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MAB77

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Moulder Dwarves
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2021, 10:48:18 PM »
Moulder Dwarves (Modrigswerg, Rot Dwarf)

Overview:
The Modrigswerg are an ancient clan of dwarves exiled from Rockhome for pursuit of forbidden lore, and traffic with dark powers. Only the gnomes are their peers as artificers, but the Modrigswerg are said to be cursed by the Darkness, condemned forever to suffer distrust, treachery, and madness.

Personality:
Like all dwarves, the Modrigswerg are extremely traditional and conservative. There is a right way to do things: their way. No other way is acceptable. Since the Modrigswerg have been isolated from the mainstream of dwarven culture, their language and customs will seem archaic to modern dwarves.

Most wear colorful garments, and consume vast quantities of indifferently prepared food. They proudly hang their ornamental weapons, armor, and heirlooms; homes have fine stonework and engravings. The rot dwarves are fiercely protective of personal property, greedy for gems, jewelry. and mineral wealth-all for their own satisfaction since visitors are such a rarity.

The Modrigswerg honor dwarven traditions in queer and eccentric ways. For example, the rock engravings and runescripts decorating the tunnels of one Modrigswerg individual are exceptionally detailed and fantastic, full of distinctly un-dwarflike curves and flourishes. Another Modrigswerg always wears every bit of jewelry he owns: dozens of pendants, silver and gold wrist bands, and rings on every finger joint. Nonetheless, no matter how bizarre or insane, most Modrigswerg behavior can be interpreted as an exaggeration or perversion of an honored dwarven tradition.

The world knows little of the personal lives of the Modrigswerg. They dislike meeting their clients in person, whether giants, wizards, or adventurers. They prefer to work through agents or through messages carved in Auld Dwarf runes on rock slabs. When the rare meeting is arranged, it is always in a secure place remote from the dwarf's home - in an unused cavern, or on a remote peak.

Modrigswerg are, by their own assessment, obsessive workers. They make no distinction between work-for-hire, hobbies, and play, throwing themselves into every project with the same obsessive, uncritical enthusiasm. As with all the Elder Races, they need little sleep and are capable of working for days without a break.

The Modrigswerg suffer periods of extreme depression, often accompanied by alcoholism and self-destructive behavior. Legend links this to the Curse; most dwarves feel it is a natural consequence of the moulder dwarves' perverse isolation from family and kin.

Like other dwarves, the Modrigswerg set great store by memorization of family trees and oral clan histories, but they are extremely reluctant to reveal them to outsiders. Those experienced in dealing with the moulder dwarves say they earned limited trust and respect from the Modrigswerg by being knowledgeable about their own family trees and about the ancient history and culture of dwarves. Those with poor memories earned the dwarves' contempt.

The Modrigswerg are exceptionally long-lived, even for dwarves. Historical records show that some individuals are at least four hundred years old, and certain dwarves speak of events over six centuries past as though they bad been eyewitnesses. Still, reports of immature dwarves are rare. Tales link their infertility to the Curse, but it may simply be Modrigswerg selfishness and an obsession with privacy.

Physical description:
The Modrigswerg dwarves look alike their Rockhome cousins from which they are exiled. They are short and stocky, standing about 4' tall and weighing about 150 pounds. Male dwarves wear long beards. Their skin is ruddy or earth-colored and their hair is dark brown, gray, or black. Eye colors come in a wide variety, including, but not limited to, brown, green, hazel or silvery blue.

History:
There is no reliable sources about the history of the Modrigswerg. The moulder dwarves themselves are quiet about it. The dwarves of Rockhome tells the tale as follows, though it is a story pieced together from legends and rumors.

Centuries ago, a small Rockhome clan called the Modrigswerg conspired with dark elves, and witch priests of the Father of Demons. This conspiracy sought to bind the powers of life and magic into devices which might be used to conquer and rule the world. The dark elves brought the secrets of life and its rulership. The Father of Demons cultists brought the rituals of summoning and binding otherworldly powers. And the dwarves brought knowledge of metalworking and mechanisms. The reasons for this league's failure are unknown and a matter for speculation. Interference from the Immortals, dwarven heroes storming in and slaying their leaders, the confederation destroying itself in treachery and betrayal have all been cited as possible options.

What is certain though is that the Modrigswerg were judged by the other dwarven clans to be tainted with evil. Modrigswerg elders were executed for their crimes, and the entire clan was Denounced and Banished, the name of the clan to be struck forever from the annals of dwarvenkind. It was then that the Modrigswerg came to be called the 'rotten', or 'moulder' dwarves. There is no account of their exodus, but it is known they eventually reached and settled far in the Northern Reaches in the remotest regions of the Makkres and Hardanger Ranges.

In general, the Modrigswerg have maintained the same skills and lore they had when they were banished. They are adept in metalsmithing, gold - and silversmithing, armoring, weaponmaking, gemcraft, sculpting, engraving, engineering, mining, geology, metallurgy, and other disciplines usually associated with dwarves. Their practices are, if anything, archaic and out-of-date. Some cave-dwelling practices of the kobolds have been adapted to dwarven use. The rot dwarves also occasionally receive ancient gnomish artifacts from trade with the kobolds and thereby are introduced to novel applications of known principles. Otherwise, the Modrigswerg are not noted for their ingenuity or originality.

Notwithstanding their lack of originality, the Modrigswerg have mastered two disciplines not practiced by any other dwarven culture: the life-bindings of the dark elves, and the artificers' crafts associated with the Lords of Entropy. These two disciplines, combined with conventional dwarven skills, enable the Modrigswerg to create unique devices.

Society:
Relatively little is known of the early history of the Modrigswerg dwarven culture of the Northlands. Known as "moulder dwarves" by their western cousins in Rockhome, legend says that these dwarves were driven out of the Rockhome region for breaking ancient clan traditions against trafficking with spellcasters and alchemists. Said to be a cursed people,  their name is now associated with madness and evil. Less social than Rockhome dwarves, the Modrigswerg  prefer to live in small family units, or as isolated hermits. They are known for the quality of their stonework, jewelry, and weaponsmithing. Their superb physical craftsmanship combines with the secret arts of dwarven craftmagic to produce marvelous artifacts. However, the moulder dwarves are considered greedy and malevolent at worse, greedy and mischievous in general, and shy and antisocial at best.

As is typical in dwarven cultures, Northland dwarves are extremely conservative in traditions and customs, but uninterested in tales or histories. Further, the Modrigswerg are not inclined to be chatty about their past. Consequently, very little is known about them, and tracing the origin and fate of legendary artifacts is a formidable task. Modrigswerg are said to be particularly long-lived, even for dwarves, although the madness associated with the clan leads many of them to their own destruction. Clans and families generally remain in the same dwellings for centuries. There are no acknowledged kings or clan leaders, and there is little communication between underground homesteads Families and small clans may live within five miles and not speak to one another for hundreds of years.

The Modrigswerg are artists. skilled workers in silver and gold which they mine deep beneath their subterranean dwellings. They work skillfully - cut precious stones, particularly diamonds and rubies, into their jewelries and devices. These gems are also taken from their own mines, or are brought by giants and lmmortals as payment for work done, or as raw materials for a desired project. As valuable as these raw materials may be, they are of less interest than the fabulous and bizarre artifacts the Modrigswerg create in their cavern workshops. Even the Immortals prize their worksmanship, most particularly lmmortals from the Sphere of Entropy, who generally have little gift for craft or enchantment but an endless appetite for devices of command and destruction.

The Modrigswerg are also masters of the engineering specialty of dungeon trapping. Again, the Modrigswerg consider themselves artists, not exterminators, and always prefer bizarre, complicated, and expensive designs over the simple, efficient, and practical. Even when a pit trap would do, the rot dwarves install sliding walls, counterweights, hair-triggers, false doors, and spring-loaded gimcracks. Dungeon traps of illogical but elegant complexity are usually of Modrigswerg design. Only the wealthiest of evil wizards and dark lords can afford the moulder dwarves' services. The reclusive Modrigswerg hate to travel, and charge even more exorbitantly than usual for house calls.

Relations with other races:
Because of their unpredictability and their hostility toward visitors, the Modrigswerg are approached by very few. The giant races deal with them for arcane devices. Occasional trades with gnomes is known to happen. Hardanger kobolds and goblins. Otherwise most people stay well clear of them. Powerful wizards may seek them out as engineers and craftsmen for towers and dungeons. Bold entrepreneurs deliver cargoes of provisions at remote mountain meetings, where they are paid in gold and gems. Rockhome dwarves will have no dealings whatsoever with them.

Alignment:
Madness runs deep within the rot dwarves. The vast majority of them being chaotic neutral.

Religion:
Nothing is known of the moulder dwarves religions. They follow the Dwarven tradition that clerics do not reveal themselves to outsiders, if indeed they have clerics at all. The Modrigswerg do not venerate Kagyar the Artificer, Denwarf Dwarffather, or any other traditional Immortals or heroes.

Language:
Moulder dwarves speak an archaic form of dwarven.

Adventurers:
Moulder dwarves are not usually adventurers. They are usually dedicated crafters that stays at home, reluctant to travel. They are known to deal with arcanists, some of them could go against dwarven traditions and practice arcane magic themselves. If they have clerics among them they do not reveal themselves to outsiders.

Setting:
Moulder dwarves are from the Known World of Mystara.

Game Stats:
Ability adjustments: Dex +1, Int +1, -2 Cha*
Skill adjustments: Disable Trap +2, Spellcraft +2, Perform -2, Influence -2
Darkvision
Defensive training vs. giants
Hardiness vs. poisons
Hardiness vs. spells
Skill affinity (lore)
Stonecunning

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Con, -2 Cha adjustment for standard dwarves. An extra +1 Int, +1 Dex, -2 Con will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: GAZ7 The Northern Reaches, Rules Cyclopedia
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 07:07:45 PM by EO »
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MAB

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MAB77

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Shadow Elf
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2021, 10:48:57 PM »
Shadow Elf

Hailing form the world of Mystara, the shadow elves are D&D's original underground elves. They play a similar role to that of drow of later editions as antagonists to surface dwellers, but for different reasons and motivations. They are divided in two widely different societies. The Shadow Elves of the Known World have a sizeable underground empire centered around the City of the Stars. The vile Schattenalfen established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Hollow World, a world that exists inside the hollowed-out center of the planet itself.

Personality:
The shadow elves from the City of the Stars are deeply religious. To outsiders, the shadow elves often appear as evil due to their xenophobic and isolationist tendencies. They will shoot others first and ask questions later. This is a byproduct of their way of life which revolves around the 14 verses of the Refuge of Stone that their patron immortal Rafiel set for them to ensure their survival. The history of the shadow elves is a history of hardship, a tale of tribulations which might have destroyed any lesser race. The shadow elves revel in these hardships, believing that their trials are a test of their mettle. Weakness is a grave sin. Shadow elves are a very proud people. They see it as their due to be able to resettle the surface and be made the leaders of all elven clans. A point that would lead to the war with the elves of Alfheim. The schattenalfen similarly yearn to return to the surface but are attempting to do so on the surface of the Hollow World. The eternal red sun is lethal to them still, but they are able to resist it much longer than before. They are as proud as their Known World cousins, but treacherous and deceitful, corrupted by the teachings of Atzanteotl.

Physical description:
Shadow elves have an extremely pale skin complexion with white or grey hair, and "clear-colored" eyes that are typically a sparkling blue or grey. The schattenalfen sometimes have light green or yellow eyes as well. A distinct characteristic is that they have much larger ears than normal elves; they rely heavily on their hearing to navigate in the dark caverns they call home. Their voices have a high, almost squeaky pitch to them. A minority of shadow elves are also born with the Mark of Rafiel, distinctive purple birthmarks. These marks are almost always symmetrical around the eyes and extending up the forehead into the hairline. It often appears on other parts of the body as well. A marked shadow elf is given over to be raised by the shamans (clerics) of Rafiel. Most shadow elves born with the Mark are females, but a few males are also born with it. There is no stigma against male shadow elves becoming shamans. The Schattenalfen never bear the Mark of Rafiel. Every now and then, a shadow elf will give birth to a baby from another humanoid race. This is a lingering effect from the radiation sickness their ancestors suffered during the Great Rain of Fire. The schattenalfen will simply expose the child to the Hollow World's surface to die. The followers of Rafiel will instead bring the child and leave him in some remote cave trusting that Rafiel will guide him.

History:
When the Great Rain of Fire destroyed Blackmoor and altered the very climate of the world. Corrupting energies scattered to the four winds poisoning many elves of the Celebryl, the Porador, the Felistyr and the Gelbalf clans. These elves found shelter in deep caverns beneath the area later called the Broken Lands. Guided by the immortal Rafiel, they found a vast cave with unusual properties: one could stand on its ceiling as easily as on its floor. On that ceiling they settled, attracted by mysterious carvings, and founded the City of the Stars. They tamed animals living deep in the earth, including domesticable giant slugs and a species of flying lizard they called skinwings. They set about following the moral and ethical guidelines provided by the Immortal Rafiel. Though they longed to return to the upper world, they were convinced that it was destroyed, hostile to all life, and so lived dark existences deep in the earth.

More than a thousand years later, another disaster took place on the surface: elves living in the land now called Glantri found and accidentally detonated an old Blackmoor device. The resulting catastrophe wasn't as great as the original Rain of Fire, but it did drive all these elvish clans underground, and some of those survivors discovered the cavern of the City of Stars. Adopted by the Shadow Elves, they astonished their new patrons with stories of an upper world which had recovered from the Great Rain of Fire. But they also frustrated the Shadow Elves with the knowledge that they couldn't immediately ascend to the surface: the rotting sickness caused by the Blackmoor device's explosion might not disappear for generations, or so said the shamans of the Immortal Rafiel.

These adopted Shadow Elves took the clan-name schattenalfen, which just means "shadow elves" in their own elvish dialect, and they were the ancestors of the Hollow World Schattenalfen. At about the same time, an elf named Atziann, another survivor of the Glantrian explosion of four hundred years before, was attaining Immortality in the Sphere of Entropy. He chose the name Atzanteotl as an Immortal and decided to meddle with both the Shadow Elves and the Azcans, two races in which he saw a lot of evil potential. Atzanteotl corrupted many of the Shadow Elves, particularly members of the new Schattenalfen clan, promising them that they could live on the beautiful surface world and be masters of their world if only they would abandon the worship of Rafiel and worship him instead. Many did. He taught them new ways to build in order to honor him - using the building style of the Azcans, which had fascinated him when he was a mortal hiding among those humans. This explains why the Schattenalfen followers of Atzanteotl have a different form of architecture than their ancestral Shadow Elves. Atzanteotl divided his Schattenalf followers into two groups and sent them in different directions. One group was sent up to near the surface of the outer world, there to build a magnificent city called Aengmor. But Atzanteotl decided to punish them and destroy the city for their reluctance in performing sacrifices in his name. The other group eventually reached the Hollow World. After failed attempts to conquer the Kogolor dwarves and the Oltecs, they settled in mountains not yet occupied by sentient races but were still unable to live on the surface.

As for the Shadow Elves of the City of the Stars, they would meet a party of human adventurers centuries later. From them they would learn that the devastation from the Great Rain of Fire had ended long ago, and even more astonishing, that an entire nation of elves had established themselves on the surface — Alfheim. The shadow elves, unskilled in the arts of diplomacy, hastily sent a group to Alfheim, on the surface, but peace was not to be readily had. As the shadow elves understand it, the surface elves were not interested in sharing their bounty with their lost cousins. The other side of the medal is that the proud shadow elves demanded as "fair retribution", ownership of more than half of Alfheim and to be made the leaders of all elven clans! A series of overtures and counter-overtures finally ended with Celedryl, then king of Alfheim, ordering that all shadow elves found within his realm be immediately killed. The shadow elves hardened their hearts at this. This was against their code as elves: Never would they treat another of their kind so shamefully. They now understood why Rafiel had prepared them so well for the hardships of cave living, for it was seemingly their fate to live forever in the City of the Stars and its environs. Still, the shadow elves continued their efforts to someday return to the surface. They sent spies and prepared tirelessly. When finally, in 1007 AC (Alphatian Calendar), they successfully launched an invasion of Alfheim and conquered the elven realm which they renamed Aengmor.

Society:
Shadow elves live in clans, which are linked by the practice of exogamous marriage; much like surface elves, these marriages are not life-long monogamies, and are usually dissolved after about 20 years or so. The typical shadow elf lives to be about 800 years old and will have about 4 children on average, not counting the aforementioned deformed children. The shamans of Rafiel holds the most important positions and elects their King. Their society is egalitarian with men and woman having equal rights and free to pursue the occupation of their choice. They reverently mine gems they call soul crystals, believing these gems contain the souls of shadow elves. These gems are used as powerful focus for spellcasting.

Schattenalfen culture is a weird blend of shadow elf and Azcan elements. Though most of their culture is clearly shadow elf, they do not worship Rafiel; only Atzanteotl is honored, and as such they pursue vengeance as a holy sacrament - this doesn't require hasty attacks or formal duels; Atzanteotl teaches that slow, thoughtful, carefully planned vengeance is the sweetest of all. Likewise, their building styles and decorations are clearly Azcan in nature. They practice equality of the sexes, although inheritance is based on matrilineal traditions; authority ultimately rests with an Elf-King and an Elf-Queen. They do not mine soul crystals like shadow elves do, and don't believe these crystals to hold unborn shadow elf souls. They do not possess shamans. They still suffer the deformities that leave one in five of their offspring resembling orcs or goblinoids, who are abandoned.

Relations with other races:
The shadow elves of the Known World have little dealings with anyone but their own, although they do send spies in the surface realms. They have no allies. Most surface dwellers ignore their existence and they are at war with their surface cousins.

The schattenalfen have enemies all around. They hate the Kogolor dwarves and the Oltecs that repelled their attempts to conquer them. They blame humans for the Great Rain of Fire and the Glantrian disaster. They despise the Neathar for being able to live close to nature. But their greatest enemies are the Azcans, whom they feel stole their culture and twisted it to their own ends. The Azcans being more numerous, the schattenalfen resort to guerilla warfare to conduct their raids. The schattenalfen sometime employs Malpheggi lizardmen and Krugel Horde orcs as mercenaries, but those also hire themselves out to Azcans. The schattenalfen are aware that they cannot survive with enemis on all side. As such they do conduct trade with the Traldar. They do not trust or like each other, but their trade have always been peaceful and mutually profitable for centuries. Neither side desires to see this end.

Each groups of shadow elves are dimly aware of each other's existence, but did not have any dealings with each other for over a millennia now. The Schattenalfen are affected by the Spell of Preservation and are therefore uninterested to leave the Hollow World, whereas the Shadow Elves of the Known World just have no interest in a land where the sun never sets, blinds them and kills them.

Alignment:
The shadow elves from the City of the Stars tends toward lawful or neutral alignments. The schattenalfen are almost always of evil alignments.

Religion:
The shadow elves from the City of the Stars follow Rafiel, a lawful good empyreal immortal from the Sphere of Energy. In their eyes Rafiel is a stern and demanding patron, but just. He requires from them harsh sacrifices, as in abandoning the weak and the elderly, as well as deformed and mutated babies to the caves. Unbeknownst to them, Rafiel actually makes sure that these people are found and cared for, but he requires to keep the Shadow Elves isolated from any other races as he seeks to completely heal them from the lingering radiation sickness effects induced in their genetic traits by the Great Rain of Fire. A growing number of Shadow Elves, their ruler King Telemon chief among them, believe that the ways of Rafiel need to be abandoned for their race to prosper again.

The schattenalfen kept most of the practices of their shadow elves kin but those were twisted by their worship of Atzanteotl, hierarch immortal from the Sphere of Entropy, Patron of Corruption and Treachery. He promised them that they could live on the beautiful surface world and be masters of their world if only they would abandon the worship of Rafiel and worship him instead. Many fell to that lie. He taught his followers new ways to build in order to honor him, using the building style of the Azcans. A society that fascinated Atzanteotl and whom he corrupted to his worship as well. This is the crux of the enmity with that society. The shadow elves believing that they stole and mock their culture, when it is actually the way around. An important difference with Azcan culture in their worship of Atzanteotl is that the schattenalfen do not conduct sacrifices of the living in his name.

The 14 Verses of the Refuge of Stone:
  • Verse of the Gathering: Before the holocaust, I was Rafiel, and I watched over my people. I gathered them into the palm of my hand, and I guided them to this refuge of stone. I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of the Name of the Shadow Elves: I am Rafiel, and you are all my shadow. As I move, so you move. As I stand, so you stand. As I live, so you live. Thus shall you be shadow elves, and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of the Refuge of Stone: Let all my children learn these words, the words that guide you and give you life. Daily honour these fourteen verses and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of the Shaman: I, Rafiel, mark with my own hand those whom I empower. Let all respect be accorded these, my chosen servants. They it is who will have the power of life and death over you. Follow their teachings, and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of the Crystals: In the fullness of time, I, Rafiel, will show my shamans the secrets of the crystals that have the power of life and death and life everlasting. Guard these crystals carefully, and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of Birth: If any child be born among you that is not whole, let them be brought before me, and I, Rafiel, will guide their path.
  • Verse of the Wanderers: Keep the strength of the shadow elves, and let none who is weak remain among you or follow after you. Turn these to me, and I, Rafiel, will guide their path.
  • Verse of the Temple: Here build before me a city, and a great temple, and within it offer up to me all good things, and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of Food and Cleanliness: Let your food be pure and clean. Keep also yourselves pure and white before me, and let not your souls be spotted with wrongdoing against me, and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of Days: I will teach my shamans the goodness and badness of each day. Keep the good days fasti, and the bad days ne fasti, and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of the Army: I will send fire against you, to strengthen you in my own forge. Let every man and woman among you see battle and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of the King: I will guide my shamans to choose from among you a king, who will serve as long as I wish him to serve. Let all my people obey this king and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of the Other Peoples: If any other peoples desire to live among you, let a clan adopt them, and keep them separate from you lest they offend me, and I, Rafiel, will guide you.
  • Verse of Promised Bounty: I am Rafiel. If all my children follow my way and the Way of the Shamans, then all good things will come to them, for I, Rafiel, will guide you.

Language:
Elvish is the shadow elves main language.

Names:
Male names: Falanen, Firnafel, Garafaele, Halfalen, Jac- quafarel, Jaflarien, Kanafasti, Laraeden, Lefarel, Maflarel, Malshandir, Myfallar, Nasnaefel,  Quanafel, Raffainfar, Ral- famere, Sarantyr,  Shallatariel, Siristel, Tarasfir, Telemon, Xatapechtli, Yalfanare
Female names: Caerefel, Jennafear, Parafal, Porphyriel, Rafasta, Risardiel, Tanadaleyo

Surnames are rare among shadow elves; most of these elves are known simply by a single, unique name. The followings are example from important NPCs: Seladyr, Garafaele Galeifel, Kanafasti, Telemon, Porphyriel, Tanadaleyo, Malshandir, Firnafel of Losetrel, Quanafel, Maflarel.

Schattenalfen names tend to be several syllables long, and contain many soft, sibilant sounds: 'll,' 'ph,' 's,' 'sh' and 'th,' for instance.

Adventurers:
The Shadow Elves from the City of the Stars are naturally gifted spellcasters and make for effective wizards. Most of their members will be from classes that are able to cast spells in one way or another. Those born with the Mark of Rafiel are usually raised to become shamans (clerics) of Rafiel. The mark disappears when reaching adulthood if the shadow elf chose a different path. As to the schattenalfen. Like all denizens of the Hollow World, the Spell of Preservation stifles magical talent amongst their race. Most schattenalfen adventurers are therefore from non-spellcasting classes with rogues being prevalent.

Settings:
Shadow elves are exclusively found in the world of Mystara.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, -2 Cha*
Sleeplessness
Hardiness vs. Enchantments
Bonus Proficiencies (Longsword, Rapier, Shortbow, Longbow)
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Keen Senses
Darkvision
+2 Listen

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Int, -2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.
 
Sources: GAZ13 The Shadow Elves, Hollow World Campaign Set, Mystara: Players' Survival Kit, Wrath of the Immortals
« Last Edit: March 07, 2021, 09:17:22 PM by EO »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
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MAB77

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Valenar Elf
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2021, 10:49:45 PM »
Valenar Elf

"Put up your swords and talks of peace, or hide behind your walls of stone. When the host of Valenar thunders forth, neither will save you." 
- Shaeras Vadallia, High King of Valenar

Overview:
The elves of Valenar are among the most fearsome warriors on Eberron, with their society dedicated to martial perfection. They revere the military heroes of history, believing that their greatest living warriors will become vessels for the ancient champions. Sword for sword they have no equals, and it is only their low population that holds them in check.

Personality:
The Valenar believe it is their duty to emulate their patron ancestors, and it would be a mistake to consider them as a monolithic entity. The elves of Xen'drik fought a guerilla war against a vastly superior foe, and there were many who relied on cunning, deception, and terror to accomplish their goals. There are Valenar who believe in absolute chivalry and honor on the battlefield, and there are ruthless Valenar who feel that deception and terror are necessary tools, and that they have a religious duty to strike fear into their foes. A Valenar commander knows what behavior to expect from their troops, and will not put the two side by side. Honorable Valenar are disgusted by butchers, but they know that the butchers are required to be butchers.

As an example, most Valenar won’t kill civilians. But there are a few who will specifically target civilian populations, because that’s something their ancestor was known for doing. The commander knows this, and won’t put that unit in the field unless that’s what they expect of them.

Physical description:
The elves are a strange and diverse people, descendants of the ancient Eladrin. Rather than through evolution, the eladrin's offspring were somehow changed through the great magic wielded by the ogres when they sacked the Feyspire to prevent their escape. Valenar elves today do not differ physically from the elves of Aerenal, and share their average lifespan of 200+ years.

Valenar typically wear loose, silk clothing and light armor decorated with elaborate engraving and embroidery. One unusual tradition is the use of red or brown patterns mimicking blood spatters or stains so that the gore of battle will blend with the elf's clothing. A common accoutrement is the zaelta - "spirit mask." This veil is practical in the harsh environment of the Blade Desert, but it also helps the wearer submerge his identity within that of his ancestor. A Valenar warrior usually wears the sigil of his ancestor on his helmet or as a brooch; thus, those looking at the elf see his ancestor, not the mortal warrior.

History:
The elves were born on the mysterious southern continent of Xen'drik, where many of them were slaves of the giant's kingdom. Tens of thousands of years ago, elven slaves rebelled against their masters and eventually left the continent entirely as the continent itself collapsed in an apocalypse of dragon fire, giant magic, and elven steel. They settled in the fertile tropical rain forest of Aerenal, a large island-continent to the southeast of Khorvaire. While coming from different cultures, the elves shared a reverence for their ancestors and the heroic deeds of those fallen in Xen'drik. The cultural tradition of northern Aerenal came to be known as the Tairnadal.

When dragons came to Aerenal, all elves once again joined forces against a common foe. To the human eye it was a war that continued at snail's pace, with centuries passing between battles. Slowly the emphasis shifted from physical conflict to magical warfare, leaving their warriors temporarily freed from battle. So they looked elsewhere for glory, and their eyes settled on Khorvaire.

More than ten thousand years after the war with the dragons began, Cassael Vadallia led a troop of warriors to the southern coast of Khorvaire, where they established a presence. These elves called themselves the Valaes Tairn, "warriors of glory", and as they spread across the southwest, they came into contact with the goblinoid empire of Dhakaan. Skirmishes soon turned to war and while the Valaes Tairn were peerless warriors, their enemy proved disciplined and numerous. At the height of the war, dragons struck Aerenal with greater force than ever, forcing the elves to rush in defense of their homeland, leaving their fortresses behind to be seized. The following conflict was long and terrible, made worse as the Dhakaani launched an attack against Aerenal. The leaders of the Tairnadal met with the Dhakaani and signed a treaty, swearing never to return to Khorvaire unless called upon for aid.

The elves proved true to their word. The Dhakaani were too proud to ask for assistance during the Daelkyr incursion and even when the empire collapsed into ruin, the Tairnadal remained on their island. For thousands of years the Valaes Tairn rebuilt their numbers and honed their skills, until a summons finally came.

As the Last War was already well underway, the beleaguered Queen Mishann of Cyre, beset by attacks from all sides, pleaded for help. Intrigued by the prospect, war leader Shaeras Vadallia summoned the clans of the Valaes Tairn.

For 42 years the Valaes Tairn spread terror to the enemies of Cyre, until they broke all ties with the kingdom. Some say that the young Queen Mishala insulted Vadallia, while others believe that the war leader simply grew tired of the alliance. Vadallia summoned his forces to the southeaster edge of Cyre and spoke of the ancient claim of the elves, a bond to the land older than human civilization. As a darkwood crown was placed upon his brow, he swore to restore the lands claimed by his ancestor and give all Tairnadal the chance for glory. Sinking his blade into the soil, he declared the foundation of Valenar, “the glorious realm”.

Outlook:
The Valenar are a martial culture, with members of the various warbands always searching for glory. To them, war is an art and a game. When fighting a weak foe, they may engage in straightforward battle to eliminate the enemy quickly before moving on to more challenging foes. When dealing with worthy opponents, however, the elves take their time, stalking, weakening the enemy, and enjoying the game. This is true on all levels, including society, which is why wars among the elves can last centuries. With their long lifespans, they do not see history in the same way as humans, and rarely feel a sense of urgency.

The predatory nature of the Valenar is reflected in all aspects of life. Whether a Valenar elf is engaged in a philosophical debate, bargaining with a merchant, or searching for an ancient treasure, the elf always views the situation from the standpoint of hunter and prey.

Society:
Valenar are organized into warclans and warbands. These are military units that also incorporate strong emotional bonds. A Valenar puts his patron ancestor and steed above all things, followed by members of his warband, and only then by members of his blood family.

The war clans remain in near-constant motion unless assigned to guard a specific area by the high king. These roaming clans move throughout the kingdom, launching raids when near the border of the Talenta plains or Q’barra and moving south during foaling season. Other than the city of Taer Valaestas where High King Vadallia keeps his seat, there are few elf settlements of any size within Valenar. Small clusters of ranches form the bulk of stationary residences within the kingdom.

Magic also plays an important role among the armies of the Valenar. The ancient elves took the secrets of magic from their giant masters, and many of the heroes of old were wizards. Most Valenar warbands include at least one evoker or conjurer.

Males and females hold equal positions among the elves of Valenar, and both ride into battle. They have a taste for art, music, and dance, but everything revolves around war. Their fine weapons and delicate armors are their works of art, and their songs recount the great deeds of the elf warriors of Xen’drik.

Humans still live in Valenar. Once citizens of Cyre, these peasants and farmers have simply changed overlords. The elves have no interest in agriculture, so the humans produce food for the elven warriors in exchange for protection, and life goes on as it does in any farming community.

Relations with other races:
As a kingdom, Valenar is respected for their cavalry's prowess but feared as dangerous aggressors on the verge of new offensives. The elves themselves receive at best indifferent reactions from members of other races. Individuals find it relatively easy to move through other cultures while large groups are often perceived as threatening.

Adventurers are likely to be tested with combat before being welcomed into Valenar's lands, and those who stray too near the borders of the aggressive kingdom are likely to feel the brunt of a Valenar raid.

Alignment:
Since elves love freedom, variety, and self-expression. They lean strongly toward the gentler aspects of chaos. Generally, they value and protect others’ freedom as well as their own, and they are more often good than not.

Religion:
Valenar's priesthood is called The Keepers of the Past and serves to maintain the memory of the great elf heroes of Xen'drik. They travel with the war clans to ensure the ancestors are properly honored, and consist of clerics and bards. When an elf is born, the Keepers read the signs to determine the patron ancestor that will guide the elf through life.

A new and rapidly growing cult has emerged in Valenar called the Dalan Rae, who bring this worship to fanatical extremes. Its warriors, the Dalan Rael ("nearly dead"), believe that death in battle is the last step to assuming the true form of a warrior as an undying spirit. They seek early deaths at the hands of powerful foes to ensure their worthy return. It is their hope to build a host of such spirit warriors to ride alongside Valenar's living champions. The proliferation of this cult is seen with increasing concern by the Keepers.

Language:
Elven and Common, though the manner of speech is notably more aggressive and straightforward than other elves, even on simple topics.

Names:
Some common names include Aeraes, Dailian, Fianin, Kaelan, Lia, Niath, Shearan, Tairil, Thail, Vaelas, Vaelin, and Xael. There is little to differentiate between male and female names, and the general naming patterns are similar as those of the Aerenal elves.

Adventurers:
Valenar warriors often travel and adventure for a decade or more in search of personal glory. Others, particularly clerics affiliated with the Keepers of the Past, search for relics from the ancient struggle against the Empire of Dhakaan, ruins of lost elven settlements, or even relics from ancient Xen'drik and their time there. Deeply devoted to ancestor-worship, many travel to Aerenal to visit the City of the Dead and speak directly to the most honored ancestors of that ancient land.

Valenar elves see adventuring as a necessary and glorious part of the warrior tradition, seeking out great foes to defeat like their ancestors of old, bringing honor to themselves and their people. They have embraced the scimitar of their Aereni ancestors, and further developed it into the Valenar double scimitar, an elegant and lethal variant. The Valenar usually devote a great deal of energy to master riding and fighting atop the horses they hold in tremendous esteem. It is usual for successful adventurers to spend much of their resources on magic to protect their steeds against the powerful foes they seek.

Setting:
The Valenar are native to the Eberron setting.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, -2 Con
Low-light vision
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness
Animal Empathy +2
 
Sources: Eberron Campaign Setting 3.5e, Races of Eberron, The Elves of Valenar, Part 1 & 2 by Keith Baker
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 07:08:11 PM by EO »
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MAB

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Vos
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2021, 10:53:06 PM »
Vos

In ancient days lost on the calendars of elves and dwarves, six distinct human tribes invaded the Aebrynisian continent of Cerilia for reasons including escaping oppression, fleeing the wrath of a dark god, and exploration. Five of those tribes survived a cataclysm known as the War of Shadow and persist to this day. The Vos that now reside in the northeast reaches of Cerilia, Vosgaard, are one of the five modern cultures that evolved from those tribes.

A number of Vos were also trapped within the Demiplane of Dread when the domain of Vorostokov was formed. More details about the Vos of Vorostokov are available here.

Physical description:
The Vos live in a harsh place and their appearance reflects that. They are a very tall race of humans, with broad shoulders and thick bones. Their features are flat, they have light eyes, and their skin often appears in shades of yellow to a pale brown. Vos men, especially the warriors, often shave their heads bald and sport long, drooping moustaches.

History:
Thousands of years ago, the Vos tribe settled in northeast Cerilia and the region became known as Vosgaard. Vosgaard goes by three other names: The Lands of Darkness, The Brutal Lands, and the Lands of the Midnight Sun.

The Vos have the unusual distinction of being the only tribe to side with the dark god Azrai during the War of Shadow. An additional oddity is that they were the the one people the Anuireans could not bring to heel after the War of Shadow. Coincidence?

After the War of Shadow, the Anuireans quickly united and set out to expand the Empire. The Rjurik, the Khinasi, and the Brecht were all subjugated matter-of-factly, but the march on the Vos were more of a conquest of hatred and revenge. Having sided with Azrai meant the Vos needed to be annihilated completely.

Whether by allying themselves with the very humanoids that sought to destroy them, or by making pacts and calling on the two gods descended from Azrai to aid them, the Vos drove back wave after wave of Anuirean invaders. Eventually, after a massive expense of resources and the deaths of several prominent Anuirean figures on the fields of battle, all for naught, the Anuireans gave up. The Vos were left to their own devices.

Eventually, the Vos alliances broke down, and they returned to their own tribal infighting and to fending off the humanoid tribes and monsters that haunted their domain. Such is the state of things today.

Outlook:
The Vos remain a brutal yet misunderstood people to this day.  Tribal alliances are manipulated and change as often as the weather, war with the humanoids and monsters persists perpetually, and yet they remain a strong, resilient people.

Society:
The Vos are a fractured, tribal society with a reputation for being cruel savages.  Outsiders tend to forget one important detail when they practice this stereotype:  the Vos live in the harshest place in all of Cerilia, surrounded by monsters that seek to end them on a daily basis.

Despite outward appearances of being as cruel as the humanoids and monsters from which they defend themselves, the individual people of Vos tend to be decent human beings.  Vos will never show mercy to enemies, but they do understand compassion.  They treasure their friends and families dearly, and they have firm codes of honor, even if those codes demand the spilling of blood at the slightest of insults.  Traders in Vosgaard are wise to not appear to be favoring one tribe over another.

Rulers in Vosgaard are clerics of one of the two deities, Kriesha and Belinik.  Any ruler who manages to usurp control and is not a priest of one of these two powers usually finds themselves dead quickly, for the Vos tribes will unite against any leader whose visions do not come from the gods.

Women are fairly repressed in Vos society.  They have few freedoms, but occasionally some can rise to prominence as warriors or as part of the clergy of Kriesha.

For reference, comparative cultures might include parts of Eastern Europe and Russia, including the forests and steppes as far east as the borders of Mongolia.

Relations with Other Races:
Vos view of the other Cerilian human cultures:
  • The Anuireans are a distant nuisance. The Vos will be ready to slaughter them again should they attempt another invasion.
  • The Rjurik are a people farther to the west. There is not much contact with them due to distance. They are viewed neutrally.
  • The Brechts are a timid people to the west. They are smart enough to avoid making trouble with the Vos. We hold their preference to bargain their way out of a problem with coin in low regard, but their coin is plentiful.
  • The Khinasi are a strange culture to the south who embraced the magic that let he Vos down so long ago. The Vos are on neutral terms with the Khinasi.

Vos view of the non-human races:
  • Sidhelien (Elves) are a problem, but probably no more so than any of the other humanoid threats that endanger the Vos daily. Traveling too close to their forests has often resulted in lost manpower and wealth.
  • Dwarves are welcome for the arms and armor they bring to trade.
  • Halflings are rare among the Vos, but they do exist. To the Vos, they are useful and harmless.

Alignments:
The Vos, all in all, tend to be a Chaotic people. Individuals can be of any alignment.

Religion:
In days long past, the Vos used to worship Ruornil, the Silver Prince as their patron diety. Although a god of magic, their prayers to him did little to stem the onslaught of monsters and humanoids. Desperate times called for desperate measures, so they turned to a set of fiercer, angrier powers. This ushered in the age of worship of Kriesha and Belinik.

Kriesha is known as The Ice Lady and the Winter Witch. She was a Vos high priestess, and in the cataclysm that saw the end of Azrai she absorbed his aspects of cold, despair, and cruelty. She is one of the guardians of the Vos people. She drives the Vos to greatness through hardship, and is the reason they are incessantly tested with monstrous invasions and brutal winters. This is all to cull out the weak and keep the culture and people strong. Kriesha is not worshipped by anyone outside Vosgaard, though she is known in the other northern cultures. The Brechts and the Rjurik fear her.

Belinik is the embodiment of “might makes right,” and goes by the monikers The Prince of Terror and The Lord of Strife. Warriors of Vos who follow Belinik believe that strength and savagery are all that are needed in battle. Priests of Belinik often stoke the fires of battle between Vos clans, and they themselves are expected to never back down from battle.

Language:
There is no concept of a “Common” tongue across the continent of Cerilia. Each region has its own “common”, which is the human language for that area. In Vosgaard, this tongue has remained unchanged over the centuries and is known as Vos.

Names:
Here are samples of valid Vos names:
 
Male
Anatoli, Barak, Baran, Basil, Boris, Dimas, Dmitri, Drago, Fyodr, Garan, Gregor, Karel, Kasimir, Igor, Ilya, Ivan, Josef, Leonid, Markov, Mikhail, Mischa, Nikoli, Orel, Pavel, Pavlov, Pyotr, Rodel, Sergei, Stefan, Victor, Vladimir, Yuri
 
Female
Chessa, Danica, Fiala, Galina, Jana, Kalina, Kara, Kira, Krista, Lena, Lenora, Lida, Mara, Marya, Marisha, Nadia, Natasha, Neva, Olga, Pavla, Petra, Pola, Raisa, Sonya, Tamara, Tanya

Adventurers:
Barbarians, fighters, and rangers are very common among Vos adventurers, but wizards and sorcerers are extremely rare. Monks are even rarer, as the tranquility required to be a monk does not often last in Vosgaard. Paladins are virtually inexistent. Clerics must choose a Cerilian deity and associated domains. Vos clerics of Kreisha must be female. Druids must be worshippers of Erik.

Setting:
The Vos are exclusive to the Birthright setting, though there are also Vos in the Vorostokov domain in Ravenloft.

Game Stats:
As per standard humans.

Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, www.birthright.net
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:52:46 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

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MAB77

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Rjurik
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2021, 10:56:08 PM »
Rjurik

In ancient days lost on the calendars of elves and dwarves, six distinct human tribes invaded the Aebrynisian continent of Cerilia for reasons including escaping oppression, fleeing the wrath of a dark god, and exploration. Five of those tribes survived a cataclysm known as the War of Shadow and persist to this day. The Rjurik that now reside in the northwest areas of Cerilia are one of the five modern cultures that evolved from those tribes.

Physical description:
The Rjurik tend to be tall folk with broad shoulders. Their hair color tends to be blond or red and their complexion is fair. Rjurik men and women both tend to wear their hair in braids.

History:
Rjurik humans are the descendants of the ancient Rjuven tribe. After the War of Shadow some 2,000 years ago, the Rjuven became the Rjurik and in the chaotic days that followed, many of the southern Rjurik clans were subjugated and their holdings annexed into the rapidly-expanding Empire of Anuire. Many of the other Rjurik jarldoms and holds were too independent, distant, or savvy to be outright conquered, but were later vassalized through state gifts, marriages, and other promises.

All of Rjurik reclaimed its independence 500 years ago after the Anuirean Empire fell. Rjurik remains an independent society today, but the Anuirean occupation of the southern Rjurik lands is not forgotten.

Outlook:
Rjurik remains a decentralized network of jarldoms and clanholds. Many of these groups trade and work with one another, the Brechts, and the dwarves, although there is certainly strife and intrigue that exists between certain of these jarldoms. This does not nearly rise to the level of what goes on in Anuire, though, and there is no apparent plan or desire to unite Rjurik into anything that resembles a major kingdom or empire.

Society:
Rjurik itself is a vast and beautiful, if dangerous, northern wilderness. It is filled with snow-covered taiga and mountains. The land is dotted with cold or frozen lakes and ice-cold streams for most of the year. What passes for Spring and Autumn in other lands is effectively winter in Rjurik. Actual Rjurik winters are terrible, cold, and dark, and a merciless time when the unprepared will die in the wilderness. Summers tend to be brief, with warmer weather that might be thought of as mid-spring in more temperate places lasting no more than a few weeks out of the year.

The Rjurik people mostly live among scattered small villages and homesteads across this vast, sub-arctic landscapes. Large settlements and great towns do exist in strategic places around Rjurik, but travel between those tends to be an endeavor covering spans of days or even weeks. They are a proud people and fiercely independent, and they swear fealty to no one outside of their own kin, clans or tribes.

For reference, comparative cultures might include Norse (Scandinavia) with a sprinkle of Celtic (Ireland and Scotland) from the Dark Ages into the High Middle Ages.

Relations with Other Races:
Rjurik view of the other Cerilian human cultures:
  • The Anuireans are viewed with suspicion and distrust, as they tend to look upon the Rjurik as inferior and an object of a future reconquest.
  • The Khinasi are a people we have no strong feelings about either way. They are a very different people from a very different and distant land, though their goddess is the wife of ours.
  • The Vos share a similar, harsh climate to us, and their northlands may be even more harsh than ours, but they tend to be far more tribal and savage than even we are. They are best left to their own affairs.
  • The Brechts are the neighboring people to the west. They tend to value coin greatly and their merchants can bring wonderous things when they come, but it is unclear if they have their eyes on our lands for its resources.

Rjurik view of the non-human races:
  • Sidhelien (Elves) are dangerous and not to be trusted. Although they are one of the indigenous peoples, our ancestors displaced them and they are very hostile to us.
  • Dwarves are useful trade partners, and their hardiness is to be admired, but it best to not be too bothersome to them.
  • Halflings are not great in number, but a few live among the settlements and have integrated themselves and adopted Rjurik culture with no great disturbance. They seem good-natured and pose no threat, though they seem to harbor some great secret.

Alignments:
The Rjurik people’s independence and love of individualism and family over greater society tends to make many of them of Chaotic alignment, but individual alignments can run the entire spectrum.

Religion:
The vast majority of the Rjurik people venerate Erik, the modern druidic power of Cerilia. He is the Patron God of Rjurik, guardian of the wilderness, protector of the forest, and patron of Cerilia’s fauna. He does not view the cutting of trees or the killing of animals as crimes or an affront, so long as only what is needed is taken.

Erik is also the husband of Avani, the Patron Goddess of the Khinasi.

Language:
There is no concept of a “Common” tongue across the continent of Cerilia. Each region has its own “common”, which is the human language for that area. In Rjurik, this is the tongue known as Rjuven that has lasted since times before the War of Shadow.

Names:
Here are samples of valid Rjurik names: 

Male
Abeodan, Abrecan, Aella, Aethelbald, Aethelbjorht, Adalbjorht, Adalhard, Aethelhere, Aethelwold, Aethelwulf, Agdi, Agiefan, Agnar, Aiken, Aldbjorht, Aldfrith, Aldred, Aldwulf, Almund, Alrek, Alvin, Alwalda, An, Amalwin, Anders, Angantyr, Anhaga, Anwaelda, Aran, Archibald, Aric, Armrod, Arnfinn, Arngrim, Asmund, Atli, Auda, Audric, Awiergan, Axel, Baldlice, Bard, Barri, Beiti, Bild, Bern, Bernhard, Beowulf, Bjorhtwald, Bjorhtrek, Bjarkmar, Bjorn, Boden, Borg, Borgar, Brodric, Bosi, Brand, Brynjolf, Budli, Bui, Ceolfrith, Ceolred, Ceolwuld, Cuthbjorht, Cuthwin, Cynric, Dane, Drott, Eadbald, Eardwulf, Eberhard, Ecgfrith, Eddval, Edric, Einar, Egil, Egbjorht, Egfrid, Einar, Eirik, Eitil, Emmon, Eric, Eorp, Eorpwald, Eylimi, Eyolf, Eystein, Fafnir, Fardolf, Finnbogi, Fjolmod, Fjolvar, Fjori, Franmar, Frans, Freki, Fridleif, Frithjof, Frodi, Frodrek, Frosti, Fulbjorht, Fyri, Gardar, Gauk, Gauti, Gautrek, Geirmund, Geirrod, Geirthjof, Geomar, Gerold, Gilling, Gjuki, Glammad, Godric, Gothorm, Gunnar, Gunnbjorn, Guntbald, Gust, Guthorm, Hadding, Haeming, Hafgrim, Hagal, Hak, Haki, Hakon, Halfdan, Haltigar, Hamal, Hamdir, Harald, Hardrad, Harek, Hauk, Havard, Hedin, Hegibjorht, Heidrek, Heimir, Helgi, Hendrek, Herbjorn, Hererinc, Heretoga, Hertholf, Hervard, Hildigrim, Hjalmar, Hjalprek, Hjordmund, Hjorleif, Hjorolf, Hjorvard, Hlodvard, Hlodver, Hlothver, Hodbrodd, Hogni, Hoketil, Holmgeir, Holt, Hosvir, Hrefknel, Hrani, Hreggvid, Hring, Hroar, Hrodmar, Hroi, Hrolf, Hrollaug, Hrosskel, Hrotti, Hunding, Hunthjof, Hymling, Idmund, Illugi, Imsigull, Ingjald, Ingram, Ivar, Jan, Jarnskeggi, Jokul, Joris, Jormunrek, Karel, Kareloman, Kenric, Ketil, Kjar, Knui, Kol, Krabbi, Kraki, Lars, Leif, Lodevjek, Mathfrid, Meginhard, Melnir, Neri, Nordbjorht, Odd, Odolf, Olaf, Olvir, Orkning, Orr, Osmund, Osric, Oswald, Otgar, Otrygg, Ottar, Pieter, Poul, Raevil, Rainer, Raknar, Ref, Rennir, Rikhard, Rodstaff, Rolf, Rudolf, Runolf, Saemund, Sigmund, Sigurd, Sihtric, Sinfjotli, Sirnir, Sjolf, Skuli, Skuma, Slagfid, Smid, Snaeulf, Snaevar, Snidil, Snorri, Sorkvirm Sorli, Soti, Starkad, Steinthor, Storm, Storvirk, Styr, Svafnir, Svafrlami, Svart, Sven, Svidi, Svip, Thjobald, Thjodor, Thjodrek, Thor, Thord, Thorfinn, Thorgeir, Thorir, Thormod, Thorstein, Thrand, Thvari, Tind, Toki, Tryfing, Ulf, Ulfhedin, Vidgrip, Vignar, Vikar, Vilhjelm, Vilfrid, Visin, Volund, Vulfhere, Vulfric, Vulfrum, Yngvi

Female
Ada, Adelind, Aesa, Alfhild, Alof, Anneke, Arnora, Asa, Aslaug, Astrid, Aud, Bekkhild, Bera, Bestla, Birditta, Bodvild, Borghild, Borgny, Brandi, Brynhild, Busla, Dagmar, Dagny, Dana, Eadith, Edda, Edny, Elke, Emila, Etta, Eyfura, Fjotra, Freya, Freydis, Galumvor, Geirrid, Geralda, Gerta, Gisela, Gjaflaug, Greta, Grimhild, Groa, Gudrid, Gudrun, Gullrond, Halldis, Hallfrid, Hallveig, Hedda, Hekja, Helga, Herborg, Herkja, Hervor, Hildigunn, Hildirid, Hjordis, Hjotra, Hleid, Hrafnhild, Hrodrglod, Inga, Ingibjorg, Ingigerd, Ingrid, Isgerd, Jannika, Kallan, Kara, Karela, Karelina, Karena, Kay, Kolina, Kolfrosta, Kostbera, Leoda, Linna, Lofnheid, Lofthaena, Lyngheid, Nauma, Malena, Oddrun, Olga, Olvor, Ragnhild, Rana, Rowena, Rjbekka, Saereid, Sigrid, Sigrlinn, Silksif, Sinrjod, Skjalf, Solvig, Svanhvit, Swanhild, Sylgja, Thjodhild, Thorgerd, Thorunn, Throa, Thurid, Tofa, Ulrika, Unn, Uta, Vaetild, Velda, Yrsa

Surnames
Most family names are derived from a line of decent, place of origin, or occupation. Rjurik names are 80-90% patronyms. This makes the above lists doubly useful as you can select both a first name and a family name from it. Males tend to follow their father's name with "sson" and females follow their father's name with "sdotter" as though adding a possessive and your relationship to the character's father. Patronyms are not inherited among the Rjurik. A few houses, clans, and tribes have adopted place names as family names.
 
Adventurers:
Rjurik adventurers can be any base classes, though wizards and sorcerers tend to be extremely rare, while clerics and paladins are virtually nonexistent. The priesthood of the Rjurik is exclusively composed of Druids. Erik is their patron deity and there are no formally recognized churches to other gods or goddesses in Rjurik. In the extremely rare case where a Rjurik should wish to become a priest of another deity, the player must choose a Cerilian deity and associated domains.

Setting:
The Rjurik are exclusive to the Birthright setting. 
 
Game Stats:
As standard humans.
 
Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, www.birthright.net
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:53:06 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

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MAB77

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Khinasi
« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2021, 10:56:55 PM »
Khinasi

In ancient days lost on the calendars of elves and dwarves, six distinct human tribes invaded the Aebrynisian continent of Cerilia for reasons including escaping oppression, fleeing the wrath of a dark god, and exploration. Five of those tribes survived a cataclysm known as the War of Shadow and persist to this day. The Khinasi that now reside in the south central and southeastern areas of Cerilia are one of the five modern cultures that evolved from those tribes.

Physical description:
The Khinasi are a tall and lanky people. They sport aquiline features with dark eyes and dark hair. Their skin colors range from light coffees to caramels to dark browns.

History:
The humans known as Khinasi are the descendants of the ancient Basarji tribe. Unlike the other five tribes who came to Cerilia fleeing oppression and a dark god, the Basarji came as explorers from the sea.

After the War of Shadow, the Anuireans conquered or claimed most of the western Basarji city-states. It was through the shrewd politics and use of magics by the Basarji’s greatest mage-king that they were able to reclaim their full independence from Anuire. It was after this liberation that the Basarji came to be known as the Khinasi, in honor of said mage-king. Unlike the other Cerilian human cultures, Khinasi had become a free land well before the fall of the Empire of Anuire.

Outlook:
The Khinasi are a free people, and the non-ruling classes are made up heavily of farmers, crafters and merchants. These people have no fear of magic whatsoever.

Society:
Khinasi lands are largely desert expanses or vast steppes. Their populations primarily live in and around various city-states, though some are nomads and spent their lives moving about. Kings rule their surrounding provinces from these city-states.

Unlike most of the Cerilian peoples, the Khinasi are one of the more advanced cultures and embrace the study and use of magic and see it as one of the highest and noblest callings. Many Khinasi rulers and nobility are wizards or at least part wizard. Sorcerers are still an impressive and respected lot, but the lack of education they need leaves them viewed as second-class mages. 

Khinasi, like the Brecht and the dwarves, are a trade-heavy culture that ply their wares both over land and across the seas to the south. One large difference in the Khinasi merchant culture is that manners, conduct, and decorum are held in far superior regard to raw wealth.

For reference, comparative cultures might include The Moors of southern Spain and North Africa, Egypt, Greater Arabia, and Persia from the High Middle Ages into the early Renaissance period.

Relations with other races:
Khinasi view of the other Cerilian human cultures:

  • The Anuireans are viewed with suspicion and distrust, as they tend to look upon the Khinasi as inferior and an object of a future reconquest. Still, they are tolerated as they are the single best source of trade.
  • The Rjurik are a people we have no strong feelings about either way. They are a very different people from a very different and distant land, though their god is the husband of our patron goddess.
  • The Vos are one of the peoples to the north. They are savages and are best left to their own affairs. They could be useful warrior allies or mercenaries, but their loyalties are probably unpredictable.
  • The Brecht are the other culture to the north. Our lands are separated by a vast Sidhelien forest, so our peoples do not interact much by land routes. We are on neutral terms with them, though they are also remarkable and admirable traders.

Khinasi view of the non-human races:
  • Sidhelien (Elves) are dangerous and not to be trusted. They can and should, however, be respected for their embrace and expertise in the use of the arcane magics the world provides.
  • Dwarves are useful trade partners, and their hardiness is to be admired, but it best to not be too bothersome to them. Khinasi spices are often a desired good that makes for good bartering for dwarven wares.
  • Halflings are not great in number, but a few live among us in our cities and have integrated themselves and adopted Khinasi culture with no great disturbance. They seem good-natured and pose no threat, though they seem to harbor some great secret.

Alignments:
The Khinasi are an organized, educated, and pragmatic society, and the bulk of their population is consequently of Lawful alignment.  Any given individual can, however, be of an alignment from any part of the spectrum.

Religion:
Most of Khinasi society pays homage to Avani, the Goddess of the Sun. She is also known as the Lady of Reason, and she is the wife of Rjurik’s patron god, Erik. The Khinasi believe the sun itself is her palace where she dwells. Many magic-using Khinasi also acknowledge Ruornil, whose monikers include The Silver Prince and The Moon God. He is the deity of magic and the guardian of Cerilia’s places of mystical power.

Language:
There is no concept of a “Common” tongue across the continent of Cerilia. Each region has its own “common”, which is the human language for that area. In Khinasi lands, this is the tongue known as Basarji that has persisted since times before the War of Shadow.

Names:
Here are samples of valid Khinasi names:   

Male:
Aasim, Adan, Ahmad, Ahmed, Akbar, Ala’i, Albin, Alejan, Alvaro, Anwar, Aram, Arlando, Arturo, Aziz, Boran, Cidro, Diyab, Djuhah, Donato, Duarte, Essafah, Farid, Faran, Fayiz, Gerad, Hakim, Hari, Hassan, Hatim, Husam, Hussein, Ibrahim, Jahan, Jairo, Jakim, Jamal, Kamal, Kerim, Khalid, Khalil, Karim, Kassim, Mahmud, Malik, Mamoon, Mutamin, Naaman, Nabil, Najib, Namir, Nuri, Omar, Rami, Rashad, Rigel, Salim, Tuarim, Umar, Yezeedm Yusuf, Waleed
 
Female:
Abriana, Adara, Adaliz, Adira, Aisha, Akilah, Alia, Alima, Almira, Amara, Amsha, Aziza, Azusena, Badiat, Bahija, Bahira, Briseida, Carina, Chalina, Corazon, Corina, Drina, Farida, Fatima, Ghunayya, Halima, Ibtisam, Jaheira, Jamila, Jamilah, Jasmina, Juleidah, Julnar, Kaliliah, Kamilah, Karida, Ketifa, Khadiga, Khunufseh, Laila, Latifa, Maneira, Medina, Nabila, Najiba, Nura, Rashida, Sadira, Safana, Sami, Samia, Setara, Tala, Thuriya, Tufala, Wadi’a, Wudei’a, Zobeida

Surnames:
Khinasi surnames are often less family names and more labels of belonging/association.  They often start with a prefix according to the following list:
al-<location>-i (“from <location>”, ex: Abriana al-Zikala-i --> “Abriana from Zikala”)   
al- (“the”, Mamoon al-Eagle --> “Mamoon the Eagle”)
ibn- or bin- (“son of”, ex: Jakim ibn-Faran --> “Jakim, son of Faran”)
bint- (“daughter of”, ex: Tala bint-Boran --> “Tala, daughter of Boran”)
Beni (“the <name> family”, ex: Beni Shabad --> “The Shabad Family”)
abd- (“slave of”, ex: Omar abd Setara --> “Omar, slave of Setara”)
min- (“from”, but used by priests/clerics, ex: Aram min-Adaba --> “Priest Aram from Adaba”)
abu- (“father of”, ex: Cidro abu-Carina --> “Cidro, father of Carina”)
umm- (“mother of”, ex: Nura umm-Alia --> “Nura, mother of Alia”)
sitt- (“Lady”, but only used for very powerful or highly respected women, ex: Aziza sitt-al-Shoufal-i --> “Lady Aziza from Shoufal”)

Adventurers:
Khinasi adventurers can be any class. Unlike most of the other Cerilian cultures, wizards and sorcerers are common among Khinasi adventurers. Clerics must choose a Cerilian deity and associated domains. Druids must be worshippers of Erik.

Setting:
The Khinasi are exclusive to the Birthright setting.   

Game Stats:
As standard humans.

Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, www.birthright.net
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:53:36 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Brecht
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2021, 10:57:33 PM »
Brecht
 
In ancient days lost on the calendars of elves and dwarves, six distinct human tribes invaded the Aebrynisian continent of Cerilia for reasons including escaping oppression, fleeing the wrath of a dark god, and exploration. Five of those tribes survived a cataclysm known as the War of Shadow and persist to this day. The Brechts that now reside in the north central region of Cerilia surrounding the huge bay, known as The Krakennauricht, are one of the five modern cultures that evolved from those tribes.
 
Physical description:
The Brecht physique is toward the shorter end of humankind, and their bodies are often on the stockier side. Their hair and eyes tend to be of darker colors, though their skin is of fair complexion.

History:
The humans known as the Brechts have persisted for millennia. After the War of Shadow, the Anuireans conquered or claimed most of the Brecht lands and installed ruling governors. This all changed after the fall of the Anuirean Empire and Brecht became its own independent culture again. The nobility never fully restored itself as a ruling force, and most noble houses are ignored in modern Brecht in favor of prominent merchant companies.
 
Outlook:
Modern Brecht remains a free, seafaring culture, and the population is made up heavily of artisans, laborers, and merchants. If there is any manner of strife in Brecht occurs across two axes: Competition between various guilds and companies, and the haves versus the have-nots. A wary eye is kept toward Anuire; should that Empire ever be able to reunite itself, they could spell disaster for Brecht independence.

Society:
The Brechts are seafarers and traders at heart, and their lands surround a massive bay known as the Krakennaught which enable both of these endeavors.

The nobility of Brecht never really recovered after the Brecht liberation after the fall of the Empire of Anuire. This gave rise to powerful guilds, companies, and merchant factions, and what might be represented by baronies or city-states in other lands is represented more as a loose coalition of Republics in Brecht. While the people appreciate these plutocratic guilds and merchant companies provide, they are very self-reliant and do not often wait for actual nobles or regents to see to their resolutions of their problems.

Brecht is a land of free enterprise, and social structures revolve around wealth. The richer you are, the higher your social status is perceived. This has, naturally, created a lower class of have-nots who often turn to crime. Intrigue, skullduggery, and guild-espionage run rampant in Brecht, and there is plenty of work available for those of less-honest inclinations with the correct skill sets.

For reference, comparative cultures might include the Dutch, the Flemish, the various states of the Holy Roman Empire/Germany, and the Danish from time periods including the High to Late Middle Ages
 
Relations with Other Races:
Brecht view of the other Cerilian human cultures:
  • The Anuireans are viewed warily, as they tend to look upon the Brecht as a resource to be conquered and reannexed someday.
  • The Rjurik are a hardy people to the west about whom we have no strong feelings about either way. They are important trade partners as they have many natural resources that aid in shipbuilding.
  • The Vos are a hard people to the east. Cautious trade does happen with them, as they can be swayed to violence easily when offended.
  • The Khinasi are the people to the south, though our lands are separated by a vast Sidhelien forest, so our peoples do not interact much by land routes. We are on neutral terms with them, though they are also seafarers and traders worthy of respect.

Brecht view of the non-human races:
  • Sidhelien (Elves) are dangerous and not to be trusted. Traveling too close to their forests has often resulted in lost manpower and wealth.
  • Dwarves are excellent trade partners. Khinasi spices are often a desired good that makes for good bartering for dwarven wares.
  • Halflings are not great in number, but a few live among us in our cities and have integrated themselves and adopted Brecth culture with no great disturbance. They can be as good or ill-natured as any Brecht, but overall pose no serious threat.

Alignments:
The Brecht are an overall neutral people. The many guilds that exist create a sense of structure, but independence of the individual runs strong in the Brecht culture. These guilds and the people who own and work for them also rise, thrive, and fall for various reasons ranging from philanthropy to outright selfishness and theft. Individuals can be of any alignment.

Religion:
Given the proclivity for guilds and mercantile trades, most Brecht favor the goddess Sera. She is the modern matron of the Brecht people, and is the goddess of wealth, commerce, and luck – both good and bad. She favors those who work hard, but she has been known to cast her favor in the direction of fools. She is the wife of the lesser god, Rournil.

Many seafaring Brechts pay homage to Nesirie, the goddess of the sea. She is also known as the Lady of Mourning, for she was the matron of the Masetian tribe. The Masetians were the sixth human tribe that migrated to Cerilia, but they faded into history only a couple of centuries after the War of Shadow. Nesirie is the wife of Haelyn, the patron of Anuire.

Some Brechts who keep to the shadows may revere the goddess Eloele. She is the Goddess of Night and the Sister of Thieves. She is not an openly malicious deity, but she is moody and selfish. Any who wish to engage in skullduggery, intrigue, or other roguery would be well advised to seek the blessing of the Sister of Thieves before setting themselves to task. She takes no issue with embarrassing those outside her favor, occasionally with a lethal result.

Language:
There is no concept of a “Common” tongue across the continent of Cerilia. Each region has its own “common”, which is the human language for that area. In Brecht lands in modern times, this is the tongue known as Low Brecht. There is also a more ancient version called High Brecht that has persisted since times before the War of Shadow. High Brecht is spoken more in family circles and in private discussions that do not include outsiders. This is not to say that outsiders cannot learn High Brecht – it is not a state secret.

Names:
Here are samples of valid Brecht names:
 
Male
Adelamus, Adler, Alaric, Albrecht, Alden, Alford, Ansell, Arnoulf, Arvid, Bertram, Bram, Brand, Britter, Calder, Darold, Dekker, Dirk, Edsel, Eldred, Everard, Frederick, Garth, Gerhard, Gunther, Harold, Helmet, Hugo, Hubert, Kalien, Karl, Kiel, Konrad, Kort, Kurt, Lanfred, Luther, Martel, Orderyk, Otto, Pieter, Rainald, Roderik, Richard, Siegfried, Tanbert, Victor, Wibald, Wilhelm
 
Female
Adriala, Adele, Alberta, Alfreda, Alisse, Aloise, Averil, Arden, Arlinda, Belinda, Brenda, Delma, Edlin, Elma, Elsa, Emma, Eckra, Frederica, Gretchen, Griselda, Heidi, Helga, Hilda, Ilse, Irma, Katherine, Matilda, Melisande, Selma, Sirena, Thelma, Wlma
 
Surnames
Aerle, Afield, Aglondier, Agnelie, Alam, Andier, Anuvire, Anviras, Arannt, Armiedin, Arnstein, Atendorf, Bayton, Bedivere, Belladaen, Bellamie, Beltran, Bestly, Bhalaene, Blessington, Branlen, Briesen, Croy, de Rosenay, Daulton, Dagendorf, Daivert, de Born, Deepwood, Derridon, Dorfen, Eagleheart, Earltown, Emmanir, Faire, Fairfield, Falkenstein, Firlen, Flaertess, Fleymark, Gable, Gladanil, Glen, Godmark, Greymore, Halloravant, Haneire, Hartmann, Hawkfield, Hirele, Holdegard, Keltier, Lavalan, Lavalier, Lavord, Lindbergm Lofton, Loraine, Loremark, Montberry, Mortan, Neumarkt, Nivardus, Norvil, Oakwood, Oblivion, Pelinoire, Proudglaive, Raemel, Raenech, Raingart, Ravenburg, Regen, Regien, Rendier, Rosenheim, Rothenburg, Ryuse, Sarimiere, Schonnenberg, Seaborne, Seaharrow, Silverlord, Somellin, Sore, Sorentier, Stalwart, st. Corly, st. Mary, Taelen, Tarisien, Tamaere, Tidemann, Traverse, Uridise, Vailere, Verde, van Hilden, van Horn, Ventbrod, Waybourne, Warhawk, Weissenburg, Wellmore, Williamson

 
Adventurers:
Brecht adventurers can be of any class although wizards and sorcerers are rare. Paladins are unheard of in their culture. Clerics must choose a Cerilian deity and associated domains. Druids must be worshippers of Erik.

Setting:
The Brecht are exclusive to the Birthright setting.

Game Stats:
As standard humans.

Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, www.birthright.net
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:53:59 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Anuirean
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2021, 10:58:02 PM »
Anuirean

In ancient days lost on the calendars of elves and dwarves, six distinct human tribes invaded the Aebrynisian continent of Cerilia for reasons including escaping oppression, fleeing the wrath of a dark god, and exploration.  Five of those tribes survived a cataclysm known as the War of Shadow and persist to this day. The Anuireans that now resides in the southwest corner of Cerilia are one of the five modern culture that evolved from those tribes.

Physical description:
Historically, Anuireans were fair-skinned and red-haired, but centuries of extensive contact with the other human cultures have bred out most of their defining characteristics.

History:
Anuirean humans are the descendants of the ancient Andu tribe. After the War of Shadow some 2,000 years ago, the Andu became the Anuireans and forged the greatest empire Cerilia has ever known. The Empire of Anuire spanned most of the Cerilian continent and held the Brecht, Khinasi, and Rjuven peoples as vassal kingdoms. This Anuirean golden age came to an end when the last emperor took it upon himself to battle a terrible and ancient foe known as The Gorgon. The emperor fell in the battle, and the Empire soon crumbled into the array of states that exist today. Anuire still boasts the largest armies, greatest wealth, and highest culture in all of Cerilia, but it remains divided.

Outlook:
Most Anuireans are hopeful that someday a regent will be able to reunite the Empire of Anuire and sit upon its Iron Throne as Emperor. The problem is that every regent believes themselves to be this chosen soul, and thus much war, intrigue, and general squabbling keeps the states divided and the countryside burning.

Society:
Anuire itself spans a mild, temperate area and its people enjoy the many benefits that having four seasons and varied weather can bring.  Most Anuireans dwell in the numerous baronies, duchies, and free cities of the fallen Anuirean Empire. Some of the more brave and hardy pioneering types may dwell on the fringes of those states in the borderlands, closer to the more dangerous humanoid tribes.

The Anuireans live in a semi-feudal society where free farmers and merchants look up to titled nobles and state regents. Most of the modern ruling class are descended from a warrior class that existed at the time of the War of Shadow. They are a proud people, and their capital city of Anuire stands as a testament to high civilization in a growing dark age.

For reference, comparative cultures might include England, France, Spain, and Italy from the High Middle Ages into the early Renaissance period.

Relations with other races:
Anuirean view of the other human cultures:
  • The Rjurik are a people to some day be reassimilated, whether through diplomacy or conquest.
  • The Khinasi are a fascinating culture that needs to be reintegrated.
  • The Vos are a cruel, evil band of savages who will ideally be brought to heel and made to swear fealty again someday.
  • The Brechts will also be retaken someday, though they are useful from a trading and commerce perspective.

Anuirean view of the non-human races:
  • Sidhelien (Elves) are dangerous and not to be trusted.  Although they are one of the indigenous peoples, they are not destined to be stewards of Cerilia.
  • Dwarves are useful trade partners, but it best to generally keep a distance.
  • Halflings are not great in number, but they live among and have integrated themselves and adopted culture peacefully.  They seem good-natured and pose no threat, though they seem to harbor some great secret

Alignments:
Most Anuireans tend toward being lawful, but individual alignments can run the entire spectrum.

Religion:
The predominant religion in Anuire is that of the god Haelyn, the Patron of Anuire, Lord of justice, chivalry and righteous war. He is the ruler of the modern Cerilian pantheon.

Language:   
There is no concept of a “Common” tongue across the continent of Cerilia. Each region has its own “common”, which is the human language for that area. In Anuire, this is the tongue known as Anuirean. Some of the more learned scholars, genealogists, loremasters, and linguists may take the time to learn the Ancestral language of Andu (Old Anuirean).

Names:
Here are samples of valid Anuirean names:   

Male
Aedamer, Aeric, Agelmore, Agravaine, Alain, Aldric, Anuvier, Arlen, Arvor, Bannier, Blaede, Blessgard, Braelle, Briadorn, Brosen, Caelan, Carilon, Chretienne, Colier, Connor, Credus, Daene, Darien, Dervyn, Donel, Duncan, Elamien, Eldred, Etienne, Everard, Florence, Gaelin, Gaheris, Gavin, Gerald, Ghorien, Hadrien, Hildebertus, Hugo, Landen, Lorran, Mordred, Morele, Mortuis, Moergan, Norven, Oeren, Olivier, Orthien, Parniel, Raen, Raesene, Randall, Requin, Shaemas, Shaene, Stiele, Tannen, Torele, Traederic, Trevan, Tristan, Villard, Vordhuine, Wallen

Female
Adrianna, Alora, Ammeranda, Antia, Arwena, Aubrae, Blanchfleur, Branwen, Brenna, Calindra, Cariena, Dierdena, Donela, Etienna, Faelana, Fhiela, Gaela, Ginewra, Glenmarie, Idela, Ivinia, Jadriena, Laera, Laila, Lauriela, Lionela, Loerena, Marlae, Mirianna, Moergana, Namphre, Niela, Oerwinda, Ranela, Raesa, Saebra, Savana, Serena, Shaela, Shannena, Tariena, Verania

Surnames
Aerle, Afield, Aglondier, Agnelie, Alam, Andier, Anuvire, Anviras, Arannt, Armiedin, Bayton, Bedivere, Belladaen, Bellamie, Beltran, Bestly, Bhalaene, Blessington, Branlen, Briesen, Croy, de Rosenay, Daulton, de Born, Deepwood, Derridon, Eagleheart, Earltown, Emmanir, Faire, Fairfield, Firlen, Flaertess, Fleymark, Gable, Gladanil, Glen, Godmark, Greymore, Halloravant, Haneire, Hawkfield, Hirele, Holdegard, Keltier, Lavalan, Lavalier, Lavord, Lofton, Loraine, Loremark, Montberry, Mortan, Nivardus, Norvil, Oakwood, Oblivion, Pelinoire, Proudglaive, Raemel, Raenech, Regien, Rendier, Sarimiere, Seaborne, Seaharrow, Silverlord, Somellin, Sore, Sorentier, Stalwart, St. Corly, St. Mary, Taelen, Tarisien, Tamaere, Traverse, Uridise, Vailere, Verde, van Horn, Waybourne, Warhawk, Wellmore, Williamson
 
Adventurers:
Anuireans can be of any base class, though wizards and sorcerers tend to be very rare. Clerics must choose a Cerilian deity and associated domains. Druids must be worshippers of Erik.

Setting:
Anuireans are exclusive to the Birthright setting.   
 
Game Stats:   
As standard humans.

Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, Birthright.net
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:54:28 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Sidhelien Elf
« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2021, 10:59:03 PM »
Sidhelien Elf
 
The Sidhelien elves (pronounced SHEE-lin) are one of the original native Cerilian races, having long resided in the forests across the continent of Cerilia. In modern times, they are a simultaneously graceful and savage, but reclusive lot.

Physical description:
The Sidhelien are a physically beautiful people with unearthly, mesmerizing voices. They are as tall as most humans, often measuring between 5.5 and 6 feet tall, but they are far more slender and graceful, typically weighing 120 to 140 pounds. Cerilian elves all have dark hair, though their skin is fair.   

History:
The Sidhelien are timeless, and they have existed almost as long as there has been a Cerilia. Despite their grace they have been no strangers to war over the millennia. Gnolls, goblins, trolls, and orogs have plagued their forests since time beyond remembrance, and these incessant wars have all but halted the progress of elven civilization. Elves roamed freely prior to the arrival of humans, but even in times before the War of Shadow, these humans encroached on their forests, driving them deeper and deeper within. After the War of Shadow, the humans became even more invasive, particularly as the Empire of Anuire began its expansion. In modern times some Sidhelien lands have been reclaimed in the wake of the fall of the Empire, but the deep, misty, ancient forests are where they continue to reside. 

Outlook:
The elves of Cerilia are a beaten people and things look generally dire for them. There is, however, a schism in consensus on what will be best for the race going forward. Most Sidhelien are ready to go back to war in an outward expansion to reclaim their dominion, but there are others with a more progressive, pragmatic view who believe that the humans may be a catalyst for some much-needed change.

Society:
The Sidhelien are a people of both gentle starlight and savage violence. Graceful though they can be, thousands of years of war with the humanoids, and later the humans, have taught them to resist all conquest and show neither mercy nor quarter to invaders. They bear an arrogant air of superiority and treat those who are not of their own kind with coldness and condescension.

Cerilian elves, much like the Fallen Empire of Anuire, are now a fractured culture. Where there was once a grand, central Sidhelien Court, there now exists a series of smaller kingdoms with their own courts. Like the humans, they struggle to reunite due to different points of view between these courts. These courts are found in the deepest, most ancient parts of Cerilia’s forests.

Relations with other races:
  • The humans have wronged us egregiously over the span of millennia and are to be treated with suspicion and outright hostility. Humans who venture too close to Sidhelien lands often vanish and are never heard from again.
  • The dwarves, like us, have their own problems. They are viewed neutrally and we do not deal with them often outside of occasional trade.
  • Halflings seem to harbor some grand secret, and the fact that they predominantly seem to dwell among the humans makes them suspect.

Alignments:
The Sidhelien value the freedoms of the individual above all, and as a race tend toward Chaotic Neutral. They are unpredictable, favoring neither good nor evil, and tend to do what they wish when they wish. There are no lawful Sidhelien.

Religion:
The elves can call upon the forces inherent in wood and water, field and air, but have never worshiped deities. They are aware that the gods of Deismaar existed and that new gods were created, but they do not pay homage to them. Particularly after their deception and betrayal by Azrai, the elves have been adamant in their refusal to worship human gods. To the elves, spiritual development is the responsibility of the individual. The path that an elf takes is a decision that only he or she can make. So strong is this belief that if an elf chooses to worship one of the human gods, so be it. The only restriction placed upon such rare individuals is that they not discuss their religious ideologies within elven realms.

The elves inability to manipulate divine magic is the main reason the elves were driven back so badly from their ancestral lands. It was a colossal advantage the humans ultimately came to realize and exploited.

Language:
Cerilian elves speak their own dialect of Elvish.

Names:
Here are samples of valid Sidhelien names: 
 
Male
Aedan, Aed, Ailbhe, Ailill, Ailín, Aingael, Aislin, Aithne, Allanleigh (al-LAN-lay), Ardghal, Barreight, Biorach, Blathnat, Bragh, Bronach, Bruibevann, Braedonnal, Byrnwbhie (BUR-noo-vee), Cadgwogawn, Caelcormac, Caellach, Cairbre, Calraath, Caoilfhionn, Caoimhin, Caolan, Cathair, Cathal, Cathan, Cearbhall, Ceincorinn, Cian, Ciardha, Colmán, Conall, Conan, Conchobhar, Conlaed, Conleth, Connal, Conri, Conannelaght (koh-NAN-ne-lach), Corvwyn, Comhghán, Cormac, Cuan, Cuchulainn, Daegandal, Deaglan, Daire, Daithi, Dalaigh, Damhain, Dara, Darochinn, Delwynndwn (del-WIN-doon), Derwyndal, Deoradháin, Devlyn, Donnachaidh, Donnabhain, Dubhghall (doy-al), Dubhghlas, Eachann, Eagandigh, Eamonnal, Eidirsceoil, Erghwen, Fiellnn, Finn, Fionnbharr, Gannelganwn (gan-nel-gan-NOON), Garradh, Glyngrean, Lachlan, Lynn, Merwyndin, Morgan, Niall (NYE-ull), Rhannoch, Rhuobhe (ROVE), Rhaal, Rhys, Riordan, Seabharinn (she-VAR-in), Siele, Sliebheinn (slay-VEEN), Talerdigh, Tuall.
 
Female
Ailien, Alliena, Ardenna, Ashleight, Audreeana, Breeana, Brigyte, Briona, Bronwyn, Caitlannagh (kate-LAN-nay), Camrynnyd, Caileight, Dannagh, Deirdre, Duana, Erinn, Fiona, Finnegwyn, Glynna, Gwenyth, Gwenneigr (gwen-NEER), Iyaell, Leeana, Llewellyn, Mawrmaval (MOOR-ma-val), Maeghan, Maebhe, Mhiellwynn, Niobhe, Nysneirdre (nis-NEER-drey), Rhiannon, Rhondal, Rhuann, Shielynn, Sinead (she-NAYD), Siobhan (sheh-VAWN), Tuanala.

 
Adventurers:
Cerilian elves do not have paladins, clerics or druids as they cannot manipulate divine magic. The exception to this rule is that they make excellent rangers, but their magic isn't from a godly source. As there are no lawful Sidhelien, monk traditions do not mesh well with their culture either. They are, however, gifted wizards, rogues and warriors.
 
Setting:
Cerilian elves are exclusive to the Birthright setting. 
 
Game Stats:
+2 Dex, -4 Con, +2 Int*
Low-light vision
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Woodland Stride
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Int, -2 Con will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, www.birthright.net
« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 08:00:59 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Half-Sidhelien
« Reply #34 on: February 01, 2021, 10:59:34 PM »
Half-Sidhelien

Given the contentious nature of relations between the Sidhelien (Cerilian elf) and the various Cerilian human cultures, half-elves are extremely rare individuals. They generally integrate into elvish society as they are far more accepted there.

Physical description:
Cerilian half-elves bear the grace and beauty of their elven parents, but in almost all other aspects they adopt the size, weight, and diversity of their human parents.

History:
The half-elves of Cerilia are not a full culture or race within their own right, and bear no distinct racial history.

Outlook:
Half-Elves gravitate toward the elven civilizations and courts since the Sidhelien have proven fully accepting of them. While they generally do not bear the ferocity that the full Sidhelien have toward humans, half-elves need to be wary around humans as the vast majority view them as full Sidhelien – and thusly dangerous.

Society:
Although most will perish horribly, not every human who wanders into elven territory or is taken captive by the Sidhelien meets a grisly demise. On rare occasions, a brave, intelligent, respectful, and beautiful human manages to survive one of these forays, and sometimes those adventures develop into loving relationships and produce offspring. These half-elves tend to stay among the elves in the woods, although a rare, talented few might be able to integrate themselves into human society.

Relations with other races:
  • The humans are mostly suspicious of half-elves, believing them cursed, bewitched, or some kind of changeling, so half-elves will need to be wary of humans.
  • The dwarves are a decent if distant folk. They are viewed neutrally and we do not deal with them often outside of occasional trade.
  • Halflings seem to harbor some grand secret, and while they are peaceful in nature, the fact that they predominantly seem to dwell among the humans makes them suspect.

Alignments:
Half-elves can be of any alignment, though they may be strongly influenced by the culture they live with. It is very unlikely that a half-elf who grows up among the Sidhelien would have a lawful alignment, unless there were a strong influence from a human parent.
 
Religion:
Cerilian half-elves will generally be godless, unless they are one of the few who embraces their human side more openly.
 
Language:
Half-elves from Cerilia normally adopt both Elvish and the tongue of their human parent, Anuirean, Rjuven, Basarji, Low Brecht, or Vos.
 
Names:
Half-elven names are usually Sidhelien-oriented, but they can also be a blend of Sidhelien and human names.
 
Adventurers:
Cerilian half-elves can be of any classes, but monks, priests and druids will be extremely rare as they would require human connections to become one of those. Half-Sidhelien paladins are virtually non-existent.

Setting:
Cerilian half-elves are exclusive to the Birthright setting. 
 
Game Stats:
+2 Dex, -2 Con*
Sleeplessness
Hardiness vs. Enchantments
Partial Skill Affinity (Listen)
Partial Skill Affinity (Search)
Partial Skill Affinity (Spot)
Low-light Vision
Saving throw vs disease +2

* At character creation, remember that the game engine does not apply ability score adjustment on half-elves. The +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, www.birthright.net
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:56:05 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Cerilian Halfling
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2021, 11:00:19 PM »
Cerilian Halfling
 
Like in other Realms, Cerilian halflings are amicable, comfort-oriented creatures. They hail from a parallel dimension known as the Shadow Realm, although they fled into exile from an unknown evil into “Daylight Cerilia” hundreds of years ago.

Physical description:
Cerilian halflings look like 3.5 foot tall humans with perhaps a bit stockier build. Their hair, skin, and eye color can be as varied as the other races they dwell among.

History:
Many centuries ago years ago, the Halflings lived in a dimension parallel to Cerilia called the Shadow World and could pass freely back and forth between that realm and this one. They were driven out by a growing and corruptive darkness called the Usurper and now dwell in Cerilia itself. They bore witness to the cataclysm at the end of the War of Shadow, and have managed to maintain generally peaceful relations with human and other cultures over the years. On Cerilia they would retain some unusual powers allowing them to move back and forth to the Shadow World where and when the veil is thin, but this ability is lost upon entering the Demiplane of Dread.
 
Outlook:
Halflings tend to mind their own business despite integrating well with the other races, particularly the humans. They keep their secrets of their history of shadow abilities and perceptions to themselves, and only reveal them to others they come to trust closely.  Within the Domains of Dread, these shadow abilities are corrupted and do not function at all.

Society:
Cerilian halflings no longer have a society of their own and adopt the cultures of the folk they dwell amongst whether it be humans, dwarves, or elves. That said, they don’t like big government. Law and order is good so long as it does not trample on the individual or family, and it doesn’t really need to be bigger than what is needed to manage a clan or small village. They have no issue taking up arms against danger, unless it is from another halfling. Halfling-on-halfling violence never rises to anything beyond fisticuffs.

Relations with other races:
  • The humans are mostly suspicious of half-elves, believing them cursed, bewitched, or some kind of changeling, so half-elves will need to be wary of humans.
  • The dwarves are a decent if distant folk. They are viewed neutrally and we do not deal with them often outside of occasional trade.
  • The elves are a mixed bag – they like the halflings that live among them, but are very suspicious of the ones that live among humans.

Alignments:
Cerilian halflings on the whole trend toward neutral good, but individuals can be of any alignment.

Religion:
The halflings of Cerilia will generally adopt the religious traditions of whichever culture they are in. They are aware of a dark presence in their former Shadow World, though. Not much is known of it except that some call it the Cold Rider, and it is evil and full of malice.

Language:
The Halflings of Cerilia do not have their own racial language, and they adopt the languages of the cultures they dwell among.

Names:
The following are samples of valid Cerilian halfling names
Male: Alton, Beau, Cade, Corben, Elan, Eldon, Garret, Jollid, Kylan, Lyle, Milo, Osborn, Roscoe, Welby
Female: Amaryllis, Berrauberna, Charmaine, Cora, Edvara, Euphemia, Hollisande, Jillian, Lavinia, Merla, Portia, Seraphina, and Verna
Surnames: Baggins, Brushgather, Fairbarn, Garrelban, Holltropple, Innkeeper, Leagallow, Onmeadow, Thorngage, Tosscobble, and Underbough

Adventurers:
Cerilian halflings can be any class, though wizards and sorcerers are very rare and paladins virtually inexistant.

Setting:
Cerilian halflings are exclusive to the Birthright setting.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, +2 Wis, -4 Str*
Skill affinity (move silently)
Skill affinity (listen)
Lucky.
Fearless
Good aim
Racial attack bonus when using slings
Small stature

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Str adjustment for standard halflings. An extra +2 Wis, -2 Str will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, www.birthright.net
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:56:27 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Cerilian Dwarf
« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2021, 11:01:30 PM »
Cerilian Dwarf

* Playing this race requires that you fill an application form and receive approval of the Community Council.

Dwarves lived in the mountains of Cerilia long before humans came to the land. Over the years, the dwarven holds have chosen a defensive strategy, fortifying their approaches and retreating to their cities under the mountains whenever threatened. Dwarves have a fierce hatred of orogs, the result of uncounted wars fought under the earth.

Physical description:
The typical Cerilian dwarf stands about 4' to 4'6" in height, with an exceptionally stocky build and thick, sturdy bones. Dwarves are creatures of stone, the children of the mountains, and their bodies are twice as dense as those of other creatures; in this respect they're closely related to stone giants. Dwarves often weigh as much as 250 to 300 pounds despite their size. A dwarf's skin is gray, stony, and cold to the touch. All dwarves have eyes that are dark as jet and their hair and beards are black or dark gray in color and normally cropped short. Cerilian dwarves value their personal appearances and spend time daily grooming their hair and beards. They favor simple styles with little color or ornamentation, except when it comes to stone or metalwork which is more often than not heavily gilded and inlaid with precious gems.

History:
Dwarves learn the arts of war at an early age, for they see their duty as containing the orogs in the caverns under the mountains. The orogs have, strangely, grown ever more mighty in their years of confinement, and the dwarves have had become that much better to deal with the orogish menace. It is partly for this reason that they prefer not to deal with outsiders - visitors distract the sentries. Dwarves lived in the mountains of Cerilia untold years before humans came to the land. They are a strong, enduring folk who enjoy hard living and hard work. They are known both for their skill at making and building, and for their skill at warfare. Their mysterious kingdoms, carved out from the insides of mountains, are renowned for the marvelous treasures that they produce for gift and trade. Common belief amongst Anuirean and Khinasi scholars is that the dwarves and elves fought great battles in the past as they strove for dominance in Cerilia, however dwarven legend (and elven memory) contains no such conflicts - or at least none they will admit to, put simply neither race ever coveted the others lands, both despised the humanoids that surrounded them and both realized early on in their history that it would be better in the long term to trade with the other than seek to take. In addition to being skilled fighters, the dwarves of Cerilia are also excellent miners. Each dwarf clan tends to specialize in a certain sort of mining, so that one clan searches out gems, while another specializes in ores. The clans within a kingdom tend to complement one another, so no clan is left with a useless skill. Dwarves are the most technologically advanced race of Cerilia; their level of technology is roughly equivalent to the historical cultures during the close of the Renaissance period.

Outlook
Dwarves are suspicious and silent around strangers often appearing to be dour and grim sentinels preoccupied with keeping the orog population in check under the mountains. To those few who earn their trust, or in the privacy of their own homes they seem merry and filled with an irrepressible store of good cheer and song. All those familiar with tales of the dwarves know that Dwarves value gold, gems, jewelry, and precious art objects more than anything else, and they are a deeply greedy people. Like many things that the humans of Cerilia believe they know this is simply incorrect - dwarves value wealth certainly, but they value family and friends far more. The legends of dwarven greed come instead from the fact that a dwarf would rather try their luck another day than accept a bad bargain, demand full payment for all debts (whether owed by or to the dwarf), and demand full recognition (i.e. payment or acknowledgement of debt) for labor done - anything else would insult the craftsman. Dwarves fight neither recklessly nor timidly, but with a calculated courage and tenacity. Their sense of justice is strong, but at its worst it can turn into a thirst for vengeance. Dwarves are merciful, but neither forgive nor forget those who harm them - at best they simply choose to overlook the failings or weaknesses of others if it suits their needs. The dwarves of Cerilia usually adhere to friendly neutrality; thus they are on good terms with most other races, including the elves. They're masterful craftsmen and traders; dwarven caravans roam through Cerilia laden with goods. Dwarven arms and armor are the best in Cerilia and dwarven mercenaries are highly prized. They make excellent infantry and also include some of Cerilia's best artillerists and engineers.

Society
Dwarven kingdoms are usually deep beneath the stony face of mountains, where the dwarves mine gems and precious metals and forge items of beauty and wonder. Trustworthy members of other races are occasionally welcome here, although parts of the dwarven realm are off limits even to them. Whatever the dwarves can't find in their mountains they gain through trade. A fair number of dwarves are found in human lands where they typically find work as mercenaries, weapon-smiths, armor-smiths, jewelers, and artisans. Some of these are outcasts and are not welcome in the dwarven realms, either for a period of years or possibly forever if they have committed some grave crime. Dwarves maintain small enclaves in almost all of Cerilia's mountain ranges, trading posts along major trade routes, and a number of large cities have their own dwarf quarters.

Dwarven kingdoms are generally organized around the clan, and clan members are expected to be loyal to their clan first and king second. The clan leaders, in turn, first serve their people and swear fealty to the dwarven king. The dwarven king must therefore be an adept negotiator and a shrewd politician to keep his people together.

Alignments:
Dwarves can be of any alignment, but are most often lawful. Their close ties to their clans and families are important, as are oaths and promises made to one another. Some dwarves lean toward evil, but more are neutral or good. Dwarves are usually lawful neutral.

Religion:
Moradin is the legendary creator of dwarves and the chief deity of a mysterious pantheon of dwarven gods. The dwarves don't speak of their beliefs to non-dwarves and hold their religious observances only in the sanctuary of their hidden fortress cities. In fact, the name Moradin is known outside dwarven halls only because the dwarves call on him for aid during battle.

Language:
Dwarves speak their own racial language. It is a very rigid language, with many grammatical rules. The written form has probably not changed at all over the past five thousand years. The oral form is more fluid; every dwarven realm (and to some extent every clan) have developed their own distinct dialect. Dwarvish, or at least fragments of it, is fairly widely known amongst the Anuireans, Brecht and Khinasi as the highly technical and exacting terms of the dwarves were adopted by the human engineers who learnt from the dwarves. A number of human architects, miners and smiths also speak a reasonable number of dwarvish words even if they do not realize the source of the words they use.

Names:
A dwarf is given a name at birth and keeps it for the rest of his life. Dwarven names are steeped in tradition and follows rigid rules for what is acceptable and what does not. As with many things dwarven, the naming conventions are quite incomprehensible to humans. Dwarves have a personal name, a family name and a clan name. Many dwarves also identify themselves by the name of the realm they come from.

Adventurers:
The bulk of Cerilian dwarf adventurers are drawn to non-spellcasting classes. Dwarven clerics likely exist but never reveal themselves to non-dwarves. While dwarven paladins and rangers are unheard of, it may simply be that they do not reveal themselves to non-dwarves as well. A dwarven druid would be a rare oddity and requires that the character be an outcast worshipping the human deity Erik. Cerilian dwarves usually have no affinity for arcane magic, an arcane spellcaster in their ranks would be exceptionally rare.

Setting:
Cerilian dwarves are exclusive to the Birthright setting.

Game Stats:
+4 Con, -4 Dex*
Stonecunning
Darkvision
Hardiness vs. Poisons
Hardiness vs. spells
Defensive training vs. Giants
Skill affinity (lore)
Bludgeoning Damage Resistance 5/-

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Con, -2 Cha adjustment for standard dwarves. An extra +2 Con, +2 Cha, -4 Dex will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Birthright Campaign Setting, www.birthright.net
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:56:55 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Kagonesti Elf
« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2021, 11:02:20 PM »
Kagonesti Elf

The Kagonesti elves are a forest-living, rugged, and family-centric race. Their tightly-knit communities are scattered across the entirety of their homeworld Ansalon - a product of pressure, injustices and tragedy wrought upon their ways of life in the early Age of Dreams.

Personality:
Kagonesti tend to be impulsive, quicker to act on their emotions than their more circumspect kin; many Qualinesti and Silvanesti find them little better than humans in this regard. The Kagonesti are less likely to take the long view—sometimes to their benefit, other times not. Given the chance, a Kagonesti might kill an enemy soldier occupying his forest, where as a Qualinesti or Silvanesti might first ponder the political and military consequences. Wounding a Kagonesti’s pride is a very dangerous thing for anyone to do, especially as an outsider.

Stubbornness is another trait shared by most Kagonesti. It’s said by some that there are only two creatures more obstinate—a drunken dwarf and a sober ogre. Kagonesti often have a more pragmatic moral outlook than the Qualinesti and Silvanesti. Sometimes willing to let the ends justify the means, Kagonesti are less likely than other elves to have a problem with committing violence against their enemies. An intensely spiritual outlook on life is very common among the Kagonesti. Living so close to their forests, they don’t see nature as a gift from the gods; rather, they believe it is a manifestation of the gods themselves.

Physical description:
Kagonesti look the least like the stereotypical elf. They are often shorter, but boast a more muscular look than the others. Their skin color often takes darker hues along the lines of honeyed oak and deep bronze. Their hair is also darker from shades of red-black to sandy pine. Among them, silvery hair is also not unheard of, but quite rare. Their eyes are almost always brown or hazel. They are also heavily tattooed and painted, having a deeply rooted admiration for the natural world around them.

History:
The elves awoke in the Age of Dreams. Not yet an organized nation, they watched from their forests as the ogres enslaved the humans, only to lose control in a civil war that brought ruin to both races. As the ogres and humans slaughtered one another mercilessly, the elves kept their distance, staying out of the conflict. Silvanos Goldeneye, a young and charismatic warrior among the elves, declared their race could rise above such savagery. As the ogre civilization descended into barbarism, Silvanos inspired the elves to take their place.

The elves scavenged the ruins of ogre cities and built their own civilization, beginning in the forest known in the present day as Silvanesti, where they believe life began. Silvanos ruled as the first Speaker of the Stars and took a woman named Quinari as his wife. Those who would not join with Silvanos were led by a Wilder elf by the name of Kagonos; Silvanos offered to allow them to become the servant caste in Silvanesti. Kagonos refused and led his people, the Kagonesti, back to Ansalon’s forests.

However, as they soon discovered, this forest was already occupied; ancient chromatic dragons attacked the elves, beginning the First Dragon War. Thousands of elves died in the fighting, and it appeared the dragons might wipe the elves from the face of Ansalon. But it would not be so.

Over the next few centuries, tension began to build along the borders of Silvanesti lands and the Ergothian Empire. The Kinslayer War broke out when Speaker of the Stars Sithel was killed by a human. His successor Sithas declared war and placed his brother Kith-Kanan in command of the Silvanesti armies. General Giarna led the Ergothians and their allies, which sometimes included Kagonesti. The Kagonesti had continued to live much as all elves did during the Age of Dreams, and the Silvanesti elves had repeatedly attempted to civilize them—whether the Kagonesti liked it or not. Much to the Silvanesti’s surprise, they didn’t like it and took up arms against their would-be slave masters, retaining their independence and culture alike.

Society:
Kagonesti tend to live in small, isolated communities scattered across the continent. As such, they have no institutions that supersede the importance of the family. Most Kagonesti are in exile, trying to survive alone somewhere on Ansalon. The tragedies that have befallen the Kagonesti since the War of the Lance have most often strengthened their familial bonds rather than weakened them. Their families are the only people the Kagonesti can truly count on to stand with them and defend them to the bitter end.

Families generally prefer to live together in groups called clans. The clans take on nature-inspired names such as White Osprey (the clan of Kerianseray the famed Lioness). Often, Kagonesti clan communities are small; rarely do more than one hundred elves live in the same village. Those in exile try to make the best of it; Kagonesti clan communities have formed within the Pathfinder’s refugee camp in Khur, and Kagonesti band together where they can in the ghettos of strange towns and cities far from home. Clans are led by elders who also carry the title Pathfinder, a title passed down from Kagonos Pathfinder. The title is used somewhat loosely; clan elders as well as the chief elder bear it.

Kagonesti are very practical and this reflects in their craftsmanship as a race. They spend a great deal of time crafting handmade items of use in every day life. Almost every Kagonesti child is taught the basic building skills of a woodland hunter, with bowmaking and fletching practiced daily by thousands of Kagonesti young and old—out of tradition and out of necessity. Hunting and fishing, gathering wild fruit when it’s in season, crafting most items they need, and trading for what little they can’t make themselves also takes up a bulk of a Kagonesti's day.

The Kagonesti do not have many forms of refined arts--most of it is found in their leatherworking and talisman craft, which is said to be some of if not the most elegant and beautiful garments found in Ansalon. Their clothing and artwork at large is inspired by the forms and shapes of the plants and animals of their traditional lands; vines, leaves, and stylized animal shapes adorn their clothing and hammered silver jewelry. Sculptors create talismans and fetishes out of turquoise, wood, and silver; many Kagonesti favor bears, wolves, and dragons. Their music is often unaccompanied vocals. Haunting chants preserve their oral history, while more melodic fare evokes subjects both comedic and tragic. Kagonesti will also sometimes play wooden pipes and whistles, handmade drums, and a two-stringed lute called the shuurtob. Dance almost always accompanies instrumental music in Kagonesti villages.

Relations with other races:
Kagonesti are a highly suspicious race of elves. The Kagonesti have never gotten along very well with the Qualinesti or Silvanesti. Kagonesti already had ample reason to hate humans; whether to harvest fuel for their forges, clear land for their farms, or make room for their cities, humans seem to bring deforestation with them wherever they go. Dwarves have had a rocky relationship with the Kagonesti, but they have shown they can work together when circumstances force it. Many Kagonesti can’t help but like kender. While they find the frivolous natures of kender irritating, they admire the little folk’s indomitable refusal to give in to despair. They find gnomes to be utterly unfathomable and go to great lengths to avoid the little tinkers. They have an excellent relationship with the fey creatures of the forest—the dryads, fairies, pixies, and other mysterious residents of the wilderness. Ogres and minotaurs are blood enemies of the Kagonesti.

Alignment:
Kagonesti impulsiveness might suggest a tendency toward chaotic alignments over lawful, and their pragmatism might nudge them toward neutrality as opposed to good. Of course, these aspects illustrate tendencies, not absolutes; individual Kagonesti are as varied as most other races.

Religion:
In general, Kagonesti revere the gods of light and balance. Astra (Branchala) and the Blue Phoenix (Habbakuk) are traditionally thought of as patrons of the Kagonesti.

Language:
While all elves speak “Elven” in Dragonlance, each region and nation has a specific dialect, and the Kagonesti dialect is the most informal of all of them.

Names:
Kagonesti are given a name at the ceremony of their Life-Gift. These names are usually evocative of nature; the Kagonesti Elven words for Greenleaf, Nighthawk, Whitestag, and the like are common infant boys’ names, while Ashwood, Running Brook, and Star-Eyes are acceptable little girls’ names. During their rite of majority, Kagonesti will take on a new name, each related somehow to the individual’s life at the time. Some Kagonesti will further change their names as the circumstances of their lives change. They do not take on surnames or family names, instead referring to themselves as being of a certain clan (Kerianseray of White Osprey, for instance). Kagonesti love nicknames, and each can expect to have many applied to her throughout their life.

Adventurers:
The Kagonesti are a great race to choose for players looking to play the laconic lone wolf archetype. By the same token, their stubborn loyalty to their families and their community makes them extremely strong team members once they take a party of adventurers under their protection. They may take up adventuring for many reasons: a vengeance quest, becoming hired muscle, restlessness or a desire to see more of the world, or any of a hundred more motives.

Setting:
Kagonesti elves originate from the Dragonlance setting. A feral variant, the Sithican wild elves found themselves on Ravenloft after the creation of Sithicus.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, -2 Int,  -2 Cha*
Darkvision
Simple weapon proficiencies
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness
Lore +1
Search +1

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Con, -2 Int, -2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Dragonlance Campaign Setting 3E, Races of Ansalon
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:57:26 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Whisper Gnome
« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2021, 11:03:42 PM »
Whisper Gnome

Natural masters of stealth, whisper gnomes trade traditional gnomish frivolity and amiability for secrecy and paranoia. Their senses sharp and their reflexes quick, so peerlessly skilled are whisper gnomes in the arts of espionage that some in Khorvaire imagine they were created magically for that very purpose. They are even possessed of the supernatural ability to suppress sound in their vicinity.

Personality:
Suspicious, quiet, pragmatic and reserved, whisper gnomes are natural recluses who often keep to themselves. If not remaining at arm's length from society, they will often be found working as spies and scouts. They will make alliances where necessary, founded on reciprocal protection and the sharing of information about mutual threats. While they're by no means beloved, most other races find utility in their unique talents, even as they begrudge their kleptomaniac tendencies.

Physical description:
Standing at 3½ to 4ft tall and usually weighing 40 pounds or less, whisper gnomes are lankier and more emaciated than most of their kin, and more drab in their coloration. Their skin tones are subtle shades of light grey and pale green, and their eyes are usually a dull grey or blue. As befitting a race that lives by stealth, very little about them stands out.

History:
The wealthy, educated gnomish nation of Zilargo in southern Khorvaire is one of the oldest on the continent. It's widely known for its rich bardic and literary traditions, a famous national newspaper, impossibly complex intrigues, its talent for international diplomacy. It is persistently rumored that the shadowy secret police of Zilargo, the Trust, who are tasked with protecting the social good through underhanded means, bred the whisper gnomes magically, to serve as adept spies and assassins. Few actually believe this conspiracy theory, however...

Society:
Whisper gnomes usually assimilate into the societies of their gnomish kin. In some settings, they might also form their own extremely secretive enclaves, but note that this is specifically not the case in Eberron, where they exclusively live among other (almost always gnome) communities, mostly outside the borders of Zilargo. Like most gnomes They are most fond of subterranean dwellings among sparse, hilly woodland, though occasionally they might be found in human lands, where they make use of their natural proclivities to ply a profitable trade as spies, thieves and envoys.

Relations with other races:
Few races trust whisper gnomes, though they tend to understand that they are not actively malicious. After all, a whisper gnome will usually refrain from swiping their hosts' most precious possessions. Other than other gnomes, whisper gnomes find themselves drawn closest to halflings and (perhaps surprisingly) half-orcs. Whether it be a mutual tendency towards an outcast's path, or different yet complementary natures, whisper gnomes and half orcs tend to respect one another and actually enjoy each other's presence. Of all the humanoid races, it is the dour dwarves with whom whisper gnomes have the least amicable relationship. Rarely will a dwarven city even admit one of those shady whisper gnomes entrance without an extremely good reason. Humans and elves, on the other hand, will usually passively tolerate their presence.

Alignment:
Whisper gnomes trend towards True Neutral and Neutral Good alignments, understanding the virtues of both order and freedom, and eschewing extremes of law and chaos. Though distrustful and aloof, they possess a certain civic mindedness by nature, kleptomaniac tendencies aside.

Religion:
Whisper gnomes are polytheistic pragmatists at heart, for whom exclusive monotheism and zealotry are alien concepts. While by no means intrinsically faithless, they simply don't see any need for loyalty towards a particular religious tradition; a whisper gnome's favored deity is usually "whichever deity is most relevant to the situation currently at hand". In some settings, whisper gnomes do pay particular homage to the gnomish deity Garl Glittergold and some also venerate the Laughing Rogue, Olidammarra.

Language:
Whisper gnomes speak Gnome. However, most also know Terran, the language of elemental earth, and use it as a semi-secret code language among other whisper gnomes.

Names:
Among other gnomes, whisper or otherwise, whisper gnomes will identify themselves using the name given to them by their parents. Among other races, whisper gnomes treat names as disposable aliases, discarding old ones and creating new ones as they move from place to place. The family names of whisper gnomes are very similar to those of regular gnomes, though there are subtle differences. Below are some examples of whisper gnome names.

Male Names: Alth, Fash, Threan.
Female Names: Bella, Freith, Geim, Mala, Nan.
Family Names: Bermin, Daergel, Falath, Shrenan.

Adventurers:
To whisper gnomes, adventuring is an exciting challenge: an opportunity to push the limits of their natural abilities, particularly against foes that outclass them in brawn. There is satisfaction to be found in sneaking past, outwitting or outrunning the mighty. Whisper gnomes also enjoy putting themselves in situations that challenge their sense of ethics, questing for motive to restrain themselves from using their natural superiority to take whatever they want from the slow and unaware.

Setting:
Whisper gnomes come from the Eberron campaign setting.

Game Stats:
Like most gnomes, whisper gnomes are hardy, but lack brawn. They are also nimbler than most of their kin, but have a slightly more unappealing presence. Though they do not possess the usual gnomish resistance to illusion magic, their eyes and ears are exquisitely sharp, and their skill at remaining hidden is nearly peerless.

Game stats:
Ability adjustments: +2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Cha, -2 Str*
Skill adjustments: +4 to Hide, +4 to Move Silently
Darkvision
Offensive training vs. reptilians
Offensive training vs. goblinoids
Skill Affinity (spot)
Skill Affinity (listen)
Spell focus (illusion)
Spell-like ability: Silence, 1x day
Small Stature

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Con, -2 Str adjustment for standard gnomes. An extra +2 Dex, -2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Races of Stone, Player's Guide to Eberron
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:57:42 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

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Tinker Gnome
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2021, 10:53:30 AM »
Tinker Gnome

Gnomes are the tinkers and inventors of Krynn. Fast thinking and fast speaking, their minds are forever fixed on cogs, gears, wheels, bells, whistles, and steam-powered engines. Despite the dangers inherent in their work, gnomes (sometimes called “tinker” gnomes) adore technology and continue throughout the ages to pursue and perfect their inventions.

(This entry focus on the tinker gnomes of Krynn, but they also found their way and spread in wildspace. The settings section below covers the tinker gnomes of the Spelljammer setting.)

Physical description:
Gnomes average a height of 3 feet and weigh between 45 and 50 pounds. They tend to have walnut-colored skin that darkens with exposure to the sun. Their hair is thin and naturally curly. Young gnomes have hair of silver, red, or light brown, which often turns entirely white by adulthood, although streaks of their original hair color may exist into old age. Gnomish hair is nearly always messy or hastily tied up to get it out of the way. Throughout the ages, it has been determined that hair cutting inventions are best left tested on mannequins or livestock; consequently, gnomes rarely cut their hair. However, it grows rather slowly, and male gnomes tend to only ever grow short curly beards.

Most gnomes have adapted clothing suitable for their experimentation and work. Jumpsuits, leather aprons, and overalls are all common apparel. They try to stay away from clothing that will get caught in turning gears or hamper their movement too much. In every case, these outfits have numerous pockets to hold small tools, paper, writing utensils, small parts, and any other items the gnome may need. Although gnomes dress in simple work clothes most of the time, they make up for it during celebrations and important occasions. They prefer loud flashy colors that make them stand out. As with their inventions, they prefer flash and bang.

History:
Early in the Age of Dreams, Reorx walked among the humans of the world and selected individuals who were filled with the spirit of creation. He took them to a land in the north, so he could teach them the art of his craft. After thousands of years, his people, the Smiths, prospered; however, they proved to be arrogant and self-serving. For their conceit, Reorx cursed them and made them small, curious creatures who would always have the burning desire to create. However, they would never be satisfied with their creations. These were the first gnomes. The race continued thereafter to worship Reorx in an effort to appease their god. This is the creation myth in which most gnomes believe.

In 4350 PC, the god Hiddukel tricked a gnome into retrieving the divine artifact known as the Graygem from its resting place. In his efforts to do so, the gnome accidentally released the powerful relic into the world. The Graygem spread magic and chaos wherever it went, transforming the living creatures of Krynn with its chaotic energies, producing countless variants on animals, plants,
and even mortal races.

Reorx demanded the gnomes retrieve the relic, and they complied, creating great sailing vessels and traveling across the oceans to follow the Graygem’s path. They wandered the world for centuries, following the path of the chaotic gem. During their travels, some gnomes would stay at the various places they would land and set up colonies. One of these colonies was on the eastern shores of Ansalon. Some gnomes settled along the coast in limestone caves, while others continued the hunt.

In 3951 PC, a human named Gargath was granted the ability to capture the Graygem by the gods of balance. Gargath placed the Graygem within a magical barrier in his keep. When the gnomes arrived to claim the stone in the name of Reorx, Gargath refused to give it up; the gnomes assaulted the keep and eventually managed to breach the outer walls. The assault also disrupted the magic holding the Graygem in place, and it escaped. When the relic emerged from the keep, it shed a brilliant light that transformed many of the mortals present into other forms. Two-thirds of the gnomes were transformed into dwarves and kender. The remaining gnomes continued to follow the erratic path of the chaotic relic.

They followed the path of the gem for centuries around Ansalon, until finally, the artifact flew over the western horizon and disappeared. By this time, generations of nomadic gnomes wandered the face of Krynn, and some decided it was time to stop chasing the stone—the gnomes split. Some of them stayed behind to investigate and settle down in a great dormant volcano, while others constructed seaworthy ships and sailed north and west after the stone. The gnomes who stayed named their mountain home “A Great, Huge, Tall Mound Made of Several Different Strata of Rock of Which We Have Identified Granite, Obsidian, Quartz With Traces of Other Rock We Are Still Working On, That Has Its Own internal Heating System Which We Are Studying in Order to Copy Someday That Heats the Rock Up to Temperatures That Convert It Into Both Liquid and Gaseous States Which Occasionally Come to the Surface and flow Down the Side of the Great, Huge Tall Mound…etc.”

Over the next five hundred years, the gnomes excavated the volcano and built a massive city.

Construction went slowly as the gnomes struggled with adapting their Life Quests to new needs. Various factions  of gnomes with similar Life Quests began to fight for dominance. This struggle was later known as the Guild Wars of Mount Nevermind. Strong-willed gnomes took control of each Guild and eventually formed the first Grand Council. With common leadership established, the gnomes let their Guild Leaders fight over the issues of planning, while they turned their attention back to their Life Quests.

For nearly one thousand years, gnomish civilization flourished on Ansalon. Every now and again, gnomish expeditions traveled to the mainland and established a number of smaller communities. Some even traveled far to the east to locate the other colonies of their ancestors, but none were ever found. In 2654 PC, a great devastating magic swept across the continent. Gnomes on the mainland sought out the source, believing the Graygem to have returned, but despite the death of thousands, the source of the magic was never discovered. Rumor held that the elves’ magical tampering caused the destruction. The interest in studying magic in the mountain rose to an all time high.

In 1010 PC, the gnomes discovered that human and elf mages had created magical orbs to control dragons. Being interested in both controlling magic and examining dragons, the gnomes decided to create their own. A number of Life Quests were established to study the orbs and mechanically recreate them, but with no success. In the following years, humans arrived on Sancrist Isle. Not knowing the intentions of the humans, the gnomes decided to make their home invisible in order to be left alone. The result of the experiment caused sulfuric gases to spread across all of northern Sancrist. The gnomes were forced to flee their home or perish. Thankfully, the humans from Solamnia were friendly and cared for the gnomes until the gas faded. The gnomes and humans became close allies, and the Solamnics renamed the gnomes’ volcano Mount Nevermind.

In 54 PC, the gnomes of the east were driven from their homes in Karthay and the surrounding regions of Istar, and most fled to Mount Nevermind. Many of these gnomes were masters of clockwork. Within a few years, these gnomes had already apprenticed many students in their new home. Their inventions were so spectacular that, despite actually working, the other gnomes of Mount Nevermind were truly impressed. Unfortunately, two of the clockwork masters held a grudge against one another. Each commanded their apprentices to sabotage the other’s work and, before long, a full scale battle ensued. Hundreds of clockwork inventions were set into motion throughout Mount Nevermind, attacking gnomes at random. The Clockwork Wars lasted nearly a month before all the offending inventions and gnomes could be rounded up and brought under control. The master gnomes were cast from Mount Nevermind, their work destroyed, and their clockwork inventions dismantled.

Many gnomish clerics believed the Clockwork Wars angered Reorx. A clerical committee was formed to study the incident and make an official announcement. The committee took over fifty years to come to a conclusion. Unfortunately, upon the day of the intended conference, all clerical gnomes disappeared, and shortly thereafter, the Cataclysm struck.

While Mount Nevermind suffered great structural damage from the Cataclysm, the loss of life was actually minimal. The gnomes discovered that outside their home new mountains had formed, and the island had expanded in size. Over the next few years, while most races suffered, the self-sufficient gnomes happily rebuilt their lives and looked for ways to improve their home should another Cataclysm hit. The gnomes largely remained ignorant of the problems of the world, with the exception of the few gnomes who traveled outside of Mount Nevermind.

In 351 AC, the Solamnics presented Mount Nevermind with an actual working dragon orb to study, much to the joy of the small number of gnomes who spent their lives researching them. Shortly following, however, the orb was taken away by an old wizard and a kender. The kender destroyed the orb by throwing it at the Whitestone, which gave the gnomes the opportunity to study it from the inside out and produce dozens of scholarly papers on the recklessness of kender.

Thirty years later, Mount Nevermind was attacked by Dark Knights. This gave the Military Guild a chance to finally shine. In the midst of the battle, Chaos creatures attacked the mountain, and the Dark Knights and gnomes were forced to work together to evacuate. A fire dragon emerged from the magma pools beneath the city and destroyed most of Mount Nevermind from within before blowing the top off the volcano.

In the years following the Chaos War, the gnomes returned to working on their mountain home until it was once again invaded by a dragon—a massive red known as Pyrothraxus. Rather than be alarmed, the gnomes believed this to be a rare and wonderful opportunity to study a red dragon up close. No matter how many gnomes Pyrothraxus killed, more just kept coming. Eventually, the dragon went mad and retreated to a nearby cavern system, where he remains to this day as ersatz overlord (or Chief Conflagrations and Tyrannical Despotic Psychoses Officer) of the gnomes.

In 420 AC, Dark Knights approached Pyrothraxus, wishing to utilize gnomish technology for warfare. The dragon granted the knights dominion over the gnomes in an effort to distance the horrible creatures from himself, but this failed utterly. Following the War of Souls, the Dark Knight’s influence over the gnomes is insignificant.

Outlook:
Gnomes do not stop to think; they go then think. They resemble bees, tirelessly working, and moving. While they do pause to rest, they are not known for their patience.

The ancient gnomish theorist Gneinstein said, “Time stands still for no gnome, unless you involve magic, which is cheating.” So things must get done, and the sooner the better. Every gnome understands that it takes a number of times to perfect any process, and once it has been perfected, it’s time to improve upon it.

This constant motion can be infuriating to many other races, who fail to comprehend the idea of not stopping to smell the roses once in a while. Tinker gnomes have no need to smell roses; they have invented machines to do that for them. They prefer to categorize the roses, catalog, dissect, and recycle them. This general attitude is often perceived by non-gnomes as a complete lack of social graces. Gnomes don’t shake hands; they don’t have the time or inclination. They do not make small talk unless it is pertaining to their own interests. Those gnomes who are not from the Sociology Guild are usually ignorant of the etiquette of other cultures and blithely assume that only their own interests matter.

When it comes to intelligence, most gnomes are extremely knowledgeable. They are proud of the knowledge they have collected and always seek a way to work it into their conversations. It makes them feel important to demonstrate their skills. Unfortunately, much of their knowledge is based on unproven theories and assumptions. Ideas such as “Small rocks sink, but really, really big rocks float because the continents and islands stay above water” and “the farther you go up into the sky the less you weigh” are still popular and hotly debated among gnomes.

Gnomes give praise in small doses. Sometimes it may appear as condescension, and in other cases, their praise is always followed by criticism. These backhanded compliments are actually well intended. The gnome is simply trying to improve upon a process. Nothing is ever good enough for a tinker gnome.. In some cases, gnomes have been known to settle with using certain simple tools, such as hammers, screws and pulleys, but this by no means prevents some gnomes from working to improve them in some form or fashion. Bigger is always better in the case of a tinker gnome; to think otherwise is mad.

Society:
Gnomish society is comprised of a number of organizations known as guilds. Each guild is centered around a particular generalized area of interest and contributes to the functioning of the society. The Agricultural Guild provides food. The Medical Guild supplies health care. The Acquisitions Guild makes sure each guild has the resources they require and details processes for obtaining and sending those supplies. Over all, there are more than fifty major guilds and a score of smaller ones. Those guilds that have applied sciences tend to see many more applicants than theoretical guilds. Guilds like the Astronomy Guild have relatively few members and do not have much influence in the Grand Council.

The Grand Council is the ruling body of Mount Nevermind. It consists of the leaders of each of the major guilds. These leaders are elected in any number of different ways, depending on the guild. Some are elected through ballots, deliberates, seniority, or contests. Some leadership positions are even hereditary. The Grand Council was established to govern the gnomes and create laws that each guild must obey, but the process and procedure of the council is so complex and lengthy that very few decisions are ever made. Many laws passed are simply ignored.

Usually, the individual guild leaders determine how their guild will be governed.

In small communities of gnomes, the government works a little more efficiently, because fewer gnomes are involved in the process. Every guild in town is represented, and each has their say in the matter. The most powerful guild has the most influence, but often, the eldest gnome of the community, who is considered the most learned, has the final say in any matter.

Most gnomes reside within Mount Nevermind on the Isle of Sancrist. It is the largest city of gnomes in Ansalon, with over 50,000 gnomes living within the bowels of a once extinct volcano. The city is thousands of years old and the most technologically advanced on Ansalon. It was once comprised of 35 separate levels, but during the Chaos War, the volcano was brought to life by a fire dragon rampage that entirely destroyed the upper ten levels. Thankfully, much of the city was already evacuated before this occurred. Since that time, the gnomes have been working to repair the damage.

Outside of Mount Nevermind, there are a number of gnomish settlements and communities. Villages are usually hidden away in rugged foothills or other out of the way places, where most folk are not even aware of their existence. These communities are usually fairly small, with just a few hundred gnomes. Most large cities also have a small section of the town allocated for gnomish communities.

Relations with other races:
Gnomes are isolationists. They have always sought methods that allow self-sufficiency and prefer to dwell in seclusion to work on their Life Quests. Gnomes often spend the rest of their lives working toward the goal of completing their particular Life Quest, so unless their particular Life Quest forces them to interact with other races, many gnomes are content to remain within their own communities.

However, there have been gnomes who have taken to a life of adventure for various reason. Typically, these are the gnomes most races meet. Gnomes view all races with the same scientific curiosity. They do not have any historical enmity with one race over another. In simplest terms, they tolerate all races, and most races barely tolerate them.

Gnomes get along well enough with those humans who can tolerate their presence. The Ergothians and Solamnics have always shown a great interest in technology over magic. Even now, the Dark Knights in the service of Pyrothraxus, who has claimed dominion over the Northern Mountains of Sancrist, are constantly watching and asking about various inventions. Of course, this excites the tinker gnomes to no end and makes them work harder to improve their contraptions.

Gnomes tend to get along well with dwarves. Dwarves are one of the few races that understand and appreciate the gnomish fascination with technology. While it’s true that dwarves are satisfied with only developing simple machines, gnomes applaud their effort.

While gnomes generally do not have problems with many of the races, they do not generally get along with elves. Many gnomes find magic to be a distasteful practice, as it defies the laws of science. Elves find gnomes longwinded, careless, and obsessive. So both sides generally agree to dislike one another. Occasionally, elves and gnomes have been known to become acquaintances; these relationships usually stem from a common love of knowledge.

The kender race is something of a mixed blessing to the gnomes. On one hand, kender are extremely curious and fearless, making them ideal companions and testers. On the other hand, the chances of an invention missing parts and failing often increase drastically whenever a kender is around. The actual statistics and percentages for such a chance are still under review by the Mathematics Guild.

Draconian and gnomish interaction is best described as brief and violent. The ever curious tinker gnomes are fascinated with the idea of an entire race of beings engineered to life. They admit that the use of magic to achieve such an endeavor is distasteful, but they admire the innovation it took to create such a race. Draconians generally find gnomes thoroughly annoying and would just as soon kill them as listen to their endless questions.

Gnomes don’t mind minotaurs and usually treat them much the same as dangerous humans. Minotaurs find gnomes erratic, unpredictable, and general nuisances. Occasionally, a gnomish vessel will find its way to the Blood Sea. Most minotaur pirate ships won’t board a gnome ship, and wise captains will usually steer clear before the gnomish ship malfunctions and ends up taking down both vessels.

Gnomes generally try to avoid ogres. The lack of intellect and abundance of mindless rage often makes ogres dangerous to be around. Even half-ogres are often treated with trepidation until the gnome gets to know them better.

Alignments:
Although they consider themselves above such antiquated concepts of “good” and “evil,” the studious (some would say fanatical) nature of gnomes gives them a strong lawful bent. Gnomes embrace the philosophy that knowledge is neither good nor evil. Evil gnomes are as rare as evil kender, and end up either being catapulted (sometimes literally) out of gnome society or leaving on their own accord to focus their energies entirely upon their studies.

Religion:
Gnomes have faith in technology, and everything else comes after. As such, there are few gnomish clerics. Their one true love is tinkering, and their divine word is the scientific methodology. Most gnomes believe in the existence of the gods; Reorx is highly respected as the father of the gnomes. They view him as a wizened old gnome who created the universe, which they affectionately refer to as the World-gadget. He is honored in tradition, and his clerics are well respected. Occasionally, gnomes will mutter a quick prayer to Reorx before they start up any invention.

Faith in the gods, however, is a difficult concept for most gnomes to comprehend. While the few gnomes of the Philosophers Guild have grasped the concept, an average tinker gnome tends to rely on what he can touch with his own hands. He understands the basics of holy weapons and artifacts, but not placing his entire life in the hands of an unseen deity of immeasurable power.

Among the halls of Mount Nevermind, there are three gods, in addition to Reorx, to whom a small number of clerical tinker gnomes pay reverence. Clerics of Sirrion are occasionally found among the Guild of Alchemical Sciences. Within the Sage guilds, Gilean is worshiped by certain gnomes for his love of knowledge, and among the Technical guilds, Shinare is worshiped for smooth-running machines.

Most religious study is associated with a gnome’s Life Quest. Perhaps she is looking for a way to channel divine energy to power machines. With a willing deity, she could potentially have an endless supply of power. Some Life Quests may have to do with proving infallibly the existence of the gods. Still others deal with creating mechanical devices that allow a gnome to travel to the homes of the gods. This is often the closest many tinker gnomes ever come to godly worship.

The gnomes outside of Mount Nevermind tend to experience much more of the world than their cloistered brethren, and this often provides them with insights that most gnomes simply never experience. It also allows them to expand their views on the gods. Thus, gnomish clerics of Branchala may be working on perfecting the ultimate Onegnome-band machine, or gnomish clerics of Chemosh may be studying undead from the inside out.

Language:
Gnome is an interesting language in the fact that it has evolved from an abstract language to one more generic. Ancient gnomes developed their own language, used within their societies and cultures. It was a highly structured language with numerous characters for letters and multiple words with the same meaning. However, as the gnomes made their journey from the distant shores across the world, they adopted the languages of other cultures. When their journey ended on Sancrist and they settled in Mount Nevermind, they adopted the language of Ergot. While they remained largely isolated, the gnomes learned new words from their limited trade and replaced them in their own language. They continued to use the old gnomish language for names, much of their written documents, instructions, and formal ceremonies, but the every day usage began to fade.

Once the trade language of Common became popular, the gnomes began to incorporate it into their language until it eventually became the primary language of the gnomes. In true tinker gnome fashion, they have improved upon the Common tongue. They speak at such a breakneck speed that other races that also speak Common can hardly relate. When scientific, and not so scientific, jargon is added, gnomes sound as though they are speaking an entirely different language.

When two gnomes are talking to one another, this Hyper-Common is spoken by both at the same time. Since gnomes can listen and speak at the same time, the flow and ebb of the conversation takes seconds instead of minutes. Gnomes find this communication to be helpful in expressing ideas, theories, and complaints in the most efficient manner possible. When a gnome is speaking to a member of another race, they often forget they are speaking at an accelerated rate. They find it annoying to slow their speaking. They also tend to believe that other races are simply not intelligent enough to comprehend them.

In true gnomish fashion, bigger is better. The more amount of detail you can give the more accurate the communication. Gnomes endeavor to be as complete as possible in their answer; in turn, this leads to some extremely lengthy answers. Most folks tend to cut off a gnome well into the first few minutes of anything they say.

Names:
Gnomes have three different names. The first name is given by the family and comprised of a lengthy history of the gnomes’ ancestors. This name is often recorded in a book a gnomish mother begins when she first discovers she is with child. She usually finishes this book around the time the child is born. These long names are traditionally written in the old gnomish language.

While this name is highly important for record keeping, it can take an extremely long time to repeat in daily conversations, so a second shorter name is applied. This second name is a summary of the longer name and only takes ten to thirty minutes to recite; it is usually used in more formal settings, such as a wedding or court of law.

Neither name is short enough for gnomes to use in every day communication, so a nickname comprised of only the first few syllables of the gnome’s name are used. Common abbreviated male names include Cogg, Deddalo, Gear, Gnerd, Innova, and Snork; Bethi, Gauge, Gnorra, Nano, Pidge, Pestle, and Sulfie are common female names. It is considered proper gnome etiquette to introduce oneself with the lengthy (yet shorter) formal name. Unfortunately, outsiders who hear this name (or portion of it) tend to shorten it on their own to names like Standback, Wizbang, and Bloody Bob.

Adventurers:
Gnomes most often go adventuring to work on their Life Quest. Sometimes this leads them to the far reaches of the continent in search of specific items they must catalog and collect or some event they must witness for themselves to better study it. Some gnomes adventure in order to test certain inventions they have created. If they have designed a special suit of armor, they may wish to field test it in order to work the bugs out and discover how to improve upon it.

Settings:
Tinker gnomes come mainly from the Dragonlance setting, but are also the most common type of gnomes in wildspace, the Spelljammer setting.

Spelljammer
The gnomes of wildspace are tinkers, inventors, and alchemists. They're descendants of the tinker gnomes of Krynn who expanded into wildspace many centuries ago. They can now be found everywhere in the Known Spheres, much to the distress of every other race. They're most (in)famous for a love of mechanical devices with many bells, whistles, and make much noise and usually do little or nothing at all.

They're about 3 feet tall and weigh 45 to 50 pounds, with almost no difference between the sexes. They have brown skin and black, brown, or most often white hair. Their eyes are blue or violet in color. They are stocky but nimble, spending their lives deftly darting through their machines and avoiding moving parts and flying shrapnel. They often appear quite disheveled as they do not have time for personal hygiene. They wear simple clothes with aprons with many pockets and tool hoops, as well as large, heavy tool belts. One is never seen without several dozen strange-looking tools and devices.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Str, -2 Wis *
Spell focus (illusion)
Will Save +2
Small stature

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Con, -2 Str adjustment for standard gnomes. An extra +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, -2 Wis will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Dragonlance Campaign Setting, Races of Ansalon
« Last Edit: March 06, 2021, 03:10:41 PM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Thinker (Mad) Gnome
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2021, 12:11:22 PM »
Thinker (Mad) Gnome

In every society, there are individuals who operate outside of the accepted norm. This is no different for the gnomish race. In gnomish society, these individuals are known as mad gnomes and thinker gnomes by others. They are gnomes who repeatedly break or no longer conform to the acceptable customs of society. Following the Chaos War, many more so-called mad gnomes have surfaced in communities outside of Mount Nevermind. Understandably, this has given rise to great concern and conjecture among the gnomish community, as well as a profitable series of lectures.

Physical description:
Gnomes average a height of 3 feet and weigh between 45 and 50 pounds. They tend to have walnut-colored skin that darkens with exposure to the sun. Their hair is thin and naturally curly. Young gnomes have hair of silver, red, or light brown, which often turns entirely white by adulthood, although streaks of their original hair color may exist into old age. Gnomish hair is nearly always messy or hastily tied up to get it out of the way. Throughout the ages, it has been determined that hair cutting inventions are best left tested on mannequins or livestock; consequently, gnomes rarely cut their hair. However, it grows rather slowly, and male gnomes tend to only ever grow short curly beards.

Mad gnomes look exactly like their tinker gnome cousins, and as any given family could produce both tinker gnomes and mad gnomes, not even a close relative can isolate any specific differences. Mad gnomes—especially those who are given to calling themselves thinkers—are more likely to dress casually. They are more careful as to how they present themselves to the outside world, with far less concern for immediacy.

History:
Early in the Age of Dreams, Reorx walked among the humans of the world and selected individuals who were filled with the spirit of creation. He took them to a land in the north, so he could teach them the art of his craft. After thousands of years, his people, the Smiths, prospered; however, they proved to be arrogant and self-serving. For their conceit, Reorx cursed them and made them small, curious creatures who would always have the burning desire to create. However, they would never be satisfied with their creations. These were the first gnomes. The race continued thereafter to worship Reorx in an effort to appease their god. This is the creation myth in which most gnomes believe.

In 4350 PC, the god Hiddukel tricked a gnome into retrieving the divine artifact known as the Graygem from its resting place. In his efforts to do so, the gnome accidentally released the powerful relic into the world. The Graygem spread magic and chaos wherever it went, transforming the living creatures of Krynn with its chaotic energies, producing countless variants on animals, plants,
and even mortal races.

Reorx demanded the gnomes retrieve the relic, and they complied, creating great sailing vessels and traveling across the oceans to follow the Graygem’s path. They wandered the world for centuries, following the path of the chaotic gem. During their travels, some gnomes would stay at the various places they would land and set up colonies. One of these colonies was on the eastern shores of Ansalon. Some gnomes settled along the coast in limestone caves, while others continued the hunt.

In 3951 PC, a human named Gargath was granted the ability to capture the Graygem by the gods of balance. Gargath placed the Graygem within a magical barrier in his keep. When the gnomes arrived to claim the stone in the name of Reorx, Gargath refused to give it up; the gnomes assaulted the keep and eventually managed to breach the outer walls. The assault also disrupted the magic holding the Graygem in place, and it escaped. When the relic emerged from the keep, it shed a brilliant light that transformed many of the mortals present into other forms. Two-thirds of the gnomes were transformed into dwarves and kender. The remaining gnomes continued to follow the erratic path of the chaotic relic.

They followed the path of the gem for centuries around Ansalon, until finally, the artifact flew over the western horizon and disappeared. By this time, generations of nomadic gnomes wandered the face of Krynn, and some decided it was time to stop chasing the stone—the gnomes split. Some of them stayed behind to investigate and settle down in a great dormant volcano, while others constructed seaworthy ships and sailed north and west after the stone. The gnomes who stayed named their mountain home “A Great, Huge, Tall Mound Made of Several Different Strata of Rock of Which We Have Identified Granite, Obsidian, Quartz With Traces of Other Rock We Are Still Working On, That Has Its Own internal Heating System Which We Are Studying in Order to Copy Someday That Heats the Rock Up to Temperatures That Convert It Into Both Liquid and Gaseous States Which Occasionally Come to the Surface and flow Down the Side of the Great, Huge Tall Mound…etc.”

Over the next five hundred years, the gnomes excavated the volcano and built a massive city.

Construction went slowly as the gnomes struggled with adapting their Life Quests to new needs. Various factions  of gnomes with similar Life Quests began to fight for dominance. This struggle was later known as the Guild Wars of Mount Nevermind. Strong-willed gnomes took control of each Guild and eventually formed the first Grand Council. With common leadership established, the gnomes let their Guild Leaders fight over the issues of planning, while they turned their attention back to their Life Quests.

For nearly one thousand years, gnomish civilization flourished on Ansalon. Every now and again, gnomish expeditions traveled to the mainland and established a number of smaller communities. Some even traveled far to the east to locate the other colonies of their ancestors, but none were ever found. In 2654 PC, a great devastating magic swept across the continent. Gnomes on the mainland sought out the source, believing the Graygem to have returned, but despite the death of thousands, the source of the magic was never discovered. Rumor held that the elves’ magical tampering caused the destruction. The interest in studying magic in the mountain rose to an all time high.

In 1010 PC, the gnomes discovered that human and elf mages had created magical orbs to control dragons. Being interested in both controlling magic and examining dragons, the gnomes decided to create their own. A number of Life Quests were established to study the orbs and mechanically recreate them, but with no success. In the following years, humans arrived on Sancrist Isle. Not knowing the intentions of the humans, the gnomes decided to make their home invisible in order to be left alone. The result of the experiment caused sulfuric gases to spread across all of northern Sancrist. The gnomes were forced to flee their home or perish. Thankfully, the humans from Solamnia were friendly and cared for the gnomes until the gas faded. The gnomes and humans became close allies, and the Solamnics renamed the gnomes’ volcano Mount Nevermind.

In 54 PC, the gnomes of the east were driven from their homes in Karthay and the surrounding regions of Istar, and most fled to Mount Nevermind. Many of these gnomes were masters of clockwork. Within a few years, these gnomes had already apprenticed many students in their new home. Their inventions were so spectacular that, despite actually working, the other gnomes of Mount Nevermind were truly impressed. Unfortunately, two of the clockwork masters held a grudge against one another. Each commanded their apprentices to sabotage the other’s work and, before long, a full scale battle ensued. Hundreds of clockwork inventions were set into motion throughout Mount Nevermind, attacking gnomes at random. The Clockwork Wars lasted nearly a month before all the offending inventions and gnomes could be rounded up and brought under control. The master gnomes were cast from Mount Nevermind, their work destroyed, and their clockwork inventions dismantled.

Many gnomish clerics believed the Clockwork Wars angered Reorx. A clerical committee was formed to study the incident and make an official announcement. The committee took over fifty years to come to a conclusion. Unfortunately, upon the day of the intended conference, all clerical gnomes disappeared, and shortly thereafter, the Cataclysm struck.

While Mount Nevermind suffered great structural damage from the Cataclysm, the loss of life was actually minimal. The gnomes discovered that outside their home new mountains had formed, and the island had expanded in size. Over the next few years, while most races suffered, the self-sufficient gnomes happily rebuilt their lives and looked for ways to improve their home should another Cataclysm hit. The gnomes largely remained ignorant of the problems of the world, with the exception of the few gnomes who traveled outside of Mount Nevermind.

In 351 AC, the Solamnics presented Mount Nevermind with an actual working dragon orb to study, much to the joy of the small number of gnomes who spent their lives researching them. Shortly following, however, the orb was taken away by an old wizard and a kender. The kender destroyed the orb by throwing it at the Whitestone, which gave the gnomes the opportunity to study it from the inside out and produce dozens of scholarly papers on the recklessness of kender.

Thirty years later, Mount Nevermind was attacked by Dark Knights. This gave the Military Guild a chance to finally shine. In the midst of the battle, Chaos creatures attacked the mountain, and the Dark Knights and gnomes were forced to work together to evacuate. A fire dragon emerged from the magma pools beneath the city and destroyed most of Mount Nevermind from within before blowing the top off the volcano.

In the years following the Chaos War, the gnomes returned to working on their mountain home until it was once again invaded by a dragon—a massive red known as Pyrothraxus. Rather than be alarmed, the gnomes believed this to be a rare and wonderful opportunity to study a red dragon up close. No matter how many gnomes Pyrothraxus killed, more just kept coming. Eventually, the dragon went mad and retreated to a nearby cavern system, where he remains to this day as ersatz overlord (or Chief Conflagrations and Tyrannical Despotic Psychoses Officer) of the gnomes.

In 420 AC, Dark Knights approached Pyrothraxus, wishing to utilize gnomish technology for warfare. The dragon granted the knights dominion over the gnomes in an effort to distance the horrible creatures from himself, but this failed utterly. Following the War of Souls, the Dark Knight’s influence over the gnomes is insignificant.

Outlook:
There are a number of different ways a gnome might become branded a mad gnome. The gnome may continually break the laws of their Guild, sabotage another gnome’s Life Quest, persistently display thought processes that do not resonate with gnomish culture (such as believing in Cause and Effect), always creating devices that work and are considered complete, or even displaying no inclination for tinkering or science. In all cases, the gnome is considered damaged in some way.

Throughout the ages, gnomes have tried to institute various programs to assist these gnomes and re-educate them. In some cases, brainwashing has been effective, but the practice fell out of favor when a mad gnome abducted a number of guild leaders and used the same technique to make them believe they were chickens; the deprogramming took months. The mad gnome was never found, although his elaborate and ingenious plan did make the Grand Council think twice about branding him a mad gnome.

When gnomes are officially cast from society, a public trial is held in which the offending gnome is given a chance to speak for himself. Often times, the damage that has been done is irreversible, and the condemned only makes matters worse. In the trial, only the offender’s abbreviated name is used. The book containing their full name is reduced to pulp to be recycled. Any inventions the mad gnome created are dismantled for parts. Their guild affiliation is revoked and their Life Quest is either handed down to another member of the family or regrettably left unfinished, which brings great dishonor to the gnome’s family and ancestors.

Outside of Mount Nevermind, the process is much less official, and most gnomes simply expel the offending gnome from their community with a gnome flinger and a few choice words.

Gnomes branded as mad gnomes usually react one of two ways. Either they are deeply remorseful for their behavior and saddened at the loss of connection to their community, or they are actually relieved to finally be free to go into the world and act as they wish. In either case, the social restrictions of the gnomish culture have been lifted for this particular character.

Mad gnomes have dreams and aspirations, just like everyone else. Some even continue on their Life Quest without the authorization of their former Guild. Once they have been exiled, most find a place to settle down until they determine how to best proceed. Those gnomes who do not go into hiding often begin businesses in small towns or villages away from other gnomes.

Society:
Mad gnomes do not have a society of their own. Most are outcasts from gnome society or choose not to be part of it. They usually live among other races or in seclusion. Some mad gnomes who are cast from Mount Nevermind will occasionally try to make a life in one of the gnomish settlements on the mainland. Unfortunately for the gnome, he is usually discovered and run out of town.

Mad gnomes are more likely to be leaders than tinker gnomes. They are often able to work outside of the normal gnomish mentality and focus their thoughts. Despite this, there are no significant mad gnome leaders, as no tinker gnome would consider following the orders of a mad gnome.

Relations with other races:
Mad gnomes cover both ends of the spectrum when relating to other races. Some mad gnomes are much easier to get along with than tinker gnomes. Where tinker gnomes find that other races tend to be lacking in intelligence or simply want to study them as test subjects, some mad gnomes have a better understanding and can deal with them without the condescending tone of tinker gnomes. Those mad gnomes who choose to withdraw from society shy away from all races.

Alignments:
Gnome alignment is highly variable, but rarely a popular topic of conversation since it is governed by the pseudo-sciences of philosophy and psychology. Even so, most gnomes are lawful in alignment, since their small stature and history have taught them that it pays to follow the rules and stick to your word if you don’t want to end up with your head on a pike.

Religion:
A mad gnome’s beliefs could be the key reason why he was branded as mad in the first place. In gnomish society, there are only a handful of actual clerics, and while tinker gnomes revere the gods, very few actually believe in worshiping them to the point where they gain divine spells. Those few who do are usually part of the Medical Guild and gain divine healing in order to assist in medical procedure or save lives. Those mad gnomes who go beyond this worship and regularly display blind faith in a deity, rather than faith in the scientific method, are thought to be crazy and are branded as mad gnomes.

Language:
While mad gnomes still enjoy speaking incredibly fast, and tend to do so when excited, many of them have learned to slow down, so other races can keep up with them. When they move into communities, they make an effort to learn the local language and customs in order to better help themselves integrate into society.

Names:
Most mad gnomes begin as tinker gnomes, which means they developed three names like tinker gnomes. When they are branded as mad gnomes, their name books are destroyed, often preventing the use of their names in their entirety. Living outside of gnomish settlements, most mad gnomes settle for the less descriptive shorter names that other races select. Most gnomes don’t bother renaming themselves and simply use their shortened first name without any particular family name to go with it. Most other races still call them by nicknames based on the gnome’s personality. Boomer, Flashbang, Gnewton, Gnero, Gnorington, and Watchit are common male names; female names include Cirrus, Fixit, Gnirdra, Gnerra, and Nuli.

Adventurers:
Mad gnomes initially leave their communities, because they have been outcast for one reason or another. This prompts their initial path in the world. Some go forth to prove their theories, to be able to practice the magical arts, or to worship the gods as they see fit without discrimination from their own people. There are a even a few mad gnomes who adventure in order to find a way to cure themselves of this madness, but more often than not, they discover along the way that their way of thinking is not incorrect, just different.

Settings:
The thinker gnomes are exclusive to the Dragonlance setting.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, -2 Str*
Spell focus (illusion)
Small stature
+2 Open Lock
+2 Disable Trap

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Con, -2 Str adjustment for standard gnomes. An extra +2 Dex, -2 Con will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Dragonlance Campaign Setting, Races of Ansalon
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:58:27 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

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Wild Gnome
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2021, 12:49:00 PM »
Wild Gnome

The gnomes of the Great Moors of Nordmaar have adapted rapidly to a life of rustic inventiveness and communal living, thanks to the inspirational leadership of Picket, their founder. These gnomes have become highly skilled, if erratic and unpredictable, biological tinkers, producing some of the most bizarre and unexpected plants and creatures on Ansalon.

Physical description:
Wild gnomes range from 3 1/2 to a little over 4 feet in height. They have dark brown skin, usually covered in paints, oils, or herbal poultices. Their hair is naturally white, but they keep it in long ropey dreadlocks or bound up in braids and stiffened with fat or gum. Their eyes are a bright cobalt blue.

History:
It was not that long ago that wild gnomes were just as any tinker gnomes. Their main settlement, Picketville, was founded in 384 AC by the gnomish botanist Picket and his assistants, who fled the Clocktower following the Chaos War. They first established the settlement as the Mount Nevermind Remote Horticultural Research Colony, but later called it Picketville after their founder. The gnomes of the settlement all acted under the supervision and direction of the commune leader Picket.

However in 399 AC, with the arrival of the black dragon Mohrlex, the gnomes were quick to send delegates to ally with him to ensure their own survival. Eventually a treaty was signed, and the wild gnomes become the subjects of Mohrlex. In 418 AC, the gnomes discovered a curious glass concave disk, which they enlisted the aid of Mohrlex’s draconian servant Barathrutus and his bakali warriors to drag back to their camp. On learning of Mohrlex’s illness in 422 AC, the gnomes began searching for a cure to aid their master. Shortly after, a war party of bakali attacked, but were driven off by a wandering party of adventurers, who spoke with Barathrutus (who mysteriously appeared), and took the glass disk, which in truth was the Great Lens of Solinari to the ruins of Mohrlexctlan.

Outlook:
Wild gnomes are obsessed with life and living things. Despite their name, they are not barbaric, merely unconcerned with civilization. Wild gnomes are unable to resist tinkering with genetics, hybridizing plants, interbreeding animals, and producing salves, poison, oils, and tinctures from organic sources. This makes them much more sympathetic to nature’s inhabitants, although outsiders might view it as indifference.

A wild gnome who meets another creature spends some time studying, sniffing, prodding, and comparing it to other things. Wild gnomes have long discarded any notions of cleanliness or orderly conduct.

Society:
Wild gnome society is commune-based. They work together, organized under a single leader or group of leaders, but share almost everything and fall naturally into roles matching their talents. They are exclusively rural, in between the somewhat civilized society from which they once came and the tribal existence of the humans who share their lands.

Relations with other races:
Wild gnomes consider other races on a case-by-case basis, treating them like any other life form encountered. They have already run afoul of bakali, humans, and even draconians in their attempt to capture and experiment with these races. Once they are made aware of a creature’s intelligence, wild gnomes usually release them but remain intensely fascinated.

Alignments:
Wild gnomes tend towards a chaotic alignment and are usually neutral. Very few wild gnomes are evil, only misunderstood.

Religion:
Wild gnomes revere nature in all its forms, thus honoring Chislev. Those wild gnomes who develop a somewhat more spiritual approach to their obsession with nature become druids. Reorx remains a distant yet honored patron in the form of the God of the Clock, the one who ensures the sun comes up every morning, the seasons arrive on time, and everything eventually fits together.

Language:
Wild gnomes speak the same distorted form of Common as other gnomes, only slower, and any technical references are considerably more organic in nature. Their speech is peppered with animal sounds, grunts, and bizarre noises picked up from the environment. Many will attempt to engage animals, and even plants, in conversation, regardless of whether or not they actually have the ability to do so.

Names:
Much like other gnomes, wild gnomes have three names. One is genealogical and includes comments about various inherited traits deemed significant by the gnome’s family. The second is a shorter version that is still very long by other races’ standards and consists primarily of a breeding record. The third is their commune name, used in daily parlance and typically a combination of nature-sounding words. Wild gnome names are genderless; Heathchestnut, Leafbloom, Marshrabbit, Mossglow, and Thistlewick are a few examples.

Adventurers:
Wild gnomes seek to explore the wider world with greater understanding and the analysis of living things. Several wild gnomes have set out from their small communities never to be seen again; others return after having only been gone a week with detailed, and often outlandish, reports of monsters and leviathans beyond the imagining of the other gnomes.

Settings:
Wild gnomes are exclusive to the Dragonlance setting.

Game Stats:
+2 Con, +2 Int, -2 Str, -2 Cha*
Spell focus (illusion)
+2 Will
+2 Animal Empathy
+2 Lore
Small stature

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Con, -2 Str adjustment for standard gnomes. An extra +2 Int, -2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Races of Ansalon, Spectre of Sorrows
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:58:48 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Silvanesti Elf
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2021, 01:02:53 PM »
Silvanesti Elf

Proud and aloof, the Silvanesti consider themselves to be the first children of the gods, the oldest and wisest mortal race, and the keepers of the pinnacle of mortal civilization. They had grown frustrated with the world and removed themselves from it as much as possible, hoping to maintain the purity of their inherent superiority. Recently, however, Lorac’s nightmare, the sylvan shield, and the minotaur invasion have thrown their society into disarray.

Physical description:
Most Silvanesti are taller and slighter than the Qualinesti, noticeably more so than the Kagonesti. The grace and beauty of a Silvanesti is often described as ethereal; while humans and many other races find Kagonesti and Qualinesti elves beautiful, most find the beauty of Silvanesti entrancing and otherworldly. Their skin is the color of white pine, with some even fairer still. Their hair ranges from the light brown of maple to aspenbark white, and it’s often worn in long, elaborate braids and arrangements. A few Silvanesti are born with hair the charcoal black of fire-tested firs; Alhana Starbreeze of House Royal is a notable example. Alone among elves, a few very elderly Silvanesti men, even those with undisputedly pure bloodlines, have sometimes been known to grow a thin, wispy beard; this is considered the mark of a man worthy of great respect, and most Silvanesti scoff at other races whose men dare grow beards before they reach the ripe old age of six hundred or so. Silvanesti eyes are usually the rich color of walnut.

Silvanesti dress is designed to showcase luxury. Loose fitting blouses and trousers with suede slippers or boots are the norm for men and a full-length gown or dress for women. Both men and women finish the ensemble with flowing robes and cloaks—even the commoners are fond of such fashion. Both sexes wear a great deal of jewelry; rings, bracelets, earrings, ornately buckled belts, necklaces, pendants, and brooches are common. Women add extensive ornamentation in the hair. However, much of this extravagance had to be left behind when they fled Silvanost at the end of the War of Souls.

When the situation calls for utility, Silvanesti will put away the formalwear and use clothing more in line with what their Qualinesti cousins favor: sturdy leathers for wilderness scouts, utilitarian yet beautiful breeches and shirts with vests for artists, craftsmen, and other workaday Silvanesti, and slightly less ostentatious court clothing for wizards, scholars, and priests.

History:
The elves awoke in the Age of Dreams. Not yet an organized nation, they watched from their forests as the ogres enslaved the humans, only to lose control in a civil war that brought ruin to both races. As the ogres and humans slaughtered one another mercilessly, the elves kept their distance, staying out of the conflict.

Silvanos Goldeneye, a young and charismatic warrior among the elves, declared their race could rise above such savagery. As the ogre civilization descended into barbarism, Silvanos inspired the elves to take their place. The elves scavenged the ruins of ogre cities and built their own civilization, beginning in the forest known in the present day as Silvanesti, where they believe life began. Silvanos ruled as the first Speaker of the Stars and took a woman named Quinari as his wife. Those who would not join with Silvanos were led by a Wilder elf by the name of Kagonos; Silvanos offered to allow them to become the servant caste in Silvanesti. Kagonos refused and led his people, the Kagonesti, back to Ansalon’s forests.

However, as they soon discovered, this forest was already occupied; ancient chromatic dragons attacked the elves, beginning the First Dragon War. Thousands of elves died in the fighting, and it appeared the dragons might wipe the elves from the face of Ansalon. Just when the situation turned hopeless, the elves were granted by the gods of Magic the knowledge and means to create dragonstones, rune-bearing crystals that could trap a dragon’s soul. Using these new weapons, the elves defeated the dragons and cast their trapped souls into the abyss of Nemith-Otham.

Years later, dwarves delving in Thoradin discovered the dragonstones hidden since the end the First Dragon War and awakened the dragons within. The dragons drew armies of bakali and ogres to themselves, and the Second Dragon War began as these hordes were unleashed on Silvanesti. The elves fought valiantly, but soon the dragons and their armies of evil laid siege to Silvanost. A trio of sorcerers called forth the magic of the land and sky and ordered Krynn itself to swallow the dragons once and for all.

Once it was unleashed, the magic couldn’t be stopped. Arcane storms of wild magic raged across Krynn, slaughtering thousands and laying waste to vast areas. The sorcerers cried out to the gods for help, and the gods of magic came to their aid. They swept the three sorcerers away, together with the tower they occupied. Gradually the wild magic abated, but the three weren’t seen for one hundred years. Finally, the sorcerers returned, having been taught the art of focused arcane magic by the gods of magic; these elves were the founding mages of the Orders of High Sorcery.

Over the next few centuries, tension began to build along the borders of Silvanesti lands and the Ergothian Empire. The Kinslayer War broke out when Speaker of the Stars Sithel was killed by a human. His successor Sithas declared war and placed his brother Kith-Kanan in command of the Silvanesti armies. General  Giarna led the Ergothians and their allies, which sometimes included Kagonesti. The Kagonesti had continued to live much as all elves did during the Age of Dreams, and the Silvanesti elves had repeatedly attempted to civilize them—whether the Kagonesti liked it or not. Much to the Silvanesti’s surprise, they didn’t like it and took up arms against their would-be slave masters.

The Kinslayer War was one of the most disastrous wars ever fought on Ansalon. For fifty years, vast armies of Silvanesti elves, Thorbardin Dwarves and Ergothian humans met on the fields of southern Ansalon and slaughtered each other. The numbers of dead were beyond count, and it eventually became clear that the only ones benefiting from the war were the buzzards and crows feasting on the slain. Their appetite for death lost, both sides agreed to a truce. General Giarna lay dead, and Kith-Kanan was scarred and tired of war. The Swordsheath Scroll cemented the peace between elf, human, and dwarf, who had been drawn into the fighting as well. The Hammer of Honor, forged by the dwarves, was passed back and forth among the three nations as a reminder of the destruction of war and the strength of unity.

Perhaps the most significant casualty of the war was the trust Speaker Sithas had in his brother Kith-Kanan, as during the war Kith-Kanan married a human woman, Suzine des Quivalin—the former consort of General Giarna. Kith-Kanan settled with the thousands of elven veterans who had made the borderlands their homes. When he declared the nation of Qualinesti, thousands more elves from the east flocked westward. Speaker Sithas objected and tried to stop the migration; blood was shed, and the schism between the nations was complete. The hatred and mistrust between Silvanesti and Qualinesti would not be bridged for thousands of years.

However, the unlikely friendship between the Qualinesti and the dwarves of Thorbardin was sealed with the construction of the fortress Pax Tharkas—literally Peace Among Friends—a jointly built fortress used by both elf and dwarf. The seeds of this friendship would truly flower during the War of Souls thousands of years later. The Ergothian Empire, seeking further assurances of peace after the disastrous wars of the past century, joined in the Peace Among Friends.

For one thousand years, history shifted its focus away from the elves. The Third Dragon War was fought and won by a ragged band of upstarts called the Knights of Solamnia. An age of peace and prosperity followed. The elves turned inward, building their own civilizations. However, soon the power of a formerly minor city-state called Istar began to grow. Solamnia, which by this time had replaced Ergoth as the preeminent power in western Ansalon, convinced the elves to recognize the addition of Istar to the Swordsheath Scroll, hopefully ensuring peace among the great powers of Ansalon.

Istar’s corruption soon became apparent. The Kingpriests developed into tyrants, forcing their view of morality on the entire continent. Wizardry was suppressed. Nonhuman races were held in suspicion. The elves of Qualinesti and Silvanesti defied the Kingpriests, but that soon became irrelevant. The gods could tolerate Istar no longer and destroyed it with the Cataclysm.

The Cataclysm and subsequent absence of the gods were disasters for the elves. Qualinesti was torn asunder. Both major elven nations became militantly isolationist. Few outsiders visited elven lands and lived to speak of it.

Three hundred years later, the dragons returned in the War of the Lance. Unseen since the Third Dragon War, chromatic dragons swept across the land, with vast hosts of draconians, ogres, goblins, and other servants of evil, all inspired by the lurking Takhisis. The elves were caught completely unprepared. For the first time in history, they were unable to defend their forest homes. Both Qualinesti and Silvanesti were abandoned, the people fleeing to Southern Ergoth and founding the cities of Silvamori and Qualimori. While most would return home after the War of the Lance, it was not until well after the War of Souls that the elves finally vacated Southern Ergoth.

Speaker of the Stars Lorac Caladon had rescued a dragon orb—a powerful weapon which was later used by Raistlin Majere in his bid for godhood—from Istar before the gods smote the city. He tried to use it to defend Silvanesti, but it turned on him and projected his mad nightmare across the whole land, which remained until well after the war. Meanwhile, Qualinesti princess Laurana, the Golden General, led the multiracial armies of light (including the Knights of Solamnia) to victory over the Dragonarmies. While in exile in Southern Ergoth, both the Qualinesti and Silvanesti took more Kagonesti slaves. The Silvanesti spent years fighting the remnants of Lorac’s Nightmare and chasing down Cyan Bloodbane, the horrid green dragon who bedeviled the Silvanesti forest for the next 70 years. Soon after the war, Alhana Starbreeze, daughter of Silvanesti Speaker Lorac, married the Qualinesti prince Porthios in an attempt to unite the elven nations. Rather than uniting the elven factions, the royal couple was branded as dark elves and banished by politicians of both nations with closed minds and ambitious agendas.

The Chaos War saw the ascendancy of the Knights of Takhisis. Qualinesti fell to these Dark Knights and later came under the dominion of the Dragon Overlord Beryl. The Silvanesti surrendered once again to isolationism and retreated behind a magical shield which sapped their life away. The elves of Southern Ergoth—calling themselves the Ergonesti—fought for their lives against deadly enemies both old and new: a ghost from the past, a dragon overlord, and occasionally even each other.

When the War of Souls broke out, the Qualinesti threw off the shackles of Beryl, but their beautiful city of Qualinost was destroyed in the hideous disaster that created Nalis Aren, the Lake of Death. Only the heroism and sacrifice of the dwarves of Thorbardin, who dug underground escape routes for the Qualinesti, allowed any to escape the city. Other survivors were chased from the land by former Dark Knights and goblins under Captain Samuval; stragglers were enslaved or killed. Some, however, continue to fight, carrying on a desperate battle to retake their land.

The Silvanesti fared no better. The son of Alhana and Porthios, Silvanoshei, was given the throne and became the first Speaker of the Stars since his mother was branded a dark elf and cast out of Silvanesti. When Mina arrived leading the Dark Knight armies, they somehow bypassed the shield. She won the confidence of the people by aiding them in slaying their old nemesis Cyan Bloodbane, and the Silvanesti armed forces put up only token resistance to her army. Toward the end of the war, the Dark Knights fled north with Speaker Silvanoshei; Silvanesti troops pursued, only to have a force of minotaurs land behind them. Hundreds of thousands of Silvanesti were wiped out mercilessly by the minotaurs. Silvanoshei met his end in Sanction after killing the newly mortal Takhisis.

In this state, the war ended: technically a victory over the Dark Knights, but an unmitigated disaster for the elves, who no longer had a homeland.

Alhana Starbreeze was redeemed and her label of dark elf revoked. She declined the title of Speaker of the Stars; she suggested Gilthas be given the honor, which he accepted. Gilthas was the son of Laurana, Hero of the Lance and martyr of the battle against Beryl. He was called the Puppet King during his tenure as Speaker of the Sun in Qualinesti, as he seemed to be manipulated by the Dark Knights occupying the land. In truth, he was wed to Kerianseray the Lioness, notorious resistance fighter, and used his influence to shield the resistance. The Lioness was the daughter of a respected Kagonesti elder, thereforeGilthas finally united the three major elven nations as Gilthas Pathfinder, Speaker of the Sun and Stars.

This unity, and Gilthas’s title, is not quite universally observed. Far in the west, another Pathfinder has emerged. Refugees led by a Kagonesti named Amara fled Ergoth for the isle of Cristyne, attempting to re-establish the ancient elven city of Baleph. Not long after the War of Souls ended, the elves of Ergoth were visited in Silvamori by an ancient foe—Sylvyana, the Ghoul Queen. She had defeated and dominated the elven hero Aracoe, but she was thwarted in destroying the entire population in Southern Ergoth by the actions of Amara and a motley band of adventurers. Shamed, Aracoe passed his half of the Ram’s Horn to Amara; many of the Ergonesti, now almost fully in Cristyne, call her the Pathfinder. These elves, consisting of members of all three nations, wish to have little to do with the troubles of their eastern cousins. Unity continues to be an elusive goal for the elves.

Currently, many thousands of elves are scattered to the four winds across Ansalon in what is commonly known as the elven Diaspora. Almost every Ansalonian city has an elven ghetto, where poverty-stricken elves try to scrape a life out of nothing.

In the east, Gilthas has led his people to the unforgiving deserts of Khur; he is on the precipice of finding what he believes to be a suitable land in which to settle, if a Khurish fanatic and her tribal warriors don’t destroy them all first. Dreams of retaking the forests of Silvanesti and Qualinesti haven’t faded, and Gilthas knows he walks a fine political line between appeasing those who need a suitable homeland immediately and satisfying the old guard who demand the recapture of their ancestral lands. Meanwhile, the Khurish nomad chieftains have decided to wipe the elves from the face of Ansalon.

Outlook:
The Silvanesti are members of the oldest and, by many measures, most advanced civilization on Ansalon. Some of the greatest mages, warriors, and artists ever known on Ansalon have been Silvanesti. The Silvanesti know this and take it to heart, leading to a vast cultural superiority complex. They are among the most arrogant and self-important mortals in existence, and their air of assumed superiority regularly insults those of other races.

The superiority complex carried by most Silvanesti has led them to become intensely isolationist, to the point of xenophobia. For thousands of years, they cut off most contact with the outside world. The Silvanesti zealously guarded their borders, often violently expelling anyone unlucky enough to cross it without permission. In times of war, they were likely to outright kill any non-elf found in their beloved forest. Since the minotaur invasion evicted them from their ancestral lands in the War of Souls, they have been forced to deal with other races far more than any time since the ancient past.

Silvanesti pride and assumptions of superiority have also led to an intense sense of vanity. Before the exile removed the luxury to engage in such things, Silvanesti were extremely fashion conscious, and even to this day, those whose physical perfection is marred by visible scars or disability are sometimes driven to breach the elven taboo against suicide.

Recent history has not been kind to the Silvanesti: their homeland was infested by the Nightmare of Lorac; they were trapped within a life-draining magical shield raised by their mortal enemy Cyan Bloodbane; they were defeated and humiliated by the Dark Knights under Mina, then were occupied, slaughtered, and driven from their ancestral lands by minotaur. This string of defeats has left many Silvanesti bitter. Rather than the depressed malaise suffered by many Qualinesi, Silvanesti have been more likely to react by becoming caustic and angry.

In contrast to the bitterness and anger expressed by some Silvanesti, others have remained undaunted and optimistic. As caretakers of one of the oldest and most advanced civilizations on Ansalon, the Silvanesti have historically been a very confident people. They believe nothing is beyond their grasp as long as they expend enough effort and patience. Lorac Caladon, the Speaker of the Stars during the War of the Lance, personified this confidence when he unsuccessfully attempted to master the dragon orb. Surprisingly, even after being evicted from their lands, the morale of many Silvanesti remains fundamentally strong.

The Silvanesti are quick to anger. Over the millennia, their highly regimented and precise social structures evolved an overdeveloped sense of etiquette and political protocol; offense became easily given and quickly taken. Public airing of grievances and litigation were common ways for Silvanesti from different Houses to resolve disputes. Within the same House, Silvanesti pride sometimes drives escalation of disputes to the point where only a duel can resolve it. While dueling is usually forbidden between members of different houses, two members of the same house can resolve a dispute this way. The antagonists agree on a weapon—usually a rapier, but sometimes a longsword—and fight to the first cut. The duel is meticulously refereed; great care is taken that the fight is not fatal and permanent scarring does not result. Purposely attacking the face or hands, for instance, is grounds for immediate disqualification and disgrace.

Society:
Silvanesti society is highly structured and regimented; each member knows her place and is expected to fulfill it. Social structure is dominated by the House system. Silvanesti Houses are groups of families who share the same family vocation, trade, profession, or scholarly expertise. All Silvanesti, from the lowest born lady's maid to the Speaker of the Stars himself, are members of one of the great Houses. Membership is hereditary; children enter their parents’ house upon their birth and remain unless marriage takes them to another. Elves of different houses may only marry with permission of the Speaker of the Stars or a representative of his bureaucracy, at which time one or the other of the couple formally changes houses to match his or her new spouse.

House affiliation is of vital social importance in Silvanesti culture, even during the exile. It determines who one may marry, who one’s friends may be, and what one will do with his life. Rank within the House is of importance as well; the head of each House sits on a committee called the Sinthal-Elish or Council of the High. This council serves as official advisors to the Speaker. While each house legally has an equal place on this council, historically House Protector, House Cleric, and House Mystic have vied with each other for dominance and, with it, the ear of the Speaker.

The great Houses of Silvanesti are as follows:

House Royal—This house consists of the direct descendants of Silvanos, founder of the Silvanesti nation. The Speaker had always been a member of this House, until the recognition of Gilthas as Speaker of the Stars. Some have argued he should be granted membership in the House as a descendant of Silvanos (albeit through the traitor Kith-Kanan); others believe the Speakership should pass to one of the minor members of the House, such as Kiryn, Silvanoshei’s cousin. For now, Gilthas holds power, but the longer he goes without demonstrating that he can resolve the elves’ refugee status, the less patient the remaining power brokers among the Silvanesti will be.

House Cleric—Once the most powerful House next to House Royal, House Cleric lost significant prestige during the absence of the gods, both following the Cataclysm and the Chaos War. They responded by turning to lorekeeping and temple administration; even during the times of the gods’ absence, the temple buildings were lovingly maintained. Even though the gods were gone, the Silvanesti still found solace in the temples, and House Cleric maintained them through the years. Prior to the Chaos War, House Cleric had members in every Holy Order of the gods of light; E’li was held in the highest esteem, but Quenesti Pah (Mishakal) and Astarin (Branchala) were revered by most Silvanesti. The Blue Phoenix, Matheri (Majere), and Kiri-Jolith also had beautiful temples—see the Religion section for more details about Silvanesti religious practices. While House Cleric revered Solinari, they left his worship to the wizards of House Mystic. House Cleric does not forbid the marriage of its priests and preistesses; the hereditary nature of the House requires children.

Ironically, it was neither the Cataclysm nor the Chaos War which put an end to this House’s power; that was accomplished by the minotaur invasion and the resulting destruction of the temples of Silvanost and slaughter of most of the members of the House. Few members of House Cleric survived the War of Souls. Most stayed behind to defend their beloved temples from the minotaurs rather than flee. The lucky ones died in the fighting. Rumors have circulated that Lady Telisina, head of House Cleric prior to the war, was among the surviving refugees, but her whereabouts are unknown; most doubt the truth of the rumors.

House Protector—House Protector is the Silvanesti nation’s sword and shield. The Wildrunners, the Windriders, and the Speaker’s personal guard detail must be members of House Protector. See the Racial Relations section for details about the Wildrunners and Windriders. As such, it is the only House a Silvanesti can voluntarily join without marrying a current member. A Silvanesti wishing to serve his people in a martial role may apply for membership in one of these units; those demonstrating the basic ability to serve are inducted into the House and trained as a warrior.

Not all Silvanesti under arms are members of House Protector; the kirath, a highly skilled force of irregulars called to duty when necessary, remain members of whichever House they were born into.

House Mystic—The Silvanesti are widely thought of as masters of the arcane arts. While human wizards like Par-Salian, Justarius, and the great Raistlin Majere often find more fame, no race has produced as great an arcane tradition as that of House Mystic. The Silvanesti have had great success in educating their children in the ways of wizardry, and for thousands of years prior to the Chaos War, House Mystic had the support of the Orders of High Sorcery (the White Robes, at least) as responsible teachers of magic.

Even so, all members of House Mystic have traditionally taken the Test of High Sorcery at the Tower of Wayreth; Silvanesti aspirants enjoyed greater success than any other race, leading many wizards to try to discover the Silvanesti methods of training. House Mystic managed to keep their methods to themselves, and Ansalonian wizards, shrugging their shoulders at the Silvanesti’s amazing success, credit it to longstanding tradition or the favor of the gods. Despite their successes, wizards of House Mystic generally have not participated in the activities of the Conclave or Orders of High Sorcery to any great degree; thus, despite their amazing natural aptitude, few Silvanesti mages are ever known beyond the borders of their forest. One notable exception is Dalamar the Dark, who was actually a member of House Servitor. He was banished as a dark elf for two reasons: the crime of practicing magic as a wizard of the Black Robes and the equally unforgivable crime of overstepping his station in the social order. While House Mystic does not have a monopoly on the use of arcane magic in Silvanesti, its use by anyone in House Servitor is strictly limited to cantrips and very minor magic. House Mystic has not had much of a chance to recover from the absence of magic following the Chaos War. A few had turned to sorcery, but most had not. Much of its vast and priceless library of spellbooks and research material was lost in the minotaur invasion. The house is still in disarray, and its future remains undetermined.

House Metalline—Like their Qualinesti kin, the Silvanesti are known as artists in metalworking. The Silvanesti are especially noted for their skill with mithral. From jewelry to weapons, the smiths of House Metalline coax beauty from metal of which most others on Ansalon can only dream. House Metalline supports not only smiths, but also miners and merchants specializing in metal trade. Members of House Metalline are often able to continue their trade in exile, and many members are among the most successful of those Silvanesti in the Diaspora.

House Advocate—The teachers, scholars, lawyers, judges, diplomats, and civil servants who kept the Silvanesti’s highly regimented society running smoothly belong to House Advocate. Now that the nation is in exile, House Advocate is taking upon itself the responsibility of preserving as much of the social fabric as possible. Most members take pride in remaining staunchly neutral in Silvanesti politics, preferring the role of disinterested adjudicator and apolitical bureaucrat.

House Mason—Members of House Mason are one part artist and one part engineer, with a bit of mage on top of both. They were the architects and builders who constructed the stunningly beautiful city of Silvanost, the skilled workers who maintained its glory, and perhaps among those who wept most bitterly at its loss. Some members of House Mason exiled with the Speaker have offered to sell their services to the Khurs in order to earn some much needed currency for the nation, but others have opposed building any elven-designed structures in human lands. Despite this internal debate, their unity as a House remains strong, and they hope to recover the glory of Silvanost for their nation—or, at worst, recreate it in a new homeland.

House Gardener—Made up of Silvanesti’s farmers, horticulturalists, and produce merchants, House Gardener provided most of the nation’s food supplies for thousands of years. Hundreds of small farms and thousands of tiny gardens dotted the forest, each carefully tended by botanists of House Gardener. In addition to the grain and vegetables that made up the staple of the typical Silvanesti diet, florists of House Gardener have developed stunningly beautiful varieties of flowers and ornamental plants. Gardens designed by House Gardener are widely considered works of art.

With most surviving Silvanesti currently in exile in the unforgiving desert of Khur, House Gardener is struggling to find its purpose. They hope a new homeland can be found—or their old one recovered—before too long, or many believe it might spell the end of the House. House Woodshaper—The Silvanesti nation’s foresters, hunters, and many other nature-minded citizens belong to House Woodshaper. Many members wield a sort of magic that will guide the growth of the forest, allowing them to perform feats of landscape and structural architecture using living trees as their medium. They also act as the protectors and nurses of the forest; this often put them at odds with House Mason in the classic conflict between preservation and progress.

Much like House Gardener, while in exile, House Woodshaper is a guild without a purpose. More so than House Gardener, however, they have recognized the extent of their dilemma and are engaged in active preservation of knowledge of their art, in hopes that it may someday be put to use again.

House Servitor—The lowest of all the great Houses of Silvanesti, House Servitor encompasses all the unskilled and much of the skilled, manual labor that maintained the lavish lifestyle of the nation. Its highest-ranking members may serve in roles requiring great responsibility, such as chief steward of a large estate or the personal valet of the Speaker of the Stars. Its lowest members are slaves, performing whatever dangerous or backbreaking labor needs to be done. Exile has become a great equalizer in Silvanesti society; many members of House Servitor have found new purpose in House Protector, and many slaves have been able to demand release from their bondage.

Relations with other races:
The Silvanesti are often said to be the only Ansalonian race that does not even get along with itself. This isn’t entirely true—the humans certainly don’t seem to be without internal conflict—but it reveals a sad truth: Silvanesti, generally, are difficult to get along with.

The Silvanesti are well assured of their superiority. Kagonesti are considered uncouth barbarians in terrible need of someone to thrust civilization upon them. Of course, the Silvanesti are the perfect ones to do it. The Qualinesti are lost, heretical cousins who have no appreciation of the civilization they chose to leave behind. Humans are the cause of most of the world’s grief and misery, from the first Cataclysm and resulting departure of the gods to the fall of E’li, the death of Speaker Silvanoshei, and the fall of Silvanesti itself, brought about by that accursed human woman Mina. The dwarves are dirty little creatures who reek of charcoal and hot iron and should just stay underground where they belong. The kender are thieves; afflicted kender are depressing thieves. Gnomes are simply mad. Half-humans, called half-elves by humans, are affronts to Silvanesti purity and are to be cast out of the community, lest they sully the blood with their human heritage. Ogres and minotaurs, of course, are to be killed on sight. The only race that the Silvanesti respect is the metallic dragons, with whom they’ve allied frequently. It’s not surprising that this sort of attitude has led the Silvanesti to come into conflict with many other races on a fairly regular basis. They’re not a nation easily defeated in war, however. They have highly competent and magnificently equipped armies, even after the defeats they suffered in Silvanost. House Protector does its job well— they would likely have held off the minotaur invasion but for the terrible strategic mistake made by Alhana Starbreeze in the War of Souls to move the army north, out of the forest, toward Sanction.

The majority of the army is made up of the Wildrunners, the ground forces of Silvanesti. Few nations can field an army of finer swordsmen, pikes, and archers. Add their magnificent cavalry, and a force of Silvanesti Wildrunners is extremely difficult to overcome short of overwhelming numbers or outright treachery. Footmen are typically armed with a longsword, heavy wooden shield, and elven chain or finely crafted scale mail. Dedicated pikes will carry a polearm and short sword instead of the longsword. Archers carry longbows and short swords. Wildrunner archers often serve as woodland scouts and reconnaissance troops as well. Silvanesti horse cavalry is extremely versatile and can serve as light, mobile mounted swordsmen and archers as easily as they can be heavy lancers.

In addition to the Wildrunners, House Protector has a wing of Windriders, who are griffon-mounted flying cavalry. Excellent as troops to conduct reconnaissance, rapidly attack targets of opportunity, or provide a light but highly mobile reserve force, the Windriders have a long and proud tradition dating back to the founding of Silvanesti. When their metallic dragon allies join them, Windriders will sometimes ride and fight from dragonback, as they did in the War of the Lance and the second Battle of Sanction in the War of Souls. The kirath represent the third major Silvanesti armed force.

Alignments:
With a society built upon a strict hierarchy, Silvanesti tend to be more lawfully inclined than other elves. Silvanesti are aligned with good, but they believe so highly in their own purity that goodness can be taken to extremes.

Religion:
For millennia, Silvanesti religious practices were dominated by reverence for E’li. They looked to the king of the gods for inspiration, protection, and guidance. His sacrifice in the War of Souls, his acceptance of mortality in order to protect his people from Queen Takhisis once and for all, did not dim the love of the Silvanesti for him. Many exiled Silvanesti still light incense before their small shrines to the great god, revering even his memory.

Quenesti Pah, E’li’s wife and companion, has now taken primacy among the gods of light from the Silvanesti point of view. Many despairing Silvanesti widows and widowers, their husbands or wives slain in the slaughter of the War of Souls, now see Quenesti Pah as a kindred spirit. While most of the universe may be cold and uncaring, surely the Grieving Lady will hear, understand, and answer, many Silvanesti believe, for surely she weeps as they do. Other Silvanesti take refuge in Astarin, the Song of Life, who inspires joy and determination among his followers.

The peace and serenity offered by the Blue Phoenix, Lord of the Land, Sea, and Sky, and Matheri, friend of E’li, comfort many. Silvanesti devotees of these gods believe the way forward is to accept what has happened and work tirelessly to set things right. The more militaristic Silvanesti turn to Kiri-Jolith, son of E’li and the bringer of righteous fury from the heavens. Silvanesti steel and Kiri-Jolith’s might, his followers believe, will someday drive the foul bull men from their beloved homeland. While many Silvanesti favor one or another of the gods of light, almost all Silvanesti publicly show reverence for the entire pantheon. Even Solinari, usually only acknowledged by wizards, is given a place of honor by the Silvanesti people.

Silvanesti ritual tradition is in disarray. Most of House Cleric perished during the War of Souls, defending their temples from minotaurs, so traditional leaders of divine services are gone. Lay Silvanesti have tried to put things together as best they can; most Silvanesti households in exile, whether in Khurinost or scattered in the Diaspora, have a simple shrine to one or more of the gods in their home. Communal services have just recently resumed, presided over by devoted laypeople rather than priests.

A small but growing minority of Silvanesti have declared themselves secular. The high ritual of the realm’s glory days masked more religious indifference than most outsiders would have believed. Now, with their forest homes lost, their people decimated, and the society’s priestly class nearly wiped out, more Silvanesti are publicly turning away from the gods, believing they would be foolish to trust in them only to be abandoned yet again.

A small number of Silvanesti find patronage in one of the gods of neutrality. The Winged One is sometimes invoked by bureaucrats, lawyers, and merchants. Chislev is revered by some of the members of House Woodshaper.

A tiny but growing cult of Kinthalas (Sargonnas) exists among the Silvanesti. Some of those whose hearts were twisted by the terrible events of the War of Souls have turned to the Lord of Vengeance for strength, forming the Cult of the Bloody Condor. These dangerous elves have no patience with the Speaker or the rest of the community; they lash out violently and with terrible skill when someone stands in the way of their schemes.

Language:
The Silvanesti dialect of Elven is a descendant of a dead protolanguage called Nestari, which was spoken by elves in the days before Silvanos. Currently, Nestari is known only by a handful of elven linguists and Gileanite scholars and is of use only to academics.

Upon the founding of Silvanesti, scholars set about formalizing the language; they recorded definitive forms of letters and spelling (Silvanesti and its close relative Qualinesti use an alphabetic written script), formalized rules of grammar, and discouraged colloquialisms and regional variation. The language they developed is surprisingly easy to learn. Its rules made sense, and irregularities were corrected. It remained a beautiful and poetic language, however.

Much of the artistry in Silvanesti Elven is in its written form. Calligraphy is a serious artistic pursuit among many Silvanesti. The first members of House Advocate engaged in meticulous record-keeping, and they sought a way to make their records pleasant to the eye while standardized enough that variation between recorders wouldn’t affect legibility. Their early calligraphic techniques were admired by some members of House Royal, who imitated it. From there, it grew quickly; members of House Royal were, and still are, the makers of fashion. Extravagantly handwritten books are among some of the few material treasures rescued from Silvanost as the minotaurs advanced. Like any language, Silvanesti Elven has common sayings and catch phrases. “May your life be green and golden,” was once an ancient salutation said by a commoner taking leave of her lord, but it has evolved into a general farewell. Dozens more nature-inspired metaphors have become cliché; far too many to list here. “By E’li!” is a common, if vaguely vulgar, expression of astonishment. A Silvanesti might declare scorn by saying someone or something is “unfit for an ogre.” Some words in Elven have even made it into more common usage among other races. Dalamar Argent’s use of the word shalafi (or “master”) has been adopted by many young wizards in the last half-century, for instance.

Names:
Silvanesti are unusual among elven cultures in that many, especially among the nobility, have surnames. Men and women usually follow different traditions in the selection of a surname. The determination of men’s surnames is straightforward and follows a simple patronymic system; the son of Maradoc Caladon was Lorac Caladon, as the father of Jahran Kaldeist was Yilan Kaldeist. Women’s surnames are a bit more complex. One method is a matronymic system, where the daughter takes her mother’s surname. Another fashion is for the mother and father to each choose a one-word descriptor of the environment as it is during the child’s birth. Names like Oakleaf, Starbreeze, and Moonborn are chosen this way. Further confusing matters is that these systems occasionally cross gender lines, and a boy may acquire a name like Swiftcloud or Brightwind; a daughter may take her father’s less poetic name. Examples of given names for Silvanesti include: Lorac, Silvanoshei, Avonathalonus, Pellarin, Silvanas, and Terevalis for men and Aleaha, Ladine, Lisindrela, Maleesa, Roselenna, and Telisina for women.

Adventurers:
It takes serious motive for a Silvanesti to take up the life of an adventurer, given the culture they have built over the millennia. Many Silvanesti are unused to the indignities of the austere lives adventurers lead. As such, while some Silvanesti in the Diaspora take up adventuring for many of the same reasons their Kagonesti and Qualinesti cousins do, they attempt to maintain their nobility and pride as they struggle in strange lands. In contrast, many Silvanesti refugees in Khur now see that willingness to take up the difficult life of the warrior, the scout, and the spy is the key to both their immediate survival and the eventual recovery of their homeland.

Settings:
Silvanesti elves originate from the Dragonlance setting. On Ravenloft, the Sithican grey elves are a twisted reflection of Silvanesti culture, tainted by cultural decline and apathy.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, -2 Cha *
Darkvision
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness
+1 Lore
+1 Spellcraft

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Int, -2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Dragonlance Campaign Setting, Races of Ansalon
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:59:17 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB77

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Xakhun
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2021, 08:24:41 PM »
Xakhun

* Playing this race requires that you fill an application form and receive approval of the Community Council.

Halfbreeds of both wood and dark elves ancestry.

History:
The dwarves had known about the substance for ages, its mere existence no great surprise. Rather, it was the drow's ingenious use of it that was so startling.

The dwarves were the first to unearth the mineral that the drow later named uhl (pronounced OO-ul, meaning "vaporous" or "airy"). Superficially similar to umber, uhl's relative abundunce, milkier translucency, and soft consistency spoil its use as a gemstone of any significant value. Before the drow discovered its extraordinary qualities, the dwarves usually destroyed uhl veins in order to create tunnels and caverns, taking full advantage of one of this mineral's lesser characteristics: common acids vaporize uhl completely.

The duergar found that uhl made a pleasant incense, and their priests would burn small chunks on charcoal embers. Those who have tried this for themselves claim that the odor is like that of copal mixed with burning pitch. The duergar priests attributed mystical properties to uhl incense. Besides causing slight euphoria (or nausea), the substance is said to induce prophetic visions from the duergar's corrupt deities.

Eventually, the drow learned of uhl from the duergar. The clan Xak'Vandiri had regular contact with the gray dwarves. On one particular occasion, a priestess, one Panque (PAN-kay), took interest in the spectacular claims of the duergar peddlers. They claimed to have a rare and powerful new incense. Usually, Panque ignored such base dealings, but this time her curiosity overpowered her sense of propriety. She purchased a sample of the duergar's orange pebbles, swearing to exact a most unpleasant revenge if the incense wasn't all they claimed.

As the legend has it, the censers were lit in Lolth's temple. Uhl smoke issued forth. Panque breathed it in deeply, pronouncing her unholy prayers for conquest and supremacy for the Xak'Vandiri clan. She tumbled to the altar, numbed by the uhl. When she finally rose to her feet, it was with an infernal mission.

The spider goddess had appeared to Panque and charged the priestess with a quest. Centermost in this plan was the uhl. It was to be employed to carry House Xak'Vandiri aloft and forward on the winds, like some fearsome aerial predator-like young arachnids leaving their mother's web.

Panque's vision was to embark the Xak'Vandiri clan on a course that would span more than a century and finally result in the "Xan Kraban" — the drow windship. Initially the clan matrons greeted Panque's vision-inspired objectives with skepticism. The tale relates that she invoked the wrath of Lolth on her critics and won their support by demonstrating the buoyant power of vaporized uhl by lofting an uhl-filled bladder before their doubting eyes. Convinced at last of Panque's divine guidance, the matrons set her plans as the highest ambition of the clan. The windships would be built, and the Xak'Vandiri would venture into the open sky, gaining great wealth and prestige.

Immediately, drow warlords were dispatched into the dwarven reaches of the Underdark to ensure a steady supply of uhl. Pacts were sealed with the duergar, and regular shipments were assured. It wasn't long before uhl stockpile began to mount in the Xak'Vandiri's subterranean holdings.

Meanwhile, artisans were set to the task of engineering Panque's Windship. They worked for many years, submitting design after design for Panque's approval. "When you have fulfilled Lolth's wishes, you shall know. Back to your sites, you unworthy slugs!" And so it went.

The craft could not be a simple bladder filled with uhl vapor, though such a device was easy to construct. It had to be a vessel that could ply the winds, not merely drift at their mercy.

The scope of Panque Xak'Vandiri's grand scheme would not be limited to the invention of a flying ship. A special crew was required, one that could withstand the sunlight and the elements of the surface world. Such a crew would not be easy to recruit or train. Who among the drow could rise to such a task? And which among their allies could they trust with such a bold charge?

Although they could only grudgingly admit it, and then only among themselves, the Xak'Vandiri realized that they were confronted by their greatest weakness, with no reasonable solution in sight. How could they overcome the sun itself? In time, Panque hit upon an idea that was, even to the drow themselves, almost unthinkable.

Raiding parties were sent to the surface, their objective to attack a number of sylvan hamlets and slaughter all of the elves, except the young females. The drow succeeded in their goal. Five communities of wood elves succumbed to the drow onslaught. To this day, the ruins of Amon Laur and Taur Galen bear cruel testimony to the drow victories. The raiders returned to the Underdark with a score of captive wood elves. These unfortunates were made the concubines of favored lords among the drow, and from their unholy unions were spawned halfbreed drow, known as the Xakhun (pronounced za-KOON).

Those halfbreeds who proved strong became the pride of the clan. Those who were weak found their destinies on the altars of the spider goddess. The blood of their surface-born mothers could be tolerated only insofar as it helped House Xak'Vandiri achieve its divine mission. Either they would learn to lead the drow into the air. or they would be sacrificed on Lolth's altars. To this day, the Xakhun windshippers say, "Sail the winds or stain the stone," echoing the aphorisms of their cruel trainers.

When the hybrid offspring came of age, the drow sent them to the surface world to test their strengths. The drow had no ships constructed yet, nor did any have experience flying. They needed to learn about sailing and the arts of navigation from those who sailed the surface seas. Already they had contacts among the mercenary corsairs of the nearby coast. Now they placed their special youngsters in service with the pirates, enlisting them to absorb all the knowledge they could. Once their education was complete, they were to return to the underworld and prepare for the day of ascent—but not all of them did.

As careful as the clan had been, subjecting the children to the most intense indoctrination, in some of these halfbreeds their mothers' nature could not be overshadowed. Despite decades of discipline and conditioning — or perhaps because of the cruel disdain with which the "truebloods" treated the halfbreeds — a handful defected, rebuking the clan and freeing into the surface world. Nothing could have enraged the drow more. These were traitors among their own kin. The matrons dispatched assassins and swore that each and every one of the renegades would be hunted down, captured, and tortured to death.

It was one such renegade windshipper who brought this sordid tale of the Xakhun windshippers to the surface folk.


Description:
The Xakhun of House Xak'Vandiri are part drow, part wood elf, yet divorced from each of their parent races; they have pale grey skin and black hair. Generations of selective breeding have created a type born to serve a specific purpose - to sail the Xan Kraban, their airship. Although others have since managed to steal the Xakhun's secret, none match the skill or devotion of the windshippers. To the Xakhun, nothing is more precious than being selected to serve aboard a windship. Xan Kraban captains, or skymistresses, hold the most privileged positions in their clans. To fly is a young Xakhun's highest aspiration, yet only the most talented are chosen for that duty.

Unlike full-blooded drow, the Xakhun have no aversion to sunlight or bright illumination. However, they have lost all of the special abilities of the drow, except for more limited spell resistance as a result of their dark elf heritage. For all other abilities, the Xakhun are treated as wood elves.

Many folk have seen those their ships scooting just above the treetops in the night, or high among the clouds in the day. House Xak'Vandiri has all but abandoned subterranean life. The first halfbreeds have themselves had children, even great grandchildren. They may as well not be called drow anymore; they're a breed apart. Almost all of them are windshippers these days, except for the ancient among them. From what the adventurers who have run into them say, they're an arrogant lot, even those who have turned from Lolth to Eilistraee.

Ports of Call:
Xan Kraban landing sites tend to be high altitude, mountainous locations or plateaus leveled into precipitous escarpments. These bases are always positioned along the least accessible peaks available. All factors are surveyed: There must be a high degree of privacy, advantageous winds, access to subterranean tunnel complexes, and defendable positions. Since the Xakhun often enlist the services of duergar miners to excavate uhl deposits, these "ports of call" often lie near duergar enclaves.

Among the more prominent "ports" is Khallyntas, a rocky spire honeycombed with tunnels that spiral downward into the Underdark and lead to vast uhl deposits, all mined by Xakhun slaves put to task by derro.

Jutting from the mountain's icy peak are dozens of landing platforms designed expressly for Xakhun windships. Each is adorned with elaborate spider emblems and mystical drow symbology. The adornment of landing plateaus is never left to the hired help. This is solely the province of highly skilled Xakhun artisans, once the menial labor has been finished.

Guarding the spire from gnomish zeppelins and similar incursions is a flight of six young white dragons that reside on the mountain's topmost crags. These ravenous drakes are held in check by Serendrek the Mountain Lord, a frost giant employed by the Xakhun.

The Xakhun's strategy for conquest and expansion is to secure a web of landing plateaus throughout the range of their travels. When Xakhun emissaries penetrate new areas, they are eager to contact local brutes. The initial phases of base construction are often carried out by slave gangs under the whip of task-masters in Xakhun employ. The slaves are usually human, demihuman, or humanoid. The taskmasters are generally ogres, duergar, trolls or similar thugs eager for Xakhun gold. The slaves are always destroyed when construction is completed to prevent rumor of their endeavors from escaping.

The Xakhun keep the locations of their landing sites secret. The penalty for revealing the location of a landing site to "outsiders" is death.

Xakhun Society - Xan Kraban Crew:

Windsailors (Fighter or Rogue)

Windsailors form the bulk of Xan Kraban crews. They are trained in the operations of the airship and in combat. Windsailors fill the highest echelons of Xakhun society, below only the clergy of Lolth and higher-ranking windsailors.

Physically, windsailors tend to be slight and swift. Agility means more than brute strength on the constantly shifting deck of a Xan Kraban, and good windsailors are seldom large.

Windsailor Fighters form the main assault force of windships, adept at both missile and melee combat.

Windsailor Rogues are experts at dropping to the ground on a cord of spider silk, looting the villages of the Xan Kraban's victims before burning the villages to the ground.

Role: Windsailors are responsible for all operations of the Xan Kraban. When not serving on board a Xan Kraban, windsailors often lead small Xakhun raiding parties on the surface.

Their elite status makes most windsailors aloof and serious. Outsiders, even other drow, consider the windsailors the worst of an already haughty people. The knowledge that they were chosen to carry out Lolth's quest makes every member of a Xan Kraban's crew look down on those who were not so honored.

Spidermaidens (Priestess)

These priestesses of Lolth are feared for their ability to command the spiders that ride on the Xan Kraban. Spidermaidens devote their lives to the worship of Lolth, as do other drow priestesses. However, instead of leading the rest of the tribe, spidermaidens spend their time among the spiders that help on the flying ships.

Only priestesses of Lolth can be spidermaidens. Xakhun who abandon their faith in Lolth, and those who turn to Eilistraee for guidance and spells, cannot become spidermaidens.

Spidermaidens often ascend to captain their own vessels, but the majority of them know that they can only do so by handling the spiders with skill.

All spidermaidens learn to train and handle the giant spider-riggers. However, each must choose whether to train leaping sword spiders or dropspiders. Rivalry within the Xakhun most often occurs between those who favor the leaping sword spiders and those who favor the drop spiders.

Role: The primary responsibility of a spidermaiden is the care of the spiders on a Xan Kraban. A dedicated spidermaiden who serves Lolth well often becomes a skymistress - captain of her own airship. In combat, the spidermaiden is responsible for coordinating the spiders' actions with those of the normal crew.

Windtamer (Wizard)
Windtamers are mages trained to integrate their magic with the operations of a windship. They are the only members of the crew not expected to participate in the day-to-day operation of the airship. Instead, they serve as navigators and use their magical abilities to aid the rest of the crew. Windtamers come from every level of Xakhun society; there are simply too few who inherit the drow's magical abilities for it to be any other way.

There is one windtamer aboard a windship. Rarely, he will be accompanied by an apprentice.

Role: Windtamers keep much of their magic in reserve in case the ship itself is in danger. The Windtamers' ability to maneuver a Xan Kraban makes them fearsome opponents. On board, Windtamers often act as the first mate and helmsman.

Settings:
Xakhun can come only from the Forgotten Realms setting.

Game Stats
+2 Str, +2 Dex, -2 Con, -2 Int, -2 Cha*
Low-light vision
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness
Spell Resistance

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Str, -2 Int, -2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Source: Dragon Magazine 244
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:59:39 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
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Half-Drow
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2021, 08:28:59 PM »
Half-Drow

(Details on the half-drow of Greyhawk and Eberron are included in the settings section.)

In most lands, half-drow are rare. Since so many drow are irredeemably evil, they only mate with humans by way of rape or slavery. The only exception are the half-drow of the land of Dambrath in the Shining South, who arise from the centuries-old drow subjugation of the human folk of that land. Half-drow have dusky skin, silver or white hair, and a broad range of eye colors. They are often just as dark-hearted as their elven parents, but with a bitter resentment that comes from knowing that they are considered second-class members of drow society. In human society, half-drow are distrusted nearly as much as their full-blooded cousins. Despite this, good half-drow are much less rare than good drow. Whether this has to do with the influence of their human blood, or the desire to rebel against the drow who treat them so poorly, is difficult to tell.

History:
Around 500 years ago, the barbaric human kingdom of Dambrath warred with the powerful drow city-state of T’lindhet beneath the nearby Gnollwatch Mountains. When the drow won, they enslaved the humans of the region. Over the course of several human generations, the conquering dark elves took human lovers from their slaves, resulting in a large number of half-drow. Today, such people make up about 15% of the country’s population. In time, the ruling drow nobles came to spend less and less time on the surface, returning to their subterranean city and leaving their surface conquests in the hands of their half-breed children. The great Houses of T’lindhet carved up the broadlands of Dambrath into their personal fiefs, and their half-drow scions served as good stewards for their vast estates. These great old families of half-drow rule Dambrath to this day, each nominally loyal to an ancient House of T’lindhet. Drow blood is a sign of power and wealth in Dambrath, but when the half-drow of the surface visit their ancient families below the Gnollwatch Mountains, they find that their full-blooded drow relations treat them as inferiors.

Outlook:
Dambrathan half-drow combine cold, condescending arrogance with secret shame. Although they consider themselves the better of the humans over which they rule, they know that their drow cousins feel similarly about them. They spend a great deal of time trying to prove themselves to everyone around them, including each other. Many half-drow become adventurers to escape the bigotry they face in just about every community they find outside Dambrath. Dambrathans, on the other hand, often range far outside their homeland to garner the wealth and fame that can prove their superiority back home.

Society:
In Dambrathan society, half-drow are aristocrats by birth. They grow up pampered, but a great deal is expected of them. When they become adults, they must do their best to prove that they are worthy of their blood. If they fail, they disgrace their entire family, and may be disowned and expelled from the country in shame. Elderly half-drow who have proved themselves can settle down and teach the younger ones what they know. Otherwise they must keep at their chosen profession until they finally are deemed worthy. In any event, elderly half-drow rarely live long after age begins to weaken them, since there are always younger relations hungry for the opportunity to claim the wealth and station of an aged half-drow. Outside Dambrath, many half-drow are solitary souls, preferring to keep their own counsel than sully themselves with the opinions of others. Other times, they band together into a self-important group, often bullying those they feel they can intimidate.

Language:
Half-drow speak Elven and the human tongue of their home region. If they were raised in the Underdark or Dambrath, they speak Undercommon. Otherwise, they speak Common. All half-drow are literate, except for barbarians.

Religion:
Half-drow can choose any human or drow deity as a patron. Dambrathan half-drow almost always choose either a patron among the drow pantheon or, better yet, Loviatar. Good half-drow almost always take Eilistraee as their patron. For many half-drow of good heart, choosing Eilistraee is a compromise between both sides of their heritage, one that they can happily live with. Loviatar’s faith has a peculiar place among the folk of Dambrath. This goddess of pain and suffering had a following in Dambrath before the drow conquered the land. In fact, without the aid of Loviatar’s cult, the drow might never have taken the country at all. In respect for her, the worship of Loviatar is still the official faith of Dambrath, and most half-drow who live there follow this line.

Relations with Other Races:
Most half-drow don’t get along well with anyone outside other half-drow. Dambrath is really the place for such people. Good half-drow are often friendly when approached with acceptance or understanding, but standoffish otherwise. They know all too well how most people feel about their drow kin and, by extension, them.

Half-Drow Region:
While many half-drow native to Dambrath choose that region, a half-drow character living in more northerly lands is an expatriate and loner. This region represents a solitary half-drow native to the woodlands of Cormanthor or the North.

Settings:
Half-Drow can come only from the following settings: Eberron, Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk.

Eberron
A few dozen drow can be found scattered around Stormreach. Some have found love within the city, whether temporary or long-term, and a handful of half-drow make their homes in Stormreach as well. The Hantar’kul, a tribe of drow worshiping Vulkoor the Cunning, have a special vendetta against the elves of Aerenal and Valenar, as well as the drow and half-drow who live within Stormreach.

Greyhawk
On Oerth, half-drow are rare. Since so many drow are irredeemably evil, they only mate with humans by way of rape or slavery. Half-drow children are given or sold to orphanages, where they are tested to determine their fitness to live. Those with aptitudes receive some rudimentary training, and the chance to demonstrate their worth, up to the age of eight. From there they are farmed out as apprentices, given to the military societies, or sold to the nobles; otherwise they are simply cast out.

Game Stats:
Sleeplessness
Hardiness vs. Enchantments
Partial Skill Affinity (Listen)
Partial Skill Affinity (Search)
Partial Skill Affinity (Spot)
Low-light Vision

Source: Races of Faerun, Living Greyhawk Journal 14, Drow of the Underdark, City of Stormreach
« Last Edit: March 07, 2021, 10:59:01 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

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Umbragen
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2021, 08:41:00 PM »
Umbragen

* Playing this race requires that you fill an application form and receive approval of the Community Council.

In the Eberron campaign setting, the drow reside on the shattered continent of Xen'drik. The common image of the Xen'drik drow is one of a tribal hunter wearing chitin armor, his skin ritually scarred by acidic venom. Cruel and cunning, these nomadic drow are deadly hunters who own the shadows of Xen'drik and prey on giants and humanoid alike.

While the majority of the drow of Xen'drik live in tribes, there are exceptions -- elves who have held onto the arcane secrets of the past, using them to develop strange new spells. One of these hidden sects: the umbragen, also known as shadow elves.

History:
When the dragons devastated Xen'drik and brought the Age of Giants to a close, the ancestors of the Umbragen fled into the depths of Khyber. They persisted under Xen'drik for a long time against many horrible monsters. Eventually they reached their current home, which is within a ruined fortress of the ancient Qabalrin elves under the Ring of Storms. In a desperate struggle to survive, these drow established a spiritual bond with a dark force known as the Umbra. Umbra is a dark remnant left behind by the ancient Qabalrin elves. The Qabalrin resided in the Ring of Storms before their civilization were destroyed by a giant Siberys dragonshard. Ever since the Umbragen have used its power against many dangerous monsters and have gained more power over time as they bound themselves to its magic. However, in 997 YK a daelkyr lord created an army in the depths of Khyber below Xen'drik. The Umbragen have been fighting a losing battle with the aberrant forces of Belashyrra, the Lord of Eyes ever since. The army includes beholders, mind flayers, and other sorts of aberrations. Since the Umbragen see that they are overmatched, they have sent many drow out from underground in order to find a weapon that will turn the tide in their war.

Society:
The Umbragen are an incredibly secretive culture with little contact with outsiders, and few outsiders know anything about them. Umbragen contrarily know very little about the outside world. The Umbragen drow are no longer fully drow following their bonding with the Umbra. The Umbragen believe that all of their people who draw on this shadowy force will be doomed as the dark power consumes their soul and they become increasingly dispassionate. The Umbra bears some resemblance to the Shadow, the Sovereign of Magic and Mayhem of the Dark Six. Umbragen society is split along two paths: The Council of War and the Vault of Shadows. Those of the Council of War seek to prove themselves in battle while those in the Vault of Shadows seek to add arcane might to the Umbragen cause. Rank and promotion is earned through conflict, which in theory sounds chaotic but is a rarely invoked tradition. The survival of the race is of greater import than personal ego. Leaders hold their positions by maintaining the respect of the people, and only an incompetent leader risks being challenged. True leaders are revered and valued by those beneath them.

Personality:
A shadow elf has the personality of a predator. His fellow umbragen are his allies in the hunt, and they alone have its respect and loyalty. All other creatures are potential prey, unworthy of respect or pity. With this in mind, the shadow elf is always searching for ways to turn a situation to his advantage or to exploit weakness in a foe. While he is ruthlessly efficient when required, if given the opportunity a shadow elf prefers to play with his prey. Conflict is the one pleasure of the umbragen, and a shadow elf would rather lead an opponent to an ambush than kill it outright. The umbragen are not fools however, and refuse to throw away victory for a fool's game. If the odds are even a shadow elf draws out the conflict to savor the victory.

Physical description: Shadow elves have jet black skin, pale hair and slender elven builds. At a distance umbragen are indistinguishable from drow, but up close a few distinctive features become visible. The eyes are pure black that show no iris or scelera and the skin has an oily gleam, almost as if liquid shadow was flowing across their skin.

Alignment:
As a race the umbragen tend to be lawful evil. They believe that order and discipline is vital to the continued survival of their race, and they are willing to do anything in the pursuit of this goal. They expect treachery from other creatures and thus feel no remorse for actions they take against their enemies, or even temporary allies.

Religion:
The shadow elves believe that the Umbra slowly devours the soul of everything it touches, including the umbragen themselves. Those who are the closest to the Umbra become colder and more ruthless as their dark powers grow. To the umbragen the exchange of power for their souls is a fair one and the people respect this sacrifice. Umbragen clerics use the listing for the Shadow to determine their domains.

Language: The Umbragen drow speak a dialect of Elven, and speak Undercommon after their conflict with the aberrations. Their use of the elven tongue has drifted due to their separation from the Aereni for tens of thousands of years. Should an umbragen encounter elves of other culture, he may have difficulties to understand the others at first, but all learn to bridge the gap after a brief period.

Name: A shadow elf begins life with a simple birth name. These are typically monosyllabic. When the elf embraces the Umbra he chooses his final name.

Male:
Dulos, Hulaje, Jalaen, Satros, Turaje

Female:
Delake, Haeri, Mekali, Solake, Ulari

Umbragen Adventurers: The majority of umbragen encountered in the world are searching for weapons to use in the war against the forces of Khyber: powerful artefacts, forgotten spells, or anything that could turn the tide. To find what they seek they also need to learn about the surface world. A group might encounter an umbragen agent who is simply gathering information about the people and cultures of the world above. There are also a few shadow elves who have abandoned the conflict of their people, choosing to seize a place among the soft people of the upper world instead of battling the endless hordes of Khyber.

Warlock is the favored class of the umbragen, and many umbragen merge the shadowy talents of the warlock with the skills of other classes. The pious templar blends the gifts of the warlock with the healing powers of the cleric, while the dread knight strikes down his enemies with shadows and steel.

Settings:
Umbragen are exclusive to the Eberron setting.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, +2 Cha*
Darkvision
Elven weapons proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness
Move Silently +2
Hide +2
Faerie Fire spell once a day
Darkness spell once a day
Spell Resistance
Effective Character Level +2

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Int, +2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Source: Dragon Magazine #330
« Last Edit: June 12, 2022, 09:53:08 PM by EO »
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MAB

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Drow of Eberron
« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2021, 08:45:18 PM »
Drow of Eberron

* Playing this race requires that you fill an application form and receive approval of the Community Council.

"Every secret you have discovered about my homeland hides a thousand more."

-- Parik Xiv'inn, drow scorpion wraith

The drow carve a deadly existence out of the ruined continent of Xen'drik. The dark-skinned elves believe it is they, not the rebels who fled to Aerenal, who truly preserve the dignity and valor of the elf race. Allied with monstrous scorpions, the drow battle the fallen race of giants over the ruins of the mysterious continent.

As the most civilized inhabitants of ruined Xen'drik, the drow are the heirs to both the lingering might of giant nations and the ancient elven spellcraft once learned at the feet of dragons. The homeland of the drow is a contradiction of sorts -- an ancient ruin that nonetheless holds magical treasures of almost unimaginable might. As Siberys shards fall on the broken landscapes and jungles, explorers from other continents brave sahuagin-filled waters to crowd the port city of Stormreach.

Lands:
The jungles of Xen'drik are a harsh and unforgiving land; the drow dwell in the underground realm of Khyber as often as they haunt the ruins of aboveground Xen'drik. Covered by thick jungle and the ruined cities of the ancient giant kingdoms, the continent houses too many dangers for the drow to be able to establish large and stable cities such as those on Khorvaire. The largest drow settlements are underground.

Settlements:
Drow settlements are small, temporary affairs. Occasionally a relatively large and powerful tribe might stay for some time in the ruins of a giant city, but such occupations are short lived. The drow stay only long enough to plunder what artifacts they can.

Power Groups:
Drow have few of the political struggles and rivalries that other races have. Family groups are simply too small and scattered to have anything other than sporadic contact. This intermittent contact is fraught with peril, though, as larger and more powerful family groups seek to absorb smaller groups of drow.

Beliefs:
The drow in Eberron differ from those in other D&D campaigns in that they worship a scorpion-god named Vulkoor instead of the spider-goddess Lolth. Vulkoor is often envisioned as a giant scorpion or as a hybrid with the head, arms, and upper torso of a strong male drow and the lower body of a scorpion. Many drow believe that Vulkoor and The Mockery (one of the group of evil deities known as the Dark Six) are one in the same. The drow also revere scorpions, considering other arachnids to be lesser servitors of Vulkoor. Xen'drik drow ritually scar themselves using scorpion venom, leaving white tattoos on their black skin.

Language:
As per the Eberron campaign setting and the Secrets of the Xen'drik sourcebooks, the main language of the Eberron drow is that of Giants. They were slaves to a Giant Empire and their elven heritages were removed from them. Some of them do speak common and elven as secondary languages, but it would not be the usual drowish dialect of other settings.

Relations:
Most drow have little interaction with members of other races; they fight the giants and monsters that roam their savage continent, and even avoid other drow family groups when possible. Drow are very suspicious of outsiders, and the few who interact with other races do so through the port of Stormreach. When dealing with outsiders, drow reveal nothing of themselves or their family groups whenever possible, always attempting to use the outsiders for their own ends without exposing the secrets of Xen'drik. For this reason, members of other races often find the drow to be a suspicious and sinister group.

Drow Characters:
Powerful, deadly, and shrouded in mystery, drow make exotic and interesting characters. Although they have seldom left the desolate continent that they call home, they sometimes join groups of adventurers setting out from Stormreach -- mostly to use the outsiders to further some ends of their own.

Adventuring Drow:
Most drow adventure out of necessity -- the dangers of their homeland constantly push them toward that life. Exploring the ruins of giant cities is one of few ways for most drow to improve their lives; finding the treasures of the ancients can ensure the welfare of an entire family group, not just a single drow.

Drow greatly desire personal power, and many take up the mantle of adventurer seeking to satisfy this urge. Whether this is simple greed or a reaction to the brutal continent on which the drow make their home is a question best left to the drow themselves. Although the drow are relatively few in number, the dangers of Xen'drik encourage a higher than normal percentage of the population to learn the skills of the adventurer. They fight for their existence daily amid dangerous jungles and ruined cities; adventurers powerful enough to face down giants and other foes are thus essential to a drow family's survival.

Character Development:
Drow characters have many powerful innate abilities, but they pay a price in the form of a costly level adjustment. Because they will have fewer Hit Dice and fewer hit points than other characters of their level, drow are often better off when they can deal with their foes from a distance. With their longer darkvision range, the drow are at their best when fighting underground, and they can sometimes remain out of their foes' vision entirely when fighting. Even considering their level adjustment, drow make powerful and dangerous spellcasters, especially when they choose classes that rely on Intelligence or Charisma for spellcasting.

Drow Encounters:
The drow of Xen'drik distrust outsiders; adventurers traveling through the lost continent are likely to face guerrilla attacks by poison-wielding drow scouts. These small teams of drow hunters prefer to strike from hiding and then fade into the jungle, seldom lingering even to gauge the effectiveness of their first volley of attacks. These scouts employ the venom of the sacred scorpions to make their hit-and-run tactics lethal.

Roleplaying a drow:
Here are some tips and ideas to use when playing a drow. Feel free to incorporate any or all of these into your character's personality and mannerisms.

Drow are very loyal to their families and unusually refuse even to give the family's name to an outsider. Play accordingly, granting all inquiries about your family/heritage with suspicion or even violence. Adopt a callous attitude about the welfare of those not from your immediate family. Products of a brutal environment, drow have little room in their personality for mercy. They prefer to strike first in any confrontation. Do your best to attack your foes from hiding and don't be shy about using poison to bring down foes with a minimal number of strikes.

Character Names:
Drow typically have only two names, a personal name and a family name. Drow are very careful about sharing their family names, and it is considered an insult in drow society to ask about a family name. Among drow, sharing a family name is sometimes a sign of trust and friendship, but more often it is a sign of submission to a more powerful individual. Drow guard their family names so carefully not because of any personal danger or need, but because family is the ultimate source of loyalty for any drow; a drow never wants to give away any information that might weaken the family. Drow proper and family names feature multiple syllables, glottal stops (represented by apostrophes), and hard consonants.

About driders and Eberron drow:
In the context of the drow worship of the Mockery, driders do exist, but not as outcasts punished by the Spider Queen, rather, the drow of Xen'drik believe that driders are specially chosen servants of the Mockery. They do not seem to be individually created but are distinct race that breeds true. There is said to be a different race of driders with the bodies of scorpions, possessing great innate ability as fighters, rangers and monks.

Male Names: Ek'ann, Kaxxar, Xen'kar.

Female Names: Curra, Kas'asar, Kirris, Xen'va.

Family Names: Gen'thac, Torkak, Xar'cha.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, +2 Cha*
Darkvision
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness
Faerie Fire x1
Darkness x1
Will Save +2
Spell Resistance
Effective Character Level +2

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Int, +2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Source: Races of Eberron p-76-79
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 09:26:51 AM by MAB77 »
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Drow of Greyhawk
« Reply #47 on: February 02, 2021, 08:50:00 PM »
Drow of Greyhawk

* Playing this race requires that you fill an application form and receive approval of the Community Council.

Ages past, when the elvenfolk were but new to the face of the earth, their number was torn by discord, and those of better disposition drove from them those of the elves who were selfish and cruel. However, constant warfare between the two divisions of elvenkind continued, with the goodly ones ever victorious, until those of dark nature were forced to withdraw from the lands under the skies and seek safety in the realm of the underworld. Here in lightless caverns and endless warrens of twisting passages and caves hung with icicles of stone, the Dark Elvenfolk, the Drow, found both refuge and comfort. Over the centuries they grew strong once again and schooled themselves in arcane arts. And if they were strong enough to face and defeat their former brethren in battle, the Drow no longer desired to walk upon the green lands under the sun and stars. They no longer desired a life in the upper world, being content with the gloomy fairyland beneath the earth that they had made their own. Yet they neither forgive nor forget, and above all else they bear enmity for all of their distant kinelves and faeries—who drove them down and now dwell in the meadows and dells of the bright world. Though they are seldom if ever seen by any human or demi-human, the Drow still persist, and occasionally they enter lower dungeon levels and consort with other creatures in order to work out their schemes and inflict revenge upon those who inhabit the world
above.

Ecology:
Unlike surface-dwelling elves, drow thrive in the light-deprived depths. Their darkvision exceeds that of most of the other denizens and provides a significant advantage. Their spell-like abilities also give them a great deal of control over illumination.

Like most humanoids, drow shape their environment to suit them. They create cities and settlements near valuable resources such as potable water of mithral mines. They use slaves to farm mushrooms and other underground plants as well as domesticate monstrous spiders for use as mounts and guards.

Drow weapons and armor (usually made of adamantine or another metal unique to the Underdark) slowly lose their magical properties if exposed to the sun. Drow often employ hand crossbows, a weapon most consider exotic.

Environment:
Most drow loathe the sun and prefer to dwell deep underground. They construct sprawling underground cities of stone and metal. Their grandest buildings have bizarre shapes with weirdly elegant sculptural adornments. Permanent effects that resemble faerie fire cover many of their buildings, giving drow cities a ghostly look.

After the great war amongst the elves, the drow were forced underground in what is now known as the Underdark, a vast system of caverns and tunnels spanning much of the continent. The drow have since built cities across the Underdark, becoming one of the most powerful races therein.

The most famous drow community is the subterranean city Erelhei-Cinlu, and its surrounding Vault, commonly called the Vault of the Drow. Drow are also known to dwell beneath the Domain of Greyhawk, where they worship elemental forces, and beneath the Pomarj.

Typical physical Characteristics:
Drow characters are extremely intelligent, charismatic and dexterous, but share surface elves' comparative frailty and slight frames. Females tend to be slightly taller than males, though the difference is barely noticeable to the untrained eye. Drow are characterized by white or silver hair, obsidian black skin, and red (or rarely gray, violet, or yellow) eyes, as well as innate spell-like abilities and spell resistance. This is balanced by their light sensitivity.

Drow males are commonly wizards or fighters. Females are almost always clerics and almost never wizards.

Half-drow are the result of crossbreeding between another race and a drow, and share characteristics of both. The term "half-drow" usually refers to one who is half drow and half human.

Alignment:
As a race, drow are usually evil. Exceptions exist, the most notable being Leda, Nilonim, Jawal Severnain, Tysiln San, and Landis Bree, but these are highly unusual. In earlier editions, drow were chaotic evil. Beginning with Third Edition, drow are usually neutral evil. There have been encounters with nonevil drow, but these are distrusted as much as their brethren, due to their reputation.

Society:
Drow society is primarily matriarchal, with priestesses of their evil spider goddess Lolth in the highest seats of power. Some drow, especially of the House of Eilserv, worship a nameless Elder Elemental God (said to have ties to Tharizdun) instead of Lolth. Males are considered inferior to females within drow society, and while some males may be respected if they are powerful wizards, they are never allowed to rule. The drow sometimes use their dark arts to turn humanoid slaves into living sculptures.

Drow society is based upon violence, murder, cunning, and the philosophy that only the strong survive (though in the Drow tongue, a quirk of the language creates a reversal of cause-and-effect; more correctly, it can be translated as "those who survive are strong"). Hence, most drow plot endlessly to murder or otherwise incapacitate their rivals and enemy drow using deceit and betrayal. Drow, particularly in higher positions, are constantly wary of assassins and the like. Their society, as a whole, is seemingly nonviable. The only reason they do not murder themselves to extinction is by the will of Lolth, working primarily through her clergy. Lolth does not tolerate any drow that threaten to bring down her society, and the clergy make certain that perpetrators cease their destructive actions by either threatening or killing them, depending on her mood.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Some communities of drow worship other gods (like Vhaeraun or Kiaransali) and thus their hierarchy changes, reverses the roles of males and females, or results in other differences in their social order.

Most drow societies hate surface elves, but will wage war with almost any surface race and other subterranean races, such as mind flayers, svirfneblin, duergar, kuo-toa, dwarves, and orcs, for spoils and territory.

Religion:
The gods most commonly worshiped by the drow include Lolth, the Elder Elemental Eye, Keptolo, Kiaransali, Vhaeraun, and Zinzerena. Other fell entities and demon lords may also be worshiped. Kanchelsis is known to be worshiped by some drow.

Notable drow:
Known drow of Greyhawk include Clannair Blackshadow, Derken Gale, Jawal Severnain, and Landis Bree of Greyhawk City; Tysiln San of the Valley of the Mage; Eclavdra of House Eilserv and her clone Leda; and Edralve of the Slave Lords.

The drow of the moon Celene include Queen Lililth "Darkmane," her advisor Xerolan'th, and the priestess Tathis Spiderheart. 

Erelhei-Cinlu:
The alien and strangely disturbing buildings of Erelhei-Cinlu are crowded together in a welter which confuse any not born and bred to the place. Its crooked, narrow streets and alleys are dimly illuminated by signs scribed in phosphorescent chemicals and occasional lichen growths or fire beetle cages. Not even the Drow are certain what horrors lurk in the sewers beneath, but the rooftops are home to many sorts of large, huge, and giant spiders. The main ways of this ancient and depraved city are thronged with as unlikely a mixture of creatures as can be imagined. Green cloaked Illithids and Kuo-Toans rub shoulders with Dark Elves. Ghosts and ghouls roam freely, and an occasional shadow or vampire will be seen. Bugbears and troglodytes are common, as are other various servants and slaves of the Drow (dwarves, goblins, half-orcs, humans, and orcs are sometimes free inhabitants of the place). All are pale from dwelling in the sunless Vault. Trolls slink by evil-looking men wearing the green garb. None are disturbed to pass a lesser demon or succubus, a night hag or mezzodaemon. These crowds part hurriedly for Noble Drow riding nightmares or the more powerful demons or nycadaemons, but those of the Dark Elves with pack lizards must slowly force their way through traffic. Beggars of all sorts are seen, and half-Drow thieves, pimps, and harlots are as common as the enslaved human and elven prostitutes displayed before certain establishments.

Between 8,000 and 9,000 Drow live in the city, and double that number of half-casts, servants, and slaves. To this permanent population can be added a thousand or so creatures visiting for purposes known only to themselves. The tiers and dungeons of Erelhei-Cinlu reek of debauchery and decadence, and the city's inhabitants are degenerate and effete. (Those with any promise and ability are brought out of the place to serve the fighting societies, merchant clans or noble houses. The rest are left to wallow in the sinkhole of absolute depravity which is Erelhei-Cinlu.) The most popular places in the city are the gambling dens, bordellos, taverns, drug saloons, and even less savory shops along the two main streets. The back streets and alleyways too boast of brothels, poison shops, bars, and torture parlors. Unspeakable things transpire where the evil and jaded creatures seek pleasure, pain, excitement, or arcane knowledge, and sometimes these seekers find they are victims. All visitors are warned that they enter the back streets of the city at their peril.

History:
Erelhei-Cinlu is the principal city of the drow, built after the wars between the light elves and dark. It is uncounted centuries old.

Against the Giants/Vault of the Drow
House Eilservs was long the most powerful of Erelhei-Cinlu's noble houses, and long believed that the city should be ruled by a single queen of their house. When the other noble houses allied against the Eilservs to prevent this from happening, the Eilservs renounced the worship of the demon queen Lolth, turning instead to an Elder Elemental God. They then attempted to establish a puppet kingdom in the surface world dedicated to the worship of their new deity, hoping this would bring them enough power that their claims to supreme power in the Vault could no longer be denied. This scheme was thwarted by a band of adventurers in the Against the Giants series of modules.

The same adventuring party, including Frush O'Suggill, Beek Gwenders of Croodle, Cloyer Bulse the Magsman, Faffle Dwe'o-mercraeft, Flerd Trantle, Fonkin Hoddypeak, Gleep Wurp the Eyebiter, Redmod Dumple, and Roaky Swerked, then entered the Vault itself and assaulted the Eilservs estates and the Great Fane of Lolth itself. In the aftermath the Eilservs were ruined, their wealth and power shattered, and vengeful priestesses of Lolth turned on them to exile what remained. Many fled to the lesser drow city of Angrimm, which was subsequently overrun by the ghouls of the White Kingdom.

The Greyhawk Wars
During the Greyhawk Wars, the priestesses of Lolth in Erelhei-Cinlu allied with giants controlled by the Sakhut cloud giants to once again attempt to create a puppet kingdom on the surface world, this time controlled by Lolth rather than the Elder Elemental Eye. Geoff and Sterich fell to the giant marauders.

The Priestess Wars
Back in the city, the remaining noble houses squabbled for dominance. The Tormtor and Kilsek houses were the chief claimants, and the Tormtor elected to reject Lolth and embrace the worship of Kiaransalee to challenge the Kilsek's claim that their long devotion to Lolth had earned them the right to supremacy. The houses of Everhate and Aleval allied with the Tormtor, as did a group of extraplanar githyanki. With the Kilsek faction was aligned the houses of Despana, Noquar, Godeep, as well as the illithids who naturally opposed their githyanki enemies (most likely these were the illithids of nearby Dra-Mur-Shou).

As chaos and savage battles overtook the Vault, hundreds of drow died, as did hundreds of their mercenaries.

The war was finally ended after Eclavdra abased herself before Lolth and underwent a horrible punishment to prove herself. Surviving unmarred, she made a pact with her goddess whose nature remains obscure, but evidently involved seducing and betraying the demon lord Graz'zt. In reward, Lolth intervened personally to end the war. Though turning her concentration to this conflict cost the Demon Queen of Spiders her holdings in Geoff and Sterich, the war was ended definitively. House Eilserv was reinstated in power and House Kilsek was banished, replaced with House Vae.

Most recently, House Xaniqos has risen to power by exterminating the last of House Everhate. Also, House Norquar was displaced by the up-and-coming House Shi'quos by using rather nefarious means, such as assassination and extortion, along with leveling accusations of treason.

The drow of Erelhei-Cinlu have gained a certain perspective from these tumultuous events, replacing overt military schemes with more subtle scheming, at least for the time being.

Geography:
Erelhei-Cinlu lies in a huge cavern, over six miles long and nearly as wide, beneath the Hellfurnaces known as the Vault (also known as the Vault of the Drow). A huge chunk of turnkeoite on the ceiling of the Vault gives the appearance of an alien moon, whilst much smaller deposits of other exotic minerals give one the impression of an starry night sky.

Major bodies of water within the Vault include the Pitchy Flow, the Weeping Spring that flows north and west into it, and the Mere of Glooms in the midst of the Weeping Spring.

Much of the Vault is filled with forests of lichens, crystalline growths, and fungi. Merchant estates are scattered south of the city, as are fortresses for the male and female orders of warriors. The city itself is built on the southern bank of the Pitchy Flow in the northern corner of the Vault. A single structure, the Flying Bridge, connects Erelhei-Cinlu with the other side of the Pitchy Flow. Across the river is a plateau containing the estates of the noble houses, and a tunnel leading to the Great Fane of Lolth.

The city of Erelhei-Cinlu is surrounded by a 30-foot-tall wall of seamless polished basalt, interrupted by 40-foot square towers at regular intervals. On the shores of the river, the wall is 50 feet high and without towers; the river wall is the exclusive domain of female soldiers.

The buildings of Erelhei-Cinlu are alien and strangely disturbing to human eyes, its streets narrow and crooked.

Religion:
The principal religion of Erelhei-Cinlu is the worship of Lolth, the Spider Queen, whose greatest temple on Oerth is the Great Fane. Other deities worshiped by the drow of Erelhei-Cinlu include Keptolo, who is Lolth's Eager Consort, Kiaransali, and Zinzerena. Keptolo's temple is found in the center of the Concourse, where the main streets of the city intersect like the nexus of a web. The priesthood of Kiaransali is dominant in the Ghetto of Chattels, though always under the supervision of Lolth's priestesses. The Great Fane of Lolth is located in a separate cavern; worshipers must leave the city and cross the Pitchy Flow and the nobles' estates to reach it. In the Ghetto of Foreigners, along the Street of Lies, the drow permit the temples of deities worshiped by other races, including Nerull, Boccob, Ralishaz, Incabulos, Erythnul, Beltar, Raxivort, Vecna, and Tharizdun, though the temple of Tharizdun is more of a museum than an active place of worship (Dragon #298, 77). After the resurrection of Orcus, one of his temples is said to be found here as well (Underdark (2010), 71).

Languages:
Drow speak Undercommon and various dialects of Elven that (though clearly the same language) are different in accent, tone, and nuance from surface. Drow communication is often initially confusing to others, since the drow use Elven and Undercommon interchangeably, frequently switching back and forth in the middle of a conversation—or even the middle of a sentence—if they feel that one language conveys the proper nuance or emphasis better than the other. Additionally, when creating new terms for objects, creatures, or other items not covered by either existing language, they often combine the grammatical and phonetic rules of both. The result is that the drow frequently speak a pidgin combination of the two tongues that might, generations in the future, form the basis of an actual drow language.

On those rare occasions when they speak with surface elves, the drow customarily refuse to speak Elven, despite their fluency in the language. They prefer forcing the surface-dwellers to learn and understand Undercommon—yet another small sign of dominance.

The drow also can understand Drow Sign Language. Initially developed as a series of quick signals and commands for use by military bands sneaking through enemy territory, the drow system of signs has developed into a complex language all its own. Though it is not as varied or expressive as most spoken languages, it is capable of conveying a surprising array of complex concepts in a relatively short time.

The meaning of a word is indicated by the patterns formed by the hands and fingers. Tense and subject/object links are conveyed through the precise angle of the hands from the "speaker," and emphasis and emotion are conveyed through facial expression and body language. This makes Drow Sign Language difficult to interpret if one is not the intended recipient.

Interestingly enough, many of the hand and finger motions of Drow Sign Language are exceedingly close to those that make up the fundamental basis of arcane somatic components. It is unclear whether this was a deliberate choice back when the language was first being developed, or was simply a natural outgrowth of the fact that many drow are arcanists and were most comfortable with those motions.

The drow of Oerth have a written version of Drow Sign Language that consists of simple dot-and-line arrangements that vaguely imitate the positions of the hands and fingers. This pictographic script is less detailed and comprehensive than the sign language on which it is based, but it is more than sufficient to convey essential information, such as a warning about a hazard or directions for a following column of soldiers.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, +2 Cha*
Darkvision
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness
Will +2
Faerie Fire x1
Darkness x1
Will Save +2
Spell Resistance
Effective Character Level +2

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Int, +2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: Greyhawkonline.com, Canonfire!/Ghwiki, Monster Manual IV, wikipedia, Vault of the Drow 3ed
« Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 05:19:48 PM by EO »
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MAB

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MAB77

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Drow of the Forgotten Realms
« Reply #48 on: February 02, 2021, 08:55:25 PM »
Drow of the Forgotten Realms

* Playing this race requires that you fill an application form and receive approval of the Community Council.

Feared and reviled throughout the Lands Above, the drow are perhaps the most numerous, powerful and widespread of the Underdark's native peoples. The majority of the dark elves live in city states ruled by various noble houses. Each House commands its own small army of fearless drow soldiers, cunning wizards, and zealous priestesses, as well as large contingents of slave soldiers, such as Bugbears, ogres and minotaurs. In fact, half to two-thirds of any drow city's population consists of humanoid slaves and rabble, all of whom are subject to the cruelty and whims of any passing drow.

Dark elf city-states lie below dozens of surface realms, often unbeknownst to the upperworlders who live above them. The rulers of some drow cities prefer to leave the surface races alone and turn their attention toward gaining power through the endless scheming and feuding of the noble Houses. Others, however view the surface lands as theirs to pillage and plunder whenever they choose.

Personality:
Most drow are cruel, arrogant and hedonistic. Their eternal game of advancement at the expense of others, which is encouraged by the spider goddess herself, has transformed dark elves into a race of scheming backstabbers eager to increase their own stations by pulling down those ahead of them and crushing their inferiors underfoot. Drow trust no one and nothing, and most are incapable of compassion, kindness or love. Many dark elves are actively murderous and delight in the giving pain. While dark elves neither honor their promisses nor maintain personal loyalties once it becomes inconvenient to do so, their pride lends them a certain sense of style and an appreciation of subtlety. Drow can be courteous and urbane, even to deadly rivals. They enjoy surrounding themselves with things of beauty, giving hardly a thought to the cost. Any drow city features breathtaking architecture and elegant revels marked by dark and delicious entertainments, but only a fool would lower his guard in such an environment.

Physical description:
The skin of a drow can be any shade from dark gray to polished obsidian. His hair can be pale yellow, silver or white and his eyes can be almost any color, including blood red. Drow are short and slender compared to other Faerunian Elves, but they are strong for their size. Most dark elves especially nobles, are strikingly handsome individuals. Lolth does not favor meek, plain or unassuming worshipers.

Relations:
Drow regard all other races as inferior. Some they view as potential slaves, others as deadly vermin to be exterminated. None, however, are considered truly equal to the dark elves. Drow maintain a grudging respect for duergar and mind flayers, since the gray dwarves and Illithids also build powerful cities and have demonstrated the strength to stand up to repeated assaults from the dark elves. Though they despise humans and all other surface folk as weak creatures, the drow save their true venom for surface elves, particularly sun and moon elves. The dark elves hate their kinfolk with a blind passion and seize any chance to strike at their ancient enemies.

Society:
Drow society is strongly matriarchal, with females holding all positions of power and responsibility in government, the military, and in the home. Males are effective fighters, and can become priests and wizards of minor power. Outside drow communities, they are rarely encountered without female commanders. Male-commanded drow groups are generally either streeakh, suicide squads, or are dobluth (outcasts) who have rejected the traditional authority-structure of the drow (Vhaerunite). Social station is the most important thing in the world of the drow. Ascension to greater power is the ultimate goal in drow society. Assassination is the preferred tool in this job. It must be used discreetly in the city setting, for to openly murder or wage war (on a rival House) brings down the merciless might of drow justice (not because of the act itself, simply as punishment for the boorish act of fighting in public). Outside the patrol-range of cities, however, might is right, and Houses and merchant clans often battle each other openly in the wild Underdark.

Alignment:
The great majority of drow are evil through and through and most tend toward the chaotic end of the lawful-chaotic spectrum. In general, drow believe in doing what they want to do, when they want to do it.

Religion:
Most drow cities are dominated by priestesses of Lolth, the Spider Queen. As the special patron and protector of the dark elves, Lolth demands abject obedience and unflinching ruthlessness from her followers. Drow who have turned away from the Spider Queen are rare, but they do exist. Good aligned drow often worship Eilistraee, the Dancing Maiden. Evil drow who choose not to subject themselves to Lolth's tyranny may worship of of the other deities of the drow pantheon, such as Vhaeraun or Ghaunadaur.

Spiders and the Drow:
Drow have a strong affinity for arachnids. Most of them worship the spider goddess, Lolth, whose priestesses dominate drow society and whose ritual Test is forced on many drow of 6th level or higher. The Test, as mentioned earlier, is an examination of loyalty and skills, and is thought to be infallible. Failure carries its own horrible price. Those who pass are rewarded with increased status in their community, usually with immediate promotion within the priesthood. Others are sent on a quest set by the goddess. This usually involves a dangerous mission against specific targets in the surface world. Even among drow who do not worship Lolth, an affinity for arachnids is strong. Spiders and similar creatures often dwell among drow communities, and are prominent in drow sculpture, art, and fashion. Drow door-carvings and frames, for example, are apt to sport a motif of repeating crawling spiders. Drow homes are often decorated by translucent, draped grey hangings that emulate spiderwebs. Even games of tag, especially the courting games of hide-and-seek played at festival-times by young drow, are known as spider hunts, and any battle or endeavor in which a drow dies fighting is known as his "last bite"

Languages:
Most drow speak Elven, Undercommon, and a language appropriate to their native region. Those with the time or inclination, particularly warriors, learn Drow Sign Language (see below) or languages commonly spoken by beings that settle nearby, including Abyssal, Common, Draconic, and Goblin. Drow also learn common languages spoken on the surface near the entrances to their particular corner of the Underdark, such as the Illuskan language.

Drow have developed a unique sign language, Drow Sign Language, which allows silent communication with hand gestures up to 120 feet away as long as both parties can see each other. Drow Sign Language has no alphabet or written form. Drow Sign is not an automatic language for drow, a dark elf character must learn it either by designating it as one of his bonus languages or by acquiring it normally via the Speak Language skill (Unsupported).

Names:
Drow names often feature double letters and are usually rather pleasing to the ear.
Male names: Adinirahc, Alak, Alton, Amalica, Antatlab, Baragh, Belgos, Bergíinyon, Bhintel, Bruherd, Calimar, Chaszmyr, Dinin, Dipree, Divolg, Duagloth, Durdyn, Elkantar, Filraen, Gelroos, Ghaundan, Gomph, Guldor, Hatchínet, Houndaer, Ilmryn, Ilphrin, Istolil, Ranaghar, Istorvir, Jaraxle, Jeggred, Kalannar, Kelnozz, Krenaste, Krondorl, Lesaonar, Lyme, Malaggar, Masoj, Merinid, Mourn, Nalfein, Nilonim, Nym, Ghaundar, Ryltar, Omareth, Orgoloth, Pharaun, Quewen, Quild, Relonor, Riklaunim, Rizzen, Ryld, Sabrar, Seldszar, Shar, Nadal, Solaufein, Sorn, Szordrin, Tarlyn, Tathlyn, Tebryn, Tluth, Tsabrak, Urlryn, Valas, Vorn, Vuzlyn, Welverin, Wode, Yazston.
Female names: Akordia, Elvraema, Alauniira, Erelda, Alystin, Faeryl, Angaste, Felyndiira, Ardulace, Filfaere, Aunrae, Gaussra, Baltana, Gíeldriia, Belarbreena, Ginafae, Briza, Greyanna, Burryna, Haelra, Chalithra, Halavin, Charinida, Halisstra, Chessintra, Ilivarra, Dhaunae, Ilmra, Dilynrae, Imrae, Drisinil, Inidil, Eclavdra, Irae Elvanshalee, Irruit, Iymril, Jhanniss, Jhaelryna, Jhulae, Jyslin, Laele, Larynda, LiNeerlay, Lirdnolu, Lualyrr, Malice, Maya, Micarlin, Minolin, Molvayas, Myrymma, Nathrae, Nedylene, Nulliira, Olorae, Pellanistra, Phaere, Phyrra, Quarra,, Quave, Qilue, Rilrae, Sabal, Sabrae, Shiínayne, ShriNeerune, Shurdriira, Shyntlara, SiNafay, Ssapriina, Talabrina, Talice, Triel, Tírisstree, Ulviirala, Umrae, Viconia, Vierna, Vlondril, Waerva, Wuyondra, Xullrae, Xune, Yasraena, Zarra,, Zebeyana, Zesstra, Rauva, Zilvra.
Surnames: Abaeir, Abbylan, Argith, Blaerabban, Blundyth, Coborel, Coloara, Cormrael, Dalael, Dhuunyl, Elpragh, Filifar, Gellaer, Ghaun, Glannath, Hune, Hyluan, Illistyn, Jhalavar, Jusztiirn, Khalazza, Lhalabar, Luen, Mlezziir, Naerth, Olonrae, Omriwin, Pharm, Philiom, Quavein, Rhomduil, Rrostarr, Seerear, Ssambra, Telenna, Tlintarn, Tíorgh, Tísarran, Uloavae, Veladorn, Vrammyr, Vrinn, Waeglossz, Wyndyl, Xarann, Xiltyn, Yauntyrr, Yauthlo, Yoeghíilírymmin, Zaphresz, Zolond.

Adventurers:
The vicissitudes of House fortunes make adventuring an attractive profession for many drow. Some drow adventurers forswear their race's cruel ways and seek to do good in the world. Others remain evil, using adventuring as a means of accumulating the power and magic necessary to avenge themselves upon the rivals who brought them low.

Regions:
Abaethaggar, Abburth, Chaulssin, Charrvhelíraugaust, Ched Nasad, Cheth Rrhinn, Cormathor, Erelhei-Cinlu, Eryndlyn, Faneadar, Guallidurth, Haundrauth, Ithilaughym,, Llurth, Dreier, Luihaulenítar, Baereghel, Maerimydra, Menzoberranzan, Rilauven, Sshamath, Sshanntynlan, Szithlin, Tílindhet, Tyrybblyn, Uluitur, Undraeth, Víelddrinnsshar,, Waethe Hlammachar, Yuethindrynn, Orlytlar

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, +2 Cha*
Darkvision
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness
Will +2
Faerie Fire x1
Darkness x1
Will Save +2
Spell Resistance
Effective Character Level +2

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Int, +2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Sources: The Drow of The Underdark 2ed, Forgotten Realms - Underdark p.10,11, Races of Faerun
« Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 05:20:00 PM by EO »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Snow Elf
« Reply #49 on: February 02, 2021, 09:14:57 PM »
Snow Elf

Snow Elves are very thin and wiry, but surprisingly tough and even more shockingly tall, with females occasionally reaching 6'4", while it is not unknown for males to grow to 7'. The typical snow elf has light brown or tan skin, white or pale blond hair, and silver eyes. They prefer wearing only white materials, including jewelry made from bone or silver traded from Valley Elves. They have surprisingly short lifespans, for elves, only living around 750 to 900 years making them the shortest lived elves in the Flanaess. Most other elves, except Valley elves, look down on snow elves for this reason, seeing them as little better than humans with a misplaced sense of pride. It is true that snow elves are incredibly haughty, treating most other races, even other elves as completely beneath them. They get along well enough with Valley elves, but go into a berserk rage at the sight of drow to the point of having no self preservation. They have trained Hoar Foxes and bears for pets and guards.

History:
The rift between the snow elves and their cousins stems from the same wars that drove the drow underground. The snow elves were deceived into allowing passage (for a large profit) of the drow through a mountain pass they controlled, not knowing - so they claimed - that the drow were serving Lolth and had recently declared war on their cousin elves. While never formally condemned by their relatives, the snow elves have been universally shunned by them ever since. Valley elves, themselves largely disliked by others, tolerate snow elves perhaps because each views the other as sharing a similar plight - neither race is considered true elves by their cousins.

Mankind's quarrels with the snow elves also stem from twilit history. The snow elves were ever taller and more haughty than other elves - or even men - and they sought once to dominate or destroy the men who entered their mountain valleys and homes, earning forever the hatred of the more numerous race.

During their ages of seclusion, snow elves have focused their studies on fields that would aid their survival in the harsh environment in which they are fated to dwell. Thus magic, particularly the magic of cold, has waxed while clerical studies have waned. Druids and rangers have become prominent. All the while, snow elves have become more reclusive and secretive as lowland societies have grown unaware and indifferent. Indeed, the snow elves might be a dying race.

Habitat and Culture:
They inhabit the snow-covered Crystalmist Mountains, but might be found in similar areas elsewhere in the Flanaess, but strangely not in the snowy plains of Blackmoor or the lands of Black Ice.

Snow elves are seldom encountered below the snow line. Occasionally, their clans will dwell for brief periods just below the snow line in the dead of winter. Snow elves will never be encountered in a city, and they go into the foothills or lowlands only on urgent clan business or to raid for food.

Relations:
The rift between Snow elves and other elves is based in history, when the Snow Elf clans allowed the drow to escape through their territories in return for a price. The snow elves of the time claimed not to know how far the drow had fallen in their demon worship, but this event is still seen as a gross betrayal by other elves. This, combined with general elven attitudes, led to cold and distant relations with other elves. Valley elves, the other shunned elven race and neighbours, and Snow elves better tolerate each other through their shared position of elven outcasts. Snow elves don't tend to get along with non-elven races either, especially humans, as Snow elves are wont to raid and attack them. Many snow elves prefer arcane arts to cleric ones, but druids and rangers are highly valued.

Society:
Dwelling in tight-knit, extremely isolationist families or clans of 3-30 members, snow elves are very territorial and hostile toward trespassers. These clans live in small villages consisting of 2-10 domeshaped huts of woven trees, covered with furs and skins and packed on the outside with snow. Such villages house members of one clan only and lie generally near the center of that clan's territory. Territories average two square miles in size for each member of a clan's village. Communities numbering more than 30 undergo a branching off, wherein two or more family groups pack their belongings in early spring and set out in search of new territory. This prevents overpopulation and starvation in a rugged environment that offers no bountiful harvests for large communities. Such branching off is now a rare event.

Snow-elven clans, while not at all interdependent, will not hesitate to aid one another in repelling invaders or raiding high-altitude settlements. Clans often come together in spring and fall for various festivals and religious holidays. A snow elf will never turn another of his kind away empty-handed, although the proud snow elf only rarely admits the need of another's assistance.

Snow elves dislike working metal, due to their dislike of fire, and avoid wearing metal due to their cold environment. They instead prefer furs, leathers and hide - even that of white dragons if they succeed in obtaining any. They've succeeded in making dragonhide armor that is as flexible as elven chain. This is given to respected individuals among the snow elves and occasionally gifted to valley elves (who in turn provide the snow elves with any worked metal they need).

Snow elves use a musical instrument called Keras, which are similar to alpenhorns. These long horns, (4ft-20ft) made from wood or mammoth tusk, are used to communicate across long distances in complex codes or play out of festivals and holy days. Clans will not hesitate to aid each other, especially in helping fight against non snow elves, and will often gather in spring and autumn for festivals and holy days. While a snow elf would never turn away or ignore another of their kind in need, many times the troubled snow elf will be too proud to ask for help.

Religion:
Much of their worship is Druidic, focused around shrines built upon places of power (where the boundaries between the material plane and elemental planes of ice, air or earth are thin), but many of these shrines are dedicated to Tarsellis Meunniduin, the lesser elven god of mountains and wilderness, of whom the snow elves consider themselves the direct descendants of. Rellavar Danuvien, the Seldarine god of frost and snow, also sees worship from many Snow elves.

Adventurers:
By tradition, males are most often found as fighters, rangers, and rogues; females are usually wizards, and either sex may become druids. Mixed classes are uncommon.

Settings:
Snow Elves are exclusive to the Greyhawk setting.

Game Stats:
+2 Dex, -2 Cha*
Low-light vision
Elven weapon proficiencies
Hardiness vs. Enchantment
Keen Senses
Skill Affinity (Listen)
Skill Affinity (Search)
Skill Affinity (Spot)
Sleeplessness

* At character creation, remember that the game engine automatically applies the default +2 Dex, -2 Con adjustment for standard elves. An extra +2 Con, -2 Cha will be applied once the subrace is selected in-game.

Source: Dragon Magazine #155, Greyhawk Campaign Setting, Frostburn, Dragon Magazine #236 (Tarsellis Meunniduin)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2021, 08:48:50 PM by EO »
Best Regards!
MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.