Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Earthdawn Races for Pathfinder

The Earthdawn RPG draws upon many of the tropes of Dungeons & Dragons but reinvents many of the basic premises of other fantasy worlds. Player characters are Adepts, heroes who use the innate magic of the world to perform superhuman feats. These deeds include the fighting talents of warriors, the trickery of thieves, and the spells of magicians, as well as the many gifts of other Disciplines (the game's version of classes or occupations). Barsaive, the setting for Earthdawn, includes many standard fantasy races (dwarves, elves, humans, orks) as well as new races unique to this world: gruff, horned trolls, the lizard-like t'skrang, the tiny winged windlings, and the rocky-skinned obsidimen.

Some of Barsaive's races would make appealing choices for player characters in other systems. Players of the Pathfinder RPG can use the Race Builder rules in the Advanced Race Guide to translate these races to that rules set. I've provided two worked examples below, the obsidiman and windling, as well as a sample 1st-level character for each race. The descriptions given here are necessarily very short and incomplete; see the Earthdawn RPG (and the Namegivers of Barsaive supplement) for more details on the setting and races.

If these new races are used in their native setting, replace "Common" with Dwarven, and give humans their own racial language. The bonus language list for all PC races is as follows: Dwarven, Elven, Giant (for Trolls), Human, Obsidiman, Orc (for Orks), T'skrang, and Windling. In Earthdawn, members of all "Namegiver" races learn at least one artistic skill in order to demonstrate that they are not Horror-tainted. Both sample characters below use their favored class bonus for an additional skill point to use for Craft or Perform.

Type: Humanoid (obsidiman) (0 RP)
Size: Medium (0 RP)
Base Speed: Slow (-1 RP)
Ability Score Modifiers: Greater Paragon (+4 Str, -2 Dex, -2 Cha) (2 RP)
Languages: Standard (0 RP)
Racial Traits: 
Ability Score Racial Traits: Advanced Strength (+2) (4 RP); Advanced Constitution (+2) (4 RP)
Defense Racial Traits: Improved natural armor (+1) (1 RP); Natural armor (+1) (2 RP)
Total: 12 RP

Obsidiman stand 7 feet tall or more and appear to be made out of living rock. Their tough hides give them excellent protection, but they are flesh and blood creatures, like any other humanoid. Obsidimen make excellent fighters, and many become accomplished wizards. Most lack the agility to become rogues or the presence required of bards or sorcerers, but members of those classes do exist. This race is slow to anger, so barbarians are almost unheard of.

In Earthdawn, obsidiman cannot wear most kinds of armor, because they dislike the feel of dead things around their bodies. Unless the GM makes "living armor" available in the campaign, ignore this restriction--it is too great a handicap for martial characters in Pathfinder, especially when combined with this race's low Dexterity. 

Obsidiman Warrior (CR 1/2)
XP 200
Obsidiman fighter 1
NG Medium humanoid (obsidiman)
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+5 armor, +3 natural)
hp 13 (1d10+3)
Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +1
Defensive Abilities bravery +1
Speed 20 ft. (15 ft. in armor)
Melee greatsword +5 (2d6+6/19-20)
Ranged javelin +1 (1d6+4)
Str 19, Dex 11, Con 16, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +5; CMD 15
Feats Cleave[B], Power Attack
Skills Craft (sculpture) +4, Intimidate +3, Survival +5
Languages Common, Obsidiman
Gear scale mail, greatsword, javelin (3), 2 gp

Type: Humanoid (windling) (0 RP)
Size: Tiny (4 RP)
Base Speed: Normal (0 RP)
Ability Score Modifiers: Standard (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Cha) (0 RP)
Languages: Standard (0 RP)
Racial Traits: 
Feat and Skill Racial Traits: Nimble Attacks (2 RP)
Movement Racial Traits: Flight (40 ft., poor) (6 RP)
Total: 12 RP

Windlings are small, graceful humanoids with insect-like wings. In settings other than Barsaive, they are frequently mistaken for fey. While they are accomplished fliers, they tire too easily to stay airborne for long periods of time. Because windlings are cheerful, inquisitive, and impulsive by nature, other races have trouble taking them seriously--while the windlings tend to find many larger races far too stodgy for their own good. 

These small folk are notorious for their excellent rogues, but also make skilled bards, illusionists, rangers, and druids. Because of their severe dislike of death magic, windlings avoid using necromancy spells, and would consider a necromancer of their race to be an abomination.

In Earthdawn, windlings can see into astral space, allowing them to see the magic fabric behind reality. This trait does not translate well into the standard Pathfinder rules, and requires the metaphysical context of the Barsaive setting to be useful, so I've omitted it here. 

Windling Thief (CR 1/2)
XP 200
Windling rogue 1
CG Tiny humanoid (windling)
Init +5; Senses Perception +6 (+7 traps)
AC 19, touch 17, flat-footed 14 (+2 armor, +5 Dex, +2 size)
hp 9 (1d8+1)
Fort +1, Ref +7, Will +2
Speed 30 ft., fly 40 ft. (poor)
Melee shortsword +7 (1d3-1/19-20) or longspear +1 (1d4-1/x3)
Ranged heavy crossbow +7 (1d6/19-20)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.(5 ft. with longspear)
Special Attacks sneak attack +1d6
Str 8, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 16
Base Atk +0; CMB -3CMD 12
Feats Rapid Reload (heavy crossbow), Weapon Finesse[B]
Skills Acrobatics +9, Appraise +6, Bluff +7, Disable Device +10, Fly +13, Perception +6 (+7 traps), Perform (dance) +7, Sense Motive +6, Sleight of Hand +9, Stealth +17
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Windling
SQ trapfinding
Gear leather armor, shortsword, heavy crossbow and 20 bolts, thieves' tools, 4 pp, 3 gp

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