Character Races (Escarnum)

This page lists the races normally available for Player Characters in Escarnum. These differ somewhat from those presented in the Player's Handbook and other official Dungeons & Dragons settings. In Escarnum's history, bestial "monster" races dominated the land of Alm before the time of humans, meaning many of the major races are descended from more savage stock than their human-like counterparts. Where other settings have dwarves and gnomes, Escarnum has the kobold clans; in place of halflings, one finds the cheerful and mercantile abilen. Instead of using half-orcs to provide physical might, Escarnum relies on the hardy trolls, horse-like equitarn and monstrous gnolls.

This is not to say that there is no place for more traditional races; the continent of Alm is only part of the world, and there are plenty of places to situate non-core races in your campaign (for more on this, see "Other Races"). It is simply that these races are the races which are important to Escarnum's flavour and background, and this, are presented as primary choices for PCs.

Major Races

The existing D&D races which have been re-interpreted in this chapter - both thematically and mechanically - are:

  • Elves, a dignified but insular race who place great value on honour and tradition.
  • Gnolls, the most prominent of the old beast-kin races who still hold firm.
  • Humans, a short-lived race who have only recently arrived in the "new world".
  • Kobolds, cunning and inventive creatures who are primarily responsible for the advancement of technology in Alm.
  • Shifters, (first seen in the Eberron Campaign Setting), feral humanoids descended from the older beast races.

New races presented in this chapter are:

  • Abilen, the gentle and civilised feline descents of the bestial races that once ruled Alm.
  • Equitarn, massive horse-like bipeds originally bred for slave labour and known for their stoic natures.
  • Felbraug, diminutive creatures with ratlike traits and a racial aptitude for psionics.
  • Trolls, a proud tribal fey race who are rather different beasts from the monster race found in standard D&D.

Minor Races

These "subraces" are offshoots, hybrids or variant breeds of the major races already discussed in this chapter. Although they are by no means compulsory, they are established parts of Escarnum's history, and are assumed to be present in the setting by default.

  • Deep Elves, the outcast and imprisoned cousins of the surface elves.
  • Elf, Stone-born, the magically-created warrior slave race of the dark elves.
  • Human, Awakened, the psionically-gifted humans whose prescience and empathy led humanity out of slavery.
  • Kobold Clans, the many and varied offshoots of the kobold race.

What's Different Here?

You may notice some differences between racial entries in this book and those in the Player's Handbook. Here's an explanation of how things differ in Escarnum:

Religion

Because most races in Escarnum are irreligious as a whole, this entry has been omitted from the racial descriptions. Individual characters are still welcome to worhip deities if they wish, but as there is no proof of divine beings existing in Escarnum, such things are simply a matter of faith.

Weapon Proficiencies/Familiarity

In standard D&D, various races receive automatic proficiency with certain weapons, and/or the ability to treat more complex "martial" weapons as simple weapons when determining how effectively they can use such weapons.

In Escarnum, the weapon groups variant is used instead of the normal weapon proficiency system. Accordingly, sime races have had their automatic proficiencies changed. Because the weapon grouping system means most characters have at least one "martial weapon" they can use at no penalty, most racial proficiencies have been replaced with "weapon familiarity", making it easier for characters to use exotic weapons favoured by their race.

Languages

Races in other D&D books have one or more automatic languages, and are given a list from which they may choose any bonus languages to which their Intelligence score entitles them. In Escarnum, there are fewer languages and fewer distinctions, and Common is not quite so common, since it only arrived on the continent of Alm with humanity.

Instead of automatic and bonus languages, racial descriptions in this book have only the "languages" entry. Characters of the race can speak (and read or write, unless otherwise specified) all the languages mentioned in this entry, though occasionally they may have to choose between multiple languages (e.g. "one of Common, Sylvan or Bestial", "Sylvan plus one of Bestial or Common").

When choosing bonus languages, characters in Escarnum may choose any language from the setting, with only a few exceptions. Fel, the language of the felbraug, is impossible for non-felbraug to speak or understand. Shuwa-tou, the dark-elven sign language, is a tightly-held secret of the Underworld elves, and cannot be learned by races other than dark elves and stone-born.

Favoured Class

There are no automatic penalties for multiclassing in Escarnum. However, for the sake of flavour, this entry is still included in the racial descriptions found here - and so multiclassing penalties can still be imposed if the GM desires.

Removed Races

These races are not banned from the setting per se, but are not considered to be PC races as they are in the Player's Handbook or d20 SRD. They can still be added to the setting, but by default there is no place for them in Escarnum. For information and suggestions on how to replace these races or work them back into the setting, check the Other Races article.

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