View Full Version : Another look on the normal races

2007-09-07, 04:44 PM
I tried hard to make the races for my campaign a little bit more versatile and dsifferent from each other. They should fit in the normal fantasy stereotypes, but they should also have some cool and/or unusual traits, when that seems right.
All Races here should effectively have a +1 Level Adjustment (at least), even though they are Standard Races. Because everyone has a level adjustment, the level adjustment can becompletely ignored. This is a part of the scheme to make characters more powerful despite of their comparatively lack of magical equipment. There are no favorite Classes, too, as there are no limitations to multiclass.
But if you always wanted to do a satyr a favor, you cann comment on the balance of these races. I'm not sure if they are all on an equal level. I didn't wrote down any names of the diferent cultures, subspecies etc. Withouit the fluff, the names are quite useless and bear no meaning.

Humans have the SRD standard bonus packet plus one of the following subrace/culture packets.

the “western coast dweller standard human”
+2 racial bonus to all checks with this skill. Furthermore, the chosen skill is always considered as a class skill. +1 racial bonus to their Will Saves.

The “island dwellers with big merchant fleet”
+2 Bonus to Swim and Profession (Sailor) checks
+2 racial bonus to Appraise and +1 racial bonus to both Bluff and Sense Motive

The “friendly neighbors of elves and dwarves”
+1 racial bonus to Diplomacy, Knowledge: Foreign Cultures
+2 to Speak Language (Elvish and Dwarven).
a racial +2 bonus to Ride and Handle Animals when dealing with horses.

The “Elephant Riders of the southern subcontinent”
+4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of hot weather or exposure.
+2 racial bonus to Diplomacy and Gather Information.

The “pious inhabitants of the fertile riverlands”
+2 racial bonus to Knowledge: Religion and Gather Information.
+2 racial bonus to any two Perform skills, usually poetry and dance.

The “Scottish Vikings reenact the Knights of the Round Table “ Guys
+2 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of cold weather or exposure and one point of Damage Reduction against cold attacks.
+1 racial bonus to all Fortitude Saves.

The “antelope herders of the savannah”
+4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of hot weather or exposure.
: +2 racial bonus to Survive and Handle Animals

The “subjugated humans in hobgoblin kingdom”
+2 racial bonus to all checks with this skill. Furthermore, the chosen skill is always considered a class skill.
+1 racial bonus to Bluff, Sense Motive Checks and Speak Language (Hobgoblin)

“The last of the magocratic realms- inhabitans”
+1 racial bonus to Knowledge: Arcane, Spellcraft and Use Magical Device Skill checks.
+1 racial bonus to all Saving throws against spells and spellike abilities.

The better educated “Standart humans of the east coast”
+2 bonus to any two Knowledge skills.
+1 bonus to all non-combat related opposed Skill and Ability checks (this would give a bonus to Listen vs. Move Silently, for example, but not to overhear a noise in the distance).

Dwarves stay as they are, with the following changes:

No Attack/Dodge Bonus against giants and humanoid stuff.
Attack and Damage Bonus against Dragons and Dragon followers, dragonkin, etc.
They get the Endurance Feat
They are small and get Powerful Build.

There are different culture/subrace packets for dwarves as well:

“Dwarves of the frozen North”

only +1 bonus to Appraise and Craft checks
+4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of cold weather or exposure.

“Militaristic and xenophobic dwarves”

CHA-4, instead of –2
+1 to all attack throws when fighting with axes and hammers.

“Peaceful expert merchant dwarves”

No Attack Bonus against the Dragonthingies
No Charisma Penalty

“more dragon-hating dwarves than the rest”

double bonus to Attack and Damage versus Dragons
no bonus to craft and appraise

“Expert Craftsmen and Alchemist Dwarves”

double racial bonus to craft and appraise
racial bonus against spells and spell like effects is only +1

I think I have changed the Elves more than any other species. I'm not really happy with this build, but that's mostly because I don't like the idea of elves who are not significantly better than normal humans. But significantly better usually means level adjustments, what makes races often worse than if thwy were a little bit weaker without the adjustment. Therefore, no LA Elves. Mostly.

Basic Elf:

Medium Humanoid, Base Land Speed: 30 ft.
Abilities: +4 to DEX, +2 to CHA, -2 to STR, -2 to CON
resistant against magic sleep effects and gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against Enchantment spells or effects.
Low Light Vision
+4 racial Bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
can cast up to three cantrips per day. An Elf’s intelligence or Charisma is considered +1 for access to arcane spell levels (e.g. a Charisma 13 Elf Bard can cast Level 4 spells)

Subraces/ Culture Packets:

“Jungle Elves”

+2 racial bonus to Climb and Balance Checks when climbing trees
+2 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of hot weather or exposure.
proficient with the shortbow (including composite shortbow)
+1 racial Bonus to Survival.

“archetypical wood elves”

Proficiency feats for longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats.
+2 racial bonus to Climb and Balance Checks when climbing trees.

“Nomadic Rider Elves”

get neither the usual Bonus to Charisma nor the penalty to Constitution.
+2 Bonus to Ride and Handle Animal checks when dealing with horses.
Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for scimitar, lance and shortbow (including composite shortbow)
+1 Morale Bonus to Attack Throws and Damage when mounted.
Claustrophobia: Under Ground or in other dark in narrow spaces, they take a -1 penalty on attack rolls and a -1 penalty on saving throws against fear effects.

“Semi High Elves”

only +2 Bonus to Dexterity, but a +4 Bonus to Charisma.
+1 Bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive.
Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for rapier, shortsword and longsword

“Real High Elves”

only a +2 Bonus to Dexterity, but an additional +2 bonus to Intelligence.
2 racial bonus to Spellcraft and Knowledge (Arcana). A High Elf receive a racial +1 Bonus to his caster level.
gain the additional traits like one of the other Elvish Subspecies
+1 Level Adjustment

Gnomes are in this campaign world nothing else but a smaller and more cosmopolitan kind of dwarves. They can interbreed et al. The are more a subspecies than something own.

Small Humanoids, base land speed is 20 feet.
+2 to Intelligence, -2 to Wisdom, +2 to Charisma
Gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers and repeating crossbows (both light and heavy) as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
+1 racial bonus on Fortitude saving throws against poisons and a +1 racial bonus on saves against spells and spell-like effects.
Dwarf Blood: For all effects related to race, a Gnome is considered a dwarf.
+2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions, stacks with the normal saving throw bonus against spells.
+1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by gnomes. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects..
Keen Ears: +2 racial bonus on Listen checks.
Keen Nose: +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks
Able Craftsmen: During character creation , chose a Craft or Profession Skill. This skill will always considered to be a class skill.

Hobgoblins are the replacement PC Race for the Halforcs. I never liked Half-Orcs. But Hobgoblins are more fun anyway. In this campaign setting, the Hobs were one of the greatest high cultures which were destroyed by stereotypical biased Elvish and Human magicians. Since then, the Hobgoblins were scattered in the deserts and lived as better plunderers and mercenaries. Recently, the hobgoblins have conquered an own kingdom again.

Abilities: +2 Strength, +2 Constitution; -2 to Charisma.
Medium Humanoid (Goblinoid); base land speed 30 ft.
Low Light Vision
+1 racial bonus to Move Silently, Hide and Survive.
three additional Hitpoints at first level, and a +1 racial Bonus to Fortitude Saving Throws.
+2 morale bonus against fear effects.
Hobgoblins can use their strength instead of their charisma as a key ability for Intimidate.

There are two subspecies, who differ from the normal Hobgoblin above, but they are not obligatory.

“Desert Dweller Hobgoblins”

no bonus on move silently and hide, but on Ride and Handle Animals.
Instead of a racial bonus to strength, they get +2 to dexterity.
+4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of hot weather
no +1 to fortitude saves

Conquerors in humanlands :

No bonus to Hide, Move Silently and Survive
+1 racial bonus to Knowledge (Warfare), Ride and Sense Motive.

Half Elves aren't changed much. But, like mules, they are a crossbreed between different species, and therefore, like mules, they are sterile.

Medium:, base land speed is 30 feet.
Dex+2 or Cha +2; Str-2 or Con-2.
resistant against magic sleep effects and gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against Enchantment spells or effects.
Low-Light Vision
a+2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
Elven Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf.
Sterile: Half Elves cannot produce any Offspring.
Fast Learner: Half Elves can learn quite fast. They receive 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill points at each additional level
Bonus like one chosen Elvish or Human Subrace/culture.

Ratlings are in this campaign world something like kobolds in most others: They aren't that much of a threat, but they are breeding like rabbits.
MRatlings are a magically created Crossbreed from Goblins and Dire Rats, bred for warfare in the tunnels against a gnomish stronghold. They broke free and populated whole canalisations. Actually, not really a PC Race (what means something like: They dn't need to be balanced).


-2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 to Intelligence.
Small size, base land speed is 20 ft. when walking upright and 30 ft. when running on all fours.
Light Sensitivity: dazzled in bright sunlight
+1 morale bonus to Attack Rolls and Defence in sub terrain locations.
Tunnelrunner: Kobolds are used to live underground and built their own
+2 racial bonus on Craft (trapmaking), Profession (miner) and Search checks.
Gain the Scent Ability.
Bite counts as a natural weapon ( 1 D3 damage). The bite is contaminated with Filth Fever and can infect a victim after a successful attack.
immune against Filth Fever
+2 racial Saving Throw Bonus against illnesses.

Like Ratlings, Gnolls were magically created half humans, half hyenas. They were used as Guards and Hunter/Killers by a sunken Magocrat Empire, which also created the Ratlings, Scorpionmen, Minotaurs and other interesting crossbreeds, like the incredible popular owlbear. One of my players is eager to play a Gnoll. I don't know why, but it is her wish. Therefore, Gnolls aren't that evil, smelly and cannibalistic, but more like misunderstood "noble savages".

Medium (monstrous humanoids); base land speed is 30 feet.
+2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 to Intelligence
natural attack (Bite: 1D6 Damage)
Low Light Vision
+2 to search
Natural armor +1

No Half Orcs and Halflings for a reason. Hobgoblins as a PC race are better than Half Orcs, and Halflings are great in Middle Earth and an obvious rip-off everywhere else. I don’t think I want to include them in my campaign. What isn’t completed yet are the small dwarves, the Gnome/Dwarf crossbreeds, who should be sufficient to replace he halflings. Or the ratlings, for that matter.

And, whike mentioning one of the interesting wishes of my players: Another one wishs to play a pet dragon. Something like a pseudodragon, but as a PC race. Is there something like this in any available book? Or do you have any ideas how to create such a thing?

2007-09-07, 04:51 PM
I highly, highly recommend *not* adding something like "+1 to attacks with hammers" because that sort of thing pretty much shoehorns people into using hammers *always.* Heck, in that same entry, we're getting -4 Cha for even more shoehorning. I would recommend penalties to diplomacy with non-dwarves or something instead of a higher Cha penalty, so that they're not all Cha-dumping characters that never Turn Undead or develop sorcerous potential or sing those killer dwarf warsongs who get trounced by the first guy who comes along with Ego Whip.

2007-09-07, 05:06 PM
@ OneWinged4ngel: Sounds reasonable. What about:
Weapon Focus with chosen melee weapon as bonus feat and as a downside, -1 to all charisma based skill checks against non-dwarves.