Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Campaign Design - Race: Alvari

(adapted from Mystic Races)

Touched at birth by the mysteries of the arcane, the alvari quite literally have magic in their blood. They are most well known for their natural talents in the mystic arts and a streak of insanity that seems to accompany their affinity for magic. Mercurial, somewhat reclusive, and often a bit monomaniacal they rarely interact with others except when pursuing some obsessive arcane pursuit that has drawn them into the outside world. And usually it seems to be a bizarre and strange arcane idea that only someone who was insane would pursue relentlessly, leading to the popular belief that the alvari are a race of mystical madmen.

The alvari are born to magic, and their affinity shows itself in their very skin, hair, and eyes. The alvari all display an affinity for the mystic arts, but each alvari is especially attuned to a particular school of magic and is most comfortable and skilled when dealing with that particular kind of magic. There is one exception: Alvari seem to display almost no talent for necromancy, and there are no known alvari from this birth school. These magical affinities run in families of alvari, so an alvari with an affinity for conjuration is likely to have had parents who were conjuration oriented as well. In the past, some groups of alvari experimented with mixing bloodlines in an attempt to create more broadly skilled alvari children, so this rule of thumb is not always true. Once in a while, and alvari oriented towards one school will be born to a family that is mostly composed of members of another school.

Personality: The alvari are mysterious and obsessive, often following their chosen arcane pursuits with a single-minded determination that causes them to ignore all other concerns. Most alvari are naturally curious when it comes to a new field of magical inquiry, but they tend to favor their birth schools above all others. Given that so many of their arcane studies are either incredibly obscure or simply inscrutable, this makes the actions of many alvari seem incomprehensible and in some cases, thoughtless or even cruel. This tendency to capriciousness is offset in large part by the fact that so many alvari are naturally charismatic and persuasive, a trait that feeds into one of the other dominant traits the race is known for: megalomania. This second fact is likely the root cause of the brutally vicious nature of internal alvari politics.

Physical Description: Alvari are generally tall and thin, almost spindly, with long and thin fingers and toes. They average between six and six and a half feet tall, and generally weigh between 125 and 190 pounds. In general form, they look like tall, spindly humans, but they have pale skin that is tinged the color associated with their birth school. Not only that, alvari hair and eyes display the color of their birth school in brilliant hues, revealing their affinity to anyone they meet. Most alvari wear their hair long, and many wear it in elaborate styles. Alvari rarely have facial hair of any kind. The colors associated with each school are:
  • Abjuration: Silver. Abjuration oriented alvari typically have silver-white hair, and a slight silver sheen to their skin. Their eyes glow with a silver light that can have a powerful effect on others.
  • Conjuration: Purple. Members of the conjuration school have soft, subdued shades of purple skin, and usually have deep purple hair and striking violet eyes.
  • Divination: White. Members of the divination school have pale white skin and pure white hair, leading some to confuse them with members of the abjuration school at first. However, alvari of the divination school have pure white eyes, distinguishing them from their silver irised abjuration cousins.
  • Enchantment: Gold. Many alvari of this school have stunning gold threaded hair. Alvari of other birth schools are frequently jealous of the enchanter's gold hued skin and deep golden eyes.
  • Evocation: Red. With red tinged skin, fiery red hair, and deep, crimson eyes, the alvari of the evocation school often favor combat over discussion, preferring direct action to intrigue.
  • Illusion: Gray. Alvari of the illusion school usually have dull gray skin, black and grey streaked hair, and dark grey eyes.
  • Transmutation: Green. With pale green skin, deep green hair, and emerald eyes, the children of transmutation are mistaken by some to be allied with the green forests.

Relations: Because of their reclusive nature, alvari have limited relations with outsiders, usually preferring to interact using trusted intermediaries. This preference explains the alvari's meddling with the development of both the gnome and changeling races, and members of both races can often be found serving in the retinues of alvari patrons. The alvari relationship with these races is multifacested however, with some gnomes and changelings embracing their role as allies of the alvari, and others resenting the alvari manipulations in their heritage. Given the status that ironborn have among the Collegium as the ultimate servitors, many speculate that the alvari had a hand in influencing the Blue Mages to create them. Alvari are generally indifferent towards dwarves and khülen, but tend to regard humans and halflings with some affection.

Alignment: Alvari are generally self-absorbed, headstrong, obstinate, and independent with a strong streak of monomania and paranoia. Consequently, most alvari are chaotic in nature, acknowledging little authority and pursuing their own goals regardless of those around them.

Alvari Lands: Most alvari live in the Pilosian City-States, caught up in the swirling and chaotic internecine political warfare that flourishes there. Those who have left the alvari homelands tend to congregate near centers of magical power or learning, and some can be found wandering the Three Worlds in search of obscure arcane lore. A surprising number of alvari have joined Collegium are alvari, which is surprising considering the rather strict and ascetic lifestyle expected of members.

Religion: Most alvari regard Yng as the patron of their race and pay him at least lip service level homage, but many also acknowledge Woda and Füllar due to those Celestials' close association with magical prowess. Those alvari who turn to evil frequently pay homage to Ishi as their patron.

Language: Alvari speak Quolin as their native language and most learn another language for dealing with outsiders, usually Enslaic, Rhadynnic, or Sorglish. A substantial number of alvari learn Sûlic in the pursuit of their magical studies.

Names: Alvari almost all have Quolin names, with a first name usually accompanied by a surname related to their birth school or city or origin. Examples include Aidas, Audra, Aušrinė, Aušra, Daiva, Eglė, Gražina, Krėvė, Lina, Linas, Neris, Rasa, Šarūnas, Saulė, Ūla, Vėjas, Vilija, Vincas, Vydūnas, and Živilė.
  • Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution.
  • Size: Medium size.
  • Movement: Alvari have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Arcane Birth School: The player of an alvar character must choose a birth school during character creation. Alvari cannot choose Necromancy as their birth school. The character is literally infused with the power of this school and receives the following benefits:
    • School Insight: +2 racial bonus on Spellcraft checks for tasks involving magic from the birth school. The character receives this bonus when they attempt to learn a new spell from the birth school.
    • School Resistance: +2 racial bonus on saving throws to resist spells from their birth school.
    • School Spell Power: When an alvar casts a spell from their birth school, the saving throw DC to resist the spell is increased by 1.
    • Tapping the Power (Sp): The alvari are a race born into magic. A 1st level alvar can choose one 0-level spell from their birth school as a spell-like ability. At 4th level and at every four levels after that, an alvar may choose a 0-level or 1st level spell from their birth school as an additional spell-like ability. An alvar cannot have more 1st-level spell-like abilities than 0-level spell-like abilities. An alvar with a Charisma score of at least 10 can use 0-level spell-like abilities. An alvar with a Charisma score of at least 11 can also use 1st-level spell-like abilities from their birth school. Each of these spell-like abilities is usable once per day. Caster level for these abilities is equal to the alvar’s character level; save DC 10 + alvar’s Charisma modifier + spell level.
  • Final Utterance (Ex): When an alvar dies, their body releases the stored magic within it. For 1 round per Hit Die of the alvar, anyone within earshot hears ululating alvari syllables - usually gibberish, but occasionally a prophetic phrase of a final curse on the alvar's enemies. The alvar's body need not remain intact for the final utterance to occur. Even if an alvar succumbs to a disintegrate spell, their disembodied voice still utters strange gibberish for several rounds.
  • Necromantic Aversion (Ex): Alvari have a racial aversion to necromancy. Those alvari who choose to become specialist wizards cannot specialize in the necromancy school. When attempting to cast a spell from the necromancy school, an alvari must make a Will save (DC 10 + spell's level) to do so successfully.
  • Languages: Quolin and either Enslaic, Rhadynnic, or Sorglish.
  • Favored class: Sorcerer.
  • Favored class: Aristocrat.
  • Exclusive class: Duskblade (from the Player's Handbook II).
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