Monday, February 21, 2011

Integrating The Worlds: Looking At Races...

Good Evening, All:

In a moment of inspiration, I started to consider what I would do if I were to follow Rob Conley's advice in blending elements from my various past campaigns into one core setting. One of the first elements that I decided to consider was to examine what races would be available for characters. Toward that end, I began by listing the various character races I've either allowed in my campaigns or that I've offered as an option, even if it wasn't taken. In addition, if I had a mini for it, I figured I needed to at least consider it. Looking at the list, I determined that an "Integrated World" could not, by virtue of sheer diversity, be limited to a small handful of character races. With that in mind, I tried to come up with a nice core list, removing the least interesting of those that duplicated a niche that had already been filled. What follows here is a "Master List of Character Races" for consideration in the "Integrated World" concept.

Races of the "Integrated World"
The following are civilized races commonly encountered among the myriad of kingdoms and nations of the "Integrated World". Not every race is common to a given area, so players should check with the GM to insure that a specific race is available as an option for a given campaign before building their character. The only exception to this rule is the Human race, which can be found in almost every region of the "Integrated World" that supports civilization.

Humans are the standard by which all others are measured. Humans do not hold this distinction because they are the oldest, wisest, or strongest of the races, but because they are the most widespread and varied. Due to their high adaptability, Humans are found in more of the various environments of the world than any other race. Human skin tones cover a wide range of coloration, depending on region, from black, tan or white to yellow, red, blue and even green.

The Artathi are a proud race of felinids who live on the vast plains. While most resemble a humanoid lion in appearance, covered with a thin tawny coat and leonine facial features, other sub-races of Artathi exist that resemble other species of large cats. As a rule, the Artathi are very close to Humans in terms of average height and weight, and possess a similar lifespan. A very proud race, the Artathi are easily insulted by others, and tend to react poorly to such efforts.

Dwarves are much like Humans, but generally living underground or in mountainous areas. They are famed miners and smiths although, like Humans, they specialize in any number of trades. Generally shorter than Humans, they are on average stockier and hairier, usually sporting full beards. In the distant history of the "Integrated World", dwarven smiths have created some of the greatest and most powerful items of power. Dwarves tend to be long-lived, living nearly four times the age of man (about 250 years), but are not prolific breeders, having children rarely and spaced far apart, and having few women among them. Dwarven children are cherished by their parents, and are defended at all costs from the dwarves' traditional enemies, which are typically giants and vile humanoids.

A long-lived people with a tremendous oral history, the Elves have tended to isolate themselves from the rest of the world, preferring the woodlands to which they once felt a strong sense of connection. Elves often appear as youthful-seeming men and women of great beauty living in forests and other natural places, underground, or in wells and springs. Elves tend to be beautiful, fair and slender, possessing unusual speed and agility, and generally prefer to fight with the bow. Tribal Elves might use a spear, while the more civilized tend to prefer blades.

A crude, uncouth humanoid, the Goblin stands a little over three feet tall and weigh 40 to 45 pounds. Its eyes are usually dull and glazed, varying in color from red to yellow. A Goblin’s skin color ranges from yellow through any shade of orange to a deep red; usually all members of a single tribe are about the same color. Being bullied by bigger, stronger creatures has taught Goblins to exploit what few advantages they have: sheer numbers and malicious ingenuity. The concept of a fair fight is meaningless in their society. They favor ambushes, overwhelming odds, dirty tricks, and any other edge they can devise. Goblins are known for their small size and stealthy nature.

A majority of the Kelshan are nothing more other than members of a vile and despicable race of the cavernous underworld, raiding the surface world for slaves and treasure to sacrifice to their patron, Sandamos, the Lord of Demons. However, there are those among the Kelshan who have come to see another path, one of Light and Redemption, and are often ostracized from their native communities for their beliefs. These red-skinned humanoids bear a strong resemblance to devils, complete with forked tails, small bony horns upon their heads and cloven hooves for feet. Along with their general tendencies towards cruelty and sadism, their physical appearance has earned the Kelshan the nickname of “devil-men.”

Reptilian humanoids standing a little over three feet in height, Kobolds are generally considered a cowardly race. The scaly hide of a Kobold ranges from a dark rusty brown to a dull black, with eyes that glow bright red in the the dark and two small horns on their temples that range from deep dun to a pale bone white in color. Kobolds are often not taken seriously due to their size and lack of physical strength, but they more than make up for these deficiencies with ferocious tenacity.

Barbaric reptilian humanoids somewhat resembling a humanoid crocodile walking upright, lizardfolk typically live a tribal existence, fishing and gathering when they can, and scavenging or raiding their neighbors when times are harsh. When full grown, lizardfolk stand a head taller than the average Human and weigh perhaps fifty pounds more. Their scaly hides range from dark green to deep brown, and their non-prehensile tails extend perhaps a yard or so behind them. Lizardfolk rarely wear clothing or armor, although they occasionally wear harnesses from which they can fasten tools, pouches and weapons.

Long considered to be the result of the magical breeding of Humans and elves by ancient draconic magelords, the mageborn are a fairly reclusive race with a strong connection to arcane magic. The exact nature of their true origins is lost in the distant past, and the mageborn no longer suffer the prejudices once given to their ancestors in the first few generations of their existence.

Roaming the deserts and savannas of the equatorial regions, the Mantids are a race of large, intelligent insects. Mature Mantids are roughly 7 feet tall at the shoulder and 11 feet long. Three pair of limbs extend from the Mantids' thorax: the lower pair is used for walking, the upper pair manipulates the environment and the middle pair can be used for either walking or handling objects. The Mantids' green, chitinous exoskeleton is extremely durable and resistant to damage. Mantids have two compound eyes similar to those of a fly or other object, two antennae pick up vibrations in the air, and vicious mandibles for the shredding and rending of their food. Mantids often wear harnesses and even some forms of clothing, but they rarely wear armor.

Minotaurs are a race of humanoids resembling a large Human with the head of a bull (or cow, for females of the species). As large as most Giantkin, Minotaurs stand well over 7 feet tall, and are quite broad and muscular. Unlike bovines, Minotaurs do not have a great diversity in their shaggy coat: their fur is brown to black while their hairless hide ranges through normal Human skin tones. For many Minotaurs, clothing is minimal, usually restricted to a loin cloth, light toga or skirt. Fierce and independent, Minotaurs are not considered bright or overly original in their thinking.

Ooloi are an aquatic race living in large bodies of water, with slick, bluish skin, webbed hands and feet and black, glassy eyes that are often considered expressionless. Two long tentacles grow from the back of their hairless scalps, and are treated with much the same reverence as Dwarves hold for their beards. Ooloi stand as tall as the typical Human and weigh around 100 pounds. Despite their frail appearance, Ooloi are deceptively strong and agile. Maturing a few years later than Humans, the Ooloi can live for over 150 years. As a species, the Ooloi are known for their religious devotion and frequent periods of contemplative meditation.

Orcs stand between six and seven feet tall and usually weigh between 180 and 250 pounds. They have greenish or jaundiced skin, jutting jaws, prominent teeth and coarse body hair. Due to their poor reputations, Orcs are often on poor terms with some of the other races. Orcs are drawn to violent careers suitable to their temperament and physical strength, such as mercenary work. They often find companionship among adventurers, many of whom are fellow wanderers and outsiders.

Small slouching humanoids bearing a coat of sharp spines upon their scalp and the back of their torso, Quillbacks stand just under four feet in height and weigh around 80 pounds. Quillback spines and their underlying hides are typically shades of brown or grey, although occasionally they may be white. Somewhat slower than larger races, Quillbacks are more than capable of using their quills and claws to defend themselves from attack, and will even take the offensive if their family or communities are endangered.

Ratkin generally look like humanoid rats, roughly the size of a Human with a rat’s head and tail. Ratkin fur exhibits the same ranges of coloration as do rats and other rodents. As a species, Ratkin tend to form small tribes or bands, living in areas that other races avoid. In the cities, Ratkin congregate in slums or sewers. While Ratkin appreciate protective laws, they are unconvinced that the authorities have their interests at heart. In the wild, Ratkin form bands that follow more aggressive tribes, picking the scraps left over from vicious raids.

Resembling muscular, broad-shouldered humanoid rhinos, the grey-skinned Rhinoc have a long history as mercenaries and soldiers. Carrying themselves with a militant demeanor, the Rhinoc possess a single horn upon their head which they use to gore their enemies on those rare occasions when they are caught without a weapon readily in hand.

The Serpentfolk of the "Integrated World" are a race of lithe snake-men representing a giant snake from the waist down and a human-like torso and upper arms that end in clawed hands. The Serpentfolk's head, however, resembles that of a snake, with a scaled hood similar to that of a cobra. Serpentfolk are completely covered with scales that are mottled green and yellow, with brown, black and red also appearing in some individuals. Their vicious bite is often poisonous.

Larger than Orcs, Tarthani are four-armed giantkin that stand between seven and eight feet tall, and weigh over 300 pounds. The range of their skin coloration covers the usual spectrum of earth tones, from a light tan to a deep grey in color. Although their thick brow ridge, broad jaws and clumsy gait suggests a primitive intellect, Giantkin are as intelligent as Humans.

In many ways, Valefolk closely resemble Humans except for being half the height. The majority of the Valefolk tends to live quiet lives in their homes within the rolling hills of temperate regions and, despite being well suited for the task of thievery, do not pursue a life of larceny. The Valefolk have a calm confidence and a surprising self-assurance that frequently causes these short humanoids to be underestimated by their foes, for they can be both quick and precise when they fight to protect those they hold as their own. Highly regarded for their compassion and innate knowledge of herbalism and midwifery, the Valefolk are widely known as healers. Those Valefolk that have become disenchanted with the sedentary ways of their people walk the earth as nomadic wanderers, traveling healers and seekers of fame and fortune.

The Vanarans are ape-like humanoids known for their bravery and inquisitive nature. Dwelling in subtropical and temperate forests, Vanarans stand about a head shorter than Humans, and weigh twenty to thirty pounds less. With a prehensile tail and nimble fingers and toes, Vanarans can climb very easily, and are at home as easily when swinging through the treetops as they are walking upon the ground.

The grey vulturine-headed humanoids known as the Vulturan can be found in many civilized ports around the world as slaves, workers, or mercenary guards. Reeking of the carrion that make up much of their diet, Vulturans are rarely welcome among polite social circles for their poor manners and even poorer hygiene; indeed, these beings are rarely welcomed by many outside of their own people.


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