Races

Races of Luminari

Starting Races

Humanity

Humans possess exceptional drive and a great capacity to endure and expand, and as such are currently the dominant race in the world. Their empires and nations are vast, sprawling things, and the citizens of these societies carve names for themselves with the strength of their sword arms and the power of their spells. Humanity is best characterized by its tumultuous and diversity, and human cultures run the gamut from savage but honorable tribes to decadent, devil-worshiping noble families in the most cosmopolitan cities. Humans' curiosity and ambition often triumph over their predilection for a sedentary lifestyle, and many leave their homes to explore the innumerable forgotten corners of the world or lead mighty armies to conquer their neighbors, simply because they can.

Physical Description:

The physical characteristics of humans are as varied as the world’s climes. From the dark-skinned tribesmen of the southern continents to the pale and barbaric raiders of the northern lands, humans possess a wide variety of skin colors, body types, and facial features. Generally speaking, humans’ skin color assumes a darker hue the closer to the equator they live. At the same time, bone structure, hair color and texture, eye color, and a host of facial and bodily phenotypic characteristics vary immensely from one locale to another. Cheekbones may be high or broad, noses aquiline or flat, and lips full or thin; eyes range wildly in hue, some deep set in their sockets, and others with full epicanthic folds. Appearance is hardly random, of course, and familial, tribal, or national commonalities often allow the knowledgeable to identify a human’s place of origin on sight, or at least to hazard a good guess. Humans’ origins are also indicated through their traditional styles of bodily decoration, not only in the clothing or jewelry worn, but also in elaborate hairstyles, piercing, tattooing, and even scarification.

Adventurers:

Ambition alone drives countless humans, and for many, adventuring serves as a means to an end, whether it be wealth, acclaim, social status, or arcane knowledge. A few pursue adventuring careers simply for the thrill of danger. Humans hail from myriad regions and backgrounds, and as such can fill any role within an adventuring party.

Racial Abilities:

  • Quick to Master: 1 extra skill at 1st level
  • Skilled: 4 extra skill points at 1st level, plus 1 additional skill point at each level up.

Ability Adjustments: None
Experience Modifier: None

Concept Art by: broutefoin

Half Orcs

Created through selective breeding and magic in times of antiquity, half-orcs have been a race that has had difficulty finding its place in the world. Created as formidable infantry soldiers for the battlefields of the Darkling Wars and the later Wars of the Kingdoms, half-orcs filled a niche that has since mostly disappeared. As seen by other races, half-orcs are monstrosities, the result of perversion and violence—whether or not this is actually true. Half-orcs as a whole resent this treatment, and rather than play the part of the victim, they tend to lash out, unknowingly confirming the biases of those around them. A few feared, distrusted, and spat-upon half-orcs manage to surprise their detractors with great deeds and unexpected wisdom—though sometimes it's easier just to crack a few skulls. Their need to always prove themselves worthy encourages half-orcs to strive for power and greatness within the society around them. With the founding of Pesh, the half-orc city, many members of this race are hoping to finally overcome their racial history and begin their lives anew.

Physical Description:

Half-orcs average around 6 feet tall, with powerful builds and greenish or grayish skin. Their canine teeth often grow long enough to protrude from their mouths, and these “tusks,” combined with heavy brows and slightly pointed ears, give them their notoriously bestial appearance. While half-orcs may be impressive, few ever describe them as beautiful. Despite these obvious orc traits, half-orcs are as varied as their human parents.

Adventurers:

Staunchly independent, many half-orcs take to lives of adventure out of necessity, seeking to escape their painful pasts or improve their lot through force of arms. Others, more optimistic or desperate for acceptance, take up the mantle of crusaders in order to prove their worth to the world. Half-orcs raised in orc societies often take up the brutish ways of those around them, becoming warriors, berserkers, or rangers. Half-orcs who survive their shaman training may eventually succeed their masters as tribal shamans, or flee the tribe and practice their magic as outcasts or explorers.

In human societies, half-orcs have a few more options. Many find it easy to take advantage of the brute strength and work as mercenaries or caravan guards. Crime is another easy route for half-orcs, as there are plenty of criminals looking for a strong arm. Half-orc clerics in human communities are fairly rare; the more religious half-orcs more often turn to (or get pushed to) the martial aspects of religious service and become paladins or inquisitors. Half-orcs usually lack the patience and money required to become a wizard.

Racial Abilities: Ultravision
Ability Adjustments: +2 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma
Experience Modifier: None

Concept Art by Guangjian Huang, China

Elves

The long-lived elves are children of the natural world, similar in many superficial ways to fey creatures, though with key differences. While fey are truly linked to the flora and fauna of their homes, existing as the nearly immortal voices and guardians of the wilderness, elves are instead mortals who are in tune with the natural world around them. Elves seek to live in balance with the wild and understand it better than most other mortals. Some of this understanding is mystical, but an equal part comes from the elves' long lifespans, which in turn gives them long-ranging outlooks. Elves can expect to remain active in the same locale for centuries. By necessity, they must learn to maintain sustainable lifestyles, and this is most easily done when they work with nature, rather than attempting to bend it to their will. However, their links to nature are not entirely driven by pragmatism. Elves' bodies slowly change over time, taking on a physical representation of their mental and spiritual states, and those who dwell in a region for a long period of time find themselves physically adapting to match their surroundings, most noticeably taking on coloration that reflects the local environment.

Physical Description:

Generally taller than humans, elves possess a graceful, slender physique that is accentuated by their long, pointed ears. It is a mistake, however, to consider them weak or feeble, as the thin limbs of an elf can contain surprising power. Their eyes are wide and almond-shaped, and filled with large, vibrantly colored pupils. The coloration of elves as a whole varies wildly, and is much more diverse than that of human populations. However, as their coloration often matches their surroundings, the elves of a single community may appear quite similar. Forest-dwelling elves often have variations of green, brown, and tan in their hair, eye, and even skin tones.

While elven clothing often plays off the beauty of the natural world, those elves who live in cities tend to bedeck themselves in the latest fashions. Where city-dwelling elves encounter other urbanites, the elves are often fashion trendsetters.

Adventurers:

Many elves embark on adventures out of a desire to explore the world, leaving their secluded realms to reclaim forgotten elven magic or search out lost kingdoms established millennia ago by their ancestors. This need to see a wider world is accepted by their societies as a natural part of becoming mature and experienced individuals. Such elves are expected to return in some few decades and take up lives in their homelands once more, enriched both in treasure and in worldview. For those elves raised among humans, however, life within their homes—watching friends and family swiftly age and die—is often stifling, and the ephemeral and unfettered life of an adventurer holds a natural appeal. Elves generally eschew melee because of their relative frailty, preferring instead to engage enemies at range. Most see combat as unpleasant even when needful, and prefer it be done as quickly as possible, preferably without getting close enough to smell their foes. This preference for making war at a distance, coupled with their natural accuracy and grasp of the arcane, encourages elves to pursue classes such as wizards and rangers.

Racial Abilities:

  • Infravision
  • Elven Warfare: Elves, regardless of class, start with basic weapon proficiency
  • Sleep Enchantment Immunity
  • Keen Senses: +2 to listen, spot and search checks
  • Resistance to Enchantments: +2 saving throw bonus against enchantments

Ability Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution
Experience Modifier: None

Concept Art by: AnnaHelme

Half Elves

Elves have long drawn the covetous gazes of other races. Their generous lifespans, magical affinity, and inherent grace each contribute to the admiration or bitter envy of their neighbors. Of all their traits, however, none so entrance their human associates as their beauty. Since the two races first came into contact with each other, humans have held up elves as models of physical perfection, seeing in these fair folk idealized versions of themselves. For their part, many elves find humans attractive despite their comparatively barbaric ways, and are drawn to the passion and impetuosity with which members of the younger race play out their brief lives.

Sometimes this mutual infatuation leads to romantic relationships. Though usually short-lived, even by human standards, such trysts may lead to the birth of half-elves, a race descended from two cultures yet inheritor of neither. Half-elves can breed with one another, but even these “pureblood” half-elves tend to be viewed as bastards by humans and elves alike. Caught between destiny and derision, half-elves often view themselves as the middle children of the world.

Physical Description:

Half-elves stand taller than humans but shorter than elves. They inherit the lean build and comely features of their elven lineage, but their skin color is normally dictated by their human side. While half-elves retain the pointed ears of elves, theirs are more rounded and less pronounced. Their eyes tend to be human-like in shape, but feature an exotic range of colors from amber or violet to emerald green and deep blue. This pattern changes for half-elves of drow descent, however. Such elves are almost unfailingly marked with the white or silver hair of the drow parent, and more often than not have dusky gray skin that takes on a purplish or bluish tinge in the right light, while their eye color usually favors that of the human parent.

Adventurers:

Half-elves tend to be itinerants, wandering the lands in search of a place they might finally call home. The desire to prove themselves to the community and establish a personal identity—or even a legacy—drives many half-elf adventurers to lives of bravery. Some half-elves claim that despite their longevity, they perceive the passage of time more like humans than elves, and are driven to amass wealth, power, or fame early on in life so they may spend the rest of their years enjoying it.

Racial Abilities:

  • Infravision
  • Elven Warfare: Regardless of starting class, half-elves start with basic weapon proficiency
  • Resistance to Enchantments: +2 saving throw bonus against Enchantments
  • Half-Blood: +2 discipline and lore
  • Keen Senses: +1 bonus to search attempts

Ability Adjustments: None
Experience Modifier: None

Concept Art by: Kerem Beyit

Dwarves

Dwarves are a stoic but stern race, ensconced in cities carved from the hearts of mountains and fiercely determined to repel the depredations of savage races like orcs and goblins. More than any other race, dwarves have acquired a reputation as dour and humorless artisans of the earth. It could be said that their history shapes the dark disposition of many dwarves, for they reside in high mountains and dangerous realms below the earth, constantly at war with giants, goblins, and other such horrors. Dwarves are known for their skills in warfare, their ability to withstand physical and magical punishment, their hard work and their capacity for drinking ales. Dwarves are slow to jest and suspicous of strangers, but they are generous to those who earn their trust.

Physical Description:

Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance. Male and female dwarves pride themselves on the long length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. Clean-shavenness on a male dwarf is a sure sign of madness, or worse—no one familiar with their race trusts a beardless dwarven man.

Adventurers:

Although dwarven adventurers are rare compared to humans, they can be found in most regions of the world. Dwarves often leave the confines of their redoubts to seek glory for their clans, to find wealth with which to enrich the fortress-homes of their birth, or to reclaim fallen dwarven citadels from racial enemies. Dwarven warfare is often characterized by tunnel fighting and melee combat, and as such most dwarves tend toward classes such as warriors and berserkers.

Racial Abilities:

  • Infravision
  • Poison Resist: +2 saves versus poison
  • Stability: +4 resist to bash and trip skill
  • Spell Hardiness: +2 spell save versus damaging spells
  • Combat Training Versus Giants: +1 size bonus versus larger opponents

Ability Adjustments: +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma
Experience Modifier: None

                                  Concept Art by: Bryan Syme

Gnomes

Gnomes are distant relatives of the fey, and their history tells of a time when they lived in the fey’s mysterious realm, a place where colors are brighter, the wildlands wilder, and emotions more primal. Unknown forces drove the ancient gnomes from that realm long ago, forcing them to seek refuge in this world; despite this, the gnomes have never completely abandoned their fey roots or adapted to mortal culture. Though gnomes are no longer truly fey, their fey heritage can be seen in their oft-capricious natures, and their outlooks on life and the world.

Combined with their diminutive sizes, vibrant coloration, and lack of concern for the opinions of others, these attitudes have caused gnomes to be widely regarded by the other races as alien and strange. Gnomes, in turn, are often amazed how alike other common, civilized races are. It seems stranger to a gnome that humans and elves share so many similarities than that the gnomes do not. Indeed, gnomes often confound their allies by treating everyone who is not a gnome as part of a single, vast non-gnome collective race.

Physical Description:

Gnomes are one of the smallest of the common races, generally standing just over 3 feet in height. Despite their small frames, however, gnomes are extremely resilient, and not as weak as many of their foes assume. Though their diminutive stature reduces their ability to move quickly, gnomes often train to take advantage of their size, especially when fighting foes much larger than themselves.

While gnomes are certainly not above cosmetic enhancement (and may wish to change their appearance just to see how outlandish they can look), their natural hues truly range over a rainbow of coloration. Their hair tends toward vibrant colors such as the fiery orange of autumn leaves, the verdant green of forests at springtime, or the deep reds and purples of wildflowers in bloom. Similarly, their flesh tones range from earthy browns to floral pinks, and gnomes with black, pastel blue, or even green skin are not unknown. Gnomes’ coloration has little regard for heredity, with the color of a gnome’s parents and other kin having no apparent bearing on the gnome’s appearance.

Gnomes possess highly mutable facial characteristics, and their proportions often don’t match the norm of other humanoid races. Many have overly large mouths and eyes, an effect which can be both disturbing and stunning, depending on the individual. Others may have extremely small features spread over an otherwise blank expanse of face, or may mix shockingly large eyes with a tiny, pursed mouth and a pert button of a nose. Gnomes rarely take pride in or show embarrassment about their features, but members of other races often fixate on a gnome’s most prominent feature and attempt to use it as the focus of insults or endearments.

Adventurers:

Gnomes’ propensity for wanderlust, deep curiosity, and desire to master odd or esoteric skills and languages make them natural adventurers. They often become wanderers to experience new aspects of life, for nothing is as novel as the uncounted dangers facing adventurers. Many gnomes see adventuring as the only worthwhile purpose in life, and seek out adventures for no other motive than to experience them. Other gnomes desire to find some lost lore or material that has ties to their chosen vocation and believe only dragon hoards and ancient ruins can contain the lore they need, which can result in gnomes who think of themselves as bakers or weavers being just as accomplished adventurers as those who declare themselves to be mages or scouts.

Gnomes are physically weak compared to many races, and see this as a simple fact of life to be planned for accordingly. Most adventuring gnomes make up for their weakness with a proclivity for sorcery or bardic music, while others turn to alchemy or exotic weapons to grant them an edge in conflicts.

Racial Abilities:

  • Infravision
  • Resistance to Illusions: +2 saving throw bonus against illusions
  • Illusion Affinity: +2 DC opponents saves versus their illusions
  • Combat Training Versus Giants: +1 size bonus versus larger opponents

Ability Adjustments:

+2 Constitution, -2 Strength

Experience Modifier:

None

                                   Concept Art by: Paul Tobin

Halflings

Optimistic and cheerful by nature, blessed with uncanny luck, and driven by a powerful wanderlust, halflings make up for their short stature with an abundance of bravado and curiosity. At once excitable and easy-going, halflings like to keep an even temper and a steady eye on opportunity, and are not as prone to violent or emotional outbursts as some of the more volatile races. Even in the jaws of catastrophe, halflings almost never lose their sense of humor. Their ability to find humor in the absurd, no matter how dire the situation, often allows halflings to distance themselves ever so slightly from the dangers that surround them. This sense of detachment can also help shield them from terrors that might immobilize their allies.

Physical Description:

Halflings rise to a humble height of 3 feet. They prefer to walk barefoot, leading the bottoms of their feet to become roughly calloused. Tufts of thick, curly hair warm the tops of their broad, tanned feet. Their skin tends toward a rich cinnamon color and their hair toward light shades of brown. A halfling’s ears are pointed, but proportionately not much larger than those of a human.

Halflings prefer simple and modest clothing. Though willing and able to dress up if the situation demands it, their racial urge to remain quietly in the background makes them rather conservative dressers in most situations. Halfling entertainers, on the other hand, make their livings by drawing attention, and tend to go overboard with gaudy and flashy costumes.

Adventurers:

Their inherent luck coupled with their insatiable wanderlust makes halflings ideal candidates for lives of adventure. Though perfectly willing to pocket any valuables they come across, halflings often care more for the new experiences adventuring brings them than for any material reward. Halflings tend to view money as a means of making their lives easier and more comfortable, not as an end in and of itself. Other such vagabonds often put up with this curious race in hopes that some of their mystical luck will rub off. Halflings see nothing wrong with encouraging this belief, not just in their traveling companions, but also in the larger world. Many try to use their reputation for luck to haggle for reduced fare when traveling by ship or caravan, or even for an overnight stay at an inn. They meet with mixed success, but there are just enough stories circulating about the good fortune that befalls people traveling with halflings to give even the most skeptical pause. Of course, some suspect that halflings deliberately spread these reports for just that reason.

Racial Abilities:

  • Infravision
  • Shadow Hopper: +2 to sneak and hide
  • Lucky: +1 to all saves
  • Combat Training Versus Giants: +1 size bonus versus larger opponents

Ability Adjustments:

+2 Dexterity, -2 Strength

Experience Modifier:

None

Unlockable Races