My special guest wasn’t able to get their blog post to me in time, so once again, you’re stuck with me. Sorry for the lack of post last week, but I was in a bit of a squeeze. Still am (Soul Battery Book 1 is ~3 chapters from being done, release date is December… you can do the math.)
This week, I’m keeping a promise and discussion the races of the World of Ere d20 game and their awesome game stats (plus some extra flavor bits you won’t have seen in the stories yet). Sound fun? No? Well we’re doing it anyway, starting with…
Whereas the warforged is the iconic race of the Eberron Campaign Setting, hailene are the iconic race of Ere. If you’ve read Rune Breaker, you know quite a bit about hailene and their War of Ascension, which is still having repercussions 400 years after the fact.
The chief ability of hailene is, of course, flight. They can fly as fast as they walk (30ft a round) and ‘run’ while flying at 5x speed. They have to use a move action each round to stay in the air and changing direction costs them 5ft (one hex) of movement. Racial feats allow them to learn tricks like hovering, wingovers (change direction once without losing movement), and other fancy flying tricks.
At this juncture, I’ll note that no races in WoE d20 gets stat bonuses (STR, DEX, etc). Instead, they get a free racial feat, skills boosts, and a spell-esque racial power. There WILL be a few stat-up racial feats to pick at level 1 if you want, but ONLY at level 1. For hailene, these would be CHA or DEX.
I’m still working on the skill list, but hailene will get a full-on +5 to checks to jump or balance (because, wings) at least.
The power for hailene is Hailene Zeal. A number of times per day equal to their CHA modifier, a hailene can add their CHA modifier to one dice roll before they know the result. Hailene are so damn sure of themselves that they can power through many situations by sheer force of will.
I know a lot of fantasy buffs who actually get enraged at the idea of minotaurs as a race. True, the original Minotaur was a one-off with a highly squicky backstory, but the design of the beast is really cool and badass (except the 3e wooly ape-taur) to the point that it would be a shame to leave him as a one-off and even more of a shame to leave him as the offspring of some Queen going all Catherine the Great on a bull.
My inspiration for minotaurs as a race comes from Magic: the Gathering, where the Hurloon Minotaur is a stable creature with warrior-culture flavor text. Erean minotaurs take a bit from Native American cultures (the Iroquois Confederacy to be exact) and Warring States period Japan. They’re also matriarchal, agrarian and just a little bit luddite, rejecting a lot of modern tech like guns.
The primary ability of minotaurs is that they wield weapons as if they were Large sized, but can still wield medium weapons as if they were one step smaller (one-handed Medium weapons are light for minotaurs, two-handed are one-handed, etc).
Where a lot of games give minotaurs a gore attack, I merely allow them to designate an unarmed strike as piercing (and lethal). Racial feats take care of charging, +2 STR or CON (again, first level only) and proficiency with special minotaur weapons like the dire blade or daizaku (think horse-killing sword).
The minotaur power is Minotaur Adrenaline. A number of times per day equal to their CON modifier, for one round, a minotaur gains +10 STR as a free action. Just enough time for one big, major feat of strength of STR-based skill check.
As the reader learns in Evil Unto Evil and Rakne’s Tale: Hearing of Grievances, the lasconti are the last of the hengeyoukai, animal shapeshifters from the now-destroyed Great Green Expanse. Specifically, they are spiders and are stereotypically known as folk heroes and adventurers.
As hengeyoukai, lasconti have three forms, a humanoid form, a spider form, and the man-spider-esque almaga form. They can switch as a move action.
In all forms, lastonti get a +1 to reflex saves and are treated as if they had a +2 STR when calculating their how much they can carry. In spider form, they gain all the benefits and weaknesses of being Tiny, but can’t use tools or magic items and cannot speak. Also, without a certain item, they drop all ther gear when they change to spider form.
Almaga form provides them with a climb speed, a +2 to perception checks, low-light vision, and skill bonuses to jumping and tumbling (acrobatics in general probably).
Feats let the player beef up on of their forms, such as letting their humanoid form keep the better senses, their spider form to be tougher or harder to spot, or their almaga to gain +2 STR or DEX (first level only). They can also take a feat to hone their reflexes for an additional +1 (which stacks with Lightning Reflexes’ +2).
As a power, you guess it, the lasconti can spin a web with Lasconti Webbing. They can produce up to 30ft of spider silk rope a day (divided up as they see fit). For 24 hours after it was produced, the rope grants a +2 to any checks it’s used for and a -2 to all checks to break or slip out of it because it’s extra strong and sticky. Feats will also allow the lasconti to spin and throw lassos, nets, and the like.
The cat people from the former Great Green Expanse, the miare didn’t get as good a deal out of it as the lasconti. As a culture, they have become known as exceedingly passive and subservient. The reality is that they’re still as proud and fierce as any race, many of them just find that excessive (to others) courtesy is an important part of their culture whether or not other races take advantage.
Miare have the unique advantage of a fully prehensile tail which is treated like a third limb for the purposes of weapons and shields. Feats allow this tail to be used for things like a free trip attack or disarm as part of an attack action. Other feats can give them a climb speed, +2 to DEX or WIS
Like minotaurs, miare get an extra natural weapon in the form of claws that let them designate an unarmed strike as slashing (and thus lethal).
For skills, miare will get a ton of natural perception and dexterity skill bonuses and many culture-based social bonuses.
As for power, miare play the opposite of Minotaurs with Miare Guile, which allows them to gain +10 DEX for a single turn a number of times equal to their CON modifier. Just enough for one amazing feat of grace.
Ere halflings are awesome if I do say so myself. They’re probably the race readers will know the most about: wolf-riding, caravan-living nomads with a strong sense of family and badassery.
Halflings benefit from being Small sized, but can wield Medium weapons as if they were one step larger (light weapons are one-handed, one-handed are two-handed, etc) Racial feats are a bit more diverse, giving things like a free wolf companion, bonus spell points, or chain and kukri proficiencies.
Halflings also have several suites of skill bonuses depending on if they’re caravan, rural or city halflings. They’re not as rogue-oriented as DnD halflings, trending toward a more diversity build.
The halfling power is Halfling Luck. Tapping into their connection to the Luck god Pandemos, once per day, a halfling’s player can simply declare that a roll was either a natural 20 or a natural 1—any roll, whether they’re making it or the DM or another player. It’s not an automatic success or failure (depending on the roll) but it would be an automatic critical hit or failed save.
We haven’t made many elves in Ere stories and they’re a lot different from the ones in the DU. Jungle-dwelling and long-lived, elves lead very different existences than the other races. The one thing to remember about Ere elves is that they don’t live long due to magic, they live long because they’re tough and adapted to their lifestyle.
Elves get a slew of small special abilities rather than just one: they can take 10 on all checks involving climbing and balancing, automatically get the Endurance and Alertness feats, and they need half the food of other races. Racial feats include +2 to INT or CON, trading lowlight vision for darkvision, and immunity from disease and/or poison.
Thanks to their long lives, elves get bonuses on all knowledge checks and plus checks having to do with survival in the wild and dealing with nature in general.
The Elf power is Elvish tenacity, which allows the elf to use a free refresh (similar to 4e’s healing surges) once per day as a reaction to taking damage that would put them below zero HP.
More of a race unto themselves than a true marriage of human and elf now, half-elves are within a generation and a half of becoming the most populous race on Ere. As a half-elf parent will always have half-elf kids with humans or elves, their numbers are on the rise.
If you like feats, half-elves are the race for you. They get one human and one elf racial feat, plus the same general bonus feat as humans. They also get low-light vision. For racial feats, they can take both human and elf racial feats.
Being the near-majority, half-elves naturally get a ton of social skills.
The Half-Elf power is Half-Elven Knack, which can be used a number of time per day equal to their WIS modifier to grant a +5 to a given trained skill roll.
Dwarves are interesting. The traditional dwarf who live ing Genmide is so isolated and xenophobic as to be unplayable. PC dwarves are outliers who broke from kith and kin and the descendants thereof. Unlike most such things, I’m quite partial to the ISO Standard Dwarf in all his beardly glory, so I didn’t mess to much with them aside from improving their tech level.
To be completely honest though, I haven’t developed dwarves yet. In the books, the only dwarves we meet so far are clerks and pirates, so they haven’t been all that developed in the series either. I’m open to suggestions because I never liked the lame bonuses dwarves get in DnD.
Whenever I play DnD, I play humans The bonus feet and skill points are too awesome to pass up. Humans in WoE d20 also get the bonus feat, plus their racial feats. Humans have some special regional racial feats, such as Callenis getting bonus weapon proficiencies and techniques, Formeans counting as Large when it benefits them, and Te’raanians getting bonus spells.
Humans also get to pick some of the skills they get +2 in. As a power, they gain Human Ingenuity, which allows them to, a number of times per day equal to their wisdom modifier, treat a skill check as trained, which include rolling it even if they wouldn’t normally be allowed to.
And that’s all for this week. My plan is to also make goblins, kobolds, and ogres playable, plus a Bastards system for half-X. There’s also the dragonsired race, which I haven’t devved yet either. Maybe next week.
Beofre I go, please keep your eyes peeled for Monday’s update and the news post. I have something very important to ask you guys.
Wait, wait, wait… Half-elves that don’t suck? Blasphemy!
Be patient: I could still totally flub their skill bonuses.
Ahh, half-elfs… They’re one of the most prevalent fantasy cliches, and I’ve yet to run across a single depiction of one that was a half-elf because their one parent was human and the other was elf. No, they’re always half-elfs because that character needed to be a Special with a capital S. Want proof? Elrond in LotR is a half-elf, but everybody just considers him an elf because he’s only a half-elf by breeding and doesn’t need that extra special status.
Or because they have ridiculously good stats in RoleMaster.
And if someone didn’t catch on yet, half-elfs (actually all halfbreeds) are a pet peeve of mine.
So anyway, since half-elfs are a people of their own now in Ere but were originally halfbreeds, does that mean the minotaurs also started out with rampant zoophilia?
Nope, they’re the result of abuse of an ancient prayer known to the now-extinct orc tribes. They were aurouch herders who sacrificed and fused with their beasts for power. Because this was a permanent thing and passed down in the blood, it made them highly unattractive to other orcs, this was seen as an amazing and honorable sacrifice for their people. Eventually, the encroachment of the Vishnari races (humans, hailene, dragons, etc) meant so many orcs called down the power that minotaurs were a viable race.
Oh, and while not fertile with humans, minotaur are fertile with golbins, trolls… and both elves and hailene if any of them is ever into it.
Technically, they consider Elrond an elf because he had the choice between an elven or human fate, and he chose elven.
I’m not sure Tolkien is a very good example. On one hand, Aragorn is the half-elf* in his adventuring group and his heritage is totally milked for extra specialness. He’s not just the heir to a line of kings, he’s the heir to a super special line of kings with elven blood!
On the other hand, the specialness is all about being an elf. Half-elves don’t get the whole loner “between two worlds” narrative, they just get diluted elf specialness. I guess Aragorn’s family is kinda more special by CONTRAST, since they get compared to the humans that surround them, while elves aren’t special compared to other elves?
*”Half” is used loosely. Tolkien elves are too awesome for dozens of generations of human interbreeding to remove the half-elfness. Dude is, like, in his eighties during the Trilogy.
Aragorn’s extra special heritage wasn’t being part elf, it was being part Númenorian (the human equivalent to calaquendi). Yes, Elrond’s brother is up in the family tree somewhere but that’s not what gets the attention. And he was only in his sixties.
Whereas I’d argue Tanis from Dragonlance is more of a special snowflake than any full elf, and for an obscure reference I’ll mention Morkin from Lords of Midnight who is immune to ice fear due to being a half-elf, which makes him the chosen hero. Way more special than his full elf father.
I would say that Elros Half-Elven being the founder of the line is the main reason why the kings of Numenor and the offshoot lines like Elendil were special, but it doesn’t matter much, and I haven’t read the Silmarillion in years anyway.
Also, hmm. I checked his age before posting that. Are you telling me wikipedia is wrong about something? Inconceivable!
My vague memories of Tanis are essentially my only reference for special snowflake half-elfs. I have an intellectual appreciation for the issue, but I can’t say it’s something I’ve come up against a lot.
I admit I didn’t check the age, just trusted my own recollection so could be wrong. In theory. Not that such a thing had ever happened so far.