Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Campaign Design - Race: Ironborn

(adapted from the Ebberon Campaign Setting and The Book of Iron Might)

The Ironborn are a race of living constructs made to serve the Collegium. They developed sentience as a side effect of arcane experiments that sought to make them into useful and versatile servants. With each successive model that emerged from the Collegium's arcane forges in Enselm, the Ironborn evolved until they became a new kind of creature.

Personality: The ironborn were made to serve as bodyguards, spies, trackers, and other types of servants for the mages of the Collegium in Enselm. When they are called upon to perform a task, they pursue it with single minded dedication, displaying adaptability impossible for mindless constructs. Though they are created to serve their wizardly masters, the Collegium recognizes their status as free-willed beings, and grants them their freedom after a set period of training and service. Once on their own, some settle into lives as artisans or laborers, while others wander as adventurers or enlist as mercenaries. Though ironborn have been created for almost every possible purpose, most have been built for combat, serving as an iron ring to guard their arcane masters in the Collegium.

Each ironborn was built for a specific purpose, and most pursue that purpose with a focused intensity. Even when granted their freedom, many Ironborn choose to remain in the service of the Collegium to continue to pursue their purpose. Others don't feel the call of their vocation as strongly, but they still feel confident in pursing it - it simply feels right to follow the prescribed path. When freed, they may leave the service of the Collegium but still pursue their predetermined calling. Still others choose an even more independent path: questioning the method of their creation, studying the nature of sentience and consciousness, and pondering what it means to be alive. Some outsiders speculate that this last group of ironborn are actually the reason that the Collegium built the race, but if so, the Blue Mages are not forthcoming with confirmation.

Physical Description: Though other races fall into standard ranges of height, weight, and size, the ironborn face no such restrictions. Each is crafted to fulfill a specific purpose. Warriors might be eight feet tall, with massive barrel chests and hulking, spiked arms. A scout or explorer might be no taller than a halfling, with nimble hands and strong legs.

Most ironborn are crafted from iron, steel, bronze, copper, silver, and sometimes mithril, adamantium, or darkwood. They have humanoid shapes and bodies built to enhance the purpose for which they were built. In all other respects, their shapes and forms are as varied as their personalities and vocations.

Relations: As the designed servants of the Blue Mages of the Collegium, the ironborn are seen by many as extension of their creators' will. Those on generally friendly terms with the Collegium, such as the Hartzstadt dwarves, will generally react favorably towards an ironborn they encounter. Those who fear or distrust the Blue Mages are likely to view any ironborn with suspicion, even and ironborn that claims to be acting on its own. Many outsiders will assume, for good or ill, that any ironborn is actually a servant working on behalf of the Blue Mages.

Alignment: As befits creatures created by the carefully even-handed Collegium, the ironborn tend towards neutrality, and a majority tend towards lawfulness, with an innate respect for authority. They were built to serve, not to wonder whether their service is right. Though they are capable of independent thought and moral speculation, most do not choose to wrestle with ethical questions.

Ironborn Lands: The ironborn have no lands of their own, but their "home" is Enselm, where all known ironborn were built in the arcane forges of the Collegium. Many free ironborn have migrated elsewhere, often taking up residence in places like Hartzstadt where they are accepted into dwarven society, or, for martially inclined ironborn, places like the Shield Lands where their skills make them welcome immigrants.

Religion: As constructed beings designed to serve an order of arcane spell casters, most ironborn are simply uninterested in religion. In some quarters, the idea that an ironborn could have a soul or would be of interest to a divine power is regarded as heretical. Even so, a not inconsequential number of ironborn venerate one or more of the celestial powers, and a handful have been known to honor some of the infernal lords. Most religiously inclined ironborn favor Hœnir, but many also honor Heim, Füllar, or Wünd. A very small number of ironborn have been created specifically to serve as divine spell casters, all of whom have been devoted to Füllar or Hœnir, who the most religious of the ironborn have claimed as the patrons of their race.

Language: As all known ironborn are created by the Collegium, they speak Enslaic and either Rhadynnic, Sorglish, or Zwersprache.

Names: As one might expect, ironborn typically have Enslaic names, although as creatures that are sentient from the moment of their creation, they typically choose their own names, usually at the end of their initial training. Some ironborn bear perfectly ordinary Enslaic names, while others take a name that is a description of themselves or their built in purpose. A handful ask their creators to bestow a name upon them, seeing this as a mark of their fealty. Names are one area in which the ironborn sense of humor and love of puns comes into play, and many have names that are a play on words or a groan inducing pun.
  • Living Construct (Ex): Ironborn are living constructs with some of the advantages and disadvantages of both living creatures and constructs. A living construct is a subtype of construct, given sentience and free will through powerful and complex creation enhancements. A living construct is a sentient, artificially constructed creature that combines aspects of both constructs and living beings.

    • A living construct has the type “Construct (Living)”, and is not subject to spells or effects that only target humanoids, monstrous humanoids or other creature types.
    • As a created life form, a living construct has a Constitution score.
    • A living construct is affected by spells that target constructs as well as spells that target living creatures. Because of this, damage dealt to a living construct can be healed by a cure light wounds spell or a repair light damage spell, and a living construct is vulnerable to disable construct and harm. However, spells from the healing subschool provide only half effect for a living construct.
    • A living construct is not immune to mind-affecting effects.
    • A living construct is immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, nausea, and energy drain.
    • A living construct is not immune to death effects or necromancy effects, except those mentioned here.
    • A living construct responds slightly differently to reaching zero or negative hit points than other living creatures do. When it reaches hit point total ranging from zero to a negative total equal to its Constitution modifier, a living construct is disabled, just like a living creature. It can only take a single move action or standard action each round, but strenuous activity does not risk further injury. When his hit points are between a negative total equal to its Constitution modifier and a negative total equal to its Constitutions score, a living construct is inert. It is unconscious and helpless, and it cannot perform any actions. However, an inert living construct does not lose additional hit points unless more damage is dealt, exactly like a living creature that is stable.
    • A living construct cannot heal damage naturally. It must be healed or repaired.
    • A living construct is subject to critical hits.
    • A living construct does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, but he can still benefit from the effects of consumable spells and magic items such as heroes’ feast and potions.
    • A living construct is immune to the effects of fatigue and exhaustion.
    • A living construct can be raised or resurrected.
    • A living construct cannot benefit from the rage ability, whether such ability is gained as a class ability (such as the ability of the barbarian class) or as the result of a spell or magic item. As a created life form, a living construct simply does not have the necessary metabolic elements to rage.
    • A living construct is vulnerable to antimagic zones, dead magic zones, and areas where magic is suppressed, just like a normal construct.
    • A living construct suffers none of the drawbacks and gains none of the benefits of aging. They never die of natural causes and are immune to any attacks or effects that age a character.

  • Ability Scores: An ironborn may take a +2 racial bonus to any ability score other than Strength in return for a -2 penalty to any other ability score. Or, an ironborn may take a +2 bonus to Strength in return for a -2 penalty to any two other ability scores. Ironborn are custom-built and created with the attributes best suited to their intended purpose.

  • Size: A standard ironborn is Medium size. However, as living constructs, they can be built in other sizes. Some ironborn are Small, and a very small fraction are built as Large creatures.

    • Small ironborn gain a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus to attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but use smaller weapons, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character. A Small ironborn takes a -2 penalty to Strength in addition to the usual ironborn racial ability score adjustments, or it can drop the penalty to Strength in exchange for not gaining the secondary benefit of any ironborn feats that have a primary and secondary benefit unless they take the feat twice.
    • Large ironborn gain a natural reach of 10 feet, can use larger weapons, and their lifting and carrying limits are twice those of a Medium creature, but take a -4 penalty on Hide checks and a -1 size penalty on attack rolls and Armor Class. A Large ironborn takes a -2 penalty to Dexterity in addition to the usual ironborn racial ability score adjustments due to their ponderous bulk. If they take an ironborn feat that has a primary and secondary benefit, they do not gain the secondary benefit unless they take the feat twice.

  • Movement: Medium and Large ironborn have a base speed of 30 feet. Small ironborn have a base speed of 20 feet.

  • Feats: Ironborn characters may (but are not required to) select feats from the list of ironborn feats.

  • Composite Plating (Ex): The composite plating used to build the ironborn provides a +2 armor bonus. This plating is not natural armor and does not stack with other effects that give an armor bonus (other than natural armor). This composite plating occupies the armor/robe body location, and thus, an ironborn cannot wear armor or magical robes. Ironborn plating can be enchanted just like armor can be, though they must be present for the entire time it takes to enchant them. Composite plating also provides an ironborn with a 5% arcane spell failure chance, similar to the penalty for wearing light armor. Any class ability that allows you to ignore the arcane spell failure chance for light armor lets you ignore this penalty as well.

  • Light Fortification (Ex): When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on an ironborn there is a 25% chance that it is negated, and damage is instead rolled normally.

  • Rust Vulnerability: An ironborn suffers damage from a rusting attack, as it disintegrates its body. Use the damage value given for the spell or effect if one is mentioned. If a damage value is not given, the ironborn makes a save using the DC and save type indicated for the effect, if any. If no save is allowed or if the save fails, the ironborn takes 1d6 points of damage for each of its Hit Dice, with half damage on a successful save.

  • Natural Attack (Ex): A Medium ironborn has a slam attack that deals 1d4 plus Strength bonus points of bludgeoning damage. A Large ironborn's slam attack deals 1d6 plus Strength bonus points of bludgeoning damage, while a Small ironborn's slam attack deals 1d3 plus Strength bonus points of bludgeoning damage. This is a natural weapon.

  • Unblooded (Ex): As living constructs ironborn have no lineage, and thus cannot have a Heritage Bloodline.

  • Automatic Languages: Enslaic and either Rhadynnic, Sorglish, or Zwersprache.

  • Favored Class: Monk. An ironborn monk's composite plating does not interfere with its class abilities. Any effect that increases the weight of the composite plating, such as the Admantine Body feat, does interfere with an ironborn monk's class abilities.

  • Favored Class: Warrior.

  • Exclusive Class: Commander (from Path of the Sword).

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