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Spelljammer Ancestries for my Spelljammer Homebrew [PEACH]


Trust the Fungus
I am putting together a homebrew game for my friends and family, and maybe for the PBP section on RPG Pub. Rules are a mashup of heavily simplified/streamlined PF1/5e, Rogue Genius' Talented supplements, and Dreamscarred Press' entire catalog. Setting is a mashup of Spelljammer, the Realms/Realmspace (Kara Tur, Maztica, Zakhara), Mystara, Star Frontiers and Star•Drive.

I'm working on my Ancestries now. What I am trying to do is draw connections between the ancestries from all of those disparate settings largely by combining them.

Humans are just humans. Nothing special, though I do note that humans (mostly) identify themselves by their nationality before their species, and tend to consider humans from other worlds to be just as "alien" as the aliens. I'm in the process of translating the various cultures of the Realms and the Known World into the major and minor political powers of the sphere. There are no planetouched in this settting, because this is a Spelljammer game, not a Planescape one, and the action takes place in the Material Plane in this single... well, binary... star system. Humans are the species most given to romantic dalliances with other species, and the only species (besides aleerin) capable of successfully reproducing outside of their own.

Elves are pretty close to D&D standard, combined with eladrin, minus subraces. They're tall and slender with purple skin (#ffccff to #330033) and hair that could be practically any color; light-skinned elves usually have darker hair, and vice versa. Elves are naturally gifted at martial and faerie magic-- like a bard/witch half-caster-- and their move speed and teleportation makes them ridiculously mobile. Elves don't have a homeworld on the Material Plane, with the vast majority living on spelljamming vessels and a narrower majority serving directly-- or as dependents-- of the Elven Imperial Navy.

Dwarves are likewise pretty familiar to long-time D&D players. Short, stout, with luxurious beards-- male and female alike-- that like digging holes in the ground and making stuff. Dwarves are actually the smallest species of giant, and the dwarven subraces are all based on the giants of the Ordnung; jungle dwarves are known as koropokuru while hill dwarves are mostly known as a nuisance.

But now we start getting into the fun ones.

Gnomes are vanilla D&D gnomes... plus Star•Drive fraal, plus just a little bit of kender. They are small people with big heads, grey skin and pale hair, and they're rarely seen without their traditional phrygian caps. They are relentlessly cheerful and optimistic, curious and inventive, though their fraal side lends a sense of restraint and reserve to their exuberance. All gnomes are telepathic, allowing them to communicate with other telepathic beings and with normal animals, and the majority are fully telepathic.

Hin are mostly dromites, replacing the dromites' energy ray with halfling luck and courage. Hin are eusocial, and are often known to non-hin as dromites because the genderless workers are the only hin that routinely leave their hives. Psychologically and culturally, hin are pretty much exactly like their constituent races: hardworking and easygoing, quiet pastoral communities living in effortless harmony with the buzzing hives at their center, insatiable wanderlust and a keen appreciation for the comforts of home. Many dromites serve on the spelljamming vessels of other species, and many smaller hives are built into massive spelljammers in their own right. Hin are telepathic amongst themselves, but only a minority-- substantial, but a minority-- are fully telepathic.

Kobolds-- or t'sa, in Draconic-- are basically standard D&D kobolds, but more explicitly draconic and very, very fast. They're as inqusitive and gregarious as gnomes, but every kobold has a territorial, acquisitive, cruel streak a mile wide-- which most choose to keep a tight grip on, and t'sa are respected members of the interplanetary community. As in D&D, kobolds and gnomes have a vicious rivalry... due more to their similarities than their differences. Kobolds start out as fast as elves and thri-kreen, but get even faster as they advance in level; many develop various draconic abilities as well.

Goblins and hobgoblins are pretty much D&D standard. They have small horns, and either red-orange skin with blue-black hair, or vice versa. Bugbears are also known as weren; male and female weren alike have two pairs of jutting tusks, and the males have massive curling ram's horns. Weren have huge razor-sharp claws, thick fur that changes color to match its surroundings, and the ability to squeeze into spaces almost as small as a goblin. All goblinoids stereotypically love poetry, firearms, and fireworks. Goblinoids are not Fey in this setting, and most harbor a murderous grudge against the elves for the Inhuman Wars that occurred shortly after the EIN arrived, en masse, from the Feywild.

Orcs are old-school, crude pig-faced humanoids with a stooped posture; orcs have dark, mottled skin in muted rainbow colors and frequently have splotches of another color scattered around their bodies. Well-fed orcs develop pronounced potbellies, which they cultivate and accentuate as visible signs of their prowess. Orcs are a volatile people, driven by passions and hungers... they are stereotyped for their rage and lust, but can be just as passionate in defense of their friends and family or in pursuit of justice. Orcs have particularly keen senses, enhanced healing abilities, and a penchant for destructive magics.

Ssurans are the civilized lizardfolk from The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook. They are as ruthlessly pragmatic as their vanilla D&D cousins, unwaveringly rational and... paradoxically, scrupulously honest. They are open, direct, and blunt... rarely kind but even more rarely cruel. They consider themselves, not without merit, to be physically and intellectually superior to other humanoids-- especially mammalian humanoids-- but don't feel the need to prove what they consider "the obvious" when the universe will prove it for them.

Aleerin are literally living constructs, built by combining the Pathfinder androids and forgeborn with the lore of the mechalus/aleerin species from Star•Drive. They are beings of polymer and organic circuitry who can grow their own cybernetic implants; they're renowned for their keen analytical minds and their seemingly intuitive grasp of medicine and alchemy. (Alchemy is a big deal in this setting, given its xianxia roots, and Spelljammer's implied tech level.) Most Aleerin are committed-- if not total-- pacifists following some forgotten incident in the Inhuman Wars, and the more martial cultures stereotype them as being unable to defend themselves... but like the small minority that have forsworn even vegetarianism to avoid harming plants, there's a small minority of Aleerin known as Credans for their adherence to an ancient Aleerin martial credo.

Sesheyans are winged amphibians that I'm assembling out of the wyvaran PF race and the destrachan 3.5 monster. Prior to the Inhuman Wars, they were Stone Age hunter-gatherers, but unfortunately for them, several of the interplanetary empires-- including the Thaal and the Zhentarim-- realized their potential as assassins and made concerted efforts to find every sesheyan homeworld and enslave as many of the winged predators as possible. While many sesheyans have won back their freedom in the intervening centuries, or been liberated by the slavers' enemies, even many people who find their subjugation abhorrent still see them primarily as knives in the dark and servants, willing or otherwise, of evil.

Lightning round: These are the ones I'm more or less using as-is.
  • Gith: One race that includes the githyanki, githzerai, and the unaffiliated"pirates of Gith".
  • Thri-Kreen: Thri-kreen is used to refer to both nomadic groundling kreen and all spacer kreen. The Xixchil are a quasi-priestly caste in kreen society, who may act as thri-kreen or tohr-kreen, but belong to neither.
  • Kenku: Basically combining 5e kenku with PF1 tengu.
  • Vanara: I really wanted to use all of the "classic" Spelljammer races, but I have way too many. I'm giving a lot of hadozee and grommam traits to vanaras.
  • Giff: I can't improve upon perfection. I'm basing mine more on the 2e depiction than the 5e version.
  • Tortle: Some kappa traits, some connection to dragonturtles, but not to true dragons.
  • Dralasite
  • I think Ogres might just be really big Orcs.
  • Trolls obviously have their regeneration toned way down, but I've got some healing rules they showcase brilliantly.
  • Vishkanya

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