Race Rules

Open Game Content on this page is designated with a green box around it, like this one.

There are only a few races available for play in this setting.

The majority of people in the Opal Empire are elven. Dwarves and humans make up most of the rest of the population and they breed with elves, producing half elves and half dwarves (halflings), respectively. Some other, very rare people exist with exotic racial backgrounds: gargoyles, angels, and possessors.

In general, all races can interbreed, the exception being gargoyles, which cannot even breed with their own kind (each gargoyle is a unique, magical creature).

Elves

Elves run the Empire and have conquered the known world, ruling it for the past two thousand years. They are a matriarchy, and elven women hold far more power than men. All elves are able to shape their own appearance, though the process takes years to change. As a result, most elves are almost magically beautiful by human standards. By living a pure life according to old traditions, an elf can live hundreds, even thousands, of years.

There are four main varieties of elves, named after the seasons.

Autumn Elves

Autumn elves rule the world. The Supernal Empress is an autumn elf.

Racial Bonus: +2 Int or +2 Cha

Autumn Leaves Blow Away (Racial Power)

Once per battle as a move action, pop free of all enemies.

Champion Feat: After you pop free, use a recovery as a quick action.

Summer Elves

Summer elves are quite common in the Opal Empire.

Racial Bonus: +2 Int or +2 Str

Summer Sun (Racial Power)

Once per battle as a move action, call the sun’s light to your aid. One enemy is dazed (save ends).

Champion Feat: 3 enemies are dazed.

Spring Elves

Spring elves are the smallest variety of elf.

Racial Bonus: +2 Dex or +2 Wis

Spring Rush (Racial Power)

Once per battle as a standard action, make an attack against two enemies. You don’t have to be engaged with them to attack, but at the end of your turn, you are engaged with the last enemy you attacked.

Champion Feat: Pop free of all enemies after your attack.

Winter Elves

Winter elves are used to difficult conditions in the north.

Racial Bonus: +2 Int or +2 Con

Winter Punishment (Racial Power)

Once per battle, deal ongoing damage to a target you hit with a natural even attack roll as a free action. The ongoing damage equals 5 times your level. A critical hit doesn’t double this ongoing damage.

(This is the Cruel power from Dark Elves in the rules.)

Champion Feat: Double this ongoing damage when you hit with a natural 20. (Other criticals do not count.)

Dwarves

Dwarves in the Opal Empire are not the beer-swilling, gold-coveting Tolkienesque race. They are a calm, quiet people who like to know everyone’s proper place and who adhere to a byzantine system of rules and laws. However, they do have a strong association with underground places, stoneworking, and hammers.

A dwarf knows his place because he has been formally tested and approved for his lot in life. If he wants a different position or opportunity, he works hard to prove to others that he deserves it, and then passes a “stonegate,” basically a standard entrance exam for that role.

Racial Bonus: +2 Con or +2 Wis

Dwarves have access to a special set of feats called Stonesounding.

Humans

Humans are common in the Empire, but are often encountered as slaves and laborers (lower classes).

Create a human using the standard rules:

  • +2 to any ability score
  • Quick to Fight racial power
  • bonus feat at 1st level

Mixed Elven Blood

Half Elves in the Opal Empire are the offspring of elves and humans. Half Dwarves (halflings) are the offspring of elves and dwarves.

Racial identity

But it’s a little more complicated than that, really. A person might have a human (or dwarven) great-grandfather and pure elven heritage otherwise and still call herself an elf, or call herself a half elf. Racial identity tends to be divided on three lines, regardless of blood.

First, one’s abilities. If you have one of the elven racial powers, you probably call yourself an elf.

Second, upbringing. If you were raised in an elven family, you probably call yourself an elf.

Third, appearance. Elves have some distinctive features. All have long, curly ears. They have traits that mark them as belonging to one of the seasonal elf varieties. A person might be considered a half elf if these physical markers are weak.

Yes, this is absolutely racism. The people of the Opal Empire are not immune to bigotry. Play a half elf with unusual traits (or an elf with half elf traits) if you want to explore these racial issues.

Half Elves

Half elves lack many of the strengths of their elven parents. They live longer than humans but only a third as long as elves. They do not have the ability to change appearance as elves do (but see the Elven Shaping feat below).

Racial Bonus: +2 Con or +2 Cha

Otherwise, create a half elf according to the rules, with the Surprising racial power.

Half Dwarves (halflings)

Half dwarves lack many of the strengths of their elven parents. They live longer than humans but only a fourth as long as elves. They do not have the ability to change appearance as elves do (but see the Elven Shaping feat below).

Create your half dwarf character using the normal rules for Halflings.

Racial Bonus: +2 Con or +2 Dex

Champion Feat: Only a half elf or half dwarf may take this feat. Elven Shaping. You may change your appearance as you wish, within the normal height and weight bounds for your race. You may appear more beautiful if you wish. You may even change your gender attributes as you like. The process takes 1-6 years to complete to your satisfaction.

Rare Races

These rare races are so called because they do not appear in groups in the Opal Empire. You won’t (yet) find a community of gargoyles or a city full of angels or a kingdom of possessors. In most cases, most people haven’t even met one of these, let alone a group of them.

Gargoyles

A gargoyle is a statue that a spirit has possessed and animated. Its once-solid construction is magically enchanted by the spirit’s life force so that it can move freely. Choose one of the following racial profiles.

Tiny Gargoyles

You are very small (less than 2 feet high).

Racial Bonus: +2 Dex or +2 Wis

Tiny (Gargoyle Racial Power)

Since you are small, this makes you hard to hit from a distance. Tiny Gargoyles have a +2 AC bonus against ranged attacks.

Large Gargoyles

Racial Bonus: +2 Str or +2 Wis

You are larger than most people (7-9 feet high, but no larger).

Large (Gargoyle Racial Power)

Since you are large, your melee attacks are quite dangerous. Once per battle, reroll a melee attack and use the roll you prefer as a result.

Angels

When the gates of heaven closed, angels who had been sent to the earth on a mission were trapped here. The original, pureblood angels are now dead, but their descendants live on. They have interbred with people and their race’s divine blood is thin. They still call themselves angels, but they are a shadow of the race’s former power.

Use the rules for the Holy One race in the rules to create an Angel.

Possessors

A possessor is a spirit who jumps from person to person, taking over willing hosts to communicate with the world. Without a host, a possessor has no ability to communicate or affect the physical plane. They can watch and observe only.

A host must consent to possession in this way. Possessors (unlike some demonic spirits) have no way to force themselves on people, and would likely find such an act to be evil and horrible. They can hear their host’s thoughts and communicate with them mentally. The host is no longer in control of his body; the possessor controls the body as if it were her own.

The act of entering and leaving a body is extremely taxing on the possessor and host, each of whom loses a recovery each time the connection is made or broken. The host can prevent a possessor from leaving simply by willing it so, or force the possessor out (causing the loss of a recovery for both host and possessor).

Possessors without a host are incorporeal but are trapped in the physical world. They cannot pass through physical objects but can slide through cracks and holes of at least a half inch. They are not quite invisible, appearing as a wisp of snakelike fog.

(The possessor’s racial powers are those abilities.)

Race Rules

The Opal Empire AdamDray