Posts Tagged ‘shardmind’

On Thursday last week I wrote a post about the nature and game mechanics of aasimar in Exploration Age. In that post I hinted briefly that deva PCs would be available to my players as well. This was not the first time I mentioned deva – they also made an appearance in a post I wrote about the multiverse in Exploration Age. So now, let’s get a little more in-depth with the deva as a PC race in Exploration Age.

The Eternal War

Reborn and ready for war.

No one is sure which came first – the demonic rakshasa or the angelic deva. Both claim to have given rise to the other. It certainly is a chicken and egg situation. A deva who lives an evil life will be reborn as a rakshasa and a rakshasa may defy its nature, live a life of selflessness and charity, and be reborn a deva. These two races, who are so connected, also hate one another. Both will stop at nothing to see their enemy’s complete obliteration. Of course each race’s immortality makes that nigh impossible, unless all deva are reborn as rakshasa or visa versa.

Deva live on the plane of Biatopia, fighting a never-ending was with the rakshasa as both races are eternally reborn. Deva have bards who sing at the top of their voices in battles. These bards focus on songs of selfless heroic deeds and the value of good. It is the hope of the deva forces these songs will change the hearts of the rakshasa before their deaths in battle and bring the demonic beings back as one of the good guys. This tactic rarely works, but it is only one method the deva use to convert their foes. Many defeated rakshasa are taken as prisoners of the deva, confined to small, anti-magic cells, where they are shackled. The deva then engage the rakshasa in a sort of conditioning to try and make them see the light. This tactic seems to have some success, but the rakshasa actually seem to be slowly winning the war.

The rakshasa tactic is very straight forward. They commit acts of atrocious evil against the deva and try to make the deva retaliate in kind. The eternal war has broken the spirit of many deva and some are pushed over the edge when rakshasa openly torture their friends.

Some deva (and rakshasa) are so weary of The Eternal War and so these renegades have left Biatopia in hopes of seeking a better life on the Material Plane.

Deva Religion

Most deva believe their immortal souls are actually a piece of a soul of one true creator god who they call Zaxa. Their religion is known as Zaxism and they believe this god was benevolent. It is said when Zaxa created the multiverse, the effort tore his soul asunder into many small pieces. These pieces fell into Biatopia and became the deva. As deva lived their lives, those who were wicked were reborn as rakshasa. Zaxists believe if they can convert all rakshasa to deva they can enact a ritual in which they will sacrifice themselves and restore Zaxa to existence.

Zaxists are told that Zaxa’s heart survived the creation of the multiverse and was forged by a deva master craftsman into a hammer. This hammer, Zaxa’s Heart, is said to be able to remove both deva and rakshasa who are slain by it from existence. Those laid low by the hammer will not be reborn. If this is true, there is no way to know. Zaxa’s Heart was lost long ago in a battle during The Eternal War. Ranmar, the first deva to wield the hammer was captured by the rakshasa in battle before he got to use it. Before his capture he teleported the weapon away to an unknown location. Ranmar has not been heard from for thousands of years.

Deva as PCs

Just checking out my orb. Like ya do.

Many deva worry that they are forsaking the cause of their people when they head to Canus seeking a life of adventure and leave the front lines of The Eternal War. Biatopia’s deva citizens are warned that this act alone is selfish enough to fate them to a rakshasa rebirth. Though many now know truth is much more complicated.

Some deva adventure so they might experience new worlds and cultures. Others leave Biatopia in the hopes of actually accomplishing something in the multiverse as opposed to fighting a desperate, never-ending war. Then there are those who strike out on their own for a greedy purpose. They don’t wish to be part of The Eternal War any longer because they don’t enjoy working with a group and want to live a life at the expense of others. These devas often feel they are owed something for their service and are usually the ones reborn as rakshasa in Biatopia when they die.

A deva’s life on Canus is one of discoveries both wondrous and disappointing. The variety of experiences and the moments of life’s pure joy astound and delight most deva, while the cruelty of non-demonic humanoids disgusts them. Deva often find themselves fighting a different sort of never-ending war, against the cruelty of civilized humanoid races. This can make some deva jaded, broken, and world-weary. Too many lifetimes with such cruelty has turned more than one deva toward alcoholism and orange spice addiction.

For other adventuring deva, this is not their first lifetime on Canus. They have been in the Material Plane and other places in the multiverse for as far back as they might remember. These deva usually have a pleasant outlook on the world and sometimes travel with the ancestors of people with whom they adventured lifetimes ago.

A deva adventurer might be a wizard traveling the multiverse in search of the origin of magic, a cleric searching the Material Plane for rakshasa to kill, a barbarian tired of The Eternal War and hoping to do some real good in Canus, or anything you dream.

Deva Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1, your Wisdom score by 2.

Age. Devas are born as humans and have an immortal life span. They do not die of old age, but can be killed by disease or by wounds.

Alignment. Most devas tend toward good alignment. They may have been first made that way, and now lifetime after lifetime has taught them that being virtuous to others has its own reward. Many deva are also lawful. They follow their own codes of conduct so they don’t slip into a wicked life and return as the thing they hate most.

Size. Deva range from 6 to 6-and-a-half feet tall and weigh as much as humans do. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Astral Resistance. You have resistance to necrotic and radiant damage.

Cantrip. You know one cantrip of your choice from the cleric spell list. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability score for it.

Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes. When you make an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check and dislike the result, you can roll 1d10 and add it to the result. You must complete a short rest before you can use this ability again.

Worldly Knowledge. You have proficiency in the History skill.

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

The End… Or Is It?

You know what? You guys are awesome. Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting on my blog. Last week was my most successful week ever and that is thanks to you all.

Since you have been so awesome, I actually want to share a few more of the game mechanic I created for some more D&D races which won’t be in the player’s handbook. Say hello to the mul, shardmind, and thri-kreen. You can read more about these races in Exploration Age in my previous post Stealing Races.

Mul Traits

This guy is pumped to be here.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, your Constitution score by 1.

Age. Muls mature a few years before humans, and have a slightly shorter lifespan.

Alignment. Muls usually to keep to themselves and not get too involved in the matters of others, so they tend to be more neutral rather than good or evil. They run the gamut with respect to law and chaos. Some lawful muls have personal codes which guide their adventuring, while chaotic muls live life without caring what others may think of them.

Size. Mul range from 5 to a little over 5-and-a-half feet tall. Your size is Medium.

Darkvision. Thanks to your dwarven heritage, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 30 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.

Dwarven Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.

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.

Mul Vitality. You gain an extra hit die.

Tireless. You have advantage on saving throws and ability checks against increasing your exhaustion level.

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

Shardmind Traits

Fancy!

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2, your Wisdom score by 1.

Age. Shardmind are forged as fully-formed adults and have an immortal lifespan.

Alignment. Shardminds tend toward neutrality on both the good and evil scale and the law and chaos scale.

Size. Shardminds are the same height as and slightly heavier then humans. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

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.

Crystalline Mind. You have resistance against psychic damage.

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.

Shard Swarm. As an action, your body breaks apart and moves 15 feet and reforms. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks. Every creature adjacent to you before you move must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + your Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the saving throw take 1d10 piercing damage. You must rest before you can use this ability again.

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.

Thri-kreen Traits

Look, Ma! Four hands!

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

Age. Thri-kreen have short life spans. They mature around five years of age, and only live about 30 years.

Alignment. Many thri-kreen are lawful neutral. They are loyal to their friends and tribe, but suspicious of those they do not know well.

Size. Thri-kreen are usually around 7 feet tall and weigh between 400 and 500 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 35 feet.

Multiple Arms. Thri-kreen have two large arms and two smaller arms. Your large arms function as a human’s normally do, and the smaller arms can be used to wield light weapons in combat. As a bonus action, you may use your thri-kreen claw attack or attack with a light weapon wielded by of the smaller arms. You do not add your ability modifier to the damage of this bonus action attack.

Natural Jumper. Whenever you make a Strength (athletics) check to jump, you have advantage. In addition, you are always considered to have moved at least 10 feet on foot whenever you jump, even if you have not (in other words, you always jump as if you had a running start). You can long jump a number of feet equal to 5 + your Strength score and high jump a number of feet equal to 5 + your Strength modifier.

Thri-kreen Claws. Thri-kreen have claws. These natural attacks count as light, finesse melee weapons which deals 1d6 piercing damage. All thri-kreen are proficient with their claws.

Torpor. Instead of sleeping, you enter a state of torpor. You need to remain in it for only 4 hours each day. You are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal when you are in this state. After resting this way, you gain the same benefits a human does from 8 hours of sleep.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Thri-kreen.

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!