When someone thinks of fantasy, certain genre-defining races come to the front of the mind. Surprisingly throughout the years, the basic attributes of these races have remained the same despite sweeping changes to the worlds around them. It begs the question “What makes these races what they are?” Just being born an elf doesn’t mean they’ll be an archer or mage, despite both archetypes being explored in detail over the years. We took examples from real world cultures and analyzed the different archetypes these races fill, what makes them perceived as they are and what makes them stand out in the minds of fans across the globe. Within are suggestions on how to create a culture in your game that enhances your races and world, with mechanical reinforcement to help bring them to life. With specialized classes from some of our favorite fiction, reimaginings of races into new archetypal roles and a boatload of racial feats from the excellent Christos “+5 Toaster” Gurd, you’ll be hard pressed to think of the peoples that make up your setting of choice in the same way ever again.
New Prestige Classes
Magelord [Elf]: Part politician, part specialist mage with the unique "arcane cascade" mechanic.
Bladesinger [Elf]: Part magus, part arcane archer, part bard- all elven grace.
Emissary [Human]: A human who adopts elements of another race/faction in order to gain bonuses against their enemies.
Battlesmith [Dwarf]: He crafts, he fights, and he drinks (hopefully in that order). This presents unique options for crafting with materials (advanced alloys and the like).
Grudge Seeker [Dwarf]: When you think your wife holds a grudge, you've never meet a pissed off dwarf.
Alpha [Werewolf]: A feral, raging, pack leader who grants his allies rage bonuses.
Skysinger [Werewolf]: She sings for the sun and she sings for the moon, but when it's all done she's got your heart... and forces you to shift forms.
New Base Class
Underhero [Halfling]: A fun little base class designed to be the "underdog". Not optimized for damage dealing but posed for those Tolkien fans who want to play the clever little hobbit.
Race Mechanics Rewrites & Re-Imaginings
Grippli [Reimagining] [Mechanics Rewrite]: Let’s face it, you ALWAYS wanted to play a blustering, adventurous, ripped, heroic, crazy little frog person.
High Dwarves (“Gustavin”) [Racial Subgroup]: Who wants to live in a smelly little cave when there are so many High Gothic castles for sale?
Sahmeii [Subgroup]: Part merfolk, part human, all OGL.
Wild Elves (“Elva’stana”) [Subgroup]: They are not so much the "let's sing in the forest without harps" kind of elves and more of the "let’s wrestle that T-Rex before it eats us" kind of elves.
Centaur (“Mek Centid”) [Mechanics Rewrite]: Centaurs re-balanced as a player race.
Ghost Elves ["Nef’liem"]: Soulless outcast elves who sought to avoid punishment by sleeping for 300 years.