July 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm #503
Post up your fantasy creations, here.
Fantasy races, writeups of fantasy races from your favorite novels or video games, or what have you…
Big Bad Evil Guys you have enjoyed playing or creating.
You know… stuff.July 24, 2017 at 12:41 pm #504
Here’s a race from Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 that I tend to particularly enjoy.
Hit Dice: 4D10 + 4
Speed: 30 ft
AC: 12 (-1 Dex, -1 Size, +4 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 13
Attacks: By weapon type, bite +8, 2 claws +10 in hybrid form
Damage: By weapon type, claws 1d8+10, bite 2d6+10 in hybrid form
Face / Reach: 5 ft x 10 ft.
Special Qualities: Animal empathy (as hybrid, only with animal type of hybrid)
Saves: by class type
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 8, Con 12, Int, 10, Wis 8, Cha 10
Skills: Wilderness Lore +2, Tracking +2
Feats: by class type
Climate/Terrain: Any, prefers mountainous and arctic, but adaptable to any climate
Organization: Solitary or clan; rarely cities; exception – An offshoot of the mainstream Norn society, known as the Sons of Svanir are ruled by a singular leader.
Challenge Rating: 4
Alignment: Any. Commonly chaotic
Advancement: By character class
The Norn are a race of giantkin that currently inhabit parts of Kryta and the abandoned Dwarven fortresses in the Shiverpeak Mountains as well as a city, named Hrafnheim, carved out of the very rock at the top of the Dragonfall Cliffs; and another Norn city located in the lower Shiverpeaks on a tundra, called Hoelbrak. If there is to be said to be a capital city of the Norn, Hoelbrak would be it. The individualistic Norn live for the hunt, so their tracking, stealth and killing skills make them invaluable allies in any combat situation. The largest gathering of Norn one can expect to find outside trading posts is in hunting parties that have united to combat a powerful foe.
The Norn normally have the appearance of large humans, but they are able to shift into a were-creature of one of the Spirits of the Wild. In their humanoid form they are not only tall, at around nine feet, but their proportions are much broader and more heavily muscled than a typical human. A small Norn of around 7 feet tall can easily pass for an exceptionally tall and powerfully built Human. Norn can also have long lives. A Norn might live to 120 and maintain their good health and vitality for a long time, though very few die of old age. Norn typically have light or pale skin, while those living outside of arctic climates have their skin tanned by the sun. Due to their normally arctic existence, Norn generate a considerable amount of body heat at the slightest exertion.
In their transformed shape they take on an upright half-Norn half-animal form, taking after one of the animals of the Spirits of the Wild. The were-form is furred, fanged and clawed and grants the Norn attributes depending on the animal they transform into.
The transformation between Norn and were-form is described as a blurring between the two with the form transformed into gaining a solid appearance over a short period of time. Any clothing or armor worn by the Norn is covered by the were-form.
Norn culture is highly individualistic with a focus on personal success and glory – particularly when gained from the hunt or in a battle. The Norn do not fear death as they believe the bold and strong can achieve immortality, but they do fear they will be weak and end up forgotten. As a result each Norn seeks to prove themselves, to build their legend through feats of individual valor and great victories. Every Norn hopes their legend will be told by the skaald and celebrated at a moot with story and song. Norn usually have a great sense of personal honor, for a Norn without respect from others is already forgotten. For many Norn, the focus on prestige means they’re willing to accept any challenge which will prove their worth. They will never give up on their battle, quarry or friends, even if it means years spent tackling a strong enemy or difficult task. Yet for other Norn the pursuit of prestige translates to bragging, bullying, unwise snap decisions and an unwillingness to listen to reason.
Norn are a hearty, proud people – quick to anger but then quick to forgive. They are, by their nature, a race of optimists, keeping a positive outlook even though they have been driven from their homelands. A setback is seen as just another challenge to overcome. They respect those who can best them in a fight so brawling among Norn is common. Drinking alcohol, often to excess, is also a large part of Norn culture. Being drunk and fighting is not an uncommon combination, for example, Norn alemoots feature competitions of ‘skill’ which require the competitors to be very drunk to compete.
The Norn hold an annual grand moot, called the Great Hunt. The Great Hunt features a dangerous beast for fighters and hunters to try to kill, as well as what is usually at a typical moot. In order to join in on the Great Hunt, a Norn must prove himself worthy by presenting a trophy from a recent difficult kill. The Norn also hold, at least historically, a specialized moot called an alemoot, which specializes in testing how much one can drink and still complete an obstacle course of sorts.
A Norn might proudly trace their worthy ancestors through many generations and may pass a common name through a family (such as Olaf Olafsson, seventh son of Olaf) but a great ancestry and family connections do not grant automatic respect to a Norn. Everyone is judged not by their lineage or associated group but by what deeds they have done. As a result the Norn are often tolerant of an individual to whom other races might treat with hostility by association, for example the Sons of Svanir are tolerated. There is no such thing as infamy to the Norn. For example, a Norn who achieves respect from their peers through deeds that might be considered “underhanded” by Human standards has still accomplished what the Norn value most, and is seen as equal to a Norn who has performed more “respectable” acts.
Two Norn will marry, but only if they are of equal status. During the wedding, someone must speak on behalf of the couple in order to show that they are a worthy match for each other.
Despite the cold of their homes, the Norn are often only lightly clad. This exposes skin which is frequently elaborately tattooed in Celtic and/or Nordic style motifs.
The Norn have a shamanistic religion where they revere totem animals of the Spirits of the Wild, the spirits of the strongest, bravest, wisest, or most cunning animals of the Shiverpeaks. The Great Spirit is Bear, who is seen as the strongest of all the spirits and is said to have granted the Norn with the ability to ‘become the bear’. The worship of the spirits Snow Leopard, Raven and Wolf is also prevalent because of the assistance they gave the Norn in the past on their exodus south. There are many other totem spirits among the Norn, such as Ox, Eagle, and Wurm, but they are not as widely revered.
Each spirit has any number of shaman. A shaman devotes themselves to a spirit’s sacred area, serving as guardians to that area and teachers of the lessons of that spirit. The four most important spirits have huge Spirit Lodges built in their honor in Hoelbrak; these are governed by the most powerful shamans – the Speakers of Hoelbrak. Each spirit animal has a Havroun shaman, a single Norn with a connection to the spirit through the mists.
As with other aspects of their lives the Norn take an individual approach to their religion. Groups of Norn, such as families, larger lodges or isolated homesteads tend to revere a particular animal spirit over the others, calling forth its special attributes so they might emulate it. Hrafnheim, for example, is a Norn city dedicated to the spirit of Raven. This means in some areas a particular spirit is well known where in others it is not. There is some tension between the adherents of some spirits; for example, adherents to Bear might see Raven’s approach as deceptive and therefore weak and dishonorable.
The Norn draw strength from their totem beasts, calling on them in battle enabling the transformation of the Norn to their were-form. They do not worship the spirits as greater beings but venerate them for the strength that they bring to the Norn that calls them.
While they do not worship or revere the Gods of other races, they do acknowledge them and their power. They often, however, will refer to Gods of other races by their main attribute. Referring to Kord as Strength, or Yondalla as Nature, for example.
The Norn do not have a central government or nation. Most Norn resist being followers and will not kneel before anyone. The closest thing to leadership comes from the respect gained from other Norn by those who have performed significant, widely recognized heroic deeds. Those Norn with exceptional strength and prowess in battle might establish a homestead, but they are not considered rulers of those living within it.
Knut Whitebear is the master of Hoelbrak Lodge, charged with keeping Hoelbrak safe. His sons lead the Wolfborn which provides something of a peace keeping role in Hoelbrak.
Most norn follow a Northern European or Viking-style first name system, though some like the famous explorer Captain Romke and his crew have Dutch and Frisian names.
Their surnames can vary in a multitude of styles. Norn without any achievements or legends have surnames after one of their parents (father/mother’s first name followed by -sson or -dottir or a variant thereof); this is most commonly seen in children, and they’re named after the more famous of their parents even if they do not like said parent (e.g., Braham Eirsson). Surnames do not get adopted from generation to generation and they can be changed by the individual to fit their own personal legend (e.g., a famous Wolfborn member took the surname Wolfsdottir); married couples may not always share surnames either (though some may, e.g., Knut and Gaerta Whitebear). Some Norn may also take titles instead of a surname if it fits them and their legend more (e.g., Borje the Sun Chaser).
Little is known of the history of the Norn before they were first encountered by Humans at the Eye of the North fortress.
The origin of the Norn race isn’t known, but there are theories. The Kodan, a sentient race of bipedal polar bears, believe the Norn may be descended from a group of Kodan hunters separated from the tribes during the great storm, becoming lesser creatures for giving up being bears. This contradicts the Norn belief their ability to transform was granted to them by the Bear Spirit. It isn’t clear which, if either, of these is true. Thruln the Lost, a Jotun storyteller, claims that the Jotun and Norn once ruled the Shiverpeak Mountains during an “Age of Giants,” but both races fell from their supremacy; the Norn at this point turned to the Spirits of the Wild who helped the Norn stabilize their culture while the Jotun fell into a primitive nature.
The Norn have always been a nomadic people focused on hunting and individual goals and pursuits. For a brief while the Norn were united as a race in the years after they assisted with the downfall of the the Great Destroyer in Guild Wars, but it did not take them long to revert to a nomadic, individualistic lifestyle. This did not stop them from convincingly holding their lands in the far north Shiverpeaks against invading Charr warbands. Their defense earned the respect of the Charr and something of a cooperative peace emerged from their mutual respect for each other which has lasted for 200 years.
As early as 1078 AE the still dormant Elder Dragon Jormag’s influence was already being felt among the Norn. Svanir was the first to hear Jormag’s call, becoming permanently transformed into an ice bear form until his death. But over the years many followed Jormag’s call and Svanir’s footsteps forming the Sons of Svanir. They worship Jormag as the ultimate totem spirit.
In 1165 AE, Jormag awoke in the Shiverpeaks, raising and transforming creatures of ice and snow to serve him. Tackling Jormag as individuals did not allow the Norn to hold their homes and they were forced to travel south into the mountains abandoned by the Dwarves. Here they established new homes, found new hunting grounds and made new enemies. Here among the Dwarven ruins, they met the Dredge who they fight to this day for dominance over parts of the Shiverpeaks.July 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm #505
Also from Guild Wars 2. A template.
The Icebrood are the minions of the Elder Ice Dragon, Jormag. Many of them consist of beings, such as Norn, Kodan, minotaurs, or Elves that were turned into the fanatical minions by Jormag’s champions, such as the Dragonspawn, an ancient ice elemental given intelligence and a will named Borkal-Throk-Tok. Recently corrupted Icebrood are merely covered in ice, and still have blood in their bodies (if their bodies contained blood before becoming Icebrood), while older Icebrood are said to be frozen throughout, even developing sharp, jagged icy spikes over their bodies; though whether that is a growth that comes about through the magic of Jormag’s corruption, or more akin to something like dangerous icicles is a debate for the scholars.
Icebrood creatures undergo three stages of their transformation. At the first stage, the creature is largely unchanged, save for a chilled aura surrounding them, and a frosty tinge to the creature’s skin. At the second stage, the creature is covered in ice and any blood it may have is icy cold. At the third stage, the creature is icy throughout, and has begun developing icy spikes on parts of its body. At this stage, the creature stops aging, and unless it is killed, is functionally immortal.
CREATING AN ICEBROOD CREATURE
Icebrood is a template that can be added to any other creature or race (referred to, hereafter, as the base creature). Beasts or animals with this template become magical beasts, but otherwise the creature type is unchanged.
An Icebrood creature uses all the the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
SPECIAL ATTACKS: An Icebrood creature retains all the special attacks of the base creature and also gains the following at the second, and third phases of the Icebrood transformation:
Aura of Ice – When grappling or making an unarmed attack on an Icebrood creature in the second or third phase of Icebrood transformation, the sheath of ice covering their bodies deals 1d4-1 cold damage to the attacking creature. When an Icebrood creature successfully grapples or makes an unarmed attack against another creature, the sheath of ice covering their bodies deals 1d4-1 cold damage to the creature so attacked.
Spike Attack – At the third phase of transformation, an Icebrood creature develops icy spikes over some parts of their bodies. These spikes deal damage based on the size of the Icebrood creature.
Tiny – 1 point piercing damage
Small – 1d2 piercing damage
Medium Size – 1d4 piercing damage
Large – 1d6 piercing damage
Huge – 2d4 piercing damage
Gargantuan – 2d6 piercing damage
Colossal – 2d8 piercing damage
SPECIAL QUALITIES: An Icebrood creature retains all of the special qualities of the base creature and also gains the following:
Aura of Ice – In the first phase of transformation, an Icebrood character takes ½ damage from cold attacks. In the second and third phases of transformation, an Icebrood character gains cold immunity. An Icebrood creature in any phase of transformation takes double damage from fire or heat based attacks.
Saves: Same as the base creature
Abilities: Same as the base creature
Skills: Same as the base creature
Feats: Same as the base creature
Climate/Terrain: Any icy, snowy, tundra, or arctic
Organization: Same as the base creature
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1
Treasure: Same as the base creature
Alignment: Always evil, regardless of the base creature’s alignment
Advancement: Same as the base creatureJuly 24, 2017 at 12:43 pm #506
A small kingdom, risen from the sea. Also from Guild Wars 2.
The land of Orr –
Called many things throughout the millennia – Atlantis; Eden; Thule; Avalon; Shambhala; Eld; Hyperborea; Baltia; and many other names, those who resided there called it Orr. It was, as the myths and legends claimed, a place where the Gods walked upon their creation. A neutral meeting place. The Gods even created a city, there, the city of Arah where they could all interact in peace or call upon their peers to settle disputes. It was in the city of Arah where the Gods created the first creatures of the various species. Including the Elder Dragons with their vast array of nearly divine powers. The intelligent races, Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Norn, Kodan, Charr, and the others eventually outgrew their nest at Arah, and branched out into other parts of Orr, at first, where they lived peacefully and in harmony with one another. They then set sail from the island nation of Orr to settle the other continents and eventually forget about each other except in myth and legend, until they met again. Many of those reunions were not nearly so peaceful as their original cohabitation.
The city of Arah changed, as all things must, and the Gods also left to focus their efforts on their own interests. The nation of Orr was left in the hands of the Humans that remained on its shores, where they thrived in a land lush and green with growth and magic. Magic that would eventually cause the Orrian catastrophe.
During a time of invasion many thousands of years following the exodus from Orr, an army of Charr was pushing the Human population on one of the continents to desperate measures for its survival. A powerful wizard of Orr saw the eventuality that the Charr would overrun the continental Humans and then push into Orr, again. Desperate to preserve his beloved homeland, the wizard Khilbron called upon ancient magics fueled by the lingering power of the presence of the Gods, and devastated the Charr army, the Human nation the Charr were invading, and as an unintended result of his ritual, his beloved homeland he worked to preserve sank far beneath the ocean’s surface, killing everyone and hiding the nation of Orr for centuries to come.
That area of the ocean became cursed. Even fish and other ocean life would not venture into the area under which slept one of the Elder Dragons, Zhaitan, whose foul presence corrupted even the dead of Orr, raising them into undead monstrosities, where they patrolled their homeland, even in death.
Until Zhaitan awoke.
Awakening from his millennia long slumber, Zhaitan awoke and raised the island nation of Orr back to the surface. Still inhabited by those who were present when it sank, the land is covered in the undead. Humans, beasts, even the farm animals all Risen. All angry at their state of undeath. All jealous of the living.
A land of the undead.
Paradise. Paradise lost, and then returned, and angry.
There is powerful magic on Orr. Ancient artifacts and preserved tomes of ancient spells, and knowledge. It is all there for the taking. If adventurers can hack their way through powerful and angry undead residents.July 24, 2017 at 12:45 pm #507
Game concept from Guild Wars 2 adapted for fantasy use.
Modular Magic Items
Nearly 500 years ago, a Norn Wizard specializing in elemental magic and magic items creation sought a method of carrying many different types of magic staves without resorting to individual staves. She devoted her studies to the ability to change the function of a magical staff, itself, while keeping the original functions, as well. What she developed has come to be known as modular magic.
This wizard, Ulrika Freydisdottir, happened upon the thought to enchant a staff with one enchantment, and a removable staff-head with a different enchantment.
The concept was successful. By attaching the staff head to the staff, Ulrika was able to use the powers of the combined staff (in this case, the staff was a +2 to hit and damage, the staff head cast Lightning Bolt at level 10).
Ulrika enchanted other staff heads and found that she was able to detach, and attach the heads as she wished, changing the spell cast by the staff head each time.
An unexpected characteristic of the modular system was that she was only able to enchant one part of the staff with one aspect (such as a bonus to hit and damage) and the staff head with the type of spell or effect to be cast (such as Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Light, etc…). All attempts to create an amalgamated staff/staffhead combination that would include stacking bonuses or multiple spell types invariably failed. Sometimes spectacularly.
After perfecting the system with her staves, she turned to wands, and found she could manage the same effect there.
She then attempted this same method on the bow that belonged to a ranger friend of hers. She found she could separately enchant the bow-stave and the string, so that her ranger friend could carry multiple bow-strings for different effect.
With blades, she found she could enchant the pommel separately from the blade, and further found that she could manage this effect on other weapons with parts that could be switched out.
Thus was born the modular magic items trade.
Ulrika Freydisdottir, Norn Wizard, wielding her +5 Staff with the Lightning Bolt staff head attached.
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