Monday, February 27, 2017

Character Crunch: Hulderfolk, Guivre, and the One-in-a-Million Kobold (Bonus: Dragonborn Errata)

I like giving you guys player options, and the last Character Crunch on Beastfolk went over well, so I wanna talk about two of my more... unique races today and finally give you guys the goods on their stats and abilities.

In many ways, hulderfolk fulfill the half-orc role in Sublanarya: they are large, powerful and tough humanoids with a mixed heritage and monstrous appearance. But, unlike half-orcs inheriting the savagery associated with orcs, hulderfolk inherit not only impressive physical power and durability but a more easy-going nature from their bjergfolk parentage. While hulderfolk most likely experience a similar reaction of fear to their appearance from most humanoids that a half-orc would illicit-- from their impressive stature, large faun-like ears, horns, rocky and earth-colored skin, and ropey tails-- they are not a race that relies on intimidation or violence as a trademark. In fact, hulderfolk rely on determination, patience and a friendly demeanor to win over the skeptical and fearful.

If that doesn't work, of course, they are at least tough enough to survive most peasant attacks. So that's something.

Tiefling are maligned because they are the results of a monstrous union between fiends and mortals, but Guivre (Dragon Elves) are the embodiment with a deal with another sort of devil altogether. Indeed, in Sublanarya, nothing is more maligned by common folk than the chromatic dragons that rule the hellish wasteland of Smolder. They are to blame for every famine, pestilence and disaster that befalls the people of Thule. And yet, serving as symbols and ambassadors of the pact between the iaurdin and the dragons of smolder, the guivre are too easy to villainize but usually too powerful and well-connected to dare confront. It is easy to understand why:

They are raised by and among evil dragons, to serve them and rule in their stead, and therefore are known for their brilliance, cunning and cruelty. Despite loyalty being driven into them, Guivre are naturally ambitious and greedy in their own right, and often strike out on their own affairs. It is the ambition of guivres, and their loathing of their creators, that drives them to seek out their own fortunes and, in some cases, prove themselves worthy as heroes rather than villains.

Another part of making a guivre character is determining your unique draconic characteristics: vestigial wings, scales, claws, etc. These serve no mechanical function but serve to create an intimidating first impression for your guivre. They can, inexplicably, hover.

Kobolds are one of the most pathetic races in Sublanarya. They are not just slaves-- they are slaves that are proud to be given just enough authority to bully other slaves. And yet, every now and then, maybe once a century and in one-in-a-million births-- most of which don't make it to adulthood--something amazing happens:

A kobold, perhaps blessed by the draconic gods, is born with a spark that sets it apart from the pack. While this spark sets them apart from other kobolds, emboldening and shaping them into something special, they are not paragons of koboldkind. At least not by kobold standards.

These kobolds, usually taller and hardier than their kin and born with draconic scales and coloring, are more compassionate, more courageous and more bold. These kobolds are emboldened by an inner-spirit that not even by the mountains of excrement that most kobolds endure in their lives can dampen. These kobolds want to be heroes. And this... is a problem.

These kobolds, the one-in-a-million kobold, have a bold nature that is the antithesis of their species culture and values. Kobolds value cunning, they value opportunism, and they value survival. Being heroic? That's not something that the vulnerable and scraping species of reptilian minions ever respect. Kobolds are killed by heroes. Kobolds kill heroes. They don't become heroes. They are cowards, by nature.

Inevitably, the one-in-a-million kobold leaves home, either miraculously surviving some disaster, leaving behind their more craven kin after becoming disgusted by a kobold-eat-kobold society, or being banished for not falling into line. These kobolds most often become allies with dragonborn guards of Smolder, who are surprised and impressed by the curious one-in-a-million kobold, and often take them on and treat them like miniature dragonborn which, with their uniquely draconic scales, they resemble. If only the dragons and guivre realized the threat this presents.

If a one-in-a-million kobold can come along and challenge its nature, challenge the status quo of dragonkind, why can't a dragonborn or guivre come along and do the same? How safe is the pyramid of power?

HULDERFOLK
Ability Score Increase Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age Hulderfolk mature at the same range as humans, reaching adulthood by their teenage years, but stay in their prime well up to 100 years before succumbing to old age.
Alignment. Hulderfolk’s alignment differ dramatically based on whether they are raised in the neutral druidic societies of the bjergfolk or among humans. They are known for having an upbeat, easy-going and friendly personality that makes them lean towards good.
Size Hulderfolk are between 6 and 8 feet tall and weigh between 200 and 360 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Stoneskin: The rocky dermis of hulderfolk provides natural armor. Hulderfolk have a +1 racial bonus to AC.
Earth-Eater: Hulderfolk inherit the rock crushing teeth & jaws of their bjergfolk ancestors and guts that can digest almost anything, per the DM’s discretion, and Hulderfolk can sustain themselves on soil, rocks, dirt, and only the most miniscule amount of water.
Mammoth Stature: You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Earth Hum: You can cast the Speak with Stone spell as a 6th level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a short or long rest.
Speak with Stone
6th-level Transmutation
Casting time:
1 minute
Range:
Self
Components:
V,S
Duration:
Up to 10 minutes
 Concentration:     Yes
   
You imbue an area of stone within 60 feet of you with limited sentience and animation, giving them the ability to communicate with you and follow your simple commands. You can question the stone about events in the spell's area, gaining information about creatures that have passed, weather, what lies on the other side of the stone (if possible) and other circumstances.

Stone might be able to perform other tasks on your behalf, at the DM's discretion. The spell enables the stone to move very slowly for the duration of the spell.


Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Giant..


(Note: Speak with Stone is a 6th level spell available to druids as well in Narya)

GUIVRE
Ability Score Increase Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age Guivre reach mental maturity at a very young age but only reach physical maturity at around 50 years of age. Their lifespans have not been tested by natural time but, perhaps as part of magical experiments, guivre know that they age similarly to iaurdin (high elves) and have a maximum lifespan of about 400 years.
Alignment. Guivre are raised by chromatic dragons to be chromatic dragons incarnate. This means that they tend towards evil alignments and, due to their role as ambassadors and officials within the Smoulder "pyramid of power" they most often are lawful or neutral. It is possible, of course, for a guivre to rebel against the pyramid but ambition is always the driving force of these humanoids.
Size Guivre vary in height and weight as much as humans do. Your size is Medium.
Speed Your base walking speed is 30 feet. No one is sure why, but Guivre have the ability to hover from a young age. It takes half a movement to begin hovering up to 5 feet off the ground. Your hover speed is 30 feet. If a Guivre is knocked prone they can use a reaction hover but only have up to half their movement speed on their next turn. If a Guivre is falling, they can use a reaction to reduce their falling damage to 0. If a Guivre is more than 10 feet above the ground, they will begin to fall until they are only hovering 5 feet above the ground. While hovering, ignore difficult terrain at the dungeon master's discretion.
Draconic Imprint: You have a draconic imprint. Choose one type of dragon (Black, Blue, Green, Red, White). You have resistance to the elemental damage associated with that dragon and you gain a cantrip. If you choose black, you have resistance to acid and you know the acid splash cantrip spell. If you choose blue, you have resistance to lightning damage and you known the shocking grasp cantrip spell. If you choose green, you have resistance to poison and you know the poison spray cantrip spell. If you choose red, you have resistance to fire and you know the firebolt cantrip spell. If you choose white, you have resistance to cold and you know the chilling ray cantrip spell.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Elven and Draconic.

ONE-IN-A-MILLION KOBOLD
Ability Score Increase Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age Kobolds reach maturity by age 6 and can live up to 120 years but very rarely do so.
Alignment. Unlike the usually their usually evil and cowardly kobold brethren, one-in-a-million kobolds are born with a spark of dignity, compassion and boldness that drives them towards good alignments. They often fall into lawful alignments if they value the loyalty of their clans but others seek freedom through chaotic means or become neutral as they see the unfair treatment of kobolds and others by the rest of the world.
Size One-In-A-Million kobolds are still diminuitive but are taller and hardier than the average kobold. They are 3 feet tall and weight between 35 and 50 pounds. Your size is small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. Your reptillian eyes give you darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Pack Tactics. You have advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.

Small but Fearless. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Natural Armor. You have touch, scaly skin. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.
Draconic Blessing: You have a draconic blessing. Choose one type of dragon (Black, Blue, Green, Red, White). You have resistance to the elemental damage associated with that dragon. If you choose black, you have resistance to acid. If you choose blue, you have resistance to lightning damage. If you choose green, you have resistance to poison. If you choose red, you have resistance to fire. If you choose white, you have resistance to cold.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Draconic.
 

Setting Errata
I've always felt like they are the most shortchanged race in the Player's Handbook, so I decided that Dragonborn should gain the following features. Dragon Trooper represents their reputation and proficiency as enforcers. Natural Armor reflects the fact that they are covered in tough scales that, imho, are as tough as Lizardfolk. With these changes, they can compete with other races when previously their main and only appeal was their dragons' breath:
Dragon Trooper. You have proficiency with the Intimidation skill.
Natural Armor. You have touch, scaly skin. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.

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