Uncommon Races in Carrion Crown


Carrion Crown

Shadow Lodge

Hi all! I will be starting Carrion Crown and I wanted to get the opinion of my fellow DMs on how uncommon races from the Advanced Race Guide would factor into the Ustalavian setting for the campaign.

I have these races added into the mix with the Core Races:

Catfolk
Changelings
Dhampirs
Fetchlings (I swapped out Shadow Blending for Emissary)
Goblins
Kitsune
Orcs
Ratfolk
Samsarans
Strix
Tengus
Tieflings

I already know how Changelings, Dhampirs and Orcs will be viewed as they were included in the CC Player's Guide.

Ustalav is filled with xenophobic, superstitious people so I'm not sure if any of these races besides the three already mentioned would actually live in/have settlements in the country. If anything it might be small groups. I'd bunch the goblins in with the Orcs as far as their situation. Some of the monstrous looking ones might actually be persecuted in Ustalav because of all the dangers its citizens face from undead and other creatures and they would just assume these people are the same as the monsters.

Any opinions?

Grand Lodge

Honestly, I don't feel they work. Most of the adventures include townsfolk that barely trust the PCs as it is, so I can't imagine how helpful they'd actually be if they were "foreign" races.

I told my group that if they really wanted to, they'd be allowed to use additional races, but that the odds will be stacked heavily against them should they choose to do so. They all went with core races, except one Aasimar who attempts to hide her Celestial heritage the best she can.


I concur. Having one PC as a semi-monsterous race might make for interesting RP, but half orc allows for that in the core races. An entire party of semi-monsterous PC should result in angry mobs being formed.

Hell, I'm of the opinion that non-human races should be less trusted by the insular townsfolk. There's what, one demi-human in Ravengro?

I'll admit my opinions on the matter are heavily influenced by the Ravenloft D&D campaign setting, but it's very clear that Carrion Crown is attempting to capture the same mood and feel as Ravenloft.

I've actually banned "cleric" from my group because it signifigantly ups the tension and adds a lot of the survival horror feel of the adventures.

Shadow Lodge

I've stated to my PCs that uncommon races will be treated with intolerance and bigotry, even outright attack in the eastern parts of Ustalav. The people will stereotype the anthro-races (tengu, catfolk, etc) as Lycanthropes, Tieflings as demons, Fetchlings as shady people only out to steal your wallet, etc. Even Aasimars would be hunted in the eastern part of the country for their blood to be used to make good luck charms, components for spells and rituals to ward off evil.

Despite my warnings, so far I have the current party makeup:

Kitsune Bard
Catfolk Oracle of Life
Aasimar Undead Scourge Paladin
Half-Orc Wolf Shaman Druid
(Race undecided) Inquisitor
(Race Undecided) Mindchemist Alchemist
(Undecided race & class)
(Undecided race & class)

Fun times :)

Sovereign Court

Just say no... stick to the Player's guide recommendations. A dhampir, half-orc, orc, or changeling is bad enough, but kitusne & catfolk? Those don't fit Ustalav at all.

It's one thing to want to play something different than human all the time, but if they want to be a circus of freaks (which is already a theme to be addressed in part 2) things just don't flow as smoothly. Sometimes you have to look the part in a given campaign.

--Vrocky Horror

Shadow Lodge

"Trade aside, the rich and dark history of Ustalav is lure enough for the adventurous and curious among all the civilized races of the Inner Sea. Furthermore, Professor Lorrimor was more open-minded than many of his fellow countrymen, and counted members of all races among his friends and colleagues."

"While the preceding races are the most common in Ustalav, several non-core races might fit well into the Carrion Crown Adventure Path. In each case, these races will most likely present a more challenging time for players, especially in more superstitious and provincial regions of Ustalav, but they f it very nicely into the Adventure Path’s themes."

Those are taken straight out of the player's guide. The characters are coming to Ustalav for the funeral of Professor Lorrimor, someone who traveled across all of the Inner Sea and made a staggering number of contacts. Who's to say the ones that he made special connections with weren't people who stood out, either race wise or whatever other factor piqued the Professor's curiosity.

The races I listed above are the ones that I picked out and said were ok to play in the campaign. Yes it will be more challenging but so what? There's no point in playing if you start at point A and end at point X in a nice, smooth game. It's predictable and boring, IMHO. Hitches and bumps along the way keep people on their toes, increase the amount of paranoia and tension, which is what you're looking for in a gothic horror game. Where's the fun if the PCs aren't looking over their shoulders to keep from being next, whether it's from an angry, hateful mob or a vicious creature?

Sovereign Court

Just throwing my 2 cp into the mix. I'm quite used to running large circus act parties. IMO a huge variety of races works in more fantastic settings, but over my 20+ years of GMing when it comes to horror its better if the weird stays behind the screen. Settings like Ravenloft or Call of Cthulhu just don't seem to work as well if Johnny PC is already a shapeshifting, highly magical race that is used to a cosmopolitan open society. Stressing the humanocentricity of Golarion, and Ustalav especially can turn the players off of helping people in the campaign.

Ravengro is isolated and downright xenophobic except for a few NPCs, especially if you're using the Trust mechanic. Even adding in extra bonus for stellar roleplay it'll be hard to achieve even a passable score starting the group below 20 points. I subtracted 3 points for my dhampir, half-orc, and full orc PCs! By the end my group only managed to reach 27 points (friendly locals). Thankfully I'm not using XP as that would've hurt them in the long run.


Yep, I'm all for allowing the weird and bizarre races for some campaigns. Though even then I'll let out the occasional frustrated sigh (inside my head) when I end up GMing a cornucopia of "special" races.

However, my allowance is for regular high-fantasy campaigns. Carrion Crown is Gothic horror. Plain and simple. The fact the group is a party of PCs that will eventually rise above Level 5 is already enough to put them in the "special little snowflake" category. They don't need to go all out. But, this doesn't seem to be forced on you and is entirely your choice. That being said, I would like to tackle a couple of things involving your list of races.

First, "While the preceding races are the most common in Ustalav, several non-core races might fit well into the Carrion Crown Adventure Path. In each case, these races will most likely present a more challenging time for players, especially in more superstitious and provincial regions of Ustalav, but they f it very nicely into the Adventure Path’s themes."

I bolded the most important part above. Note that it says several and not ALL. It also says they might fit. It's not guaranteed. My point is, just because it says several doesn't mean you need to include a whole bunch of uncommon races as options.

Going over your list these are the ones I'm most hesitant about:
Catfolk
Goblins
Kitsune
Orcs
Samsarans

First, Goblins and Orcs? These are kill on sight races in many places. If a player wants to a be a savage green-skin, just let them play Half-Orcs.

Second, Kitsune and Samsarans? Lorrimor traveled the entire Inner Sea Region , not all of Golarion. These are Tian Xia races and while, yes, one could have wandered all the way to Ustalav, what does it really add to the campaign? I'm slightly more forgiving of Tengu since they are known to have a colony in The Shackles.

Next, Catfolk. I don't think these even have a place in the Golarion setting yet. Which is fine, if you want to make a place for them but your player is going to need one hell of a backstory (same as for the Tian Xia races). Again, I ask, what does this race add to the campaign?

The rest is mostly fine though I do have one more question. You'll allow Teiflings, Goblins, Samsarans, Fetchlings, etc; but you won't allow Aasimar? Why?

In the end, I'm not trying to tell you you're having badwrongfun. It's your game and I hope it ends up being a kick-ass campaign. I just want to point out that so much "variety" in one group can really break verisimilitude, especially in a campaign about Gothic Horror. you may find the presence of these races end up diluting the themes and the atmosphere of the campaign.

Cheers,
Tony


The Aasimar should be okay. There's the whole feeling of good that radiates from paladins. What god are they gonna follow? Are they going to follow a god?

The catfolk and kitsune are a little harder. Both will likely have to cover their ears. Hats are the norm here. "Spawn of devils and demons, ghouls and goblins" is likely going to be involved in accusations against them because, really, the townsfolk don't know the difference and they don't want to know.

Half-orc. A half-orc shaman. heh. Heh heh... ::snort:: Snerk. BWAHAHAAAAA!!!! Ah... they're gonna get killed if they're not reeeeeally careful.

I greatly suggest getting some human-looking PCs in this group.

So long as you can do that...

There's a lot of notes and plots you can use to turn the townsfolk's prejudice against them. Like the one time my group, ah, did something they coulda gotten run out of town for and almost got caught. Our alibi was "we were in the tavern and then weird happened!" corroborated by twenty different patrons who all blamed the changeling PC for the weird happenings.

Sure my PCs almost got lynched a couple of times. They ran. They ended up okay. Saved the world, went insane, never slept well again; the best ending horror adventuring can offer.

Shadow Lodge

I actually did add Aasimars to the list yesterday as I figured they'd be the race that would have the least amount of intolerance, and perhaps even some would be glad to have one around.. But then I thought about the superstition in the country, so I came up with this blurb:

In Ustalav, Aasimars are the treated with the least amount of prejudice by the normally bigoted and intolerant populace. In fact, some of the citizens prefer having an Aasimar around to bring their community good luck, as they believe their holy blood can ward off undead and misfortune. Some view them as a blessing, as many Aasimars come to Ustalav to fight the deep-seeded evil that lurks in some of the country’s darkest corners. In the deeply superstitious eastern part of the country, however, some will hunt down a known Aasimar to use his or her blood in the creation of good luck charms, warding spell components and potions, and to use in rituals to protect homes and children from evil.

As far as Orcs are concerned, they are one of the three uncommon races listed in the CC Player's Guide as suggestions. I figured if Orcs were mentioned as being playable in Ustalav and they are the most hated, then Goblins wouldn't be that much of a stretch and even some of the more exotic races.

Granted, I did add a number of uncommon races to the mix but I definitely didn't add ALL of them. There are many more races (Irit, Undine, Oread, Hobgoblin, Duergar, Drow, Gripplis, Wayangs, etc) that I didn't include because I felt they wouldn't make sense for the region or they would be too far out for being in Ustalav.

In my eyes, I can definitely see small communities of Catfolk and Kitsune living in Varisia, a location Professor Lorrimor would have traveled to regularly.

Liberty's Edge

In the Carrion Crown game I'm in the DM and catfolk player are treating it as if catfolk are not a big deal at all.

I thought that was kind of wrong.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Feral wrote:

In the Carrion Crown game I'm in the DM and catfolk player are treating it as if catfolk are not a big deal at all.

I thought that was kind of wrong.

I don't understand; are you the DM? It's DM's prerogative how Ustalav views catfolk. A DM could declare that since a legendary catfolk hero saved a schoolbus of children (and two puppies) from Tar-Baphon, Ustalavians have gone out of their way to welcome catfolk into their homes. Or that catfolk terrify them, and going anywhere without the other more normal PCs will get them attacked. Or anything in-between.

Then the DM should explain that to the players. If the DM doesn't want to deal with, that's fair, but the Pandora's box has been opened, and if the players want to go in eyes wide open, that should be fine. I would be ready to let them change characters if they find that the troubles catfolk face make it not fun to play the character.


Kitsune should be no problem: they can pose as humans thanks to their racial Change Shape ability. The rest may have difficulties, especially those races that cannot easily hide their features, like Catfolk. I can see a half-orc trying to disguise his heritage, but Catfolk with their fur and feline heads?

In my CC campaign, most non-humans take pains to appear as "normal" as possible, using the disguise skill, wearing hoods, concealing clothes and so on. Of course, most of the PCs including the humans in that campaign are not from Ustalav, which means they are considered unwelcome foreigners anyway and are often treated as such.


Do players want to play a Catfolk or just set of stats?

If its just stats no...

Test the ground... say yes but give them all the racial stuff for humans and see how willing they are to play it.

Ustalavic citizens would burn on sight most what have been mentioned. Xenophobic NE country...

Shadow Lodge

The one player who is playing a Catfolk is doing it for the character and not the stats.

The Kitsune is will be using his shapechange ability to blend in.

The Aasimar can try to pass for human. He's a Paladin of Iomedae so we'll see how that goes.


While I agree completely with most of the GM's who have said that most of the races you have listed don't make very much sense for the campaign, for pretty much the same reasons they listed, I'm very curious to see how your game goes.

However, I do feel the need to stress one point made above. With the way the people of the land of Ustalav are presented in the Adventure Path, it is very easy for PC's to start to question whether these people are worth risking their lives to save. In the first two adventure books you have townsfolk that start out incredibly unfriendly, who turn into violent mobs if the PC's start doing thing that they don't like. In the game that I'm running, with three human PC's and one half elf, they quickly started to get feed up with the BS from the townsfolk, and racial predujuce wasn't even on the table.

While I really enjoy playing and GMing for monsterous races like Goblins, I have a lot of trouble seeing them have a proper place in this kind of story. But I can't wait to see what you end up doing with such as varied and fantastic PC party.


Ustalav and Carrion Crown are gothic horror settings. If your players can imagine the horror their characters are experiencing in the shoes of a Catfolk or Kitsune player, it could work. For my part, I feel like this is one of the few campaigns where it is a lot scarier to run an all human group. Worrying about lighting and experiencing supernatural forces are a lot scarier when your character doesn't have "special powers" themselves.
For my part, our group includes a Dhampir and Tiefling, but this has allowed for lots of fun role-playing as the characters deal with the prejudice of the native population while trying to discover their origins. I think some of the above posts have the right of it; if tieflings, changelings, and even half-orcs are treated with distrust and suspicion, the other races mentioned should have it equally so.


We have a Strix, who was rescued by Professor Lorrimer in his travels. So far it has worked well.

Shadow Lodge

The Alchemist has decided to play a Human from ustalav who studied under Professor Lorrimor at the University of Lepidstadt.

The Inquisitor is playing a Half-Elf. There will be a Dwarven Fighter, and a Half-Orc Fighter as well.

The Catfolk and the two Half-Orcs will be the three who will have the most trouble with the townsfolk. The Kitsune can change shape to avoid this kind of treatment, and so these uncommon races make up 3/8 of the party, a minority now that everyone in the group has decided on a character.

The group is going to have trouble getting assistance and avoiding harsh treatment wherever they go unless they can overcome these social obstacles with high Diplomacy rolls. The Aasimar Paladin already has a +12 Diplomacy check at level 1 (4 cha mod, 1 rank, 3 from trained, 2 from City born feat, and +2 from being an Aasimar).

The Exchange

Part of the horror can be the fear of townsfolk shooting and burning your weird monster looking selves......

Liberty's Edge

prosfilaes wrote:

I don't understand; are you the DM? It's DM's prerogative how Ustalav views catfolk. A DM could declare that since a legendary catfolk hero saved a schoolbus of children (and two puppies) from Tar-Baphon, Ustalavians have gone out of their way to welcome catfolk into their homes. Or that catfolk terrify them, and going anywhere without the other more normal PCs will get them attacked. Or anything in-between.

Then the DM should explain that to the players. If the DM doesn't want to deal with, that's fair, but the Pandora's box has been opened, and if the players want to go in eyes wide open, that should be fine. I would be ready to let them change characters if they find that the troubles catfolk face make it not fun to play the character.

No, I'm just a player. You are correct, it's not my call to make and I have not.

I was just making an observation based on what I knew about Ustalav. The idea that superstitious villagers would just look the other way upon seeing a cat-headed humanoid seemed wrong.

Contributor

DoomCrow wrote:

"Trade aside, the rich and dark history of Ustalav is lure enough for the adventurous and curious among all the civilized races of the Inner Sea. Furthermore, Professor Lorrimor was more open-minded than many of his fellow countrymen, and counted members of all races among his friends and colleagues."

"While the preceding races are the most common in Ustalav, several non-core races might fit well into the Carrion Crown Adventure Path. In each case, these races will most likely present a more challenging time for players, especially in more superstitious and provincial regions of Ustalav, but they f it very nicely into the Adventure Path’s themes."

Those are taken straight out of the player's guide. The characters are coming to Ustalav for the funeral of Professor Lorrimor, someone who traveled across all of the Inner Sea and made a staggering number of contacts. Who's to say the ones that he made special connections with weren't people who stood out, either race wise or whatever other factor piqued the Professor's curiosity.

The races I listed above are the ones that I picked out and said were ok to play in the campaign. Yes it will be more challenging but so what? There's no point in playing if you start at point A and end at point X in a nice, smooth game. It's predictable and boring, IMHO. Hitches and bumps along the way keep people on their toes, increase the amount of paranoia and tension, which is what you're looking for in a gothic horror game. Where's the fun if the PCs aren't looking over their shoulders to keep from being next, whether it's from an angry, hateful mob or a vicious creature?

I applaud you sticking up for your player's desires. I'm running Carrion Crown at the moment as well; we're going throw it as a two-man party with Kendra acting as a GM NPC and the party consists of a changeling Monk and a human Paladin. Abnormal parties make for the best stories!

Shadow Lodge

Feral wrote:
prosfilaes wrote:

I don't understand; are you the DM? It's DM's prerogative how Ustalav views catfolk. A DM could declare that since a legendary catfolk hero saved a schoolbus of children (and two puppies) from Tar-Baphon, Ustalavians have gone out of their way to welcome catfolk into their homes. Or that catfolk terrify them, and going anywhere without the other more normal PCs will get them attacked. Or anything in-between.

Then the DM should explain that to the players. If the DM doesn't want to deal with, that's fair, but the Pandora's box has been opened, and if the players want to go in eyes wide open, that should be fine. I would be ready to let them change characters if they find that the troubles catfolk face make it not fun to play the character.

No, I'm just a player. You are correct, it's not my call to make and I have not.

I was just making an observation based on what I knew about Ustalav. The idea that superstitious villagers would just look the other way upon seeing a cat-headed humanoid seemed wrong.

I am definitely NOT saying this will be the case. They will react as xenophobic, bigoted, uneducated townsfolk would normally react, with fear and prejudice. I'm just saying that despite a few of the party members being races that will be lump in with the rest of the monsters in the eyes of the citizens, I don't think it's an obstacle the party can't overcome. This all being with the caveat that they need to be smart with their actions, otherwise people will start dying or being driven out of villages.


In my game the 1/2 Orc got prejudice dumped on him in spades... Not allowed to stay in the inn... "Sorry we are full...*person behind him* Ah a room no problem sir..." Arrested for vagrancy when he camped out... when he went to buy things it was more expensive... NPC who would talk to the party didn't speak to him directly and when they did it was slowly and loud..."DO...YOU...SPEAK...COMMON?"

I DM'ed the xenophobic feel with 70's South Africa and 50's Southern States in mind...


DoomCrow wrote:

The Alchemist has decided to play a Human from ustalav who studied under Professor Lorrimor at the University of Lepidstadt.

The Inquisitor is playing a Half-Elf. There will be a Dwarven Fighter, and a Half-Orc Fighter as well.

The Catfolk and the two Half-Orcs will be the three who will have the most trouble with the townsfolk. The Kitsune can change shape to avoid this kind of treatment, and so these uncommon races make up 3/8 of the party, a minority now that everyone in the group has decided on a character.

The group is going to have trouble getting assistance and avoiding harsh treatment wherever they go unless they can overcome these social obstacles with high Diplomacy rolls. The Aasimar Paladin already has a +12 Diplomacy check at level 1 (4 cha mod, 1 rank, 3 from trained, 2 from City born feat, and +2 from being an Aasimar).

Wow, I just realized how big your group is. On the one hand I envy the fact that you have so many players; on the other hand, that's a lot of work on editing the AP to fit. I wish you the best of luck on that end. Sounds like an interesting group and it should lead to some dramatic and tense moments.


DoomCrow wrote:

Hi all! I will be starting Carrion Crown and I wanted to get the opinion of my fellow DMs on how uncommon races from the Advanced Race Guide would factor into the Ustalavian setting for the campaign.

I have these races added into the mix with the Core Races:

Catfolk
Changelings
Dhampirs
Fetchlings (I swapped out Shadow Blending for Emissary)
Goblins
Kitsune
Orcs
Ratfolk
Samsarans
Strix
Tengus
Tieflings

I already know how Changelings, Dhampirs and Orcs will be viewed as they were included in the CC Player's Guide.

Ustalav is filled with xenophobic, superstitious people so I'm not sure if any of these races besides the three already mentioned would actually live in/have settlements in the country. If anything it might be small groups. I'd bunch the goblins in with the Orcs as far as their situation. Some of the monstrous looking ones might actually be persecuted in Ustalav because of all the dangers its citizens face from undead and other creatures and they would just assume these people are the same as the monsters.

Any opinions?

This is easy. As someone that lets his pcs play what they want. (And rightly so.) let me help.

Catfolk - A catfolk in Ustalav is going to get odd looks, but as long as he isn't marauding the country side they 'should' be okay. I treat them alot like Khajit, where if something gets stolen the eyes fall on the catfolk, and people may speak behind thier backs, but they are citizens nonetheless. (Not counting Skyrim, but even then they still deal with them.) A black furred catfolk will make superstious lots nervous, and I'd DM the crowds parting and making sure the catfolk pc doesn't cross thier path. Also in my version of Golarion, most Catfolk are in Varisia and it's 'geographically' close to Ustalav.
Recommend:Any non wizard arcane spellcaster, fighter, ranger, outdoorsy types. Divine is fine, following Pharasma is auto accepted.

Fetchling - This one is harder to to do, cause I've never rped one, been in a rp, or seen much 'fluff' on them to go on.

Goblins - Face the exact same problem Orcs do. One gobo might be okay in a party, more then one, is a different story. Might hear some 'leash' jokes thrown a Goblin pc's way.

Kitsunes - In human form they are completely aces, and Carrion Crown fits them to a T. Foxes are associated with witches, and Kitsunes are associated with a 'spirit' world, even if they aren't. Keep the pranks within the PCs, and not mess with people that don't know them that well.
Also as experience taught me:

Later in this AP:
They are invaluable in dealing with weres as their shapeshifting, can be passed off as lycan with a good bluff check.

Recommend: Bard and Rogue or any class with Bluff and 'maybe' Diplomacy

Ratfolk - Being a dark ages like nation, and the double whammy of bubonic plague threats, and resemblances to wererats, the ratfolk faces a big uphill challenge. But maybe a good hook is Petros getting the Ratfolk into a place of standing, and his name carries some guarded acceptance. Recommend: Alchemist

Samsarans - Another race I have no personal experience with, or much knowledge about where they come from.

Strix - This one is one of the hardest. They have wings that are hard to hide, they are known to hate humans, and I'm sure it's a mutual feeling. And thier is a lot of humans in CC. Again this one is going to require working Petros into thier background.

Tengus - Ravens are reverred, they'll get the hard looks, but no superstitous person is going to mess with one.

Tieflings - Going to have similar issues as Aasimars but, having a human face, and most having features that can be hidden helps them. A divine one with a 'good' diety will help too.


In the scheme of things, a Hat of Disguise is not such an expensive or unusual magic item, so it wouldn't be so hard for players to disguise themselves as necessary. The half-orc in my campaign is usually disguised as a human when in town but...

spoiler:
It has prevented her from attending or participating in the trial in Trial of the Beast, since the magic-use would be detected.

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