Speakers of the Words: Races
So, before you have a class, you've gotta have a race, right? Very few races are uniquely well-suited to play Truenamers, but very few races are uniquely poorly suited to do so. Really, as long as you don't have a penalty to your INT score, you'll probably make no worse a Truenamer than the fellow next to you. Thus, I'll mostly stick to races that have something worth mentioning. These are by no means the only races who can Truename. If I don't mention a race and you don't see anything about it that would make it particularly ill-suited to the role, you can assume that “eh, it's probably okay.” Your race probably won't make that much of a difference. Do note that I really don't like races that aren't ECL 0, so I won't be bothering with anything that has LA or RHD. In short:
- INT penalties are bad. INT bonuses are OK, but not must-have. (Penalties hurt more than bonuses help.)
- If you're taking utterances that allow saving throws or if you want to use UMD at lowish levels, be wary of races with penalties to CHA. Otherwise, don't worry about it.
- Races that give you something different to do are usually worth a second look. Races that give skills as automatic class skills are worth a second look as well, since you'll have lots of skill points and not that many things to spend them on.
- You're a caster-type with mostly debuff effects and a d6 hit die. CON is as necessary for you as it is for everyone else, and DEX (mostly for initiative) is nice to have, though it can be sacrificed if necessary.
- You have to see something (or “perceive it in some other way that gets you as much information as sight”) to use an utterance on it. Whether that makes darkvision attractive to you depends on how much your GM likes turning out the lights and dousing your torches, but it's something.
(Races of Destiny
) This is the race that gets the biggest boost to Truespeak (the Naen sigil gives a +2 bonus on all INT-based checks at and after level 2), and the bonus to Knowledge skills at the same time is also pretty sweet. None of the combined power words really do much for you, so choose your second sigil based on what kinds of bonuses you like. Utterances are technically SLAs, so if you lose caster levels for some reason, Krau will bump up your caster level (if you care, of course, since you don't really have too many effects that are based on your CL). I like Uur for the bonus to initiative. Anything works, though. Also, the flavor is especially fitting, and the fact that illumians get Speak Language as a class skill when Truenamers usually don't is . . . well, it's something. Illumians are my favorite choice for this class. (They're my favorite race on the whole as well, but they make especially good Truenamers, such as it is.)
) It is a fact about 3.5: There is nothing a human does poorly, and there are few things they don't do better than most other races. They're just good.
(Magic of Incarnum
) An azurin who spends their bonus feat on Shape Soulmeld (Lightning Gauntlets or Dissolving Spittle) gets an at-will touch attack (melee for Gauntlets, ranged for Spittle) that does 2d6 damage. At higher levels, if you don't spend some feats and/or levels getting more essentia, this tapers off in usefulness, but at low levels, it gives you something to do when you can't or don't want to use an utterance. If you're starting at very low levels, this might also mean that you won't feel compelled to take Minor Word of Nurturing as your first utterance, which is good, because you'd probably rather take Universal Aptitude or Inertia Surge in the long run. Dusklings have the same bonus essentia, but with that penalty to INT? Pass.
) This is just if you want pity. It's telling that Khetarin, the iconic Truenamer, is a half-elf. Half-elves give you nothing of interest, but most other races won't either, and if you really want to play up the whole “GAZE UPON ME AS I OPTIMIZE A SUCKY CLASS INTO SHINING MEDIOCRITY” aspect, you might as well take a race with a reputation for being lackluster. If you do, make sure that your facial hair is just as stupid as Khetarin's is. Yes, even if your Truenamer is female.
(Races of the Dragon
) Personally, I don't like dragonborn that much, but the breath weapon makes them useful in much the same way that an azurin would be. If your GM plays a high-powered game, combine them with raptorans for flight AND a breath weapon, but some games will find that to be [at least] mildly abusive.
(Races of the Wild
) If you have good CHA for some reason (such as if you want to use utterances with saving throws), their built-in smite is pretty fun and might make the difference between hitting and missing, especially at low levels. This is one of those “I have something to do for a turn other than just be a Truenamer” races I mentioned earlier. If you're not into that sort of thing, a bonus to K: Nature checks can be interesting (since you're probably going to be a know-it-all), and the Aspect of the Hunter gives you a whole pack of little bonuses, including one of the only two racial bonuses to initiative that I know about. Nothing overwhelming, but nothing bad.
(Races of the Wild
) Flight. Nothing more, nothing less. Saving an utterance known on Seek the Sky can be a decent perk, though StS has other uses as well.
(Eberron Campaign Setting
) If you feel like spending a feat on Hidden Talent, kalashtar (and any other race with inherent psionics, like maenads, elans, synads, or xephs, but kalashtar do it best in the long run) can give you a backup option for when you don't want to be a Truenamer. (Astral Construct is an interesting choice, if for no other reason than that Truespeak checks made on them are usually likely to work, if you want something to buff.)
Deep Imaskari, Gray Elf, Dragonwrought Kobold, etc.:
INT bonuses. Little more, little less. You probably don't need these as much as you think you do, and (excepting Dragonwrought kobolds starting with odd INT scores) illumians will give you a bigger net bonus on Truespeak checks. Still, they're here if you want 'em.
) These give you nothing of interest and aren't especially good, but I find the concept of singing Truespeech to be funny enough to mention it. You probably shouldn't play one, but I would giggle if you did.
) I mention these for three reasons. First, I think they're funny, and a lot of people don't know about them. Second, their Squirt attack is another entry in the “something to do other than utter” category (and one of, like, two DEX-based save DCs that I can think of). Third, they're really hard to hit (tiny size, +6 DEX, +3 natural armor), so that's something. If you can swing having an arcane caster level somehow, they're also a viable option for familiars, but somehow I don't see that happening on a Truenamer. Still, the little guys are fun.