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Elemental Racial Variants




Elemental Racial Variants

The d20 cosmology has six Inner Planes, four of which correspond to the classic elements: air, earth, fire, and water. You can link races to various elements without making them extraplanar creatures. In fact, you can create an entire philosophical system based on various combinations of element types and their relative strengths.

The races described below are the elemental races tied to each element. While members of these races are not actually elementals, and are, like most creatures, composed of all four elements, each has a special affinity for one of the four. This element has the most powerful influence on members of that race and strongly shapes not only the race’s physiology, but also its members’ outlook and personality.

Despite their affinity for a particular element, these creatures types and subtypes do not change.

Each racial variant modifies the race to which it is applied (the standard race) in minor ways. All racial traits of the standard race (including racial skill bonuses, bonus feats, special sensory capabilities, ability modifiers, combat bonuses against specific foes, and racial weapon proficiencies) are retained unless the variant specifies otherwise.

Most of these variant races provide alternate ability adjustments. The ability score adjustments given here supersede the standard race’s adjustments.

As with the environmental racial variants, the balanced and adaptable nature of humans precludes them from having a strong elemental proclivity. The personality of an individual human reflects, perhaps, the strength of various elements within that individual, but humans gain no particular virtues or vulnerabilities related to their elemental components.

Races Of Air

Traits associated with air include an intuitive and emotional nature. Creatures with strong ties to the air element tend to be curious and investigative, capable of influencing others with their words. Politically they believe in sacrifice for a cause or belief.

Members of air races often differ in appearance from their typical cousins. Common features include light blue or pale white skin, light blue or white hair, and flesh that is cool to the touch.

General Traits Of Air Races

All members of air races have the following traits.

Air Gnomes

Air gnomes are identical with standard gnomes, except for some differences in racial traits.

Racial Traits

Air gnomes have the general traits of air races described above and all gnome racial traits, with additions and exceptions as noted below.

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength: Air gnomes are agile, but lack physical power.
  • No racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids.
  • +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against Large or larger creatures of the earth subtype: This bonus replaces the gnome’s racial bonus to AC against giants.

Air Goblins

Air goblins are an example of the air traits turned to evil. Their strongest emotions are fear and anger, and their creativity is usually malicious and hurtful.

Racial Traits

Air goblins have the general traits of air races described above and all goblin racial traits, with additions and exceptions as noted below.

  • +4 Dexterity, -2 Strength, -2 Constitution: Air goblins are more agile and persuasive than normal goblins, but are physically weak and frail. Sorcerers are far more common among air goblins than they are among normal goblins.
  • No racial bonus on Ride checks: Air goblins don’t commonly ride mounts.

Races Of Earth

Traits associated with earth include insight and thoughtfulness. Creatures with strong ties to the earth element tend to be serious folk. Many are careful researchers or masterful strategists. Politically they believe in self-reliance and in benefiting from their own efforts. Members of earth races often vary in appearance from their typical cousins. Common earth race features include earthlike skin, eyes like gems or like black pits, gravelly voices, large hands and feet, iron gray hair, and a metallic sheen to the skin.

General Traits Of Earth Races

All members of earth races have the following traits.

Earth Dwarves

Earth dwarves are identical with standard dwarves, except for some differences in racial traits.

Racial Traits

Earth dwarves have the general traits of earth races described above and all dwarf racial traits, with additions and exceptions as noted below.

  • +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma: Earth dwarves are physically powerful, but somewhat clumsy in action and speech.
  • Improved Stonecunning: An earth dwarf’s racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework is +4 (instead of +2).
  • No +2 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects.
  • No +1 racial bonus on attacks against orcs and goblinoids.
  • +4 racial bonus on Appraise checks and Craft checks that are related to stone or metal items: An earth dwarf has a particularly strong familiarity with objects made of the bones of the earth, hence the higher racial bonus.

Earth Kobolds

Earth kobolds personify earth traits turned toward evil. They are less emotional than their normal kobold cousins, and are cunning with trickery and traps.

Racial Traits

Earth kobolds have the general traits of earth races described above and all kobold racial traits, with additions and exceptions as noted below.

  • -2 Strength, -2 Constitution: Earth kobolds are stronger, though less agile, than their typical kobold cousins.
  • +4 racial bonus on Craft (trapmaking) checks related to stonework traps: Earth kobolds are particularly skilled at crafting traps made from the earth.

Races Of Fire

Members of fire races are sensualists, existing to experience sensation of all sorts. They tend to be highly perceptive, and are often artists and artisans. Politically they disdain constraints on behavior, especially moral or religious inhibitions, or constraints imposed by conventional authority.

Members of fire races often vary in appearance from their normal cousins. Common fire racial features include charcoal gray or deep red skin, red or orange hair that waves like flames, unusually warm skin, and large red teeth.

General Traits Of Fire Races

All members of fire races have the following traits.

Fire Elves

Fire elves are identical with standard elves, except for some differences in racial traits.

Racial Traits

Fire elves have the general traits of fire races described above and all elf racial traits, with additions and exceptions as noted below.

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: Fire elves are quick of action and thought, but share the standard race’s frailty.

Fire Hobgoblins

Where fire elves prefer pleasurable sensations and pleasing aesthetics, fire hobgoblins revel in pain and the sensations of battle. Their favorite arts are those of strategy and tactics.

Racial Traits

Fire hobgoblins have the general traits of fire races described above and all hobgoblin racial traits, with additions and exceptions as noted below.

  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: Fire hobgoblins are as quick and hardy as their normal cousins, but possess a greater intellect.
  • Low-Light Vision: A fire hobgoblin can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight (the preferred lighting condition among fire hobgoblins), and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
  • No darkvision.
  • No racial bonus on Move Silently checks.

Races Of Water

Water races are creatures of sensation, but their response to it is more careful and critical than that of the fire races. They take action only after prudent consideration, but remain flexible and adaptable. Politically they are traditionalists, more comfortable with proven systems than radical new ideas.

Members of water races often vary in appearance from their typical cousins. Common water racial features include lightly scaled skin, clammy flesh, blue-green skin or hair, and large black eyes.

General Traits Of Water Races

All members of water races share the following traits.

  • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against creatures of the fire subtype, including extraplanar creatures from the Elemental Plane of Fire.
  • -2 penalty on all saving throws against spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities with the fire subtype or used by creatures of the fire subtype, including extraplanar creatures from the Elemental Plane of Fire.
  • Natural Swimmers: Members of water races have a swim speed equal to their base land speed. (If the creature already has a swim speed, it improves by 10 feet.) A water creature can move through water at its swim speed without making Swim checks. It has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. A water creature can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

Water Halflings

Water Halflings are identical with standard halflings, except for some differences in racial traits.

Racial Traits

Water Halflings have the general traits of water races described above and all halfling racial traits, with additions and exceptions as noted below.

  • -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution: Water halflings are quick and healthy, but physically weak.

Water Orcs

Water orcs exemplify the water traits turned to evil. Though slow to reach decisions, once a water orc chooses a course of action its resolve is harder to shift than a tidal wave.

Racial Traits

Water orcs have the general traits of water races described above and all orc racial traits, with additions and exceptions as noted below.

  • +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma: Water orcs are strong and tough, but share the standard race’s limited mental capacities.

Half Races

Half-elves and half-orcs are part elemental race and part human. As a result, they have some of the elemental traits of their nonhuman parents-but not all of them. In appearance, they rarely possess more than one variant feature: A fire half-elf might have the charcoal gray skin, but not hair that waves like flames or large red teeth.

Fire Half-Elves

Fire half-elves enjoy the finer things in life, but are not as hedonistic as their fire elf parents. Their human side allows them to temper their indulgences through self-control.

Racial Traits

Fire half-elves have all half-elf racial traits, as well as the following traits.

Water Half-Orcs

Water half-orcs combine the flexibility and careful consideration of their water orc parentage with human capacities for resolve and quick action.

Racial Traits

Water half-orcs have all half-orc racial traits, as well as the following traits.