Once you have assigned points to your character’s characteristics and figured out your attributes derived from those characteristics, it’s time to choose the wrapping that holds all of that together. You can choose from six different sentient species (sometimes called races or ancestries in other games) that inhabit the world of Exterminis. The classic fantasy species of human, elf, and dwarf are joined by the powerful and savage ferals, the shape changing kucheri, and the cold-hearted peri.
Players and GMs can also create their own sentient species. Guidelines for this are given below.
The short lifespans of humans are filled by their insatiable curiosity, work ethic, and passion. These traits have mixed within them beautifully, and have caused humans to become the dominant species on the Worlds of Exterminis. Humans can excel in any endeavor, and often rise to positions of prominence in their chosen professions.
Ancestral Bonus: Human characters receive an additional 4 points to distribute among their characteristics.
The short and stout dwarves are the undisputed masters of craftmanship. They rule their underground kingdoms, where they mine for precious metals and fine jewels. They work hard, and they play hard, being fond of strong drink and games that test their strength and stamina. Dwarves prefer to rely on physical strength rather than magic, but their stonemeld sorcerers are legendary among all mages.
Ancestral Bonus: Tough. Dwarves receive an extra 4 HP every day when they generate it.
The elves on the worlds of Exterminis are primal, fairy-like beings who exist in close harmony with the natural world. Although they are as technologically advanced as any other ancestry, they prefer to shape their creations in alignment with the forces of nature. Elves are very magical in nature and prefer to use magic to solve their problems whenever possible.
Ancestral Bonus: Spellborn. Elves receive an additional 4 Akasha every day when they generate it.
Ferals are powerful, yet peaceful warriors from the frozen wastelands. They resemble large bears who walk upright as humans do. They have large, retractable claws that spring forth from their forearms to slash and puncture their enemies, and powerful fangs that they use to rip and tear flesh. Although ferocious in battle, they only fight when they must defend themselves or others, and prefer to live peaceful, simple lives.
Ancestral Bonus: Natural weapons. When not using weapons, ferals can attack three times each round; two claw attacks and one bite. Each of these attacks that hit do 1 wound, for a possible total of 3 wounds.
The kucheri were the first ancestry created by the gods. As such, they are uniquely attuned to both the natural world and the chaotic energies present at creation. They are light-hearted and free tricksters by nature and enjoy playing pranks and making merriment as often as possible. Kucheri rarely engage in violence, but when they do, they can be as cunning and savage as any animal.
Ancestral Bonus: Shapechange. Kucheri can change their form at will, becoming any animal they have seen before, from as small as a mouse to as large as an elephant. They cannot, however, change into other sentient species or make themselves look like another kucheri.
Peri are tall and slender humanoids. They have extremely pale skin, and hair that is usually either stark white or (very rarely) jet black. They have ears that are very slightly pointed, and their eyes are very brightly colored. Peri are a twisted and evil ancestry that delights in torture and deceit. They routinely enslave the other ancestries and have no moral compass to speak of. Peri who adventure with the other ancestries must work hard to overcome their natural attitudes and prejudices, and they often have to work exceptionally hard to gain the trust and respect of other ancestries.
Ancestral Bonus: Sneaky: Peri receive a +4 bonus to all stealth and social influence checks.
Creating New Species
Creating new species can be a fun way to expand diversity and role-playing opportunities in your game world. Each new species provides a new way of looking at the world and interacting with it.
Each species comes with some flavor text and an ancestral bonus. Flavor text is important, because it describes the people’s place in the world, how they interact with it, and their relationships to the other species. Without the flavor text, a species is just a random bonus.
Take some time to figure out the “why” of the new species before trying to come up with the bonuses you want to give them. Where do they come from? What values do they hold? What do they fear? Are they religious? If so, which gods do they venerate? Why?
The answers to these and other questions will help you create a species that is both interesting and fun to play.
Here are a few ideas for ancestral bonuses. Feel free to use these, modify them, or come up with your own.
- Enhanced Characteristic: +2 bonus to any single characteristic.
- Natural Born (Warriors, Mages, Rogues, Priests): +4 bonus to any area of conflict.
- Nightvision: The ability to see in the dark as easily as in the light.
- Elemental Immunity: Take no damage from one of: Heat, Cold, Shock, Acid, Poison, Sonic, Psychic, Force, Radiant, Necrotic.
- Physical Resistance: Take half damage from physical attacks.
- Magical Resistance: Take half damage from all magical attacks.
- Bonus Akasha: Additional 4 Akasha.
- Natural Armor: +5 Armor Points.
- Natural Weapons: Body parts that do STR damage per hit.
- Shapechange: The ability to change form at will, becoming any animal, from as small as a mouse to as large as an elephant.
- Flight: The ability to fly distances equal to walking speed per turn.