View Full Version : Muls in the Shattered World

2007-08-06, 08:06 AM
Here is what I have for Muls. Do I need the +1 ECL? Is it neccessary? I'd really like to get them down to 0 so that they can be used as a core race.

Muls: Muls are the mixed breed offspring of humans and dwarves. They combine the height and adaptable nature of humans with the musculature and resilience of dwarves. Muls enjoy traits that are uniquely their own, such as their robust metabolism and almost inexhaustible capacity for work. The hybrid has disadvantages in a few areas as well: sterility, and the stigma of being a “failure.” The term mul is derived from "mule" which are sterile hybrids, and as such the word is meant to be pronounced in the same manner (rhyming with "rule" rather than "mull").

Humans and dwarves are not typically attracted to each other, however unusual circumstances have forced the dwarves to drastic measures. The tragic ‘secret’ of Oramian dwarves is their low birthrate. The low dwarven birthrate is thought to be due to low fertility among dwarven women. To complicate matters even further, a devastating plague ran through the dwarven clans a few decades ago. Unfortunately the disease proved fatal. Even worse, it only affected females. Today only 1/4 of all dwarves are female. However all is not lost. Dwarves and humans can interbreed. The taking of human mates is the “secret salvation of the race” referred to by some dwarven elders.

Human women will sometimes voluntarily live with the dwarves, some simply in an attempt to help the dwarven race to survive, while others do so in return for payment for their services. But volunteers are not always available. When this happens, fear of clan extinction sometimes drives dwarves to raid human settlements for mates, or even to deal with slavers. The dwarves are usually in search of human women. The offspring of a human and a dwarf is usually (95%) dwarven enough to pass for a true dwarf (although it may be a foot taller than other dwarves). Any offspring it may in turn have with a dwarven mate will be fully dwarven reverting to usual dwarven height. A small percentage of human-dwarf pairings (5%), however, will result in a Mul, a sterile half-dwarf. Unfortunately, women who give birth to muls often die in childbirth. Conception is difficult and impractical, often taking months to achieve. Even once conceived, the Mul takes a full twelve months to carry to term; fatalities during this period are high.

Muls are the best of both the human and dwarf worlds, combining a dwarf's love of hard work with a human's knack to master a variety of talents. They are often stronger than either parent, inheriting the size of the human and the heavy frame of the dwarf, but have a reputation (sometimes deserved) of a weak intellect, as well as the hard-headed nature of the dwarf. The stamina of a Mul is legendary; Muls can literally work or march for days nonstop.

Personality: Being sterile, and thus outside of the typical chain of reproduction, Muls often suffer from a sense of meaninglessness. This is compounded by the fact that they are often viewed as failures by their dwarven fathers who were hoping for a fertile female child to help repopulate the dwarven race. This tends to make Muls into bitter people, full of distrust and hate. Stoic and dull to pain, muls are not easily intimidated. However, Muls that are able to escape the bonds of their bitterness almost always make the best of warriors. Many small armies are headed by Mulish captains, as their fighting prowess and unusual ability to empathize render them superior leaders. Especially among the dwarves, muls are expected to dedicate their lives to the clan, as they are unable to breed. Most are set to work as laborers or soldiers. Some choose to work as gladiators.

Physical Description: Physically, Muls bear most of the bulk of their dwarven parent, being extremely strong and rugged. Most of the height and cunning of their human ancestry is preserved as well. Muls grow as high as six feet, weighing upwards of 250 pounds, but carry almost no fat at all on their broad muscular frames. Mulish ears are always pointed, and Muls are born without any body hair whatsoever. Skin tones may be of any human or dwarven shade, from light tan to copper to greys and even blues to dark browns. Usually, a Mul's eyes are slanted and may be of any color.

Relations: Muls, like other half-races, have a hard time fitting in. Dwarves tolerate them if they follow dwarven ways. Muls are often considered to be outcasts in dwarven society, branded “failures”for their inability to breed. Humans get along fairly well with Muls provided that they don't know of their dwarven ancestry. Once this is discovered, humans tend to distrust them.
Gnomes find Muls to be interesting, and seek to study them (possibly to the extent of dissecting a Mul). Twyll are interested in them at first, although they soon get bored with their dark depressive nature. Other races either have no opinion one way or another, or do not consider them to be of consequence.

Alignment: Muls tend towards neutrality with respect to good and evil, but run the gamut with respect to law or chaos.

Mul Lands: Muls have no lands to call their own, though they are welcome in human cities and, grudgingly, in dwarven lands.

Religion: Muls have no set religion. Even if muls were to create a religion of their own, as sterile hybrids, they would have no posterity to pass it on to. Mul clerics tend to be drawn towards the strength of elemental earth, worshiping either the dwarven gods or Oramis, the Lord of earth.

Magic: Muls dislike what they fear, and they fear wizards. They also resent that a wizard’s power comes from without, with no seeming effort on the wizard’s part, while the mul’s power is born of pain and labor. Mul wizards are unheard of.

Language: Muls automatically speak Common and Dwarven.

Names: Mul names are typically dwarven, though occasionally one might have a human name. Almost without exception, Muls are born on shards primarily occupied by dwarves, however should a Mul’s mother survive she might be allowed to take her sterile child to be raised among humans, and thus might have a human name.

Adventurers: Muls find themselves in all manner of adventures. Most muls take advantage of their strength and tireless nature, working as soldiers, gladiators or guards. Some turn to crime, adding rogue skills to their repertoire. A few muls follow other paths, such as priesthoods. Mul bards are rare, as the Mul personality tends to be too dark and somber to allow them to be successful in this trade.

Role-playing Suggestions: Born to a life of scorn and ridicule, you never knew love or affection. As far as you have seen, all of life’s problems that can be solved are solved by sheer brute force. You know to bow to force when you see it. You tend towards gruffness. You are capable of affection, trust and friendship, but camaraderie is easier for you to understand and express - warriors slap each other on the shoulder after a victory, or give their lives for each other in battle. You don’t think of that sort of event as “friendship” - it just happens.

Mul Racial Traits

+2 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. A Mul’s starting Intelligence score is always at least 3. If this adjustment would lower the character’s score to 1 or 2, his score is nevertheless 3. Combining the human height with the dwarven musculature, muls end up stronger than either parent race, but their status as failures makes them insecure in their dealings with others.

Medium-size: As Medium creatures, Muls have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Mul base land speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision: Muls can see in the dark up to 30 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and Muls can function just fine with no light at all.

Dwarven Blood: For all special abilities and effects, a mul is considered a dwarf. Muls, for example, can use dwarvish weapons and magic items with racially specific dwarven powers as if they were dwarves.

Tireless: Muls get a +4 racial bonus to checks for performing a physical action that extends over a period of time (running, swimming, holding breath, and so on). This bonus stacks with the Endurance feat. This bonus may also be applied to savings throws against spells and magical effects that cause weakness, fatigue, exhaustion or enfeeblement.

Extended activity: Muls may engage in up to 12 hours of hard labor or forced marching without suffering from fatigue.

Nonlethal Damage Resistance 1/-. Muls are difficult to subdue, and do not notice minor bruises, scrapes, and other discomforts that pain creatures of other races.

Automatic Languages: Common and Dwarven. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.

Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass Mul’s fighter class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing (see XP for Multiclass Characters on page 60 of the Player's Handbook).

Level Adjustment +1. As a hybrid half-race, muls are considerably more powerful than either of their parent races, thus they gain levels more slowly.

2007-08-08, 10:37 PM
no comments? :(

2007-08-08, 10:46 PM
It seems a little weak for +1 LA, at least to me.

Grey Paladin
2007-08-10, 07:09 AM
Well LA is a must in Darksun as there's no way you can make a LAless Half Giant.

2007-08-10, 08:24 AM
If you check here (http://athas.org/releases/ds3/) and download the 3.5 adaptation of the rules, you will see that Dark Sun muls actually have +4 Strength, +2 Constitution and -2 Charisma. All for an ECL of +1, making them quite a formidable race. I'm not sure you could really model their formidable strength and resilience using an ECL +0 modifier, really...also, are you sure about the Intelligence penalty? Perhaps you could give them a Dexterity one, as having the muscles of a dwarf and the height of an human could make them somewhat clumsy...

2007-08-10, 09:49 AM
Actually, I know that the original Mul had a +4 Strength, but that is just too much or an LA +0, and I want this to be a core race.

2007-08-11, 01:32 PM
Smells like LA +0 to me. Compare and contrast to Half-Orc. Basically swapping out Darkvision for all the long laboring stuff, including the 1/- DR for non-lethal.

Grey Paladin
2007-08-11, 01:45 PM
Muls were a Core Race in Darksun, along with a couple of 3 LA races, I don't see how LA is so bad for non casters with such powerful races.

Look at this this way: If you could have a feat that reduced your BAB by 1 and HP by 5 but increaced your strength score by 4, would you take it? the answer, more often then not, is yes. (And muls are not supposed to be good spellcasters anyway . . )