Race, Fantasy, and Fantasy RacesEdit
So, Dungeons and Dragons is heavily influenced by Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings is racist as FUCK. All the evil fantasy races (orcs, goblins, etc) are explicitly called out as being dark skinned, the evil humans "from the south" are a blatant racist caricature of Arabic people, and dwarves are an anti-Semitic mess. So, what do we with the fact that the inspiration for a lot of the DnD source material is pretty terrible? We could just throw it all out into the cold and try to restart, but a lot of this stuff is pretty heavily embedded into our cultural understanding of fantasy. You say Dwarf and you see short, squat, cave dwelling Scottish people with giant noses who love gold. You say Orc and you see dark green or grey skinned monster people with fangs who are physically strong, but stupid. Introducing players into a world involves a ton of exposition already, trying to introduce an entirely new pantheon of fantasy races is just going to make things more difficult. So, I am taking a middle road and trying to alter the existing tropes to excise the shitty stuff and replace it with not shitty stuff! Whether or not I have been successful is still up for debate.
Race versus Ancestry, and the bones of my system Edit
I am working on a total overhaul of the DnD 5E character creation process inspired by Pathfinder 2E’s swap from “races” to “ancestries”, due to the fact that race is an extremely loaded term, and tying physical/mental statistics 100% to your genetic history is dangerous nonsense.
So, you pick an ancestry (Human, Elf, Dwarf, Orc, etc), each of which has a small unique ability to distinguish them. Than you pick your ethnicity (Western Calaset Wood Elf, Ariziman High Elf, Ariziman Human, Rashemi Human, Eastern Calaset Orc for a few examples).
Next step is picking your culture. You might be a Western Calaset Wood Elf, but you were raised among Ariziman Humans, imparting their culture to you. Or a part Eastern Calaset Orc, part Calaset Human who was raised among Eastern Calaset Orcs. This determines mostly what languages you speak at character creation, and possibly gives you additional weapon/armor/skill proficiences.
Finally you pick your “background”, (using quotes because this isn’t 5Es capital b Backgrounds). Background is where you get most of your stats. 6 top level super types, each one gives +2 to a stat (STR/DEX/CON/INT/WIS/CHR), and 5 subtypes in each super type that give +1 to a stat. For example, Traveler is the super type that gives +2 CHR, and Sailor is the subtype within that gives +1 DEX.
To tie it all together, an example! Your character is a Calaset Wood Elf, raised in the Endless Woods, a long held Wood Elf stronghold on Calaset. You speak Common and Calaset Elvish, have proficiences in Long Bows, Long Swords, Short Bows, and Short Swords because Calaset Wood Elves are stabby. You practised physical stuff a lot (Expertise, +2 DEX), in particular you were a runner (Runner, +1 CON). Now you pick your class (Rogue would be a good fit here!) and do all that stuff like normal.
I think this is a (while admittedly slightly more complicated process) much more true to people’s real life experiences of growing up and becoming an adult. It is based around the idea that who we grew up with, our experiences, and what we choose do define us to an infinitely greater degree than our genes; which is A.) far more accurate to the human experience, and B.) much more scientifically accurate if you want to come at me with that shit. Evo Psych is hilariously simplistic, “imma gonna assume my preconceived conclusions are correct and than find whatever data supports that and ignore everything else” fucking nonsense and racialism is a point refuted a thousand times at this point. Fucking fight me you pseudo-scientific COWARDS.
Stats Table Edit
For the visually minded! I use the standard point buy table in my games (this link: http://chicken-dinner.com/5e/5e-point-buy.html with no race selected so that everything starts at 8 can get you through if you don't know what I am talking about), and than you pick one of the boxes from this table to complete out your starting stats. The little names inside the boxes are suggestions as to the kind of background/profession your character may be involved in, or did growing up to give them that additional stat block. Remember, those are just SUGGESTIONS to help you, not hard and fast rules! Any character of any background, culture, or ancestry can have any of these stat blocks.
|+1 STR||+1 CON||+1 DEX||+1 INT||+1 WIS||+1 CHR|
|Marital (+2 STR)||N/A||Soldier||Marksman||Officer||Chaplin||Herald|
|Worker (+2 CON)||Farmer||N/A||Crafter||Builder||?||Bar Runner|
|Expertise (+2 DEX)||Athlete||Runner||N/A||?||?||?|
|Scholar (+2 INT)||?||?||?||N/A||?||?|
|Community (+2 WIS)||?||?||?||Organizer||N/A||?|
|Traveler (+2 CHR)||Caravan Guard||Caravan Worker||Sailor||Trader||Preacher||N/A|
Dwarves and Goblins Edit
The Dwarves and Goblins were created first by Waukeen, as she was wanting companions in creation. Are created from different magical sources, so no interbreeding. Both groups share a deep love of artistic expression thanks to their mother and anything created by either of them will near universally be covered in small carvings, paintings, and other bits of expression of the self.
Humans, Elves, and OrcsEdit
Inspired by the Dwarves and Goblins, Milaka created the Elves, Orcs, and Humans all from the same magical source and just given different gifts, hence their ability to interbreed somewhat successfully. Intercourse between Elves/Orcs/Humans tends to create fewer viable pregnancies than sex between people only in one group. Splits between High Elves/Wood Elves, different races of Humans, and the various Orcish groups occurred over time.
Basic starting point: most humans on Calaset specifically aren't white. This was a decision I made early on, because why the hell not? The two major Human ethnicities on Calaset are "Arizima" (based on Han Chinese people) and "Rashemi" (Odia Indian people). I stole Arizima and Rashemi from the 5E PHB if I remember correctly, they aren't super important, change them to whatever you want. Additionally, all Humans in Western Calaset are immigrants, there might have been some in Eastern Calaset, but I am not sure yet :D.
Next starting point: Humans of all ethnicities exist at various places in the world, and on Calaset. The coastal cities in particular are major trade hubs, so various peoples from all over the world will be seen passing through. Whatever ethnicity of human you want to make, it exists in the setting.
Part Elf, Part Human Edit
Part Orc, Part Human Edit
Part Elf, Part Orc Edit
Infernals and Part InfernalsEdit
Created by Beshaba in response to Milaka’s creation of Humans, Elves, and Orces races. Infernals are agents of pure change, capable of walking the different planes but spend most of their time interacting with other mortals in disguise. Due to their coming from a copy of the same magical spark as Milaka's races, they are capable of interbreeding, creating Tieflings (Tee-Flings, part Human, part Infernal), Siannodi (See-An-No-De, part Elf, part Infernal), and Od Iyesi (Ot-Yai-E-See, part Orc, part Infernal).
The reasons why part Infernal people carry infernal heritage is as varied as the people themselves; while it is commonly assumed that they exist because of their parents making some sort of deal with an Infernal, that is actually not true. Any kind of contact with Infernals, positive or negative, can leave a mark that can pass down through your bloodline. Additionally, not every child of parents with Infernal heritage in them will develop or show it, with it even skipping generations sometimes. This leads to even further confusion and fear surrounding part Infernals that only deepens most people suspicion of them.
Frustrated with the chaos being spread by the proliferation of races and Beshaba’s creatures running free, Tyr and Atmos grudgingly worked together to create the Celestials as their agents to enforce their wills, bringing stability wherever they feel it is needed, which in their eyes, is every corner of the planes.
Part Elf, Part Celestial Edit
Part Orc, Part Celestial Edit
Dragons and the draconic races were made by Hinara out of his desire for companions to help him build long lasting institutions and inspire others to do the same, even if by force. The Dragonborn and Kobolds were created by the Greater Dragons with Hinara’s help, in order to help the long lived but few in number First Borns achieve their goals.
Greater Dragons Edit
Halfings and GnomesEdit
Created by Leira, for entirely unknown purposes, sharing her love of subtlety, deflection, and always playing your hand close to your chest. Well not malicious, Halfings are often seen as untrustworthy on principle, and also often have a dry, sarcastic wit that few others understand. Gnomes are their cousins, sharing Leira's interest and affinity for Illusion magic. Halfings and Gnomes can have children together.
Part Halfings, Part Gnomes Edit
Venomous Naga are more common than Constrictor Naga. Not sure who their parent patron is yet.
Flightless crow people!
They were in VGM, and I like them, so why not :D!
They were in VGM, and I like them, so why not!
SPOILERS FOR ECLIPSE PHASE Edit
Weewoooooooweewooooooooweewooooo *Kill Bill music sting*
Speculative Ancestries Edit
From this point forward, these are races that aren't from/related to the 5E Player's Handbook races. Some are playable, some aren't, look at the relevant pages for info. These aren't either aren't currently part of the base Calaset setting due to the fact that I haven't expanded on them far enough yet (Kenku and Naga for example will hopefully be a base race relatively soon, but I might leave them out), or are meant to be people that the players might encounter should they leave Calaset. As always, if you want this stuff to be in the base Calaset setting, jam it in and see how it goes!
Amphibious sorcerer race? Dunno yet! I just think the Zora from LoZ: Breath of the Wild look super cool, and want that aesthetic in the game somewhere. Might use the Tritons in VGM for this.
Classically in DnD "gorgon" refers to a giant bull creature made out of metal? http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Gorgon
I have always thought that was kind of dumb when snake hair ladies who can turn people to stone (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgon) are fucking awesome, and for personal reasons I prefer "Gorgons" as the race name over "Medusas". Figure out something else to call your giant metal bull creatures.
They will never be a playable race if they are ever included in the game, think of them more like Greater Dragons. Extremely powerful physically and magically, long lived, possibly rule over groups of Merpeople and/or Nagas.