70: Dwarven bones are laced with metal. The exact metal varies from dwarf to dwarf and cannot be mundanely determined except after the individual's death/dismemberment. The metal also purifies as an individual dwarf grows in power (read: gains levels). It is considered good luck among dwarves to bear a weapon, implement, or other item crafted from the metal harvested from a deceased ancestor. Many of the most legendary of dwarven artifacts are actually created from the bones of their greatest heroes. In this way, say the dwarves, the power of the old generations is propagated to the new.
Gnomes don't worship gods in a traditional way. They have gods, build temples, and give offerings. However, only in times of war do the Gnomes pray to their gods. This practice originates from the times when the Fomorians hunted the Gnomes to use as slaves. The small Gnomes prayed to their Gods for great strength and were blessed with the might to defeat their foes. Not wanting to "use up" the favors of their gods, they adopted a practice of not praying unless their town were under threat of attack.
In times of peace, Gnomes worship their anscestors. The spirits of Gnomes never pass into the Shadowfell, but onto the Feywild, where they gather with Spirits of their families. These Gnome Spirits are known to make Pacts with Gnomish Warlocks, and inspire Gnome Bards. When Gnomes go to see a "priest" in times of peace, it is rarely a cleric. It is a bard. Likewise, Wartime Gnomish Priests are Paladins, called Titans by their kin.
Eladrin are not a true race, seperate from Elves, but Elves binded to the Feywild. On the Feywild, Wyldprices, who rule the Feyspires, frequently use their great power to transform their followers. On the mortal world, Elves are transformed into Eladrin to serve a purpose, such as to pursue a criminal, find an artifact, or destroy a threat. Once Eladrin, they are looked at as heroes by their people, but often have trouble relating to their past life as an Elf. An Eladrin will always give birth to an Elf or Half Elf. They frequently have another member of their family, tribe, or clan raise the child, their now alien mind makes such duties difficult.
Drow were once Elves, but much like the Eladrin are changed, so too are the Drow. Lloth used a corrupt version of the process of Feybinding to turn evil Elves into Drow. While Eladrin give birth to Elves, Drow always give birth to Drow, no matter what race they breed with. Female Drows are psychologically permiscious, as to spread the number of Drow. Likewise, male Drows have a near psychotic devotion to their mother. Occasionally, Drow do not have these traits and are exiled into the Underdark.
Amongst Shifter packs, there is a rule regarding hunting grounds. If two packs find themselves hunting the same land, they will meet formally. After a night of feasting, both packs will awake at dawn, where a nominated champion from each pack will duel. The winner's pack will have hunting claims on the land...unless they win by killing the other champion. While not viewed as shameful, in order to repay the loss, the winning pack will leave. In both cases, they are given three days to move past a certain landmark.
Halfling originates as a racial slur used to describe the race. After centuries of slavery, the Halflings had forgotten their races name. Most halflings are not aware of this fact, but do not question their name. Some halflings who become aware of their lost name will go to any lengths to find it. However, they have had no success.
Dwarves in my homebrew setting are somewhat different from those I described in my last post (which was just my take on the 'standard' PoL setting's dwarves). I specifically wanted to buck the "Our Dwarves Are All The Same" trope, while still keeping them recognisable (so, they still have a stones-and-mountains association, but not a mining-and-metalworking one, for example). My primary inspiration was this (and similar artefacts), which has always seemed very 'dwarvish' to me.
The dwarves of Zurvan are, by and large, a gentle, spiritual people. They are patient and slow to anger, but their forbearance is not infinite and their wrath, once aroused, is a terrible thing to behold. Guardians of the natural world, they see themselves as the children of Naryanath, Queen of Earth and Sea, who carved the first dwarves from stone and breathed spirits into them to give them life.
Most dwarfs live solitary lives as hermits in the wild places of the world, where they can feel close to the spirits and to their ancient mother-goddess. Occasional gatherings at sacred sites such as groves, caves or stone circles are the only opportunity most dwarves have to meet others of their race. Such meetings are usually the occasion for conceiving children, for dwarves do not form long-term romantic relationships. Female dwarves give birth and raise their children to adulthood alone. Dwarf culture sees the mother as the sole parent, the father becoming irrelevant once conception is achieved. For this reason, all dwarfs trace their lineage solely through the female line. Most dwarfs have no idea who their father was and don’t give the issue much thought. The romantic and sexual relationships of other humanoids are a complete mystery to most dwarfs, who often have real trouble understanding the significance of such things as marriage ceremonies.
Those dwarfs who do live among the other races generally adapt well, for their tolerant, non-judgemental nature makes them pleasant company. However, very few dwarves can endure city life for more than a few months at a time, for the voice of the Ancient Mother, always so strong and clear in the wild, is difficult to hear over the bustle of the city.
The majority of dwarves hold exclusively to the worship of Naryanath and the primal spirits, though some more cosmopolitan dwarves also give reverence to other female deities such as Ameretath, Haurva and Izhanata, whom they see as aspects of the Ancient Mother. Few dwarves have any time at all for the male deities, most of whom represent concepts alien to the dwarf psyche.
73. Every Gnome has a tendency towards obsessions. You can bet that even the most straight laced individual knows just how many buttons their shirt has without even checking, if asked. However, most of them can control these urges, not allowing them to have a negative impact on their lives.
Spriggans, however, are not quite so disciplined. Their infamous red caps, stained with blood, will lose their sanguine quality over time, something no spriggan will allow if they have a say in the matter. Violence ensues to whip up a fresh batch of "dye", and the barbaric custom continues.
Spriggans who have escaped the evil of their people(a rarity indeed) will sometimes stain their caps blue or other colors to show their newfound independence. Even then, though, they will re-dye their hats obessively, never entirely free from their cursed upbringing.
74. All Teiflings know the truth, we didn't gain our powers or looks because of infernal influence we've always looked this way. What? You're calling me a liar. Just look at the blood as proof of the truth of my words. Our blood is just better. That's why Tieflings beget Tieflings. We're just a better.
They call us dishonorable. Filthy lies, we have a code of honor. Our code is just this... Prove you're better. Everything with us is a constant contest to prove we're better at anything and everything. And if we say we're better we must be willing to prove it or face the shearing. What's the shearing you ask. The shearing is the ritualistic shaveing of the head of any Tiefling who fails to back up a claim of superiority.
Here's more of my copypasta from another thread, this time it's 'The shardmind is the most optimal out-of-combat race in the system' over in Character Optimization.
Internet trolls must get particular glee if they can manage to push a shardmind forumgoer into enragement.
75. You joke, but this gave me the idea for a group of shardmind who believe so strongly in the power of fury and uninhibited emotion that they deliberately provoke their fellows into a 'baptism' of blind rage. Their method isn't mere annoyance or even lethal combat harassment techniques; each such attempted conversion is an irresistibly powerful combination of brutal tactics (the horrific death of loved ones, the incineration of a life's work, etc) and psychic assault, bombarding the shardmind with provocations and empathic broadcasts of the purest, most malevolent hatred imaginable.
With luck, the individual will go on a self-perpetuating rampage, turning zie into a permanent (if ill-fated) agent of destructive chaos. The shardmind will either be destroyed by the retaliation of zir shattered surroundings or will learn to harness the fury, keep it stoked and blazing like a mighty inferno, and will thus have been reborn into the ranks of the Ragemind.
Basically, imagine force-sensitive Vulcans embracing the Dark Side. Yeah. Be very afraid.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.)
Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
76. Over the ages, history has been corrupted. After all, the victors are the ones who get to write the history books, right? Noble Eladrin are a lie. Despite their power, they are just as corrupted as the Elves and the Drow. Elves found their perfect forms tainted with the dulled emotions and perceptions of the world, and were thick-headed enough to stay until they became twisted little mutants, actually able to breed with humans! The Drow are even more pathetic. Even their mad god gave herself over to corruption, and took her whole damned brood with her. Now, they lurk in the Underdark, reflections like photo negatives of their Eladrin origins. And yes, even the Eladrin have been tainted. We have spent far too much time in the Feywild, and have taken it into ourselves. Our most powerful take more and more of it into themselves, until they are no longer Eladrin at all. But we remember. We uncovered the ancient scrolls that recorded a time before the taint, when Elves were just beginning to mutate and there was no such thing as a Drow. Now, we work to restore that purity. No matter what must be done, we will restore our race to its original form. They call us mad, hide our existence from others like a shameful secret, and even try to exterminate us like common vermin. They call it evolution, but we call it corruption. The time will come when we will finish our experiments, and find a way to return all Eladrin, our mutant brethren, and perhaps even Lolth herself, back to their original forms.
We are the Rectifiers, and we will never stop.
The original core books said that this was our game too. It doesn't feel like that anymore.
1. They not only live a long time, but they do not normally become frail until the very end. A 150 year old eldadrin would easily be mistaken for a 20 year old, especially by those less familiar. Sayings like "I'm too old for this" just seem alien to them. Mid life crises and age differences in relationships are also concepts that are vastly different to them.
2. Scarcity of children makes them infinitely more valuable than to a human civilization. Sending a child away to an apprenticeship is viewed like sending an arm or leg off for training. Murder of a child is the sort of thing that will mobilizes entire communities.
3. Eladrin and elven public names translate. 'Lasanna' in elfin might be 'Moonflower' in common, and 'Garuk-shin' in dwarven, but eladrin and elves have no trouble keeping up with all of this (note that this does NOT mean they speak all languages, just that when they learn the proper word for their name in a new one, they add it to the list of things they answer to). All names should have a meaning. A name without meaning is a life without meaning. As true names have power, this is something that both species keep very private.
4. CAVEAT: This one is hard to do right without having it abused by player or DM. Eladrin don't use numbers. While they have some gift that lets then know the weight of the gold in the bag against the value of the sword they are buying, the idea of counting is just strange to them. The coins aren't *exactly* alike. This one has a little shaved off the edges, and that one is slightly heavier than the others, and the shiny ones are prettier in general. Why, saying they were all identical would be like assuming every orc in that raiding party had the exact same skill, physical capability, and luck. This is simply not the case. Asking an eladrin how old she is is about like asking for a headache. "I have better things to do with my days than the counting of them." This is one of the reasons why they often seem to give vague and cryptic answers to questions.
Eladrin are not really nocturnal so much as opportunistic with regard to time of day. They do not sleep. So the rest when the time is most convenient. In a desert, it might be midday. In a city of humans, it will more often be in the night as there is nothing else to do.
Races with lowlight vision in general are not afraid of the dark. It isn't the same barrier to them as it is to humans.
+1 on the unconsciousness being a frightening concept to the eladrin.
78. Shardminds have absolutely no concept of emotion. They understand the circumstances behind emotion - loss for sadness; aggression, betrayal, and the like for anger; beneficial circumstances for happiness - but they do not feel any such emotions. Music is foreign to them, as there is no response to elicit from a shardmind besides a compliment on how well the notes run together.
Due to this extreme difference in thought, shardminds view the world and adventuring motivations much differently. If a child has been kidnapped or murdered, most people would start a crusade. A shardmind would assess the situation and weigh the child's potential benefit to the community. If it's just another lower-class child in a city, the shardmind will likely pass the grieving mother with naught but a simple "my condolences," and that's if she's lucky.
This lack of emotions makes shardminds masterful strategists, even though shardmind leaders tend to have a reputation for cruelty and having no regard for life. They take great offense at that, or they would if they could feel offended: they have no concept of cruelty, so they cannot possibly feel it. As for life, most shardminds have great regard for it, but if the benefits of a suicide mission outweigh the costs, a shardmind commander would give the go-ahead.
Legends tell of a masterful rake who once told a joke so complex and humorous on so many levels that it actually caused a shardmind to feel mirth and laugh. The result was a hundred-foot-wide crater carved from the shardmind's explosive dissolution.
The original core books said that this was our game too. It doesn't feel like that anymore.
79. Dwarves are known for being stoic and tough. However, anyone who has spent time around them knows that they complain. A LOT. A dwarf never talks about his feelings, unless it's displeasure with the current situation, and that seems to be the only thing they feel. A dwarf will rattle off a litany of grouses and gripes at a moment's notice. They're never slow to criticize anyone else's work, and a truly displeased dwarf (who hasn't spent enough time around other humanoids to break him of the habit) may even whack the source of his displeasure on the head or small of the back (reach permitting). This stands starkly at odds with their otherwise stoic natures, because you would think they would be able to take such minor discomforts without resorting to the constant bellyaching.
In truth, this is actually a key survival mechanism in their deep mountain halls. Due to the nature of their underground homes, they are forced to live in close quarters for long periods of time with the same people. Unmarried dwarves of lower station live in communal barracks, with little privacy. Resources are also very tight in the dwarven halls, and mines could be one false tunnel away from disaster. Due to the close quarters and having the same companions constantly, any grievance that is not addressed quickly, even slight annoyances, could be left to fester and build up until they explode. Any mistake that goes uncorrected due to feelings of propriety could spell disaster for the colony.
Therefore, it's almost reflexive for a displeased dwarf to say exactly what is on his mind, with no sense of decorum about it. If the food's cold, he'll tell you to cook it longer next time. After a battle, do not expect congratulations from a dwarf for a battle well fought. Expect him to say you should have healed him sooner or that fireball came a bit too close. The dwarf sees it as purely constructive criticism to make things go smoother next time. What people rarely realize about dwarves is that they are also extremely thick skinned. Tell a dwarf exactly what you don't like about him and he'll listen without ever getting offended. Few humanoids are as vocal about displeasure as dwarves though, so dwarves often complain that humans don't speak their minds when they should.