View Full Version : [3.x] Flavor me a race (or 4)

2009-05-03, 12:06 AM
I'm working on reflavoring some of the current 3.x races and creating a couple new races to fill the holes left by removing the half-breed races. I'm pretty happy with the default flavor on Dwarves (without the whole subterranean thing), and with Elves if we take away the arcane (putting their focus more wholly on nature). For Halflings, I've become pretty happy with reflavoring them to by traveling merchants (caravans, since my setting is basically just one continent).

For the rest of the races, however, I'm not entirely happy with what I've come up with so far. For each of these, I'm looking for any ideas you may have on what the race's civilization might look like, or additional points of inspiration to look at for their civilizations. For the last 2, I'm looking for a bit more, but I'll explain that in their entries.
*Humans: Starting with their main city (I have 1 of those for each race) being in a plains/desert, I became inspired to base their civilization on something akin to the Persian Empire - what this says, to me, is that they ride camels (friend mentioned that these didn't seem noble enough, so horses aren't off the table), using scimitars and composite bows as their primary weapons. My initial thoughts had left them semi-nomadic, but I'm not sure how well that would play into this idea.
*Gnomes: I wasn't very happy with the Gnomes in 3.x, so I started looking for inspiration before I remembered that the Giant had done something with Gnomes - so I looked at that, and really liked it. If you haven't read it and have any interest in world building (it's under Gaming, in "The New World" series), I highly recommend reading the whole series. In particular, the Giant rewrites the Gnomes to be the loremasters of the world. Taking this to heart, I have decided that Gnomes should be the arcanists (filling the whole left by moving Elves to nature and not the arcane) and loremasters of the world. What this means for their society, however, I'm not sure. I'm not a fan of making them advisors to another race, as that would put them, almost by definition, in an inferior position to another race, which I'd like to avoid.
*For the last 2 races, I was at a bit of a loss for a while until I looked at what 'roles' my other races filled (basically, what stats did they focus on) - this left Strength and Charisma as the uncovered stats. Looking at various races in 3.x and 4e, I like a few concepts: for the strong race, having an ancient tradition based on honor, service, and loyalty, with a societal emphasis on strength and pride, being decisive and courageous, and having a solid creed (taken from 4e dragonborn). This leaves the charismatic race, which suggests either half-elves (3.x) or tieflings (4e) in my mind - I don't like having the race be a half-breed (half-elves) or designing a core race around a concept that will leave them as outcasts (tieflings). After trying to figure something out to flesh out either of these races, I realized that the flavor for the strong race reminded me a lot of a classic portrayal of a military force. I had a background that connected the two races (I had started with dragonborn and tieflings, with a dragon/devil conflict dominating the majority of the last many thousand years), so I came to a realization: in many fictional militaries (and fictionalizations of modern militaries), there is a conflict between the enlisted men (who are typically stronger and more disciplined than the population) and the officers (who are typically counted on to inspire and motivate the enlisted men) - this lent itself beautifully to what I've been working on so far: a strong race (the 'enlisted' ranks) in conflict (not necessarily violent, but uncomfortable when both are present) with a charismatic race (the 'officers').

If you have ideas for a good focus or details for any of these races (or ideas for the ones I'm happy with, if they tie into what I have so far), please let me know. Also, if something doesn't make any sense to you, ask away and I'll do my best to answer.

2009-05-03, 03:11 AM
Halflings (and Gnomes) are actually the least tailored race to being traveling merchants, being small. Moving slowly isn't good for business.

(Not trolling, this is my sincere personal opinion.)

Tempest Fennac
2009-05-03, 04:08 AM
My Apefolk race could work for the strong race, but the fluff could probably do with being refluffed if you didn't want them to be nomadic:

+2 Str., -2 Int. Low-light vision, able to Take 10 on all Climb checks while having a Climb speed of 20’, +2 to all Survival and Intimidation checks, Weapon Focus with any one melee weapon. Medium sized. Movement: 30'. Favoured Class: Barbarian.

Apefolk are typically nomads who rely on instinct and strength to survive. They have some agriculture, but they prefer to hunt and forage. Males are typically 5’10”-6’10” and 170-300 Lbs, while females tend to be 5’5”-6’3”. They are Patriarchal and their tribes of 20-40 individuals are typically lead by the strongest warrior, who is also more likely then lower-ranking males to mate (Apefolk tend to be polygamous). They resemble Chimps, apart from the fact that they walk upright (they also have more facial hair then chimps). Their arms are slightly longer then a similarly-sized human's arms as well.

Alignment-wise, they tend to be True Neutral, but some tribes may decide to attack other races for food and other supplies. They like sports and feasting while typically lacking an interest in books or learning new things. They tend to wear boots and clothes made out of leather, felt or fur (males tend to go bare-chested unless it’s cold, and both males and females tend to wear trousers rather then kilts/skirts or robes.

Religion-wise, they tend to lean towards Druidic teachings due to Clerics being relatively rare in their culture. They tend to worship gods who have Travel, Weather or Feast as domains if they bother with them at all. Race-wise, they see eye-to-eye with Lizardfolk, and they get on well with other typically strong or tough races such as Dwarves and Gnolls. They tend to find smaller races to be annoying while wondering how they are able to survive.

Age: Adult: 14. Middle Age: 30. Old: 55. Venerable: 75. Maximum age: 1d10+Con modifier.
Class starting points: Simple: + 1d4. Moderate: 1d6. Complex : 1d4+ 1d3.

I'd personally keep the charasmatic race away from whichever strong race you pick as far as them leading the strong race goes, unless the charasmatic race conquored the strong race. Drow are the only race on http://crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Races.pdf with a Cha bonus. If it helps, my Kobold variant has +2 Sex and Cha, +1 natural armou, small size, 30' movement, +2 to all Search, Trapmaking and Mining checks and Darkvision 60'. (They would at least provide a contrast to Apefolk).

Evil DM Mark3
2009-05-03, 04:38 AM
Halflings (and Gnomes) are actually the least tailored race to being traveling merchants, being small. Moving slowly isn't good for business.

(Not trolling, this is my sincere personal opinion.)
HOWEVER, being small makes you much less of a burden on pack animals and similar, so the horses will have an easier time and be able to go further.

2009-05-03, 06:19 AM
Why go for those when you can do something interesting with pre-established 3.x stuff?

Why not just take, say, orcs and refluff them?

Bam, strong race. Change the stats to reflect a more LA+0 race and you're done. I am kind of thinking Elder Scrolls here.

And the charismatic guys boss them around, leading to a really big racial rift. If you go with tieflings, you can say that a couple of major demons are still around and they've enslaved the orcs.

Orcs want to be free (proud warrior tradition hates this subjugation) and that MOST tieflings are serving the daemon-guys, but not all of them. Thus a non-daemon affiliated tiefling is a big hero (and the target of many assassin attacks) once he builds a name, but has to use that charisma to prove he's not just an undercover agent. And then counter-agents pretending to be heroes (pfft, orcs? Sacrifice a few dozen of them to get an agent in? YES) and then you have to try even harder and ...

If you really want to put in dragonborn, just make the stats equal to to the tieflings and provide a different fluff. They're Majestic, after all. You can even get them to be the orc-slavers with chromatic colours and paragons of good with metallic colours trying to save them, and then you once again get into intrigues with disguises and magical colour-changes and blah blah blah.

Alternately, come up with some totally not-generic-D&D stuff. Brutes are a nation of mutated goblins with tentacles! Halflings are your charismatic fellers (merchants, after all)! Some evil gnomes mashed a bunch of terrible body parts together and you get half rat half man half giant half shark half not good with fractions brutes! Elves created water-people! Go wild!

2009-05-03, 10:31 AM
Here's an interesting twist...take the Yuan-ti and tone done their LA to be just a normal race with a bit of snake fluff. They come in two flavors: The Pure-Blood, a race of charismatic, serpent tongued creatures, and the Abominations, a race of strong, powerful hunters. The Pure-Bloods run the cities as lords and masters, and the Abominations are the soldiers, workers, and slaves. Add conflict to taste, and maybe an interesting serpent cult or two. :smallbiggrin:

2009-05-03, 06:06 PM
Thanks for the ideas. The Yuan-Ti idea is what struck me as the most interesting, so I may do something with that.