The world of Eckor functions in most ways like any other contemporary fantasy setting. However, one significant change from many other settings is the way certain races are portrayed. For example, in most contemporary fantasy settings, elves and gnomes are forest-dwelling hippies that are in tune with nature and orcs are the brutal and uncivilized barbarian threat to the land. This is not so in Eckor.
Some of the races that inhabit Eckor differ from how they are designed in Player’s Handbook. Changes to these races are noted below, and supercede the versions found in Player’s Handbook. Additionally, some races from Expanded Psionics Handbook exist in Eckor as well. Each race from that book except the dromite, elan and half-giant are playable character races. The changes found below supercede the version found in Expanded Psionics Handbook. Only the elf, gnome and half-elf are significantly different from the version found in the core rules.
Elves are mysterious nomads that dwell in the deserts of Al-Amim, Altali, and Taj-Alid. It’s a well-known fact that tribes of elves are among the few that are brave enough to enter the Deep Desert and skilled enough to survive it. They are naturally tribal by nature and tend to deal gruffly with those not of their tribe. Many would say they deal just as harshly with those of their tribe, since any elf that is deemed to be a liability to the tribe is cast out and abandoned. In most cases that an elf lives outside the desert nations, it is because he has been cast out of his tribe in shame.
Elves are among the most long-lived of the races. They reach physical maturity around age 50, and they may live to be up to 400 years old. Unlike many other races, elves tend to reach a state of mental maturity slightly prior to their physical maturity. Elves are forced to grow up fast or die in the harsh desert.
Contrary to some popular folk tales, elves do require sleep like any other living being. However, they have learned to make due with significantly less rest than many other races. Elves only require four hours of sleep per day to function normally. What’s more, elves are light sleepers and are roused from sleep fully alert at the slightest of noises.
Elf Racial Traits:
+2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma: Elves have been made alert and wary by long generations of desert living, but their isolationist nature sometimes makes dealing with outsiders difficult.
Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Weapon Proficiency: All elves are proficient with the use of the bola, scimitar and sling.
+2 racial bonus on Listen, Search and Spot checks. Elves are constantly alert for any signs of danger or attack.
+2 racial bonus to Survival checks in desert environments. Elves are born to the desert and none are more skilled at surviving desert rigors.
Stillness: As a free action, an elf may become perfectly still, even slowing the beating of her heart. So long as she takes no action, the elf may not be located with tremorsense. A creature with the blindsense ability must make a Spot check to locate a still elf, though it gains a +5 bonus to do so.
Favored Class: Ranger. A multiclass elf’s ranger class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing. The skills of the ranger class are required merely to survive in the elf’s natural desert environment.
Gnomes are one of the “small folk” that hail originally from the island nation of Land. They are the unquestioned masters of the sea, seeming to have been born to the deck of a ship (and in fact, many are). As seamen, explorers, traders and pirates, gnomes are a common sight in almost every part of the world. They are especially common in those nations with a long water border, and any port of call will generally play host to at least one crew of gnomes year-round.
Gnomes reach maturity around age 25, but many are working as full members of a sailing crew or as dock hands long before then. A gnome in good health can expect to live 90 to 100 years. Most who spend their lives on a ship don’t expect to live this long, however, and strive to live life to its fullest. Gnomes generally lean towards a chaotic alignment, in keeping with their philosophy of milking life for all it’s worth.
Gnome Racial Traits:
+2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma, -2 Strength: Gnomes pick up a lot of information in their travels, and they get along well with just about anyone, but they are not as strong as larger humanoids.
Small: As a Small creature, a gnome gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
Gnome base land speed is 20 feet.
Low-Light Vision: A gnome can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
Weapon Improvisation: Gnomes are used to bar fights and hectic battles on the deck of a ship, where anything might be used as a weapon. When using an improvised weapon, an inappropriately-sized weapon or a weapon with which the gnome is not proficient, the associated penalty is halved.
+2 bonus to Balance, Profession (sailor), Swim and Use Rope checks. Gnomes are among the world’s elite sailors.
+1 racial bonus to attack rolls and Armor Class against creatures with the (Aquatic) or (Water) subtype. Gnomes have fought against water-based creatures for generations and have developed many tactics for such combat.
Favored Class: Pirate. A multiclass gnome’s pirate class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
Half-elves are the product of a mating between an elf and a human. They are rare in Eckor, though they are more common than full-blooded elves outside of the desert nations. Many are bastards, being the result of a raped elven slave or an attack on a human girl during an elven raid on her town. Others are more fortunate and are the result of a love true enough to make an elf leave his tribe in favor of the object of his affection.
Half-elves are common slaves in the desert nations, but are somewhat of an oddity elsewhere in the world. As a race, the only constant among them is that they tend to be very dedicated to whatever they choose to do. Most that are not slaves eventually either settle into a trade or leave home and travel the world in search of adventure.
Half-elves inherit a long lifespan from their elven parent and a quick maturity from their human parent. A half-elf reaches maturity at the same age as a human (generally between 16 and 20), but ages much more slowly. The first gray hairs may not show until age 80, and many half-elves live to be older than 150 years old.
Half-Elf Racial Traits:
Medium: As Medium creatures, half-elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Half-elf base land speed is 30 feet.
Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
Low-Light Vision: A half-elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
+1 racial bonus on Listen, Search and Spot checks. Half-elves inherit some of their elven parent’s keen senses.
Dedication: Any one skill is considered a class skill, no matter what class or combination of classes the half-elf chooses. Once chosen, this skill may not be changed.
Elven Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf. Half-elves, for example, are just as vulnerable to special effects that affect elves as their elf ancestors are, and they can use magic items that are only usable by elves.
Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass half-elf takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.
Additional Player Races
Eckor is different from many other established fantasy settings in that certain races are not only playable as characters, but their role in the world may be drastically different than in other settings.
Dragons are more plentiful in Eckor than in some other places in the universe. As humans have proven to be an exceptionally fertile race that is sometimes capable of carrying the offspring of a dragon to childbirth, some dragons have taken to actively producing half-dragon offspring. Such half-breeds are generally not accepted very well in most civilized societies, and rarely find real acceptance outside of cultures that value contribution over race or gender, such as The Borderlands or Bralda. Half-dragons are a rare playable race, as presented on page 146 of Monster Manual. Note that the half-dragon template carries a +3 LA.
Unlike most other settings, orcs are not automatically evil. In fact, in Eckor orcs and half-orcs are accepted as productive members of The Empire, the world’s largest alliance of nations, and have their own nation, Bralda, as a trophy of their usefulness. They are seen as slightly more primitive than some of the other civilized nations, but are mutually feared and respected in the majority of nations. Orcs are a playable race, as presented on page 204 of Monster Manual, with only one change. Both orcs and half-orcs gain Weapon Familiarity with the orc double axe, treating them as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
Eckor is a world out of touch with the rest of the universe. While powerful spellcasters and learned sages are aware of other planes of existence, everyday people are usually ignorant on the subject. This does not mean, however, that outsiders do not visit Eckor. Children are occasionally conceived by humans during these visits and while the occasional half-celestial or half-fiend is born, most such children are born as aasimar or tieflings. Aasimar are more common, since they show less physical signs of their heritage, but tieflings are often exposed as infants or otherwise killed by superstitious parents or neighbors that believe the child is a demon because of horns, a tail or other physical signs. Either of the two planetouched races are playable races, as presented on page 209 of Monster Manual. Note that both carry a +1 LA