Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Races in the Twilight Empire

Designer's Notes

Twilight Empire is a human-oriented campaign; dwarfs and elves are mysterious fey creatures, like goblins and trolls, and are not generally a part of human society. In addition, halflings and half-orcs and other common nonhuman races are not a part of the Twilight Empire campaign, which is based more on traditional folklore and mythology than on modern fantasy.

While players are prohibited from playing elves, dwarfs, or other faerie creatures, human characters are distinguished by their Background Package, which gives them skills and bonus items, and by their homeland, which determines their native language and alignment (general religious affiliation).

I have also included a few human/nonhuman crossbreeds as options for player characters; these characters can generally pass as human, but have one or more nonhuman ancestors, whether demon, elf, or troll.

Most of the skills are self-explanatory; the cambion's mentalism skill is a simplified version of psionics which will be covered in a later post.

Races

Race Statistics Table

Race
Ability
Bonus
Race
Powers
Race
Skills
Social
Level
Native
Language
Cambion
charisma +1
dark vision (6”)
enchanted
magic save bonus (+2)
mentalism
occult lore
3d6
Infernal
Elfborn
dexterity +1
dark vision (6”)
detect secret bonus (+1)
hear noise bonus (+1)
hide in wilderness
move silently
outdoor survival
3d6
Elfish
Human
varies by BP
background package
homeland
varies by BP
varies by BP
varies by HL
Trollborn
strength +1
dark vision (6”)
detect secret bonus (+1)
magic save bonus (+2)
craft (any)
mining
underground lore
3d4
Trollish

Ability Bonus

The race ability bonus is added to the stated ability score once at 1st level. A human character’s ability bonus varies by background package (BP).

Race Powers

Unlike most skills, powers never require a skill roll to use successfully.

Race Skills

Race skills are in addition to a character’s class skills, training package skills, and elective skills. A human character’s race skills vary by background package.

Social Level

Social level is a measure of a character’s status in society. A human character’s social level varies based on his background package.

Native Language

A character begins play knowing his native language and one other language of his player’s choice. Generally, the second language should be Valish (the Common Tongue of the Twilight Empire), or whatever the local human language is for the campaign setting. A human character’s native language varies by homeland (HL).



Cambion

Ability Bonus:             charisma +1
Race Powers:               dark vision (6”); enchanted; magic save bonus (+2)
Race Skills:                  mentalism; occult lore
Social Level:                3d6
Native Language:         Infernal

Description

A cambion is a character of mixed human and demon blood—usually the product of sexual congress between a man and a succubus, or between a woman and an incubus. A cambion is always raised by humans; if born of a succubus, the infant is left at the doorstep of its human father (or his family).

A cambion is uncommonly attractive, magnetic, and seductive in appearance and demeanor. A cambion also always has a hidden “telltale” feature which indicates his demonic ancestry. The telltale is easy to conceal or downplay in daily life, but will not escape sustained scrutiny.

Cambion Telltale Table

Roll
Telltale
1
Ears: unusually pointed
2
Eyes: glow faintly in darkness
3
Horns: hidden beneath hair
4
Mole(s): oddly shaped, colored, or placed
5
Tail: hidden by normal clothing
6
Teeth: unusually pointed canines

Cambions have a natural affinity for magic and the supernatural. They are collectors of magical lore and are more knowledgeable than humans about the affairs of demons and other spirits.

Cambion Powers

Dark Vision

A cambion can see in the dark up to 60’ away.

Enchanted

A cambion is an enchanted creature, and is able to affect spirits and other incorporeal creatures using non-magical weapons and attack forms.

Magic Save Bonus

A cambion receives a +2 bonus to all saving throws against magical effects.



Elfborn

Ability Bonus:             dexterity +1
Race Powers:               dark vision (6”); detect secret bonus (+1); hear noise bonus (+1)
Race Skills:                  hide in wilderness; move silently; outdoor survival
Social Level:                3d6
Native Language:         Elfish

Description

An elfborn is a character of mixed human and elfish ancestry. Elves and humans occasionally marry, sometimes for love, more commonly to seal an alliance against a common foe. Depending on the situation, either the human will journey to the realm of Faerie to live with his spouse, or the elf will move to live in the human realm and pass himself off as a human from a distant land.

Many elfborns are born out of wedlock. Usually, the child of a human mother will be raised by humans, and the child of an elf mother by elves. Sometimes the elves will steal the child of a human mother and take him to the realm of Faerie, or else deposit the child of an elf mother at the doorstep of its human father.

An elfborn is typically tall, fair in complexion, and exceptionally lithe and agile. Elbloods have keen senses and are naturally at home in the wilderness.

Elfborn Powers

Dark Vision

An elfborn can see in the dark up to 60’ away.

Detect Secret Bonus

An elfborn receives a +1 bonus on rolls to detect secret doors or hidden objects.

Hear Noise Bonus

An elfborn receives a +1 bonus on rolls to hear faint noises.



Human

Ability Bonus:             varies by background package
Race Powers:               background package; homeland
Race Skills:                  varies by background package
Social Level:                varies by background package
Native Language:         varies by homeland

Description

A human character is of pure human ancestry, rather than being of mixed human and demon, elf, or troll ancestry. However, a character of mixed ancestry counts as fully human if more than 75% of his ancestors are human.

Human Powers

Background Package

Every human has a background package, which determines his ability bonus, race skills, and social level.

A background package represents a human character’s upbringing and education. In general, a male is trained in the occupation of his father and a female in the occupation of her mother. Most exceptions occur due to the custom of fostering, in which a boy or girl is sent to another family to work as a servant or apprentice, and to learn skills relevant to his or her intended profession or station in society.

The ability score bonus gives a character a +1 bonus to one ability score, but each background package permits a player to choose from two abilities when assigning the bonus. No ability score may be raised above 18 as a result of this bonus.

Background Package Table

#
Background
Package
Ability Bonus
(Choose One)
Skills
Social
Level
1
Craftsman
dexterity +1
intelligence +1
appraisal
craft
teamster
1d4+6
2
Fisherman
constitution +1
dexterity +1
fishing
rowing or sailing
weather sense
1d6+4
3
Forester
dexterity +1
wisdom +1
direction sense
outdoor survival
tracking
1d6+4
4
Herdsman
constitution +1
wisdom +1
animal husbandry
musical instrument
weather sense
1d6+4
5
Merchant
charisma +1
intelligence +1
appraisal
merchant
scribe or teamster
1d6+4
6
Mountaineer
constitution +1
strength +1
climbing
tracking
weather sense
1d6+4
7
Noble
charisma +1
strength +1
courtesy
riding
scholarship or tracking
1d4+12
8
Nomad
constitution +1
dexterity +1
animal husbandry
riding
tracking
1d6+4
9
Pauper
charisma +1
dexterity +1
appraisal
begging
bluffing
1d2+2
10
Peasant
constitution +1
wisdom +1
farming
teamster
tracking
1d4+6
11
Scholar
intelligence +1
wisdom +1
divinity, juristry, or medicine
scholarship
scribe
1d4+6
12
Seaman
constitution +1
strength +1
rowing or sailing
swimming
weather sense
1d6+4

Homeland

A human character’s homeland indicates his general cultural background, including native language, default alignment, and permitted selection of background packages. Homeland can also influence the reactions of monsters and NPCs, at the referee’s discretion.

The default starting point for the Twilight Empire campaign is the city of Greymouth; it is thus assumed that most player characters are native to that city or to the surrounding regions of Val (the land of the Twilight Empire). However, people of many homelands can be found in Greymouth, whether they have arrived as merchants, mariners, mercenaries, slaves, or captives.

Homeland Table

#
Home
Land
Native
Language
Typical
Alignment
Background
Packages
1
Albu
Valish
lawful
all
2
Burath
Burathish
neutral
craftsman, fisherman, forester, herdsman, peasant, seaman
3
Rham
Rhamish
lawful
all
4
Don
Donish
neutral
craftsman, fisherman, forester, herdsman, peasant, seaman
5
Dul
Dulish
lawful
all
6
Hur
Hurish
lawful
neutral
all
7
Hux
Huxish
neutral
craftsman, fisherman, forester, mountaineer, peasant, seaman
8
Let
Letish
lawful
all
9
Tur
Turish
lawful
all
10
Val
Valish
lawful
all
11
Zargoz
Zargozish
lawful
all
12
Zun
Zunish
neutral
craftsman, fisherman, forester, herdsman, mountaineer



Trollborn

Ability Bonus:             strength +1
Race Powers:               dark vision (6”); detect secret bonus (+1); magic save bonus (+2)
Race Skills:                  craft (any); mining; underworld lore
Social Level:                3d4
Native Language:         Trollish

Description

A trollborn character is of mixed human and troll ancestry. Trolls sometimes mix with humans in remote or borderlands areas.

A trollborn is unusually tall, stout, and sturdy of limb. They may be dark of complexion or noticeably hirsute. Throllborn are skilled craftsmen and warriors, and are at home in mines and under the earth.

Trollborn Powers

Dark Vision

A trollborn can see in the dark up to 60’ away.

Detect Secret Bonus

A trollborn receives a +1 bonus on rolls to detect secret doors or objects.

Magic Save Bonus

A trollborn receives a +2 bonus to all saving throws against magical effects.