Quillback (5e Race)

From D&D Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search


Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! I see you lot are no match for my army right? Where's your general? I'll cut him d-oh, big guy...
—General Grayspike of the Silver, moments before he ran from battle

Physical Description[edit]

Quillbacks are humanoids with a small, rodent-like face and lots of quills on their head, down their neck and all along their back down to their tail bone and a bit along the back of their arms. Their anterior is not protected like their dorsal side but they have tough skin called scrote which covered their pectorals down to their abdomen. Male quillbacks are known to be muscular where females are lithe. Quillbacks have longer tarsals than a regular human and stand well on the balls of their feet. Their hands and feet have sharp claws meant for digging up roots. Their faces can range from that of a full-on rodent to a mix between a panther and a squirrel. Standing upright on their hind legs, they can be tall like the average human. They usually have black, beady eyes but those of a gold variety are not uncommon. Quillback quills are usually hollow and so often appear a lighter pigment at the ends than that of the actual skin, which can be black to lighter brown.


The quillback are a race known to be courageous amongst themselves. Songs outside tell a story only of cowards who flee or ball up and freeze at the first signs of danger. Quillbacks are one of the many humanoid beast races that populate Faerun. Many of their own have ventured out to make their own fortunes. One of their notable adventurers (amongst themselves anyway) is Grayspike of the Silver, who was of a rare, silver-colored quillback variety. Not only was his color silver but his tongue was also silver. He had a great gift of oration. He became a politician in a city outside quillback society and even joined the local army in a battle against the neighboring threat of fiends. However, non-quillbacks remember him less fondly as a general who led his troops blindly into a rut in battle, who ended up in denial and threw frequent tantrums when things did not go his way.

This is a frequent ailment of the quillback race reputation. Their stories and epics of heroes, while certainly grand, are always dotted with bouts of cowardice and stubbornness. Some attribute it to an old tale about how the quillback used to be a proud and naked creature upon first creation. Then the creation deity decided to give them "spines to protect, but less spine of a man." This gave them a natural protective trait, but also imbued them with a sense of cowardice. There is a saying that reliance on curling up in reaction to danger has made quillbacks ill-equipped to deal with real dangers, due to the fact that their heads are always tucked away for fear of harm.


Quillback bards travel between towns frequently, telling stories of legendary heroes and protectors. Despite their reputation in history, it is not uncommon for quillbacks to become warriors who rush into battle, using their spines as offense rather than defense. Quillbacks are a proud race, which can lead them head first into trouble sometimes. They can be very haughty and start a fight but are quick to abandon it if the going gets tough. In their own communities, they are known to be reclusive as a race. It can be years before one gains the level of trust needed to call a quillback by some endearing nickname. In the same vein, people find it hard to trust a race that is quick to avoid confrontation by burying in their go-to natural defense. Few quillbacks are known for their loyalty.

On the bright side, quillbacks are temperate in nature and slow to anger. They can be very easy-going and lighten a gloomy mood. If nothing else, quillbacks are charismatic at the very least and can be quite skilled at persuading a change of moods on the flip of a coin.


Quillbacks live quietly in their underground homes burrowed into deciduous forests or the foothills of mountains. Their settlements rarely exceed two dozen individuals. Their underground homes are quite snug and comfy, often with dens built into walls and, of course, no windows. In these communities, quillbacks are reclusive towards even their own, preferring to stay in their own family groups. They share a simple connection of race and history and prefer not to go any more personal than that. Quillback communities are led by small-time leaders of individual settlement. It is typically an elder of the group.

Quillbacks live as hunter-gatherers. Hunters use mainly daggers and bows to fend off threats. Gatherers scour nature's bounty to provide most of the food. While they are not strict herbivores, quillbacks prefer plant food to meat, though they are fond of wild bird eggs. Older and younger quillbacks tend to perform gathering while the virile and adolescent go hunt.

When quillback young mature, they are given a title demarcating their feats so far or their aspirations. The new adult then braids some of their "bangs" with tribal beads and a special set of colors unique to him or her. These beads are one of the exports which quillbacks trade with other races with, as well as specialty arrows, herbs, and plant-made wares.

Quillback Names[edit]

Quillback names often include their title. One cannot call a quillback without their title unless they are given permission with some level of trust. Nicknames require even more trust to be used in public.

Male: Redthorn the Yielding, Goldspur the Fleeting, Swiftspike the Tough

Female: Thundershard the Pale, Gildnail the Swift, Shortspur the Short

Quillback Traits[edit]

A race of porcupine-like humanoids.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. Quillback reach maturity at around age 10 and commonly live around 65 years.
Alignment. Quillback almost always have an alignment rooted in neutrality.
Size. Quillback typically stand between 4-5 feet and weigh about 150 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet. You have a burrowing speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Ruffled Spines. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 12 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.
Spike Out. Your spines can be used for offensive as well as defensive maneuvers. When you are hit by an attack and while you gain the benefit of your Ruffled Spines trait, you can use your reaction to force the creature that hit you to make a Dexterity saving throw. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. A creature takes 2d6 damage on a failed save, and half as much damage on a successful one. The damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level. After you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
Gatherer. You must be able to distinguish nature's bounty or you are bound to be poisoned. You are proficient in the Nature skill.
Hunter. You are proficient in one martial ranged weapon of your choice.
Inner Coward. So many spines and not one to be a strong backbone. You have disadvantage in saving throws against being frightened
Beast on Legs. Your creature type is both humanoid and beast.
Languages. You can speak, read and write in Common.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

4′ 0″ +1d12 150 lb. × 1 lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

When creating a quillback character, you can use the following table of traits, ideals, bonds and flaws to help flesh out your character. Use these tables in addition to or in place of your background's characteristics.

Not all quillbacks are cowards even if that is their default.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I don't like to raise my voice.
2 Loud arguments scare me. Sounds of fighting even moreso.
3 My thoughts often revolve around my next meal.
4 Easy earned coin is the best kind.
5 People are so agitated these days. Unlike me.
6 I try to remain in the background so I'm not noticed by enemies.
7 I'll talk the big talk so long as someone else does the rest of the work.
8 I don't care what other people think of me or my heritage!
d6 Ideal
1 Bravery. I want to prove everyone who looks down on me wrong! (Chaotic)
2 Equilibrium. I'll show people fear. Then they'll know how it feels. (Evil)
3 Wanderer. Telling stories and traveling is a prize in and of itself. (Neutral)
4 Survival. Getting to see the next day is all I want, no matter who gets hurt. (Chaotic)
5 Abider.Following the rules is what keeps me safe. (Lawful)
6 Cheer. I wanna see more people smile genuinely. (Good)
d6 Bond
1 I like to make people laugh and get along with jokes and icebreakers.
2 Games and instruments are godsent.
3 Other people can be good, but also have a lot of problems...
4 I prefer keeping to myself.
5 You can't lose if you pull out before anyone wins.
6 Loyalty is overrated.
d6 Flaw
1 I'm quick to abandon my stance on a subject if it seems scary to me.
2 I'm skittish and a knot of nerves.
3 People can get me angry quickly with small jabs.
4 I cannot for the life of me read the mood.
5 I hate taking baths, even if I end up a stinker.
6 I want only a positive gain for me, regardless the net loss to others.

Back to Main Page5e HomebrewRaces

Home of user-generated,
homebrew pages!