times the cost. Similarly, it takes them five times as long and cost to learn new tool sets, instruments, etc.

The Dream of Faerie: Elves have Advantage against being charmed and magic cannot put them asleep. Instead of sleep Elves meditate deeply, remaining semi-conscious, for four hours a day. While in this Trance, Elves dream after a fashion, such dreams are mental exercises that have become reflexive after years of practice. After resting this way Elves gain the same benefit as Humans does from 8 hours of sleep.

Elven Tradition: Wood Elves are granted proficiency in the Nature, Animal Handling, or the Survival skills.

Masque of the Wild: Wood Elves can attempt to hide even when they are lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

Elven Birthright: Wood Elves are all born under one of nine birthsigns, each of which gives a boon of a different Cantrip which may be used at will as any other Cantrip. Some elves are known to have different boons, but these are the most common for the various birthsigns.

  1. Istaria (Spirit) – Guidance – These elves are known to be insightful.
  2. Firia (Fire) – Produce Flame – These elves are known for being passionate.
  3. Teria (Earth) – Blade Ward – These elves are known for being dependable.
  4. Avaria (Air) – Mage Hand – These elves are known for their curiosity.
  5. Isharia (Water) – Mending – These elves are known for their patience.
  6. Liaria (Light) – Spare the Dying – These elves are known for their compassion.
  7. Varia (Darkness) – Chill Touch – These elves are known for their perseverance.
  8. Lia (Order) – Message – These elves are known for their honor.
  9. Rania (Chaos) – Resistance – These elves are known for their spontaneity.

Fae Magic: Wood Elves are deeply magical, they all have two Cantrips, Prestidigitation and Druidcraft. At 3rd level they may cast Hunter’s Mark once per day and at 5th level they may cast Enhance Ability once per day as well. For spellcasters these spells are also always considered memorized and may also be cast using regular spell slots – and are always cast as if at the highest level of effect that the spellcaster can produce.

Born of Faerie: Wood Elves are so deeply imbued with the magic of Faerie that they need no components or focus for their Arcane or Divine magic. They may also wear Ultra Light, Light, and Medium non-metallic armors and cast spells, or enchanted metallic armors.

Elven Warrior Training: Wood Elves are all trained in the use of Longknife, Spear, and Shortbow, as well as the use of Light Armor.

Special Vulnerabilities: Wood Elves suffer from the usual stigma and fears of the Faerie Folk and are often the first target in any hostilities. Due to their ties to Faerie, High Elves are Vulnerable to Cold Iron. Wounds made by Cold-Iron are considered Poisoned and cannot be easily healed. If bound or chained, or otherwise constrained by Cold Iron they are unable to take a Long Rest, and are considered Poisoned.

Psionics: Rapport with Fey creatures, plus Beasts, including all those with Elven blood (including many of the Sh’dai, much to their disgust).

Death: Upon death, the spirit of an Elf goes deeply into the Realm of Faerie 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 Elf.

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Grey Elves, the Fae’lia

“Three Ages and three-hundred of your generations ago the Lord of Blades, High Prince of the Great House of the Sword, passed on the blade of his father, the athamae of our House, to his bastard half-elven son. Whether it was out of despair or out of anger we do not know but since then we have been leaderless, abandoned by our brethren in the Golden Woods and scorned by our kin in the Great Vale. Unwilling to join our sundered kin in the Shadowlands, we have made our way in the Mortal Realms, for we are the Elves of Twilight, the wardancers, the bladesingers, the Grey Elves. We are the Broken Swords who fight in the darkness when all hope is lost.”

– Neysylkentarien, Noted Duelist and Rogue

The Grey Elves are the most commonly encountered of the Fae within the Mortal Realms aside from the Gnomes. A proud and passionate people, they still resent their second-hand status in Elvish society due to the loss of their House’s athamea but aren’t yet willing to give up and swear fealty to the High Lord of the Shadowlands in response to it. But after a triple handful of elven generations, they have become something less and more than what they once were. Pragmatic, they have created their own enclaves, own kingdoms, and own society in the Mortal Realms and have ended up becoming a mediator between their kin in Faerie and the Shadowlands. It is not uncommon for children to be fostered with either set of kin, though all things being equal, at this point the Grey Elves get along better with their equally pragmatic cousins in the Shadowlands, the Sh’Achtar – and their cousins in the Golden Woods generally consider them of the same lost or corrupted ilk.

 

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Dexterity, -1 Constitution

Languages: High Elven, The Dark Tongue, Trollish, Kens, Fingerspeech, One Human Language

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Grey Elves stand 4′ 5″ tall, +2d6, and Weigh 75 lbs (x1d4) lbs.. This makes Medium in Size and have a Speed of 30. Grey Elves are generally slim in build, and somewhat light complected (though some are quite dusky in tone). Their hair tends to blacks and dark browns, while their eyes are often green or grey. Through intermarriages with their kin there are occasional blonde and white-haired Grey Elves, as well as silver and violet-eyed ones – red hair, as always, is very, very rare but is considered less of an ill-omen among the Grey Elves than among any of their kin.

Common Dress: Grey Elves have the name because they often seem to prefer hues of grey and silver compared to the yellow-golds of the High Elves or the Green and Browns of the Wood Elves. Deeper or darker jewel tones in reds, greens, and blues are also enjoyed. They also exist between the strict utilitarianism of Wood Elven garb (in leathers and strong fabrics) and the often florid or ornate (or minimalist) clothing of the High Elves in silks and gossamers. In truth they range across the whole spectrum as their needs manifest – but pants, boots, and tunics of various sorts in combination with cloaks or mantles are the most common dress, and reflect a mainly urban or travelers needs. Ritual or court garb is generally robes of some sort, while casual wear is often far more “casual” than human norms allow for when it comes to nudity. Tattoos are far more common than with High Elves, about on par with Wood Elves, and piercings are uncommon but not unheard of. Jewelry is quite common, though slightly less common than with High Elves – the focus on weapon grips keeps fingers free of rings.

Lifespan: Grey Elves are young adults at age 100, considered mature adults at around age 175, and can live up to 1600 years of age. They generally begin play at 90 + 5d6 years of age.

Common Culture: The Grey Elves are a distinct people who sit between their kin in the Elven Court of Faerie and their Kin in the Ebion Court of the Shadowlands. Despite this they have made a place for themselves in the Mortal Realms, side-by-side with humans, with the half-elves, with Elven kin, even with Sh’dai and others, refusing to go quietly into the night. A passionate people, who often feel their losses keenly and prize loyalty highly, the Grey Elves often live lives “on the edge” as adventurers, rogues, warriors – it is the rare Grey Elf that dies in bed of old age, or rarer yet finds their way to the depths of Faerie. They retain the spontaneity of their Elven kin, but have lost much of the rigid stratification of Elven society. Many Grey Elves lead lives of violence, punctuated by passionate love affairs (or visa-versa), and yearn for a place to call their own – be it a noble title and lands, a thieves guild, or a mercenary company.

Common Backgrounds: The Entertainer, Criminal, Guilded Artisan, Harlot, Noble, and Ordinary Person Backgrounds are the most appropriate for Grey Elves.

Naming Conventions: Like so much else in the Faerie language, Elvish names are fluid and beautiful. Grey Elves have a complicated naming process, much of which is not shared with non-Elves simply because the nuances are often not understood. Given names are made up of several elements and can be quite long, nine or ten syllables is quite common. Surnames and septs are important, as is the relationship to birthright, noble house, though since the rise of the Shadarin they have no Great House of the Elven Court. All of this is described in the following lineal taxonomy, usually presented as a single word:

<Given Name>”<Surname>ʑ(“el”)<Birth Sign>ℓ(not discernable to human ear)<Gens>

₀(“æ-“)<Sept>°(“næ-“)<Noble House>

With the younger races, Grey Elves will commonly use a shortened version of their Given Name (two or three syllables) and either the Surname or less often their Sept or Noble House. Grey Elves wishing for anonymity with others, Elven or otherwise, will use one of two gens, “Fae’lia” (“Elves of Twilight”) or “Elturin” (Follower of the Stars), as a surname (or a loose translation or one or the two combined for non-Elvish speakers) – though it is considered as rude to not clarify ones actual name if asked as it is to ask for that clarification in the first place. Rank is denoted if needed or desired by various prefixes with varying cases to each Surname, Gens, Sept, and Noble House.

Common Alignments: Commonly Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral, and True Neutral, Grey Elves are uncommonly Lawful Good or Lawful Evil, more uncommonly Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, or Chaotic Evil. They are rarely Neutral Evil.

Common Religions: Grey Elves invariably follow the same philosophical path or personal spirituality as the rest of their kin, Liavikor or “Ruling Passion” combined with a healthy appreciation of their living ancestors, the Elvandar though they have much less contact with them due to their residence outside of Faerie. That said, Grey Elves are increasingly following the example of their kin the sh’achtar and making various and sundry pacts with powerful spirits and beings outside of the traditional purview of the Fae.

Common Character Classes: Preferred — Fighters, Rogues, Wizards; Common — Bard, Monk, Warlock; Uncommon — Cleric (E’lin), Paladin (Vengeance), Sorcerer (Elven Scion); Rare — Druid, Ranger; Very Rare — Barbarian.

Common Professions: Mercenarys, Spellblades and Battlemages, Rogues of all sorts, Duelists, Tantrics and Courtesans. Grey Elves tend to avoid common trades, but have been known to work as “Fingersmiths” – any skilled profession that involves high levels of manual dexterity like jewelers, locksmiths, clockwork engineers, etc. In general though any trade that does not involve some sort of skill-at-arms is considered somewhat déclassé if it does not involve magery or magic.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, Elves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. Under the light of the stars, they can see perfectly normally, in other conditions they can see in dim light up to 60 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.

Keen Senses: Proficiency in the Perception Skill.

Contemplative Artisans: Grey Elves are also artisans that can rival the best of any other race save in one aspect, they are contemplative by nature and producing work takes them five times as long (and often longer, it is not unheard of for a elven fletcher to take a year or more to create a single arrow, working on it “as inspired”) and it also takes them five times the cost. Similarly, it takes them five times as long and cost to learn new tool sets, instruments, etc.

The Dream of Faerie: Elves have Advantage against being charmed and magic cannot put them asleep. Instead of sleep Elves meditate deeply, remaining semi-conscious, for four hours a day. While in this Trance, Elves dream after a fashion, such dreams are mental exercises that have become reflexive after years of practice. After resting this way Elves gain the same benefit as Humans does from 8 hours of sleep.

Elven Birthright: Grey Elves are all born under one of nine birthsigns, each of which gives a boon of a different Cantrip which may be used at will as any other Cantrip. Some elves are known to have different boons, but these are the most common for the various birthsigns.

  1. Istaria (Spirit) – Guidance – These elves are known to be insightful.
  2. Firia (Fire) – Produce Flame – These elves are known for being passionate.
  3. Teria (Earth) – Blade Ward – These elves are known for being dependable.
  4. Avaria (Air) – Mage Hand – These elves are known for their curiosity.
  5. Isharia (Water) – Mending – These elves are known for their patience.
  6. Liaria (Light) – Spare the Dying – These elves are known for their compassion.
  7. Varia (Darkness) – Chill Touch – These elves are known for their perseverance.
  8. Lia (Order) – Message – These elves are known for their honor.
  9. Rania (Chaos) – Resistance – These elves are known for their spontaneity.

Fae Magic: Grey Elves remain deeply magical, they all have two Cantrips, Prestidigitation and True Strike. Unlike other elves they must use material components for their spells (commonly having analogs for wands as part of rings or other jewelry).   At 3rd level they may cast Wrathful Strike once per day and at 5th level they may cast Magic Weapon once per day as well. For spellcasters these spells are also always considered memorized and may also be cast using regular spell slots – and are always cast as if at the highest level of effect that the spellcaster can produce.

Born of Faerie: Grey Elves are so deeply imbued with the magic of Faerie that they may also wear Ultra Light, Light, and Medium non-metallic armors and cast spells, or enchanted metallic armors.

Elven Weapon Training: Grey Elves are all trained in the use of Longknife, Shortsword, and Longsword.

Wardancers and Bladesingers: The Grey Elves are masters of fighting with two weapons. They gain a bonus of +1 to AC when wielding a separate melee weapon in either hand. Grey Elves can also draw or store two one-handed weapons when they would normally only be able to draw or store one.

Special Vulnerabilities: Grey Elves suffer from the usual stigma and fears of the Faerie Folk as other elves and are often the first target in any hostilities. Due to their ties to Faerie, Grey Elves are Vulnerable to Cold Iron. Wounds made by Cold-Iron are considered Poisoned and cannot be easily healed. If bound or chained, or otherwise constrained by Cold Iron they are unable to take a Long Rest, and are considered Poisoned.

Psionics: Rapport with other Elves, and those with Elven blood – including many Sh’dai, much to their disdain.

Death: Upon death, the spirit of an Elf goes deeply into the Realm of Faerie 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 Elf.

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Sh’dai – The Shadowed

“Is it my hair? Is it my eyes? Is it my skin? My smile? The magic that dances at my fingertips and flows through my veins like an intoxicating black wine? You look at us and see something that is almost like you, you imagine us like some sort of darkly fey version of the half-elven of your realm. You call us ‘shadowmen’ and ‘shevach’ thinking that we care – nor do we, save that we know that your kind consider these insults. You both envy us and fear us because our feral beauty, seeing it not as a blessing of our forebears but as the taint of daemons and worse. We live on the borders of the Realm of the Dead and we have seen more of “worse” by the time we’re of age than your kind have seen in a generation. Please… We are the children of the Sh’achtar, cousins to the Daemon, and we do the will of the Unborn this world and the next. We welcome your worst.” 

– Naamah D’Ishtiare lia Cheryh n’hai Eshu n’Hai Diablen, Witch of the Ebon Circle.

 

The Sh’dai, also known simply as “the Shadowed”, are the primary race of the Shadowlands, though a number of families also make their home in the Mortal Realms as well. Privy to some of the darkest Mysteries, the Sh’dai are a race that treasures secrets and subtlety and appreciate magic as much as the Fae do. Amoral if not evil by human standards, the Sh’dai are a culture that stands as the first line of defense against the depredations of the Dearth, a fact that they are well aware and justifiably proud of. Quick to take offense, Sh’dai are passionate people with carefully maintained codes of honor that keep those same passions in check. Legends of their vices stretches across the Mortal Realms, and their appetites are fueled by drugs, slaves, and a variety of entertainments that are generally considered at least somewhat unwholesome. Their cities are considered dens of the most vile vices in the Mortal Realms, and their slavers are feared.

 

Statistic Bonuses: +2 Charisma, +1 Intelligence,

Languages: Kens, Fingerspeech, One Human Language

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Sh’dai stand 4′ 9″ tall (+2d8), and weigh 110 lbs (x2d4) lbs. Their Size is Medium and their Speed is 30 feet per round. Both sexes tend to have slender builds that belies their strength and pale skin that can actually range into the purest ivory – often adorned with piercings and tattoos. Both tend towards features and lithe muscular form that are considered amazingly attractive in human terms – despite the fangs, cat’s-eye pupils, pointed ear-tips, fingernails that can double as weapons (+1 Damage), as well as delicate-to-impressive horns in some of the bloodlines though this is less common in the Mortal Realms than the Shadowlands. Sh’dai hair is most commonly ebony in hue, with very occasional reds and platinum blonds to snow-white. Sh’dai tend to wear their hair long, often with simple braiding to keep it of the way in forge or fight, and they often have exotic cuts and styling. Sh’dai eyes are dark, blacks, greys, with occasional exotic colors like crimson or deep purple, all with slit pupils that betray their feral nature.

Common Dress: While they will often (though not always) make allowances while in the Mortal Realm for human mores and custom, Sh’dai in their own realms tend toward clothing that is… sparse. Both men and women tend towards loincloths or sarongs and harnesses, wearing cloaks or robes for warmth when needed – most commonly in blacks and charcoals, occasionally with crimson and rarely in alabasters and ivories. Fabrics are transparent as often as they are opaque, usually being of either raw and finished silk, and for those who can afford it of the various magical fabrics. Jewelry is common, though often in the forms of body piercings for both men and women, while both sexes also tattoo themselves heavily in stark patterns of solid color.

Lifespan: Sh’dai are young adults at age 50, considered mature adults at around age 100, and can live up to 1000 years of age. They generally begin play at 45 + 5d4 years of age.

Common Culture: In the Shadowlands Sh’dai society is a strictly hierarchical one, though one that is also based on achievement and merit as much as birth, where everything is focused on fighting the depredations of the Lords of Dearth. It also a slave-keeping society, though less out of economic necessity and more out of a philosophical attraction to the aphorism “Rule or Be Ruled” – which often translates to ownership. In fact, “ownership” is a somewhat transitive concept in Sh’dai (and Shadowlands) culture, there being different levels of ownership for, essentially, everything with the every successive layers of downward ownership from the High Lord. The Sh’dai also have a society that revolves around the indulgence of their physical passions of all sorts to stave off the soul-deadening effects of the nearby Great Realm of the Dead in what might be called ascetic decadence – and luxuries that would turn the stomach of ordinary humans. Lastly, murder is not a crime in the Shadowlands, and etiquette and protocol has carefully evolved to prevent needless deaths from occurring – but that I merely weeds out the weak and the foolish.

Common Backgrounds: The Acolyte, Criminal, Harlot, Noble, Ordinary Person, Outcast, Sage, and Soldier Backgrounds are most appropriate for Sh’dai.

Naming Conventions: In the Shadowlands, the Sh’dai use both a given name, a surname for their immediate family, acknowledge their birth mother and then note the noble house with which they are associated using the following lineal process:

<Given Name> s’/d'(son/daughter of the family) <Surname> lia (born of/lineage of) <Female Parent>

n’hai (in the House of) <Noble House>

In Kens, similar to the Faerie, there are a variety of prefixes, suffixes, accents, and cases that denote position and relationships – but compared to Elven culture the Sh’dai tend to keep things relatively simple noting only those the relationship to immediate family and noble house. The one exception is a connection to the House of the High Lord (n’Hai Diablen) which, if it exists, is always noted at the end. It is also not uncommon for Sh’dai to shorten their names for common use, or to simply use surnames or House names rather then their given names. Spellcasters will also often obscure their same entirely and use a common, though mystical or occult item or phenomena as a given name to ward off attempts at bindings or scryings. Lastly, the use of “Sha’Achtar” in place of a surname or a House name is a common practice, but not nearly as insulting as the similar Dwarven custom.

Common Alignments: The Shadowlands are a dark and hard place, and while Sh’dai culture promotes Lawful ethics it’s morals are most commonly Evil in bent – Sh’dai from the Mortal Realms tend to be more Neutral in morals. The Sh’dai are a product of their environment and the close proximity to the Realm of the Dead demands strong passions to stave off its soul-numbing effects. Unfortunately that level of passion often leads to excesses that would kill many mortals. It is not that it is impossible to find Good within the Shadowlands, but the selfish road of Evil or Neutrality is much easier. Chaotic individuals are seen as dangerous liabilities who are weak links in the chains that bind the Dearth and rarely trusted with any responsibility.

Common Religions: While the Sh’dai are quite willing to give the En Khoda Theos Kirk their due, and hold the Bel En Khoda in high regard as well, they reserve their deepest veneration for the Unborn and their servants the Witches of the Shadowlands. It is hard to say if the Unborn are singular or plural, but they dwell in the great spaces Between. They are a liminal and ever-watchful eye for the Dearth and the Five Demon Emperors, and their whispers and murmurs fill the minds of the Witches and their dreadful champions, the Sh’Elin.

Common Classes: The Sh’dai have a penchant for mysticism and the occult. They value skill and precision over brute force, but have a fine appreciation for the uses of raw magical and psychic power. Preferred — Fighter, Wizard (Diabolist or Necromancer), Rogue; Common — Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock (Unborn or Fiend); Uncommon — Cleric (Death, Knowledge, or War), Paladin (Sh’elin), Monk; Rare — Barbarian (Berserker), Ranger (Hunter); Very Rare — Druid (Moon)

Common Professions: Two factors influence Shadowlands society greatly (that being the largest concentration of Sh’dai). The first is that slave-holding is both common and accepted in the Shadowlands and the second is that the Realms of the Dead border the Shadowlands and the constant threat of the Dearth cannot be ignored. As such, while there is no leisure class, and Sh’dai certainly span the entire range of social classes, those Sh’dai found in the Mortal Realms tend to either be cadet branches of various noble and merchant families, or are nobles and merchants from the Shadowlands themselves because others simply do not have the ability to travel easily. Those Sh’dai in the Mortal Realms not fortunate to be born into the middle and upper classes are often firmly established with the lower classes where they find their nature suited towards any number of professions generally considered unsavory.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Due to their heritage from the Shadowlands the Sh’dai have superior Darkvision. They can see in dim light up 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.

Fell Reputation: Sh’dai also have fell reputations within the Mortal Realms and can be the target of prejudice with some regularity though outright attacks are rare because they are often assumed to be mages or clerics of darkness. They all have the Intimidation skill.

Psychic Resistance: Sh’dai have Resistance to Psychic and Necrotic damage.

Life of Intrigue: Sh’dai all have the Perception Skill and Resistance to poison.

Legacy of the Unborn: All Sh’dai have the Thaumaturgy and Prestidigitation Cantrips. Upon reaching 3rd level they may cast Hellish Rebuke once per day and upon reaching 5th level they may cast Blur once per day as well. For spellcasters these spells are also always considered memorized and may also be cast using regular spell slots – and are always cast as if at the highest level of effect that the spellcaster can produce.

Unborn Blessing: Sh’dai may also wear Ultra Light, Light, and Medium non-metallic armors and cast Arcane spells, or enchanted metallic armors.

Sh’dai Weapons Training: Sh’dai are trained in the use of Assassin’s Blades, Razornails, Warfans, and Fighting Chains.

Special Vulnerabilities: Used to the Shadowlands, Sh’dai have Disadvantage on attack rolls and visual Perception checks when they or the target they are trying to attack or perceive are in bright light or direct sunlight. They are also Vulnerable to Radiant damage.

Psionics: Reserved

Death: Upon death, the spirit of a Sh’dai travels to the Realm of the Dead where they continue the War Without End. If Reincarnated they may only come back as an Sh’dai.

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Mountain Dwarves, the Dwaedurinar

“The first thing that you humans need to remember if you would treat with us is that we are a honorable people, with traditions that go back to the Deeps of the First Age. The second thing to remember is to forget what you know of the Dwimmervolk that dwell in your cities, they are shield-brothers and axe-kin, and skilled in their own way, but we are earth-blooded and stone-boned and  do not suffer foolishness in our dealings with others. Third, we dwarves are forged by the riddle of steel and we have hewn down more goblins, trolls, and worse in the Deeps than have ever walked the surface in our search for the answer to the riddle of steel. The last thing that deserves consideration is that you humans seem to think that we have a need of you.

We don’t.”  – Thralin Deepingaxe, Ambassador to the Gynarch of T’zarr.

 

As can be seen, Mountain Dwarves are a proud, dour, and taciturn race of warriors. They are devoted to their craft, have a deep and abiding hated of goblins, trolls, and worse, all with a darker reputation for greed and jealousy. Now, there are other Dwarves elsewhere, the Dwimmervolk that dwell primarily aboveground and in human cities, the ash-skinned and black-eyed Dwarrow of the Shadowlands and the scions of lost various Dwarven kingdoms known as the Hill Dwarves, but the Mountain Dwarves, the Dwarves of the Underdark, or the Dwaedurinar as they call themselves in their own language, think of themselves as the true Dwarves and the keepers and inheritors of the greatest secrets of their race – which includes some of the most technologically advanced secrets known to mortals. Known as the “Mountain Folk” or the “Kings Under The Mountains” because the upper reaches of their cities inhabit the exposed spine of the world. Dwarven society itself is divided along family and clan lines, and then further organized into kingdoms – though the reviled outcasts known as Derrokin always scrabble at the edges. They are an intensely private people, who keep their language and lore secret from outsiders and rarely trust non-Dwarves with anything of value.

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

Languages: Local Human Language, Dwarrune, Dark Tongue, Trollish.

Appearance: Mountain Dwarves stand 4′ tall (+2d4″), and weigh 130 lbs (x2d6). They are Medium in Size and their Speed is 25 (though they are not slowed by Heavy Armor). They tend to have stout builds and pale skin with a stone-like hue. Even young Dwarves tend to have features that look old by human standards, with deep lines and pronounced features, but this is not universal. Dwarven hair begins in generally dark hues, with occasional reds and blonds, but as in humans, it goes gray or white as the Dwarf ages. Dwarves tend to wear their beards and hair long, often with simple braiding to keep it of the way in forge or fight. The Dwarven beard is a mark of pride and honor and insulting a Dwarf’s beard is a tried and true method of starting a fight with not just that Dwarf, but all their kin as well if it is dire enough. Dwarven eyes are dark, blacks, browns, and greys, but they glitter underneath craggy brows.

Common Dress: Mountain Dwarves prefer an extremely utilitarian style of clothing, commonly wearing trousers, heavy boots, and short sleeved shirts or vests made of leather and finely woven wool. When travelling hooded cloaks are popular, and most dwarves wear a fair amount of jewelry in the way of bracers, necklaces, armbands, and hair and beard rings. Clothing tends to be in browns, dark blues and darker greens, with brighter colors common in travelling cloaks and fest clothing – the only colors that are uncommon and blacks and whites.

Lifespan: Mountain Dwarves are young adults at age 40, considered mature adults at around age 60, and can live up to 525 years of age. They generally begin play at 40 + 5d4 years of age.

Common Culture: Clan and Family are of the utmost importance to Dwarves, accompanied by being a productive member of society. The only members of society that are not expected to remain an active artisan are priests and soldiers (and they usually do so anyway is some small way so deep is this value instilled in Dwarven culture). Dwarves have an even more deeply held prejudice against the practice of Arcane magic save through a scant few methods (Alchemy, Divination, and Runic Magic being the foremost, the Truesmith bloodline being the other). One oddity of the Dwarven race is that Dwarves do not have a gendered society, not that there are no male or female dwarves by sexual characteristics, but by language and thought they have no gender – though each dwarf has an acknowledged parent, and some dwarves may assume a gender to simplify relations with humans.

Common Backgrounds: Acolyte, Folk Hero, Guild Artisan, Noble, Ordinary Man, Outcast, Skald, and Soldier all make suitable Backgrounds for Mountain Dwarves that require minimal explanation.

Naming Conventions: Dwarven names can potentially go back hundreds of generations, though only the skalds or the priests generally know anything beyond about twenty generations or so, and are considered the property of the clan, not the dwarf themselves – when exiled they are cut off from any connection to their former family. Dwarves give state their name in the following lineal fashion:

<Given Name> <Nickname(s)>, <Honorific(s)>

Born of (Parent), of the Clan of <Clan Name>,in the line of <Dynastic Forebear>,

<Rank & Guild Membership>, Great Clan of <Great Clan Name>, in the Kingdom of <Kingdom Name>.

Iterations of the “Child of Parent” can go back as long as preferred, along with acknowledgements of changes in the lineage of that ancestors clan and dynastic forbear. Many Dwarves have nicknames attached to their names, granted by the clan-mates and friends. There is no limit to the number of nicknames that a dwarf can accumulate, but few save the most renowned gain one or perhaps two. Honorifics note special status, such as being Stoneborn, a Truesmith, and special religious status (clergy or champion). Dwarves also specifically note their guild membership as part of their name, which will include their rank or status within that guild. At a bare minimum, dwarves will relate Given Name along with Parent and Clan, anything less is considered rude and anything obscuring (but not a lie, which is dishonorable) is considered an insult (“Ragnarn, of the Dwarves”) as it implies that the addressee cannot be trusted.

Common Alignments: Dwarven culture promotes Lawful ethics and Good morals as the ideal, though there are plenty of more Neutral and even Evil Dwarves. Dwarven psychics, Wizards, and Sorcerers tend to be Chaotic in alignment, as their very nature puts them at odds with many of the most tightly held Dwarven beliefs and attitudes. Most chaotic Dwarves will effectively voluntarily exile themselves rather than risk being labeled Derrokin and have their names struck from the rolls of their families.

Common Religions: Dwarven religion is an even more private matter than the rest of their affairs. Dwarves have a great deal of reverence for the Great Gods and even a grudging respect the human religions of the En Khoda Theos Kirk (the Great Elemental Dragons), but their primary spiritual pursuit is pursuing “the riddle of steel” though “forging their souls” by trial and perseverance. They also venerate their ancestors, living and dead, holding up the best and the worst as exemplars of the best and worst of Dwarven nature. Dwarven Priests are the “Ancestor Lords” – those that have a special connection to the Ancestors, while Dwarven Oracles are skilled with both Runes and “Stonesight”. Dwarven Bards are Lorekeepers and Runesingers, all working with chants, runes, and primarily drums and harps as instruments to bolster morale, speed up work, and hone battlefury as needed.

Common Classes: Preferred — Cleric (War or Knowledge), Fighter, Ranger (Hunter); Common — Barbarian (Berserker), Bard, Paladin (Honor or Vengeance); Uncommon — Druid, Rogue (Scout), Sorcerer (Truesmith); Rare — Monk, Warlock; Very Rare — Wizard

Common Professions: Mountain Dwarf culture is entirely self-sufficient, so any profession is possible. That said, Mountain Dwarves have a reputation as metal and stoneworkers and their smithwork is fabled in human lands and history and all Dwarves have a certain basic knowledge of these fields. Unlike human society (let alone Elven) Dwarven ethics do not allow a leisure class, and even Dwarven nobles work to excel at a craft of some sort – that being the highest of all aspirations of a Dwarf. All Dwarves are also all skilled warriors though few will make a sole profession of arms.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to life underground, Dwarves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. 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.

Dwarven Resilience: Dwarves have Advantage on all saving throws against poison, and have Resistance to poison as well.

Dwarven Toughness: Dwarves have a +1 to Hit Points at each level, with an increased maximum of one for each level as well.

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

Stonecunning: When Mountain Dwarves make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, they are considered proficient in the History skill and gain double their normal Proficiency bonus to the check.

Perfectionists: Dwarves are the foremost artisans of any other race save in one aspect, they are perfectionist by nature and producing work takes them twice times as long (and often longer) and it also takes them twice times the cost. Similarly, it takes them twice as long and cost to learn new tool sets, instruments, etc.

Long Memories: The Dwarves are a proud people, and they hold both grudges and debts dear – long past when most others would consider reasonable. They also have consider debts (good and ill) to be transitive for at least seven generations – something which has caused many a problem for lesser-lived races.

Dwarven Skill at Arms: All Mountain Dwarves are skilled in Light and Medium Armour, and in the use of Hammers, Handaxes, Warhammers, and Battle Axes.

Dwarven Work Ethic: All Dwarves can choose one of the following artisan tool sets to be proficient in: Armorsmith, Blacksmith, Brewer, Engraver, Jeweler, Leatherworker, Mason, or Miner.

Special Vulnerabilities: In bright light or direct sunlight, Mountain  Dwarves have Disadvantage on attack rolls and visual Perception checks when they or the target they are trying to attack or perceive are in bright light or direct sunlight past 30′ of distance.

Psionics: Yes.

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Half-Elves, the Tudarin

“We are the children of joy and sorrow, sometimes born out of love, more often born of illicit desire and as mistakes.  We have the passion of our elven heritage matched to the determination of our human blood, and we have numbered some of the greatest heros, and villans, of the Heartlands, amongst us. But even at the best of times and with the best of us, elves look down upon us for what they see as human weakness and humans fear and distrust us because of our elven otherworldliness. That is, at least, when our exotic nature doesn’t inspire a prurient interest that both races can barely forgive themselves for. Is it surprising that we finally created kingdoms of our own in the wake of the Mad God’s War? We stand with the legacy of the Thrice-Blessed and the Thrice-Cursed ever at our shoulder, and there are those who would slay us out of hand as perversions of nature merely because we had the misfortune to be born and live our lives unbound and unafraid.” – High Princess Aliannatulian of Silverveil

 

The Half-Elves, also known as the Tudarin or the “People of Two Paths” in the Faerie tongue, are a race that is both blessed and cursed by their heritage. While none would deny their beauty or their skills, they are often viewed with suspicion and disdain by others simply for the fact that they exist. The taboo against cross-racial sexual relations is a strong one, and the children of such liaisons bear the brunt of it. Always a small and often persecuted minority at the mercy of those in power, the vast majority of Half-Elves are born of the union of human and elf, most commonly male elven and a female human parents, and raised in human culture.

Statistic Modifiers: None

Languages: Faerie and the Local Human Language.

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Half-Elves stand 4′ 9″ tall (+2d8), and weigh 110 lbs (x2d4) lbs. Half-Elves are Medium in Size and their Speed is 30. Both sexes have with average builds that tend towards the slender, and fair complexions rarely marred by either scars or sun. Female Half-Elves are considerably more buxom and curvaceous than Elves, but are generally slimmer than Humans. Their eyes are commonly grey or blue, with hazel occurring sometimes, and the violet or emeralds of an elven relative appearing rarely. Similarly, their hair tends to come in the same shades as human hair, with the occasional appearance of the silver-blonds, snow-whites, and blood-reds of their elven heritage appearing as well. One significant difference with Half-Elves is that they are able to grow beards as full as any human’s and those desiring to pass for human will usually do so.

Common Dress: Half-elves will generally dress in the manner of the culture they were raised in, but will often mix garments and styles of dress from other cultures that they have travelled to or like the looks of.

Lifespan: Half-elves are young adults at age 24, considered mature adults at around age 40, and can live up to 325 years of age. They generally begin play at 21 + 3d4 years of age.

Common Culture: There is very little that can be described as “common” half-elven culture because they are primarily raised either as humans or by the elves that dwell in human lands with a strong desire to acculturate. It isn’t uncommon for Half-Elves raised by humans to pick up various affectations that they deem as elvish or to adopt some element of elven culture that they learn about that appeals to them. Most commonly this is either hair styles or jewelry styled as elvish, but it can often encompass eating habits, music preferences, or simply peppering their speech with elvish words and phraseology. Half-Elves raised in Elven culture often become “more elven than Elves” by way of compensation, or become so disenchanted with the prejudice they encounter that they begin to deliberately flaunt human customs (speeding their expulsion from polite Elven society).

Common Backgrounds: Like their human parents, any Background is appropriate for Half-Elves, though they do pick up more than their fair share of Charlatans, Entertainers, Outcasts, and Outlanders.

Naming Conventions: Half-Elves often have names that reference both parents in some way. For those raised in Elven society they do not use Great House name but instead reference their own nature instead. For those raised in human society “Half-Elven” is sometimes used a surname, as well as other variants upon that (Faeblood, Elfson, etc.).

Common Alignments: Any, though Half-Elves lean slightly towards the various Chaotic and the various Neutral Alignments.

Common Religions: Half-Elves will tend to follow the religion of the culture and the parents that raised them. Among humans this often seems to mean the Old Faith while Half-Elves raised among the Elves will tend to follow the precepts of Li’vicor.

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

Common Professions: Half-Elves tend to be born to the adventurous, and in turn tend towards professions that reflect a yearning for something other than a quiet and staid existence by a hearth. Mercenaries, explorers, merchants and travellers of all sorts – these are the sorts of professions that often appeal to Half-Elves as they search for a place and people that will accept them. Their half-blood status also means that many find a welcome home as courtesans and Tantrics, their good looks and partial blood making them both exotic and attractive to those interested.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Due to their elven heritage, Half-Elves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. Under the light of the stars they can see up to 120 feet perfectly well, and twice that distance as if there dim light.They can see in dim light up to 60 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.

Fae Magic: Half-Elves benefit from their elven ancestry and may chose one of two Cantrips to know, either Prestidigitation or Minor Illusion.

Fae Ancestry: Half- Elves have Advantage against being charmed and magic cannot put them asleep.

Fae Legacy: Half-Elves may also wear Ultra Light, Light, and Medium non-metallic armors and cast Arcane spells, or enchanted metallic armors.

Skill Versatility: Half-Elves gain proficiency in two skills.

Special Vulnerabilities: Half-Elves are also uncomfortable around Cold Iron and cannot benefit from a Long Sleep if surrounded by large amounts. They also suffer from a fair amount of prejudice from many Humans and Elves due to their mixed heritage.

Psionics: Reserved.

Death: Upon death, Half-Elves travel either to the Realms of the Dead or into the service of their deity if they are holy enough. There are no restrictions on Raising or Resurrection. If Reincarnated they invariably come back as Half-Elves, though some come back as High Men, Sh’dai, or even Common Men. A few, exceedingly rare Half-Elves are so in tune with their Elvish nature that they have spirits rather than souls, they are treated as elves after death.

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Gnomes, the Fae’shin

“We’ve been living, fighting, and dying side-by-side since the Wars of Binding, enough that some you call us “halflings” and treat us more like your some of your own kin and less like the Forest- or the Mountain-Folk. Some say that it our friendship that brought the Fae into the Great Alliance against the Witch-King, and here in the Heartlands we’ve certainly had good relations with Albion since the Wars of Binding. I’ve always thought that it was because we’ve shared a dislike of goblinkin, a hatred of the Dearth, a love of good food, better drink, and a quiet pipe at the end of the day. We have more respect for the Great Mother these days than you do – with the Lighters spreading there aren’t enough of the wilderwise that still honor the Old Faith. That said, there are still enough of you here in the hills that we both call home that we can still share a pipe and a tankard of ale at the end of a hunt.” – Prince Gnaismith Glittergold, Ambassador to Albion.

 

The Gnomes, also known as Halflings, the Small Folk, and the Little People, are an earthy and lively race that inhabits the forested hills of the Mortal Realms for the most part, across all climates. Technically speaking they are considered part of the Faerie Folk, but are so down-to-earth that even most humans don’t see them in the same light as their distant cousins in Faerie (Pixies, Sprites, etc.) or the Shadowlands (the feral and greatly feared Daeshin Vorre). They enjoy food and drink, and have the lusty appreciation for life that makes them easy to get along with for most humans  – who find them much more approachable than the dour dwarves or the ethereal elves. They are also known for their sense of humor and have a reputation as tricksters and jokesters.

Statistic Modifiers: +1 Dexterity, -1 Wisdom

Languages: Faerie, Dark Tongue, the local Human Language.

Appearance: Gnomes stand 2′ 11″ tall (+2d4), and weigh 35 lbs x(1) Lbs . They are Small in Size and have a Speed of 25. Both genders have generally average builds that tend towards the rangy and tanned complexions. Their hair tends to come in various shades browns, blacks, and occasionally very dirty blonds, very rarely in true blonds. Beards are rare and tend to be more wispy or short rather than the full facial hair of humans or the bearded glory of the dwarves. Eyes are most often hazel, but brilliant greens and blues occur rarely.

Common Dress: Gnomes tend to prefer practicality over style, with kilts and blouses for men and dresses for women being traditional. Colors are often a mix of neutral browns, greens, and tans mixed with splashes of color (blues and reds are favorites). Jewelry is common and plentiful for men and women, commonly a torc or necklace, along with a mixture of rings, bracelets or bracers, and brooches.

Lifespan: Gnomes are young adults at age 50, are considered mature adults at around age 90, and can live up to 750 years of age. They generally begin play at 60 +5d4 years of age.

Common Culture: Gnomish culture is based around family and clan, with tracing lineage and relationship being a common pastime. Gnomes tend to be an odd combination of free-wheeling spirits mixed with strong traditionalism and loyalty to each other and to their friends. Generosity of both spirit and goods is considered a virtue, along with wit and humor. Many Gnomish families have integrated into human kingdoms, most commonly living in rural communities engaged in hunting, mining, and craftwork. There are, however, a number of independent Gnomish kingdoms scattered across the Mortal Realms.

Common Backgrounds: Entertainer, Folk Hero, Guild Artisan, Guild Merchant, Ordinary Person, and Noble are all suitable Backgrounds for Gnomes.

Naming Conventions: Gnomes use a variety of names, combining given names, surnames, nicknames, professional names, and both clan and kingdom names into their “complete” name in the following lineal fashion:

<Nickname> <Given Name> <Professional Name>

of the family <Surname> of the clan <Clan Name> in the kingdom of <Kingdom>

Complicated relationships, especial for nobles, can result in multiple professional names, clan relationships, and surnames being used. Outside of Gnomish culture, this is often reduced to Given Name or Knickname, Surname, and Clan.   Surnames are often a combination of an element and a terrain feature (Mudswamp, Silvermoraine, etc), though the oldest of families have a similar convention to Dwarven custom of a descriptor and an element (Glittergold, Brightiron). Royal families often follow a convention of using (to human ears) what is written as a “silent g” at the beginning of given names.

Common Alignments: Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral.

Common Religions: Gnomes invariably follow their own version of the Old Faith, though there are only priestesses in their hierarchy, and they almost all belong to a Circle of the Land (Golden Woods). Some Gnomes will worship at the En Khoda Theos Kirk (the Great Elemental Dragons), but this is rare and is seen a bit of affectation by other Gnomes. In either case they will only rarely will they worship side-by-side with humans though, preferring to establish their own groves or kirks.

Common Classes: Preferred: Druid (Land/Golden Hills), Ranger, Rogue (Scout or Arcane Trickster) — Common: Bard, Fighter (Champion), Wizard (Divination or Enchantment) — Uncommon: Cleric (Nature), Sorcerer, Warlock (Archfey) — Rare: Barbarian (Totem), Paladin (Vengeance) — Very Rare: Monk

Common Professions: Gnomish society stands on its own in rural settings, so any profession appropriate to that setting is possible. In more urban settings Gnomes are known as superlative jewelers and gemcutters, finer even than their cousins the dwarves, and the less honest among them make excellent safe-crackers and locksmiths. Illusion magic is generally considered the province of the Gnomish gentry and nobility, and being a Ranger is considered one of the most honorable pursuits that a Gnomish warrior can take.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, Gnomes have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. They can see in dim light up to 60 feet as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it was dark. They cannot discern color in darkness though, only shades of grey.

Speech with the Small Beasts: Through sounds and gestures, Gnomes can communicate with simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts. Gnomes love animals and often keep squirrels, badgers, rabbits, moles, woodpeckers, and other creatures as pets.

Gnomish Bravery: Gnomes have Advantage on saving throws against Fear.

Gnome Cunning: Gnomes have Advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.

Gnome Resilience: Gnomes have Advantage on saving throws against poison, and Resistance to poison damage.

Gnome Nimbleness: Gnomes can move through the space of creature Medium or larger.

Naturally Stealthy: Gnomes can attempt to hide when obscured by creatures that are size Medium or larger.

Mask of the Wild: Gnomes can attempt to hide even when they are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

Faerie Magic: Gnomes all know the Minor Illusion and Druidcraft Cantrips. At 3rd level they may use Animal Friendship once per day and at 5th level they may use the Animal Messenger spell once per day as well. For spellcasters these spells are also always considered memorized and may also be cast using regular spell slots – and are always cast as if at the highest level of effect that the spellcaster can produce.

Born of Faerie: Gnomes may also wear Ultra Light, Light, and Medium non-metallic armors and cast Arcane spells, or enchanted metallic armors.

Special Vulnerabilities: Gnomes are also uncomfortable around Cold Iron and cannot benefit from a Long Sleep if surrounded by large amounts. They are also prone to wasting away if they cannot regularly feel the wind on their face and the sun on their skin, suffering as if Poisoned if kept in the dark or fresh air for more than a month. This is cured after a mere week in healthy conditions. Gnomes are short, do not swim particularly well and prefer to stay away from water and boats. They are sometimes treated more like children by ignorant but well-meaning humans (and some insufferable and condescending elves). Goblins will tend to target them in preference to other races with the sole exception if Elves and Dwarves.

Psionics: Reserved

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High Elves, the Fae’hher

“You look at us and see some reflection of our troubled cousins, the Fae’lia, which some call the Grey Elves, or our woodland cousins the Forgladrin, the People of the Golden Forest, and nothing could further from the truth. For we are the Fae’hher, the Lords of the Dawn and Grandchildren of the Stars.. We are born of the blood of our forefathers, the Elvandar, shed in the First War and nurtured with tears of joy and sorrow. We built our first towers when dragons sang across the skies and the stars were being set in their patterns and stood firm when the Sh’achtar fell into shadow. Our covenant is to stand against the Dearth that our own foolishness unleased upon the Realms in Ages past and we have done so across the long years and through such depths of time so that the kingdoms of men are but ashes of a passing flame and their lives fading smoke in the breeze. We are the inheritors of magic and lore beyond what even the wisest of humans can even fathom , and we are often placed in the position of guarding the younger races from their own worst impulses. Our memories stretch across ages, and when we have tired of these Mortal Realms we Retreat to Faerie to walk by the side of our elder kin.”

– Lord KirtarcenalruchellenefirallℓElturin

 

The High Elves are a proud and ancient people with deep ties to their brethren and forebears in Faerie. There are only a handful of true High Elven kingdoms in the Mortal Realms any more, with Silverveil and Mistvale the most accessible to the Heartlands, though the great island refuge of Starfell is also nearby for those who know how to find it. Bastions of culture and magic, these kingdoms are havens of a culture that is steeped in tradition and mysticism and they are the quickest to label one of their kin Ach’tar or Outcast. High Elves are rare outside of these lands as anything save diplomats or the even more uncommon adventurers or wanderers. Though deeply dedicated as a race to combatting the Dearth they prefer to do it on their own terms and at their own pace, not getting caught up in the often (to their eyes) short-sighted plans and efforts of the younger races. They prefer the company of other High Elves the most, with Wood Elves a distant second. Gnomes are preferable to Grey Elves, which are in turn preferable to Dwarves of any sort. Humans are often more preferable than Dwarves, but Half-Elves are disliked intensely by the majority of High Elves as part of an ancient and deeply held prejudice as strong as their dislike of the Sh’dai, Goblinkin, or the Ithians. The Dragonborn are the closest thing that High Elves see as a racial equal, respecting them as being scions of a ancient race and traditions that compare to their own.

Statistic Bonuses: +1 Intelligence, +1 Dexterity, -2 Constitution

Languages: Faerie, High Elven, One Human Language, One Other Language

Size, Speed, and Appearance: Elves stand 4′ 7″ tall, +2d10, and Weigh 90 lbs (x1d4) lbs.. This makes them Medium in Size and they have a Speed of 30. Noble Elves are generally slender in build, and bronze in complexion. Their hair tends to golden blonds and blacks and occasional dark browns, while their eyes are often golden or silver. Red hair, as always, is very, very rare and is considered an ill-omen.

Common Dress: High Elves tend to dress in robes of blues, yellows, and whites, often with metallic threading, or made of gossamer and magical silks. Jewel-tones and pastels are favorites, and other shades of color are certainly possible, though greys and blacks are avoided, as are dark reds and crimsons. They are also just as likely to wear as little as a loincloth or nothing at all if the weather permits – it is not a body-shy culture or race. That said, comfortable and beautiful clothing is valued as a part of “good living” in and of itself, and even more practical clothing for hunting or travelling (pants, tunics, cloaks, etc.) are aesthetically pleasing and form-fitting. High Elves also have a variety of forms of jewelry that are worn that mark birthright, noble house, and rank along with various items of other clothing – rings, circlets and diadems, necklaces, and bracelets are all common and popular.

Lifespan: High Elves are young adults at age 150, considered mature adults at around age 250, and can live up to 2000 years of age. They generally begin play at 125 + 5d6 years of age.

Common Culture: High Elven culture is a series of contradictions to humans, rigidly stratified in some ways, High Elves still value personal freedom and spontaneity to a degree that would cause a human society to collapse. The level of magic available makes it an almost indolent society devoted to pursuit of pleasure both physical and intellectual while a sense of manifest destiny means that High Elves regular throw themselves into combat against both evil and the Dearth when needed. Ultimately, many High Elves are free to do what they want as long as they respond to the call of their lords in times of need, and as a result of this plus long lifespans, seem content to socialize and engage in artistic and intellectual pursuits, eating the freshest of foods and the purest of drinks.

Backgrounds: The Entertainer, Harlot, Hermit, Ordinary Person, Outcast, Noble, Sage, and Sailor Backgrounds are the most appropriate for High Elves.

Naming Conventions: Like so much else in the Faerie language, Elvish names are fluid and beautiful. High Elves have a complicated naming process, much of which is not shared with non-Elves simply because the nuances are often not understood. Given names are made up of several elements and can be quite long, nine or ten syllables is quite common. Surnames and septs are important, as is the relationship to birthright, noble house, and the Great Houses of the Elven Court. All of this is described in the following lineal taxonomy, usually presented as a single word:

<Given Name>”<Surname>ʑ(“el”)<Birth Sign>ℓ(not discernable to human ear)<Gens>

₀(“æ-“)<Sept>°(“næ-“)<Noble House>α(“gæ-“)<Great House>

With the younger races, High Elves will commonly use a shortened version of their Given Name (two or three syllables) and either the Surname or less often their Sept, Noble, or Great House. High Elves wishing for anonymity with others, Elven or otherwise, will use one of two gens, “Hhertarin” (Walker of the High Path”) or “Elturin” (Follower of the Stars), as a surname (or a loose translation or one or the two combined for non-Elvish speakers) – though it is considered as rude to not clarify ones actual name if asked as it is to ask for that clarification in the first place. Rank is denoted if needed or desired by various prefixes with varying cases to each Surname, Gens, Sept, House, and Great House.

Common Alignments: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, uncommonly Lawful Evil – rarely Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Evil.

Common Religions: High Elves follow the philosophical path or personal spirituality known as Liavikor or “Ruling Passion” combined with a healthy appreciation of their living ancestors, the Elvandar. That said, there are those High Elves , the ‘Elin, that are closer in spirit to the Elvandar, the forebears of the Elves, and have the skills and abilities of Clerics (commonly of the domains of Knowledge, Life, or Light) and Paladins (of the Oath of the Ancients).

Common Character Classes: Preferred — Bard (Lore), Fighter (Eldritch Knight), Wizard; Common –Cleric (E’lin), Paladin (Ancients), Ranger; Uncommon — Monk, Rogue (Arcane Trickster), Warlock (Archfey); Rare — Druid (Moon), Sorcerer (Elven Scion); Very Rare — Barbarian.

Common Professions: High Elven culture is one of indolence and luxury, one does not have a “profession” one merely has pursuits that you enjoy and are skilled at and the position in society that you were born in to. Most High Elves have at least one or two artificer skills that they know, plus skill in many games that they have developed over the years.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, Elves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. Under the light of the stars, they can see perfectly normally, in other conditions they can see in dim light up to 60 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.

Keen Senses: Proficiency in the Perception Skill.

Gift Economy: Classic Elven culture has no concept nor any need for money, working off of a combination of mutual gifting, barter, and simply need-based distribution of goods and services. As a result, High Elves have little concept of currency (seeing coins instead as small, poorly-made, highly repetitive , and derivative works of “art”) and also have Disadvantage when attempting to engage in any form of trade outside of their own culture.

Contemplative Artisans: High Elves are also artisans that can rival the best of any other race save in one aspect, they are contemplative by nature and producing work takes them five times as long (and often longer, it is not unheard of for a elven fletcher to take a year or more to create a single arrow, working on it “as inspired”) and it also takes them five times the cost. Similarly, it takes them five times as long and cost to learn new tool sets, instruments, etc.

The Dream of Faerie: Elves have Advantage against being charmed and magic cannot put them asleep. Instead of sleep Elves meditate deeply, remaining semi-conscious, for four hours a day. While in this Trance, Elves dream after a fashion, such dreams are mental exercises that have become reflexive after years of practice. After resting this way Elves gain the same benefit as Humans does from 8 hours of sleep.

Loremasters: High Elves are granted proficiency in either the History or the Arcana skill.

Elven Birthright: High Elves are all born under one of nine birthsigns, each of which gives a boon of a different Cantrip which may be used at will as any other Cantrip. Some elves are known to have different boons, but these are the most common for the various birthsigns.

  1. Istaria (Spirit) – Guidance – These elves are known to be insightful.
  2. Firia (Fire) – Produce Flame – These elves are known for being passionate.
  3. Teria (Earth) – Blade Ward – These elves are known for being dependable.
  4. Avaria (Air) – Mage Hand – These elves are known for their curiosity.
  5. Isharia (Water) – Mending – These elves are known for their patience.
  6. Liaria (Light) – Spare the Dying – These elves are known for their compassion.
  7. Varia (Darkness) – Chill Touch – These elves are known for their perseverance.
  8. Lia (Order) – Message – These elves are known for their honor.
  9. Rania (Chaos) – Resistance – These elves are known for their spontaneity.

Fae Magic: High Elves are the most deeply magical of all the races. They all have three Cantrips, Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion, and one other of their choice (from the Wizard list). At 3rd level they may cast Unseen Servant once per day and at 5th level they may cast Magic Weapon once per day as well. For spellcasters these spells are also always considered memorized and may also be cast using regular spell slots – and are always cast as if at the highest level of effect that the spellcaster can produce.

Born of Faerie: They are so imbued with the magic of Faerie, the High Elves need no components or focus for their Arcane magic. They may also wear Ultra Light, Light, and Medium non-metallic armors and cast spells, or enchanted metallic armors.

Faerie Mien: So strong is the magic of Faerie within the Elves that unless it is consciously banked and cloaked, it radiates outward in a visible nimbus of soft light that dimly illuminates a five foot radius around the Elf. If this mien is banked and cloaked, the Elf has no access to their inborn Fae Magic (including Birthright) and must use a focus of some sort for any other magic that they use.

Elven Weapon Training: High Elves are all trained in the use of Longknife.

Special Vulnerabilities: High Elves suffer from the usual stigma and fears of the Faerie Folk and are often the first target in any hostilities. Due to their ties to Faerie, High Elves are Vulnerable to Cold Iron. Wounds made by Cold-Iron are considered Poisoned and cannot be easily healed. If bound or chained, or otherwise constrained by Cold Iron they are unable to take a Long Rest, and are considered Poisoned.

Psionics: Rapport with creatures of Faerie, and all those with Elven blood (including most Sh’dai, much to their disgust.).

Death: Upon death, the spirit of a Elf goes deeply into the Realm of Faerie 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 Elf.

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