To that end, I present to you the Akki--the little goblinoids from Kamigawa, adapted as a 4th ed player race for the general campaign setting. Included are three racial paragon classes.
(warning--this was written as a full on races article, so it's really long. Dragon never got back to me, I thought I'd post it here, so that people other than my PCs can enjoy them.)
Oriental Adventures Update:
When the world was forged by the Primordials, the fingerprints of chaos remained on their great work—fire-belching volcanoes, eternal lightning storms, swirling maelstroms—but few remnants of Primordial presence are so pervasive and puzzling as the enigmatic Akki. These squat, rocky creatures are the living children of the World and Primordials, yet seem to follow no destiny but their own, perpetually amazed by the wonders the World has to offer, and eternally fascinated by the complexities of chaos.
Average Height: 3’8˝ – 4’2˝
Average Weight: 150–175 lb.
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom
Speed: 5 squares
Languages: Common, Primordial
Skill Bonuses: +2 Climb, +2 Endurance
Cragwalk: Akki ignore difficult terrain if that terrain is the result of rubble, uneven stones, or earth. This ability only functions if the Akki has at least one hand free.
Akki Defense: You can use akki defense as an encounter power.
Akki Defense Racial Power
You curl into a ball, and your skin hardening into stone, rendering you immobile, but nigh-invulnerable.
Immediate Interrupt, Personal
Trigger: You are hit by an attack
Attack: You are petrified until the beginning of your next turn. You are unaware of your surroundings, and may not take actions, but you gain resist 10 to all damage.
The places of the world that bear traces of the Primordial’s power are avoided most of the world’s sentient races. Akki are born of Primordial power, who thrive in places where the earth heaves and lava flows. When those places quiet, the akki who once dwelled there scatter across the landscape, seeking out the chaos that feels like home.
Play an akki if you want . . .
✦ to be mischievous, energetic, and resilient
✦ to seek out and delight in chaos and danger, whether it’s in battle or in the world around you.
✦ to be able to miraculously survive what could be lethal blows.
✦ to be a member of a race that favors the shaman and warden classes.
Akki are the accidental children of the Primordials, brought to life by lingering magic at the sites of Primordial contact with the world. Their forms are reflections of that spectacular union. Their short bodies are composed of the living rock and crystal of their homes, with disproportionate shapes that prove that no careful god shaped them. Ignored by the Primordials, and held in suspicion by the Gods, they are perfectly happy to live alone and unmolested in harsh terrains and climates.
Akki resemble squat, hunchbacked humanoids with spindly limbs and hard shells covering their backs. Their faces are uniformly bizarre, often appearing as strange caricatures of other races’, with long noses, large ears, stubby horns, or bulging eyes. Their arms are usually as long as the rest of their bodies and legs combined, ending in large hands and spiky claws and knuckles. This, combined with their hunched posture and short legs gives them an ungainly, almost ape-like appearance on flat land. In their craggy homes, though, this makes them incredibly adept at moving across uneven terrain and scrambling up rock faces. Likewise, their heavy shells cover their backs and heads, with smaller domes protecting their shoulders from pounding waters, falling rubble, or lava.
Like the spectacularly dangerous places they call home, there is a beauty to their strangeness, displayed in the rocky composition of their bodies and shells. Volcanic akki, forged from fire and liquid stone, tend to be the most stunning variety of akki. From their clawed fingertips to their muscular toes, volcanic akki shine in the light, with crystalline bodies ranging from a more-common ruby-red, to other gem-like colors, like green, blue, or even obsidian-black. Less flexible places, like their shells and shoulders are faceted, with spiky protrusions resembling large crystals growing from their shells. Younger akki tend to have smoother shells and less prominent spikes. Akki borne from pounding rapids and waterfalls resemble river stones, with polished stone carapaces and slick, tough hides. Mountaintop akki, carved from stone by lightning bolts are more angular and sharp than their volcanic cousins and bear larger and more jagged spikes from which stray crackles of lightning occasionally spark. Akki eyes glow yellow in the dark and retain a yellow sheen in the daylight, regardless of their body color.
Akki have genders, but there is little outward difference between the two, with male akki having more pronounced shoulder spikes and females having more pronounced knuckle-spikes. As such, akki amongst other akki do not often bother with clothing. Those akki that associate with civilized humanoids will often adopt pants or skirts for propriety, though akki unfamiliarity with such items often results in embarrassing explanations from other humanoids. The general shape of an akki makes tunics a difficult process, but those akki that feel the need for it will don appropriate items of clothing like aprons. Akki delight in clashing colors and shapes, considering them stylish, and will often find clothing as a means to express themselves, combining a dwarven smith’s apron with an eladrin skirt and dragonborn boots, all in the brightest possible colors.
Playing an Akki
To say that Akki enjoy chaos would be an understatement—something akin to saying that drow enjoy the dark. Akki lives begin in a literal explosion of elements—whether they are sculpted of lava by caring parents or carved out of strategically-placed stones by lightning—all akki feel chaos as a fundamental rightness with the world. That is not to say that all akki are psychotic wreakers of havoc. Rather, the average akki is more comfortable on the lip of an erupting volcano than at a quiet tea party in a well-ordered room.
With the loss of an elemental home, however, some akki do go wild. These akki often roam the land, seeking to cause as much destruction and disorder as possible, trying desperately to recreate a familiar maelstrom. More rarely, some akki reject the confusion and nonsense of their homes and seek out peace and serenity among civilization, much as a wild human might find a home among savage orc tribes. Most akki that join adventuring parties find a happy medium, balancing reckless abandon with restraint. That said, even the most adapted of akki may often engage in behavior that members of other races may find strange, such as sighing happily or cackling madly in midst of melee, to looking nervous and singing off-key songs during short rests, or even to throwing rocks at a party member when the akki feels that things are too quiet.
Because of their strange behavior, akki are often seen as brutish or barbaric by other races. In truth, akki have a distinct culture of philosophy, art, and a strong oral tradition. Because of the extreme areas that akki call home, few things, even stone, last long enough to bear writing for any period of time. Rockslides and lava flows often wipe away anything committed to writing on the stone tunnels and cliffs where akki carve their homes, and as a result, akki histories and legends are passed on from akki to akki through songs and poems. The exception to this are akki spellcasters, who often carve rituals and spells into their own resilient hides and shells. When an akki shaman dies, her apprentice, who continues to learn from his master long after her passing, often preserves her shell.
Akki art is a unique expression of their lives and origins. Akki use their hard claws to carve out chunks of stone from their homes as material for art pieces. Even the excavation is considered an art form, with the hollow left behind serving as an example of akki negative-space sculpting. The rocks are carved into elaborate abstract shapes, often suggesting natural forms like waves or mountains while leaving circular rings to frame them. Akki carvings are rare outside of their tunnels, however, as a part of the “art” as the akki see it, is its destruction. Most art culminates in the ritual smashing of an art piece, or slow melting by lava. To akki artisans, the destruction of the pieces is seen as a part of the artistic process, and a reversal of the birth process.
Akki do not reproduce like any other people—indeed, an individual’s origin hearkens back to the birth of the race itself. When it is time for a new akki to be born, a mother-to-be will excavate a chunk of rock from a cave wall (if volcanic or mountaintop) or select a large stone (if riverborne). From there, it is the father’s task to take the stone to an appropriate place of elemental flux. For akki of the volcanic tribes, this means an exposed river of magma, where the father bathes the stone in lava, slowly peeling away excess rock to reveal a small akki within. For riverborne akki, the stone is taken to the top of a waterfall or start of rapids, then sent tumbling down. By the time the stone finished its journey, it is a smooth and polished juvenile akki. Mountaintop akki-to-be are taken to the highest point on a mountain, where lightning continually strikes the chunk of stone, carving and exploding away excess rock until a baby akki remains in the rubble.
Akki utilize a tribal system, usually led by a matriarch or powerful shaman. Most often, a single tribe will have both—a Grand Mother to organize the day-to-day living, and a Storm Uncle to monitor the upheavals and state of their elemental homes. Akki revere those with personalities powerful enough to tame the chaos of life and those with magical ability powerful enough to direct the chaos of the world around them. Akki do not typically require much regulation by the Grand Mother, however. Their diets consist of stone and earth, eaten directly from their surroundings. Over time, though, this can lead to drastic effects on their environments. Erosion caused from years of akki eating habits can collapse volcanoes, cause avalanches, and flood valleys. While the akki typically enjoy causing drastic changes to the world around them, Grand Mothers realize that other races can make difficult for the akki if they find themselves inconvenienced by the akki presence. Likewise, Storm Uncles carefully monitor the effects of eating to make sure that the akki do not completely destroy their elemental homes. To this extent, Grand Mothers and Storm Uncles commonly consult with one another and direct their fellow akki in eating. Though they eat stone, they are not voracious, and one pound of stone will typically feed an akki for one day.
Akki society is typically idyllic, given that except in unusual cases, food is usually plentiful, and the general inhospitable nature of their homes keeps most other creatures away. In these scenarios, class structure is almost nonexistent, consisting of an entire tribe of gatherers that typically spend half their days eating and the other half exploring or playing. Trouble comes when large creatures that prefer inaccessible places move into akki territory, or other civilizations begin to expand into akki areas. While akki have no problems with most creatures, their innate curiosity and delight in destruction makes them anathema to any race with any sense of property and value. Dragons in particular, find akki to be destructive pests and when akki set up a nest near a dragon den, or vice versa, dragons usually take any measure necessary to destroy the little creatures before they collapse sections of the dragons’ caves or smash priceless items in their hoard. Dwarves, similarly, often find themselves at odds with akki, who don’t understand the value of fine dwarven works and whose eating habits often disrupt dwarven tunnels.
When in conflict, akki society rapidly stratifies into distinct castes, as organized by a Grand Mother or Storm Uncle. Gatherers work with Diggers to collect food for the whole tribe, Makers craft arms and armor out of stone for Warriors, all under the supervision of the Grand Mother. Storm Uncles train cadres of shamans, druids, and wardens to work with Warriors and harness the elements themselves as weapons. Races who originally disregard the akki as annoyances are surprised to find the amount of damage the small creatures can intentionally wreak, and many a human settlement has found itself collapsing into akki-dug sink holes, crushed by intentional avalanches, or flooded by diverted rivers. Perhaps the most persuasive tactic used by the akki, who typically have no sense of wealth, is the intentionally destruction of money. Though they themselves cannot fathom a use for it, akki understand the importance that civilized races place on particular metals and that they will often give up when it is gone. Though akki cannot truly digest refined metal, the attempt to do so renders platinum, gold, silver, and copper worthless. The tactic works well on any race that places value on wealth, but none so much as on dragons, who find the act itself vile on a near-religious level, and will often cede an established nest once the akki have begun this tactic.
Akki typically do not engage in worship. The Primordials that spawned them have largely ignored the accidental race, and the gods, suspicious of any spawn of their ancient enemies have refused communion with the akki. While rare individuals do worship Gods of nature, or Primordial aspects of chaos, the average akki sees the continuation of its chaotic home as enough of a sign that all is well. Akki of a more religious bend generally turn to the Primal spirits, realizing that though the akki have the Primordials to thank for their existence, the world itself was the substance of which they were formed. Akki shamans commune with the spirits of their homes and consider them cousins or close family members. Given the active nature of the typical akki home, the spirits there are general strong and enthusiastic about aiding the akki, who are seen by the spirits as small primal spirits given bodies. When this happens, the job of a Storm Uncle and all akki shamans in the area becomes more difficult. Most spirits do not take kindly to having their physical manifestations eaten away, so primal casters must make sure that akki eating habits enhance the land rather than destroying it, either by deepening and widening a river, creating new lava flows for a volcano, or sharpening the cliffs and peaks of a mountaintop.
In terms of race relations, akki get along best with Genasi. Of all the other races, genasi perhaps understand best what it means to be closely tied to the elemental chaos. While the genasi may not always appreciate akki destructiveness, they tend to empathize with their primal urges and see them as somewhat slow, smaller cousins. Halflings often fare well with akki, and trouble often brews when akki curiosity is coupled with halfling creativity. More savage races, like Minotaur, often understand the akki delight in chaos, but tend to distance themselves from what they see as chaotic hedonists, worried that the little creatures might tempt them into savagery. Akki who engage in adventuring rapidly grasp the concept of personal property, and some go so far as to carve weapons and armor out of stone for permanent use. Such items bear many of the traits of akki art, with organic or raw shapes combined with delicate and surprisingly elaborate designs. Other akki find a favorite style of armor, most usually dwarven or dragonborn, who share such aesthetics such as stone and fire motifs with them.
Akki Characteristics: Destructive, mischievous, curious, playful, vindictive, spiritual, impatient, friendly, tough, cunning, open
Male Akki Names: Zenzen, Ta-bun, Dando, Toizen, He-ro, Adako, Akki-kono, Daihen, Osorun, Ganabeta
Female Akki Names: Kairi, Hennashi, Tagami, Elasu, Osori, Aimi, Pahudenu, Kerakeri, Osoifu, Atande
Heroic Tier Feats
The following feats are available to a character of any level who meets the prerequisites.
Lava Forged [Akki]
Benefit: You gain fire resistance +5. This fire resistance stacks with any fire resistance gained from your Akki Defense. Whenever you hit with an unarmed melee attack, you can choose to deal your damage as fire damage. This feat can only be taken at first level.
River Shaped [Akki]
Benefit: You gain a +1 racial bonus to AC. You gain a swim speed equal to your base movement speed. This feat can only be taken at first level.
Lightning Carved [Akki]
Benefit: You gain lightning resistance +5. This lightning resistance stacks with any lightning resistance gained from your Akki Defense. Whenever you hit with an unarmed melee attack, you can choose to deal your damage as lightning damage. This feat can only be taken at first level.
Stone Sleeper [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, Con 15
Benefit: At the beginning of your turn, if in Akki Defense, you can choose to extend the effect by another round. In addition, you are considered aware of your surroundings while in Akki Defense, and may spend short rests and extended rests in your Akki Defense form and gain the benefits of resting.
Akki Ambusher [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, Wis 15
Benefit: You can end the effects of your Akki Defense as an immediate action. You are considered aware of your surroundings while in Akki Defense. When your Akki Defense effect ends, all enemies adjacent to you grant combat advantage to you until the end of your next turn.
Heart of the Mountain [Akki]
Benefit: When you activate your Akki Defense, you gain temporary hit points equal to your constitution modifier.
Paragon Tier Feats
The following feats are available to a character of 11th level or higher who meets the prerequisites.
Crag Skirmisher [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, Cragwalk racial ability
Benefit: You gain +1 to attack and damage rolls when fighting on difficult terrain that is the result of rubble, uneven stone, or earth.
Fire Gout [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, Lava Forged racial feat
Benefit: You can use the Fire Gout racial ability once per day.
Fire Gout Akki Attack 11
With a massive belch, you fire a ball of flaming pitch from your mouth.
Daily ✦ Breath
Standard Action Close blast 2
Target: One creature in blast
Attack: Con vs. Ref
Hit: 3d6+ Con modifier damage, the target is on fire.
Miss: Half damage.
Heart of Stone [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, Con 18
Benefit: Your akki defense provides resistance +15 instead of +10.
Rapids Rider [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, River Shaped racial feat
Benefit: Your racial bonus to AC improves to +2. Your swim speed increases to twice your base movement.
Thunder shell [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, Lightning Carved racial feat, Con 18
Benefit: Whenever an enemy hits you with a melee attack, they take lightning damage equal to your con modifier.
Stone Whispers [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, Heart of Mountain racial feat
Benefit: When you activate your Akki Defense, you may spend a healing surge as a free action.
Epic Tier Feats
The following feats are available to a character of 21st level or higher who meets the prerequisites.
Benefit: You can use the Earthbreaker racial ability at will.
Earthbreaker Akki Attack 21
At the touch of your finger, stone and earth split and churn.
At will ✦ Utility
Move Action Close blast 1
Target: One square of stone or earth adjacent to you.
Effect: The targeted square of earth becomes difficult terrain.
Rock of Ages [Akki]
Prerequisites: Akki, Stone Whispers racial feat
Benefit: While in Akki Defense, you regenerate hit points each turn equal to your constitution modifier.
The following paragon paths are exclusive to akki.
“My best defense is an amazing offense!”
Prerequisite: Akki, Stone Sleeper or Akki Ambusher racial feat.
The ability of your people to turn to stone has been one of their greatest defenses over the centuries. You’ve watched boulders as they’ve come tumbling down mountainsides, and slowly, the idea grew. You’ve begun moving from a simple ball of stone into a rolling boulder of fury, crushing all who stand in your way. You’ve tapped into the elemental forces in your core to propel your stone self across the battlefield. Why expose yourself and flail around with weapons or spells when you can do so much more damage in stone form? You are a spinning stone dreadnought, and nothing can stop you.
Seige Boulder Path Features
Stony Action (11th level): Whenever you use an action point, you regain the use of your Akki Defense.
Bonus Feat (11th level): You gain Stone Sleeper or Akki Ambusher as a bonus feat.
Downhill Rush (16th level): Your speed increases by 2. While in Akki Defense, you may move up to your speed on your turn.
Siege Boulder Powers
Crushing Rush Siege Boulder Attack 11
As a boulder, you swell in size, rolling forward towards your enemies.
At Will Unarmed
Standard Action Melee 1
Requirement: You must be in Akki Defense, and charge to use this power.
Target: One creature
Attack: Con + 4 vs. Ref
Increase to Con + 6 at 21st level.
Hit: 2d10 + Con modifier damage, and the target is knocked prone.
Special: This power allows you to make an attack while petrified and counts as an unarmed melee attack for the purposes of Lava Forged and Lightning Carved.
Gatecrasher Siege Boulder Utility 12
You are a stone of primal power, and all lesser works fall before you.
Requirement: You must be in Akki Defense, and charge to use this power.
Effect: You may use your Crushing Rush against inanimate targets. If their resistance is less than yours, ignore it.
Rolling Doom Siege Boulder Attack 20
You swell to tremendous size, surging forward with unstoppable force, crushing everything in your path.
Move Action Unarmed Melee
Target: All creatures along a single movement path
Attack: Con vs. Ref
Hit: 3d10 + Con modifier damage, the targets are knocked prone.
Special: You become large for the duration of this attack and take up squares accordingly. This power allows you to make an attack while petrified and counts as an unarmed attack for the purposes of Lava Forged and Lightning Carved.
“The skill is not in falling, it’s in landing on the right person.”
Whether you have honed your skill on the slopes of the storm sharpened peaks, the cascades of burning rock, or the bone-snapping stones of the rapids, you have learned to ride the tide of elemental force that cascades around your home. Even other, chaos-loving akki find your antics a bit too extreme as you duck and dive amongst house-sized boulders in their tumbling paths. You care not, for you have found an unnamable joy to such acts, often perched on a single stone as it plummets and smashes through others boulders. The primal spirits have taken notice of you, and they have granted you some measure of power over the cascading forces—the ability to create your own tides of stone and leave paths of terrain too treacherous for anything but an akki.
Akki Avalancher Path Features
Resilient Action (11th level): When you spend an action point, you gain +2 to all defenses until beginning of your next turn.
Earth Razer (11th level): Whenever you hit with a daily or encounter power, the squares occupied by the targets become rough terrain.
High Climber (16th level): You gain a climb speed equal to your movement speed and you take no damage from falling.
Akki Avalancher Powers
Rock Slide Akki Avalancher Attack 11
You ride a wave of loose rock and gravel toward your enemies, crashing into them with the force of falling rocks, leaving scree scattered.
Encounter ✦ Weapon
Standard Action Melee 1
Target: One creature
Attack: Strength + 2 vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] +2d6 and the target is knocked prone.
Special: You may shift a number of squares equal to your wisdom modifier prior to using this ability. If you do, those squares through which you shift become difficult terrain.
Scree Bloom Akki Avalancher Utility 12
You stomp the ground, shattering the earth beneath your feet, rendering it difficult for all others.
Free Action Personal
Area: Blast 5 centered on you
Effect: The squares within the blast area become difficult terrain.
Avalanche Tide Akki Avalancher Attack 20
The ground below you swells and rises before engulfing your enemy in a wave of loose stone.
Standard Action Melee 1
Target: One creature
Attack: Strength + 4 vs. AC
Hit: 5d6 damage, the target is knocked prone and slides a number of squares equal to your wisdom modifier.
Miss: Half damage, and the target slides one square.
Special: The squares through which the target slides become difficult terrain.
“Let the earth itself split and the world explode into glorious flames”
Prerequisites: Akki, Lava Forged racial feat
Fire has always held a special fascination for you. You were born of it, shaped by parents’ hands in a life-giving bath of lava until you finally awoke, tiny and white-hot. Even now, you find fire soothing, and can often not resist running your hands through open flames and flickering fires, much like other races do with water. The earth has sensed your constant longing, and reciprocates, coming to you when called, burning and glowing brightest at your command.
Akki Conflagrator Path Features
Eruption Force (11th level): Whenever you use an ability or attack that deals fire damage, you can push your target by one square or one additional square.
Magmatic Action (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, you deal an additional +1d6 fire damage to all attacks until the beginning of your next turn..
Elemental Metamorphosis (16th level): You count as an elemental. The fire resistance granted by your Lava Forged feat increases to +10.
Akki Conflagrator Powers
Lava Plume Akki Conflagrator Attack 11
You slam your palm against the ground, and the earth responds with a fountain of lava bursting up around an enemy.
Standard Action Burst 5
Target: One enemy
Attack: Wisdom + 2 vs. Reflex
Hit: 3d6 fire damage and the target is on fire.
Fire Shell Akki Conflagrator Utility 12
Your shell is sheathed in fire, damaging enemies foolish enough to strike you.
Daily ✦ Stance
Minor Action Personal
Effect: Any enemy that attacks you with a melee attack takes fire damage equal to your wisdom modifier and is on fire.
Deadly Conflagration Akki Conflagrator Attack 20
You stomp, and the earth responds, erupting into flame and raining down lava on your enemies.
Standard Action Burst 5
Target: All creatures within the burst.
Attack: Wisdom + 6 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d8 + Wisdom modifier fire damage, and the target is on fire and slowed.
Miss: Half damage, and the target is on fire.