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Level Up (A5E) (+) Project Chronicle: Heritage and Culture

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
In the beginning of all things the Beast created life in myriad forms. Plants and Insects were his first creations, but animals of all kinds swiftly followed into this burgeoning world. And from these forms the other gods, in their wisdom or temerity, reached down to his works and made some their own. This angered the beast, who had created all life to live and die, kill and consume, to destroy each other for his pleasure. But we, the Mortals, are the result of their actions. And though we have changed since those savage days, the dark heart of the Beast still beats within our breast.
-The Chronicler-

So for races... Humans are practically a must in any setting. They're the baseline identity which is closest to our own. The rubric by which we determine how strange the other options are. And I've already established the existence of Minotaurs as a thing through the myth of Ukada.

What other races should we add, and what story should they tell? I am inclined, as in the Chronicler blurb above, to play with the idea of convergent evolution. Sort of like Carcinisation in evolutionary biology where so many different creatures have evolved into Crabs or crablike forms.

With monsters like Lizardmen, Minotaurs, Satyrs, and the like being super common across D&D I think it's as valid a direction to go as any other. Particularly those whose appearance "Ties" to the gods.

My current thoughts are:

Human: Children of the Mountain.
Minotaur: Human-Created Beast-Children.
Renamed Yuan-Ti without the ritualistic evil: The Serpent's people.
Insectoids of some kind, potentially spider people. The Weaver's people.
Stormborn: Genasi style elementalistic children of the Tempest.
Changelings: The Dweller's children.
Fairies or Fey: The Witch's children.

And then entirely independent of what their heritage is, their cultures are regionally based and fulfill the role of subrace. You can be a Fairy from Musarra or from Il'sha-ah. And a fairy from Il'sha-ah has all the available cultural traits of that locale and their background is a part of that culture but is also limited to that culture.

Il'sha-ah as a center of commerce, the seat of the Serpent's religion, and a cultural capital could offer a selection of cultural options. Like "Cosmopolitan" or "Street Rat". Each with it's own list of character traits. And then your background is also determined by where you're from. Someone from Il'sha-ah can't take the Hermit background because there's nowhere to go off and be a hermit at within the city. But you could take the Courtier or Noble or lots of other background options.

Again, storytelling through exclusion.

This isn't to say that Elves and Dwarves and Gnomes won't exist at all. I just don't specifically have a story for them, so they might wind up being either rare peoples (Perhaps their gods died in the war and only a handful remain in the world) or just not be included at all.

Compilation of Project Chronicle Links: Project Chronicle: Master List - The Homebrewery
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I'd remove Humans as part of the People of X chart, making them ''Free willed''. For the gods, having human cultist would be a matter of pride, because having your ''created people'' worship you is a given, but if a Human CHOOSES to worship you of their own free will, that means you are pretty awesome.

So maybe something like this:

Humans - Free Folk
Giantkin (half-giant/goliath) - Mountain
Minotaur (I think minotaur could replace the Dwarves as the go-to artificer/great builder etc. The lore of their moral struggle from 4e was awesome) - Beast
Naga (half-serpent, taking back the idea of the 4e Deva/Rakshasa: good Naga are similar to Coatl and gain Aasimar-like features, evil ones gain Tiefling-like features, becoming more like yuan-ti. When they ''shed their past life'' aka die, they can are reborn with partial memories of their past lives.
Chitine - Spider folk
Sylph - Tempest folk
Changeling - Dweller
Hexborn - Witch
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
So humans as independent evolution while the other races are convergent toward the default... It's not a bad idea. Especially with the Flower. It could be that humans did things in reverse and created their -own- god, rather than being created by -a- god...

Or, at least, that's people's beliefs. Because all of this is going to be based on mortal perception without a definitive "These people actually were created by this god" type deal. In truth, it's just as likely they all created gods that looked like them, after a fashion...

I do like the idea of going Naga, specifically. With serpentine tails rather than just humans with some scales. Though it'll create some limitations I think it's worth going for. I might give them a higher natural movement rate, and allow them to ignore certain aspects of difficult terrain. EXCELLENT suggestion.

Giantkin I'm not so sure of. My initial choice of Human from the Mountain was that humans -are- a free people. The Mountain doesn't give two flying frog farts about anyone or anything, so humans would be just another thing he created and discarded. Ignored forevermore beyond that. But if we go with the humans as free peoples thing, the Mountain may not have a people at -all-. More interested in stone.

Definitely more feeling Fairy than Hexborn. I do want a small character race option. Though I suppose I could do Dromite type insect-folk who are children of the Weaver?

Not 100%. Gonna see what I can write about them...
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
So humans as independent evolution while the other races are convergent toward the default... It's not a bad idea. Especially with the Flower. It could be that humans did things in reverse and created their -own- god, rather than being created by -a- god...
oh god, yes. That's a superb idea.
I do like the idea of going Naga, specifically. With serpentine tails rather than just humans with some scales. Though it'll create some limitations I think it's worth going for. I might give them a higher natural movement rate, and allow them to ignore certain aspects of difficult terrain. EXCELLENT suggestion.
I think there's was a write-up for naga in one of the MtG crossover (Amon-Keth IIRC).
Definitely more feeling Fairy than Hexborn. I do want a small character race option. Though I suppose I could do Dromite type insect-folk who are children of the Weaver?
Maybe the Tempest folk can be small? But yes, little winged faeries can be cool. Winged bugs people would awesome, but given that the Spider is not a bug, it would difficult to fit.

One idea I have: maybe if the Weaver isnt a spider-like creatures, but some kind of large, bloated silkworm? The idea of a caterpillar fits with the idea of Fate and change, and you could have a small-sized moth-people be their people?
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Humaens:
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 ft.
Age. Humaens reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century.
Size. Humaens vary widely in height and build, from barely 5 feet to well over 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium or Small.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one extra language of your choice. Humaens typically learn the languages of other peoples they deal with, including obscure dialects.

Skill Versatility. You learn one language of your choice, and you are proficient with one skill or tool of your choice. Whenever you make an ability check with the chosen skill or tool, roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the check's total.

Fated. When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.

Humaen Determination. When you make an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can do so with advantage. Once you use this ability, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
 
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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Definitely more feeling Fairy than Hexborn. I do want a small character race option. Though I suppose I could do Dromite type insect-folk who are children of the Weaver?
Personally, I like the idea of people becoming Hexborn as a gift from the Witch; the Witch strikes me as the patron of transcendence and the search for personal power.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Faelings:
Speed: 30 ft.
Creature Type. You are a Fey.
Size. You are Medium or Small. You choose the size when you gain this lineage.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan.


Eerie Token. As a bonus action, you can harmlessly remove a lock of your hair, one of your nails, or one of your teeth. This token is imbued with magic until you finish a long rest. While the token is imbued in this way, you can take these actions:

Telepathic Message. As an action, you can send a telepathic message to the creature holding or carrying the token, as long as you are within 10 miles of it. The message can contain up to twenty-five words.

Remote Viewing. If you are within 10 miles of the token, you can enter a trance as an action. The trance lasts for 1 minute, but it ends early if you dismiss it (no action required) or are incapacitated. During this trance, you can see and hear from the token as if you were located where it is. While you are using your senses at the token's location, you are blinded and deafened in regard to your own surroundings. When the trance ends, the token is harmlessly destroyed.

Once you create a token using this feature, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest, at which point your missing part regrows.

Old Magic. You know the dancing lights cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the faerie fire spell once per day; you must finish a long rest in order to cast the spell again using this trait. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the darkness spell once per day; you must finish a long rest in order to cast the spell again using this trait.. Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells (choose the ability when you gain this lineage).

Hidden Step. As a bonus action, you can magically turn invisible until the start of your next turn or until you attack, make a damage roll, or force someone to make a saving throw. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
The Naga, serpentfolk of the Annam desert, do not stand to any height, exactly. For their lower forms are those of serpents, and upper forms are those of humans. From the crown of the head to the tip of the tail, naga tend to be three strides, or nine feet, in length. The first third of that length is a humanlike body, and the remainder are a scaled and serpentine length. When coiled, they typically rest with their heads between four and five feet from the ground, but when angered can rise to six feet, even seven for moments of extreme outrage. Sinuous and flexible, they are only lightly scaled above the 'waist', primarily on the back and the back of their limbs, giving them excellent protection against the sun when kept at their backs. Hair is common, and worn long by most of the naga regardless of gender. The color of their hair tends to match their scales, and thanks to the wide array of scale colors, from jeweled greens and reds through sandy earth tones with patterns, it would be easier to say what colors their hair does not grow in. Their eyes, however, are yellow, olive green, or a ruddy brown bordering on red, and can take on a slitted appearance in particularly bright places.

Clothing among the naga is often simple and modest. Short skirts and wraps at the hip for modesty are quite common for all naga, while those with breasts tend to prefer a wrap across the upper chest, typically over the shoulders. However those Naga of great station often wear ostentatious headdresses, hats, and shawls to advertise their position. Armor for Naga is quite complex, indeed, as it must be molded to avoid interfering with locomotion. Thus their underbellies tend to be minimally armored, and kept flat, or near flat, to the ground in combat.

-The Chronicler-
Personally, I like the idea of people becoming Hexborn as a gift from the Witch; the Witch strikes me as the patron of transcendence and the search for personal power.
That... is actually a really nifty angle to take it... We could use Lineages like that to show favor of the gods for specific individuals. The Dweller may, for example, return someone to the land of the living as a Reborn to fulfill some important goal... I do like that angle.
oh god, yes. That's a superb idea.

I think there's was a write-up for naga in one of the MtG crossover (Amon-Keth IIRC).

Maybe the Tempest folk can be small? But yes, little winged faeries can be cool. Winged bugs people would awesome, but given that the Spider is not a bug, it would difficult to fit.

One idea I have: maybe if the Weaver isnt a spider-like creatures, but some kind of large, bloated silkworm? The idea of a caterpillar fits with the idea of Fate and change, and you could have a small-sized moth-people be their people?
The Weaver is Portrayed as a spider, but was meant to be a more all-purpose insectoid weaving creature. Silkworms, butterflies, moths, spiders, wasps, all sorts of weaving arthropods out there which would work for it.

My thought for the Stormborn was to take the Stormborn Barbarian subclass as inspiration and do three different kinds of Storm-Related genasi. A Sandstorm, a Snowstorm, and a Lightningstorm.

For Faeries I was just gonna...

Y'know. >.>

Take away their Spellcasting racial trait to make room for their Cultural trait.
 




Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Was the Flower a human before their apotheosis?
That's my current plan, yes.
@Steampunkette did you intend to tag this Level Up?
I did. I intend to design this setting for use with LevelUp/A5e. With the Journey System taking on a prominent role in narrative and great distances between the various city-states of the setting.
My assumption would be that the depiction of the Flower varies based on the worshipping culture, but that's just a guess. What the Flower actually was is almost certainly lost to myth.
That is definitely another good direction to take it, yeah. Have people -think- she was human, but members of different sects putting their own specific identity into it to create a deity of many forms.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Oh... I see... The first Project Chronicle thread, Deities, got changed from LevelUp to D&D General... huh.

Okay. I can just do it as 5e, instead, if LevelUp is meant to be something more specific, @Morrus. I didn't know.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Oh... I see... The first Project Chronicle thread, Deities, got changed from LevelUp to D&D General... huh.

Okay. I can just do it as 5e, instead, if LevelUp is meant to be something more specific, @Morrus. I didn't know.
No it’s fine. I just thought you’d tagged it wrong by mistake. If you meant to, go right ahead!
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Naga:

Age. Like humans, naga reach adulthood in their late teens. They show no signs of aging beyond that point except for growing larger, so in theory, a naga could live well over a century.
Alignment. Most naga are either neutral or neutral evil in alignment.
Size. Naga stand about 5 feet tall when upright, but the total length of their bodies, head to tail, ranges from 10 to as much as 20 feet. Your size is Medium.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Naga.
Speed: 30 ft.

Speed Burst. By lowering your body to the ground and propelling yourself with your arms, you can move more quickly for a time. When you move on your turn in combat, you can double your speed until the end of the turn. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you move 0 feet on one of your turns.

Poison Immunity. You are immune to poison damage and can't be poisoned.

Concoction Affinity. You gain proficiency with your choice alchemist's tools or poisoner's kit.

Soul of Thousand Lifetimes. At 3rd level, choose one of the Soul Exaltation:

Coatl Exaltation: you can use your action to unleash the sacred energy within yourself, causing your eyes to glimmer and two luminous, incorporeal wings to sprout from your back.
Your transformation lasts for 1 minute or until you end it as a bonus action. During it, you have a flying speed of 30 feet, and once on each of your turns, you can deal extra radiant damage to one target when you deal damage to it with an attack or a spell. The extra radiant damage equals your level.

Rakshasa Exaltation: You can use your action to unleash the unholy energy within yourself, causing your eyes to turn into pools of darkness and two skeletal, ghostly, flightless wings to sprout from your back. The instant you transform, other creatures within 10 feet of you that can see you must succeed on a Charisma saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or become frightened of you until the end of your next turn.
Your transformation lasts for 1 minute or until you end it as a bonus action. During it, once on each of your turns, you can deal extra necrotic damage to one target when you deal damage to it with an attack or a spell. The extra necrotic damage equals your level.

Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
I like where you're going with the Naga, more or less, Vince, but the heritages are meant to be a bit on the barebones side so the Culture can carry a lot of weight on it's own. I'm also definitely not going to proscribe alignments for this one.

Naga
Age: Naga age similarly to humans, but their aging slows dramatically once they reach adulthood. They're known to reach 160 years at the extreme, though most perish between 140 and 150 if accident or malice do not take them sooner.
Size: Naga are between 8 and 10 feet in length, though the vast majority are 9 feet long. Their slender but muscular bodies keep them fairly light, comparatively, and they typically weigh only around 400lbs. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Naga slither at 40ft per round. However they are incapable of making a standing high jump. Instead, they may extend their upper body up to a height of 7ft, allowing them to reach upward much more effectively than most peoples.
Poison Resistance: Naga are quite resilient against poisons of most kinds and take half damage from any poison they are exposed to.

Serpent Strike: Naga can take the Dash action as a Bonus action.

And then the rest of their traits, languages, skills, kits, etc, are determined by the culture they're from.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I like where you're going with the Naga, more or less, Vince, but the heritages are meant to be a bit on the barebones side so the Culture can carry a lot of weight on it's own. I'm also definitely not going to proscribe alignments for this one.

Naga
Age: Naga age similarly to humans, but their aging slows dramatically once they reach adulthood. They're known to reach 160 years at the extreme, though most perish between 140 and 150 if accident or malice do not take them sooner.
Size: Naga are between 8 and 10 feet in length, though the vast majority are 9 feet long. Their slender but muscular bodies keep them fairly light, comparatively, and they typically weigh only around 400lbs. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Naga slither at 40ft per round. However they are incapable of making a standing high jump. Instead, they may extend their upper body up to a height of 7ft, allowing them to reach upward much more effectively than most peoples.
Poison Resistance: Naga are quite resilient against poisons of most kinds and take half damage from any poison they are exposed to.

Serpent Strike: Naga can take the Dash action as a Bonus action.

And then the rest of their traits, languages, skills, kits, etc, are determined by the culture they're from.
Yeah sorry, I did not see initially that it was for Level Up, I thought it was for use with an OSR-lite 5e from that other thread (T5R) :p

Did you skip the term ''Resistance'' on purpose for their poison resistance? I dont remember if L-U still use Resistance/Vulnerability or went with something more granular. Either way, I think they should also have something like Advantage on save to resist the poisoned condition.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Yeah sorry, I did not see initially that it was for Level Up, I thought it was for use with an OSR-lite 5e from that other thread (T5R) :p

Did you skip the term ''Resistance'' on purpose for their poison resistance? I dont remember if L-U still use Resistance/Vulnerability or went with something more granular. Either way, I think they should also have something like Advantage on save to resist the poisoned condition.
LevelUp does use Resistance as half damage. I called it "Poison Resistance" as a trait and then explained what it did. I did, however, leave out the advantage on saves against poisons for a reason. I want the use of poison to still be interesting and effective, particularly for things like knock-out gasses, drugged food, and similar effects.

Many know the legend of the Great Bull Ukada, Brother of Night, Wallcrusher. It is a noble tale of struggle and triumph, of understanding and growth, and it is the story of the Minotaur people. Powerful and bestial, but just as swift to sophistication and delicateness. The great minotaur people of Musarra stand head and shoulders above the tallest of humans, between seven and eight feet in height. Their build is often broad, with thick corded muscles and heavy legs that end in heavy hooves that clop and clatter upon stone and sand. Their heads are similar to those of bulls, with wide-set eyes and a short muzzle-like mouth bearing a broad nose on top. But those small eyes glean with intellect far beyond a simple bovine. Horns are present in all minotaurs, but tend to be short and forward-angled, though among tribal minotaurs longer and wider set horns are more common. Short and soft fur covers a minotaur's head and neck, shoulders and back, the back of the arm and hand, and joins with the fur of the waist and legs to give them a fairly bestial cast to their features, but hair also grows from their head, often in a mane-like fashion similar to a horse. They do have a short tail tipped with a small tuft of fur, but it is largely useless.

Minotaur tend to wear clothing that is multipurposed, and favor leather and rugged woven fabrics. Pockets are quite common, as are belts and pouches, or sacks of various sizes. No armored minotaur is complete without a helmet fashioned to allow their horns freedom, to protect their hard heads during a charge.

-The Chronicler-

Minotaurs
Age:
Minotaurs age more swiftly than humans, reaching full height and physical maturity around 15 years of age. Though most societies hold fully grown minotaurs to be youths until they reach the local age of adulthood, tribal minotaurs recognize their children as adults at 15. The maximum age of a minotaur is around 100 years.
Size: Minotaurs stand between 7ft and 8ft tall, not including their horns, and often weigh in excess of 500lbs. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Minotaurs move at 35ft per round.
Bullish Charge: A minotaur who moves at least 20ft before reaching their target may make a bonus action headbutt attack. This attack deals either Bludgeoning or Piercing damage, your choice when you make the attack, and deals 1d4 plus Strength Modifier damage on a successful hit. You may then continue your movement, and force your target to move with you until the end of your movement.
Powerful Build: You are treated as Large sized except for your space and reach.
 
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One spring morning, the Flower ventured into the lair of the Beast. The Flower's path was unfettered because Beast was going to and fro, across the land, searching for those he might devour.

Inside the lair of the Beast were cave walls, covered in crude drawings. Animals of every kind: fauna of the fields, birds of the air, fish of the sea, and the creeping things. Of all these, the Flower was most drawn to the graceful form of the fox.

The Flower placed their palm on the image of the fox, and the icon began to glow. The Flower felt an energy flowing out of their hand, like the breath of life being drawn out of their body. Suddenly, the Flower recoiled as they heard the approach of heavy footfalls. The Beast had returned.

The Flower quickly scurried from the Beast's lair. It was soon discovered that the Flower's actions had consequences. Many of the foxes of land were infused with the essence of the Flower, and forever transformed. These became a new people, known as the Gnomes, and to this very day they honor both the Beast and the Flower as their progenitors.
 


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