Races (Golden Legacy Supplement)
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By far the dominant species, humans are the descendents of ancient celestials who took refuge on this world after theirs was shattered by civil strife.
House Kazuki - The Aasimar
Ushinawa Reta - The Tieflings
(use the tiefling statistics, but their type is humanoid [tiefling], and change the bluff bonus to a streetwise bonus)
Referred to by the common folk as Tieflings, and known in civilized company as "those without place", the Ushinawa Reta are among the lowest of the low in Imperial society, and are barred from owning land or property within the Golden Empire. Despite this, they do not exist in any significant numbers outside the Golden Empire's borders. They consider the Golden Empire to be their home, though they are not necessarily welcome anywhere within it.
In truth, the Ushinawa Reta are kin and kind to House Kazuki: part of a royal bloodline (hypothetically) traceable back to the line of Golden Emperors. Most scholars aware of this fact assume that the ancestors of the Unishawa Reta were stripped of title due to internal House Kazuki rivalries, but this is not the case. Long ago, after the death of a wise old emperor and the untimely demise of his appointed heir, siblings warred for the right to the throne. It came down to a brother and sister locked in a desperate duel. Each scored a blow, the brother's more decisive. As the sister fell, she breathed a last request: "Spare my family; do not let them become victim to the traditions that pit brother against sister." The brother, hand tightly clutching his wounded side, still had much love for his sister, and so stripped her husband and children of their place in the house, their names, and their property, and sent them out into the world.
Almost all children of the Ushinawa Reta are told a version of this story as children, though the details vary widely and it is generally assumed that they are descended from some early, primitive leaders of the land, before the first Golden Emperor established the Golden Empire in all its glory. This story is told to teach children that their place in the Golden Empire is a blessing in some ways. A variety of other children's tales are used to emphasize the freedom experienced by Ushinawa Reta, a freedom that few others in the Golden Empire can lay claim to.
Ushinawa Reta children are universally taught the importance of giving without expectation of return, as many find their survival resting solely on the good will of others. It is this trait that keeps the Ushinawa Reta as a whole from being regarded as gypsies and thieves. It is widely known, among the common folk at least, that the Ushinawa Reta will gladly do most any menial task asked of them, and are very greatful to receive only a gift of cooked rice. (However, those that often call on the services of the Ushinawa Reta and do not repay their kindness may not be able to find any Ushinawa Reta around in the future.)
Sometimes, an Ushinawa Reta or even a whole family may possess strange characteristics such as an odor of brimstone, cloven hooves, fangs, or goat-like horns. The ignorant usually attribute these traits to their "dirty blood", though some speculate on possible relation to members of House Juudai... after which all speculation usually stops.
Forever banished, living without shelter, the Ushinawa Reta have developed a small resistance to the elements, enough to keep them from freezing in the cold northern winters or roasting in the southern sun. Generations of street-urchinry have taught them the benefit of not being seen, especially in times of strife, and all Ushinawa Reta are taught to draw on the power of the descending world to darken their surroundings.
House Juudai - The Lycanthropes
Template:Main Elves once had an empire that spanned the lenghth and breadth of the Material Plane, and it lasted for thousands of years until the Cataclysm hit. After the shattering of their empire, the elves rebuilt, focusing less on a plane-wide civilization and more on regions connected by commerce and trade.
Elves are usually slender and slightly taller than the average human, possessing single-colored eyes with no pupils. Their skin ranges all kinda of colors, from pure white to pure black and everything in between. They are gifted with psionic prowess and an incredibly long lifespan, with the average pure-blooded elf living to over 500 years. This gives them a bit of a different perception of time compared to most species. This doesn't mean they are slow to act or slow to innovate - it just means that they tend to see a big picture of things.
All Elves are psionically gifted in some respect, some more than others. Those that lack a psionic talent tend towards the mechanical or crafting art. Hardly a species of war, elves prefer to create art or objects of cultural significance over newer and better weapons. Or, they did - elves of the past few millenia have a bit of a different way of thinking since the Kazuki betrayal around 12,000 AC.
Though we know nothing of them before the Cataclysm, we do know that at the time of it they were the most populous and widespread race. After the Cataclysm, the remaining Celestials passed on their bloodline by producing descendants with the elves. This produced Half-Celestials, and as time passed, the bloodlines of most thinned to the base species of human, with aasimars being closer to the Half-Celestial side.
Elven society was initially nature and forest-based, and they enjoyed tending to and building from the natural world while trying to preserve as much of it as they could. They had little understanding of arcane magic and none of divine magic, but some powerful inborn psionic abilities allowed them to do astonishing feats of architecture and world-shaping. What few paintings and drawings of the former capital city remain are breathtakingly beautiful, with sweeping arches, tall buildings, and ornate, curved decorations fitted with jewels or precious metals. The most sought-after sources for artists were obsidian and marble of any color.
As time passed, the elves shifted towards a focus on science and technology. Though they studied arcane magic to a point, their own natural psionic powers were easier to master and investigate, and so much of their time was devoted to the classification and study of that brand of power. Though they had yet to truly being engineering or scientific research in earnest, their records of this information gathering revealed early patterns that would later hold in regards to their now-standard scientific method, including control variables, statistics, and a crude experimentation process.
Over the next few millennia, the elves spread out over the Material Plane and settled or explored many regions. At around 8,413 AC they had mapped out 90% of the plane, with the only unmapped regions being those too far from the capital home city in the "center" of the maps. Through these years, their scientific curiosity and discoveries were far ahead of any other race. They strove to preserve the natural world as best they could, recognizing that it gave them the resources necessary for much of their innovation, and much of their technological prowess was due to their psionic powers being a natural power source to draw on. In this way, they avoided using fossil fuels or wood to power their industry.
As the Celestial bloodlines grew farther away from their heavenly origins, a small percentage of the elves wanted to distance themselves from these long genetic cousins, claiming that the pure-blooded elven lines or the aasimar bloodlines were the only worthy successors to their ancestors. Though not the majority opinion, it still had a fair number of followers, and there were even a few more radical campaigners that called for an entire genocide of these so-called "tainted, impure humans". All of these were quashed by the more level-headed elves, who pointed out that they would not only be slaughtering sentient beings, but also their only source of investigating divine magic, a relatively unknown power source.
Sidenote: Divine Magic
Elves, being creatures natural to the material plane, were unable to interact with or even acknowledge the existence of divine magic even after the Cataclysm brought it into the world. Humans, aasimar, and Half-Celestials were able to work with and investigate this magical source, and so the elves set to work using them as their primary scientists for heading these studies. Not every human or aasimar was interested, of course, but enough were so that the elves were able to get a fair bit of information. This ability for the humans proved to be invaluable during the hunt for the Celestial Tears.
The Thousand Year War
The war ripped the species apart and nearly made them extinct. Elves from all corners of the plane fought other elves, and though other races joined in the fight, none had nearly as many numbers as the elves did. The two sides nearly fought to extinction until the end of the war was brought by the emergence of House Kazuki. Their divine magic was able to cut through the elven defenses, who had never encountered a bloodline so strong in that form of magic, and as such, were unprepared for it.
The Free Elves lost and were sent into exile, only to be joined by the Subjugators a few days later after the betrayal by House Kazuki.
Now on their own, having to rebuild their races at forgotten edges of the world, the elves managed to eke out an existence wherever they could, with less then point-one percent of their population remaining after the fight. Fortunately, their millennia of existence and time spent learning all they could was a major boon - anywhere they went, they could make do. The discovery of geothermal energy as a power source by the elves of the northern mountains kicked off another major scientific time in their history, and since they had little to do in the world except keep to themselves, the elves had a sort-of Golden Age of technological advancement.
New techniques for merging science and magic were discovered, and this new creation was dubbed "magitek". Their new developments and discoveries with geothermal energy allowed them to create such amazing devices like automated machines, created with technology, powered by steam, and enhanced by magic. The primary power sources for many of their marvels were small, heavily compressed spheres that generated steam through sheer psionic power. Steam spheres provided energy for any device they wished to run and bring with them, giving elves an edge with miniaturization and portability of their machines. Magitek devices were common, but a few turned their thoughts to new weapons and fighting machines.
The elven strengths lie in their ability to adapt and work with technology. While magic is something not everyone can do, anyone can operate a machine or learn to become an engineer.
Nowadays, most pure elves elves remain in their cities and settlements, working away with their discoveries. They have faded into long-lost myths, said only to exist before the war, as no one alive today was alive during that time. Simmering resentment still remains between the Kazukis and the elves, and though Kazuki knows they are rebuilding and can use assistance, many elves are still distrustful when it comes to dealing with the Golden Empire and associated allies. Betrayal leaves a persistent mark.
The total estimated population of pure elves sits at around 500,000. Elven bloodlines are extremely widespread, and there are far more half-elves or humans with elven blood than there are pure elves. Though their existence is not discouraged by the Empire (or by the elves themselves), they prefer to remain shuttered away in cities until their species has sufficiently recovered.
In game terms, elves use the stat block as presented below:
- +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Constitution
- Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
- Magical Resistance: Elves have a +4 racial saving throw bonus against spells and spell-life effects, one of the benefits of being the oldest surviving species.
- Either Psionic Adept or Mechanical Adept:
- Psionic Adept: Elves start with Wild Talent as a bonus feat, representing their prowess in psionic arts.
- Mechanical Adept: Elves require half of the time and 75% of the gold cost in materials when crafting an item, magical or otherwise.
- +2 racial bonus to Perception.
- Craft (Technology) and Devices are always class skills for elves.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Elven.
Note: Any class that uses divine magic as a primary power source (cleric, paladin, oracle, and so on) is forbidden for an elf, as they cannot access divine magic, even with the assistance of divine foci.
True Half-elves are fairly uncommon in the world, as elven blood is more often than not thinned by more generations, but they have a distinct advantage over both humans and elves - they can access all three types of primary magic, giving them a lot more flexibility when it comes to picking a profession or specialization. They lack the ability to reach the psionic heights of elves or the divine magic heights of humans, though, and being good at everything means they can rarely excel at anything. Still, there is something to be said for versatility.
As for their place in society, half elves are a rare breed, being a combination of elves and their genetic descendants - humans. In most cases, a union between a human and an elf will produce another elf, or someone that leans far more heavily towards the elven side (the elven genes being dominant). When half-elves do happen, however, they are not persecuted or seen as any different than either elves or humans. Indeed, with so many other odd races and combination running around, no one would think to give the more fair-looking human a second glance. Those who do notice simply think they got a bit more elven blood in them than others, and that's the end of that.
In game terms, half-elves use the stat block as presented in the 3.5 Player's Handbook, with a notation that they are considered both elven and human for effects related to race.
Commonly known as "angry beards with legs," the dwarven race has always been angry, drunken, and amply bearded.