Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Races of the 1600s

Presented here are several new races available in the 1600s campaign. They represent the effects of a major planar event, the children of pestilence and the natural evolution of psionic abilities. As the world changes and evolves, so do the people, and the races presented here are proof of this.

These races were originally created for the 1600s campaign, but can all be adapted to other campaign settings with little effort. Ideas for how to adapt each race are presented below.

For a short period a quarter-century ago, a small number of elves from Aelfheim found themselves able to pass the barrier between worlds and to walk upon the Material Plane once more. In that time, several took to coupling with humans that they had seduced or befriended. Although most of the infants born from these unions were taken back with the elves, some remained. These aelflings, as they came to be known, possess the legendary powers of the elves along with the tenacity of humankind, traits that were once only seen in rare Norse heroes.
    The elves remained on the Material Plane for a short time, only a year before they disappeared, returning to Aelfheim. Their descendants, the aelflings are often ignorant of their fey heritage, living as humans, albeit those possessing great beauty and skill. Though they can mate with both humans and their own kind, their small numbers mean that without a return of their kin from Aelfheim, they will soon be no more. It seems a cruel joke that creatures so fair are doomed to die out within only a few generations.
    Personality: Aelflings are generally quite amiable and get along well with others. Their unusual heritage provides to them an ingrown need to nurture others. Many find themselves given to revelry and deeply enjoy social activities such as feasting, balls, parties and other similar events. They often make many friends, and can be counted to know at least one person in every village they've once visited. Evil aelflings are much the same, although they tend to collect 'contacts' rather than friends, and their merriment takes a much darker, and often cruel turn.
    Physical Description: Aelflings resemble slender humans with shining faces and healthy complexions. They often possess blonde hair and clear blue eyes, these being traits possessed by their elven parents. Their bodies are lithe and fair to look upon, but they are frail and less hearty than most humans.
    Relations: Most aelflings enjoy the company of others. That being said, they have a great love of beauty and prefer the company of more beautiful races. They get along exceptionally well with aasimar, feytouched, tieflings and spirit folk. They are less friendly towards plagueborn and svartlings who tend to be grotesque, or at the very least, ugly.
    Alignment: Aelflings, with their powers connected to elven ancestors tend to be good, although their human sides provide them with the potential to become evil. They also tend strongly towards law, as order is a fundamental part of their being.
    Aelfling Lands: Aelflings come from areas more closely connected to the once-again lost plane of Aelfheim. They often make their homes with humans in towns and cities in northern climates. That being said, the wanderlust that affects many aelflings tends to draw them to warmer climes and large cities.
    Religion: Most aelflings worship gods of life, order and good. Many follow the teachings of Pelor or Heironeous. Nature deities, such as Ehlonna are also popular among aelflings.
    Language: Aelflings predominantly speak Common although many also have the drive to learn the language of the wood-folk, another gift from their elven blood. If given to travel, aelflings have been known to learn a smattering of other languages to get by.
    Names: Most aelflings are given names normal to the area in which they were born. Some however are given the names of elven heroes from the distant past.
Adventurers: Aelfling adventurers often feel the call of the seid, which draws upon their parentage. Usually they are drawn to a path of magic, often sorcerer or bard. Whatever the reason, seids are natural adventurers and often spend as much time tending to their companions wounds as hunting down the next evil to be slain.
Adaptation: Aelflings work best in Norse-themed settings, and effectively replace both the elf and half-elf races. In settings where standard elves and half-elves exist, they can serve as a link to a more primordial, and extraplanar ancestor of traditional elves.

Aelfling Racial Traits

  • +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution. Aelflings possess the unearthly beauty of the elves but this heritage also makes their bodies frail.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, aelflings have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Aelfling base land speed is 30 feet.
  • +2 to Heal checks. Aelflings have an innate knack for encouraging life and growth.
  • +2 to Spot checks. The eyes of an aelfling are extremely sharp and can pick out details that most others miss.
  • Spell-like ability (Sp): 1/day - light. An aelfling with a Wisdom score of at least 12 also has access to the following spell-like abilities: 1/day - dancing lights, flare. The aelfling's elven bloodline gives them an innate ability for creating light in dark places. These are cast as cleric spells of a caster level equal to the aelfling's class level.
  • Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: Sylvan. Aelfborn do not have any particular skill at learning new languages, but they do often learn to speak the language of the faerie-folk.
  • Favored Class: Seid. Aelflings have the connection to the World Tree through their ancestors to be able to become seids with less effort than many others. If the seid class is unavailable, they instead have sorcerer as their favored class.

When a wizard or sorcerer dies, his familiar is unbound and becomes a normal creature again. When a druid or ranger dies, his animal companion is fully free to do as its normal behavior dictates. When a paladin dies, his special mount may never see the Material Plane again.
    A psychic character, like a psion, psychic warrior or wilder, can invest a trait of his personality into a crystal. Using psionic techniques they can amplify the independence of the crystal and imbue it with intelligence. So, what happens to a psicrystal when its creator dies?
    In most cases, the personality in the psicrystal slowly dies over time out without any external influence. Rarely though, it might be able to escape and could even find a host in an unborn baby, an event that creates what is known as an epitomite.
    Personality: Epitomites are exactly like normal humans, although they tend to have very strong wills. The influence from their psionic personality trait is subtle. Since it's been with them for their whole lives, they can't distinguish it as a separate personality and believe it to be natural. Unlike races such as the kalashtar, epitomites can't converse with this other personality, it has simply insinuated itself and merged with their own.
    Physical Description: Most epitomites look exactly like humans. Their psionic personality trait may however have a subconscious effect on how they would dress or groom themselves. For instance, an epitomite with a feral personality trait may be dirty and unkempt while one with a sneaky personality may try to dress in darker colors in order to better blend in with the shadows.
    Relations: An epitomite makes relations with other people much like other humans would. However, their personality trait may give them a predilection towards a certain kind of behavior.
    Alignment: Epitomites have a strong subconscious fear of restriction and many chafe under large amounts of rules and regulations. For this reason they tend to be chaotic. There are a number of lawful epitomites, who control their fears with meditation or discipline.
    Epitomite Lands: Epitomites are not a strongly knit ethnic group, and many do not even realize they're anything but exceptionally talented humans. They do not have any lands to call their own and usually live in human communities.
    Religion: Epitomites usually don't worship any particular religion, but have sometimes follow ideals such as the pursuit of Good or Chaos as an abstract concept over a specific deity.
    Language: Not having any particular racial identity, epitomites speak whatever languages are spoken in the region where they live. Because of their strong psychic inclinations, many are not particularly driven to learn more languages than necessary, trusting in their abilities to help them communicate.
    Names: Epitomites are given human names that are appropriate to the region in which they live.
    Adventurers: The typical epitomite adventures in order to hone their abilities. They are just as likely to adventure to save a village from a dragon's wrath, than they are to perform a dangerous quest in order to gain a scrap of psionic knowledge.
    While a part of their personality is from a psicrystal, epitomite psionicists do not have any particular need to make a psicrystal of their own, but neither do they shy away from the practice. They can choose any personality trait to add to their psicrystal, but like normal psionicists, they do not lose that trait themselves, even if it's the artificial psionic trait they were born with.
    Adaptation: Epitomites do not need any further adaptation to fit into a traditional campaign setting. They work best however in settings that contain a reasonable amount of psionics such as Eberron or Dark Sun.

Epitomite Racial Traits

  • Medium: As Medium creatures, epitomites have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Epitomite base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Human-Blooded: Epitomites are treated as humans for all purposes related to meeting prerequisites for feats, prestige classes and magic items.
  • Naturally Psionic: Epitomites automatically start with 2 power points. These cannot be used automatically to manifest any psionic powers, but do provide epitomites with more power should they choose to learn to manifest any powers and allow them to take psionic feats.
  • +2 bonus on Concentration and Sense Motive checks: epitomites have no difficulty focusing inward to learn the truth of themselves or others.
  • +2 bonus to saving throws against Charms and Compulsions: epitomites have very strong wills due to their supplemented minds and can easily shrug off spells and powers that would alter their normal actions.
  • Psi-Like Ability: 1/day. The specific psi-like ability is determined by the epitomite's psionic personality trait (see below). The manifester level is equal to 1/2 the epitomite's Hit Dice (minimum 1st). The save is Charisma-based. All psi-like abilities can be found in the Expanded Psionics Handbook
  • Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: None. Epitomites know the common language, but rarely have the inclination to learn any others.
  • Favored Class: Wilder. A multiclass epitomite's wilder class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing (see page 60 of the Player's Handbook). Epitomites have a natural, emotional-based connection to psionic abilities.

Table 1-01 - Epitomite Traits
Trait Psi-Like Ability
Curious Detect psionics
Empathic Empathy
Feral Burst
Flighty Distract
Friendly Mindlink
Humorous Create sound
Malicious Demoralize
Prudent Precognition
Sneaky Control light
Snobby Attraction

The bubonic plague, or Black Death raged across Asia and Europe from the 14th Century through the 18th Century. 400 years of off and on sickness and disease has caused a virulent fear that cloaks city streets.
    But not everybody who was exposed to the plague ended up dying. Unborn babies didn't always succumb to the plague while their mothers wailed in agony from its ravages. These children, usually raised in the church or on the street were different than others, and some came to know them as the plagueborn.
    Personality: Many plagueborn tend to be withdrawn. Those raised in churches especially, as they are taught from a very young age to be quiet and obedient. Plagueborn who lived their lives on the streets can be mercilessly attacked and ridiculed for their appearance, but if they are able to return in kind, they can find themselves quickly becoming as outgoing as their friends. The rare plagueborn who spends their childhood in the arms of a family, usually adopted, tend to have as wide a personality range as the typical human.
    Physical Description: Plagueborn tend to be frail-looking, as if perpetually recovering from an illness. Their eyes are usually appear sunken in and dull. Their skin has a tendency towards acne and pockmarks are quite common. Their hair is usually dull in color, and normally stringy and dirty-looking. All said, most plagueborn tend to be ostracized initially due to their sickly appearance.
    Relations: Plagueborn try very hard to make friends with people, as many are afraid of being alone or ostracized. They find initial relations to be strained, but as they strive to prove themselves, they can make stronger bonds with their friends and allies. This need to be accepted has driven more than one plagueborn to be exploited for labor in exchange for minimal praise.
    Alignment: Just like with normal humans, plagueborn have no particular affinity to an alignment. However, plagueborn who are raised by the church tend to be lawful while those raised on the streets are typically chaotic.
    Plagueborn Lands: There is not many plagueborn in the world, and they certainly have not united into a single grouping. While some larger metropolises have a very small and unofficial 'plagueborn ghetto', most plagueborn live in cities dominated by normal humans.
    Religion: The vast majority of plagueborn are drawn to whatever religion is widely worshipped in the land they live. A small group believe that they are mistakes and abominations and don't worship any god, out of either shame or anger.
    Language: Plagueborn enjoy meeting new people and traveling to lands. As a result, many of them find it rather easy to learn a new language and delight in doing so. It's not uncommon to meet a plagueborn who knows half a dozen languages or more.
    Names: Plagueborn tend to come from areas where the bubonic plague was particularly bad. As a result, many plagueborn come from large cities, particularly ones that possess a thriving port district, and have names appropriate to those areas.
    Adventurers: Plagueborn adventure for a number of reasons, most often to find a place to belong. Often ostracized because of their appearance, many plagueborn can find a place where they are tolerated by saving a community from a serious threat.
    Adaptation: Plagueborn might be born as a result of any devastating or widespread plague. This could be a natural or a magical disease. They may also be common in areas where there is a strong concentration of negative energy, such as Thay in the Forgotten Realms or the Mournlands in Eberron.

Plagueborn Racial Traits

  • +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma. Plagueborn are hardy from a long exposure to disease, but this pre-birth exposure has led their appearance to be sickly and disturbing.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, plagueborn have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Plagueborn base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Human-Blooded: Plagueborn are treated as humans for all purposes related to meeting prerequisites for feats, prestige classes and magic items.
  • +2 bonus to Heal checks: Plagueborn are experienced in binding their own sores and find this practice to assist them in helping others.
  • +2 bonus on Knowledge (religion) or Knowledge (local) checks, depending on their choice of favored class. Plagueborn raised by the church are trained in the lore of their deity, while those raised on the streets or in a family tend to pick up information about their hometowns.
  • Immunity to natural disease. Plagueborn are immune to all natural diseases, but not supernatural or magical diseases like mummy rot or lycanthropy.
  • Spell-Like Ability: 1/day - touch of fatigue. Caster level 1st; save DC 10 + plagueborn's Cha modifier + spell level.
  • Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: Any. Plagueborn delight in learning new languages as it gives them a chance to meet new people and be exposed to new cultures.
  • Favored Class: Cleric or Rogue. During character creation, a plagueborn decides his favored class, which determines which Knowledge skill they receive a bonus in. A multiclass plagueborn's cleric or rogue class (whichever they chose) does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing (see page 60 of the Player's Handbook). Church-raised plagueborn gravitate naturally towards worship, while those raised outside the church tend to be sneakier and subtle in their dealings.

During the time when Aelfheim opened and a small number of elves came forth, a similar portal opened, allowing a number of dark elves passage from Svartaelfheim. They too mated with humans, and also took many of these children back with them but also left a small number of their progeny on the Material Plane. Unlike the aelflings, these svartlings as they came to be known were not fair, but ugly and given over to the mischief and anger of their dark elf parents.
    Personality: Svartlings are mischievous and often down-right mean towards others. They do, however know the value of a craft and many throw themselves into their work with absolution. Some become lonely and rebel against their inner nature. These creatures are often sullen but make good allies. One odd trait that svartlings possess is a tendency towards paranoia. Whether this is due to their parentage or because of their isolationist ways is unknown.
    Physical Description: Svartlings often have slightly twisted frames and light-grey skin. Their hair tends to darker colors, with black being the most common. Their eyes are usually brown or black and listless. Their faces usually show a permanent sneer, almost as if they had smelled something foul. Very occasionally however, even the dourest svartling breaks out into a broken grin.
    Relations: Most svartlings are not keen on contact, even with their own kind. They tend towards isolation. When they do make allies, or the occasional friend, it is often with outcasts or uglier creatures such as hagspawn, plagueborn or tieflings.
    Alignment: Most svartlings have a definite evil streak about them, although some have been known to be noble, at least for a short time. Their lives, often lived in paranoia tend to be chaotic more often than not.
    Svartling Lands: Svartlings hail from the same countries that aelflings do and also generally make their homes in the icy north. Most don't tend to roam far from their homes though, except for in dire situations.
    Religion: Svartlings worship gods who focus on creation and strength such as Hextor, Moradin or Kord. Many also turn to the worship of gods renowned for their ability to trick others. Good svartlings often turn to the worship of Boccob, while evil ones focus their attentions on more malicious deities like Erythnul.
    Language: All svartlings speak the language of their homelands. Most don't care to learn others, although occasionally they might, especially if it would allow them to trade their wares for a higher price.
    Names: Svartlings are usually named in the custom of their home land, although many forgo this name in later years for a nickname or none at all in order to gain some form of anonymity.
    Adventurers: A svartling adventures for one of two reasons: survival or the acquisition of a prize that could not be ignored. They tend to be greedy and even standoffish, although if a party shows the svartling compassion and friendship, they might find themselves with a much friendlier teammate.
    Adaptation: Svartlings can be adapted in much the same way as aelflings. They work best in Norse-themed settings as a replacement for both dwarves and drow. In settings where these races do exist, they might be a link towards a more primordial form of dwarf, who is primarily concerned with the acquisition of wealth.

Svartling Racial Traits

  • +2 Strength, -2 Charisma. Svartlings are strong and able-bodied, but they have an air of 'meanness' about them that puts other creatures off.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, svartlings have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Svartling base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Svartlings have darkvision to a range of 30 feet.
  • Craftsman: Svartlings have able hands and sharp minds when it comes to crafting objects. They receive a +2 bonus to any Craft check they possess ranks in.
  • +2 to Sleight of Hand checks. Svartlings are naturally sneaky and often steal from one another.
  • +2 to Hide and Move Silently checks. Svartlings have a predilection to moving about without being noticed.
  • Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: None. Svartlings often keep to themselves and often have no want to learn new languages.
  • Favored Class: Barbarian. Prone to losing their temper, svartlings are natural barbarians, although many keep themselves civilized enough to live in cities where they have better access to patrons, customers and victims.

Did you like this article? Then try:

Bookmark and Share