Monday, September 21, 2009

Weirding Up the Intelligent Races, Part II: The Five Kingdoms

Following up on the idea of making the intelligent races less human and more weird, I have written up some early draft notes on the five kingdom. With this variation on the original idea of the Five Kingdoms, the Zamorans are human, and have the normal range of human coloration (rather being red with black hair.) The other races (including the barbarians in part I) represent aliens from the days of the Ancients, mutants from the aftermath of the Great Wars, and natives from before the terraforming of the planet. This is a bit more gonzo of an approach, and moves a little further away from my original idea of emulating Burrough' inclusion of red, white, black, yellow, etc. Martians who were essentially all human. I'm not sure that's a good or a bad thing, and the races here haven't been tweaked or even given a second read. This is just an early fling it at the wall and see what sticks draft.


Alemanians are blue-skinned, hairless, human-sized arthropods. They have
both an endoskeleton and an exoskeleton, have large complex eyes much like humans, and small, vestigial antennae resembling stubs of horns. Their mouths are complex, with multi-part mandibles. They have two arms and two legs with multiple articulations, with two-toed feet and hands with four fingers evenly spaced at the end of their wrists. They move with a jerky, inhuman gait and appear emotionless and cold at all times.

Alemanian national ideology focuses on the superiority and homogeneity of the Alemanian people. They support a strong sense of collectivism, a strong central governmental authority in order to protect the stability of the Motherland. Their society is divided into several castes: scholarly, military, merchant-industrial, and agrarian. Each of theses hase a place in the parliamentary structure of Alemania, serving the High Chancellor. Alemanians are athiest, devoting themselves to their nation and their people instead.

Class Advancement
Alemanians may advance in any of the three classes. They may advance to 6th level in Fighter or Rogue and to 10th level in Magic-user.
Weapon and Armor Restrictions
Per character class. Alemanians may not wear armor. Their naturally tough hide gives them +4 AC bonus.
Alien Mind
Alemanians gain a +2 bonus to saves vs. charm, illusion, sleep or mental effects.
Incredible Leap
Alemanians with a light load or less may jump up to their normal move distance in distance and half that in height.


The Duma are tall and lean, standing six to six and a half feet tall. Their ears are pointed, their eyes red, and their bodies covered with short, soft black fur. They are lithe and elegant, with sharp teeth and a deep, soothing voices. By tradition, they fight with long-bladed, short-hafted spears that can be used for cutting or thrusting, long, curved knives, three-bladed throwing knives, and bolas, though firearms are also common among them.

The warriors of Duma are distrustful of Ancient Technology. They live in walled towns guarded by their warrior caste and depending on their agricultural caste to breed and control their great dinosaur herds. They are renowned musicians, artists, historians, and metalworkers. They are matriarchal in times of peace and ruled by male warriors in times of war. They tend toward collectivism, distrust outsiders, and care little about outside nations.

Class Advancement
Duma may advance in any of the three classes to 10th level.
Weapon and Armor Restrictions
Per character class.
Swift Reflexes
Duma gain a +1 to initiative rolls.
Distaste for Technology
Duma suffer a -4 to any saving throws to decipher, use, or bypass Ancient technology.


The Khitai are short (4 - 5 foot tall), broad-bodied reptilian humanoids with fine yellow scales and solid black eyes. Their faces are heart-shaped, with large oval eyes with both eyelids and nictating membranes; broad, flat faces; and lack both noses and ears, though they have flat tympanic membranes on the sides of their heads. Their broad skink-like tongues can be used to help them smell, but they do not use them as constantly as snakes. They are warm-blooded and fast-moving and are strict carnivores.

The people of Khitai are insular and distrustful of outsiders. Foreigners only tend to interact with Khitai as merchants or ambassadors. Males wear long tunics, loose pants, slippers or boots, and broad sashes.They tend to wear silk robes with loose pants, slippers, and sashes.

Class Advancement
Khitai may advance in any of the three classes. They may advance to 5th level in Fighter or Rogue and to 10th level in Magic-user.
Weapon and Armor Restrictions
Per character class. Their naturally tough hide gives them +1 AC bonus.
Khitain gain a +2 to saves vs. any mental or emotional effect or spell.
Stalker's Instinct
Natural predators and carnivores, the Khitai are silent stalkers and keenly aware of their surroundings. Khitain gain +1 to all surprise rolls.


The people of Mal'akka have shiny green, leathery skin and bright brown eyes. They stand about seven feet tall, and are thin with graceful movement. Though generally human-like in appearance, they are mobile, intelligent cacti, and their skin is covered with long needles. The Mal'akkans lack needles on the palms of their hands and the bottoms of their feet, but are otherwise covered with needles. They are merchants and desert caravan masters known for their devotion to the desert god Shem.

Mal'akkans are grown in sandy soil before gaining their mobility. Unlike the Throon, the Mal'akkans never become sessile with age, and their bones are wooden rather than silicate. They do photosynthesize, and need very little water, but they also gain nutrients through eating plant and animal matter, much like humans.

Class Advancement
Mal'akkans may advance in any of the three classes. They may advance to 8th level in Fighter or Rogue and to 6th level in Magic-user.
Weapon and Armor Restrictions
Per character class. Mal'akkans may not wear armor unless they shave off their needles regularly. Their naturally tough hide gives them +2 AC bonus.
Fungal Body Chemistry
The Throon process poison differently. Throon gain +2 to saves vs. poisons and toxins.
Fungal Brain
Throon gain a +2 to saves vs. charming, holding, and dominating magic.
Fibrous Flesh
Piercing and blunt weapons automaticially do minimum possible damage.
Born Merchants
Mal'akkans gain the Merchant background skill automatically in addition to their usual skills.