Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Races of Phoenicia -- Minor Races

The minor races are so named not because of their stature, but because of their Rarity. It's up to the GM to decide if these races can be played by player characters or not.

An Elan, by me.

The Elans are humans that have changed themselves to take advantage of the psionic energy around Phoenicia and it's sister cities -- Syracuse and Sybaris.  Elans have changed their physiology so that they will never age and never die of disease or of "natural causes."  Their bodies are capable of converting psionic energy into bio-energy; to the point of sustaining the biological functions of their body -- enough to stave off entropy.

The result is that they have psionic talents beyond those of the regular human.  The ritual for creating an Elan is similar to that of creating a psionic lich.  But there are enough differences that an elan is not an undead.  Still, an Elan is an aberration because the transformation changes how the body processes energy.   The ritual is guarded and considered sacred, almost to the point that the society of elans are often considered to be a secret society or a mystery cult (like those that worship the Spirit of Truth).  The fact is, there are only three known places in the world where Elans can be created.  These three places are Phoenicia, Syracuse, and Sybaris.

What is unusual that the religion of the Elan doesn't seem to change.  An elan would worship the gods she or he worshipped in life before becoming an Elan.  He would have all of his life experience as a personality -- but the transformation results in a forgetting.  A forgetting of knowledge and skills.  In a strange twist of fate -- a new Elan knows everything about himself, just in the area of profession and skill he's like a newborn baby.  The people who developed the ritual still don't understand why, but they are unable to figure it out to the satisfaction of perfection.  They write it off as being "born again" or "born anew" as the new Elan has cast off his old life to begin a new life.

Elans are brimming with energy, psychic energy.  This energy is drawn from the world around them and simultaneously converted into biological energy. Their eyes seem to shine, their skin seems to sparkle, and their hair seems to be made of strands of color in the wind. Elans typically resemble humans in size and weight, with males typically slightly taller and heavier than females.  Their appearance is diverse, as elans will adopt whatever type of dress and physical style of the society they are in.

Racial Traits

  • +2 to one ability score: Elans gain a +2 bonus to one ability score chosen at creation to represent their varied nature.
  • Aberrant Blood: Elans are of the humanoid (aberrant) subtype.
  • Medium: Elan are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Elans have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Aberrant Nature: Although human in appearance, elans suffer from a nature slightly off from the rest of the non-elan society. They suffer a -1 penalty to Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with non-elans.
  • Naturally Psionic: Elans gain the Wild Talent feat as a bonus feat at 1st level. If an elan takes levels in a psionic class, she instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.
  • Resistance (Su): Elans can use psionic energy to increase their resistance to various forms of attack. As an immediate action, an elan can spend 1 power point to gain a +4 racial bonus on saving throws until the beginning of her next action.
  • Resilience (Su): When an elan takes damage, he can spend power points to reduce its severity. As an immediate action, he can reduce the damage he is about to take by 2 hit points for every 1 power point he spends.
  • Repletion (Su): An elan can sustain his body without need of food or water. If he spends 1 power point, an elan does not need to eat or drink for 24 hours.
  • Psionic Aptitude: When an elan takes a level in a favored class, he can choose to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.
  • Languages: Elans begin play speaking Common. Elans with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Maenad  (placeholder)

The Maenads are a dichotomous race created from humans by an accident.  From far out to the west in the known world, the accident that created them stemmed from experimenting with psionic lichdom.  Rumor has it that an explosion was involved in their creation.  Very rare, the Maenads are said to be under the curse of Dionysus by the superstitious, since they have strong emotions.  Emotions that take a great deal of discipline to control.  As a result, Maenads have become philosophers, poets, artists, and warriors.

Standing slightly taller than humans, roughly shoulder to shoulder with half-orcs, maenads are physically impressive. Male maenads are usually equal in height, but slightly heavier than females. They have thick, dark hair on their heads, but lack any other hair on their body; instead their skin is covered in flecks of sparkling crystals, giving them a peculiar sparkle. The coloration of these crystals define the look for each individual maenad, ranging from pale white to jet black, and many believe that the coloration is determined by their most powerful emotion. Maenads are naturally graceful and have fine features, possessing an elf-like beauty. They prefer heavier clothing, and wear armor if available, but tend to go barefoot, especially when aboard a ship.

Maenads are attracted to religions that soothe their emotional spirits, and many are attracted to the Spirit of Truth.  Most maenads are lawful, seeing the structure of rules as helpful toward maintaining composure and self-control. Generally, they seek to help others also maintain their own self-control, and have a tendency toward good alignment as a result.

Racial Traits
  • +2 to one ability score: Maenads gain a +2 bonus to one ability score chosen at creation, to represent their varied nature.
  • Medium: Maenads are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Maenads have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Naturally Psionic: Maenads gain the Wild Talent feat as a bonus feat at 1st level. If a maenad takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.
  • Maenad Psionics: Maenad gain the following psi-like ability. 1/day—energy ray. A maenad can deal only sonic damage with this ability. It is accompanied by a tremendous scream of rage. The manifester level is equal to 1/2 Hit Dice (minimum 1st). The DC for this power is equal to 10 + the power’s level + the maenad’s Charisma modifier.
  • Sonic Affinity: Maenads add a +1 to the DC of any spell or power with the sonic descriptor.
  • Outburst: Maenads can dampen their mental processes for an increase in raw power called an outburst. As a result, they take a -2 penalty to Intelligence and Wisdom but gain a +2 bonus to Strength. The character must spend one power point at the beginning of each round during an outburst and may stop an outburst at any time.
  • Inner Rage: Maenads are able to rage one additional round per day should they have the rage ability and they gain an additional round per day every odd character level. In addition to using these rounds for rage, maenads may use them to fuel their outburst, instead of power points.
  • Ordered Rage: Maenads may take levels in the barbarian class even if they are of the lawful alignment.
  • Natural Sailors: Maenads have a +2 bonus to Swim and Profession (sailor) checks. In addition, they gain a +2 bonus to Acrobatics and Climb checks made on sailing ships.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Maenads are proficient with flails. Maenads treat any weapon with the word “maenad” in the name as a martial weapon rather than an exotic one.
  • Psionic Aptitude: When a maenad takes a level in a favored class, he can choose to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.
  • Languages: Maenads begin play speaking Common and Maenad. Maenads with high Intelligence scores can choose can choose from the following: Aquan, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, and Goblin.

Half Giants
Half-Giant (placeholder)

Somewhere in the deep deserts the Half-Giants came.  The result of experimentation in mating between humans and giants, half-giants were created as a slave race by deranged sorcerer kings that rule their desert city states.  Now they escaped, and they live in tribal societies.   The most important thing to Half-Giants is their liberty.  A half-giant is individualistic, and he will fight for his life, his liberty, and his property against those who would use force against him. Some myths claim that the half-giants were spawned from fire giants, while others say that they were spawned from sand giants. Regardless of the truth, half-giants are more resilient to heat, a trait that serves them well in the present, as they have a tendency to dwell in arid lands and deserts.

Standing over eight feet tall, half-giants are the largest of the common races, towering above even half-orcs, with males slightly taller and heavier than females. Their size makes them imposing but slow to react. Their skin ranges from nearly complete black to a deep tan, while their hair is almost always black. Their eyes typically range from blue to green, but a fair number have red eyes, making them stand out against other races. Most half-giants tend to wear little clothing, or very heavy armor, depending on the situation; in a social gathering, their tribal clothing covers very little to account for their tendency to reside in hot lands, and most half-giants are proud of their bodies and physical looks and prowess. In combat, they prefer to wear heavy armor, taking advantage of their natural strength and stature.

Half-giants most commonly organize themselves into nomadic and shifting tribes, following charismatic and wise leaders for brief periods. Many half-giants have a tendency to drift into and out of tribes over time, while a portion of a tribe may split out and start a new tribe, which may later merge with a larger tribe. When enemies gather, empires rise, or war looms, the half-giant tribes might unite under their strongest and wisest leaders, protecting each other from the threat of oppression. In times of peace, they splinter into hundreds of individual tribes, enjoying the freedom they hold so dear. As societies go, the half-giants are generally composed of nomadic hunters, taking down the giant sandworms of the desert or hunting elephants across the savannah and plains. Half-giants enjoy dancing, drinking and games of physical prowess such as wrestling, running, and spear throwing.

Worshiping gods relating to freedom, nature, summer, and the hunt, half-giants are devout but very naturalistic. They manifest their worship with totem poles, believing the gods to be pleased with depictions of their power, thus protecting the tribe from evil. Most half-giants tend to be neutral or chaotic good, striving to help both the tribe and others as well as they can, although their belief in following the law to avoid incarceration can result in lawful half-giants. This does not mean that a half-giant won’t resort to violence at the slightest sign of evil. Indeed, to most half-giants, jail, incarceration, and slavery are all seen as equally evil and to be fought to the last breath.

Racial Traits
  • +2 Wisdom, +2 Strength, –2 Dexterity: Half-giants are tough and intuitive, but not too nimble.
  • Giant Blood: Half-giants count as both human and humanoid (giant) for any effect related to race.
  • Medium: Half-giants are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Half-giants have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: Half-giants can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light. See Vision and Light.
  • Fire Acclimated: Half-giants receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against all fire spells and effects.
  • Powerful Build: The physical stature of half-giants lets them function in many ways as if they were one size category larger.

    Whenever a half-giant is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for a Combat Maneuver Bonus or Combat Maneuver Defense (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the half-giant is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him.

    A half-giant is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature’s special attacks based on size (such as
    grab or swallow whole) can affect him. A half-giant can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, his space and reach remain those of a creature of his actual size. The benefts of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject’s size category.
  • Naturally Psionic: Half-giants receive Wild Talent as a bonus feat at 1st level. If a half-giant takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.
  • Half-giant Psionics: Half-giants gain the following spell-like ability: 1/day—stomp. The manifester level for this effect is equal to 1/2 the half-giant’s level (minimum 1st). The DC for this power is equal to 10 + the power’s level + the half-giant’s Charisma modifier.
  • Psionic Aptitude: When a half-giant takes a level in a favored class, he can choose to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.
  • Survivor: Half-giants gain a +4 racial bonus to Survival checks.
  • Languages: Half-giants begin play speaking Common. Half-giants with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Giant, Gnoll, and Ignan.

Half - Ogres
Francisco Bayeu [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Half-Ogres in Phoenicia are of Psychic Ogre stock rather than regular ogre or ogre mage stock.  They are incredibly rare, and are born of rape between an ogre and a human, an orc, or an elf.  Usually, there is a dichotomy in the ratio of ogre males to females -- instead of 55% female to male in humans, it's 45% female to males in ogres.  So the ogres that are incapable of getting mates often go out to capture a pretty elf, human, or orc to breed with.

In very rare instances, half-ogres are bred to serve in a particularly vicious army. In either case, a half-ogre’s upbringing is rarely a happy one, as they are tolerated for their usefulness and shown little love. Those half-ogres that do manage to survive to adulthood with their sanity intact are solitary creatures, putting their muscles to use while understanding that most civilized folk will give them a wide berth. The half-ogre much prefers the country to the city, where urban architecture rarely accommodates their bulk. Half-ogres have miserable tempers and are quick to anger, but those that show one kindness will never have a more loyal friend.

While technically medium creatures, most half-ogres straddle the line at around 8 feet tall. Like dwarves, half-ogres are stocky creatures for their size. From a distance, a half-ogre can pass as a large human, and many ancient legends about extraordinarily large human warriors probably referred to half-ogres. Up close, the wild stare and unkempt appearance, in addition to his larger height, unmistakably mark one as a half-ogre.

The Psychic stock of the Half Ogres of Phoenicia (and Sybaris and Syracuse) allows the Half-Ogre a great deal of psychic potential.  Once, the ogres were the Titans.  Most titans, except those associated with the Planets, were deposed by the Olympians and then cursed to walk the earth, cursed to reflect the ugliness inside themselves.  While some ogres are definitely Beautiful and Handsome, others are incredibly ugly.  Some have horns,  others are afflicted with a great many warts.  Some look like apes, some look like ugly humans.  Some are terrible to behold and to look upon.  All are regarded as enemies due to their appearance.  Now, they walk the earth as living monstrosities, most of the time breeding true, and at other times breeding with other humanoids. 

Half-ogres get along well with half-orcs, especially since they share similar life experiences. Half-ogres also get along with humans who find their strength useful for labor and military purposes. The smaller races tend to be intimidated by half-ogres and the feeling is mutual; half-ogres fear that gnomes or halflings can play tricks on them or steal their stuff without getting caught. Half-ogres don’t enjoy the company of elves or half-elves, as they often have the beauty, grace, and acceptance that was denied to the half-ogre.

Racial Traits:

  • +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom: Half-ogres are immensely strong and hardy, but somewhat slow-witted and brash.
  • Medium: Half-Ogres are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Half-ogres have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Darkvision: Half-Ogres can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
    Naturally Psionic: Half-giants receive Wild Talent as a bonus feat at 1st level. If a half-giant takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.
  • Imposing Figure: Half-ogres are intimidating without trying. They get a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks.
  • Ogre Blood: Half-ogres count as both humans and ogres for any effect related to race.
  • Languages: Common, Giant. Half-ogres with high Intelligence scores can choose any of the following: dwarven, goblin, orc, or giant.

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