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In a campaign set in a vast desert, water is worth its weight in gold, and shifting sands occasionally reveal long-buried ruins of forgotten civilizations.
Players wanting their characters to be nonhuman desert dwellers can build characters using these variants, or their characters could encounter these races while journeying across the sands.
The following cultural attributes are common to most desert races.
Personality: Members of the desert races are usually quite friendly, although during the day they may seem brusque as they hurry to get about their business and out of the oppressive heat. At night, however, they offer warm greetings and good drink to any travelers who happen upon their camps. To them, a stranger is neither friend nor foe—just good company whose presence brings a moment of joy.
Physical Description: A desert creature is usually hardier in build than a member of his standard race. Bronze skin and dark hair are typical, since such adaptations tend to make life in the scorching desert more comfortable.
The clothing favored by desert creatures tends to be loose and light, and they wear just enough to keep the heat off during the day and the chill off at night. Most desert creatures wear headgear that not only protects them from the sun but also provides some warmth during cold desert nights.
Relations: Most desert dwellers are not choosy about trading partners, but many share the prejudices of their standard races. Regardless of race, most share a dislike of the scavenging desert kobolds and the omnipresent nuisance of desert goblins.
Alignment: The predominant alignment among desert races is neutral. It takes equal parts of law and chaos to survive under the harsh desert sun. Evil folk soon find themselves without friends, and to be isolated in an environment that cannot long support individuals means certain death. In contrast, those who place the principles of goodness over the needs of survival often find themselves in dire straits. Life in the desert often requires one to meet one’s own needs before tending to another’s.
Lands: Except for desert dwarves and desert gnomes, most desert dwellers are nomads who wander from one settlement to the next in search of vital supplies. Thus, they have no true lands of their own. Desert dwarves, however, are very protective of their settlements and private oases, and they are willing to defend them to the death if need be.
Religion: Desert creatures tend to have the same religious preferences as members of their standard races, with an emphasis on the worship of sun, light, or fire deities.
Language: Members of desert races speak the same languages as their standard races.
Adventurers: Opportunity for adventure is common on the burning sands. Denizens of the desert may turn to adventuring because they find the scavenger’s life too difficult, or simply because they crave the rewards of the adventuring life. Although nomadic societies are often made up of networks of extended families, those who leave them to pursue their own goals rarely return.
General Desert Racial Trait
All desert races gain the following racial trait.
- Heat Endurance: Members of desert races gain a +4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of hot weather.