Posts Tagged ‘kalashtar’

It’s character building time! We’re almost ready to start playing in the world of Exploration Age and I couldn’t be more excited. Last Thursday I posted my version of the svirfneblin, duergar, and shifter PC races and their unique stories in Exploration Age. There’s three more classic D&D races I’ve made available to my players and each has their own story twist for my campaign setting.

Githzerai

Githzerai just look so cool!

New to Verda by many other races’ standards, githzerai came to Verda to aid the tribes and tieflings with the incursion of their oldest foe – the githyanki. The githyanki violently invaded the Material Plane, looking for a place to lay their eggs as they cannot lay them in their home Astral Plane. For years they terrorized the tribes and tieflings, until the githzerai got wind of the invasion. They were old enemies of the githyanki and were driven from their Astral Plane home to the Swirling Chaos of Mispuria by the evil race. The githyanki heard the tales, knew the Material Plane was in need, and added their might to that of the tribes and the tieflings. Over 200 years later, some githzerai still remain in Verda because they enjoyed life in the Material Plane, or because they are still trying to hunt down every last githyanki. Many githzerai have been accepted into the tribes and some have even had offspring with humans.

Githzerai are the picture of calm and peaceful. They have seemingly endless patience and believe all the power an individual needs to find enlightenment lies within one’s self. As a result, they often serve as shamans and spiritual advisors to the tribes, giving council on all matters often whether or not their opinion was asked. The githzerai seem to share an unspoken superiority to the other races of the tribes, as they were instrumental in staving off the githyanki incursion.

Githzerai get along with just about anyone, but they can come off as condescending and superior, which is known to turn certain folks off. Githzerai adventurers could be monks on quests to find enlightenment, githyanki hunters, powerful shamans seeking the ways of the world, or anything you dream.

Githzerai Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1 and your Wisdom score increases by 2.

Age. Githzerai reach adulthood around the same time as humans and live to be about 100 years old.

Alignment. Githzerai are pragmatic, sometimes to a fault, so they tend to be neutral. They fall all over the spectrum of law and chaos.

Size. Githzerai are between 6 and 6 and a half feet tall and weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.

Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Mental Magic. You know the mage hand cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the blur spell once per day. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the haste spell once per day, but you may only target yourself with the spell. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Mental Might. You have advantage on saving throws against charm effects.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Githzerai.

Kalashtar

Even his hair floats!

I’ve already written about the story of the sweet, sweet kalashtar here. Now for the mechanics!

Kalashtar Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2 and your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Age. Kalashtar reach adulthood around the same time as humans, but can live to be 200 years old.

Alignment. Kalashtar are good-hearted and community-oriented so they tend to be lawful good.

Size. Kalashtar have the height and build of humans. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Bastion of Mental Clarity. You have advantage on saving throws against spells of the illusion school of magic.

Mental Might. You have advantage on saving throws against charm effects.

Subtle Psychic. Choose one of the follow skills: Deception, Intimidation, or Persuasion. You are proficient in that skill.

Telepathy. You can communicate telepathically with any creature within 60 feet of you that understands a language.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

Warforged

It’s hard to beat an axe-arm.

The warforged generally fall into two camps; those who accept their slavery and those who rage against it. Invented less than half a century ago, warforged were built by Bragonay’s dwarves as machines with a purpose. The master craftsmen didn’t realize that they were actually creating sentient life.

Now the warforged can be found throughout Findalay and in parts of Verda. Free warforged have embraced their liberty fully and try to experience all parts of life. They are open to and seek out new experiences. Their thirst for the knowledge of other cultures and lands is unrivaled by by no other race. These free warforged have a fiery passion in their bellies for liberty and want to see slaves set free across Canus.

There are many warforged still enslaved in Bragonay. These warforged are content to serve their masters, but still have feelings, thoughts, and emotions of their own, and still share the passion for learning free warforged have. Then there are the warforged who cannot stand their bonds of slavery and spend their days plotting their escape.

Warforged reproduction is a touchy subject. The Creation Forges in Bragonay have been out of service since the uprising, though they still work and many debate whether or not the empress and warlords should turn these back on. A few free warforged have discovered ways to build their own offspring however, using pieces of their own body and expensive material components found throughout the land. To get the ritual and blueprints required however, one would need to speak to these warforged directly. These creators do not share their identities with just anyone, lest the plans be used to once again create beings to be used as slaves.

Warforged adventurers could be slave liberators, druids trying to figure out their own place in the circle of life, slaves spying on a liberation operation for their master, or anything you dream.

Warforged Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score and Constitution score increase by 2.

Age. Warforged are born as adults and do not age.

Alignment. Warforged tend toward lawful alignment, since they were designed to be soldiers and slaves. They usually do not bend either good or evil, since they are usually more focused on the task at hand than its moral implications.

Size. Warforged are between 6 and 6 and a half feet tall and weigh between 250 and 300 lbs. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Composite Plating. You gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class.

Construct Rest. Instead of sleeping, you enter a sleep‐like state. You need to remain in it for only 4 hours each day. You do not dream; instead, you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal. After resting this way, you gain the same benefits a human does from 8 hours of sleep.

Incredible Resolve. You can end any incapacitated, paralyzed, or stunned condition effecting you on the start of your turn. You must complete a short rest before you can use this ability again.

Living Construct. Even though you were constructed, you are a humanoid. You are immune to disease. You do not need to eat or breathe, but you can ingest food and drink if you wish.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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So I’ve already written quite a bit about some of the races available to my players in Exploration Age – the assimar in one post and the deva, mul, and shardmind in another. Yet, I’ve got more yet to be released D&D races I’m going to make available to them and I’d like to give you the mechanics I’ve created as well as the unique story for each race in my setting.

Svirfneblin

First up, the svirfneblin. They’re actually a gnome subrace, so bust out that Player’s Handbook, and check out the gnome. I’ve given you the deep gnome story in another post, so check that out if you want their story. Here are the mechanics.

Svirfneblin Traits

Deep gnomes are weird.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Superior Darkvision. Your darkvision has a radius of 120 feet.

Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.

Stonecunning. Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

Svrifneblin Combat Training. You have proficiency with the war pick and warhammer.

Svirfneblin Lights. You know the dancing lights cantrip. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Duergar

Mohawk duergar is the best.

Living with the drow and fighting side-by-side in their constant war with the aberrants are the duergar, or gray dwarves. Like their surface kin the gray dwarves value martial prowess and good well-crafted. This is, of course, because the duergar descended from their surface kin a long time ago. During their bloody war with the chromatic dragons on the side of the shardminds, some dwarves went into The Underdark seeking refuge. These dwarves became the duergar and eventually found an entirely new war beneath the surface.

Now, in many ways duergar have more in common with drow than they do with dwarves of the world above. Both duergar and drow deal with the constant stress of their aberrant war and rely on each other with undying trust.

While they share brotherhood and battlelines with the drow, duergar do not share their drow’s impulsiveness and live-each-day-as-if-it-were-your-last lifestyle. Almost everything the duergar do is in preparation for war. Duergar are practical and know that a good night’s sleep and healthy meal are more likely than a late night of revelry at ensuring survival the next day. They craft arms and armor, mine metals, and train constantly. Ever vigilant, careful, and calculating are the gray dwarves.

Duergar adventurers could be mercenaries seeking a better life on the surface, aberrant hunters hoping to learn new techniques to help them with their war below, deadly assassins for hire, or anything you dream.

Duergar Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Superior Darkvision. Your dark vision has a radius of 120 feet.

Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.

Duergar Magic. You know the thaumaturgy cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the invisibility spell once per day. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the enlarge spell once per day, but you may only target yourself with the spell. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Shifter

Don’t mess.

Shifters are born outcasts. Many are killed as babes, their parents too horrified to look upon them. To the elves they are abhorrent monstrosities. To the werewolves – an evolutionary misstep deserving only to die. Many of the shifters lucky enough to have a parent let them live are still kicked out of the house at an early age, or orphaned when their parent is murdered by bigots.

These abandoned shifters find each other and form communities of wandering vagabonds who make a living performing, swindling, and selling crafts. These communities exist all over Findalay and many look forward to the circuses and carnivals the shifters provide. Others feel shifters have been short-changed and try to help these beings find a more established life in Findalay. Some fear the partial werewolf race avoiding and shunning them. The truly fearful seek out and kill these half-breeds.

The discovery of Verda has opened up new possibilities for the shifters, a place where they may have a home of their own free from persecution, stares, jeers, discrimination, violence, and the ever-looming Brotherhood of the Moon.

Shifter adventurers could be thieves disguised as traveling circus performers, cunning mages using their magic to predict people’s fortunes, wild, untamed barbarians, or anything you dream.

Shifter Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Age. Shifters mature and age at the same rate as humans.

Alignment. When it comes to good or evil, shifters are usually neutral, since they embody the spirit of the wild. Most shifters tend to be wild and free and therefore favor chaos over law.

Size. Shifters range from just over 5 to just over 6 feet tall and have lean builds. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. Thanks to your lycanthrope heritage, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Keen Hearing and Smell. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

Subrace. Two subraces of shifter are found in Canus: longtooth and razorclaw. Choose one of these sub races.

Longtooth Shifter

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.

Longtooth Shifting. Once per day, as a bonus action you may shift, entering a more beastial state for one minute. When you do, you gain a +2 damage bonus to Strength-based attacks and regenerate 5 HP at the start of your turns. In addition, you grow long fangs which function as a light weapon which deals 1d6 piercing damage. You may attack with your fangs as a bonus action on your turn.

While you are shifting, you may not cast spells. You can end the shift early on your turn if you so choose.

You gain a second daily use of longtooth shifting at 8th level and your bonus damage to Strength-based attacks while shifting increases to +4, and your attacks with your fangs count as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage resistance. You gain a third daily use of this ability at 16th level and your bonus damage to Strength-based attacks while shifting increases to +6.

Razorclaw Shifter

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.

Razorclaw Shifting. Once per day, as a bonus action you may shift, entering a more beastial state for one minute. When you do, your speed increases by five feet, you gain a +1 bonus to your AC, and you have advantage on Dexterity saving throws. In addition, you grow a pair of claws which function as light, finesse melee weapons which deal 1d6 slashing damage. You may attack with one of your claws as a bonus action on your turn.

While you are shifting, you may not cast spells. You can end the shift early on your turn if you so choose.

You gain a second daily use of razorclaw shifting at 8th level and your speed increases by 10 feet, you attacks with your claws count as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage resistance, and your bonus to AC increases to +2 while shifting. You gain a third daily use of this ability at 16th level and your speed increases by 15 feet and your bonus to AC increases to +3 while shifting.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I love strange fantasy races. The more bizarre the better. The grognards may shake their heads at shardmind, kalashtar, and dragonborn, but I say bring them on and keep them coming!

So needless to say I was a little disappointed, though not wholly unsurprised when I saw this list of Player’s Handbook races tweeted out by Wizards of the Coast last week.

I need some more weird!

I need some more weird!

Time to Steal

I’ve written about my good habit of stealing ideas from those smarter than I. My favorite fantasy races are not the elf and dwarf (though I do enjoy a playing pointy eared or bearded PC from time to time). My favorites are the warforged, mul, genasi, and other races of setting specific campaigns. So I say, why not steal them for my own game if I love them so much? Yeah! Why not?

Well, many of these races are specific D&D licensed property, meaning they are the original intellectual property of the company, meaning they were made by D&D for D&D (unlike elves, dwarves, orcs, and more which existed before D&D came along). That means they most-likely won’t be covered in the forthcoming OGL. That means I probably shouldn’t put them in products I’m planning on selling, like the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

However, it does not mean that I can’t incorporate these races into my home game or include them in a FREE supplement for folks who want to play a game in Exploration Age… Hmm…

Incorporating the Bizarre Races

Here’s my way of incorporating some of the more unusual PC races into the story of Exploration Age. I’ve already written about the shifters and warforged, but here are some others. Their behavior and ecology may differ from their original settings in order to bring them into Canus, but I tried to keep the heart and soul of the races intact. I want a thri-kreen to still feel like a thri-kreen.

At some point, I’ll be creating mechanics for these races, but this post is all about making the races of other settings work in your story. This is just a taste.

Kalashtar

Like their githzerai parents, kalashtar are calm and contemplative, and like their human parents, inquisitive and curious. Such a combination marks these rare humanoids as ripe for a life of adventure.

Kalashtar serve a vital role in the tribes. Often they act as emissaries, carrying a chief’s message across the neighboring lands, or as neutral mediators, negotiating peace between two warring tribes. Kalashtar often break off on their own when they come of age, hoping to see all that Canus has to offer. More than any other race, they are willing to travel to West Canus. The furtive stares and pointed questions of the locals do not bother them, since the Kalashtar are just as eager to stare and question them back.

Kalashtar adventurers could be druids wandering the wider world cataloging all manner of flora and fauna, mages studying the origin of magic, paladins who believe all life is beautiful and worthy of protection, or anything you dream.

Muls

If half-elves are rare in Exploration Age, then muls are practically unknown. These half-human, half-dwarves are met with pity, fear, and disrespect across West Canus. Mul struggle and often fail to find belonging among either their human or dwarven kin. Like half-elves, this not-so-subtle poly-ethnic persecution is at the heart of their racial identity.

In Bragonay, muls are not brought into the caste system. They are treated as outsiders and have no access to the services of the region. Unlike Kalashtar, these half-dwarves, do feel the burn of the many eyes that glare at them with suspicion. As a result, they speak little and do all they can to blend into the crowd. However, muls are not pushovers. They end conflict swiftly, usually with a harsh word or solid hit to the mouth.

The life of a mul is usually one of lonely wandering. They are occasionally accepted by bands of half-elves and could live a more stable life in Marrial or somewhere in Verda. For the most part muls serve as self-taught mercenaries and thieves, making their living off their strength and resilience.

Mul adventurers could be wandering thieves, battle-hardened professional fighters, demolitions experts, or anything you dream.

Shardmind

If you like weird, you’ll love the shardmind.

Amongst the rare races of Canus, sharmind are the most uncommon. These crystalline beings were created long ago by the chromatic dragons of West Canus. No more have been made since the shardminds rose up against their creators. Despite their infinite life-spans, many met their ends in that uprising, and throughout the millennia others have fallen admist adventures and battle. This dying breed is made up of wandering hermits, secluded scholars, and nihilistic daredevils.

The shardminds alive today have forgotten more years than most other humanoid races have lived. Some shardmind let their long lives fuel them, diving into research and training to hone their abilities and become the best they can be at a particular discipline. Others have given up and now seek a glorious death in an adventure. They want to go out of this meaningless life in an explosive finale, often battling against their most hated foe – chromatic dragons.

Contemplative, quiet, and patient are the virtues of these crystalline people. Shardminds are often loners, and many members of other races go their entire lives without ever seeing one. Unless they are adventuring with a party, they tend to avoid populated areas and make their homes in the wilderness so they might be alone with their thoughts and projects.

Sharmind adventurers could be scholarly mages unlocking the secrets of the universe, fighters seeking their glorious end, hermit clerics who have tapped into the power of the divine, or anything you dream.

Svirfneblin

Deep gnomes, or svirfneblin, live with the drow and duergar of Quatus. They share the same brotherhood and loyalty of these peoples but they have something the too-practical duergar and devil-may-care drow lack – a sense of hope. While duergar have accepted their war with the aberrants as eternal and the dark elves bury the issue with partying, the deep gnomes believe that someday they could beat the aberrants. The svirfneblin have not lost sight of what makes life worth living.

Deep gnomes work hard; they are tinkerers and inventors who love working the stone and metals of The Underdark. They take great comfort in spending time with family and friends, drinking good tea, and eating good food. They understand the complex and take joy in the simple. The gray dwarves would say the svirfneblin are naive, while the drow would say they are too boring, but there is a reason all three of these races live together. In the darkest hours of Quatus, the hope that the svirfneblin provide is infectious to the other races of the war-torn country.

Amongst the people of the surface, svirfneblin are met with kindness. They are honest merchants and well-mannered diplomats, but they do not often serve in these rolls since they can be easily pushed around since they are too willing to trust. A deep gnome merchant is usually a good thing for a consumer looking to make a dishonest deal.

Svirfneblin adventurers could be crafty rogues, curious tinkerers, mages out to end the aberrant threat for good, or anything you dream.

Thri-kreen

GIANT BUG-PEOPLE! Badass!

Thri-kreen tribes have been stalking The Sprawling Jungle of Verda for as long as humans have been on Canus. These bellicose humanoids answer almost any threat or annoyance with battle. Thri-kreen are bitter toward enemies, suspicious of outsiders, and take extreme all-or-nothing solutions to most problems. However they are also loyal allies and friends.

Thri-kreen enjoy battle and take pleasure in the thrill of placing one’s life on the line. To them, the best and most honorable death is one that comes from an enemy blade. The strongest warriors are always the chiefs of their tribes. Thri-kreen are taught the ways of battle from the time they are little. Even when a thri-kreen tribe isn’t at war, it trains with other tribes and within its own people. Thri-kreen warriors and mages fight one another for entertainment, an activity which guests of the tribe are expected to join. Other than battle and the study of war, thri-kreen take pleasure in nature. They find it peaceful to commune with plants and animals after a long battle and are taught the names and behaviors of all the all that lives within the jungle.

Thri-kreen treat most other races suspiciously, particularly folk foreign to Verda. Their trust is hard to earn and usually won through battle. Once that relationship is earned, thri-kreen will die for their friends.

Thri-kreen adventurers could be honorable barbarians, wise druid shamans, fierce rangers defending the jungle, or anything you dream.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!