The Ursine – A Bipedal Bear Race for D&D 5th Edition

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Bear Cavalry, with more bears!

 

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Fearsome Woodland-born Heroes

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Physically, the ursine look like somewhat bipedal bears.  While actual bears rarely move on their hind legs, these creatures are somewhat bound to it by default.  However, they can move on all fours like their wild cousins.  Like many strange creatures encountered throughout the realms, the ursine were creations of strange and often horrific experiments.  Tribes are what separate the ursine from one another.  Usually, each tribe is based off the species they originated from.  Beyond that, each tribe has a caste system of sorts; hunters/gatherers, farmers, traders, guards, and the elder councils.  While there is no official hierarchy, some social branches gain more respect than others. Despite their bestial appearance, they tend not to be hostile with ‘regular’ humanoids.  Their actions with outsiders rarely venture beyond trade and negotiations, but it isn’t too uncommon to see an ursine travel as a guide or bodyguard.  Within their lands, many tend to live off a diet associated with their wild equivalents, while some have successfully imported and maintained food stock from the outside world.  While this has lead to slight infighting and social conflict, these resources have been a blessing in tougher times.

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Free Minds and Free Spirits

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In ages past, several kingdoms captured and trained bears as a means of tactical offense and element of surprise.  Already built for survival, they made powerful allies among their battle companions.  Their service continued until wartime had ended and an uneasy age of ceasefire had begun.  In this age, arcanists, alchemists, engineers, and biologists began to experiment with new methods of advancing the society around them.  While most kept to a code of ethics, the scientists from the land of Markovia cared not for petty morality.  With their bred battle stock wandering aimless and without purpose, they used them as test subjects.  After months of brutal testing and no direct results, the bears began to exhibit more and more human-level intelligence, as well as slight mutations to make them seem a little more humanoid.  The developments were gradual; more bipedal structure, slight speech capabilities, and even hand-eye coordination/operating items requiring human hands.  Through crude methods of communication, they relayed plans to stage a coup.  When Markovia’s ‘dumb animal army’ were ready for feeding time, the bears’ plan was carried out.  While the Markovian military suffered many casualties, the legion of bears suffered only a few.  They failed to destroy the government, but succeeded in escaping the territory.  Luckily, the country’s fuehrer, Vladek, was more interested in other things besides hunting the bear creatures down. Free from the shackles of tyranny and corruption, they set out to start their own tribes and try to live in this new, confusing state.  Eventually, each experimented species branched off and created their own societies.  Their newfound intelligence came with the dysphoria of not being a true humanoid.  To keep outsiders from fearing them as savages and wild beasts, they attempted to adapt to “civil” environments and incorporate humanoid customs into their new societies.  Never forgetting their roots, each of the cavalries maintain a strong defense and stronger pride in freedom.  Most Ursine are trained at a young age to defend themselves, as well as honing the wild instincts from youth.  This isn’t to say that ursine society is completely wild.  Many have imported and learned to forge all sorts of arms and armory to fit their needs.  However, due to their specific needs, outsider smiths are either likely to massively inflate prices for their pieces or outright reject giving service.  Even with trade complications, they are a very civil people.  Many prefer diplomatic reasoning over war and rely on their councils of elders for wisdom.  Among the few things to rile them up are oppression and authoritarian rule, due to the traumatic past of the “Founders”, as they call them.

STATS AFTER THE JUMP

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The Eldritch-Touched – A Lovecraftian Race for D&D 5th Edition

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“It is permissible to say that, aside from the external appearance of face and hands, the really human element of Wilbur Whateley must have been very small” – The Dunwich Horror

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Things That Should Not Be

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Throughout the planes lie many mysteries.  Many planar mysteries inhabit prime material itself.  Among them are the castaways from reclusive societies, creations of dreadful cults, and mad men changed through dark worship.  This great mystery is an unfortunate soul bonded to dark cosmic power.  These strange beings are cursed to suffer the blood of elder beings that seed minds with madness and exist beyond dreams.  Perhaps these souls are more in-tune to their distant masters… or perhaps they were created to spread frightening agendas far beyond mortal comprehension.  No matter the reason, these misfits wander several realities, finding their place while trying to escape nameless horrors.

Similar to planetouched beings like aasimar, tieflings, and genasi; the eldritch-touched is a race onto its own.  There is no specification to how a being looks.  They often look a lot like their mortal realm parent, with the traits of the blasphemous being they are tied too.  Features from the eldritch master will always vary; tendrils writhing around their skin, multiple eyes, gibbering mouths, non-Euclidean forms that cannot be grasped by a human mind!  Of course, these are some of many possibilities.

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Children Born from a Sleeping Madness

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While most eldritch touched are slain due to being the progeny of unfathomable elder beasties, many find ways to cope and adjust to their offbeat heritage.  Many has fought against reality piercing voices in their dreams, creating barriers through the very same power imbued within them.  They have found ways to shape these dreadful boons into shields against unspeakable terrors, as well as defense against the ignorant masses.

For those who look beyond their eldritch powers, they are more than valuable companions.  Enhanced knowledge from strange sources has them to become powerful speakers, magic users, and more than competent warriors in their own right.  The dread visions of Far Realms haven’t always lead to lives of misery.  When dealing with an aberrant incursion, you can guarantee an Eldritch-Touched will make a useful partner.  But, in other cases, they seek to fuse the world of the aberrant with the world of our own.  Few understand their madness or the reasons behind their existence… and few want to.

TRAITS AFTER THE JUMP
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The Living Dead – An Undead Race for D&D 5th Edition

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Necrotic Post-Humans
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The Living Dead are augmented by dark forces from across the cosmos. Through exposure to powerful magic, a ritual gone awry, or a dreadful radiance; they resemble undead creatures that are typical in the Dungeons & Dragons game.   Their skin ranges from a washed out pallid tone to a gruesome necrotic color caused by a period of rot.  Their curse has also inflicted some degree of rigor mortis – like stiffness upon them.  While they’re still as capable of using weaponry, they struggle to move the same speeds they were once capable of.

Despite looking like enfeebled undead horrors, they’re still more than capable combatants.  Due to their deadened nerves, they no longer feel any sort of pain. Their fears of pain and death have also been destroyed due to their traumatic creation. Due to their deathly state, they don’t require essential mortal needs in order to survive.  That doesn’t stop the more devolved Living Dead from feasting upon the living.  Albeit, that’s more so a psychological craving rather than a need.

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Burning Pain, Burning Hate
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The existence of the Living Dead is one of agony and pain.  While their nerves have been numbed in their lifeless state, that doesn’t stop their minds from even greater suffering.  As a result of their post-zombified anguish, they’ve begun to develop a hatred towards “pure skins”, deeming them ignorant of their “advantages”.  Much of this anger comes from envy and desire for what was taken from them, their mundane existence.  While attacking the “True Living” isn’t exactly taboo, ruthlessly indulging in acts of wanton violence and cannibalism is.  Those who have done so have eventually degraded into something akin to the average zombie.  The rest of the Living Dead have adapted without succumbing to their hatred and violent urges.

Despite that, many have given into their hatred in less primal ways.  Many have been swayed by dark gods, especially those in control of the forces of death and necromancy.  As a result, death cults will often see Living Dead relatively high within their ranks.

Those who haven’t succumbed to their ailing mental state have tried to embrace a more noble path in hopes of breaking the barriers between the rotten skins and the pure skins.  These Living Dead go on to become diplomats, priests for good gods, and adventurers.  Luckily, Living Dead who have fallen to evil temptations are secretive about their new interests.  Despite the Living Dead having their own culture, they tend to keep their own names as a proud reminder of who they once were.

(MORE AFTER THE JUMP!!!)

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We’ll Meet Again, Don’t Where, Don’t Know When!

This goes out of the many folks on Tumblr who enjoyed my blog.  I announced a while back that I’m not only moving my gaming blog, but also my main one as well.  Well, that time has sadly arrived.  That isn’t to say that I’ve left the site completely.  While cross-posting isn’t the same, and it’ll take longer for me to get back to you, I’ll still be around.  Furthermore, you can still view stuff via my Tumblr blog here.

As for WordPress readers?  Thanks for checking out this humble little page.  Besides some new stuff, I’m going to archive some older content from my previous blog for a while.  This is much in the same vein as Necrotic Reviews and the “From the Vaults” posts.  So, please stay tuned!  More is always on the way.