Cave People (3.5e Race)

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Cave People[edit]

The cave people are subterranean cannibals, dwelling in extensive tunnels and cave systems carved out of the earth and built up from stone and mud brick over generations. They are primitive brutes who worship a fell cave bear spirit, Grim Ur-Ktar, who presides over their hearth-fires and is the lord of the underworld, master of life and death.


Cave people are surly and stubborn, mistrusting anything new or different and disliking change. They tend to react to anything new by trying to destroy it, and if they can't destroy it they banish it, ignore it, or shun it. Slow to laugh or jest and suspicious of strangers, they hold grudges for generations and are exacting and tenacious in seeking revenge. Cave people are infamous and feared for their cannibalism, as they believe that feeding on the dead imparts their strength to the living by consuming their victim's vigor, their life-force, along with their flesh.

Physical Description[edit]

Cave people are squat and robust in build, with men standing around 5'6" and women standing around 5'1" tall. Cave men weigh an average of 171 pounds, while cave women weigh an average of 146 pounds. They have skin ranging from a dusky tan to pale, with hair colors in brown, blond, and red. Cave people have sloping foreheads, heavy brows, long skulls, receding chins with powerful jaws, and protruding noses with large nostrils. Cave men paint their faces with black, white, and ochre paint into stylized skulls before they go into battle or on the hunt, that their victims might not know their killers and thus be unable to haunt them. Their broad shoulders and barrel-shaped torsos support powerful muscles, with large hands and powerful arms. Cave people have relatively short legs, but they walk upright as other men do. Cave people clothe themselves in leather and furs, wearing leather tunics with men also wearing loincloths and leggings held up by belts while women wear layered skirts.

Both genders frequently wear fur cloaks, with chieftains, priests, and warriors wearing headdresses and cloaks made from the skulls and skins of bears, often decorated with raven or eagle feathers (symbolizing the passage into death and lordly power, respectively). Their tools are crafted from stone, ranging from simple knapped bifaces to the more elaborate flint-headed knifes, battleaxes, spears, and even bows and arrows modeled after those of the pale people.


Their reclusiveness and cannibalistic tendencies win the cave people few friends, and the pale people regard them with a particular horror. In the legends of the pale people the cave people are subhuman monsters, the monstrous offspring of human and bear. Other races view cave people as nothing but legends, stories told to frighten children.


The cave people tend to be chaotic, and many of them are evil as well.

Cave People Lands[edit]

The cave people are found in the north, within the reaches of the winterlands and near the territories of the pale people. They are not as populous as they once were, but they can still be found in their underground haunts if one knows where to look. The cave people live in burrows and natural caves, hewing the stone with primitive tools to live in some semblance of comfort.


The cave people worship a deified cave bear known as Grim Ur-Ktar, a cthonic deity of death, the hearth-fire, and the enduring earth. Tribal shamans keep shrines to Grim Ur-Ktar in sacred caves, a cave bear skull polished to a luster and painted ochre, surrounded by the skulls of the tribe's dead shamans, chieftains, and mightiest warriors. Legends claim that shamans of Grim Ur-Ktar can send forth these skulls as dark spirits to kill the tribe's enemies. Grim Ur-Ktar's shamans wear headdresses and cloaks made from the skins and skulls of cave bears, while chieftains and warriors of the cave people wear similar garb made from lesser bears. They also preside over the hearth-fires, the life-giving warmth that keeps their people alive against the ever-bitter chill of their wintry homelands.


The cave people language, called Kar-Tan, is crude and gutteral. It consists largely of grunts and simple single-syllable sounds.


Cave people do not distinguish themselves by clan and family, as other humans do; to them a cave person is a cave person, and all others are outsiders. They are named after they survive their first winter. Their names, much like much of the rest of their language, are mostly monosyllabic.

In addition to their birth names, cave people also take the names of those they consume, in accordance with their belief that eating the flesh of their enemies means they also consume their strength and power. This can lead to the mightiest warriors and chieftains having strings of names a dozen syllables or more in length.

Male Names: Broud, Creb, Crood, Durc, Goov, Urg, Vorn, Yng.

Female Names: Ayla, Izay, Loora, Ubana, Oda, Onas, Rendi.


A people so deeply conservative that they mistrust anything their grandparents did not know of do commonly adventure, and cave people adventurers are extraordinarily rare as a result. They are often the sole survivors of a tribe wiped out by hunger, disease, or warfare, or they could be seeking revenge on an adversary for a grudge that festered for too long.

Cave People Racial Traits[edit]

  • +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -4 Wisdom. None are stronger than the cave people, nor any tougher, but they lack in wits and creativity.
  • Humanoid (Neanderthal): The cave people are members of Homo neanderthalensis.
  • Medium-Sized: As Medium creatures, cave people have no special bonuses or penalties due to size.
  • Cave people base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Stonecunning (Ex): This ability grants a cave person a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn't stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A cave person who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a cave person can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A cave person can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturallyas a human can sense which way is up. Cave people have a sixth sense about stonework, an innate ability that they get plenty of opportunity to practice and hone in their underground homes.
  • Stability (Ex): Cave people are exceptionally stable on their feet. A cave person has a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
  • Scent (Ex): Cave people can follow tracks and identify creatures by smell alone. They can detect opponents within 30 feet. The exact location is not revealed unless the creature is within 5 feet. Refer to the SRD for further details.
  • Primitive: Cave people are illiterate, and they lack proficiency with metal weapons and armor.
  • Cave people have a +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy), Sense Motive, and Survival checks thanks to their keen sense of smell.
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against poison.
  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects.
  • Automatic Languages: Kar-Tan. Bonus Languages: None, as the cave people are reclusive and ill-equipped to speak other languages. Instead, they gain an additional skill point for each language they would ordinarily have gotten.
  • Favored Class: Barbarian.

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Cave People Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
12 years +1d4 +1d6 +1d8
Table: Cave People Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
24 years 38 years 42 years +2d8 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Cave People Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 4' 8" +2d8 120 lb. × (2d4) lb.
Female 4' 3" +2d8 100 lb. × (2d4) lb.

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