Worldbuilding Exercise - Get 5 Random Races, Build a Setting


Homebrew and House Rules

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avr wrote:

It's been a while. Let's see what strange world I can come up with here.

1d100
1d100
1d100
1d100
1d100
Undines, gnomes, tengu, derhii and vampires. Not a lot in common there.

"From the mountains came the fey-kin
Tricks of sight and tricks of stone
We drove them back

From the seas came the water-kin
Ties of blood and ties of life
We drove them back

From the water-kin came the blood-kin..."

"You forgot the sword-kin," Fraos interrupts, his elegant tengu feathering interrupted by lines of irritation, "and what do you mean by singing that in mixed company anyway? Are you trying to start a fight?"

"We made you. We remember you when we choose, not you." Tralinn answers. "Wars against the fey-kin are long over and I do not choose to remember servants."

Fraos squawks in fury and lunges at the stern derhii sending chairs flying. A gnome pops up and offers 2:1 odds on the tengu, attracting several bets from the partygoers.

In the back of the crowd a green-skinned woman addresses a shadow and asks "Is it done?" The shadow grows fangs and red eyes and replies "Indeed. The distraction was sufficient Mistress, and the ring-bearer now bears the forgery."

OK, I'm a better GM than I am a writer but that shows all five races. Or 'ancestries' once PF2e terminology takes hold.

The derhii were the first known inhabitants of the jungles of Verde, dwelling in hilltop villages - artificial hills where natural ones could not be found. Gnomes invaded over the mountains but were driven back as the derhii surprised them by creating armies of a new race, tengu, from their blood and strange magic. Some gnomes were taken captive and became (generally) a lower class within the derhii villages, others made their way to Verde later through the usual gnomish wandering and odd obsessions. Undines first arrived as refugees, with their vampires bound through rituals and the supply of magical artificial blood. They tried a takeover and failed but the derhii lost the great river and some of the coasts to the amphibious humanoids. Some vampires were freed from their bonds in the wake of the coup's failure.

A Great King rules the many towns and villages of the derhii and has about as much power as they can convince their vassals to give them. Not usually a lot in these times of relative peace. The undine settlements have a democracy but not all votes are equal; those with important jobs or heads of families can have as many as a hundred votes, which creates a certain social inertia. Some younger undines choose to make their way in the world outside the rigid confines of their settlements, and unbound vampires must stay outside if they want to stay that way.


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Let's get back on track.
Today we'll look at the Pixies of Faron!

The pixies "in their own tongue they call themselves - the Umvir'ulum'nat -, so for brevitys sake I'll stick to 'pixies'" on Faron are a rare breed, as they are the only known race to have spread out from their ancestral homes to inhabit the entire world of Faron. There's is no peak, no valley, no forest, nor any swamp that's not host to at least a small population of pixies, as there seems to be a particular strong connection to Faron's unteamed wilds.
While the pixies are very concerned with maintaining the health of Faron's wilderness, they are also often found at its forefront, reclaiming lost territory, so to speak. They will actively seek out ruins, abandoned village or forgotten shrines and attempt to reincorporate the "man-made" structures into prestine nature again. As such, they are often looked upon by the other civilized races, as the great re-cyclers of Faron turning the detritus of fallen civilizations into new raw materials for civilizations to come.
This tendency to tear down any "man-made" constructs to make way for nature, does make some of the other races see them as pest to be exterminated, but luckily all but the most zealous of the pixies have enough presence of mind to let structures inhabited by other beings alone. Thus relations between the pixies and the other races on Faron are mostly peaceful, though " - the Tharr - or Ettercaps in the tongue of that disturbing race" are known to hunt pixies for their alchemically potent fairy-dust, and particularly vile members of that race are also known to simply hunt or trap the fairies for mindless sport.

Many of their intelligent neighbors often express bafflement at the fact that pixie society actually seem to function on a everyday basis. There's little in the way of hierarchy in the average pixie commune, with the largest exception being an elected war-leader "or - the Krath - as their are known in the pixie tongue" in times of crisis, and " - the Ses'hume'tar or 'the keeper of the grove' I belive - who guards the pixies burial grounds and communes with the remnants of the pixies that came before".
Everyday tasks are done by those pixies who are closet at hand, feel for that particular task that particular day, or seeks to explore that particular skill to better his/her mastery of it. Thus most communes consist mostly of jacks-of-all-trades, with very few true specialists. Those specialties are often linked to the few constants in pixie society, which is the reverence and occasional worship of nature, keeping the traditions, history and ancestors of the commune and securing it future existence from outsiders.

Pixies aren't very religious beings, showing their spirituality through daily reverence of nature and their ancestors, with them only rarely offering up any prayers in the traditional sense. Though some prayers of thanks are offered up on special occasions, these are often communal affairs with the whole commune gathered together during the observance of a specific semi-religious event.
As a whole, the pixies seem rather resistant the large scale proselytising by most missionaries, with only a few showing more then a passing interest in any of the tall folks deities.


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1d100 ⇒ 98 = Rogue Modron
1d100 ⇒ 76 = Shae
1d100 ⇒ 89 = Goliath
1d100 ⇒ 12 = Tieflings
1d100 ⇒ 90 = Dragonborn
Since most of those are human-based(i.e descended from humans), I'll toss humans in as a GM-approved only race/pre-historic race.
And I'll work on that later...


Mort, cover turtle, some good stuff right there...


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The Spire:
It floats in nothing. No stars, no lights in the sky, nothing. There is a void. And the Spire is everything and all things.
The Spire is enormous, approximately 1000 miles tall. The base of the spire is 200 miles across, and the top is 6 miles wide. Around the base of the spire is a mile wide patio, encircling the round structure, it is accessible through a pair of half-mile high doors. Upon its many floors, of which there are over 900, live many creatures, each floor housing denizens more deadly than the last.
There are many speculations as to the origin of the spire, but all agree on one thing: at the top of the tower lives the Humans, a race of scientists who are more deadly, and powerful than all of the creatures they have seemingly trapped in the spire. The first floor is the home to the “peoples” A group of four distinct humanoids, and their robot companions who gained free-will somewhere along the line.

more flavor text:

The most populous race is of course the Shae These creatures of shadow and matter can phase through walls, and fight ghosts, and other incorporeal creatures, but to them light can not only be painful, but deadly. The Goliaths are a strong, proud, and gentle race, but their size tends to make others fear them, even though most of them have sworn off violence, preferring to talk out their differences. Dragonborn look like “Unshadowed” Shae and yet, share similar traits to the Dragons, a race of powerful beasts many, many, many floors above, spoken of in whispers and legends, and rarely will one visit a lower floor.
The Tieflings are a strange race, originally born from a combination of the three other humanoids. They adapted many traits from all of their progenitors, and yet they look like fiends, a group of mysterious outsiders who enjoy toying with the denizens of the Spire. This aesthetic has earned them mostly bias and hate from the other three races, though the Goliaths tend to be slow to judge.
In the earliest accounts of history, the Modron, cubes of odd materials, able to shift into other forms as they needed, were simple servants, who would perform tasks as they were commanded to, either by the “peoples” or by a strange coding placed in them, by what many presume where the Humans. Now, after centuries of repair, and receiving conflicting commands, about 78% of all Modron have lost all memories of their creators, and have gained free will. Most of them are content to remain servants, but now at the expense of those who would have them serve them. Some Modron are completely taken with a desire to know where they came from, and due to this, and the ease of repairs on their bodies, Modrons now make up a majority of those who proudly proclaim themselves to be Adventurers, a legally protected, and government sanctioned employment.
Adventurers enjoy the right to any spoil they find in the floors above, as well as access to cheap housing, which they only have to pay for in the months they return to the first floor for. Adventurers are those foolish, or brave enough to explore the floors above, and to figure out if there is anything else out there beyond the spire. You might think most people would go for that, but the sheer mortality rate of those in the occupation means most people prefer to work at other, less dangerous tasks, such as farming, or blacksmithing.

Shae:

Shae
-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Int
Weak, but nimble and sharp, Shae are the closest things to pure Humans, below the top floor.
Humanoids: Shae are humanoids
Dark-vision: Shae can see in the dark as well as a normal Human can see in bright daylight
Medium: Shae are medium creatures, and gain no size bonuses or penalties
Speed: 30 ft
Shade: Shae may enter a state of near-etherealness which give them a 50% hit chance on incorporeal creatures with non-magical weapons, which then increases to 75% hit chance with a magical weapon, furthermore, all non-magical attacks against them while they are in this state gain a 25% mischance. This state additionally allows them to pass through objects as per the Gaseous Form spell. A Shae may use this state a number of rounds per day equal to 3+their constitution bonus
Severe light-sensitivity: Low-light causes discomfort to Shae and bright light cause actual pain. Lowlight: mild discomfort (-1 to all d20 rolls), normal light, (-4 to all d20 rolls), bright light (1d4 points of damage a round, and -6 to all d20 rolls)
Languages, Shae start the game speaking common, and Shae with high intelligence may learn any language they could study
About 1% of all Shae are born “Unshadowed” and have the same racial traits as a standard human.

Goliath:

Goliaths
+4 Str, -2 Con, -2 Dex, +2 Cha
Strong due to their size, yet frail, and inflexible, Golaiths tend to be a jovial folk.
Humanoid: Goliaths are humanoids.
Large: Goliaths are large, and imposing, and gain a +1 to CMB and CMD, but take a -1 penalty to all attack rolls, and have a 10ft base reach.
Speed: 40ft
Diplomatic: Goliaths get a +2 to diplomacy, and it is always a class skill for them.
Large hands: Goliaths may use large, or huge weapons at no penalty. Medium or smaller weapons impossible for them to wield
Languages: Goliaths start speaking Terran, and Common. Goliaths with a high intelligence score may learn Draconic, Orc, Goblin, Dwarf, or Gnomish

Dragonborn:

Dragonborn
+2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Int, -2 Wis, -2 Cha
Though excellent physical and intellectual specimens, the dragon born can be prone to rages, and don’t generally get along well with others.
Humanoids: Dragonborn count as humanoids
Medium: Dragonborn are Medium creatures
Speed: 30 ft
Aspect of the dragon: Dragonborn are decended in part from dragons. While quite distant, some of the traits still linger to this day. Choose one of the following, this choice is made at first level, and cannot be changed after that:
Breath weapon: Most Dragonborn are born with the ability to breathe fire or cold (choose one, this choice cannot be changed after it has been made). This attack deals 1d4 points of damage per 4 HD of the Dragonborn, and comes out as a 20ft cone. It may be used once a day.
Horns: This Dragonborn is born with a natural gore attack. It deals 1d8 points of damage, and he is automatically proficient with it. He must however buy non-humanoid armor, in order to fit over it.
Claws: Some Dragon-born are born with large claws. These deal 1d6 points of damage each, and he may attack with both at no penalty. However, this dragonborn may never wield a different weapon one-handed.
Languages: Dragonborn begin play speaking common, and Draconic: a Dragonborn with a high intelligence may learn any language.

Tieflings:

Tieflings
+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, –2 Charisma: Tieflings are quick in body and mind, but are inherently strange and unnerving.
Humanoid: Tieflings are humanoids.
Medium: Tieflings are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed: Tieflings have a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision: Tieflings see in the dark for up to 60 feet.
Social skills: Tieflings gain a +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate, these skills are always class skills for them.
Spell-Like Ability: Tieflings can use darkness once per day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this ability equals the tiefling's class level.
Natural armor: Tieflings have a thick scale-like skin, which provides +1 natural armor, which stacks with normal armor.
Languages: Tieflings begin play speaking Common and either Draconic or Terran. Tieflings with high intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Orc, and Terran.

Modron:

Modron
Set stats: All Modron start with a Str 12, Dex 12, no Constitution, Int 13, Wis 10, and Cha 12
They receive 7 points with which to modify their numbers, this cannot be added to constitution
Constructs: Modrons are constructs
Speed: Modrons have a base speed of 30 ft, and a fly (hover) of 10 ft
Dark-vision: Modrons have dark-vision 60ft
Form one: Cube: in this form, Modrons may only pick up one item, and only an item made mostly of metal, however, they gain a +2 natural armor bonus and fast healing 1.
Form two: Humanoid: in this form, Modrons may lift and carry anything they could with their strength bonus. They may also wear armor in this form.
Hardy: Modrons gain +2 additional hit points per Hit dice
Languages: Modrons begin speaking common, and Modrons with high intelligences may learn any language.


So we have it on this page to refer to too, here's Mikaze's post kicking this off.

Here's the rules:

1. Roll a d100 five times, either with real dice or on Invisible Castle or some other dicerolling website if you wish to confirm your numbers here.

2. The corresponding numbers will show you the five races on the list that will be the player races for your setting. These five races are the only "default assumption" choices for your setting's player race options.

3. Write up a setting with those five races! It can be as simple or as highly developed as you want. From a few short paragraphs to an essay. The only requirement is that all five of your races must have a place in the setting. None of them can just be a footnote compared to the rest. You might want to consider the environment, how the races relate to each other, their origins, cultures, etc.

4. Assume that all of your races are "powered down" (or in rare cases, "powered up", so that they are balanced within reason. You can assume this works any number of ways, from the Savage Species route where races start weak "level up" as their race or that they're just watered down variants of those races.

5. If you get the same number more than once, you have two(or more) very different variants of that race, like the divide between elves and drow.

6. Individuals of all five races must be able to be in a party together.

7. Have FUN. Make it a world you would enjoy playing in or running. If you get a race you really don't like, put a new spin on them. You're not bound to flavor, alignment, aesthetics, or setting expectations save for what you want in your new setting. Make these races your own.

Who knows, you might have some new ideas you want to use in your games, or some that someone else may want to use!

1. Human
2. Elf
3. Dwarf
4. Half-Orc
5. Half-Elf
6. Halfling
7. Gnome
8. Orc
9. Goblin
10. Hobgoblin

11. Drow
12. Tiefling (humanoids with fiend ancestry)
13. Aasimar (humanoids with celestial ancestry)
14. Fetchling (humanoids with shae ancestry)
15. Ifrit (humanoids with efreet ancestry)
16. Undine (humanoids with marid ancestry)
17. Sylph (humanoids with djinn ancestry)
18. Oread (humanoids with shaitan ancestry)
19. Suli (humanoids with jann ancestry)
20. Dhampir (half-humanoid/half-vampire)

21. Changeling (hag-kin) (the children of humanoid males and hags)
22. Catfolk
23. Lizardfolk
24. Ratfolk
25. Vanara (monkey-folk)
26. Vishkanya (humanoids with slight snake-like features and poisonous blood)
27. Strix (black, avian humanoids with harpy-like builds)
28. Tengu
29. Merfolk
30. Gillmen

31. Duergar
32. Derro
33. Svirfneblin
34. Kitsune (shapechanging fox-folk)
35. Nagaji (reptilian humanoids originally created by the naga as a servant race)
36. Samsaran (reincarnated blue-skinned humanoids)
37. Wayang (gnome-like beings with roots in the Shadow Plane)
38. Grippli
39. Kobold
40. Ogre

41. Dryad
42. Satyr
43. Pixie
44. Nymph
45. Sprite
46. Forlarren (bipolar fey born from the unions of nymphs and fiends)
47. Nereid (aquatic nymph-like fey)
48. Nixie
49. Treant
50. Faun

51. Centaur
52. Harpy
53. Medusa
54. Naga
55. Gargoyle
56. Minotaur
57. Troll
58. Gnoll
59. Adlet (barbaric wolf-like humanoids)
60. Vegepygmy

61. Sahuagin
62. Cecaelia (merfolk-like humanoids, with octopus tentacles instead of a fish tail)
63. Grindylow (the goblin equivalent of Cecaelia)
64. Locathah
65. Derhii (winged, intelligent gorillas)
66. Girtablilu (centauroids with a scorpion-like lower half + claws)
67. Sasquatch
68. Tanuki (short raccoon-like humanoids)
69. Thriae (all female-race of bee people)
70. Spriggan

71. Dark Folk
72. Drider
73. Mongrelman
74. Serpentfolk
75. Ettercap
76. Shae (humanoids made of solid shadow)
77. Flumph
78. Vodyanoi (salamander-like humanoids)
79. Ghoul
80. Vampire

81. Gearman/Warforged (mechanical humanoids)
82. Changeling(doppleganger-kin) (descendants of humanoids and dopplegangers)
83. Shifter (descendants of humanoids and lycanthropes)
84. Uldra (small blue-skinned fey adapted for cold environments)
85. Darfellan (powerful humanoids with orca-like skin)
86. Asherati (desert-dwelling hairless elf-like beings capable of swimming through sand)
87. Illumian (human-like beings infused with sorcery with glowing sigils floating around their heads)
88. Raptoran (winged and taloned elf-like race)
89. Goliath (tall, strong humanoids with stony appearances and tough hides)
90. Dragonborn (draconic humanoids)

91. Aberration-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)
92. Construct-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)
93. Dragon-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)
94. Ooze-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)
95. Plant-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)
96. Thri-Kreen (four armed insectoid race)
97. Bariaur (centauroid with a mountain goat-like lower half)
98. Rogue Modron (free-willed box-like construct)
99. Mul (half-human/half-dwarf hybrid)
00. Pseudodragon

If you need more information on any of these races, just ask!

Credit where credit's due:

Spoiler:
This is based on one of my alltime favorite threads on /tg/ that I really didn't expect to be as cool as it was. Basically, there was a picture posted by the OP with a large number of varied races, each with a name and a number. The rules were pretty much the same as presented here. There were a lot of neat ideas shared, and a couple of campaigns actually kicked off because of it. Good times. And surprising given the nature of the picture.

The Exchange

What do pixies eat and without a proper hierarchical structure, how do they determine resource allocation?

I.e Pixie housing (do they even live in houses or do they live on leaves?) and food?

Liberty's Edge

Adding the Parapromo races on a 101-110:
1d110 ⇒ 9
1d110 ⇒ 60
1d110 ⇒ 80
1d110 ⇒ 80
1d110 ⇒ 17
1d110 ⇒ 17
1d110 ⇒ 65
1d110 ⇒ 14

Goblin
Vegepygmy
Vampire
Sylph
DerhiI
Fetchling
Got some neat ideas about these! (Goblin sylphs and fetchlings tbh)


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Dwarf, Undine, Gnoll, Cecaelia, Dark Folk.

Down in the valley
A dale carved by flame
Once climbed to the heavens
"Old Smoke" was its name.

But do you remember
That midnight sunrise?
Old troubles forgotten
With the mountain's demise

In our mountain of fire
We dwarves worked our art
Our gold and our rosewood
Were blasted apart

It tore through the woodlands
Like the baobabs were chaff
I heard the hyenas
Forget how to laugh

Down in the valley
Carved out by the core
The waters are rising
So swim for the shore.

Long ago, Smoke Mountain was one of the tallest and broadest mountains in the world. Within its peak dwelt the Miriqois Alliance, a confederacy of dwarven tribes specializing in woodworking, jewelry, and weaving whose works were world-renowned. Atop the mountain, scrubby prairies and woodlands of massive baobabs and rosewood trees stretched in all directions, providing ample lumber for the dwarves—and ample hunting grounds for a powerful nation of gnolls known as the Hackfields. The Hackfields arrived eager for their own share of the prosperity, and quickly began to launch deadly raids on dwarven lumberers when the dwarves proved reluctant to accept what lopsided deals were offered. Outraged, the dwarves threatened war, to which the gnolls eagerly responded, "Yeah, that's pretty much what we was goin' for."

But even as these clashes escalated, so did the fire. Long had the mountain released tall plumes of smoke—giving it its name—but nobody had ever expressed any concern over it. That was just Old Smoke's way. But one dark night, the mountain erupted in fire.

It is difficult to tell how many died in the eruption. The Miriqois Alliance was shattered, three of the seven clans being all-but obliterated when the entire peak of Old Smoke was blasted into nothingness. The gnolls fared little better—the Hackfields died by the thousands, as they fled within their great hollowed baobab trees only to be burned alive within.

Many years later, the caldera of Old Smoke has become the largest caldera lake in the world: The Boiling Sea, named for its scalding-hot depths. A massive, rotting log the size of a small castle floats close to the center of the Boiling Sea, with hundreds of little boats trailing behind it as it bobs on the surface of the lake. Nearby, the Ghost Crown rises high, the lake's only island—a craggy rock pillar with only light vegetation, as well as an almost comical number of ghosts crammed atop it. And around the lake climb the Mountain Edges, themselves now miniature mountains in their own right.

Dwarves: The original owners of the mountain, the remnants of the Miriqois Alliance now dwell within the mountains around the lake. Many continue their trades, often venturing out into the lake and venturing deep into the ruins to retrieve old treasures and recover forgotten techniques. They have devised "diving baskets"—enchanted reed submarines—which allow them to enter into the sunken ruins, some of which, on the edges of the lake, have not yet completely flooded. Several tribes are isolated on the far side of the lake, so it is often necessary to either trek through the Edges or cross by boat—and many old tunnels within the Mountain Edges are simply not safe anymore. Boiling Sea dwarves are more artistic and musical than others of their kind, and have no Charisma penalty, Hatred trait or weapon proficiencies.

Gnolls: The Hackfields, and their matriarchal Old Council, continue to claim that they have every right to take what they want...while living like termites inside a giant soggy floating log they call the Old Maid. Many of them have taken to longboats, and continue to raid sailing caravans. Others prefer to focus on looting the ruins, and many have put aside the old Hackfield and Miriqois grudge altogether, seeing it as a little bit petty in the face of everything. Boiling Sea gnolls tend to be a lot less violent in general, due to the collective species-wide trauma of the Midnight Sunrise, but they make up for it with a lot of obnoxious bravado, and will rarely admit they don't know how to do something.

Undines: The undines are an odd lot, to be sure—refugees from another world, many crossed over into the Material and found their way to one of the few great lakes that lacks any potentially fraught connections to the Plane of Water. The undines found great opportunity here, and have taught the dwarves and gnolls alike how to sail, but there are many who simply don't believe the undines belong here—especially, rather hypocritically, the gnolls, who often believe they deserve the lucrative boat-building jobs the undines have "taken" (the gnolls, if asked, tend to have no idea how boats work). For their part, Boiling Sea undines tend to stay carefully neutral in conflicts. They're just here to build boats. Those who go diving, however, find themselves extremely ill-at-ease, and refer to the Boiling Sea as "ghost waters". They miss home.

Cecaeliae: The cecaeliae are another recent arrival, though they came from underground rivers. They, like the undines, dislike the Boiling Sea, but claim to be "stuck"—the rivers don't flow both ways, it seems, and they don't want to go out to the oceans and end up even further from home. They don't seem too frustrated by it all, however, and are in fact exceedingly curious about the nature of the Boiling Sea. Sometimes dangerously so. It is said that one is more likely to see a dead cecaelia than a live one, and indeed, cecaeliae that die in their explorations of the sea's depths frequently float to the surface, while living cecaeliae tend to hide from large bands. They are very afraid of the Dark Folk—instinctively so.

Dark Folk: The mysterious inhabitants of the Ghost Crown once lived beneath Smoke Mountain, but when the mountain erupted, something forced them to the surface. Now they are trapped—they hate the sun, and fear the countless ghosts which they have at great cost warded from their caves, but dare not go deeper. They only occasionally deal with outsiders as a group, but many do venture out in small covered boats they call "shaded gondolas". Many dwarves and gnolls believe they know something about what caused the eruption, and they might be right. Boiling Sea dark folk are almost as twitchy as cecaeliae, constantly watching their backs, but quite experienced at handling undead. They universally lack shadows, and this is a very sensitive topic for them, though few now are old enough to remember why.

Yes, this is just the geography of Crater Lake except fantasy. I did not try to actually make a setting based on the mythology of Crater Lake, but I will note that it actually occupies a really huge role in a lot of Amerindian religious beliefs, so, that's pretty neat. Just not my lane. I see this as a sort of western-swashbuckling hybrid.


5d100 ⇒ (91, 71, 35, 25, 70) = 292
Aberration-based Humanoid, Dark Folk, Nagaji, Vanara, Spriggan.

Uuuugh I have to acknowledge nagaji and vanara exist. And I get Dark Folk again. Welp, rules are rules.


I used these rules on a lesser scale for the world I'm working on and came up with a pretty cool gothic nation run by vampires and their forlarren slaves, inhabited by roving bands of rebellious ratfolk, kitsune, and halfling laborers and traders: https://www.worldanvil.com/w/korthos-189birds/a/karine-article?preview=1

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ancestry 1: 1d100 ⇒ 99 Mul (Half-Dwarf)
Ancestry 2: 1d100 ⇒ 52 Harpy
Ancestry 3: 1d100 ⇒ 24 Ratfolk
Ancestry 4: 1d100 ⇒ 82 Changeling (Doppelganger-Kin)
Ancestry 5: 1d100 ⇒ 42 Satyr

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Mul (Half-Dwarf)

Harpy
Ratfolk
Changeling (Doppelganger-Kin)
Satyr

So let's think about this:

Harpies and Satyrs use other species as their "other gender", changelings are the union of shapeshifting doppelgangers and humans, muls are half-human and half dwarven. Basically by inference humans should exist in this setting.

And yet... and yet...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Known World

History:

Spoiler:

The True Empire of Humanity Ascendant once spanned the Known World, enemies of the True Empire fell to grand armies. There was for a time peace across the world. No... not peace. Quiet. Quiet enforced by the armies and mages of the True Empire of Humanity Ascendant.

The power of the Empire came from one thing, humanity's power to interbreed with Elves, Dwarves and Orcs. The Empire's policy of integration ultimately results in Eugenocide. Slow-breeding Elves and Dwarves eventually mean an end to Elves and Dwarves, leaving only half-elves (Faen) and half-dwarves (Muls). History is quiet on the fate of orcs, but history is sometimes left unwritten to protect the victors.

However, humanity's victories were not total, in the deep forests where armies could not hope to march Satyr groves remained well hidden with the bacchanalian satyrs leaving only to invite the most beautiful and fun-loving humans to return to their endless parties. In the few instances where the Empire tried to burn their way into the groves, Satyr Druids (known among their people as Party Poopers) were more than a match for the Empire.

In the highest mountains, and on hostile islands, protected by rocky waters there exist Harpy nests. Officially declared enemies of the Empire for their ability to sing whole armies or ships to their doom, their ability to fly protected them from the worst of the Empire's wrath. However, harpies were always forced into proximity with the Empire in order to survive as a people harpies needed mates after all. The relationship between the peoples was always a complicated one.

Living inside the Empire were doppelgangers, invisible, unknown and complicit. Doppelgangers could easily pass among the Empire, and by hiding amongst humanity was able to avoid Imperial control. However, by passing doppelgangers were complicit in the crimes of the Empire. Occasionally doppelgangers would interbreed with humans producing Changelings, often these shapeshifting children were left to die in the wild or gutters (sometimes to be adopted by Satyrs, Ratfolk and Harpies). Sometimes they would be protected by their parents, using their powers to hold one human appearance, hiding an aspect of themselves to avoid the eye of the Empire.

Where humanity brought civilization, somehow the Ratfolk would always spring up. Cleaning the gutters, nesting in sewers. Ratfolk always exist in the peripheries of cities and towns. Officially Ratfolk were not part of the Empire, were not considered... people. Unofficially, Ratfolk were too difficult to exterminate, breeding quickly and in great numbers, and provided valuable service. Without needing payment Ratfolk would take the junk, the piss, the waste humanity would throw away and find use for it. The ratfolk underclass existed throughout the life of the empire.

It was ultimately the Ratfolk who brought an end to the Empire and to humanity. The Shallow Plague began in the Imperial capital of Urzensted, it spread quickly through the streets of the city, ratfolk carried the disease they were immune to, and as humans fled the city the plague spread. The speed of incubation, virulence and deadliness meant that there would never be enough clerics to stop the disease in time before it could spread. It took a single generation for the most powerful empire the Known World had ever seen to leave behind only city-sized open necropoli.


Now:
Spoiler:

The Muls' inherited dwarven resistance to disease, allowed them to become the heritor of humanity. The muls were able to pick up some of the pieces. However, they lacked the numbers that humanity once wielded like a club across the world, and many Muls lacked the will to do so. Humans had committed many sins to take and hold their power. Many Muls returned to old Dwarven holdings to reclaim what was thought to be a more noble heritage.

Changelings survived the plagues as well, their innate adaptability allowing them to survive the plague. There is little reason to hide their true face without a watchful humanity, and changelings live amongst the ruins or build small villages adjacent to the empty cities picking what useful magic items that were left behind by their dead progenitors. Doppelgangers still live too, and would see their errant children as a new underclass for their own comfort, a fate the changelings would hope to avoid.

Harpies and Satyrs have dealt with the loss of humanity in profoundly different ways, though each know one terrible truth, without humanity each race is doomed within a generation. For the Satyrs this seems a somewhat distant problem, with lifespans that effectively span hundreds of years Satyrs have taken to the notion that his is "later Satyr's problem - let that guy deal with it".
Harpies on the other hand know that their lifespans do not reach so far, their doom shall come for them in a short generation. They wing across the world seeking a legendary hidden city of humanity, a seed for future generations of harpies. Their desperate search growing more and more frenzied with each passing year.

Ratfolk have rapidly become the most common ancestry across the face of the Known World. Ratfolk have scavenged across humanities most prosperous cities. Gaining the secrets of their most advanced magic. Within a generation Ratfolk have become the most advanced civilization across the Known World, their culture's obsession with hording that which they claim has given them a complex and occasionally antagonistic relationship with muls and changelings.

The Role of Adventurers

Spoiler:

This is a world of Ruin, 25 years after a biological apocalypse. For some these will be the last days for their people unless they can find answers in lost human magic. For others a chance to begin a new legacy informed by the wisdom of civilizations lost to humanity's greed and lust for power. Adventurers might be searching for lost pockets of humanity, either to save Harpy and Satyrkind or to end humanity once and for all.

But mostly adventurers are scavengers, looking to find useful treasures in the vast cities filled with bodies and ghosts.


Any questions about pixies?
*Looks around*
Yes, the kitty down in the back.

Just a Mort wrote:

What do pixies eat and without a proper hierarchical structure, how do they determine resource allocation?

I.e Pixie housing (do they even live in houses or do they live on leaves?) and food?

Ahmm. Yes.

Pixies usually live in rather small communes, or small tribes in the case of particularly "primitive" pixies. This mean It its op to the individual family to secure the necessary daily sustenance, mostly by foraging the surrounding wilderness. Actual large scale farming, with its taming and "culturalization" of the land seem to trouble or make pixies uncomfortable, so its only practiced out of necessity, when the wilds can't support the pixie population.
Most of the items used in the day to day lives of the pixies are also made in the individual family home, as most pixies have some small experience in weaving, woodworking, foraging or even, though much more rarely, forging. Actually the "average" pixie commune is usually build around two communal "buildings", the Grove and the communal forge. Further in particular "advanced" pixie communities, particular gifted or skilled pixies are given some social clout for their expertise, which enables them to take the place of mentors of their crafts for other pixies, while this role often falls to family members in more traditional communities.
The strong sense of kinship and community among pixies means that "resource allocation" is usually based on a "Need" basis. Individual families usually come to each other aid if a particular family is suffering from some kind of hardship, be it disease, death or simply a long string of bad luck hunting. This though does not extent to the few pixies who would take advantage of their neighbor generosity. These pixies quickly find themselves ostracize from the community, left to fend for themselves.

Did I miss anything?

Oh yes pixie homes...
There are a variety of styles of pixie homes, with the overarching commonality being that they are all "natural". A hollow tree-stump, an animal burrow or a small crevasse are all possible basises of a pixie homes. These are then with delicate tool use, grown naturally or through the application of magic shaped into the desired shape, form and function, to fit that particular pixie or pixie family.


5d100 ⇒ (69, 9, 82, 73, 65) = 298
9. Goblin
65. Derhii (winged, intelligent gorillas)
73. Mongrelman
82. Changeling(doppleganger-kin) (descendants of humanoids and dopplegangers)
69. Thriae (all female-race of bee people)

As much as I'd love to include changelings, they just don't work in this line-up. They can't change size or copy extraordinary abilities, so they'd only really be able to disguise themselves as mongrelmen.

1d100 ⇒ 92
92. Construct-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)

Okay I'll give this some thought and see if I can reverse the atrophying of my writing muscles.


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Vutava wrote:

5d100

9. Goblin
65. Derhii (winged, intelligent gorillas)
73. Mongrelman
82. Changeling(doppleganger-kin) (descendants of humanoids and dopplegangers)
69. Thriae (all female-race of bee people)

As much as I'd love to include changelings, they just don't work in this line-up. They can't change size or copy extraordinary abilities, so they'd only really be able to disguise themselves as mongrelmen.

1d100
92. Construct-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)

Okay I'll give this some thought and see if I can reverse the atrophying of my writing muscles.

In the beginning, all of creation was spoken into existence, and once it was ready, the derhii were given dominion over all of Amesema. At least, that’s what the derhii say.

For centuries, the Derhii Empire was the undisputed power of Amesema. The thriae hid in their southern hive-cities, the goblins were frequently culled to manage their numbers, and the derhii even created their own servitor race, the mongrelmen, from the primitive humanoids of the wilds.

All of this changed when derhii explorers found a massive machine of unknown origin beneath the eastern badlands. While attempting to divine its function, the machine was activated. A slender humanoid construct of alien design emerged.

The explorers interrogated the construct and learned that it called itself a vox. Already unnerved by a being whose name translated to “voice”, the derhii grew even more concerned when another vox exited the machine the next day. Any attempts to interfere with the machine caused the vox to become hostile, and they were formidable enough for the explorers to send a messenger back to civilization to summon military aid. By the time help arrived, however, one vox had already snuck into a hidden chamber and awakened a number of pre-existing but dormant vox. When the derhii military tried to retake the chamber of the machine, the vox took it as a declaration of war. The derhii were unprepared for the merciless efficiency of the vox warriors revived from storage, and were pushed back.

The derhii eventually managed to establish supply lines and stop the machines’ advance, but failed to make any headway. The vox were simply too good at repairing their fallen, as well as displaying the same level of magical aptitude as any organic race. What had been intended as a quick mopping-up had spiraled into full-scale war.

As the war dragged on, the derhii were forced to devote more and more of their resources to the war effort. This, ultimately, proved to be their downfall. No longer deterred by the decreasing patrols, the goblins grew bolder, raiding with near impunity. The mongrelmen saw for the first time that their masters were not the mighty beings wielding divine authority that they had claimed to be, and rose up to claim their independence. The derhii could do nothing to stop them. The final straw came when the Empire’s provinces, overtaxed to feed the front lines, deprived of their mongrelman workers, and being left almost entirely unprotected, revolted. The Empire fractured and the remaining Imperials were forced to sue for peace.

In the aftermath, the vox laid claim to the badlands and the caverns beneath, sending out the occasional explorers and diplomats, the scattered goblin tribes enjoy the greatest freedom they’ve had in centuries, the free mongrelmen struggle to build a society they can call their own, the fractured derhii states grasp tightly to what power they have left, and the thriae have begun to expand into the lands the derhii can no longer hold. This new balance of power is precarious. With the barest nudge it could tip, and who knows what might come next?


I'll add more later, but I thought it'd be best to get what I have managed so far up in a reasonable* time frame.

There's a fair bit that would be a lot easier if all my RPG books weren't in storage right now.

*For a given value of "reasonable"


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completely coincidental wrote:

...

My initial thoughts: a very "vertical" setting, with a maze of underground chambers beneath a vast city of massive cathedral-like structures that were abandoned long ago by their mysterious creators. The drow and dwarves generally live underground, the gargoyles and sylphs inhabit the high structures and the ifrit are at home in both areas, perhaps acting as messengers and heralds between the other groups.

For some reason (perhaps the visual imagery) I thought it would be fun to introduce this setting with the trailer for an over-the-top blockbuster movie. The special effects may be ground-breaking, but the plot probably won’t win any awards…

Spoilered for unnecessary length:
The opening shot shows us the city from a high vantage point. It’s a closely packed, irregular collection of stone buildings like castle towers and cathedrals, but far taller and more spindly than any structures could feasibly be without the support of magic or mysterious technology. The buildings are linked by narrow bridges at dizzying heights.

The camera zooms in to one of the buildings. A gargoyle sits motionless on a ledge near the roof. As the camera continues to zoom in, the gargoyle mystic turns their head suddenly as if listening to something, then scampers along the ledge, through an open arched window and into a cluttered office. The gargoyle mystic picks up a speaking tube and starts turning a crank.

The camera’s viewpoint moves rapidly, as if running parallel to the gargoyle mystic’s call, rushing down spiral staircases and shafts, slowing briefly as it passes through an arched doorway into the sunlight at ground level, and then picking up speed again as it travels down a flight of stone steps into a deep maze of underground tunnels. It arrives at a huge cavern containing a crowded technological marketplace, lit by suspended radiant gemstones of many colours.

Then the camera moves towards an open doorway on a gallery level. Through the doorway is a workshop containing several tables covered with clockwork devices and miniature steam-powered machines. A man with dark purple skin, pointed ears and smoothly tied-back silver hair is standing near a wall. He’s dressed in a high-collared white shirt and dark trousers. He’s listening to the horn of a speaking tube. “And what does this have to do with me?” the drow gadgeteer says into the tube, then listens again for a few moments. “Oh.”

Cut to: A small, sunlit cobbled square has been cordoned off with blue rope. A man with flame-coloured hair and small horns is standing near the rope. He’s wearing a creased, tan-coloured coat. He watches as two other people, also with flame-coloured hair but much more neatly dressed in blue uniforms, use a stretcher to carry away a body covered by a sheet.

“Witnesses say he was killed by a machine like one of your hat-drones,” says the ifrit detective to the drow gadgeteer, who has now added a long black coat, a top hat and dark glasses to his outfit.

A short, stocky, casually dressed woman with long blonde hair ducks under the cordon and runs towards the ifrit detective. “Was he carrying anything?” asks the dwarf professor. “He was donating a book from Before to our library.”

Cut to: The gargoyle mystic sits on another ledge, high above the the city. Nearby, a dark-skinned woman with blue hair is hovering in the air. This sylph soldier is wearing a blue and white military uniform and is scanning the horizon through a pair of binoculars. “I’ve heard that you can physically sense threats to the city,” the sylph soldier says without turning to look at the gargoyle mystic. “Approaching danger feels like a subtle tremor. Is that true?”

An unseen force knocks the gargoyle mystic over and then sweeps them sideways off the ledge. The gargoyle mystic ends up clinging to the ledge, beating their wings to stay in place. The sylph soldier continues to look through the binoculars, unaware of what has happened.

Cut to: an office containing a large desk and matching chairs in the shape of carved wooden furniture, but all made from dark metal. A woman stands behind the desk - she has flame-coloured hair and horns, and she is dressed in a high-collared gray gown. She is frowning at the dwarf professor and the drow gadgeteer, who are standing on the other side of the desk. “This is now a matter of the security of the city. Civilians have no place in this investigation. Is that understood?”

“Absolutely, ma’am,” says the drow gadgeteer.

“Of course,” says the dwarf professor.

Cut to: the dwarf professor and the drow gadgeteer standing in a dimly lit tunnel. The drow gadgeteer is turning the gears of a complex clockwork lock set into a hexagonal recess in the wall. Another part of the wall slides back and then sideways. Beyond the new doorway is a much larger set of gears in a roughly hexagonal shape. The bronze-coloured metal is covered with arcane-looking symbols.

“It’s a sixth gateway,” whispers the dwarf professor. “And there’s no dust. What would anyone be using this for?”

“To bring something back from Outside?” suggests the drow gadgeteer.

“It looks as though someone is going to have to go through and find out.”

Cut to: The sylph soldier is hovering above turquoise grass that is undulating like the surface of an ocean. A tree branch whips past her face, trailing a miniature cloud that then wraps around the barrel of her rifle, twisting it out of shape. The sylph soldier drops the rifle and smoothly draws a military sabre. The drow gadgeteer is standing on the unsteady ground nearby. He has taken off his top hat and is pulling flat metal bars out from a pocket in its lining. He tosses them into the air and they unfold into contraptions of rotors and blades that fly around the dwarf professor to protect her as she begins chanting words from a metal-bound book. The ifrit detective takes a swig from a hip-flask, sighs, then raises his hands, palms outwards. As a large bird-shaped flying tree swoops towards him, fire begins to form around the ifrit detective’s hands.

The camera moves back, and the battle scene is framed by a jagged shape cut into a dark wall. In front of the scene appears a silhouetted figure with one pointed ear, one enormous tattered bat’s wing attached to its left shoulder, and a mass of tentacles where its right hand should be.

“Keep fighting, little heroes, if you want to,” says the silhouette in a voice that switches from low-pitched to high and back again. “But your city is lost, and two of you have already been infected by the Shaping.”

Cut to the title:
UNSHAPED CITY

Cut to: The gargoyle mystic is standing at the end of a cliff with a rope tied around their waist. Some distance down the cliff-face, the ifrit detective is climbing the rope. The drow gadgeteer is further down the rope and the dwarf professor is at the end of the rope. The sylph soldier hovers nearby on watch.

“This seems like the moment when someone will mention a fear of heights,” says the dwarf professor.

“If you don’t,” replies the drow gadgeteer, “then I won’t make any remarks about how things could be worse.”

The camera moves back to the gargoyle mystic, and we see that a large crevasse has opened behind them and is continuing to widen. Sparking purple flames rise from the darkness. Fade to black.


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This isn’t a particularly original setting, but it seems reasonably easy to explain:

  • The city of immensely tall cathedral-like structures and deep, spiralling underground tunnels was built by a civilisation destroyed centuries ago by a magical catastrophe. Now, no one knows whether the disaster was caused by war, a vast accident or something else. The surrounding landscape was warped and continues to be reshaped violently, but the city was warded - this was enough to save the structures and just five of the many races who lived inside them.
  • The elemental natures of the sylphs, ifrits and gargoyles perhaps protected them, and some dwarves and drow were deep enough underground at the time of the disaster to be shielded from the magical energies. These five races now consider themselves to be a united citizenry.
  • The dwarves are thought of as engineers, recorders of knowledge and researchers trying to reconstruct the history of the civilisation from before the catastrophe. (Common PC classes: wizard, bard)
  • The drow are thought of as inventors and innovators. They’re responsible for complex clockwork machines and other ingenious solutions to the problems that face the modern city. There’s no suggestion in this setting that drow were ever typically evil, although nothing is known about what their society was like before the disaster. Some dwarven historians believe there is linguistic evidence that there once were variant drow adapted to life on the surface. (Common PC classes: rogue, alchemist)
  • The sylphs are thought of as natural sentries and soldiers. They typically live high in the city and can easily watch over the warped landscape for approaching danger. (Common PC classes: swashbuckler, aerokineticist)
  • The gargoyles are thought of as the most naturally magical of the citizens, with an intuitive connection to the power that still wards the city. (Common PC classes: oracle, psychic)
  • Many drow and dwarves dislike heights, while many sylphs and gargoyles dislike being underground. For this reason, the ifrits played a vital role in coordination and negotiations among the survivors during the first few years after the disaster. They still perform much of the leadership, administration and law enforcement, even though many of them don’t feel temperamentally well-suited to these tasks. (Common PC classes: paladin, ranger with a favored terrain of urban)
  • However, individuals from all the races can take on any role. (And in practice, a large proportion of the populace is kept busy supplying food for the city from the giant underground mushroom farms, the small amount of arable land inside the city boundaries and the many rooftop gardens.)
  • The most common alignments for the citizens are lawful good and lawful neutral. There’s a strong sense among the populace that they have to work together to survive. Antagonists in this setting are likely to be devious criminals, corrupt politicians or people secretly trying to discover how to gain control of some of the magic that is still altering the landscape and the creatures outside the city.


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And here’s my attempt at creating a variant gargoyle that’s a playable race at a roughly similar power level to drow, dwarves, ifrits and sylphs. Civic gargoyles are notably slower than standard gargoyles and have no natural attacks.

CIVIC GARGOYLE RACIAL TRAITS
+2 Strength, +2 Wisdom, -2 Dexterity: Civic gargoyles are strong and insightful but not particularly agile.
Monstrous humanoid: Civic gargoyles are monstrous humanoids.
Medium: Civic gargoyles are Medium creatures and receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal speed: Civic gargoyles have a base speed of 30 feet. They also have a fly speed of 30 feet (clumsy).
Darkvision: Civic gargoyles can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Armor: Civic gargoyles have a +1 natural armor bonus.
Camouflage: Civic gargoyles gain a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks in urban environments.
Languages: Civic gargoyles begin play speaking Common and Terran. Civic gargoyles with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Auran, Dwarven, Elven, Ignan and Undercommon.


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Creatures: 5d100 ⇒ (77, 17, 15, 12, 96) = 217
77. Flumph
17. Sylph
15. Ifrit
12. Teifling
96. Thri-keen

Hell yawned forth and spewed forth it's cruel breath and inhabitants upon the unsuspecting world. The vile burning winds spread across the planet leaving its surface barren everywhere it touched. The original inhabitants plead the divine for rescue from the devils. Unable to stop the armies, the gods blessed individuals with fire to withstand the heat of the scorched lands and became the Ifrit, wind to escape to the skies above in flying cities and became the Sylphs, or gave them tough exoskeletons and tough claws to escape below the surface to the cooler and easier to defend underground which became the The-keen. Unfortunately many more were captured by the devils and experimented upon to create the Teifling as a race of slaves and soldiers.

The overwhelming aura of evil from the planet attracted a race from the deep reaches of the dark tapestry. Mercifully the race that noticed it was the Flumph that reacted by quickly masking the aura from the rest of the tapestries inhabitants and sending an army on a one way trip as the masking process would cause even themselves to lose the location of the planet and never be able to find their way back. This army descended upon the planet and with the aid of a slave rebellion in the capital surrounding the Hellmouth the portal was destroyed and preventing the devils from receiving reinforcements.

This served as a rallying point and the mixed armies of the modified races united under the Flumph's banner and began to take back their world. However, the devils conspire to reopen the portal and crush the new allience.


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Amesema Supplemental: Vox

Spoiler:
First, there was the Source Forge. Then, the Chamber of Rebirth was made and an army of vox shells were constructed and placed there in preparation for the future. Finally, the Forge slept.

An unknown time passed before the Forge was re-awoken by a group of organic creatures. The Forge began repairing the sleepers in the Chamber of Rebirth, then built a vox shell and imbued it with the spark of life before releasing it to interact with the organics. The organics did not allow the vox to report its findings to the Forge, so the Forge built another. This pattern continued until a vox managed to inform the Forge that the Time of Awakening was at hand. The sleepers were given life and the organic interlopers were driven out. The organics continued to fight and tried many times to retake the Forge. Eventually, they gave up, and the vox were left in peace.
--Glyph, vox teacher-of-the-new

Composed entirely of metal and synthetic materials, the average vox looks like a tall, slender humanoid with “skin” of intricate, interlocking plates of silvery metal. Their legs are digitigrade, but can maintain a plantigrade stance when more stability is required. They have two pairs of arms: The upper pair are strong, but lack finesse, and end in three fingers and an opposable thumb; the lower pair are short and thin, far less powerful but far more dextrous, and end in five fingers and an opposable thumb. At rest, the lower pair are kept folded at the vox’ sides. The head of a vox shell is dominated by a large central eye, flanked by a ring of three smaller eyes in an inverted triangle formation. No other sensory mechanisms are visible, though vox have all of the same senses as organics (albeit biased towards the vox’ needs). A vox consumes fuel through an opening chamber within its abdomen. Though normal organic material can be used, most vox vastly prefer more efficient sources.

(Though the above describes the most common appearance, the Forge sometimes produces more specialized shells with differing characteristics.)

Each vox shell holds a spherical container in its chest, which anchors the soul gifted to it by the Source Forge. When a vox is destroyed, its soul departs for the afterlife. A broken shell can be repaired by interment in a pod in the Chamber of Rebirth. If resurrection magic is used, the soul might return; if not, the shell is given a new one by the Forge.

Though entirely artificial in body, the possession of a mortal soul allows a vox to learn almost any form of magic an organic creature might use. The use of magic by the vox was one of the leading factors that prolonged the Vox-Derhii War beyond the derhii’s expectations.

Vox adventurers tend to be either individuals sent out by the Vox Nation for diplomatic or exploratory reasons, or those who simply wish to experience the wider world for themselves.

Liberty's Edge

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Here is some details on a world which I worked up a couple months ago. I was unable to roll online at the time, unfortunately.

Jendelish Expanse:

The Jendelish Expanse is a large series of jungles, swamps, forests, and plains situated around the Bay of Jendel. They are bordered on one side by the Stormshield Mountains to the North and West, and the Sea of Winds to the East and South. The Bay of Jendel itself is separated into two major regions, divided by the depth of the bay. The majority of the Bay is called The Shallows, which only ever gets to be about twenty or thirty feet deep, and has numerous reefs and fisheries. Meanwhile, the Deepwaters can get up to a mile deep at its deepest, and is avoided by most. Located at the point where numerous tempests come out of the Sea of Winds, and with the massive Stormshields preventing the storms from going past them, the land of the Jendelish Expanse has countless rivers and streams, and additionally contains numerous lakes and ponds. The jungles and plains of the region are thus quite lush, allowing for vast biodiversity. While there are plenty of the typical inhabitants of such regions, such as monkeys, birds, snakes, and other mammals and reptiles, there are also ancient beasts roaming the region. These dinosaurs have been mostly driven out of other portions of the world, but thrive in this cut-off region of the world. Forming the Eastern side of the Bay of Jendel is the Vinardin Peninsula, and the Island of Aikintuk is positioned at the mouth of the Bay of Jendel, almost entirely separating it from the ocean. This island is surrounded almost entirely be sea cliffs, with very few ways to get to the grasslands and mountains above. The only other major island in the region is the Isle of Fire, which is located to the southeast of the Vinardin. This small area of land is covered in swamps and jungles, but the major threats of the Isle are the pair of extremely active twin volcanoes at either end of the island. The other notable geographical features of the region are the Trench of Aguz, which separated Aikintuk from the Vinardin and connected the Deepwaters of the Bay of Jendel to the open ocean, and the Wyvern Pass, which is the only ‘safe’ passage through the Stormshields.

The Jendelish Expanse has had three major migrations of peoples into the region, but there were two races that are native to the region. The elder of these are the Vindar Dryads, who have lived in the jungles and forests of the region for longer than any other people can remember. They originated on the Vindarin Peninsula, and it is from them that it is named, before spreading out throughout the region. They are unique from other Dryads, in that they do not need to bond themselves to a singular, massive tree. Instead, they can bond themselves to either an entire forest, which allows them to travel anywhere within that forest, or they can bond to a species of miniature trees, which they can absorb into their bodies. Those that choose the second option can travel anywhere, so long as they can occasionally bring out the tree and allow it to root itself for a day or two. They settled countless small villages across the region, with a couple of small towns and cities scattered around near rivers and lakes. These were made to have as little impact on the jungles and forests as possible, with the buildings being ‘built’ through magical means, by shaping the trees and other vegetation into the needed forms. The largest of these also happened to be the oldest, and as such are on or near the Vindarin Peninsula.

While the Vindar Dryads were spreading across the land of the Jendelish Expanse, they had no interest in the Bay of Jendel itself. In fact, they had no specific name for it, simply lumping it and Sea of Winds into ‘The Waves’. At some point however, they came into contact with the Cecaelia, a race of semi-humanoids from beneath the waves. Their upper bodies were markedly similar to those of the Dryads, excepting that they were completely hairless. However, from the waist down they possessed the tentacles of an octopus instead of legs. They are able to breathe air and move about on land but are much more comfortable beneath the waves of their homeland. They are a simple people, farming large seaweed fields and fishing in the bountiful fisheries of The Shallows. They founded several villages and towns, always positioning them near to the many reefs of the region. The buildings themselves were grown out of the coral, which slowly expanded the reefs to surround the communities. They typically build their communities in faint spiral patterns, with low dome buildings occasionally separated by seaweed fields or giant seahorse pens.

These two races got along peacefully, since neither of them particularly had anything the other wanted. They would occasionally aid each other against monster incursions or help each other rebuild after particularly bad storms. However, sometime between 500 and 600 years after the two races first met each other the first of the major migrations into the Jendelish Expanse occurred. Coming in from the southwest, a large band of individuals from a new race contacted first the Cecaelia and then the Dryads. They were claiming to be fleeing from persecution from a fish-like race, called the Sahuagin, that had driven them to near extinction. With only 3-4000 of them remaining, they said that they were all that remained. Calling themselves the Darfellan, they resembled a race of humanoid orcas, with large, tooth-filled mouths, black and white patterned skin, and webbed feet. They requested safety, as well as a new place to live. Both the Dryads and the Cecaelia agreed to help fend off the Sahuagin if they came into the region, but neither wished to give up any of their land to the Darfellan. Eventually, they agreed to let them live on the island at the mouth of the Bay, which the Darfellan named Aikintuk, which in their language meant ‘New Home’. Settling themselves into cave systems along the sea cliffs, they built defensible towns and villages into protected coves and above wide beaches. When the Sahuagin eventually did attack several years later, the three races managed to easily defeat them. However, the fish-race simply retreated to the deeper waters of the open ocean, as well as the Deepwaters. They still attack every couple of years, but most of these are small raids, nothing compared to their initial invasion.

This balance of power lasted for the next 250-300 years, at which time the next major migration into the region occurred. Coming in from the northeast, a massive number of insectile beings poured into the region from around the Stormshields. Numbering in the dozens of thousands, they resembled roughly humanoid ants, with a hard-shelled exoskeleton, four arms, and large compound eyes. They called themselves Thri-Kreen, and spoke little of why they had come here, other than that they were now free from their previous masters. They wished to know if they could settle any of the surrounding regions. The Dryads eventually consented to them settling in the plains to the north of the Vindarin Peninsula, with the requirement that they help defend against incursions of either the Sauhuagin or other beasts from the north. The Thri-Kreen agreed to these conditions, and additionally thanked the Vindar Dryads. They promptly set to work building cities and villages across the plains, creating large cities that existed just as much above the ground as under it. With a natural skill at building, they constructed tall spires, large halls, and smaller buildings with equal speed. Once they finished construction on all of their communities, they connected them through a vast network of roads. They then began farming the land surrounding their many settlements, and even managed to domesticate several of the large dinosaurs that roamed the plains around them. They managed to grow more than enough food for themselves, and began exporting their excess food to the other races. However, their population eventually had grown to be too much for the small amount of land they were currently on. Noticing this, the Dryads decided to permit them to live on the plains that make up the western coast of the Vindarin Peninsula. Additionally, the Darfellan allowed them to live on the grasslands above the sea-cliffs in which they resided. The Thri-Kreen gratefully accepted these gifts and began spreading southwards. As they spread, so did their system of roads. Eventually, they even built a massive bridge across the Trench of Aguz, linking Vindarin and Aikintuk. This system of roads expanded trade through the Jendelish Expanse.

Finally, roughly 200 years after the arrival of the Thri-Kreen, the final major migration into the Jendelish Expanse occurred. Moving in through the Wyvern Pass came a force of new humanoids, with serpentine heads, scale-covered bodies, and long sinuous tails. Calling themselves Serpentfolk, they claimed to have been pushed out of their homeland by a different race, which they left unnamed. They then promptly laid claim to the western plains of the Expanse, those abutting the Stormshields. For the following 57 years, they seemed to be content with building up their new homeland there, which they named the Sessana Empire. They mined stone from the nearby mountains, creating massive ziggurats in the center of each of their settlements. Seeing as how they were so far away from the centers of civilization in the region, the other races did not see them as a threat. However, after this time passed, the Sessana Empire declared itself the new ruler of the entirety of the Jendelish Expanse, before proceeding to send armies into the jungle. These mostly consisted of infantry, but were complemented with Megaraptor cavalry. Additionally, they had special airship brigades, consisting entirely of spellcasters. The Dryads on this side of the Bay of Jendel fell quickly, as they had few forces with which to repel the invaders. What few forces they did have were sent east, in order to rendezvous with the main armies of the other races. This lack of resistance allowed the Sessana armies to quickly conquer most of the lands the Dryads had held to the west of the Deepwaters. However, it had also made them feel overconfident. Gathering their armies, the other four races united together under a single banner, and called themselves the Jendelish Alliance. Once the armies of the other four races began to really fight back, the Sepentfolk found themselves hard-pressed to continue to advance.

The turning point occurred at the Battle of The Isanandran, which occurred at the river of the same name. Here, the major Serpentfolk force, consisting of roughly 70% of their infantry, 80% of their Megaraptor cavalry, and 90% of their airships came into contact with the main armies of the Jendelish Alliance. The Dryads supplied most of the combatants, with the majority of the infantry being Vindar. The Cecealia and Darfellan each supplied specialty forces units, being able to navigate through the rivers and streams to flank the Serpentfolks positions. As for the Thri-Kreen, they provided cavalry units to counteract those of the Sessana Empire. These consisted mostly of Pachycephalosaurus cavalry units, but they additionally brought in Pteranodon wings to combat the airships. Ambushing the Serpentfolk as they were crossing the river, the fight quickly fell against the Serpentfolk. They routed, fleeing the from the battlefield, which resulted in massive casualties on their side. The war continued in this fashion for several months, with the Sessana Empire losing battle after battle. However, this all changed with a sudden, massive invasion of Sahuagin, who began attacking both sides indiscriminately. With an army easily a hundred times as large as that which had attacked with over five centuries ago, the two sides of the war quickly forged a cease-fire to combat the new threat. With their two forces combined, they barely managed to repel the invasion, pushing the Sahuagin back to the Deepwaters. In doing so, they broke the resolve of the invaders, who fled down into the depths. This allowed the two sides to forge an actual peace. The Jendelish Alliance forced the Sessana Empire into a lasting peace treaty, at threat of potentially being forced from the Jendelish Expanse if they attacked any of the member races of the Jendelish Alliance. In return, they agreed to sign a mutual defense treaty, whether they be defending from Sahuagin raids or other invading forces. They also let the Sessana Empire have the region of the jungle that was on the southern peninsula, in order to quell any expansionist feelings that the Empire might feel in the future. They now exist in a precarious balance of power.


...performing necromancy yet again on this thread...

Race: 1d100 ⇒ 81 Mechanical Humanoids
Race: 1d100 ⇒ 15 Ifrit
Race: 1d100 ⇒ 67 Sasquatch
Race: 1d100 ⇒ 99 Half-Dwarves
Race: 1d100 ⇒ 45 Sprites

Interesting. Not entirely sure how this will work out, but I see a very mechanical realm, with a huge, magical forge. The Sasquatch and Sprites are serious twists, though. I should have something up by tomorrow.


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Ok, hopefully someone will see this:

Kharast:

Far up in the frozen north is a volcanic mountain range that runs east to west on each side of a long, hidden valley. This land is known as Kharast.

For millenia,the valley was a hidden place where the fey flourished in a beautiful forest. In the mountains were several mountain holds of the dwarves, and they maintained a strange peace with the sasquatches of the outer mountains, and a distance from the fey.

When men came, outcasts fleeing their war-torn lands to the south, things were likely to change - but only one man (a woman, actually) was the catalyst, as the men settled in the valley and befriended the fey there.

Malasindra was a sorceress of no mean talent, and ambition. Her first acts were welcomed by the dwarves, as she called upon ifrit to help with the forges, and the dwarves' labors bore fruit. With her help, the first of the brassmen were forged, and the mines all but exploded with high grade ores.

The efreet took notice. They took their time. When Malasindra was growing old, they came to her and slowly corrupted her, offering immortality. Malasindra became a lich. She opened a permenant gate to the plane of fire, and the great magma dragon Rokrash broke through.

The war was brutal, and both men and dwarves were decimated. Many of the fey went unseelie, but the sprites protected their forest from the cruel tyrant, and worked with the men living there. Dwarves and men held the final holds together, with help from the sasquatches who hated the sudden burning heat pouring up from several peaks, and the brassmen who had served loyally all of their existences.

The war was hundreds of years ago, but Malasindra still reigns, with Rokrash and a band of efreet assisting her. The men and dwarves are no longer individual races, as both came painfully close to extiction, but with help from the fey that were still allies, nature found a way. The sasquatch still help, and sprites have become solid allies, when they meet.


Oh my word! I forgot that this was a thread! Ack! I need to read this again!


Very LTTP on this one, but it looks like fun. My rolls are:

31. Duergar
62. Cecaelia
63. Grindilow
15. Ifrit
00. Pseudodragon

Not sure yet how pseudodragons are going to fit in, but the others seem to suggest an archipeligo of mountainous (possibly volcanic) islands in a warm shallow sea. I have a few thoughts, but it will be a while before I can sit down and force them into shape to type up (I am playing and GMing all day tomorrow, but hopefully I will have time after I get home on Monday).

_
glass.


DO EET!


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glass wrote:

31. Duergar

62. Cecaelia
63. Grindilow
15. Ifrit
00. Pseudodragon

With a flap of iridescent wings that were reminiscent of both reptiles and butterflies, the teacher alighted on her usual rock, and surveyed the betentacled humanoids splashing around in the tidal pools surrounding her. Despite being children, the cecaelia were already larger than her, while the few juvenile grindilow[1] in the class were around the same size. She clacked her stinger against the stone for attention, and spoke[2]."Gather round, children, it's time for your next lesson.

"As you may remember, earlier we spoke about the common peoples of the wider world; humans and elves dominate so many places, but as far as we know none have set foot in the Vuori Archipelago since the Elf Wars[3]. This afternoon, we will be looking a little closer to home, looking at the peoples of the Archipelago in a little more detail. The grindilow and cecaelia often live together, in towns such as this one. The cecaelia mainly range out to sea, hunting and farming amongst the kelp beds, while the smaller gindilow work inwards into the sea caves. The popuation balance of the two peoples within the towns and villages depends on the local resource balance."

She clacked her stinger again. "Stop that Terryn. You are distracting your classmates." She smiled at the look of chagrin on Terryn's face, and that of surprise on the other children's. "You are wondering how I knew? You forget, I am a dragon. I have senses that you do not." In truth, it had little to do with her draconic blindsense and much more to do with her many decades of teaching experience, but telling them that would not have regained the attention of the class so effectively.

She stood up on her rock, raising herself up to her full 15 inches. "That seems like and excellent point to segue into the discussion of my own people. There are those that call us pseudodragons, but like most of my people I prefer the term 'dragonet'. In addition senses we have already touched upon, we obviously have a rather different body plan - fewer tentacles, slightly more wings and stingers". She grinned, an incongruously cheerful grin given the sharp teeth on display, and gave each body part a flourish as she mentioned it, then sat back down on the rock and curled up in the sun.

[i]“We live pretty much everywhere, generally amongst the other peoples. In the towns of your people, the subterranean cities of Duergar, the mountaintop villages of the Sunsouls[4]. We often act as advisers, diplomats, and priests. And of course, teachers". She grinned again.

"Some choose to live alone in mountain caves or jungle clearings. These are often claim to feel a deeper connection to the Elder Dragons[5], or at least to be seeking it.”

EDIT: Decided it was too long and split it into two posts.

_
glass.

Footnotes:
[1] I do not do "always evil" for mortal species (that is what fiends are for!). I do not do it to normal goblins, and I am not going to do it to sea-goblins-with-tentacles.

[2] The PRD says pseudodragons "only vocalize in chirps, hisses, growls, and purrs", but if they are going to be a PC species these ones should probably speak, especially as I am casting them in a priest/advisor role (they could do that telepathically, but somehow it does not feel quite right).

[3] I am approaching this as a new continent (or rather "continent") in my existing homebrew, Pelhorin. The Elf Wars were an early event from the wider world's established history. The current people of the Vuori Archipelago do not know this, but a great and ancient magical working steers elves away from the islands by various means. As a side effect, to a lesser extent it does the same to humans and many other humanoids. It has a strong effect on most geniekin, but the Sunsouls are immune due to their relatively large native populations.

[4] Looking at the Ifrit entries on AoN & PathfinderWiki, the sunsoul varient looks interesting, and seems to fit better with what I had in mind that the original version, so in they go.

[5] Another existing detail from Pelhorin, elder dragons are inspired in part by Runequest dragons and in part by an old half-remembered TSR novel (A Token of Dragonsblood), oh and a plot point in a non-Paizo AP I played a while back. They sleep within the world, but interact with it in their dreams. In Pathfinder terms, they are draconic demigods, and in 4e/5e terms they are also Warlock patrons. They are one of the few extant being that can empower both.


EDIT: Decided it was too long and split it into two posts. This is the second…

"The Sunsouls live high in the mountains. On the larger islands with multiple peaks, they farm and hunt in the high valleys, but on the smaller one they have to descend into the dangerous coastal jungles, braving the giant insects, the jungle wurms, and worse. Ghosts and banshees are not just tall tales your parents tell you to scare you into eating your fucales...they really are out their". The children shuddered, one or two submerging themselves entirely. "Fortunately for the rest of us, they generally do not leave their haunts.

"And finally, to the duergar. They build the only true cities of the Archipelago, within and below the great mountains we all call home". As befits their talents and resources, they conduct most of the heavy industry here in the archipelago. They make the tablets and styluses with which you are taking what I am sure will be excellent notes.

Of course, they also make metal items, although those tend to be of more interest to the Sunsouls. Steel does not go so well down here amongst the waves, and the metals that do tend to be rather expensive. Stone and ceramics fair better. In addition to their industrial activities, the duergar are the foremost practitioners on the Archipelago of the mesmeric disciplines. Such abilities usually only affect the mind or the perceptions - telepathy not unlike my own (albeit with a different underlying mechanism) is common - the duergar have developed methods of effecting gross physical transformations of their own bodies[6]"

Suddenly, she stood up on all fours and stared into the distance, out to sea to the southwest. "The greatest academy for such things for many leagues, possibly in the whole world, is in their capital city of Ferroth. One of only two structures of the region not built on the island-mountains, the city is built upon and within a great structure of unknown metals and other materials. It origins are said to be a mystery even to the duergar, but many of the materials[7] the duergar use in their tools and weapons were discovered there."

The teacher surveyed her class once more. "I see your attention is starting to wander, but that is probably enough for today. You may go. I am sure all but the youngest of you will have chores to do at home before dinner. Tomorrow we will speak of religion." And with that she leapt off her customery teaching rock and climbed gracefully into the late-afternoon sky. As she did so, trying not to let on that she was still keeping careful watch of her charges, and would continue to do so until they were all safely home.

And that is it for now. I did intend to include everything I had come up within one post, and maybe a few more Joyce Grenfel-isms, but this post is plenty long enough already. Both in words & composition time - I've been at it all afternoon.

What do people think so far?

_
glass.

Footnotes:
[6] As mentioned above, "they're evil" does not cut it to distinguish the duergar from the other dwarven species, but I do rather like the "psionic" angle, even if I am not particularly enamoured of any particular set of psionics rules.

[7] It is, of course, a crashed starship. Given that sea water features heavily in this sub-setting, I thought equivalents of wood and steel that would not rust or rot would be useful, and ceramics seemed to fit the bill.


The teacher resumed her position on customary rock, and sat quietly waiting for the class to come to order. One of the older cecaelia children spotted her first, and told the two next to her, who passed it on. The teacher watched the ripple of attention spread across the class, and then spoke. “Good morning children.

“Yesterday, we spoke off the people of the Archipelago. This morning we are going to spend a little time on the religious beliefs common to those people.

“Let us begin with the Minds of the Mountains. Each island has its own god or spirit, named the same as the island itself. Nobody is entirely sure what the Minds of the Mountains are, can be communicated with if you know how, and they are able to empower clerics (and druids) just as well as the more identifiable gods worshipped elsewhere[8]. The Minds are worshipped henotheistically, with each follower placing one Mind above all others (usually that of their home island), although paying respect to the Minds of other islands one visits is of course always good form.

“The worship of the Minds, and indeed the Minds themselves, seem to be unique to the Vuori Archipelago, and is common amongst all the civilised peoples here”, the teacher continued, “henotheism is also practised by…”. She trailed off, realising she had lost much of her audience. “My apologies, I should explain. ‘Henotheism’ means that your faith recognises multiple divine entities or equivalent, but you pick one in particular to be the target of your worship[9]. Contrast with ‘pantheism’, whereby your faith includes multiple gods but they are worshiped collectively.”

Shifting her position on the rock, she stretched her wings out to catch more of the morning sun, and mentally reached out to the children who had been looking confused “if I use a word you do not recognise, it is okay to ask. Raise a hand if you are worried about interrupting”, and received a telepathic chorus of “yes teacher” in reply.

Speaking aloud again, she said, “Now where was I? Oh, yes, other henotheistic religions. The cults of the Elder Dragons are similar in that one usually picks one to follow, but they are not usually associated with a particular geographical area. – there are those that claim the influence of Dragons is stronger at certain locations close to where they sleep beneath the world, but locations are always vague and often vast.

“The two faiths I have mentioned so far are common among all the civilised peoples of the Archipelago, but there are two more which are more particular. The duergar, especially those of the capital who do not have a Mind to worship, worship a dwarven pantheon in a collective fashion. As an offshoot of the Thentari[10] dwarves, they combine this practice with a kind of ancestor worship.

“And finally, among the sunsouls there is the worship of the Solar Triumvirate – three sungods imported from three different pantheons worships elsewhere in the world. Whether they should be worshiped pantheistically or one should pick a favourite is a matter of considerable debate and some conflict among devotees of the Triumvirate.

“And those are the four major religious groupings of the Archipelago, although syncretism is…” this time several hands shot up. “Syncretism is combining the beliefs and practices of disparate religions traditions”, the hands went down again, “and it is not uncommon in the Archipelago.”

Spotting the tell tale signs of a shoal of tallfins[11] just out beyond the reef, the teacher stud and dismissed the class. “Time for lunch, I think. We will reconvene this afternoon”. With that, she took wing, skimming low over the waves towards the shoal, intent on catching a tasty fish or two for lunch.

That’s all I have got do far. I need to put some thought into what the threats would be – all the PC types basically get on with each other, so I need an external threat (or several) or there would be no need for adventurers!

_
glass.

Footnotes:

[8] Most of the rest of the world works on standard D&D style henotheism or pantheism, with gods as identifiable beings into whose realms you could theoretically drop in for tea and biscuits, and generally such a patron is required to gain most kinds of divine magic. But there are a few corners of the world where people worship other patrons, which show all the signs of being true deities apart from the fact that nobody knows what (or where) they are. This is an example of my trying to have my cake and eat it with Pelhorin (one of many).

[9] Possibly a touch more specific than the real-world definition, but it suffices here I feel.

[10] An extant dwarven culture/subspecies that until just now I had neglected to name.

[11] Tallfins are a species of fish common in the archipelago, and one of the teacher’s favourite foods.

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