Sunday 16 August 2020

The Kethenzala: an Elf-kindred for Blood & Treasure

 Bone Elves (Kethenzala)

Rare in the extreme, the Bone Elves represent one of the more disturbing - to other Elves, at least - Elven lineages to have emerged from Shroudfall. Where Dawn Elves are treated with scorn (masking a deep-seated fear of Elven ‘devolution’), the Bone Elves, with their thorough focus on all aspects of death, are deemed an unhealthy abomination. Bone Elves tend to congregate in the slums and ghettos of human cities - for reasons most do not examine too closely. It should be said that most Bone Elves are Neutral in alignment (with a slight lean towards the Chaotic alignments). However, any alignment is possible.

Kethenzala average 70” inches in height and have a movement rate of 30’. Their skin is a leathery grey, whilst their hair is usually a white-raddled cobalt blue. Eyes of piercing gold flecked with red lend them a daunting and unhealthy aspect. Bone Elves live for 1200 years, and begin with the following languages: Ketelcqa, Urugraz, Vaerylle and one human lingua franca (usually Hyarene, Kanastasi or Urdrinn).

Somewhat at odds with their slightly sickly appearance, Kethenzala are tough as old boots, in addition to being cunning and curious. They gain +1 to Constitution and Intelligence, but their scholarly lifestyle and obsession with mortality leaves them with a weak musculature and rather daunting personality. They lose 1 point from Strength and Charisma. Bone Elves possess the following minimum/maximum ability scores: STR 3/18, INT 9/19, WIS 3/18, DEX 7/18, CON 7/18, and CHA 3/17. They roll 2d4 + 6 for Heritage. 

Kethenzala possess the usual Elven traits, save that they are not immune to Ghoul Paralysis (although they may add +2 to Saving Throws made to avoid its effect) and exchange the longsword for the scythe (but of course) as a weapon with which they gain a +1 attack bonus. 

Kethenzala also add +3 to Lore task checks pertaining to Undead and +2 to Reaction rolls from intelligent Undead. Bone Elf Clerics (and Anticlerics) add their Charisma bonus (if they have one) to rolls to repel, destroy or command Undead. 

All Bone Elves can cast deathwatch at will.

Bone Elves may pursue the following classes: Acrobat, Alchemist, Anticleric, Antipaladin, Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Cleric, Diviner, Fighter, Leech, Necromancer, Paladin, Priest (Death, Fighting, Scholar, Trickster, Weird), Sentinel, Scout, Shadowdancer, Sorceror, Thief, Tomb Raider, Warlock, and Wizard Hunter. 

They may also pursue the following multi-class options: Assassin-Necromancer, Diviner-Thief,  Fighter-Necromancer, Thief-Priest (Death, Weird), Thief-Necromancer, Thief-Sorceror.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Summer Woman and Winter Man: the Nurntrell for Blood & Treasure


The Nurntrellen are a bizarre folk: appearing as a woman during the day, then as the sun sets, they transform into a man, before turning back once more as the dawn begins. Nurntrellen are usually found at high latitudes, where the widely varying seasonal lengths of daylight hours render their transformation less onerous. The changes they undergo between night and day go beyond physiology, however. The “Summer Women” and “Winter Men” also transition in terms of personality and skills. A Nurntrell’s male persona is cunning, evasive - even cowardly - and steeped in sorcerous knowledge, whilst their female aspect is forthright, confident and martial. (In game mechanics, this means that all Nurntrellen are multi-classed characters - one class representing their day aspect, the other that of the night). A Nurntrell is fully aware of this transition, and welcomes it, glorying in both aspects of themselves. The transition period is only some 1d10 minutes long - during which the Nurntrell is stunned - but a Saving Throw (using the value for the female aspect at dusk, and the male aspect at dawn) can be made to reduce the process to 1 round, although this fatigues the Nurntrell for 1 hour. Note that a Nurntrell seldom sleeps for more than 2-4 hours during the night, topping up with an hour or so of napping during the day. This limited amount of sleep does not seem to trouble them. 

In some particularly unbalanced individuals, the ‘Summer Woman’ spends half her time rectifying the mischief done by the ‘Winter Man’. This is not to say that a Nurntrell is completely dichotomous, with the male and female persona working against each other: the two aspects generally work in parallel, complementing one another in pursuit of whatever aims they choose (it is not the case that Winter Man will hurt friends of Summer Woman, or Summer Woman serve causes against the wishes of Winter Man). 

With regards to alignment, the two aspects share one base alignment: this can be Good, Neutral or Evil. However, Summer Woman will generally act out her goodness, evil or neutrality in a Lawful or Neutral manner, whilst Winter Man is almost invariably Chaotic. Thus, Summer Woman may be Neutral Good, but Winter Man will likely be Chaotic Good.

As might be imagined, Nurntrell society is a series of accommodations: in fact, Nurntrell culture survives only by dwelling amid other societies. The Nurntrell tend to call upon others to help mediate and manage their potential difficulties in return for the Winter Man’s counsel and supernatural aid and Summer Woman’s courage, fortitude and formidable martial prowess. Usually this will be with a human tribe in the high latitudes, but in nations such as Avronakiya, this may mean Nurntrell set up camp - or, if more settled, villages or keeps - near towns and villages, offering their aid in return for submitting to local law and custom.

When Nurntrell mate - assuming the coupling results in offspring - the pregnancy proceeds as per normal, with the Nurntrell locked in the form of Summer Woman for the nine months of the pregnancy (Nurntrell are aware from the very beginning: as night falls, Summer Woman fails to turn into Winter Man, an infallible sign of pregnancy). Whilst unable to turn into Winter Man, Summer Woman is extremely torpid by night, as if fatigued.

Nurntrellen average 70” in height and have a movement rate of 30’. They are robust of build, with powerful chests and well-muscled legs. Summer Woman often appears taller, but this is because Winter Man tends to slouch, shuffle and stoop. The Nurntrellen, regardless of day or night, have an icy blue complexion, expressive eyes of deep indigo and long silver hair above their high foreheads. Their faces are distinguished by a long, somewhat pointed chin and a certain heaviness of brow.

Their mien differs across the two aspects, however: Summer Woman tends to be open, friendly and oftentimes irascible. They smile and glower, often within the same sentence. Winter Man, on the other hand, has lowered eyes, a wry grimace and hunches forward slightly, as if trying to avoid revealing any more of themselves than they must. They tend to speak in a sardonic murmur through pursed lips, and have a liking for verbal ambiguity and obscurantism.

All Nurntrellen have a powerful presence, but other than this, they are widely varied. They gain a +1 bonus to Charisma, and all their abilities have a maximum score of 18 and minimum of 3. They live, on the average, 110 years.

Nurntrellen have the following special abilities: Summer Woman adds +1 to hit with any melee weapon (or unarmed strike), and Winter Man adds +1 to all Saving Throws against non-Clerical spells and psionic powers. A Nurntrell is also able to apply their initially rolled 3d6 in any order, as they wish, to their abilities. However, the time spent coming to terms with their strange nature means that Nunrtrellen do not gain a Feat at first level

A Nurntrell must select a multi-class option and cannot dual-class. They may multi-class in any combination of the classes listed below, provided that they attend to any alignment or ability requirements, and select one class from Summer Woman’s list, and one from that of Winter Man, as follows below. Note that Clerical restrictions against edged weapons apply across both classes. This is also true armour and weapon restrictions, but in a qualified way. A Nurntrell Barbarian-Sorceror can't use magic items (other than magic weapons and armour) whilst in their female aspect, just as the male aspect cannot wield the Barbarian’s full range of weapons (unless they use the Weapon Proficiency feat, of course). The standard aspects of a class (Attack bonus, Saving Throw, Skills, Spells and special abilities) only apply during the appropriate phase, with the notable exception of hit dice, which are rolled in the standard manner for a multi-class character. 

Summer Woman class options: Barbarian, Beastmaster, Cavalier, Cleric, Defender, Duellist, Fighter, Ranger, Sentinel, Shaman, She-Devil, Valkyrie.

Winter Man class options: Assassin, Conjuror, Diviner, Elementalist, Enchanter, Evoker, Necromancer, Scout, Sorceror, Thief, Transmuter, Warlock.    

Wolves of War: The Ulfarga for Blood & Treasure (& RMFRP)

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