Author Topic: Half Vistani - Roleplay Guide  (Read 5858 times)

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Half Vistani - Roleplay Guide
« on: January 19, 2015, 02:49:31 PM »
The half-vistani is a wonderful Ravenloft specific race one can chose at the character creation. Here are some guidelines and resources to fill roleplaying this race with life.


The Vistani are, in actuality, not a demihuman race. Rather, they are completely human in all regards. Because of the distance that their culture places between them and the rest of Ravenloft's citizens, however, they are best treated as a separate race.
Player characters cannot be pureblood Vistani. Mankind knows little about these wanderers of the Mists, making them unsuitable for use as player characters. Those players who wish to have a Vistana character (Vistana is the singular form of Vistani) must settle for a giomorgo, or half-Vistana.

For the purposes of these rules, a giomorgo has one human parent and one Vistana parent. A very rare type of giomorgo, known as the giamarga, spawns from the union of an elf and a Vistana.

No giomorgo communities exist in Ravenloft. Like half-elves, these folk are outcasts who are not accepted by either of their parent races. From time to time they settle in human lands, but they are almost always so badly treated that they quickly move on or drift into a life of squalor and petty crime.

The giomorgo are easily mistaken for true Vistani. They have dark complexions, ranging from a rich olive to a dusky tan. Their hair is always dark, more often black than brown, as are their eyes. A giomorgo's features are always hawklike and angular, not unlike those common to the folk of Falkovnia.

In size and shape, a half-Vistana appears almost identical to the average human. They do tend to be a bit heavier than normal folk, which reflects their larger frames, but this is an inconsequential difference.
Exactly how long a true Vistana will live is a matter for some debate. While there seems to be little or no reason for them to outlive their human cousins, many reach great ages. Giomorgo, however, are not so endowed and generally live no longer than normal men.

A given giomorgo favors one of two styles of dress and appearance. Some embrace their gypsy heritage, even though their kindred do not return their feelings. Such folk wear the bright colors and patterns of the Vistani. Although they can pass for Vistani among normal men, any true Vistana will recognize them on sight.
The rest of the giomorgo attempt to lose themselves in the world of men. They wash away their Vistani heritage in the sea of humanity and adopt the dress and demeanor of the land in which they dwell. Again, while they may fool those around them, any Vistani will see through their guise.

The half-Vistani are cross-breeds like the half-elves, but without the onus associated with those folk. Although they tend to be swarthy and perhaps a bit exotic in looks, no one can say for certain whether someone is a half-Vistana just by looking at him. The reverse is not true of the Vistani themselves, who can tell at a glance whether someone is of pure Vistani blood or not.

Of course, great diversity exists among the giomorgo. Those spawned by any given tribe will tend to be different from the children of another. With those variations in mind, however, the following generalizations can be made.
Most half-Vistani look upon their mixed heritage as a taint that will haunt them for the rest of their life. They fear that their true nature will be revealed. When that happens, of course, they will be branded as freaks and outcasts by even their closest friends. No half-Vistana ever escapes this paranoia, although some hide it better than others.

Countering this lingering fear, however, is an inherent pride in the abilities associated with being a half-Vistana. Most giomorgo characters are unwilling to fully deny their identities. Thus, they favor names similar to those taken by the Vistani themselves. Rumanian and Russian names, like Tara or Natacha (for women) and Bela or Youri (for men).

Indeed, it is not unknown for a half-Vistana to take pride in his heritage and embrace the role of mysterious outsider. While this is an inherently dangerous path to tread, some refuse to hide the truth. People like this often present themselves as mystics and prophets who carry an air of mystery about them that, they hope, will protect them from harm. If they play their cards right, so to speak, their neighbors will be afraid to take action against them.

Most giomorgo characters are embittered souls who have suffered much at the hands of both their parent races. They trust no one and depend only upon themselves. True loners, half-Vistani seldom make real friends. While they may have acquaintances, half-Vistani view these people as temporary associates of convenience who who they will discard as soon as they outlive their usefulness. Few and far between are those whom a giomorgo actually calls friend. To their credit, the giomorgo make no attempt to conceal this facet of their personality. They never claim to be more compassionate than they

Special Abilities

A half-Vistana character can accurately identify the plants and animals of the world, just as druids do. He can also determine whether water is safe to drink. This ability requires no more than one round of examination on the part of the character and always succeeds (barring the influences of magic, curses, domain lords, and such).

Affinity for Nature
All giomorgo characters make fires easily and quickly. Provided that fuel and some means of igniting a blaze is at hand, they can start a fire in 1d4 rounds. Normally restrictive conditions, like damp fuel and such, do not affect the giomorgo abilities.

Fire Building
Half-Vistani are familiar with tralaks (a series of glyphs used by the Vistani). In order to recognize a given symbol, the character must make an Intelligence check. If that check succeeds, the Dungeon Master secretly rolls 1d20. On a roll of 1 to 19, the character correctly identifies the meaning of the tralak. If the roll is a 20, however, the character misreads the symbol and gets its meaning wrong.

The giomorgo are not without their own burdens. Chief among these is the lunatic or moon madness. It is worth noting that full-blood Vistani possess more resistance to this ailment than the giomorgo.

On the three nights of the month when the moon is full, a half-Vistana character will find himself restless and unable to sleep. Because of this, he cannot heal wounds without magical aid and is utterly unable to memorize new spells. The physical toll that this takes on the body imposes a -2 penalty on all saving throws made during this time; this penalty lasts until the character can rest undisturbed for eight hours.

In addition to the above physical effects, the lunatic induces mental trauma as well. On each of the three nights of the full moon, a half-Vistana character must make a successful madness check (described in Chapter Six) or be overcome with this unusual lunacy. A failed check causes the character to gradually take on the aspects of a beast of the night. A single failed check means that the half-Vistana slips away from his companions to run wild under the stars. A second failed check indicates that the giomorgo also becomes aggressive and even violent during these wild times. Should he fail all three of his madness checks, the character has the mind of a wild, violent savage until the moon changes its phase.

Tribal Abilities
Depending upon the tribe to which his Vistana parent belonged, a giomorgo character will have certain special abilities. In most cases, a player can select which tribe his character descends from.

Characters from this bloodline tend to be quiet and reserved. Certainly, they are the least confrontational of all the tribes and go out of their way to avoid potentially hostile encounters. Most Kamii player characters (about 60%) are thieves and use the stealth and cunning that mark this class to their best advantage. The remaining 40% of the Kamii are warriors, although they enter battle only as a last resort. Kamii characters are never wizards, priests, or any other type of spellcaster.
The Kamii are excellent metalworkers, and all characters of this type begin play with the blacksmith proficiency. They can also identify metals, just as a druid does plants or animals, and can recognize the realm from which any metal item in Ravenloft originates. If it was forged beyond the Mists, on Krynn or Faerun, for example, the character has a 5% cumulative chance per level to identify its world (or plane) of origin. If an item was manufactured by a Vistana, a Kamii character has a 25% of detecting any curse upon it before it affects him.

Equaarians are a nature-loving folk who often become rangers, although other classes are not closed to them. All Equaar characters begin play with the animal lore and land-based riding proficiencies without expending any slots for them. They can also purchase the tracking proficiency by allocating a single slot to it, regardless of their chosen class.

Known for their skill as healers and herbalists, the Vatraskan player character tends to be cold and somewhat condescending. Despite their natural gift for healing, these characters are seldom priests. No other restrictions are placed upon their choice of character classes. All members of this class automatically begin play with the herbalism proficiency and can purchase the healing proficiency at the cost of only one slot, regardless of their chosen class.
Vatraskan characters can identify poisons as easily as a druid might recognize a specific type of plant. In addition, they can concoct an antidote to any poison if they have access to a store of herbs or plants and have ten minutes (one turn) to work. Because these antidotes are very powerful, the recipient must make a successful saving throw vs. poison or die from them. Thus, the cure can sometimes be worse than the poison.
In addition to their skill with antidotes, Vatraskan characters can create an herbal sleeping draught. They must spend 1d6+1 days gathering the herbs and concocting the draught, which can actually take the form of either a liquid or a powder. This toxin, though odorless and tasteless, turns water slightly red. Once ingested, this chemical forces the imbiber to make a successful saving throw vs. poison or fall asleep for 1d4 hours. The sleep is normal enough, and the victim can be awakened easily after the first hour has passed. When the character uses this ability, he creates 1d4 doses of this potion, which retains its potency for only seven days.

Characters of this stock are a flamboyant and outgoing folk. They favor fine food and drink in the company of the opposite sex. Naiat characters tend to be of the gypsy class.
All Naiat characters automatically begin play with the singing and dancing proficiencies and can purchase the musical instrument skill just as if they were bards. If the character opts to take advantage of this latter ability and specializes in the violin, he can use it to affect the reactions of nonplayer characters and inspire his allies, just as a bard does. The great charm of Naiat characters entitles them to a +1 bonus on rolls to determine the initial reaction of any nonplayer character they meet. If the character goes out of his way to friendly (and the player does a good job role-playing the meeting), this bonus increases to +2.

Most Corvara characters are thieves, although a few (about one in ten) opt to become fighters or wizards. No other classes are open to them.
Corvara distrust strangers and tend to look for profit in everything they do. "What's in it for me?" is a common question among these folk. All Corvara characters, regardless of class, begin play with the set snares proficiency, and Corvara thieves gain a +10% bonus to their pick locks skill.

Canjar: Characters of Canjar blood are aloof and prideful. Canjar characters must always be wizards. They are talented magicians and have a covetous love of magical items and spells. When they come into possession of new spells or artifacts, they guard them jealously and share them with no one.
Canjar wizards can leave one 1st- and one 2nd-level spell slot open each day. That is, a wizard with the ability to memorize four 1st-level spells would select only three of them. The remaining slots can be used as needed during the course of the day. The wizard can cast any spell that he has recorded in his spell books, just as if he had memorized it.
In actuality, the character is assumed to have memorized the spell normally. The natural sensitivity of the character allowed him to pick a spell that he felt he would need during the day.

Zarovan: The Zarovan are a quiet and introspective folk. They have little to do with anyone and make miserable traveling companions. While they will not betray those who travel with them, they will not take any chances on a companion's trustworthiness either. They do things for their own reasons and never share their motives, plans, or desires with anyone else. Like the Canjar, all characters of this bloodline are classed as wizards. No more than one of these characters travels with any given group of adventurers.

Source: Domains of Dread
« Last Edit: August 06, 2016, 12:16:06 AM by Bastellus »

currently I run:
-: Curse of the Wolf :-
-: The Curse of von Zeklos :-