Monday, 12 January 2015

Dragon Kings Alternative Races

Dragon Kings is a rich and immersive setting with some very unusual races, it's well worth checking out. The setting is system-agnostic, but there are free supplements available for various systems, including Savage Worlds. Before the Savage Worlds supplement was available I wrote up some of my own ideas for how the different races might be balanced. Rather than just let my design notes vanish into the void, I thought I'd post them here.


The Attites are a human tribe renowned for their physical beauty and silver tongues. They are skilled warriors, but prefer diplomacy over combat.
  • Attractive (+2): Attites gain the Attractive Edge.
  • Divergent (+2): Attites are the most widely spread of the human tribes, with a large number of ranks and castes. They begin with one Edge of their choice, although they must still meet the requirements.
  • Racial Enemy (-1): Attites hold an unmitigated hatred for slavers, and suffer a -4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with Watu.
  • Traditions (-1): Attites have a number of unusual customs and strict traditions. This is treated like the Minor Vow Hindrance, as the punishment for serious transgressions can be exile or even death.
Hindrance suggestions: Some Attites have Pacifist as a Minor Hindrance, preferring to fight only as a last resort.


The Chindi are a matriarchal tribe of humans, who celebrate life and place great importance on their extended families.
  • Open to Ideas (+2): Chindi are very open to new ideas. They begin with one Edge of their choice, although they must still meet the requirements.
  • Educated (+1): Chindi are well-educated, and begin with d6 in one Knowledge skill of their choice.
  • Racial Enemy (-1): Chindi despise the Bev al-Khim, and suffer a -4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with them.

Cold Skins/Oritahl

Most of these human-sized bipedal lizard folk have animal-level intelligence, but PCs are always considered "emergent" (they don't have (A) listed after their Smarts attribute).
  • Powerful (+4): Cold Skins are strong and resilient. Their Strength and Vigor both begin at d6, and can be raised to d12+1 with normal advances.
  • Scaly Skin (+1): Cold Skins have +1 natural armour. This doesn't stack with worn armour.
  • Natural Weapons (+1): The teeth and claws of a Cold Skin inflict Str+d4 damage.
  • Thermal Vision (+1): Cold Skins can sense thermal radiation. They halve all penalties due to bad lighting, rounded down.
  • Desert Adaption (+1): Cold Skins receive a +4 bonus to resist heat-based environmental effects, and only require half as much water as humans.
  • Thick Witted (-3): Even emergent Cold Skins are simpletons compared to many other races. Smarts requires two points per step to raise during character generation, and the Cold Skin must dedicate two advances to raising Smarts during play.
  • Outsider (-1): Cold Skins face significant prejudice and even outright hostility from the other races, who consider them pests that are only useful for hard labour.
  • Cold Blooded (-1): Cold Skins find it difficult to function in cold temperatures. They suffer a –4 penalty to resist any cold-based environmental effects.
  • Natural Instincts (-1): Cold Skins strongly favour using their teeth and claws during combat, and it requires a conscious effort for them to use manufactured weapons. They must succeed on a Smarts roll (as a free action) whenever they wish to ready their weapon/s, on a failure they can still perform other actions normally but cannot ready their weapon/s that round.
Gifted with Weaponry
Requirements: Seasoned, Cold Skin, Smarts d6
  Some Cold Skins learn to overcome their natural tendency to settle conflicts with teeth and claws, and such an achievement earns them considerable status among their kin. This Edge removes the Natural Instincts ability, and grants the character a +2 Charisma bonus when dealing with other Cold Skins.

Hindrance suggestions: Many emergent Cold Skins are Clueless and/or Illiterate.


Krikis are sentient insect-like creatures who control the vast Hivelands. Only the warrior caste can be found in the surrounding territory, and unlike the short-lived drones and workers, the warriors are self-aware, independent, and capable of surviving indefinitely. For obvious reasons, PCs always belong to the warrior caste, which is reflected by the abilities given here.
  • Chitin (+2): Krikis have +2 natural armour from their overlapping chitin plates. This doesn't stack with worn armour.
  • Low Light Vision (+1): Krikis ignore penalties for dim and dark lighting.
  • Mandibles (+1): The powerful mandibles of a warrior caste Krikis inflict Str+d6 damage.
  • Strong Legs (+1): Krikis can leap distances of up to half their Strength plus 2 as a normal action, although they can't leap and run in the same round.
  • Honey Crop (+1): Krikis only require half as much water as humans to survive in the desert, and also have an internal water bottle inside their abdomens. Although this internal reserve is not connected to their digestive system, the Krikis can puncture it in an emergency to extract nutrition (this doesn't inflict enough damage to cause a wound).
  • Outsider (-1): Krikis are mysterious and inscrutable to the other races, and the memories of the Chitin Wars are still fresh in the minds of many. Krikis suffer -2 Charisma when dealing with other races.
  • Racial Enemy (-1): Cross-colour racial rivalry and hatred runs deep, and the different factions battle constantly over resources. Krikis suffer a -4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with Krikis of a different colour.
  • Racial Enemy (-1): Krikis have primarily fought against the Makadans, who hate them with a passion. Krikis suffer a -4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with Makadans.
  • Hive Loyality (-1): Although the warriors caste are independent thinkers, the needs and interests of their hive are still heavily ingrained into their behavior.
Secondary Arms
Requirements: Novice, Krikis
  The Krikis typically use two limbs as arms and two as legs. However they also have two additional limbs that are normally hidden beneath their chitin, which they use for grooming. A Krikis with this Edge has learned to use her smaller limbs to manipulate tools and devices, as if they were a second pair of arms, although they are too short and weak to hold weapons or use in combat.

Hindrance suggestions: Many warrior caste Krikis are Curious, often patrolling or scouting, and always on the lookout for new hive locations.


The Makadans are a human tribe, renowned for their fighting skills.
  • Warrior Culture (+2): Makadans begin with either one free Combat Edge (they must still meet the requirements), or Agility d6 (this does not increase their maximum Agility).
  • Martial Prowess (+1): Makadan society is based on martial strength and warfare, and even those of peaceful professions carry long knives for use both in and out of combat. Makadans begin with d6 in Fighting.
  • Racial Enemy (-1): Makadans hate the Krikis, having born the brunt of their invasions. They suffer a -4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with Krikis.
Warrior Code
Requirements: Novice, Makadan, Trademark Weapon
  Makadan warriors immerse themselves in Kod, the Warrior Code, which teaches them to seek out and hone their ability with the weapon that best utilises their strength. When this Edge is taken, the character gains one free Combat Edge of their choice, and may ignore either the rank requirement or the trait requirements (but not both).

Hindrance suggestions: Many Makadan are Overconfident or Arrogant, overly impressed by their own prowess and exploits.


The Nordor are sturdy humans who live in the frozen north, with a culture based around physical strength and martial prowess.
  • Adaptable (+2): The Nordor are a varied people, adapting to the land in order to survive. They begin with one free Edge, although they must still meet the requirements.
  • Survivor (+1): Nordor live in harsh conditions, and the rite of adulthood requires the ability to survive in the frozen wilderness. Nordor begin with Survival d6.
  • Martial Preference (-1): Nordor have a strong preference for broadswords and short bows, considering other weapons to be unsuitable for a true warrior. This is treated like the Quirk Hindrance.
Hindrance suggestions: Many Nordor are Stubborn or Vengeful.


Pachyaur are elephantine centaur-like creatures with the head, skin and lower body of an elephant. Their thick trunks are capable of manipulating objects, although the trunk suffers an offhand penalty (as well as the normal multi-action penalty if combined with another action), and they suffer a -4 penalty to scent-based Notice rolls while holding something with their trunk. Most belong to the Brachachon subrace, which is described here.

  • Powerful Back (+4): Pachyaur are able to carry an immense amount of weight on their back and shoulders. They can carry 30 times as much as a human (150 times Strength instead of 5 times Strength).
  • Enormous (+2): Pachyaur are typically around nine feet long and nine feet tall. They gain +4 Size (and therefore +4 Toughness) and begin with Strength d12, which can be increased to d12+4 through normal advances. They are considered Large; they suffer a -2 penalty when attacking Medium creatures, and Medium creatures gain a +2 bonus when attacking them back.
  • Eidetic Memory (+2): Pachyaur have an exceptionally good memory, and can easily and automatically recall conversions, maps, diagrams, and so on, without needing to make a roll.
  • Keen Smell (+1): Pachyaur receive a +2 bonus to scent-based Notice rolls.
  • Natural Weapons (+1): Pachyaur have powerful legs, with wide feet easily capable of trampling foes. Male Pachyaur also have tusks, which are frequently carved or sharpened. These natural weapons inflict Str+d4 damage.
  • Thick Hide (+1): Pachyaur have grey wrinkled hides that are tough to penetrate, granting them +1 natural armour. This doesn't stack with worn armour.
  • Loyalty (-2): Pachyaur are very loyal and protective towards each other, as well as to non-Pachyaur companions, but they become extremely violent towards those who betray them. This is treated as both the Loyal and Vengeful Minor Hindrances.
  • Stubby Fingers (-2): Pachyaur have short, stubby fingers that make it difficult to manipulate tools and objects designed for humans. This treated like the All Thumbs Hindrance when using devices not designed for the Pachyaur's hands, and human-sized weapons are considered improvised (i.e., -1 to attack and -1 Parry) and break if the Pachyaur rolls 1 on their skill die.
  • Brachachon (-2): The Brachachon subrace have one fewer benny each session (this doesn't apply to the Watu).
  • Racial Pride (-1): Pachyaur refuse to wear any form of harness, yoke or tack.
  • Great Appetite (-1): Pachyaur typically consume between eight and sixteen times as much food and water as a human, and require four times as much water as humans in order to survive in desert conditions.
  • Stubborn (-1): Pachyaur are ponderous and stubborn by human standards, due to their different perception of time. Once they've set their mind on something, they are loathe to give up.
Trunk Proficiency
Requirements: Novice, Pachyaur, Agility d8
  The Pachyaur no longer suffers the offhand penalty when using their trunk.

Trunk Fighter
Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting d8, Trunk Proficiency
  The Pachyaur can perform a Fighting attack with his trunk as part of a multiple action without suffering the normal -2 multi-action penalty.

Vidijo Killer
Requirements: Seasoned, Pachyaur, Fighting d6
  The Pachyaur reduces the penalty for attacking Medium or smaller foes by 1.

Vidijo Killer, Improved
Requirements: Veteran, Vidijo Killer
  The Pachyaur reduces the penalty for attacking Medium or smaller foes by 2.


Penmai are small humans who have adapted to living in trees.
  • Agile (+2): Penmai are naturally dexterous and acrobatic. Their Agility begins at d6, and can be raised to d12+1 with normal advances.
  • Prehensile Tail (+2): Penmai have a prehensile tail, which can be used as an additional limb with no offhand penalty.
  • Avian Kinship (+2): Penmai have a close kinship with birds, particularly the sanid, who they can summon to transport them around. This allows the Penmai to fly at their normal Pace with Climb 0, using the Riding skill to maneuver and the Mounted Combat rules for fighting.
  • Natural Climbers (+2): Penmai glide through the trees with monkeylike precision. They gain the Wall Walking ability when navigating through trees and vegetation, and begin with a free d6 in Climbing.
  • Fast Runner (+1): Penmai are able to run with great speed. They roll d10 instead of d6 when running (or d12+1 if they also have Fleet-Footed).
  • Weak (-3): Penmai can never increase their Strength above d6.
  • Diminutive (-2): Penmai are slightly over three and a half feet tall, and although their long limbs allow them to move as fast as a human, they have considerably less muscle mass. They suffer -1 Toughness, and can carry only 3 times their Strength in pounds without penalty instead of the usual 5 times Strength (note that if they take the Brawny Edge, it allows them to carry 5 times their Strength, the same as a normal human).
  • Claustrophobic (-1): Penmai strongly prefer open spaces with access to the sky, and become agitated in enclosed spaces, suffering a -2 penalty to all Trait tests.
  • Community Outlook (-1): Penmai don't have a concept of individual property ownership, instead they place great value on personal debts and favours. This is treated as the Quirk Hindrance.
Master Sanid Rider
Requirements: Seasoned, Penmai, Riding d8
  An elite group of Penmai called the "nok" are the masters of sanid-based travel. They receive a +2 bonus to Riding rolls when being carried by sanid, and may use their Riding skill instead of Agility when performing aerial tricks. They can also spend bennies to make Soak rolls for the sanid carrying them; this is handled with a Riding roll at -2 (cancelling their usual +2).

Hindrance suggestions: Most Penmai dislike being around fire, and some may even have a Phobia of it.


The Prajalu are a tribe of short, muscular humans, with a reputation for being skilled traders and craftsmen - as well as poisoners and child stealers.
  • Heritage (+2): Prajalu recognise the necessity of adaptation. They begin with either one Edge of their choice (although they muts still meet the requirements), or with Strength d6 (this does not increase their maximum Strength).
Hindrance suggestions: Most Prajalu have the Outsider Hindrance, representing their strong distrust of foreigners (with the exception of Nyutu performers).


The Watu are a subrace of the Pachyaur, and have the same racial abilities. However they differ slightly in appearance, as well as in physiology and culture, dominating the eastern Equatorial Basin with their slave-owning, agricultural society. Replace the Brachachon ability with the following:
  • Superiority Complex (-1): Watu are taught from birth that their culture is superior to others, and this attitude is reflected in the way they talk and act. Treat this like the Quirk Hindrance.
  • Racial Enemy (-1): Watu suffer a -4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with Attites, due to the Attites unrelenting hatred towards them.
Beastly Way
Requirements: Veteran, Watu
  Referred to as "kubiti" among the Watu, this Edge works the same way as Beast Master, except it also allows a degree of basic communication, and it only applies to elephants and colossadants. The "companion" represents the beast the Wadu is currently training.

Hindrance suggestions: Most Watu are also Arrogant, considering themselves dominant to other races.

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