Uncommon Races

The Commonwealth also includes countless other races and cultures, besides Gnolls, Humans, and the other pillar races; here are but a few.

Clay Men

Even more than the rest of the guide, Clay Men are still a work in progress. While at least one of the authors thinks they're interesting enough to keep in, they've proven to be difficult to get just right. Which may be obvious, given that several of the capabilities ascribed to them haven't made it into their rules-text yet.

The Clay Men have long dwelled deep underground; they are among the most unusual races of the Emerald Plane. Explorers from the Commonwealth first contacted them more than six hundred years ago; though they where open enough to trade and cooperation, their isolation deep underground limited how much traffic was possible.

Despite being open and sociable, their extremely long lives and alien natures made them slow to seek closer alliance with others races and nations. They have long suffered from attacks from the Leapers, who seem to be attempting to exterminate them. When the Deep-Explorer Dwarves began to venture underground, the Clay Men allied with them against their mutual enemy — although the highly individualist Deep-Explorers have remained wary of the Clay Men, given that, like the Mind-Sharing Dwarves, the Clay Men blend their minds. More recently, as large number of Kobolds have settled in the Commonwealth, the Clay Men have also begun to contact and trade with these (relatively) shallow-dug creatures.

As the Commonwealth prospered, as they expanded and explored further and further underground, and as they made major strides against the Leapers and their vassals, the Clay Men came to view them both more as an enlightened nation in which the Clay Men might be welcomed and respected despite their extreme differences, and as vital military allies against their mutual and deadly foes. When the Commonwealth Compact was signed in CY 750, the Clay Men where one of several long-time allies who became formal signatories and members.

Alien Nature

The Clay Men have a unique nature. They do not have distinct organs and tissues the way that most other races do; instead, they are a mass of living, undifferentiated material. Without bones or organs, they have a great ability to stretch, compress and reshape themselves; they can also extend pseudopods for grip and locomotion. They do not have eyes and are completely blind, but they do have an exceptional sense of hearing, the ability to perceive vibrations through solid surfaces, and the remarkable ability to create "pinging" sounds and interpret the echos to "see" their surroundings; these abilities serve them better than eyes in the lightless depths where they live.

Perhaps more remarkable — or more enviable — to surface dwellers, they are fueled at least in part by magic. They need very little food, they do not sleep, and they do not age.

Even more amazing is their ability to literally blend. Two Clay Men can extend pseudopods and partly blend together. While blending, Clay Men can share, copy and exchange their minds, and can support one another if one is enjured or strained.

Their reproduction is also unique. Individual Clay Men are sexless. New individuals can be created by existing individuals literally splitting. They have some control over this: it is possible for an individual to completely divide, creating two new individuals who bearing parts of the parent; but it is also possible for an individual to "bud," creating a new individual while remaining substantially themselves. Clay Men can also do this individually or cooperatively: several Clay Men can come together — on their own, or with the mediation of a reservoir — and create a new individual from parts of all the participating individuals.

Clever [Clay-Man, Far Watch member]: A common source of frustration members of other races encounter is how to address us. Commonwealth Standard has two additional gender modes that most languages lack — one for "gender-absent," which we often use, and one for "gender-ambiguous," which Tempters often use. Weal, for example, doesn't have these modes.

River: … you're not going to juse tell us? All right, then, I'll ask: what should we call you?

Clever: Ha! Fair point. In Weal, I prefer [it]; I think that's closer to the mark than either the plural [they] or the singular [he] or [she]. But I don't speak for other Clay Men, only myself.

For Clay Men, combining "traits" is a separate act. Whereas, for most races, the traits of a child are drawn from the traits of parents and grandparents, among Clay Men, traits can be exchanged between individuals (and reservoirs).

Clay Culture

Many of their communities center arund reservoirs—large masses of the living material that makes up Clay Men. Unlike individual Clay Men, reservoirs aren't sentient or active in themselves; instead, reservoirs act as repositories. Clay Men can blend with the reservoir, storing bits of themselves within — or accessing the stored minds and experiences of others. Clay Men cannot copy their entire, living minds into a reservoir, but they can preserve a remarkable ammount of their memories, skills, personalities and knowledge — which other Clay Men can then access and draw from.

Unsurprisingly, many "Clay" communities center around the care (and defence) of these reservoirs, and the cultivation of useful skills and knowledge within.

This gives many Clay Men a unique outlook. The reservoir gives them a measure of immortality — beyond even that provided by the fact that they do not age. It also allows them to modify their minds in a way that few other races can; they can quite literally retrieve bits of knowledge or even personality from the reservoir, to suppliment or replace their own. For this reason, some Clay Men are disposed to think of themselves as much as realizations of some of the minds stored with their reservoir as individuals themselves.

Notably, Clay Men seem to have extremely flexible and adaptive natures. Clay Men have experimented with using magical and chemical means to alter physical forms. Different communities sport different adaptations, which make their members suitable to different tasks; some can breath water and swim, for example, while others can exude caustic chemicals to tunnel through solid rock. Recently, some Clay Men have experimented with developing a bony "rigging" internally, the better to operate on the surface among the other races of the Commonwealth.

Since they are not dependant on wide, cultivated fields, and since they do not age or die naturally, their communites tend to be small, and to grow very slowly if they grow at all. Their communities are also heavily fortified and defended, to resist the Leapers.

Clay Men speak a unique language (simply called "clay") that makes use of very low frequencies — which most other races cannot hear or produce.

Commonwealth Integration

The Clay Men lagged behind the rest of the Commonewalth in architecture and mettallurgy, although they possess a sophisticated understandings of magic and medicine. More practically, they have proved a fruitful source of minerals, metals, and rare materials from deep underground.

Notably, most of what the Commonwealth knows about the Leapers, they have learned from the Clay Men. (Whatever secrets the Deep-Divers know, they have largely chosen not to share.)

Clay Men have a very distinctive vocalization range; while they can produce both very low and very high-pitched sounds, they struggle to produce complex patterns. Most of them speak a local variant of the same root language, simply called "clay". They can learn to speak Commonwealth Standard (though members of some other races find it painful to listent to for long periods of time).

Clay-Men Vitals

An ancient, amorphous race.

  • Old Age: -

  • Average Height: 1.8m

  • Average Weight: 50kg

  • Diet: Omnivore

  • DUR 35, STR 20

  • +5 INT, +5 SAV, +5 WIL

  • Movement: Burrow 3/9, Pseudopods 3/9, Roll 4/12/24

  • Senses: Echo-Sight, Mage Sight, Tremor Sense

  • Tags: Supernatural, Shape-Shifter, Amorphous, Clay Men

  • Language Groups: CM

  • Amorphous: Clay Men are amorphous, and can manipulate their shape at will; they can stretch, narrow, ball up, flatten out, and so on.

    • This has many benefits: they can slip through very small openings, flatten themselves over surfaces, or roll into a ball to roll; they are also nearly impossible to tie down or grapple.
    • They do not have enough control to mimic an object (or creature)—except possibly a giant mass of cookie dough.
    • Notably, they cannot practically wear armor.
    • Cavities: Clay Men can hollow out cavities, which allows them to store (and manipulate) objects within themselves.
    • Pseudopods: Clay Men can extend pseudopods. Most can extend up to four pseudopods, of about a meter length.
    • Ripples: clay men can create creases, ripples, dimples, "cups", and other small features; this allows them to grip surfaces and manipulate small objects.
  • No Organs: Clay Men do not have vital organs (or, indeed, differentiated tissues), and thus they are not vulnerable to attacks or powers that rely on targeting weak points or vital organs.

    • They have Resistance: Precision (Immunity), and critical hits against them are downgraded.
  • No Facing: Clay Men have no particular “front” or facing (and no discrete sensory organs). They can perceive all around themselves, including directly above and below.

  • No Bones: Lacking a skeletal structure, Clay Men cannot take advantage of leverage; this severely reduces their ability to deploy their strength.

    • Their DB is 0.
    • They suffer a -30 penalty on checks where leverage would be required.
  • Blind: Clay Men have most of the senses that other races do — taste, touch, smell and hearing — but they are blind.

  • Acute Hearing: Clay men have an incredible sense of hearing, stemming from their abilit to use their entire surface to detect sound. They gain a +20 bonus to auditory perception checks, and can hear both very low and very high pitches of sound.

  • Envelop: Clay Men have a unique form of physical combat available to them: simply enveloping (and then digesting) an enemy; this works much like grappling, except that the grappled creature is pulled completely inside the Clay Man.

    • Enveloped targets are normally held immobile; but, if the enveloped creature succeeds on a STR+SOM check, they can deal damage to the Clay Man that has enveloped them with any weapon they are holding (or any natural weapon).
    • A Clay Man can begin to digest a creature that it has enveloped; this deals 1d10÷2 DV per turn.
  • Fast Healing: Clay Men have Fast Healing 1

  • Fueled by Magic: Clay Men have internal magical process that help to keep them going. They need to breath (by exchanging oxygen through their surface). They need to eat to grow, but they need little food when not growing or repairing damage. They do not need to sleep. They can be effected by disease, but are resistant to most diseases that affect humanoids (they have Resistance: Disease (+30 to checks to resist)). They do not age.

  • Blend: Clay-Men can blend with reservoirs and with other Clay Men, joining their minds and bodies. Though the blended Clay-Men retain their separate identities, they gain a profound level of access to each-other's minds. They can communicate; exchange thoughts, ideas and information; and access one-another's skills and memories. They can even exchange or copy elements of one-another's minds.

Optional Trait: Aquatic

Some Clay-Men have adapted themselves to aquatic environments.

  • Effect: the character can breath under water, and gains the Swim 4/12 movement mode.

Optional Trait: Caustic

Some Clay-Men have developed the ability to suffose all or part of themselves with caustic chemicals, which allows them to dissolve objects that they touch (or envelop).

  • Effect: the character can make all or part of themselves caustic, which allows them to dissolve (and, optionally, digest) anything that they are in contact with (or have enveloped).
    • Objects or creatures in contact with a caustic Clay Man take 1d10÷2 DV per turn.
    • This increases the damage that they deal to an enveloped creature or object to 1d10 DV per turn.
    • They can make all, part or none of themselves caustic; they can, for example, render only a small patch of their surface caustic.
    • This makes it easier for them to burrow, which improves the rate of the Burrow movement to 4/12.
    • Caustic Clay Men can tunnel even through solid rock — although they are slowed to 2/6 when doing so.

Optional Trait: Color-Changing

Some Clay-Men can alter their coloration.

  • Effect: the character can change their surface coloration. This allows them to create shapes or patterns down to the scale of a few centimeters, which allows them to display text or rudimentary images; to decorate themselves; to make themselves easy to spot (+20 to Perception checks); or camouflage themselves (+20 to Stealth).

Optional Trait: Eye-Spots

Some Clay Men have developed eye-spots on their surface, which gives them the ability to see. The eye-spots don't have lenses, so each individual eye-spot has poor vision; information from all of them must be combined to build an image of the Clay Man's surroundings.

  • Effect: the character has developed eye-spots on their surface.
    • The character gains the Normal and Infrared senses, and looses the Blind trait.
    • Visual perception checks have a -20 penalty.
    • Clay Men can perceive all around them their vision, just like with their other senses (as per the No Facing racial trait).

Optional Trait: Rigging

Some Clay-Men can produce an internal skeleton, which allows them to use internal leverage to better deploy their strength.

  • Effect: the character can produce an internal support structure made of cartilage.
    • They can produce and dissolve the “rigging” at will. Creating the rigging is a Task Action with a six hour timeframe, and dissolving it is Task Action with a three-hour timeframe.
    • The rigging allows the Clay Man to take advantage of internal leverage, and thus negates the No Bones trait; it also increases their STR by 5.
    • However, the cartilage is fragile, and it exposes the character to bits of tiny broken cartilage tumbling through them when they are injured. The cartilage reduces their DUR by 5.

Optional Trait: Sticky

Some Clay Men have adapted themselves to become sticky.

  • Effect: the character can make all or part of themselves sticky.
    • This allows the character to easily grab onto surfaces and objects.
    • This provides the character with a +20 bonus to checks made to grapple or envelop characters.
    • The character gains the Climbing 4/12 movement mode.


Short but sturdy, Dwarves hail from the cold and snowy north. Only about a third of the Dwarven Holds have signed the Commonwealth Charter, while the others remained independent. A few adventurous Commonwealth dwarves travelled west with the Commonwealth, where they have dug holds in the Haven Isles, besides Ash Elves and Kobolds, and prospered.

Traditional Dwarven Culture

Dwarves originate in the frozen north, where the low peaks and rolling foothills of the Worldspine Mountains give way to the coast, the ocean, and the forested plains to their east and west. Dwarves have long been comfortable living underground, surrounded by growing things: many of their ancient communities consisted of small numbers of bermed buildings in the relative flatlands of the northeast, or of structures dug into the foothills of the Worldspine — many small Dwarven communities built on the surface still consist largely of bermed buildings. As Dwarves began to urbanize, their earthen construction became larger and deeper; the development of sophisticated mining and masonry techniques allowed them to incorporate stone into their construction and to build underground, eventually producing the Dwarven clan-holds that were common when the Empire of Man first contacted them.

Most modern Dwarven holds are large, wide, sturdy structures built of stone and earthwork; they are often dug shallowly, with substantial extent on the surface (as opposed to deeper-digging races like Kobolds, who often build entirely subterranean structures deep underground). Dwarven Holds are often built in a ring around the base of a hill; more rarely, they may be dug into open ground, or partially dug into the slope of a mountain. They often feature large open spaces on the interior, which provide ventilation, and serve as public spaces or gardens.

The old Dwarven culture of the North is centered around kin and custom. Most Dwarven holds will be controlled by a Clan, consisting of several families — though some large holds may be governed by several Clans, and some large and wealth Clans control multiple holds. Rather than law and governance as such, holds tend to be run by custom and consensus; authority is typically held by the heads of families. Similarly, exchange is more often mediated by custom than currency, and there is a strong emphasis on caring for kin.

Dwarves are open enough and are rarely hostile, although they can be insular; it can be extremely difficult for an outsider to find a place in such a family-oriented society. For this reason, only about a third of the Dwarven Clans of the north ever signed the Commonwealth Charter; the others have remained independent.

Dwarves have cultivated expertise in mining, stonework and agriculture. Craftsmen also hold high status in Dwarven holds, and many Dwarven communities are known for the quality of the work of their artisans, which can rival the work of Human craftsmen.

Haven Isles Dwarves

Though only a few Dwarves chose to leave their northern lands and settle elsewhere in the Commonwealth, the communities founded by these travelers, explorers and exiles have endured, grown and prospered. Today, Dwarves are one of the most common races in the huge urban centers of the Haven Isles in particular, where their own culture blends with their Kobold and Ash-Elf neighbors.

The Dwarves of the Haven Isles tend to be more mercantile; formal law and finance have substantially replaced tradition and custom in these communities. Though some view this as a loss, it has made these communities far more open and accessible to outsiders; the Dwarves of the Haven Isles welcome guests, travelers and traders.

The Dwarves of the Haven Isles tend to get along particularly well with their Kobold neighbors, whose boisterous, zealous and optimistic nature are often welcome; these friendships can often be bittersweet, as Dwarves live much longer lives than Kobolds. It is not unusual for one Dwarf to have a close and vital friendship with several generations of a Kobold family.

While many of these Dwarven populations reside in Holds dug into the peaks of the Haven Isles beside Ash Elves and Kobolds, several Dwarven clans have settled in the trading-cities and harbors of the Haven Isles' coast. These "shipwright" Dwarves have come to cooperate closely with the Ratfolk, Halfling and Orcish shipwrights who have helped to build the Commonwealth's navy.

Mindsharing Dwarves

In CY 509, Dwarven explorers discovered a strange, psionically active fungus beneath the low peak of a small island in the northern Haven Isles. The fungus proved to have remarkable capabilities, and an entirely new Dwarven culture has developed around it. This organism is called "Fahra" in Hud, which is derived from "Fehr," or fungus; Clans that have accepted the organism as a symbiote are called Fahrat Clans. The Common word for the organism is "Mindshare Fungus," which is an apt description of what it does.

Mindshare Fungus can thrive on its own in the damp dark of caves beneath the Emerald Plane as well as any other fungus can, but it also has the ability to derive nourishment from the magical energies of living creatures — what is commonly called psionic energy. What's more, the fungus can actually colonize the bodies of some other creatures — including Dwarves, whose physiology is highly compatible with it. Mindshare Fungus is not a parasite, however, but rather a symbiote; it does not harm its hosts, but it does provide them with some remarkable benefits. The Mindsharing Fungus can "bridge" the minds of its hosts; this allows those hosts to exchange thoughts, experiences, knowledge, and even skills. These exchanges are largely voluntary; hosts have a great deal of control over what they share with others and what they take in — although they cannot completely shut out the connection.

Normally, this effect only works over short distances — hosts need to be within a few strides of each-other to bridge their minds. However, the effect can be "conducted" over greater distance by Mindsharing Fungus "plants" themselves — and these "plants" can be quite large, with many different surface growths connected by a vast rootwork. Mindshare "plants" also have the remarkable ability to store and retrieve parts of the minds of users — ranging from simple messages or discrete memories to fragments of personalities.

A unique, highly communal culture has sprung up around the Fahra. The Mindsharing Dwarves tend to be radically open, honest and egalitarian. Even more than traditional Dwarves, they run their societies by consensus and memory — thanks to the Mindsharing Fungus, they have little need of courts, contracts, physical records, or even schools. Members of Mindsharing communities will often share some personality traits — an individual's personality is never forcefully changed, as even Mindsharing Dwarves value their individuality, but rather occurs naturally and inevitably as the mind of each member slightly overlaps with every other in a community. Some communities remain highly individualistic in their own way, where each member lives their own lives and pursues their own goals, merely using the Fahra to best live at peace with their neighbors; in other communities, however, members can begin to "vanish" into the collective.

No Mindsharing community has been known to forcefully recruit a member, or force its will on a member; this is due in part to their culture, in part to Commonwealth law, and in part to the fact that the trauma and misery inflicted on that individual would "leak" over the link — no matter how much they might try to stop it — and would "poison" all the other members. Still, there are those that fear them.

Most Mindsharing Dwarves live in the Haven Isles. A few have resettled in their traditional homeland, building a few Holds in the northeast of the Worldspine mountains; their distant kin have greeted them coolly (an understatement in the case of the Deep-Explorer Dwarves).

Deep-Explorer Dwarves

Deep-Explorer Dwarves are a Dwarven subculture that has vanished into the depths, substantially withdrawing from the affairs of surface-dwellers and "shallow diggers". The Deep-Explorer Dwarves' origins lie in the Lun, a confederation of Dwarven holds in the northeastern peaks of the Worldspine mountains. Independent and individualistic, they where not among the holds that joined the Commonwealth. In CY 514, a community of Dwarves from the Haven Isles settled in an abandoned Hold near the territory of the Lun; these Dwarves had brought the Fahra with them, and began to culture and experiment with the symbiotic organism.

The fiercely individualistic Lun where horrified; they feared what their new neighbors might become, and were particularly alarmed that their hold was in a position to close off the Lun's path out of the Worldspine Mountains. The Lun sought a refuge that the Fahrat could never breach, and a path of escape that they could never cut off; they began digging deeper underground in CY 517, and by CY 533 they had almost entirely withdrawn from the surface — their former settlements where now little more than heavily-fortified trading-posts.

Today, little is known about the Deep-Explorer Dwarves — called the Drahrat in their own language, a deliberate dig at the Fahrat.

See also Deep-Explorer Dwarves in Other Factions.

Dwarven Vitals

  • Old Age: 110 Years

  • Average Height: 90cm

  • Average Weight: 50kg

  • Diet: Omnivore

  • DUR 35, STR 30

  • +10 SOM, +10 WIL

  • Movement: foot 3 / 9

  • Senses: Normal, Infrared

  • Size: Medium, Squat

  • Tags: Natural, Humanoid, Dwarf

  • Language Group: HHED

  • Squat: Dwarves are treated as small targets when defending against ranged attacks (even though they are Medium-sized creatures).

  • Hardy: Dwarves are known for their hardy constitutions, being resistant to both disease and poison. Dwarves gain Resistance: Disease and Resistance: Poison

Optional Trait: Cave-Eyes

Some Dwarves eyesight has become extremely sensitive; this allows them very good vision in dim light, but it also makes them very sensitive to bright light. This is extremely common among the Drahrat, most of whom cannot venture in daylight without day-masks (see below).

  • You gain the Low-Light sense.
  • You become highly sensitive to bright light; your are dazzled in bright light (such as daylight), suffering a -30 penalty to visual perception tests.
  • Prolonged exposure to bright light is increasingly painful, eventually causing permanent damage to your vision.

Optional Trait: Mind-Sharing

You have a Fahra symbiote; this allows you to share parts of your mind with other Mind-Sharing Dwarves nearby, and for them to share their minds with you.

  • You can share your mind with anyone else with the Mind-Sharing trait who is within 15m.
    • The Mind-Sharing Fungus serves as something of a conductor; if a Mind-Sharing Fungus is within range, then you can share your mind with anyone else with the Mind-Sharing trait who is within range of the same Mind-Sharing Fungus.
    • Note that many funguses are quite large; what may appear to be many different growths on the surface may actually all be parts of one huge plant, with a vast root-system.
  • Sharing your mind provides several benefits:
    • you can communicate, as though speaking;
    • you can share a sense-perception (i.e. allowing someone to see through your eyes);
    • you can share memories (i.e. allowing someone to perceive your memories as you do);
    • you can share knowledge;
    • you can share your skills (if you have 30 or more ranks in a skill, then you can grant someone access to your skill; they are treated as if they have 15 ranks in that skill);
    • you can even "fortify" someone else's mind (if you have a rating of 25 or more in an aptitude, then you can "fortify" that aptitude in someone else; they are treated as having a rating of 15 in that aptitude).
  • Being connected with the minds of others can cause some of your personality to blend with their, and vice-versa.
    • This effect is subtle, only occurs over the long-term, and is intended to be role-played; even in its most extreme form, it does not require a character to "loose themselves" to those they are sharing their mind with.


  • Gnomes live in burrows in the lower ranges of the World Spine Mountains.

  • Gnome burrows reside near the surface; they are “buried shallow,” with surface entrances.

  • Gnome communities tend to be small; a dozen families or fewer, spread across as many burrows.

  • Gnomish communities tend to be isolated; they are not eager to receive guests, not even other Gnomes.

  • The outsiders they deal most frequently with are Kobolds, from burrows dug deeper underground in the World Spine Mountains.

  • Gnome communities tend to be idiosyncratic, owing to their limited outside contact.

  • Gnomish culture can blend the hedonic and the materialistic in strange ways. Because their communities are small and isolated, they are used to suffering hardship and want; however, they are also highly pleasure-seeking in their own way, and tend to be highly libertine and indulgent in the pursuit of mortal pleasure (when they have the opportunity).

  • As a result, they may appear to be humble, simple and rustic — until evening descends, when the party drugs come out.


  • Old Age: 130 Years

  • Average Height: 80cm

  • Average Weight: 18kg

  • Diet: Omnivore (preferential herbivore)

  • DUR 25, ST 20

  • +5 INT, +5 COO, +10 WIL

  • Movement: Foot 4 / 12

  • Senses: Normal, Low-Light

  • Sizes: Small

  • Tags: Natural, Humanoid, Gnome

  • Language Group: HHED

  • Alchemically Attuned: Gnomes double the duration of drugs, and Gnomes receive a +10 bonus to checks to resist the effects of drugs.


  • Halflings were one of the founding races of the Commonwealth.

  • Halflings have a somewhat unique dimorphic society; the young and hardy travel in Caravans, trading wares and selling their skills, while children, the infirm and the elderly live in fixed settlements.

  • Halfling communities tend to form close, symbiotic relationships with Gnollish villages and families. Halfling communities are frequently built near Gnollish towns and villages; they depend on the Gnolls for security and labor, and the Gnolls depend on the Halfling caravans to sell their produce.

  • In particular, Gnolls commonly travel with Halfling caravans, providing security — and services like smithing, for which Halflings are poorly suited.

  • Caravans of Halfling traders and Gnollish guards knitted together the early Commonwealth, and remain on of its most iconic elements — if distant kindgoms know nothing else about the Commonwealth, they know about the trade caravans, and might have been visited by one.

  • Halflings have not grown at the rate that the other races have grown, and other forms of trade — notably mediated by ships sailing along major rivers, and along the coasts — have eclipsed the Caravans in the ability to move goods. Because of this, the fortunes of Halflings have fallen somewhat.

  • Still, the Caravans remain numerous, and are a vital carrier of Commonwealth trade.

Halfling Vitals

One of the Founding Races, the merchants of the early Commonwealth. Though they have fared well as the commonwealth has grown, their numbers have never grown as rapidly as other races’ have.

  • Old Age: 80 Years

  • Average Height: 1m

  • Average Weight: 30kg

  • Diet: Omnivore

  • DUR 25, STR 20

  • +5 COO, +5 INT, +5 SAV, +5 WIL

  • Movement: Foot 4 / 12

  • Senses: Normal

  • Size: Small

  • Tags: Natural, Humanoid, Halfling

  • Language Group: HHED

  • Survivors: Halflings have a remarkable ability to endure adversity. They get a +10 bonus on Feat of Endurance checks and checks to resist Stress.


  • Herders are tall, thin and roughly humanoid — besides the layer of short fur, the large, deer-like eyes, the antlers and the hooves.

  • They are also extremely fast, and more than a little skittish.

  • The Herder where a tribal society that existed in the far West of the Emerald Plane.

  • Though distant from the Shade Elves, they were still within their reach, because the Shade Elves where commonly mounted and could strike far to the North.

  • The Herders formed an alliance with several other nearby tribal cultures, including a tribal Gnollish culture, for defense against the Shade Elves.

  • They were first encountered by the Commonwealth in CY 255, and peaceful relations where established.

    • Between 341 an 344, the Shade Elves heavily raided both Commonwealth and Herder settlements; the two allied, and successfully devastated the Shade Elf raiders.
    • In CY 349, the Herders signed a treaty with the Commonwealth, becoming allies; when the Compact was ratified, the Herders formally became members of the Commonwealth.
  • Herders are very social creatures; the live in large settlements in the open, grassy plains and gentle hills of the far West of the Emerald Plane.

    • Though they are a primitive tribal society, they cannot digest meat efficiently, and so they practice agriculture — using inlets cut from rivers to irrigate grain fields and orchards. Check that this makes some sense.
    • They often hunt and trap, as much for the sake of pelt, tradition and trade as to feed themselves
    • Their settlements are often situated near rivers, and they farm and fish.
    • Many of their settlements are still walled, owing to the continued risk of Shade Elf raids, even to the present day — and despite the heavy presence in the region of Commonwealth guards.
  • They are a traditional and somewhat insular people, and show little interest in trade or exchange with the wider Commonwealth.

  • They make excellent archers, and are extremely quick over open terrain, which can make them frustrating opponents for Shade Elves, and valuable allies for other nearby tribes (and partners for tribal gnolls specifically).


Quick, dextrous, sociable and peaceful – but also weak and frail. They tend to be wary of outsiders, and are dangerous at range.

  • Old Age: 45 years

  • Average Height: 2.1m

  • Average Weight: 75kg

  • Diet: Herbivore

  • DUR 25, STR 25

  • +10 COO, +5 INT +5 SAV

  • Movement: Foot 6 / 18

  • Senses: Normal, Motion-Sensitive

  • Size: Medium

  • Tags: Natural, Humanoid, Herder

  • Language Group: GR

  • Alert: Herders receive the Alert trait.


  • Centuries ago, 165 years before the first Commonwealth Charter, orcs founded cities in the snowy Northern reaches far to the West of the World-Spine Mountain.

    • The oldest Orcish lands are located on a large, flat peninsula in the North-Western reaches of the Emerald Plane, separated from Dwarven lands by a gulf.
    • They were a tribal society: extended Families allied into Clans, and several Clans might cooperate to found a city.
  • They were a warlike honor-society

    • Orcs are large and have poor reflexes; they made poor riders, and so they marched to war on foot. Because of this, and their fractious nature, they rarely mustered large armies and marched to war.
    • They had ample access to sea and river; their clans built many small, shallow-draft long-boats, and they were terrifying raiders up and down the nearby coasts.
    • Threat of invasion, and promise of relief from raiding, were used to force other nearby societies to pay tribute; Orcs typically raided distant seaport cities, and the clans often warred among themselves.
    • For conflicts within their society, they used a system of ritualized combat.
    • The period before contact with the Commonwealth represents a golden age for the orcs, a period of wealth and power — and a time of misery for their neighbors.
  • Humans of the Old Empire avoided Orcish lands, using their tributaries as a buffer.

  • Centuries later, in CY 91, the Commonwealth began to spread west of the World-Spine, incorporating former Imperial human settlements and tribes (when willing) alike.

    • In CY 113, the Commonwealth allowed a tribe of Elves who the Orcs had claimed as tributaries to join; thereafter, the Elves stopped paying tribute, and the orcs sacked them.
    • This led the Commonwealth to lay siege to the Orcish clan-hold that launched the attack.
    • Other Orcish cities marshaled an army and attempted to break the siege; their attempt failed.
    • This led to 20 years of warfare between the Commonwealth; the Orcs were significantly outmatched by the Commonwealth military, and most of their tributaries were liberated. By CY 131, they were left with no tributaries, and were surrounded by Commonwealth settlements and Commonwealth-allied tribes.
    • The Commonwealth also began to fortify the coast and river-front; though expensive for the Commonwealth to construct, this effectively prevented Orc raiding, as their small and mobile raiding parties could not carry the means to break fortifications.
  • There followed a time of misery; without the tribute they depended on and unable to profitably raid, their society fell into decline.

    • They were riven by internal conflict, as individuals, families and clans battled over what wealth and power remained.
    • The Orcish population underwent a contraction, and their cities and roads suffered great neglect and decay.
  • A generation or Orcs grew up in misery, look out at the prosperous Commonwealth. Some went to explore it; on returning, they carried back stories of a prosperous, diverse society.

    • In CY 154, the orc Odna returned from exploring the Commonwealth, and began to advocate for a radical course: joining the Commonwealth and subscribing to their laws.
    • In CY 155, he challenged first his own clan head, and then a champion of the clans of his city; he won both challenges, and on behalf of his city and its clans, signed the Commonwealth Charter; thus did the city of Akala become the first Orcish city to join the Commonwealth.
    • Access to the Commonwealth’s markets greatly eased the misery of Akala; seeing their success, other movements in other clan-holds also sought to join the Commonwealth.
  • Today, Orcs have been members of the Commonwealth for almost 700 years.

    • Orcish culture struggled to adapt itself to Commonwealth law and tradition: today, it is a blend of traditional Orcish elements, imports from the rest of the Commonwealth and uniquely Orcish innovations.
    • Their views on the Commonwealth and their place within it are complex. Though they take pride in being members of an ascendant and prosperous people, they also remember how they came to be members in it — the most traditional among their numbers claim that they were conquered, and that they still bear the shame of it.
    • Honor continues to be highly valued in Orcish society. Though most have taken the view that great works and labors are achievements worthy of honor and glory, the most traditional still believe that victory in combat is the greatest honor.
    • Though some orcs remain within their ancient borders and practice a (modified) version of their traditions, others travel the wider world seeking honor and accomplishment (and to bring wealth home, since Orcish communities still do not have adequate farming).
    • Unsurprisingly, many Orcs seek honor and recognition in the Commonwealth military. Orcs are very strong, and so many seek work as laborers and artisans — notably, Orcish cities boast impressive architecture. Orcs are also very clever, and some seek honor and achievement in the Commonwealth’s universities (Orcish scholars are generally not known for being nurturing and understanding mentors).
    • Notably, many Elvish communities exist near Orcish ones. Most orcs and elves have good relations, as they are both tribal cultures and have long lived near each other — for most, their time of conflict is centuries past and forgotten. Still, a few of the most traditional — in both communities — continue to nurse ancient grudges.
  • The Orcish people can claim 6 major cities: five are their traditional cities, and the sixth was established on the Commonwealth’s border with the Shade Elves. Of the orcs five traditional cities, three are members of the Commonwealth, and the remaining two are not.

    • When dealing with each other, orcs use their ancient customs, and orcs come and go between the Commonwealth and independent cities freely.
    • As a historical note, the city of Tonilac changed hands once: it was claimed by honorable combat by independent orcs, before being reclaimed by the Commonwealth six years later.
    • The city of Collac is a Commonwealth-member that was built on the border with the Shade Elves; it is heavily fortified, and the orcs there skirmish constantly with the Shade Elves, their allies, and their subjugate peoples.
    • Notably, the island city-state of Kethal is heavily settled by Orcs; in times past, it was shared amicably by Orcs and Dwarves.
  • Orcs have a vibrant mythos and rich oral history.

    • Orcs have several mythical heroes, about whom a great many stories have been told.
    • A particularly common point in Orcish Myth, which many historians believe corresponds to an actual event, is the Great Plague, an event some 15 generations ago that devastated many Orcish communities. The Great Pleague is frequently used a setting for heroic adventures of Orcish myth.
    • Over the last few hundred years, Orcs have actively transcribed many of these stories; their large libraries filled with beautifully-illuminated books are points of pride for their community.
  • Orcs are roughly humanoid. They are tall, lean and muscular. Their skin is typically either green, brown, or red; most clans will have one skin tone that is more common among them. Orcs also have prominent tusks.


Physically large an opposing, orcs seek honor and accomplishment in all things.

  • Old Age: 60 years

  • Average Height: 2.2m

  • Average Weight: 90kg

  • Diet: Omnivore

  • DUR 35, STR 35

  • +5 COG, +10 SOM, +5 WIL

  • Movement: Foot 4 / 12

  • Senses: Normal, Low-Light, Hunter's Senses

  • Size: Medium, Great Stature

  • Tags: Natural, Humanoid, Orc

  • Language Groups: HHED

  • Hunter’s Senses: Orcs have acute senses of smell and hearing. They receive +10 to auditory and olfactory perception tests.

  • Regeneration: orcs have Fast Healing 1.


  • More than 500 years ago, there was one Ratfolk civilization in the Warren Isles, an island chain off the Southwest near the Haven Isles.

  • They were organized into warrens run by families, and practiced fishing and farming.

  • In CY 331, 20 years before the Commonwealth started to settle Islandhome, several wealthy Ratfolk warrens united and forced their neighboring to pay tribute; they became wealthy and powerful while their kin suffored. In the following years, other Ratfolk warlords began to rise in the Warren Isles.

  • In CY 361, the Shade Elves crossed the Shaded Sea and began to heavily raid the Warren Isles.

    • large numbers of Ratfolk begin fleeing the Warren Isles.
    • Some travel north to the Haven Isles, where they were eventually incorporated into the Commonwealth;
    • others fled South to the Ruby Plane, where they encountered the Raptors.
  • In CY 395, the conflict between the Warren Isles Ratfolk and the Shade Elves drags to a halt; in 398, the two form a tentative alliance, creating the Shaded Sea Peoples.

    • It is later learned that the "alliance" was a construct of the enigmatic Leapers.
    • The Leapers had attacked the major cities of Shade Elves and the largest warrens in the Haven Isles, and had forced both the Shade Elves and Ratfolk to pay them tribute.
  • There are now 3 distinct Ratfolk cultures:

    • they have a large population in the Commonwealth, first in the Haven Isles and now spreading throughout Heartland;
    • they are one of the two founders of the Raptor’s Alliance, formed with the raptors to repel Shaded Sea Peoples, including their “cousins”;
    • the Shaded Sea Peoples, a society consisting of Ratfolk and Shade Elf families.
  • Natural traders and merchants; in the Commonwealth, Ratfolk tend to get along well with Halflings and Humans.

  • As scavengers, they also get along well with Gnolls; Ratfolk are one of the few species that can eat the same food.

  • Ratfolk are one of the Commonwealth’s subterranean cultures; they often dwell in underground burrows.

  • Though Ratfolk do maintain their own culture and tradition, they were heavily assimilated into the established Commonwealth culture that sheltered them.

  • They are comfortable in urban environments and often live beside other races and cultures. They are comfortable above-ground and underground, and often work as traders and artisans.

  • Uniquely Ratfolk settlements are often organized around warrens; similar to Dwarven holds, they are mixed above-ground and subterranean structures. They still maintain fishing and seafaring traditions.

  • They commonly speak Haven Isles Ratfolk (language group GR).


Traders and merchants, they tend to get along well with Halflings and Gnolls (they’re one of few species that can eat Gnollish food and speak Gnollish languages). Taking very well to settled urban life, and growing very quickly.

  • Old Age: 55 Years

  • Average Height: 1.25m

  • Average Weight: 34kg

  • Diet: Omnivore (scavenger)

  • DUR 25, STR 20

  • +5 COG, +5 COO, +5 INT, +5 SAV

  • Movement: Foot 4 / 12

  • Senses: Normal, Infra-Red, Scent

  • Size: Small

  • Tags: Natural, Humanoid, Ratfolk

  • Language Group: GR

  • Scavengers: Rat-Folk are resistant to food-borne diseases. Theyvreceive +20 on checks against food-borne diseases.


  • Shamblers are spirits bound to plants.

  • They originated in the dense marshes of the Southern lowlands to the West of the World-Spine Mountains.

  • They were created when Father Cypress, a Great Spirit who admired mortals and wished to interact with them, created plants with internal processes that could support Spirits, and fashioned of himself Spirits who could dwell within them.

  • Owing to their ability to root, Shambler communities lack cleared fields and grazing-lands — they also tend to have an active night life.

  • Despite being the children of a Great Spirit associated with isolated, deep swamps, Shamblers can be surprisingly urbane; they are welcoming of outsiders, and host many artisans and traders.

  • Shamblers are inquisitive, and their ability to root makes them light travelers; they therefore spawn many adventurers, explorers and wanderers.


Spirits bound to plants.

  • Old Age: -

  • Average Height: 1.8m

  • Average Weight: 60kg

  • Diet: Omnivore (preferential herbivore), Rooting

  • DUR 35, STR 30

  • +10 INT, +5 SOM, +5 WIL

  • Movement: Foot 4 / 12

  • Senses: Normal, Mage-Sight

  • Size: Medium

  • Tags: Supernatural, Humanoid, Shambler

  • Language Groups: HHED

  • Rooting: shamblers can root: when rooted, shamblers look more like natural trees (they may attempt a Disguise check to pass as a natural tree). While rooted, Shamblers have Fast Healing 2.

    • It is a one minute Task Action to either root or unroot.
    • If a shambler roots for 1 hour (in a location with access to sunlight, in good soil), then they will not need to otherwise eat, sleep or drink for 24 hours.


  • shape-shifting spirit beings. Charming and suave, but also very frail.

  • They can shape shift freely.

  • They tend to live in urban centers among other races. Some Tempters live openly among the large cities of the Commonwealth; more almost certainly live in secret.

Tempter Vitals

Shape-shifting spirits; charming and suave, but also frail.

  • Old Age: None

  • Average Height: by shape

  • Average Weight: by shape

  • Diet: by shape

  • DUR 25, STR 25

  • +5 INT, +5 SAV, +5 WIL

  • Movement: Shape-Dependant (usually Foot 4/12)

  • Senses: Normal, Mage-Sight

  • Size: Shape-Dependant (restricted to Medium without the Master Shifter class)

  • Tags: Spirit, Shape-Shifter, Tempter

  • Language Group: Any

  • Appearance of Flesh: Even though Tempters are spirits, they are bound to the nature of flesh;they have a physical form, they can be wounded and killed, they can sicken, and they need to eat, drink, breath and sleep just like mortal beings.

    • However, because they are so bound to the nature of flesh, they are not immediately obvious as spirits to those with Mage Sight. In order for someone with Mage Sight to recognize a Tempter, a detailed examination is required; this is a 10 minute Task Action, requiring either a Search or Spellcraft check at -20.
  • Shape-Shifting: Tempters can take the form of any medium-sized natural creature. They can control the details of their physical form as they wish, including being able to mimic specific individuals.

    • They must take the form of a real (in the worlf of Renaissance) creature; they can't assume the shape of any arbitrary thing they could imagine. That is, they can, for example, appear to be a Human, a Gnoll, a Drake and so on, but they cannot appear to be a ball of arms, legs and claws.
    • They can change shape as a Standard Action.
    • They can control their shape precisely enough that they can appear to be a specific person.
      • Assuming the form of a specific individual requires a Disguise check at +10.
      • To competently impersonate a person whose shape they have assumed, they will still need to use the Disguise and Deception skills, but they receive a +30 and +10 bonus on these checks, respectively.
      • Obviously, they can only mimic the features of a person that they know about. If someone has a birthmark on their lower back, but the Shifter character has never seen that person naked, then they won't know to mimic that birthmark. And, of course, if they've never seen a person, they cannot effectively mimic them.
    • Normally, changing shape does not affect their statistics — but see the powers listed below.
  • Mimics: Tempters can also mimic the speech of any race whose shape they can take, and can mimic the voice of specific individuals.

    • Much like mimicing an individual's appearance, they still need to know what that person sounds like, and they will still need to use Disguise and Deception checks to actually impersonate someone.
  • Basin: Like other Spirits, Tempters have a Basin (see The Supernatural): the mental energies of other intelligent beings.

Optional Negative Trait: Bind

Like some Spirits, you have a bind (see The Supernatural).

  • Effect: You have a Bind.
    • You should work out the details of your bind with your GM; your GM has final approval.
    • The bind should pose a real danger to you. It must be known to at least one clerical organization in the area where you live — although it does not need to be widely known.

Optional Power: More than Form Alone

When you assume the form of a given race, you can adopt some of their nature.

  • Effect: When you assume the form of a given race, you may choose one Aptitude in which that race has a bonus; you gain a +5 bonus to the chosen aptitude.
    • You may choose STR or DUR if that race has a higher STR or DUR than you do.

Optional Power: To Crawl and Soar

You can mimic the construction of other races well enough that you gain some of their biological capabilities.

  • Effect: When you assume the form of a given race, you may choose to gain two of the following benefits:
    • One Movement Mode that race has.
    • One Sense that race has.
    • That race's natural armor bonus (but not more than +3).
    • One natural attack that race has.

Optional Class: Master Shifter

You have mastered your ability to change your shape, allowing you to push the limits of what is possible.

  • Requirement: either the More than Form Alone or To Crawl and Soar power (or both).
  • Effect: When you assume a new form, you may choose one of the following:
    • If you have the More than Form Alone power, you may choose a second aptitude to gain a bonus in, using the same rules as the first.
    • If you have the To Crawl and Soar power, you may choose two additional bonuses.
    • You may take the form of a race with the Empowered tag. (Normally, you could only take the form of a Natural creature.)
    • You may take the form of a small creature. (Normally, you could only take the form of a Medium-sized creature.)

Optional Class: Empath

You have extensively developed your race's empathic talents, giving you a limited ability to sense and manipulate the emotions of others.

  • Effect: You gain the Empath sense.
    • This sense has a limited range — roughly 10 meters, although you may be able to read intense emotion from further away.
    • Manipulating other's emotions is a 5 Turn Task Action; it requires either a Control Check or a SAV+WIL+WIL check, and is opposed by the target's INT+WIL. If you use your SAV+WIL+WIL then exceptional and critical successes are ignored.
    • Your ability to drive other's emotions is limited; it stops far short of allowing you to control other people, but it does allow you to bring forward or suppress specific emotions in others.