Elemental Racial Variants (Revised for A’arat’)

The Unearthed Arcana introduced racial variants to the game. Those variants can be found on A’arat’ among most of the humanoid and goblinoid species. In this world, these variants are actually mild fonts of their elemental connection, living conduits from those planes of primal energy. So, they have been adjusted a bit to reflect that connection. Here are the modified elemental races of A’arat’, including some new ones.

RACES OF ELEMENTAL AIR
Traits typically associated with air include an intuitive, imaginative, and emotional nature, heavily individualistic and constantly changing. It is also connected to the concepts of creativity, freedom, speed, and sexual openness. Creatures with strong ties to air tend to be curious and investigative, creative and self-redefining, and quick of mind and body. Politically, they believe in sacrifice for a cause or belief, though which one is served may be subject to change or modification if new light is shed on the cause, or thought dictates a slightly different course. They tend to long but tenuous relationships and are not keen on direct conflict. Members of Air Races often differ in appearance from their typical cousins. Common features include light blue or pale white skin, light blue to white to pale yellow hair, and flesh that is cool to the touch. Eyes tend to light grey or vibrant shades of blue. They are usually chaotic in alignment, but not always, and tend to be gifted in intelligence and often dexterity. Otherwise, they are the same as Air Races, as listed in Unearthed Arcana. Please note that the breathless trait, here, is actually caused by a tiny spark of a portal from the elemental plane of air, which provides needed atmosphere and can banish it as well. Members of these races do breathe, but they simply do not need an external access to breathable air, having their own internal supply.

ELEMENTAL RACES OF EARTH
Traits associated with Earth include Insight, thoughtfulness, community, fertility, order, and stoicism. Creatures with strong ties to Earth tend to be serious, logically inclined traditionalists that seek strength in unity and ordered living. Many are meticulous researchers, masterful strategists and community organizers. Politically, they believe in self-reliance and benefiting from their own efforts, but combining efforts to create bulwark societies that can withstand the ravages of time and chaos. Earth is typically associated with Law and Constitution, as well as earthy Wisdom. Members of Earth races often vary in appearance from their typical cousins. Common features include roughly textured skin that tends to Browns and Grays, eyes like black pits of various colored gems, large frames and extremities, hair of dull brown or iron gray or mildly green versions of more common colors, and a metallic sparkle or sheen to skin, teeth, nails, and horns. Otherwise they’re the same as Earth races from Unearthed Arcana. Please note that the stability ability comes from a rapid strong exchange of elemental Earth with the elemental plane of Earth. That Bond allows a kind of a sticky connection between an individual and the Earth with which he is in contact. This ability can be used to generate non valuable Earth material at a rate of approximately 1 oz per round, at-will, by touch, with a concentration check. That can be beneficial in the long term for minor projects or generally inconsequential matter creation, but it requires an extremely creative mind to turn such a minor creation into some kind of consequential action. Earth races are not usually known to possess that kind of creativity.

ELEMENTAL RACES OF FIRE
Fire is often associated with creative passion, forceful action, and destruction. Members of fire races are sensualists, often artisans and artists, and rather bellicose. Politically, they are concerned with furthering the goals of the society, church or association with which they most closely associate, often becoming its most ardent proselytizers and enforcers. Fire is thought to be most closely tied to fervor in alignment and actively pushing or exemplifying ideas, as well as with Charisma and, to a lesser degree, Strength. Common fire racial physical features include ruddy skin, red or orange hair that waves like flames, unusually warm skin, yellow or dark grey eyes, and large yellowish or red teeth and nails. Otherwise, they are the same as fire races from Unearthed Arcana. A member of a fire race resists fire and heat due to their connection with the elemental plane of Fire, which constantly infuses them with a small amount of Elemental fire, and leads them to not be affected by lesser flames. In a pinch, this infusion can be centered on a single point on the surface of the individual, generating enough Heat to cause a single point of damage to susceptible materials, such as dried leaves, Twigs, or paper. This can be used as a touch attack, but requires a full round of concentration to generate a single hit point of damage, and failure to connect with an attack within the following round will result in a single hit point of damage to the individual attempting to use this attack.

ELEMENTAL RACES OF LIGHT
Light has always been associated with truth and knowledge, but also with a sense of benevolent caring and giving, selflessness, and protectiveness. Some also equate it with beauty, but pure light can also reveal ugly flaws. It is associated with Good and Strength, but also somewhat with Charisma. People of light races tend to be honest, giving, caring and protective with a simple and positive outlook on life, so the very nature of light means that they come in almost any alignment and follow any path that appeals to them. Note that they will have at least one of the character traits listed above, even at their most wicked. A great preponderance of them are leaders, healers, protectors, teachers and seekers of truth. Physically, they have paler skin than other sub-races of their kind, their hair is usually golden, silver or white, and their eyes seem to Sparkle in the light and shine in the Darkness. Light folk are the same as others of their race with the following exceptions:
– +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against creatures of the Shadow or Darkness subtypes, including creatures of extra planar type and from the demiplane of shadow and the negative material plane.
– -2 penalty on all saving throws against spells, spell like abilities, and supernatural abilities with the Shadow or Darkness subtypes, or used by creatures of the Shadow or Darkness subtypes, including those from the negative material plane and the demiplane of shadow.
– Healthy Glow: These individuals are surrounded by a dim aura of light that can be surpressed or resumed, at-will, as a swift action. It outlines the person as the spell Faerie Fire and provides illumination similar to a candle that does not flicker. Anyone touched by this thin aura heals at double the rate they would normally, for as long as contact is maintained, as well as by any means involving normal, light-based or positive energy-based magical, supernatural or extraordinary power. This aura is considered an extraordinary ability.

RACES OF ELEMENTAL SHADOW
Shadow and darkness are considered to be the breeding grounds of secrets and lies, children of entropy and greed or lust for power. They are closely associated with selfishness, illicit behaviors, and tyranny. Though many equate them with ugliness, shadows may hide a myriad of flaws, and create the illusion of beauty with adroit ease. They are usually associated with Evil and Dexterity, but a keen and calculating Intelligence can lie in darkness. People of Shadow races tend to be secretive, greedy, power-hungry, and prone to insane or aberrant behavior, falling most easily into the roles of the shadowy puppet master, stealthy thief, or information broker. Politically, they tend to espouse power of the individual, unless they are in power, at which point they espouse their own superiority. Though they tend to Evil, there are many who embrace Good and focus on their nimble or intellectual characteristics. Even the latter will often be more comfortable reserving comment than bursting out with a string of truth. Shadow races are not deeply touched by Shadow, but it is pervasive enough to make most members darker than those of other sub-races in skin tone, hair color, eye color, and temperament. Black hair is most common, though blue-black and lead gray do occur. Eyes tend to black, violet or some other purple, or dark grey, but very dark versions of blue and green are not unknown. Skin tends to be very dark, with black, dark brown or grayish hues predominating. Shadow folk are the same as others of their race with the following exceptions:
– +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against creatures of the light or positive energy subtypes, including of extra planar type and from the demiplane of rainbows and the positive material plane.
-2 penalty on all saving throws against spell, spell like abilities, and supernatural abilities with the light subtype, or used by creatures of the light or positive energy subtypes, including those from the positive material plane and demiplane of rainbow.
– Veiled in Shadows: members of Shadow races have an affinity for shadows and gain +4 to Hide skill checks in areas of shadow. In fact, shadows and darkness within 30 feet of them respond to their presence are and dim light in the vicinity by one step. Undead in this area are unaffected by lighy less than daylight or its equivalent and gain double healing from negative energy effects. Individuals of this sub-race are sought after by light-sensitive people from the Underdark and by intelligent undead, to serve as traveling companions.

RACES OF ELEMENTAL WATER
Water races are creatures of sensation, but their response to it is more careful, critical or passive than that of fire or air races, being more calm and focused. Water is also associated with healing and comfort, constraint and contentment, and the long-term change of erosion, with major ties to reservist behavior and Wisdom, and lesser ties to Constitution. Politically, they are traditionalists more comfortable with proven systems and simple answers than radical new ideas, though sometimes they will make major shifts and then wait to see how those changes affect things in the long view. Common water racial features include lightly-scaled flesh with a clammy feel, blue to green hair, and large dark watery eyes. They are the same as water races from Unearthed Arcana, otherwise. The improved swimming ability of members of Elemental water races is actually caused by a displacement of liquid from one area of their body to another. While this does not allow them to actually create liquid more than to remain damp at any given moment, it does allow them to displace any liquid that touches them to any other part of their body, at-will, as a swift action. So, for example, if they are struck by an acid splash during combat, they may elect, with a swift action, to relocate that to the tips of the fingers of their off hand, where it will slip off into the air harmlessly. This is sort of relocation allows a fortitude saving throw against any liquid-based attacks against the individual. That is to say, the attack could be mostly harmless, unless those fingertips are already touching something else that is susceptible to acid damage. Similarly, this allows them to essentially skate along the ground at half their normal move speed, downhill, or at one-quarter speed, uphill, during times of heavy fog or rain, or if the ground is wet or icy.

RACES OF SPIRIT FORCE
Though not technically an elemental race, all indicators point to their inclusion in this category, as they are intrinsically tied to several highly interconnected metaphysical concepts and show the same close association impact on their character and physical features. Spirit is a concept associated with the balancing and collecting forces of nature and the universe, with the profusion of life all about and the quiet void underlying everything. It is an integrating yet separating, simplifying yet often complicating force that seeks to balance all things in their abundant variety and constant evolutionary pathways. It is seen as the epitome of Neutrality, peace, and homogeneity. The active Spirit Force seeks to establish balance in all things while the passive spirit force is the peace of the Void in constant meditation. It is both associated with and divorced from all alignments and ability. Law provides order, chaos provides variety, good provides creation and healing, and evil provides culling and ambition. All things in balance are seen as working together to a perfect variable existence, not to be confused with a blissful utopia. People of Spirit Force are centrists, forever seeking that point of compromise which affords longevity and balance, though they have been known to be radicals when the balance has tipped too far or too long toward any given extreme. They tend to be calm, centered, lively conversationalists, fond of playing devil’s advocate and promoting self-reliance and personal purpose. They are frustrated by stoicsts, rebels without sufficient cause, despots, greedy hoarders, and senseless destroyers, though they may ally with any of these, if there is some value to be garnered or nurtured in the association. Members of spirit races often vary in appearance from their typical cousins. Common features are usually not immediately or obviously noticeable, though very perceptive or long associated folk can spot these qualities right away. Hair tends to hazy brown or gray, with hairstyles falling to complex and balanced arrangements or simple styles easily maintained. Bald by nature or choice is abnormally common among this ilk. Skin tends to robust and healthy colors, though with an odd semi translucent quality that allows veins and arteries to show more clearly. Eyes tend to be black or very pale, with a heavy preponderance of gold or silver flecks that strongly influence the base color. Spirit Force folk are the same as other members of their race, with the following exceptions:
– +1 racial bonus to attacks and Caster level of spells used against creatures of the incorporeal or construct subtypes, as well as extra planar creatures of any kind, and with abilities of any kind related to ethereal and incorporeal states of being.
– -2 to saving throws against spells, spell like abilities, and supernatural abilities originating from creatures of the incorporeal, construct, or extra planar subtypes.
– Balanced Power: Individuals of this race are gifted with power in accordance with their actual alignment. If they are neutral on either axis, they can be treated as neutral when it is beneficial to do so and they can see ethereal and incorporeal beings, but not others usually invisible to the natural eye, as if those were only a bit transparent. They suffer a -2 penalty to social checks with other people who cannot see these unseen beings. If they are neutral on only one access they can interact with those beings as if they were completely corporeal except in regards to forcing them physically or damaging them in any way. In the latter case, they are treated as plainly visible but physically incorporeal. If they are neutral and actively so, then their above-mentioned bonuses and penalties extend to any creature not neutral on at least one alignment access. If they are neutral and passive instead, they can communicate telepathically at short range in the same way that people speak, which is by focused effort of mind, instead of voice, as long as they share a language in common with those mentally hearing or speaking. Any person attempting to speak will also be speaking mentally, for purposes of this ability. These are all extraordinary abilities, usable at will, following the same time sensitivity rules as regular speech.

OTHER NOTABLE ELEMENTALLY LINKED RACES
Genasi
Aasimar
Tiefling
Planetouched
Half-Elementals
Those with an Elemental bloodline
Mephits
Elementals
Para-elementals

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Alignment (on A’arat’)

In most game settings, alignment follows a two-axis system, with good and evil in one direction, and law and chaos crossing it. I believe it is far more complex and infinitely resistant to true definition, but that it serves its purpose, for the most part. On A’arat’, the same scale exists, but is crossed by a third axis, which can be called the active-passive or fervor-reserve scale. Thus factor of passion at one extreme, through apathy to constraint at the other extreme can be marked in the normal alignment code as tendencies, or in the following manner.

Capital letters (L, C, G, E, N) are indicative of active adherence to the cause associated with that alignment and the habit of, or dedication to preaching or enforcing its ways. Characters with this type of indicator will be (L) keepers of the law or impassioned activists fir ordered systems, (C) rebellious freedom fighters or individualists bucking the systems that offend or make no sense to them, (G) casting healers and preachers of living fir the greater good or just defenders of the downtrodden, (E) actively self-centered manipulative despots or hellions bent on the destruction of all that is good and praiseworthy, or (N) true defenders of the natural balance and ardent proponents for compromise, concensus and moderation.

Lower case letters (l, c, g, e, n) convey a constrained position, one of avid but not publicly announced or espoused adherence to the tenets considered defining of a certain alignment. Such characters are, for example, (l) devoutly obedient to the law, active voters, willing jurists, and quiet contributors to legal campaign funds, (c) rugged individualists, footloose wanderers, creative minds of considerable flexibility, flexible proponents of causes that appeal at the moment, fad-followers, or followers of an outlawed way of life, (g) perpetrators of random acts of kindness, volunteers at charitable institutions, willing to feed encountered stray animals or people, generous wage givers, and quietly devout followers of great people seeking to do good, (e) merchants concerned most about their own profit and power, government functionaries willing to take bribed or bend rules fir perinatal benefit, particularly brutal combatants that enjoy inflicting pain and lasting damage when pushed into battle, and those who purposefully turn a blind eye to cruelty, graft, corruption, etc., (n) people seeking balance in their own lives first, those willing to let nature take over abandoned city plots, farmers or hunters who only take what is needed and let nature have the rest, and followers of their carefully observed natural urges.

Letters in parentheses indicate a passive and disinterested habitual tendency to a certain kind of behavior which falls under the general definition of a particular alignment type. For example, a character with n(lg) would likely be mostly concerned with keeping his own life in balance, but a quiet supporter of lawful systems that serve the greater good; a character with nE (c) would be a self-centered opportunist seeking to further the cause of his individual power, most often at the cost of being in the wrong, according to the law of the land, or of others’ well-being, usually involving subversive and even murderous illicit pursuits.

So, as you can see, alignment annotations will be one to four letters long, may include upper and lower case letters and parentheses, which sounds complex but will give you an at-a-glance way to quickly perceive the general character of the individual. Note that alignment in regards to gods and clergy, is usually only concerned with what is in the capital and lowercase, unless your tendencies are strictly taboo to a good or his religious orders.
Following is a reference chart, to make things a bit easier. If you are having trouble deciding what your character’s alignment should be, go through this list and not down its characteristics, making a tally of the number of matching characteristics by annotation. Your results should give you an idea of what to put down on your record sheet. If you still can’t decide, ask the DM to look over your notes and tallies and give you a ruling on alignment.

  • L = lawmakers, enforcers, keepers, elected officials; order, logic, tradition, unity
  • C = rebels, freedom fighters, individualists, antisocialists; freedom, creativity, individuality, impetuous behavior
  • G = healers, protectors, charity organizers; truth, compassion, protection, selflessness, giving
  • E = despots, hellions, murderers, genocidal leaders, thieves; selfishness, greed, destruction, deceit
  • N = druids, mediators, survivalist, ambassadors; nature, balance, concensus, compromise, moderation
  • l = law-abiding citizens, clock-makers, antique collectors; community, stoicism, pattern, dependability
  • c = individualists, wanderers, artists, gamblers; imagination, restlessness, individuality, personal choice
  • g = do-gooders, healers, teachers, caregivers; knowledge, caring, guidance, benevolence
  • e = corrupt officials, pretty criminals, torturers, bigots; self-interest, manipulation, secrecy, vice, sadism
  • n = meditants, nature enthusiasts, naturalists, selective farmers/hunters; natural processes, self-balance, meditation, selectivity
  • (l) = one or more of these: stickler for contracts, logically oriented, traditionalist, stoic, stubborn, communalist, pattern oriented, submissive to legal authority, stickler for the rules, caste or class minded
  • (c) = one or more of these: anarchic, free-willed, rebellious, creative, imaginative, individualistic, migratory, restless, flexible, incorrigible, indecisive, fadist, irreverent
  • (g) = one or more of these: honest, benevolent, charitable, caring, protective, helpful, hopeful, positive, selfless, loyal, inquisitive, fair-minded, friendly
  • (e) = one or more of these: selfish, sadistic, cruel, murderous, addiction-oriented, deceitful, secretive, greedy, despotic, self-centered, power-hungry, destructive, unsympathetic, corrupt, corruptible, enabling, manipulative
  • (n) = one or more of these: compromising, mediator, contemplative, balanced, balancing, nature oriented, meditative, constant, visceral, coordinating, moderate, centrist, unconcerned, disconnected, hermitic

Dire Riding Dogs

Developed by generations of husbandry specialists in the noble houses of the Wild Coast under Hadansi occupation, several breeds of large, sturdy dogs were bred for size, loyalty and steadfast service. They are utilized as mounts, for those who can afford their price or taming, almost anywhere in the region, but are not exported and are not likely to be found anywhere but the Wild Coast. Following is a base description and statistics, as well as a discussion of the various breeds and their specific details.

DIRE RIDING DOG
Size/Type: Large Animal
Hit Dice: 4d8+8 (average 26 hit points)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 60′ with 45° or less turns, 40′ otherwise
Armor Class: 19 (+4 Dex, +7 natural armor, -2 size), touch 12, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+8
Attacks: Bite +8 melee (1d6+8), Claw +8 melee (1d6+8)
Full Attack: 1 Bite + 2 Claws, cannot full attack when carrying a rider or load
Space/Reach: 10’x5’/5′
Special Attacks: Rake melee (2d6+8, automatic on successful grapple with bite and at least one claw; cannot be done when carrying a rider or load)
Special Qualities: Low Light Vision, Scent
Saves: FORT +5, REFL +7, WILL +5
Abilities: STR 23, DEX 19, CON 15, INT 3, WIS 12, CHA 10
Skills: Jump +8, Listen+3, Spot +3, Swim +7, Survival +1 (+5 for tracking); Perception +6, if using that variant rule
Feats: Alertness, Run, Endurance, Track
Environment: Temperate and Tropical; Plains, Hills and Coastal areas
Organization: Solitary, or Pack (2d4 adults and 1d6 pups (treat as regular riding dogs for stats), with established territorial boundaries)
Challenge Rating: 2
Advancement: –
Level Adjustment: –
Carrying Capacity: Light up to 600#, Medium 601-1200#, Heavy 1201-1800#
Draft/Towing Capacity: 9000#

COMBAT
If trained for war, that can make trip attacks as other dogs and wolves do. A dire riding dog can fight in a limited way while carrying a rider, in that it cannot full attack or rake, but can still attack with mouth, trip, grapple with mouth, and use 1 claw attack at -4 to hit while grappled with mouth. The rider cannot also attack following the mount’s combat before its next initiative, unless succeeding on a Ride skill check before the attack. If the check fails and the rider attacks anyway, he will fall from the saddle. When carrying a mount, a trained dire riding dog will usually follow orders or use its mouth to trip enemies or bite them. If not mounted, it will trip an enemy when possible, full attack for a grapple, and follow up by making claw and rake attacks against the grappled foe.
As mounts, where the breed allows, they must be equipped with an exotic riding, exotic military or exotic double saddle, as well as a demi-muzzle bridle that holds the face but allows the mouth to open. Kneeling, side-set or stirrup based saddle types are ask viable options. For draft work, a body harness and demi-muzzle for steering are needed. Exotic barding is an option for most breeds, given that they can handle the weight. In a pinch, horse equipment can be used, but all checks are at -4 and speed is reduced by half when doing so. Generally, standard saddlebags and oak saddles can be utilized with no special modifications. Many owners of Great Russets commission highly specialized equipment for their intelligent companions, such as mini-kegs for hot soup, cute light wounds potion bandoliers, oversize pack saddles, or customized tool cases for work in mines, construction sites or farming. Various other tools, devices and vehicles can be pulled easily by most dire riding dog breeds, as with any other draft animal. These include carts, plows, sleds, sleighs, chariots, capstans, anchor chains, travois, etc. Flotation devices are not necessary, but may be useful for extended aquatic work or play.

BREED DETAILS
Zelotes: This breed is quite common and has a southern and a northern variant. They all have a predominantly black coat of fur, with white or tan forelegs, belly and face. Wherever colors meet, as well as at brow ridges, cheeks and rear feet, small brown patches decorate the base colors. The southern variant has very short hair and a sleek look, whereas the northern or mountain variant had medium length hair and a somewhat shaggy appearance. They all have curling tails and dark eyes. They are known to be fiercely loyal, protective, and territorial, taking quickly to battle training. They also often serve in guarding and hunting capacities. They do not majestic good companions for timid individuals. (Similar to Appenzeller, Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog, or Greater Swiss Mountain Dog)
Balyotes: A somber-looking breed, they have short hair, long floppy ears, and drooping faces with numerous folds and wrinkles. They are tan with saddle-shaped markings in black or brindle, though some individuals are fully black, or “blue” with black brindle patterns. They are mostly docile and love to nap when not working, but are tireless when set to a task. Secondary duties in hunting and guarding are very common, as they get a +4 bonus to tracking attempts involving scent and have loud, deep baying howls that can be heard for several miles. (Similar to Bloodhound, Dogue de Bordeaux, or Fila Brasileiro)
Coursers: This breed has long, narrow features in their legs, bodies, tails and noses. Their hair is short to medium, with longer drapes at their chest and tail, which some owners are known to trim extremely short. They come in a variety of colors, mostly white or gray with large splotches of black, tan, gray, red or brown along their flanks. Some rare sub-breeds are solid tan, brown or brindle. Truly rare exemplars of black or red with white or gray markings grace the halls of the upper nobility. They are not good trackers, but are excellent herding dogs and are used to run down prey after it is flushed out of hiding (replace the Track feat for a +2 bonus to Listen, Spot and Trip attempts; they can also attempt trip attacks at full speed). They are famous for being able to go full speed in turns up to 135°, while carrying no more than a light load, but are also only able to handle 1/2 the weight leafs of other breeds. (Similar to Borzhoi, Irish Wolfhounds, and Scottish Deerhounds)
Mastiffs: Massively muscular and thick-set, these beasts have weight limits 50% greater than that of other breeds, but can only move at a 40′ base speed (30′ with turns greater than 45°). They take to exotic barding and battle with great fervor, and are loyal and territorial in the extreme. Their reputation for violence is in drastic contrast to their sheer playfulness with their owners, mates and offspring. They have squared-off features with heavy jowls and typically short, tight fur. Color varies, but most common are tan, black, “blue”, silver-gray, brindle, brown, solid white, or spotted black and white. The king’s family raises a rare tawny sub-breed with a shaggy coat and huge fluffy manes about the head and shoulders. (Similar to Bull Mastiff, Cane Corso, Neapolitan Mastiff, Presa Canário, Boerboel and, rarely, Tibetan Mastiff)
Drapa Nuri and Drapa Kwari: These two, closely related breeds are usually lumped into one category by commoners, but their appearance is usually drastically different due to their hair types. Drapa Nuri have curly hair that lies close to the body in a typically frizzy mess of white, black, gray, brown, peach or, more rarely, blonde or mottled black and white. Drapa Kwari are a wild mass of knotted braidlets, akin to a giant mop in appearance, in a white color that gets dirty quickly. When a blonde Nuri is bred with a Kwari, True Drapa are the result. These have long, straight, flowing blond tresses and are in great demand as parade mounts and guard dogs fir wealthy estates. All Drapa make decent shepherds, hunters, guardians and mounts, though they rarely take to battle with any enthusiasm. (Similar to Komondor, Poodle and the like)
Qva’anz’l (kuh-VOHN-Zhul): Slightly more compact than most of the breeds, with sharp noses and bright eyes that catch one’s attention before it is distracted by the curled furry tail, this breed is an excellent solo mount, guardian or hunter. Their real strength, though, is working in draft teams or complex coordinated battle formations. Coloration is usually white or tan with a darker snout. Northern sub-breeds tend to have white faves and forelegs with tan, red, brindle, gray or white bodies. Fur is medium length, though a particular breed had long hair of pure white and is bred for show or high mountain work. When working in a team or formation, all members of the group gain +1 to all rolls for each other member of the group no more than 5′ away (1 empty square between them). (Similar to Akbash, Kangal, Kuvasz, Great Pyrenees, and Akita)
Taryares: In body, they are long of limb with big ears and drooping cheeks. One sub-breed has short fur in tan, black, gray, white, brown, brindle, or spotted black and white. Another, called Taryares Nuva’li’, has medium curly gray hair or medium straight hair in white, black, brown, or a mixed spotted combination of these. Those with hair long enough for it have brushy tails and bearded jowls. Another sub-breed, Kun Taryares, is tan or russet, with dark head and shoulders, which are also a shaggy mane in male adults. All of the sub-breeds are keen warriors, hunters, shepherds and guardians. The notable but rather rare Black Tar sub-breed, with medium length curly or wavy black hair, seems capable of distinguishing leader types and typically refuses to allow any but these as riders. Once they form a bond, though, they will never part from their master of choice. Because of this, many canine cavalry units are led by an officer on a Black Tar. (Similar to Anatolian Shepherd, Great Dane, Leonberger, Otterhound, Newfoundland, or Black Russian Terrier)
Great Russets: These northern gentle giants have massive, shaggy, fluffy coats in white on their feet, faces and chests, and russet everywhere else. Their enthusiastic brushy tails, drooping cheeks, and huge empathetic eyes make them attractive to most people, but their ability to learn complex processes and their bonus to track injured, incapacitated or dead people (additional +8 to scent tracking, additional +4 by sight only) is what makes them invaluable to bounty hunters, rescue workers, and necromancers. They serve as search and rescue animals, mounts, hunters, and gentle shepherds, but their heavily insulated ear canals (-4 to Listen checks) make them or candidates for guard duty in all but the worst windy weather, where hearing becomes nearly useless anyway. (Similar to Saint Bernard or Moscow Watchdog)
Purple Lords: Though not actually purple, their blend of russet base coat and gray-blue markings in a tight brindle stripe pattern leaves the impression of a hazy purple hue, from a distance. They have clean-lined body shapes from their pointed noses to their long legs and long narrow tails, that contrast with their broad chests and flanks. They are loving but imperious, vicious but not without reserve, and both graceful and powerful. Their build allows only one rider, but they are not thus limited in their hauling capacity. This makes them excellent candidates for chariot and light riding duty. They do not have the usual low light vision of the breed, but have keen hearing (+8 to Listen, can always take 10 to Listen if using at least a swift action, and blindsight to 120′). A rare sub-breed, the Speckled Lord, is white with black spots and is renowned as a fearless rescue worker where hearing is critical, and as masters of guerilla warfare. (Similar to Belgians and Dalmatians)
Wild Breeds: Viewed as anything from a nuissance to potential breeding stock, the four, or arguably five wild breeds of dire riding dogs can be found in various parts of the Wild Coast. Other than being wild and in some cases vicious, these creatures are much the same as domesticated working breeds and are compatible for purposes of invigorating bloodlines. As there are no wolves or dire wolves in the Wild Coast, these beasts have filled their usual ecological niche. They do not travel into the cat-infested Shadereach, the holds of the Tortured Reaches and other northern territories, nor Orc territory (except Stained temporarily filling in a gap in Urturi where dire wolves are not currently available; dire wolves will gang up on lone dire riding dogs, even if commanded not to, and wipe them out given the least opportunity). Koloyotes have medium fluffy tan or gray fur, rounded faces, brushy tails and close-set front legs, which are a party of what makes them famous jumpers (+4 to Jump checks). Their wide feet and footpads that can stretch even further allow them to leave little trace of their passage (+5 DC to be tracked by sight) and make them adept at moving on seasonal northern snow and ice, and in wet or watery conditions (suffer no movement penalties due to ice or snow, +4 to swim), though it makes their feet more susceptible to and ground based traps (double damage and penalties). Dajaka, mostly native to the southern jungle hills and coastal plains, is mostly black, with a pale chest and brown spots on its legs and face. With short stiff fur, tall triangular swiveling ears, and a long whip-like tail, they are well suited to finding and rushing after game through brush and grass. Hayuri have a silvery blue or reddish gold tone of medium length hair, with pale eyes and a sneaky demeanor. They are common in the all but the most extreme climates of the Wild Coast and are mostly cautious lone aggressors. Painted and Stained are physically the same breed, but their behavior is drastically different in critical mannerisms and their appearances only vary in subtle but clearly definable ways. Both varieties come in a wide range of base colors and have patches of another color or colors somewhere on them. The bolder the difference in base and spot color and the cleaner the separation between color sections, with hair being either short or long, the more friendly and playful and neutral sort of temperament. The other sort, with less drastic or more subtle color delineation and contrast, on medium fur, tend to be vicious beasts that seem to delight in chasing down quarry and harassing it to maximize its level of panic. When their prey finally breaks down mentally and/or physically, it will get brought to ground and massacred by a swarm of Stained. The name of this vicious sort may also be a reference to their often blood stained fur, especially around the muzzle and paws.

Skarageen

Skarageen are originally and still largely denizens of the deepest Underdark, deeper even than the Dwarves that discovered them. Now, they roam the land, and very small colonies populate the Overworld.

PERSONALITY
Skarageen have traditionally been insular, xenophobic, protective of their kind, and aggressively defensive in social, economic and political venues. They are also known to be quite the opposite in regards to each other and gladly share all they have with all others of their own kind. They have mastered a simple but interesting architecture that uses marginal space and ingenious engineering to create apparently impossible structures that make the best use of available space. Inside these structures, an array of corridors and chambers that baffles most races fills the entire structure in labyrinthine complexity. They eat sparingly of anything but mushrooms in the Underdark. Those living in the Overworld live in small fantastically built alien-appearing enclaves in marshy areas and rainforests. Here, they gather mushrooms but supplement this with some animal and vegetable matter. They are keen on growing mushrooms on indoor beds of animal remains and leavings, and vegetable waste material. They are less insular in terms of trade in the Overworld and a bit more hospitable, but still fiercely independent of other nations and people around them.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Though stout of stature like dwarves, they are more reminiscent of ettercaps in their body structure, having rotund bodies and spindly limbs that end in segmented horn-like manipulator appendages. Their backs are curved and their fronts flat. Their heads are small and triangular, set at the top of the torso with little in the way of a neck or apparent external organs beyond mandibles and a smattering of tiny beady eyes. Their front and joints are covered in a thick hide and the rest of them is arrayed with armor plates of chitinous material. The chitin is almost always highly decorated and the hide is often also decorated. All decorations are meant to be permanent and become more elaborate over time, as Skarabeen hold decorating rituals annually throughout their lifetimes. The natural color of their hide is a dull gray-brown and their chitin ranges in color through the gray scale from black to nearly white. They are, thus, a collective marvel of self-decoration, often applying brilliant designs on their chitin and hide with gems, metals, stones, and pigmented lacquer.

RELATIONS
Underdark Skarageen get along only with their own kind and the occasional merchant from known clans of other races with whom they do not normally compete for resources, territory, survival or freedom from external domination. Overworld Skarageen are insular, but set aside space within their enclaves and specified occasions for communication, trade, and communal diplomacy. Breaking their rules or abusing their hospitality is a quick road to banishment and/or destruction. Skarageen don’t adventure often, but young individuals from colonies reaching the limit of their capacity are known to strike out into the open and alien world to find additional resources for the enclave or a location suitable for settling a divided portion of the original colony. These world-wandering individuals tend to be much more inquisitive, open-minded, curious, friendly, and entrepreneurial. They will strive to get along with everyone in order to more effectively complete their task.

ALIGNMENT
For the most part, they are Lawful Neutral or Neutral, though those dwelling in the Underdark often stray to Lawful Evil and those in the Overworld are often Lawful Good. While adventuring, they commonly exhibit Neutral Evil or Neutral Good behavior. Their gods do not punish them for changing behavior as long as the needs of the people are being pursued.

LANDS
In the Underdark, they establish themselves along channels of effluvial waste, where mushrooms are most likely to be found. Here, they construct their fantastic enclaves in the space where water cannot be stored and mushrooms do not grow. In the Overworld, their enclaves are few and scattered, mostly in marshy regions, especially in the valleys of Na Faur Tu and eastward, or in rainforests around the world. They claim little territory beyond what is needed for their own survival and do not seek to conquer others.

RELIGION
They worship Skaragee, the ancient beetle who offered up his shell to the gods who came after as a foundation for the worlds they would build, and those of his children who joined him in sacrifice. When the world’s new inhabitants forgot them, they turned their shells to the world, crept into their ancestor’s depths, and did not venture forth for millennia. Or so goes the saga. They are expected to follow their laws, support their people, and observe certain rituals. Ritual combat and tests of skill occur irregularly, but are important fir establishing and adjusting the hierarchy. Ritual decoration occurs every year when the ground water reaches its lowest levels and exposes rich veins of ores and gems hidden during higher water periods, typically at the height of summer in the Overworld.

LANGUAGE
Skarageen speak their native tongue, Ssaq’q’q’argrgra, referred to by others as Skara or Skarageen, which is a clicking and purring variant of Terran. They are also known to assemble a passing knowledge of the common tongue of their region.

NAMES
Like the language at large, their names tend to be full of clicking (k, ch, q, h, t, d) and purring sounds (g, r, n, l), with very few labial (b, p, v, w, m) sounds and occasional hissing (s, h). Male names tend to have more clicking and female names tend to have more purring. Sample male names: Qitchehar, Gadukekekol, Skitikeeracho. Sample female names: Tgarinla, Hurinlats, Nalgrehink.

RACIAL TRAITS
•+2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma; Skaragee are hardy and surprisingly strong for having such thin limbs, but their appearance and personality is difficult for many to bear for extended periods.
•Insectile: They have six multidextrous limbs, and count as having the feat, though they rarely use their hind legs for anything not involved in mobility, and their middle limbs vascillate between mobility and manipulation. They also have Stonecunning, as dwarves.
•Medium: As a Medium creature, a Skarageen has no special bonuses or penalties due to its size.
•Racial Skills: The following are always class skills for Skarageen: Balance (Dex), Climb (Dex), Profession (Engineer) (Wis), and Sense Motive (Wis).
•Manipulators: Skarageen get a +2 to skill checks and attacks made with weapons and tools built for Skarageen and a -2 with all others.
•+4 Natural Armor. The chitin and hide of Skarageen is hard, stiff and tough, acting as armor. Any armor worn must be custom fitted or this bonus will be replaced by the armor bonus, even if it is lower. Armor not custom fitted will also confer double Armor Check Penalties.
•Speed: Skarageen base land speed is 30 feet, and they can tunnel at 5 feet or burrow at 15 feet.
•Darkvision: Skarageen can see in darkness up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but is otherwise like normal sight, and they can function just fine with no light at all. Further, certain heat signatures and chemical signals can be “seen” by them.
•Low-Light Vision: Skarageen can see 120 feet in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
•We Came Before The Streams: The presence of Skarageen supposedly predates the coming of the younger gods and the magic they brought with them. Whether true or not, Skarageen are incapable of casting arcane or divine spells. They may acquire psionic power, pacts with Skaragee or other powerful beings, or make use of items created by others.
•+2 Racial bonus on saves against all magical effects and also +2 to saving throws made against gases.
•Automatic Languages: Skarageen Terran and either Common or Undercommon (based on place of origin).
•Bonus Languages: Common, Undercommon, Drow, Drow Sign, Dwarven, Arachnid.
•Favored Class: At character creation, select one pact-based or Psionic class to be your favored class. Once chosen, this selection cannot be changed.
•Level Adjustment: 0
•Effective Character Level: 1

VITAL STATISTICS
– Skarageen Random Starting Ages: Adulthood 12 years, Simple +1d6, Moderate +2d6, Complex +3d6
– Skarageen Aging Effects: Middle Age 1 (36+ yrs; -1 Str, Dex, Con; +1 Int, Wis, Cha); Old 2 (60+ yrs; −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha); Venerable 3 (84+ yrs; −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha); Maximum Age +4d6 years
– Skarageen Random Height and Weight: 4’6″ + 2d4″; 165 + (10 x height mod) lbs.

Qrzat’s Ring

A slave owner called Eshi Malgam Qrzat, or simply Qrzat, enjoyed a decent but lackluster life as a master of a goodly number of decent workers. Ever ambitious, he got it in his mind to copy the mystic fighters taught in the Wild Coast to protect and even comprehend the workings of their magic wielding charges, but to take his stock from amongst his most promising enslaved specimens. He enhanced them magically, trained them, and then determined they were too valuable to sell. So, he utilized them as bodyguards for hire or as bounty hunters, which earned him a sizable fortune; but for them, only further servitude and some small notoriety. The best of these he kept with him as his own personal protection, but most of them he relegated to more and more profitable but inevitably increasingly dangerous contracts. Among these warrior slaves was a very talented and crafty fighter who had actually learned the magical arts and was a noted tactician. His name is lost to all but a few, but his story is a classic tale. He noted that many of his brethren died, more and more by the day, because they could not quickly get reinforcing help from others who were not near enough to hear their cries for assistance. Feigning concern for lost profits and increased costs in training sufficient replacement slave labor, he convinced Qrzat to allow him to create a minor magical device that could be mass produced at low cost and allowed his servants to communicate with each other over a distance. The final product was a earring-nose ring chain device that allowed Qrzat’s servants to communicate verbally over a great distance. Unbeknownst to the slave master was that they also allowed those trained in the arts to find each other and communicate telepathically. So, after the maker had time to train his fellows in their use and recruit them to his secret plot, Qrzat was very surprised to find himself surrounded by highly coordinated combatants that spoke not a word, knew how to circumvent his spells, and ultimately to defeat him. Qrzat is no longer, but the slaves that had served him formed an oathbound brotherhood of warriors for hire that work out of his former slave pens. The grounds serve well as a temporary holding area, a prison, barracks, and headquarters offices. They are prized as companions, if their price can be negotiated to a workable amount, and feared as a highly trained and coordinated opposing force. The group is called Qrzat’s Ring, which used to be the name of their slave nose rings but is now a reminder of their oath to each other.

XADRQA’AI (Shah-der-KHAI)

A race of humanoids native to the Plane of Shadows, Xadrqa’ai use battle and pain as a way of life and literally a means of survival.

PERSONALITY
The Xadrqa’ai have a love of battle so great that they spend most of their time training and sparring, both ritually and for effect. It is necessary in the Plane of Shadows to have something which binds mind and spirit and body together in order to survive and not be dissolved into shadowstuff, and violence is their way. Almost all are fighter types of some sort, though there are allowances within their culture for some to act as merchants, smiths, and priests. Most of these are defective or too damaged to serve as true fighters of the expected caliber, and resort to ritual violence and self-harm to sate their needs. There is also a distinction between those that grew up in the City of Shades or some city on the Prime Material (or came to one after leaving their home village), and those that remain in one of their scattered fortified villages in the wastes of their native Plane of Shadows. Those that remain in the wilderness and villages are more dependent on violence and pain to anchor themselves to their bodies so that they do not fade, and those in the city will often use ritual, private or public, combat or displays of resilience in the face of harm to serve the same purpose.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
They look like humans of an unfamiliar, nearly alien, racial origin, perhaps of fey extraction, with few exceptions. Their skin is dusky to charcoal gray, a trait of natives to the Plane of Shadows, and sometimes in extremes of emotion or during blood rage they “bleed” shadows into the air around them and their spilt blood exudes wisps of shadowstuff. Their eyes and hair are always solid hued in extreme versions of whatever color they are, such as blood red, snow white, raven black, cerulean blue, butter yellow, etc. The colors of sunrise and sunset are particularly prevalent. Last and most noticable of all, Xadrqa’ai are covered in a web-work of scars, either self-inflicted or gained in countless fights. Villagers tend to add ash to wounds before healing or binding them, which makes their scars take on a black coloration, even in the case of wide area burns and the like.

RELATIONS
They can get along with most races, so long as they have regular opportunities to fulfill their needs, and have actually made trade partnerships with humans, elves, and halflings. Also, like most races, they do not get along with orcs, though for them it is because they do not see orcs as worthy opponents in battle. Unlike most races, they identify with Drow and even respect them. To the Xadrqa’ai, Drow are a kind of kin, born of chaos and darkness, and their love of battle makes them adversaries to be enjoyed. Drow are almost always given the honor of Xadrqa’ai full attention and ability in any combat. Their chaotic nature and Plane of Shadows native needs also often leads them to establish bonds with vicious and unpredictable creatures, especially as mounts or pets. Urbanized Xadrqa’ai are very fond of Shadow Elves and some even seek out the quiet of the Daroka Deep, where they serve the twin folk and live through ritual scarring and the like.

ALIGNMENT
Chaotic Neutral is most common, though any chaotic is possible. They are not inherently evil, but their violent nature can often lead them down this road. More noble-minded Xadrqa’ai become martyrs for lost causes, usually Chaotic Good freedom fighters, but most any alignment is possible in extreme cases.

LANDS
They are rarely found on the prime material plane, but can occasionally be found near the Endless Pits and on many a battlefield, serving as mercenaries or under crusading banners. They never return to their home plane once they come away, and are not known to breed on A’arat’ anywhere but the deeper layers of the Endless Pits, with varying and minimal success. Mountains, deserts, and harsh wastelands are where they feel most comfortable when not in the Endless Pits. They choose to live in these places if they leave their native plane because these are the environments that will test them, almost as if the world itself is against them. When they feel they are ready to die, if battle or self-harm gone wrong do not claim them first, they will often retreat to a monastery, where they can teach what they know of self-preservation to others in peace and harmony. It is a setting that, unless fraught with constant sparring, is sure to end their life bond.

RELIGION
Only martyrs truly worship gods with fervor, but all of their kind see gods of war and pain as revered kin of sorts and pay homage to them at any place of worship they encounter which is dedicated to such beings. At their core, they all also revere the shadow itself, as if it were an intelligent and occasionally benevolent but usually harsh task master which they call Allshade. They symbolize it with pure black stones that reflect no light, especially prizing those made of pure shadowstuff.

LANGUAGE
Xadrqa’ai. Any raised on the Prime Material will also know common, and any who spend an extensive period away from their home plane will attempt to learn the local languages.

NAMES
They sometimes take string-sounding names from humans or elves known to them, but much more frequently take the names of heroes or great warriors the prevalent local people revere.

RACIAL TRAITS
•+2 Constitution, -2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma; Xadrqa’ai are hardy have an affable nature and pragmatic wit in the face of incredible odds, but they are quick to anger and do not always think things through.
•Outsider (Extraplanar, Chaotic): They are liked, but are known to be not of the races they befriend, and they are seen to be of another plane when they are emotional because of the shadows that flicker from their skin. They are native to the Plane of Shadows, unless born on the Prime Material. The souls of dead Xadrqa’ai always return to their native plane and become part of the Allshade.
•Medium: As a Medium creature, a Xadrqa’ai has no special bonuses or penalties due to its size.
•Racial Hit Dice: Xadrqa’ai start with 2 levels of Outsider, granting them 2d8 HD, a Base Attack Bonus of +2, and saving throws of Fortitude +1, Reflex +1, and Will +2
•Racial Skills: Their Outsider levels grant Xadrqa’ai skill points equal to 4 x (6 + Intelligence Modifier). Their skills are Autohypnosis (Wis), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Craft(armorsmithing)(Int), Craft(weaponsmithing)(Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Soldier), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Tumble (Dex)
•Racial Feats: Their Outsider levels grant them one Bonus Feat, which must be combat or combat-support oriented.
•Weapon Proficiencies: Xadrqa’ai are automatically proficient with Exotic Weapons. When using weapon groups, this counts as having the Exotic Weapon Group proficiency. When not using weapon groups, thus counts as being automatically able to wield weapons of proficient types in exotic ways and to use exotic versions of proficient types with no added penalties for unfamiliarity.
•+3 Natural Armor. The skin of their kind is partially made of shadowstuff and cannot be harmed entirely in the same way as normal flesh. This gives them a bit of a slippery feel to the touch, though they are not actually any more slick than a regular person. The effect is mostly noticeable in combat.
•Speed: Xadrqa’ai base land speed is 40 feet in shadowy or dark conditions, 30 feet in well-lit conditions.
•Darkvision: Xadrqa’ai can see in any kind of darkness, even magical or supernatural, up to 90 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but is otherwise like normal sight, and they can function just fine with no light at all.
•Low-Light Vision: Xadrqa’ai can see twice as far as humans in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
•Fray-Bourne (Ex): Xadrqa’ai love battle so much that they always continue to fight, even to the verge of death. They are treated as having the Diehard feat, even if the prerequisites are not met.
•Blood Frenzy (Ex): 4x/day, Xadrqa’ai can enter a brief berserk state as a free action. While in that state, he has another attack action at full bonus for one round, and gain a +2 to attack rolls. The next round, he has a -2 on their attack roll and a -2 to AC from the strain of the extra exertion.
•Shadow Affinity (Su): +8 to Hide checks when in shadows or darkness, and permanently while on the Plane of Shadows, where the bonus also extends to Move Silently. +4 to attack rolls on the Plane of Shadows, and +4 Dodge bonus to AC while on the Plane of Shadows. -2 to Hide checks, attack rolls, and AC in areas of bright light.
•Shadowslip (SLA): In a brief conscious reconfiguration of their own shadowstuff, they can use Greater Teleport at will, as the spell (Caster Level effectively equal to ECL). They can only transport self and equipment up to heavy encumbrance, beginning and ending in an area of shadow of at least the same volume as they are moving, and are considered incorporeal shadowstuff for 1d4 rounds after the slip. Recharges for 1d6 rounds before being available again.
•Invisibility: With focus, they can wrap themselves in carefully sculptured ripples of shadowstuff, as the spell Greater Invisibility, at will (Caster Level effectively equal to ECL). It is a personal spell for the Xadrqa’ai only, so they cannot cast it on anyone else, and attacking negates the effect, rendering them visible again. They must make a free Concentration check every round to maintain it and failure to maintain Concentration will immediately negate the effect. Recharges for 2d4 rounds before becoming available again.
•+4 Racial bonus on saves against poison and to resist mind-affecting spells and fear. Their shadowy nature and constant exposure to pain steels them against such things.
•+6 Racial bonus on Handle Animal checks when attempting one on Nightmares, Blink Dogs and animals made of shadow or from the Plane of Shadows. The Xadrqa’ai can befriend them with a Dice Roll of 20+. -4 to all other Handle Animal checks, as the strange presence of shadowstuff puts normal animals ill-at-ease.
•Automatic Languages: Xadrqa’ai, Common (if raised or stranded on the Prime Material for a year or more).
•Bonus Languages: Drow, Drow Sign, Elven, Dwarven, Halfling.
•Favored Class: Any, though Fighter and Rogue are most common.
•Level Adjustment: +2
•Effective Character Level: 3

VITAL STATISTICS
– Xadrqa’ai Random Starting Ages: Adulthood 20 years, Simple +1d6, Moderate +3d6, Complex +6d6
– Xadrqa’ai Aging Effects: Middle Age 1 (35+ yrs; -1 Str, Dex, Con; +1 Int, Wis, Cha); Old 2 (52+ yrs; −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha); Venerable 3 (73+ yrs; −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha); Maximum Age +2d% years
– Xadrqa’ai Random Height and Weight
Male: 5’11” + mod (2d6)”; 145 lbs. + (2d4 x (total of height, Str and Con mods)) lbs.
Female: 5’7″ + mod (2d6)”; 120 lbs. + (2d4 x (total of height, Str and Con mod) lbs.

Pevishan Variants

Until a few generations ago, Pevishans were born with a blood affiliation to one of the known schools of magic and this apparently static variation may even have been the source of the use of those schools to divide up the arcane magic spheres of power. Recently, though, Pevishan who are born to non-Pevishan parents, but with Pevishan ancestry, have been showing blood affiliations to divine domains, fiendish spheres, celestial spheres, elemental spheres, and even psionic disciplines. Though rare and not yet all-inclusive to all known variations of magic, their numbers are slowly but surely on the rise, as their children breed true to their parents’ blood affiliation.

Some known examples:

Healing Domain: Markings are pale and nearly invisible, though ever so slightly raised like the scars of scratches. Hair and skin shades follow the parents’ coloration, but the irises of the eyes are clearly like shiny polished gold. They tend to Good alignments and habitually worship gods of healing or well-being. Their known blood powers are cure light wounds and cure moderate wounds, which is fewer than most phenotypes, but slightly more powerful in general terms.

Light Element: Their pure white markings glow like the Faerie Fire spell, at will, illuminating like a pale candle flame in dimly lit or dark places. They tend to have silvery white hair and pale gray eyes, though their skin color follows their parentage. They tend to be of Good or Lawful alignments. Most worship sun or light gods, with at least one example each following a god of stars and a god of travel. Their known blood powers are light, faerie fire, and remove blindness.

Poison Domain: Markings are a bright yellow-green color that tends to make their usually pale skin look sickly and unnatural. Their hair trends to dull russet and their eyes are typically milky green with yellowed sclera. Worship of revolves around spiders, snakes, or other venemous creatures, or deities supporting assassination. Religion is typically evil. Their known blood powers are detect poison, purify food and drink, and poison needle.

If you find our make use of a new variation, please send details for addition to this post. 

Glassteel


There are two principal types of glassteel made on the continent of Tara, namely magical and alchemical. Magical glassteel is made in two ways: by use of the Glassteel spell, altering a glass or crystal item already shaped into an item as hard as steel; or by taking a mass of glass and increasing its toughness by use of the Hardening spell, then forging it to meet your needs. Alchemical glassteel, made almost exclusively by Burrow Gnomes in the east and north of the Wild Coast region, is created through a cautious alchemical process that alters basic glass through alloy and temper processes throughout its manufacture that result in a somewhat flexible but hyper-resilient final product. It is lighter than steel, but only by about 25%, and can be treated almost exactly as such.

Alchemical glass can be made strictly transparent, though artistic burrow gnome alchemists are known to create brilliant pieces that have great functionality blended with astonishing appearance. Many things can be done during the manufacturing process.

Color can be added, in whole or in part, of differing levels of transparency or opacity, and can vary wildly within a single piece, if desired. The most common colors are clear, black (or near-black), gray, white, red, and blue-green, though an artist could also employ green, yellow, brown, purple, turquoise, violet, orange, pink, magically reactive glowing yellow or green, or light-emitting clear. Colored parts can be made separately and then fused together, which is when inclusions can be added.

Inclusions of small items, foil of various kinds, sand, paint, reactive material, or fibers, the resulting piece can be anywhere from simple to extremely complex. Shields have been known to include renditions of the warrior’s home fortress, swords often bear lightning or fire motifs within the blade, and helmets are made with any number of frightening images or useful features. A particularly noteworthy collection, all made by one workshop in the mountains and sold to the ruling house in Sot’er, includes a realistic map of the city on the shield (as seen from a kite or glider, in full color), armor replete with white lightning in a star-lit deep purple night sky, a broad bastard sword that looks like twisted ribbons, and a helmet whose visor indicates the types of energies at play in the area in front of the wearer and whose top spike shines like a torch in darkness.

Once the item or any part of it is brought to a basic shape, it can be cut, folded, twisted, braided, beveled, stretched into fibers or ribbons, or blown into hollow shapes for storage or reduced overall weight. Various layers of effects can be stacked to create fantastic visual effects. Stain, paint, etching, sanding, frosting, opalescent, polishing and sharpening can be applied to enhance beauty and function.

Absolutely transparent items, it should be noted, can be made, but cautions should be taken to make them obvious so as to avoid loss or unnecessary accidental damages to users and unsuspecting persons and objects nearby. 

That being said, most items made of alchemical glassteel tend to be mass produced in a simple format, such as the infamous frosted black sabres of House Harz’, the forest floor representation armor of the captains of the Outwatch that include actual leaves and other litter, and the light emitting twisted arrow shafts of certain local dwarf clans. With various workshops creating their own standards in competition with others, any one vendor of these items may have a considerable array of options traded and collected from various sources and usually available for immediate retail.

All alchemical glassteel items are masterwork and their cost includes, plus the artistic value, if any, added. Magical glassteel items cost about the same, due to the expense of having a spell cast for raw materials, though less artistry is usually found in these items.

Skills: Craft, Knowledge, Perform, Profession 

I’ve gotten tired of the 15 million variations of these, so following is a somewhat simplified list of 20 crafts that cover pretty much all types of applied arts and sciences, from low-tech to high-tech. If you have to have a specific craft for some reason, substitute the craft listed here that would include that more focused skill. I will also be using an alternative specialization option for skills which becomes useful here. It allows for general skill or more focused skill masters much less capable outside their concentration sub-skill. Not specializing indicates a broader skill in the subject. Specialization suggestions are indicated in parentheses. To specialize, spend 1/2 rank in a skill you already have trained, and gain an extra effective rank in a sub-skill specialization of your choice, up to the maximum ranks possible for your character at the time. If you wish to single specialize only, you can exceed your usual ranks by “splitting” your skill. To do this, you treat your effective ranks in the general skill as 1 or more lower than what you allocated (to a minimum of 1) and treat your specialization as having an equal number of virtual ranks above what you allocated. Example of splitting: Tracy the Rogue wishes to learn poison-making, a sub-skill of Alchemy, but isn’t too interested in the other aspects of the general skill. So, Tracy takes 4 ranks in Craft (Alchemical) and splits it fully. She takes a 3 virtual real reduction to keep the 1 minimum required, and adds an equal 3 virtual ranks to Poison. The net result is a virtual real allocation of 1 and 7. She’s pretty darned good at poisons, but just an apprentice in the rest of the Alchemical field. Also below is a simplified list of Perform and Knowledge skills that can be similarly specialized. Note: for quick or random character building, 1d20 will get you a quick choice of craft or knowledge and 1d10 will get you a quick choice of performance art. 

CRAFT

  1. Aeronautical  (boat, submersible, plane, rocket, car, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, propulsion systems) 
  2. Alchemical (chemistry, poison, dye, tanning, brewing, wine-making, thermodynamics, pharmaceuticals, crystals, toxic waste disposal)
  3. Animal (ivory, horn, bone, chitin, leather, hide, sinew, gut, feathers, taxidermy, scrimshaw)
  4. Atomic (nuclear power, nuclear detonator, Force screens, radio-isotope dating, radioactive waste disposal, electromagnetic, magnetic) 
  5. Culinary (food processing, cooking, pastry, rations, chef artistry, catering, food science, artisanal foods, diet) 
  6. Earthworks (tunnels, masonry, statuary, ceramics, adobe, road, canal, sewer, mining) 
  7. Electronic (computer, control system, power system, lighting, sensory system, video, audio, cybernetics, remote control, laser)
  8. Explosive (propulsion, gunpowder, grenade, ballistics, dynamite, bomb, anti-personnel, IED, fireworks)
  9. Fine Work (watch, clock, jewelry, lock, gun, miniaturization, camera)
  10. Locomotion (wheel, sled, skates, skis, chariot, cart, steam engine, internal combustion engine, turbine)
  11. Mechanism (lever, gears, pulley, springs, traps, mills, siege engines) 
  12. Metaphysical (Spellcraft, Psicraft, ritual, magic circle, fetish, hypnotherapy)
  13. Plant (farming, horticulture, hedge, topiary, garden, ikebana, floral arrangement, forestry, mushroom) 
  14. Smith (blacksmith, goldsmith, silversmith, weapons, armor, farrier, tools, foundry)
  15. Structures (engineering, architecture, construction, bridges, city walls, city planning, aqueduct)
  16. Visual Art (painting, sketch, sculpture, film-making, photography, 3D art, holography, etching)
  17. Weaving (textiles, rope, basket, tailor, crochet, knitting, macrame, tapestry) 
  18. Weird Science (temporal, warp, transdimensional, anti-gravity)
  19. Woodwork (carpentry, bows, arrows, fiberglass, plastics, raft, boat, cabinetry)
  20. Writing (poetry, prose, technical writing, academic papers, essay, official writ, music, scripts)

KNOWLEDGE

  1. Arcana (Spellcraft, constructs, dragons, magical beasts, mysteries, magic traditions, arcane symbology, enchanting, curses, magic items, familiars)
  2. Art & Music (important artists, art history, styles/movements, theory, deconstruction, technique, critique) 
  3. Architecture & Engineering (buildings, aqueducts, bridges, fortifications, roads, dams, supports, fire suppression, prison)
  4. Business & Trade (trade routes, market needs, logistics, negotiation, tariffs, documentation, trade laws, shipping companies, black market) 
  5. Combat & Warfare (combat styles, martial orders, martial lore, troop definitions, tactics, military history, weaponry, armor, fortifications, conscription, gladiatorial, street fighting)
  6. Geography & Travel (geology, terrain types, climates, territorial boundaries, ethnology, culture, travel lanes, astronomy, astrogation) 
  7. Government & Politics (factions, law, civil divisions, law enforcement, important personalities, citizenship, lawsuit, campaigning, administration) 
  8. History & Antiquities (wars, migrations, colonies, founding cities, important figures, archeology, anthroplogy, genealogy)
  9. Language & Literature (authors, poets, literary history, literary styles, literary movements, library science, resources, linguistics, analysis, specific language, journalism)
  10. Mathematics (common functions, Geometry, Probability, statistics, Algebra, calculus, numerology)
  11. Nature (animals, fey, monstrous humanoids, plants, seasons, natural cycles, weather, vermin, food chains, Biology, ecology, herbalism)
  12. Local (by area, legends, personalities, inhabitants, local laws, local customs, local traditions, demographics, landmarks, points of interest, local cuisine, accommodations)
  13. Nobility & Royalty (genealogy, heraldry, personalities, etiquette, laws of succession, inheritance, hierarchy)
  14. Religion/Thaumaturgy (deities, holy symbols, demigods, mythic history, undead, ecclesiastical traditions, specific religion, rites and rituals, spellcraft, shrines, churches, temples, holy sites, religious law) 
  15. Psionics  (Psicraft, disciplines, Psionic races, Psionic monsters, the gift, mindblade, psicrystal, psignet, crystals, Psionic items)
  16. Dungeoneering (aberrations, oozes, caverns, spelunking, mines, traps)
  17. The Planes (Inner, Outer, Ethereal, Astral, elemental, planar magic, pocket dimensions, planar travel, outsiders, extraplanar beings) 
  18. Philosophy & Psychology (traditions of thought, psychoanalysis, sociology, behavioral sciences, mob dynamics, crowd dynamics, sexuality, therapy)
  19. Electronics & Computers (electrical systems, electronic components, programming, specific programming language, networks, mass networks, social media, communications, user interfacing, technical support)
  20. Science (scientific method, specific science, critical thinking, logical systems, experimental standards, lab equipment, contamination protocol) 

PERFORM

  1. Acting (comedy, drama, melodrama, romance, mime, kabuki, passion plays, action choreography, impersonation, mimicry) 
  2. Comedy (buffoonery, limericks, jokes, puns, stand-up, situational, improv) 
  3. Dance (specific dance style, kata, choreography, improvisational, aquatic ballet, chorus line) 
  4. Keyboard (harpsichord, piano, pipe organ, accordion, dulcimer, clavier, kalimba, harmonium)
  5. Oratory (epic, ode, storytelling, news crying, rhetoric, debate, sales pitch, freestyle, beatnik) 
  6. Percussion (bells, chimes, drums, gong, steel drum, xylophone, wood block, maracas, castanetes, timpani) 
  7. Strings (fiddle, harp, lute, mandolin, guitar, cello, balalika, sitar, bass, banjo, erhu, pipa, guqin, guzheng) 
  8. Wind (flute, pan pipes, horns, trumpet, recorder, shawm, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, trombone, sousaphone, Alpin horn, didgeridoo) 
  9. Sing (ballad, chant, melody, harmony, choral, opera, madrigal, marching tune, cadence, rap) 
  10. Parade (majorette, band dance, marching, precision, weapon display, color guard, coordinated charge) 

A note on Professions: SRD indicates that professions are dependent on other skills, so whatever profession you take, make sure you have the base skills needed to perform your professional duties. I use profession skills for various purposes, so don’t discount them altogether. Certain activities can only be performed by certified professionals, like lawyers, law enforcement, tax collection, bankers, etc. Also, calculating income from non-adventuring activities and adventure-lateral activity is based on ranks in a profession. No ranks means no more than minimum income, unless your related skill checks are phenomenal… professions are not as specializing because each specialty is usually considered a separate profession, but if you abs the DM can agree on a grouping and specialties, then the specialization rules could apply there, as well. For example, one might say that Jurist was a profession, with sub-skills in judge, attorney, expert witness, recorder, bailiff, and jury member. It could be a bit of a stretch, but they all need a varying level and type of focus on various parts of the law and legal proceedings. Similarly, Chef could include pastry chef, short-order cook, sommelier, caterer, waiter, barista, bartender, grill-master, baker, fry cook, survivalist and sushi chef. They all need to understand cooking and food service in differing ways and levels of expertise. Just try to keep it simple. 

Bending Weaponry (feat, 3.x, Scaling, bending) 

In certain, let us say more martial, schools of bending, students learn to shape the elements into specific weapon-like forms and employ these in melee combat. Some go well beyond this minor form to become masters of the art of elemental weapons. 

Prerequisites: Must be able to bend elements, through a feat or class ability. Must have formal bending training at some point prior to beginning play, so the character may be part of a standing army that gets Bender support or owe a certain amount of fealty (tithing, reserve status, etc.) to the school or its sponsors.

Benefits: The benefits of this feat are dependent on character’s effective bending level, as follows. 

1: Receive the feat Elemental Weapon. If you do not have a fixed bending elemental damage, add an amount of elemental damage to the result that is equal to the amount done by the weapon form. For purposes of the Bender of Time, the weapons are dart, javelin, shortspear and long spear. Any weapon that could normally be thrown can be used to make a single ranged attack, but dissipates immediately after impact, leaving the Bender with no weapon in hand. 

3: Receive the feat Elemental Weapon Focus. 

7: Receive the feat Bending Finesse. 

13: Receive the feat Elemental Two Weapon Fighting. 

17: You may now use your elemental weapon, or any other bending effect that you can touch, to carry any other magical effect which you can generate (such as spells, other bending powers, Psionic powers, spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities, extraordinary abilities, etc.) along its surface to a single melee target you successfully strike. This is an extraordinary ability that requires the Bender to have the carrying weapon or effect in place, and then activate the other ability through it while successfully maintaining the bend/weapon until the effect reaches its target. Once the effect has reached the target, it affects them as a touch attack version of itself, in addition to whatever the bend or weapon might do. It costs whatever the bend or weapon does, as well as the cost of the added effect. An example of this ability in use: a Cleric with the Bender Dabbling (Water) feat and a minor bend of healing in at work on a party member felled by poison, determines the poison is still in effect and, while maintaining the healing bend, casts Neutralize Poison. The spell courses along the bend to the fallen comrade, killing the poison while the healing waters caress his unconscious form. Another example is the Bender of Earth who bends a gauntlet into existence and then, tapping into his racial energy ray psionic power, proceeds to wallop his enemy with a stony fist and a fiery discharge, combined!