View Full Version : Taerlae (New Race up for critique)

2005-08-11, 11:00 PM
The Taerlae are a feral race that bears most resemblance to elves, and are often simply referred to as such. Their resemblance is almost completely superficial, however.

They benefit from none of an elf's normal immunities or resistances, and are both hardier and weaker. Their greatest differences are the fact that they have a set of retractable claws, and that they undergo a startling transformation in the winter time.

These claws are nearly vestigial in nature, small enough that only the most desperate Taerlae would try to use them in a fight, but exceedingly useful for climbing trees. Their bodies have adapted to this task; their musculature is extremely efficient for climbing, but less so for carrying more than their own weight.

This has grown into a racial aversion towards the use of armor, and a possibly psychological attraction towards use of both hands interchangeably. Taerlae are neither right handed nor left handed.

The winter transformation is an adaptation to their home world's long winters. Following prolonged exposure to severe cold, a Taerlae will begin to grow a fine coat of snow-white hair. This serves as both insulation and camoflage for the winter months, but is exceedingly uncomfortable in the spring.

Life Cycle: Taerlae live for up to seven hundred years, though few survive this long. It is normal for a pair of fully mature Taerlae to have up to thirty children during their last century of life; these children stay with their parents typically until both parents die, then stay together until the youngest has reached at least the age of thirty. When both conditions have been met, the family group separates, each youngster going their separate way.

The sad part of this is that each Taerlae must individually learn most skills; relative to almost any other race, little practical knowlege is passed down from generation to generation. Habitually, Taerlae do not often favor general education. Contact with humans has revealed that Taerlae typically do not understand more intricate methods of thought, preferring instead to live for the moment.

It is the nature of the young Taerlae to seek out new things; almost invariably, young Taerlae become adventurers of one sort or another. Typically, they spend their next four centuries learning, wandering, and exploring. And dying; typically only a handful survive to full adulthood.

Over the next two centuries, Taerlae typically look for a suitable mate before making a home.

Adult Taerlae frequently return to their birth city, but not always. In a purely Taerlae city, they would have rightful claim to their parents' estates, which would be temporarily in the hands of other relatives. Otherwise, they may use gains from their adventures to help them settle down.

Taerlae only reproduce in their final century of life. A widow or widower among Taerlae typically outlives his or her mate by less than a year.

Note: Taerlae come from entirely different genetic stock than elves and humans. There are no half-Taerlae of any sort.

Racial modifiers: +2 dex (quick and nimble), +2 Con (long lived and genetically selecting for toughness), -2 str (musculature good for lifting self, not much else), -2 int (slow learners)

A Taerlae's claws grant a +4 inherent bonus on Climb checks; +6 if the surface is wooden. In addition, an uninjured Taerlae has a climb speed of 15; a Taerlae with less than half his hit points remaining is reduced to a climb speed of 5, as climbing requires the use of all their limbs to do effectively. Climb is always a class skill to Taerlae.

Taerlae claws are capable of dealing 1d2 lethal, slashing damage on an unarmed strike. This does not stack with the normal damage of an unarmed strike, nor does it allow a Taerlae Monk to deal increased amounts of slashing damage as his normal unarmed strike damage increases.

Winter Taerlae posess a fine, white pelt. Some members of other races prize this pelt and will hunt them; if a Taerlae encounters someone wearing such a pelt, the Taerlae will invariably be hostile towards them. The Spot DC for a Taerlae to identify a pelt as that of another Taerlae is 10.

A Taerlae begins becoming a Winter Taerlae after three days of exposure to cold under 45 degrees farenheit. Over the next three days, the Taerlae gains a bonus of 2 per day to survival skill and fortitude saves against checks made to endure cold weather. If a Winter Taerlae catches fire, the fire does one extra dice worth of damage per round. Each round of burning undoes one day of fur growth. A Heal spell will restore the fur to its furthest-out-so-far growth; the hair will grow back on its own, as well. A Winter Taerlae has a +6 circumstance modifier to hide checks in snow or outdoor winter terrain.

Taerlae have a natural aversion to armor and two-handed weaponry. Any Taerlae who takes a class which normally gets armor proficiency becomes proficient in one category lighter than normal; fighters gain medium armor proficiency, barbarians gain light armor only, rogues gain no armor. A Taerlae can still take the extra feat to gain the heavier armor class.

Taerlae are innately ambidexterous, gaining the Two Weapon Fighting feat for free. At fifth level, a Taerlae gains Two Weapon Defense as well.

Taerlae have a favored class of Ranger. Younger Taerlae are more often chaotic, and trend towards lawful the older they get. Taerlae are as likely to be good as evil.

So...balanced? Overpowered? Underpowered? I made the race for stories I'm working on which are entirely independant of D&D.

Edit: Added the paragraph about their educational/intellectual prowess, the climb speed, climb as a class skill, and the two-weapon defense feat.

2005-08-11, 11:18 PM
I find to be balanced, and maybe a little underpowered. The ability scores are hardly fair +2 DEX and CON, do not balance out -2 STR and INT.

Also, the armor thing, does not blance out the bonus two weapon fighting feat in my opinion.

You've spent a lot of time on this obviously, and I think that everything else is good and balanced.

2005-08-11, 11:23 PM
Racial feets for this would be interesting...

Maybe a slightly higher land speed? Or the Run feat for free?

2005-08-11, 11:36 PM
Racial feets for this would be interesting...

Furry feet? Bare feet?

2005-08-12, 12:33 AM
I'm not sure how to balance the armor aversion, but the ambidexterity is part of the race and I would prefer to keep that, if possible.

A movement increase...there's a thought. I considered--but rejected--a climb speed, since giving the race a climb speed would mean automatic take 10 on all climb checks. What do you think of that possibility?

2005-08-12, 02:07 AM
You did mention that they not only have claws but a musculature suited to climbing. Climbing is a way of life, not just something that they're good at. A climb speed seems to fit.
It seems that the race's good mobility is what counterbalances the armor aversion. Play that up.
As far as racial feats, run might be appropiate, if only for the part that says

While running, you retain your Dexterity bonus to AC.I think the only favored class as Ranger; it doesn't have any preference between law and chaos, so it would fit your description about the changing attitudes of Taerlae as they age. And since Taerlae already get TWF for free, give them Two Weapon Defense if they choose Ranger. On the other hand, you don't want to ramrod them into that class. I'm not sure how to handle it.

My only other thought is that I don't see the reasoning behind the INT penalty. Not to say that there isn't one, but other than your "slow learners" comment, you never say much about it. I don't know; I just don't see why they need that. Perhaps the extra skill points that one would get from not having the INT penalty could help counterbalance the armor issue. That being said, I may have just missed something or not understood something about the race, so certainly feel free to disregard that.

2005-08-13, 02:08 PM
I edited it a bit up top. Notably, a small climb speed--dependant on their current health, as that would fit with their whole body being adapted to climbing, I think, plus two weapon defense granted as a free racial feat later, and climb being a class skill, always.

2005-08-13, 02:33 PM
Having given them a climb speed, you might want to revise the Climb skill benefits to match the normal rules for movement modes. From the SRD:


A creature with a climb speed has a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. The creature must make a Climb check to climb any wall or slope with a DC of more than 0, but it always can choose to take 10 even if rushed or threatened while climbing. The creature climbs at the given speed while climbing. If it chooses an accelerated climb it moves at double the given climb speed (or its base land speed, whichever is lower) and makes a single Climb check at a -5 penalty. Creatures cannot run while climbing. A creature retains its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) while climbing, and opponents get no special bonus on their attacks against a climbing creature.