Races

Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs are the primary races with established communities. Halflings exist as a subrace of elves, and gnomes likewise as a subrace of dwarves. Elves and halflings have the fey type. Dwarves and gnomes have the Lawful subtype.

Other races are available with DM approval, but those characters will likely be the solitary example of their race and will not have significant cultural communities.

Humans

CULTURAL:
Their cultural analogue is English/Italian/Dutch; think the Caribbean colonies in the Age of Sail. .

Humans, as usual, run the whole gamut as far as classes go.

MARITIME:
Of all the races they are the most involved in seafaring and trade, so they gravitate to classes somehow suited to such.

TRADE & RESOURCES:
Ships, transportation, lending, trade

SUPERNATURAL:
The whole range.

MILITARY:
Naval.

SPECIAL:

Aquatic Humans

CULTURAL:
Cultural analogue is roughly viking; they are lead by the strongest, but act as a unified group.

They are the wardens of the sea; as a race, they take the role that druids would have as watchdogs of the aquatic environment. They are concerned with the management of fish populations, and are the arbiters of fishing rights. They act quickly to respond to threats to the aquatic environment, including pollution, overfishing, supernatural threats, unnatural predators, etc.

They are comparatively few in number, so there are no tribes, families, or other such factions; their social organization comprises the entire group, which they call the skola.

The skola is the center of their value system. The skola provides defense against predators, enhanced foraging success, and higher success in finding a mate. Aquatic humans value conformity and tend to shun those who are markedly different; the “oddity effect” posits that any shoal member that stands out in appearance will be preferentially targeted by predators. As the size of the group increases, the task of scanning the environment for predators can be spread out over many individuals. Not only does this mass collaboration presumably provide a higher level of vigilance, it could also allow more time for individual feeding.

While aquatic humans will sometimes mix company with other races, they have an instinctual preference for their own kind. Any time a threat presents itself, they will organize immediately around their fellow aquatic humans.

Emergent properties give an evolutionary advantage to members of the school which non members do not receive.

Fish in shoals “share” information by monitoring each other’s behaviour closely.

Shoaling fish are the same size and silvery, so it is difficult for a visually oriented predator to pick an individual out of a mass of twisting, flashing fish and then have enough time to grab its prey before it disappears into the shoal.

Quorum sensing can function as a collective decision-making process in any decentralised system. A quorum response has been defined as “a steep increase in the probability of group members performing a given behaviour once a threshold minimum number of their group mates already performing that behaviour is exceeded”. A recent investigation showed that small groups of fish used consensus decision-making when deciding which fish model to follow. The fish did this by a simple quorum rule such that individuals watched the decisions of others before making their own decisions. This technique generally resulted in the ‘correct’ decision but occasionally cascaded into the ‘incorrect’ decision. In addition, as the group size increased, the fish made more accurate decisions in following the more attractive fish model. Consensus decision-making, a form of collective intelligence, thus effectively uses information from multiple sources to generally reach the correct conclusion.

There are a few individuals that emerge as natural leaders (being at the front more often) and they are naturally bolder. Fish prefer to shoal with individuals with which the choosing fish is already familiar.

MARITIME:
Aquatic humans generally are not sailors and do not maintain ships. However, their utility as water-breathers makes them desirable crew for captains, if they can be convinced to join up. Most are loathe to be away from their skola for the long periods involved in sailing. An aquatic human aboard a ship thinks of the crew as its skola, making them ideal teammates and very amenable to going along with whatever the rest of the crew is doing. Likewise, they become uneasy with divisiveness or any lack of unity among the crew; they are not likely to take sides, and will leave if unity is not soon restored.

TRADE & RESOURCES:
Their primary role in trade is the granting (and policing) of fishing rights.

Trade goods are primarily foodstuffs (fish, plankton, sea greens); pearls; xxx

Fertile feeding grounds for forage fish are provided by ocean upwellings. Oceanic gyres are large-scale ocean currents caused by the Coriolis effect. Wind-driven surface currents interact with these gyres and the underwater topography, such as seamounts, fishing banks, and the edge of continental shelves, to produce downwellings and upwellings.19 These can transport nutrients which plankton thrive on. The result can be rich feeding grounds attractive to the plankton feeding forage fish. In turn, the forage fish themselves become a feeding ground for larger predator fish. Most upwellings are coastal, and many of them support some of the most productive fisheries in the world.

SUPERNATURAL:
The aquatic humans are tight-lipped about spiritual matters. They espouse no specific loyalty to either Law or Chaos. There is conjecture that they are involved with some mysterious power arising from the depths, but little is really known.

MILITARY:
They have an elite group of warriors called the Phalanx.

SPECIAL:

Aquatic Humans have the following racial traits:

Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Human base land speed is 30 feet.
1 extra feat at 1st level.
4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
Aquatic: An aquatic race gains the aquatic subtype. An aquatic creature can breathe underwater. It cannot also breathe air unless it also has the amphibious special quality. An aquatic creature can hold its breath outside the water for 2 rounds per point of Constitution. After that, it begins to suffocate.
Swim speed: An aquatic creature always has a swim speed. It can move through water at its swim speed without making Swim checks. It has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.
Automatic Language: Aquan & Common. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.

Elves & Halflings

CULTURAL:
Elves are matriarchal, organized in extended family groups called kells. EBeing the most “human-like” and relatable of the fey, fit most naturally into trade with the other nations and thus became the cultural “face” of the fey.

There are two distinct groups of elves; those that live on the surface (the Bright Court), and those who live underground (the Dark Court). While all elves share some characteristics in common, there are some distinct differences between the elves of the two courts.
XXX

Halflings, often referred to as “pucks,” are more tribal, feral, and capricious than elves. They are organized into ragtag groups called troops. They tend to exist around the fringes of the elves’ relatively more ordered society. Elves and halflings have no formal social contract between them; they are allied insofar as they are fey, but beyond that there is a tenuous arrangement that is often disrupted by the relatively more wild and impulsive behavior of halflings.

SUPERNATURAL:
As fey, elves and halflings are creatures of chaos. Magic-wise, they tend to be channelers, with each particular kell tending toward special focus around a theme relative to their domain of activity; obviously, mind-affecting stuff is common amongst the fey. Some elves become more involved in ritual magic over their long years, and become lorists. Halflings, being more feral and unpredictable, are almost never lorists. Binders are common amongst the fey; they are born pact-makers, so making deals with vestiges is second nature to them.

MARITIME:
While elves have the lion’s share of the best shipbuilding timber, they don’t tend to spend a lot of time away from the land, to which they are tied by their fey heritage. There is a widely-held prejudice that having a halfling aboard a ship brings bad luck (“puck’s luck”). The pucks generally enjoy having this reputation.

TRADE & RESOURCES:
Their primary resource is wood, used to make ships. They would rather sell the wood than sail the ships, so most of their trading endeavors happen on land.

The fey love to make bargains and pacts, almost as much as they love finding ways to twist those bargains to their advantage. Elves do not form syndicates as such; they engage in dealmaking either one-to-one or on behalf of the kell.

Elves are reclusive and secretive by nature, and in their territory foreigners are not allowed inland past a hundred yards from the sea without an escort, and then only 1-2 at a time. For purposes of treating with other races, there are certain sites established outside of their mainland; most commonly on a small island halfway between human sea lanes and the fey mainland.

MILITARY:
Not an overtly military race, elves’ focus tends to be more on arts, music, magic, and plotting – when they go to war it is subtle and in the shadows. They tend to favor stealth, deception, magic, and guerrilla tactics, and often employ squads of halflings to harass their enemies.

SPECIAL:

Fey type: 2
Medium: 0
30’ move: 0
Specialized abilities (+2 CHA, +2 dex, -2 STR): 1
Linguist (start with common + racial, can learn any language as bonus language): 1
+2 bonus to bluff, hide, and sleight of hand
Seducer (2 RP): Prerequisite: The race has at least a +2 racial bonus to Charisma; Benefit: Members of this race add +1 to the saving throw DCs for their spells and spell-like abilities of the enchantment school. In addition, members of this race with a Wisdom score of 15 or higher may use charm person once per day as a spell-like ability (caster level is equal to the user’s character level).
• +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells and spell-like effects.

My favorite fact about iron, as learned in astronomy class in college, back in the day: the atomic fusion process starts with 2 hydrogen atoms fusing into helium, and continues upward through the elemental table until you get to iron. The atomic fission process starts with uranium and move downward, splitting off atoms…until you get to iron. And iron is anathema to fey. Freaky.

Underground Elves are treated as drow for purposes of qualifications.

Racial Abilities: These traits are in addition to the standard elf abilities in the Player’s Handbook, except where noted.
• +2 Dexterity, –2 Constitution. These adjustments replace the ability adjustments given for elves in the Player’s Handbook.
• Darkvision: Underground elves can see in the dark up to 60 feet. This ability replaces the low-light vision noted for elves in the Player’s Handbook.
• Weapon Proficiency: Automatically proficient with the hand crossbow, rapier, and short sword. These proficiencies replace those of standard elves.
• +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells and spell-like effects.
• Spell-Like Abilities: An underground elf with a Charisma score of at least 13 has the following spell-like abilities:
1 /day—dancing lights, daze, touch of fatigue. Caster level equals the character’s class levels.
• Light Blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds the underground elf for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.
• Favored Class: Spellcaster.

Lesser drow have the following racial traits.UQ
Racial Abilities: These traits are in addition to the standard elf abilities in the Player’s Handbook, except where noted.
• +2 Dexterity, –2 Constitution: The lesser drow have ruthlessly selected for agility at the expense of hardiness over countless generations. These adjustments replace the ability adjustments given for elves in the Player’s Handbook.

  • +2 racial bonus to Listen and Bluff
    • Darkvision 60 feet. This ability replaces the low-light vision noted for elves in the Player’s Handbook.
    • Weapon Proficiency: Lesser drow are automatically proficient with the hand crossbow, cutlass, and short sword. These proficiencies replace those of standard elves.
    • +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells and spell-like effects.
    • Spell-Like Abilities: A lesser drow with a Charisma score of at least 13 has the following spell-like abilities:
    1 /day—dancing lights, daze, touch of fatigue. Caster level equals the lesser drow’s class levels.
    • Light Blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds lesser drow for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.
    • Favored Class: Wizard (male) or cleric (female). This trait replaces the favored class entry for elves in the Player’s Handbook.

Halflings have the following racial traits:

• –2 Strength, -2 Wisdom, +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma: Halflings are quick and stealthy, but weaker than humans.
• Halflings receive a –4 penalty to Concentration checks.
• Small: Halflings gain a +1 size bonus to Armor Class and a +1 size bonus on all attack rolls.
• Halfling base land speed is 20 feet.
• +2 racial bonus on Climb, Hide, Jump and Move Silently checks: Halflings are agile and stealthy.
• +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell‐like effects.
• +1 racial attack bonus when sneak attacking.
• Spell-Like Abilities: A halfling with a Charisma score of at least 13 has the following spell-like abilities:
1 /day—Lullaby, daze, prestidigitation. Caster level equals the halfling’s class levels.
• Automatic Languages: Halfling. Bonus Languages: Common, Dwarven, Elven, Gith, Kreen, Rhul‐thaun, Sylvan, and Yuan–ti.
• Favored Class: Rogue

Dwarves & Gnomes

CULTURAL:
Their cultural analogue is a fusion of Edo-period Japan and Qing Dynasty China. There is a strong emphasis on performing even mundane activities with grace, decorum, and artfulness (think “tea ceremony”); a caste-based, Confucian social order with “a place for every person and every person in their place;” most activities organized around a monastic center, though dedicated to the ideals of Law and perfection rather than emphasizing deific worship. The greatest value is placed on craftsmanship, and skilled artisans are highly prized. Strong emphasis placed on honor, with each clan having its own particular code and tendency to focus on a particular skill, art, or discipline.

Dwarves are paragons of civilized culture. Honor, obedience, and loyalty are the foundation of their society, and they conduct themselves with the same devotion to aesthetics whether engaged in the pursuit of art, trade, or warfare. Dwarves are creatures of order. They are concerned with discipline, duty, hierarchy, beauty, artistry, and aspiring to perfection in word and action.

Each dwarf has dedicated themselves to a personal code. [find the analogue for this – Dragonlance?]

Gnomes have the Lawful type and are considered a subrace of Dwarves. They are generally of the lowest caste and are the laborers and technicians of Dwarven society.

SUPERNATURAL:
As far as dwarven casters, they are almost exclusively Lorists, due to their orderly nature and affinity for ritual. Channelers would be unusual, though not completely unheard of (perhaps analogous to a Daoist priest living as a hermit in the forest).

Binders would be very uncommon in dwarven society, as the idea of opening their minds to “demonic” influences offends their lawful sensibilities.

MARITIME:
Dwarves do not sail the open seas. The cataclysmic mass drowning of their people in the Seamount persists in a deep-seated racial fear of deep water, and they leave sight of land only under extreme circumstances. They generally avoid ships, and the only ships they use with any frequency are shallow-water galleys. Trade is conducted either through the representatives of their monastic syndicates abroad, or by foreign ships coming to them.

TRADE & RESOURCES:
Dwarves have a single monastery-based syndicate which does all business on behalf of the dwarven and gnomish people.

Their most noteworthy resources is XXX, the Grey Veil equivalent of gunpowder. Being master craftsmen, they also trade in masterwork goods of all kinds. Most of the metals in the Grey Veil come from dwarven lands.

MILITARY:
“Draw me not in anger. Sheathe me not without honour.”

Crusader, Warblade, & Swordsage – The disciplines of the Nine Swords are at the core of dwarven martial practice and philosophy.
Knight
Samurai

SPECIAL:

Gnomes have the following racial traits:

Master Tinker (2 RP): Prerequisites: None; Benefit: Members of this race gain a +1 bonus on Disable Device and Knowledge(engineering) checks. Members of this race are also treated as proficient with any weapon they have personally crafted.

  • +2 INT, +2 DEX, -2 STR
  • Small: +1 size bonus to AC and attack, +4 size bonus to Hide
  • Craft is a free class skill (in addition to class-granted class skills). Craft checks are at +4.
  • +2 racial bonus to Open Lock and Disable Device; these skill may be used untrained.
  • +2 racial bonus to Will saves. A gnome is constantly involved in the pursuit of its Life Quest; it is difficult to sway a gnome from its chosen path
  • Favored Class: Whichever class the gnome takes as its 1st level class; gnomes tend to be single-minded, and once they are in a given track they tend to keep their focus there.
  • Move 20’
  • Life Quest: Every gnome chooses a Life Quest upon reaching adulthood. This Life Quest defines the gnome. The Life Quest is always related to furthering knowledge, developing technology, and cultivating perfection of action. The goal is specific and usually out of reach. It is not uncommon for Life Quests to be handed down from one generation to the next multiple times before it is achieved. Successful completion of a Life Quest ensures the gnome, and any forebear working on the same quest, a place in [xxx].

Typical Administrative Positions

Low Level Mid Level High Level
Removers of Waste Tax Collection Coin Distribution
Minor Construction Major Construction Construction Planning
Disease Control Gnome Oversight Coordination of Trade
Movers of Food Food Distribution Mayor of the City
Maintenance of Gardens Gate Monitor Governor of Farmlands
Maintenance of Roads Assigner of Permits Aid to the Emperor
Maintenance of Walls Riot Control

Orcs

CULTURAL:
Their cultural analogue is West African.

Greens and browns; greens are larger, more physical, lower caste, more laborers; browns lighter build, more scholars and traders. Warriors can come from either caste, as prowess in battle is highly esteemed regardless of social position.

SUPERNATURAL:
Orcs are the only culture that broadly practice deific worship. They venerate a naturalistic god called Ulimwengu whom they view as both an individual entity and also the collective manifestation of the entire natural world. Generally speaking, this manifests culturally as strict monotheism, though on the fringes of this are tribes that recognize certain entities as “messengers” of Ulimwengu and venerate them in much the same way that Catholic saints are co-venerated.

Channelers devoted to Ulimwengu are the primary casters in this culture. Binders occur on the fringes, the vestiges they bind being incorporated into the Ulimwengu canon.

MARITIME & TRADE:

MILITARY:

SPECIAL:

Green Orc Traits (Ex)
Orcs possess the following racial traits.

+4 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma.
Medium size.
A green orc’s base land speed is 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: A green orc can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Light Sensitivity: Green orcs are dazzled in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
Automatic Languages: Common, Orc. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, Undercommon.
Heat Endurance: Members of desert races gain a +4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of hot weather.
Endurance: Desert orcs gain Endurance as a racial bonus feat.
Favored Class: Barbarian.

Brown Orc Traits (Ex)
Brown orcs possess the following racial traits.

+2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence: The brown orc is lean and hardy rather than muscular, but has adapted to be more socially adept than a typical orc.
Medium size.
A half-orc’s base land speed is 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: A brown orc can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Orc Blood: For all effects related to race, a brown orc is considered an orc.
Automatic Languages: Common, Orc. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, Abyssal.
Heat Endurance: Members of desert races gain a +4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of hot weather.
Run: Brown orcs receive Run as a racial bonus feat. Typically too poor to afford mounts, half-orcs learn from an early age to get from place to place by running.
Favored Class: Barbarian.

Everything Else

For unusual races or variants, we can discuss ideas and how they fit culturally into the game world.

Races

The Grey Veil unusualmuse