22.) Githzerai hold discipline to be the most important aspect of anything in the world. Without discipline, everything would descend into chaos, like the roiling elements that they surround themselves with, or the barbaric Githyanki. Thus, Githzerai culture can seem rather stiff and unchanging to others. If a Githzerai has been wronged by another, they generally won't fly off the handle, or even seem to show anger to others. They feel anger, true, but to show it to others would mean that they have temporarily lost control of their emotions, a lapse in discipline that would be frowned upon.
This means, of course, that Githzerai tend to view the emotional outbursts of others in varying negative lights. The best intentioned Githzerai see others as merely uncultured, and will gladly share meditative techniques to help calm the mind if asked. More militant Githzerai see other races as irredeemably flawed, unable to control their emotions like Gith could not control hers.
Gnolls of the hyena's soul view everything in terms of their packs. They do not go to seek their own fame and fortune, they are bringing loot and acclaim to their pack. Despite their ferocious reputations, gnolls form a caring community of their own. No member of the pack goes hungry while there still is prey to be taken and no packmate is left behind. Nor do they kill out of wanton spite. Every kill is a kill made out of hunger or in self-defense. Nothing is wasted when they kill, every last bit reused. That which cannot be eaten is recycled into something else.
If asked to sacrifice themselves for the pack's betterment, a gnoll will gladly sacrifice itself. No risk is too great, no threat too dangerous when it comes to the Greater Good (THE GREATER GOOD....). Gnolls find civilized races strange for their highly individual ways and lack of caring. They see those races as an infestion that survives only by their ability to breed like rats.
A gnoll that looses his pack will be lost. Without the emotional and social support that the pack provides, it will go mad very quickly. Some gnolls though, are able to make the jump from their own kind to a group of adventurers, who end up fufilling the original pack's roles.
Spiteful Wizard and Voice of Reason of the House of Trolls
24. Half-orcs have a fierce inborn need to prove themselves. It doesn't matter what they are trying to prove, or to whom, but they treat every event like a test. This is a visceral and instinctual impulse that manifests at birth, and is excruciatingly difficult to control.
This is one of the reasons why half-orcs are often viewed as uncivilized: their instincts force them to act before their rational minds can catch up with the impulse. If the captain of the guard is trying to belittle him, a half-orc will punch him out cold to prove that he's tougher.
This is not to say that half-orcs aren't irritable or easily provoked on their own; most have short tempers anyway. Half-orcs also have a bad reputation for being barbaric due to the fact that they are a mostly reactionary race. They lack the drive of humans or elves, and while a given half-orc might be a great adventurer, he usually doesn't plan ahead or sit in anticipation of what's beyond the next door. When not faced with a challenge, a half-orc is calm, stoic, and sometimes serene. However, considering half-orc instincts, these events are rare.
Since the demonstration of superiority is most easily achieved through violence, this is a half-orc's preferred medium, but half-orcs with more civilized origins can prefer any number of mediums. A half-orc raised under bardic traditions might meet every perceived challenge with a quick ditty, a haiku, or a short poem or limerick, just to prove that he can. When a half-orc finds religion, he can be one of the most fervent and pious of servants, to prove that he's suitably devoted.
Half-orcs take to adventuring better than some other races, because it helps their reactionary instincts. While in society, half-orcs tend to end up isolated due to their unplanned actions, they find plenty of ammunition to satisfy their instincts with an adventuring party. They have people to whom they can prove themselves, and no shortage of challenges to meet head-on.
The original core books said that this was our game too. It doesn't feel like that anymore.
25. Faeries in general wish to have fun and put a lot of time and effort into spending their time well. Festivals for the sake of many things are thrown weekly, year round, and daily in winter months. There has to be something fun to do to keep the community together...or else it'll all fall apart. Faerie communities without such traditions tend to be short-lived or to exist for only a certain purpose (an advanced front in a war, a frontier community, etc). Sometimes they celebrate disasters, sometimes they celebrate the birth of a child, and sometimes they celebrate the first fallen leaf of the season; the reason matters not as much as having a festival.
Go to preferences at the top of the page to create a sig.
If you have just figured out how to create a sig, like me, copy this into your sig.
26: No matter how deceptive a tiefling is, he will never choose a name to deceive others. That's to say: a tiefling hell-bent on avenging his sister's death will never name himself peace or something untruthful. He may lie about why he chose his name though.
A lot of these are good, but some seem to stray into the "dwarves are drunk and gruff humans, elves are thoughtful and speak in mellow voices" territory. What I find fascinating, and admittedly cannot adequately explore, is the sheer age of some races. If an elf or eladrin lives centuries on average, just how would they deal with death? So, on that note, and following the number order established...
27. Most eladrin do not fear death. Those who venture outside eladrin cities are well aware of the ease with which one can meet their mortal end, but within the towering spires of their well-protected homes, death usually comes only after at least three centuries of existence, and by then the dying eladarin is well-ready to make his or her departure. Because of this, sheltered eladrin simply cannot comprehend death as anything but the graceful end to a long and wholly fulfilling life.
Of course, adventuring eladrin have learned better.
28. Genasi are tied to the elemental forces of their world; which means that environmentalism, for them, is an obvious and self-evident act. If a lake became poisoned, a watersoul (or perhaps any) genasi would feel it as if a close relative, or even themselves, was dying. When the earthsoul genasi walks into a city, it's akin to a human walking through a graveyard. While other species might accuse the genasi of overreacting, they don't talk to the elements as the genasi do, and thus cannot comprehend.
In this sense, a genasi might view the choice between saving an individual's life and protecting some aspect of the environment as impossible.
If, on a desert night, a traveler, outside the town of Balic, leaning from the steep slope, without fear of wind or vertigo, looks down in the gathering shadow (in a network of lines that interlace) on the carpet of sand illuminated by the moon around an empty grave, what story down there awaits its end?
29. In order to understand a culture, and by relation a unique race, one can look at that groups history of workmanship and location.
Dwarves: Born of Moradin's hand, and carving themselves out of stone, these great miners are shaped just as much as the stone they work on. Unlike the elven races, who live in lands that are constantly in flux with the seasons, stone does not change. It is fixed, and is a slate by which one reveals one's effect. It does not have the personality like an elf might speak of a tree. To dwarves, stone is a canvas, waiting for an artist. In the first effect, this activity has a profound effect on Dwarven mentality. When working with stone, in mining, tunneling, carving, and so one, dwarves quickly learn that there are no second chances. Barring divine intervention, a mistake in craftmenship is not easily if even possilby correctable. This translates into a dwarves mentality; this means to plan and think carefully about any undertaking that can have lasting consequences, for mistakes are a part of your history, and all shame of wrong acts is recognized. Likewise, forgiveness is a treasured bond among dwarves, and not one dwarves will accept easily, learning to take mistakes and errors in their own judgements very personally. Their dourness stems from each failure they measure, for each failure is a permenent fixture in their history, as much as a fault is in the bedrock - once made, it cannot be unmade, and it's effects are their for all to see. This mentality also surfaces in how dwarves form their bonds of family. In working with stone, and metal, dwarves are known for tireless forgers of crafts of superior quality. It cannot be helped that upon raising their own, they take to the task much like a blacksmith forging an artful axe. Their mates are selected for their best qualities, as the raw materials one would use. Time is of the utmost importance, as true art in the realm of stone and iron blossoms slowly, for the right mixtures to settle. Their children and friends are reflections of these labors of love Each act and maneuver is planned, and replanned ahead of time. In many cases while it is true that Dwarves are slaves to tradition, this is not for a love of tradition itself, but instead for a known pattern of actions and lessons. Those creative of dwarven people, they may stave off old methods of doing things, but their own eccentric methods are still no more impulsive, or sudden. Artists, inventors, preachers, heretics, and schemers all take great dillegence in their actions, and no idea regardless of how new and controversial, has not be been considered, reconsidered, tested, leveled, measured, checked, and referenced many times for being instituted. In political manuverings, dwarves are particulary notorious for thinking far ahead of their adversaries, and that foresight and cunning wedded with ingenuity is a scarey weapon against much of dwarven society.
30: Due to their Quori half, Kalashtar experience dreams much more vividly than most, and many consider the dreaming world every bit as 'real' as the real world. However, due to their human half, they cannot always dream as lucidly as a true Quori might. Like many humanoids, their dreams are often based on the sensory stimuli they've experienced throughout the day, and while some can control their surroundings, many cannot.
As a result of this, many Kalashtar are wary of storytelling, fictional or otherwise. A tale that incorporates any particularly dark themes or significant negative emotions felt by the characters can be offensive and potentially harmful, since even simply hearing such stories may cause them to actually experience something similar that night.
Kalashtar tend to empathize much more with fictional characters than do other humanoid races, particularly when the stories those characters are in are very emotionally moving. Kalashtar fiction almost never involves anything remotely sinister. Killing off a character that a reader or listener has grown particularly attached to is seen as a crime on the same level of, say, killing someone's pet.
31: Most drow worship Lolth, and a rare few that break away devote themselves to opposing the Spider Queen at every turn. However, there are a fair number of drow that fall somewhere between the extremes--some devote themselves to other evil deities, some end up morally neutral, and some 'redeemeed' drow regard Lolth as not appreciably worse than any other force of evil. These 'middle-ground' drow find it exceedingly irritating that their entire race seems to be defined by a single goddess. They may become angry at mention of 'normal' Lolth-worshipping dark elves, and curiously, even more outraged at those 'redeemed' drow who choose to continue defining themselves with respect to Lolth, even though it is in opposition to her. This segment of the Drow population would like nothing more than to never hear Lolth's name again.
32. Gnomes love tricks, above just about all other pleasures. These tricks range from simple and innocent pratfalls and misdirections, to more complex and diabolical revenge scenarios. The more elaborate the trick the better. The finest tricks can take years to come to fruition.
What is surprising to most outsiders is how gnomes can appreciate and approve of tricks that have horrific outcomes. Even as the subject of one of these tricks, what matters is art of it. It's as if the outcome of the trick is an afterthought. Even if your house is burned down, as long as it was done in a crafty manner it was a good trick. The recipient can appreciate the craftsmanship of the trick outside of the fact that their home was destroyed. To a gnome, there really isn't a difference if the recipient of a trick is simply inconvenienced or brutally hurt, what matters is that they were fooled. Tripping someone into a puddle of mud is just as good as tripping them into lava, as long as they fell in a funny way and what they tripped on was cleverly placed.
In gnomish culture there is a parallel status structure based on ones ability to craft tricks. A high noble or merchant king might be considered low brow if his repetoir relies on simple "low" tricks. Where a pauper can be well respected due to the craftsmanship of his tricks.
Difficulties arise when dealing with non-gnomish races as they often don't fully appreciate the art of trickery. Even classic tricks like swapping the gold pouches of everyone at an inn or redirecting someone into a pit of acid don't seem to resound with non-gnomes, which puzzles gnomes a great deal.
33. Amongst halflings, theft is not illegal nor frowned upon. Infact, it is a tightly regulated industry that goes by the name "Acquisitions". An acquirer can be openly hired by another member of the community to acquire an object currently in the possession of another. These acquirers are licensed and frequently audited to ensure they stole nothing but the desired object and damaged nothing on the property during the acquisition. Acquirer's are strictly forbidden from making acquisitions for themselves, though they can hire others to acquisition for them.
Individuals and communities are also free to provide acquisition insurance, which is an annual sum paid to the acquirer to increase the cost of any acquisitions on the area's property. Thus halflings often respond poorly to local authorities who do not share their point of view, helplessly shoving the appropriate paperwork in the face of the authority, quoting the contract, object in question, and charges related to the contract.
This leads to a less exemplary but much more fundamental. Stealing without a contract is a very serious crime in halfling society. Akin to assault or blackmail, and carries heavy penalties up to and including exile from the group. Any acquirer must be carrying the appropriate papers and forms at the time of the theft to present to authorities should they be called out. This does not tie the hands of the item's owner, who may take whatever means they deem necessary to protect the object in question (including hiring their own thugs).
Such laws have lead to a secondary industry in the halfling world, called Retainment. Retainers are counter-acquirers kept on call to foil potential acquirers. There is also a lesser industry of thugs, who have permission to fight an acquirer (but not to un-acquire the item). Thugs are much cheaper.
In line with halfling tradition however, none of this is written down.
34. Elven/Eladrin/Drow Lifespans: The elven people view lifespans in a different manner (and with different terms). To the Eladrin it's called Temporal Acceleration and Terminal Temporal Velocity. To Elves it's known as the Quickening and the Release. To the Drow it's referred to as The Slowest Poison and the Fall. While they have different mythologies and superstitions regarding this event, they have remarkabley identical beliefs.
I'll use the Eladrin terms. Life passes at a certain temporal speed. Because stagnation is equivalent to death, in order to remain alive a species must accelerate. As the indivdual accelerates time moves faster and faster for them, bringing them closer and closer to the point where it is impossible to remain joined with the physical body, which they call the Terminal Temporal Velocity. At that point, the body ages to fast to keep itself together and the soul breaks free to enter the Shadowfell.
Different races travel through time at different rates of acceleration. Humans, for example, accelerate very quickly, reaching the Terminal Temporal Velocity in less than a century. Dwarves on the other hand move at a somewhat moderate pace, not so sedate as the elven-kind nor at the breakneck pace of the half-orcs. This isn't all bad though, for accelerating so rapidly tends to make life more vibrant and every decision more meaningful. In the elven mind, those races that age faster experience life more fully and each decision has a thousand times more weight.
Many of the elven-kind become jealous of the faster races, caught between the desire to accelerate faster and the urge to see more of time. This is sometimes a source of conflict between the elven-kind and the faster races. It's also a source of disdain for any of the fast races that try to extend their life. They have the unimaginable gift of urgency and they'd give it all up just to see the cycle of rise and fall repeat itself a few more times? It's unconscionable to the elven-kind.