Northern Humanoids

Overview: The lands north of the Moonsea (including Thar, Vassa, The Ride, and the Tortured Lands) are home to numerous inhuman tribes—Orcs, Goblins, Gnolls, and worse creatures. While some of the cities of the Moonsea (especially Mulmaster, Zhentil Keep, and Phlan) are welcoming of such creatures, the majority of these humanoids maintain their own unique tribes and cultures. In most cases, these tribes remain antagonistic towards human settlements in the area and pose a significant threat to the establishment of civilization in the north.

Description: While there are similarities between members of the same race, each tribe has its own customs and dress, and those tribes are too numerous to count. As a general rule, most of the humanoids of the north dress in primitive clothing and armor, almost always made from hides or animal fibers. A few of the tribes have mastered metallurgy sufficiently to make studded, scale, or brigandine armors, and those that can will scavenge better armor from human soldiers that patrol into the area. Tribal allegiance tends to be fairly high among the northern humanoids, and many will wear some tribal badge or insignia (often in the form of tattoos, piercings, body paint, or ritual scarring).

Role-playing: Despite the somewhat civilizing effects of such things as Zhentarim recruitment, Xvimlar indoctrination, or Phlanian traders, most of these tribes remain violent, aggressive, and barbaric. While the tribes of the north have their own unique character, they still tend to adhere to the norms for their race.

Jump to:
Gray Orcs
Kur-Tharsu
Lostafinga Hobgoblins
Roarwater Tribe
The Kobold Kingdom of Greshlyrr
The Mooneye Tribe
Lizard Men of the Twilight Marsh
The Orc Tribes
The Goblin Tribes
Gnoll Bands
The Griff Clan


Gray Orcs

Base Requirements

  • Races: Orc
  • Classes: Fighter, Cleric, Shaman, Psionicist, Thief
  • Ability Requirements: Wis 11
  • Alignments: Lawful
  • Starting Cash: By class
  • Bonus Languages: Common
  • Recommended Languages: Chardic, Erakic, Sossic, Tharian, Ulutiun, Zhent Argot
  • Local Religions: Eldath, Ilmater, Meriadar

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: -1 slot
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Agriculture, Healing, Religion
  • Required Proficiencies: Modern Language (Erakic or Zhent Argot)
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Brewing, Carpentry, Cooking, Diplomacy, Gardening, Herbalism, Hiding, Philosophy, Pottery, Sacred Legends, Storytelling, Swimming, Weather Sense
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: All Warrior proficiencies

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps: -5%
  • Move Silently: +5%
  • Hide in Shadows: +5%
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: North of The Ride, in a secluded part of the Tortured Lands, dwell the so-called “Gray Orcs”. These tribes live as peaceful farmers and gatherers, taking only what they need from the land to survive. Scattered tribes of gray orcs lived peaceful lives until a scouting party from Zhentil Keep stumbled across them in 1340 DR. Because these orcs live by a peaceful and collaborative philosophy, they were not prepared for treachery, and shortly after the initial meeting with the Zhents, the majority of the gray orc population, with the exception of one isolated tribe, was betrayed by the Zhents and kidnapped into slavery. Very few gray orcs have since then escaped further raids. The greedy lords of Zhentil Keep view these orcs as superior slaves because their strength and nonviolent attitude make them superbly suited to lightly supervised manual labor.

Gray orcs are nearly the opposite of orcs: peaceful, kind, and dependable. To these orcs, peace, harmony with one’s environment, and a full family life are what is important in life. Gray Orc priests are revered and their guidance is followed because of their majestic wisdom and close relationship to Eldath. Gray Orc oral history recounts that “the Founders” brought 30 young orcs to the lands they still consider theirs long ago, and laid down the teachings that provide the foundations of gray orc society in a cycle of tales called Tarek-Passar (the Way of Peace). One sage has theorized that the original gray orcs were in fact infant orc orphans, brought from their lands and taught by a reclusive group of priests of Eldath.

The last remaining tribe of gray orcs has been slowly become more militant as they strive to retain their independence from the Zhents, and a small number of them have taken up a life of adventure. Because of their shared hatred of the Zhentarim, they have amiable relations with the nomadic Eraka tribes of the Ride, and the two will often come to each others mutual aid when the Zhents are involved.

Special Abilities:

  • Gray Orc clerics and shamans may advance to 11th level without suffering any experience penalties.
  • Gray Orcs gain a +1 bonus on saving throws against poisons and are immune to Charm spells and effects.
  • Because of the religious training universal to their society, all Gray Orcs can cast the following spells, once per day each: Barkskin, Purify Food & Drink, and Sanctuary. They may also cast Tree, once per week. These spells are cast as a priest of the gray orc’s level.
  • Gray Orcs have attained a longer lifespan than other orcs as a result of internal cultural harmony and applied curative priestly magic. Gray orcs reach middle, old, and venerable age categories at 27, 38, and 55 years, respectively, and have a maximum age of 55+2d10 years.

Special Disadvantages:

  • Gray Orcs may not multiclass.
  • Since the first generation of gray orc warriors is still learning its craft, gray orc fighters require 3x (rather than 2x) the normal amount of experience to advance beyond level 8.
  • Other orcs are deeply distrustful of gray orcs, considering their passive natures to be some kind of disease. Gray Orcs suffer a -4 penalty on NPC reactions against other orcs or half-orcs (including orogs and similar creatures). Other orcs will avoid making physical contact with a gray orc if possible, preferring to attack from a distance. Gray orcs slain by other orcs are always burned.

Kur-Tharsu

Base Requirements

  • Races: Ogre Magi, Half-Ogre
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: Str 13, Int 13, Cha 13
  • Alignments: Non-Chaotic, Non-Good
  • Starting Cash: 2d10 x10gp
  • Bonus Languages: Tharian
  • Recommended Languages: Auld-Tharian, Chardic, Chuklian, Common, Draconic (Chromatic), Daraktan, Easting, Erakic, Gnoll, Jogishk, Jotunise, Ulutiun
  • Local Religions: Iyachtu Xvim, Mystra, Talos, The Elder Elemental God,

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class, plus Wizard
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Ancient History, Horde Summoning, Survival (arctic)
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Acting, Armorer, Battle Command, Bowyer/Fletcher, Disguise, Etiquette, Fortune Telling, Poetry, Reading/Writing, Spellcraft, Weaponsmithing, Weaving, Wild Fighting.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps:
  • Move Silently:
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: Most Moonsea natives have heard stories of the ancient ogre-kingdom of Thar and its surprising sophistication. Most of the ogre-magi vanished into history a thousand years ago when Thar fell, but a few ogre-magi still linger in buried strongholds or the ruins of Thar’s ancient fortresses. They call themselves the Kur-Tharsu, or “Overlords of Thar.” The Kur-Tharsu are not really a tribe, per se—they consist of a few score scattered individuals, none of whom would admit to owing allegiance to any others. But they still exert an influence over the lesser savages who roam their ancient homeland. For example, some of the ogre-magi still enslave common ogres and rule over ogre bands. Tribes such as the Jade Skull, the Falling Star, or the Crystal Sphere are bands of common ogres under the sway of one or more ogre-magi.

Special Abilities:

  • Because of their magical nature and familiarity with many ancient arts, the Kar-Thursu have some resistance to magical effects. They gain 4% magic resistance per level (multi-class Kur-Tharsu use their lowest level to calculate their magic resistance). This resistance applies to beneficial magic as well, but not to their innate spell-like abilities.
  • The various tribes of orcs, goblins, and ogres in Thar have great respect for the Kur-Tharsu, and dream of conquest as only these great ones can bring. Kur-Tharsu can use the Horde Summoning proficiency starting at 7th level (instead of 10th). The Kur-Tharsu can substitute humanoid monsters of the appropriate hit dice (typically ogres, orogs, trolls, or giants) for higher-level members of the horde, if he so desires.
  • Similarly, Kur-Tharsu that would attract followers based on their class do so two levels earlier than a typical member of their class (thus Kur-Tharsu thieves would start attracting followers at 8th level instead of 10th).
  • Half-Ogre Kur-Tharsu have traces of ogre-magi blood in them. They may become mages (but not specialist wizards) up to 7th level, and may become multiclass warrior/mages.

Special Disadvantages:

  • If possible, the Kur-Tharsu are even more terrifying than other ogres. They suffer a -2 penalty to their starting Appearance scores.
  • Humans and demihumans living in the north fear few things more than the resurgence of the ogre kingdoms. Any bonuses that a human or demihuman character possesses that specifically target ogres (such as a dwarf’s AC bonus or a ranger’s favored enemy) are increased by 50% when battling Kur-Tharsu.
  • Kur-Tharsu have relatively poor health compared to other ogres. They suffer a -1 penalty on all saving throws against paralyzation, poison, or death magic.

The Lostafinga Tribe

Base Requirements

  • Races: Hobgoblin
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: none
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class
  • Bonus Languages: Northern, Draconic (Chromatic)
  • Recommended Languages: Bugbear, Common, Cormanthan, Daraktan, Jogishk, Tharian
  • Local Religions: Iyachtu Xvim, Tempus, Goblin pantheon, various Petty Gods

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: Handaxe
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class, plus Warrior
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Camouflage, Dragon Lore, Tactics
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Animal Handling (carnivorous ape), Animal Training (carnivorous ape), Armorer, Blacksmithing, Bowyer/Fletcher, Brewing, Chanting, Close-Quarter Fighting, Direction Sense, Firebuilding, Hiding, Intimidation, Looting, Religion, Weaponsmithing, Wild Fighting.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets: -5%
  • Open Locks: -5%
  • Find/Remove Traps: -5%
  • Move Silently: +5%
  • Hide in Shadows: +10%
  • Hear Noise: +5%
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: While the northern Moonsea region boasts numerous tribes of goblins, orcs, ogres, norkers, kobolds, and other creatures, Hobgoblins are both much rarer and much more organized. All hobgoblins in the north belong to a single tribe, the Lostafingas. The Lostafinga tribe is believed to have immigrated to the area from the lands on the other side of the Aunoroch Desert to the west, where they are much more common. However, this large, powerful tribe has been a fixture of the region for several generations—dwelling first in the depths of the Quivering Forest, and more recently moving their main force into the ruins of Old Phlan.

The name “Lostafinga” comes from the legendary exploits of one Gar-Nu-Kee, who led the tribe across the great desert to a “promised land” revealed to him by their gods. Upon arrival, the tribe was accosted by an ancient green dragon who demanded regular hobgoblin sacrifices in exchange for the tribe’s right to live in the Quivering Forest. Gar-Nu-Kee refused, claiming that hobgoblins were tough, stringy, and tasted horrible, and sacrificed one of his own fingers as proof. To this day, the tribe ritually severs the left, small finger from each dead foe using an axe. The fingers are mummified and made into necklaces (or belts for those with a truly large number of kills). Rumors abound that the tribe is, in fact, in league with a dragon—derived largely from the fact that they never ransom captives.

Special Abilities:

  • Highly disciplined, well-organized, and ruthless, the Lostafinga’s never surrender in battle. Lostafinga hobgoblins gain a +2 bonus on all morale checks, including saving throws against magical fear effects.
  • Both male and female Lostafinga hobgoblins are recruited to serve in the tribal military at a very young age (even by goblinoid standards). An adventuring Lostafinga hobgoblin starts with 2d4x100 experience points from his time fighting for his tribe, and has a necklace with one finger per 100xp.
  • From the combination of strict military training and the constant reminder provided by their collection of fingers, Lostafinga hobgoblins tend to learn quickly from their battles. A Lostafinga hobgoblin gains 10% more experience from any combat, so long as he collects a finger from each slain foe.
  • The Lostafinga tribe ensures that it’s warriors are well-equipped. Each Lostafinga hobgoblin starts with a free handaxe, and starting armor and weapon costs are reduced by 10%.

Special Disadvantages:

  • Lostafinga hobgoblins have a deep and abiding respect for dragons, and a tradition of a long-standing truce with certain dragons. In any encounter with a true dragon, the Lostafinga hobgoblin will always hesitate—he cannot act in the surprise round and automatically loses initiative in the first round of combat.
  • Whether from superstition, or actual power, a Lostafinga hobgoblin that looses his necklace of fingers suffers a -2 penalty on all saving throws. This penalty remains until such time as the goblin reclaims his necklace, or slays at least one foe. Once the hobgoblin has killed an enemy, he may choose to either start a new necklace, or forgo the practice entirely (though he loses the xp bonus above).

The Roarwater Tribe

Base Requirements

  • Races: Bugbear
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: none
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: 6d4 x10gp
  • Bonus Languages: Tharian
  • Recommended Languages: Chuklian, Daraktan, Gnoll, Jotunhaug, Yipyak
  • Local Religions: Iyachtu Xvim, Malar, Umberlee, The Elder Elemental God

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Appraising, Boating, Fishing
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Bargain, Close-quarter Fighting, Drinking, Eating, Hold Breath, Intimidation, Looting, Natural Fighting, Naval Combat, Rope Use, Wild Fighting.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps:
  • Move Silently:
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls: +5%
  • Read Languages:

Overview: Bugbears are seldom being found in groups of more than a few dozen. Rather than forming their own tribes, they are often found working as mercenaries for orc or hobgoblin armies, or bullying hordes of smaller creatures such as goblins or xvarts. The Roarwater Bugbears are no exception to this. The Roarwaters are a loosely affiliated group of bugbear clans that make their homes along the north coast of the Moonsea. All together they might number in the hundreds, or even thousands, but such a massing of them has never occurred. The largest concentrations of these bugbears are in the Roarwater Caves outside of Melvaunt (from which they take their name), amidst the pirate crews operating out of the Bay of Storms, and in the ruins of Old Phlan, where they are often hired as muscle by various orc and goblin gangs.

Despite being so scattered, Roarwater Bugbears are surprisingly sophisticated for their breed. When Roarwater bugbears from different groups meet they will always parlay first, even if they are working with opposed factions—this has, in fact, stopped many a gang war in Old Phlan, and may be the source of much of the cross-species organization amidst New Phlan’s assailants. They live close to the sea and make most of their living from it, some even going so far as to fish for themselves, rather than living strictly on plunder. In their raids they avoid wholesale slaughter, always taking prisoners when they can and typically using them as slave labor or ransoming them rather than eating them as other bugbears might. Because of the wealth brought in from ransoming hostages, Roarwater Bugbears are often much better equipped than others of their kind.

Special Abilities:

  • Roarwater Bugbears are respected as neutral parties (in that they will work for the highest bidder) by many humanoids of the north. They gain a +2 bonus on NPC reactions against any orc, goblin, hobgoblin, kobold, xvart, norker, or similar creatures they encounter.
  • Bugbears of the Roarwater Tribe are even more adapted to operating in the dark than their kin. Roarwater Bugbears have infravision to a range of 90 feet (instead of the normal 60-ft.).
  • Consumate kidnappers, Roarwater Bugbears can make an Appraising check to recognize the potential ransom value of any NPC they encounter. They may also use this skill to Appraise a target’s potential value as a slave.
  • Roarwater bugbears suffer only a -2 penalty (instead of the normal -4) when attempting to make non-lethal attacks with a melee weapon.

Special Disadvantages:

  • Because of their traditions, Roarwater Bugbears must always allow the opportunity for parley when encountering another bugbear, regardless of the situation.
  • Because of their reputation as pirates and kidnappers, Roarwater Bugbears suffer a -4 penalty on NPC reactions against diplomats, nobles, merchants, or anyone else that would have reason to suspect themselves to be a good hostage.

The Kobold Kingdom

Base Requirements

  • Races: Kobold
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: none
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class
  • Bonus Languages: Yip Yak
  • Recommended Languages: Chuklian, Common, Erakic, Gnim, Lizard Man, Tharian, Troll, Uloushinn, Zhent Argot
  • Local Religions: Kobold Pantheon

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Close-quarter Fighting, Crude Weaponsmithing, Set Snares
  • Required Proficiencies: Modern Languages (any one recommended)
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Animal noise, Animal Training (giant weasel), Animal Training (wild boar), Begging, Danger Sense, Fast-talking, Gem Cutting, Genie Lore, Hiding, Looting, Mining, Spellcraft, Wild Fighting.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps:
  • Move Silently:
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: While there are numerous kobold tribes operating in the lands north of the Moonsea (the Red Hands, the Scything Claw, the Squatters in Onyx, and others), they all have one thing in common—Greshlyrr, the kobold king. During his ten-year rule as chief of the Scything Claw tribe, Greshlyrr has brought his people to a level of civilization unknown to other kobolds. Although individual members of the nest are every bit as savage and vicious as their peers elsewhere, the group behaves far better as a whole. All tribes in the region pay homage to Greshlyrr and the Scything Claws, and organized as they are, the kobolds have been known to mass large armies at a moments notice to attack settlements as far away as Thentia and Glister.

The Kobold Kingdom, as it is known, is perched on the western edge of the Twilight Marsh. Under Greshlyrr’s rule, the kobolds have allied with Trolls, made treaties with the Zhentarim, and launched an all-out war against the nomads of The Ride and the Lizard Men of the marsh, in a constant press to expand their territory. Greshlyrr has even brought in Bedine Magicians to begin teaching his people the fundamentals of magic-use.

Special Abilities:

  • Kobolds of the kobold kingdom may become Sha’irs to a maximum of 7th level.
  • Kobolds of the kobold kingdom may use the Set Snares proficiency to build man-traps, as if they were thieves.
  • Greshlyrr makes sure that all of his subjects are well-trained in guerrilla warfare. Kobolds of the kobold kingdom, regardless of class, gain the ability to Hide in Shadows and Find/Remove Traps as a Lone Wolf of their level. Kobolds who already have these abilities from their class gain a +10% bonus to the two skills instead.
  • Whether from making their home in the swamp, from their ongoing magical training, from constant exposure to acid from their trap-making, from the blessing of their gods, or from some other unknown source, these kobolds are unusually resistant to caustic substances. Kobolds of the kobold kingdom reduce the damage taken from acid-based spells and attacks by 1 point per die of damage.

Special Disadvantages:

  • Because of King Greshlyrr’s aggressive policies, these kobolds have many enemies. Eraka nomads, Gnomes, and Lizard Men will attack one of these kobolds on sight.
  • Kobolds are notorious eaters of horse-flesh and bear a predatorial reek that terrifies such animals. Domesticated animals, primarily horses and dogs, become skittish and uneasy when one of these kobolds comes within 50 feet of them. If the character comes within 25 feet, horses begin to snort and whinny while dogs start to bark and howl. Other animals give out their own cries of alarm.

Mooneye Tribe

Base Requirements

  • Races: Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Human, Mongrelman
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: Con 8, Int 8, Wis 8
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: 3d6 x10gp
  • Bonus Languages: Chuklian, Tharian
  • Recommended Languages: Common, Cormanthan, Daraktan, Dethek, Erakic, Gnim, Jogishk, Undercommon, Yip Yak
  • Local Religions: Malar, Meriadar, Selune, Various petty gods

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Brewing, Fungi Recognition, Local History
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alchemy, Animal Handling, Animal Rending, Animal Training, Appraise, Artistic Ability, Camouflage, Chanting, Gem Cutting, Haggling, Herbalism, Hunting, Intimidate, Mining, Poison Use, Set Snares, Shamanic Rituals, Spellcraft, Tattooing, Wild Fighting, Winemaking.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps:
  • Move Silently:
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: The Mooneyes are the oldest extant humanoid tribe in the north, and has been active in the Moonsea region so long that the tribal name has become a generic term for any Moonsea native . Living in a large cave-complex in the Dragonspine Mountains, this tribe, originally of goblins, has become surprisingly cosmopolitan, inviting stray kobolds, hobgoblins, and even humans into their fold. Strictly matriarchal, the Mooneye tribe is led by a female goblin known as the Mother Moon-eye (a hereditary title). The Mother Moon-eye rules her tribe in a maternal fashion, doting on them, regardless of race, as ‘her children’—but punishing them cruelly when they disappoint her. The ‘family’ is quite savage in attitude, smearing themselves with warpaint and appreciating a good, scary mask now and again.

The Mooneyes keep up a brisk trade with many of the tribes and cities of the north. They sell captured humanoids to the Zhentarim as slaves (though they usually give stronger captives the opportunity to join the tribe and swell their numbers), distribute poisons (and their antidotes) to both sides of tribal wars, and sell a variety of mildly-hallucinogenic, fungus-based wines and beers which they brew themselves, many of which have become quite popular in the larger cities on the Moonsea. They were once practiced miners, often appearing with silver ore or raw garnets as currency, but the veins in their caves are believed to have tapped out many years ago.

Special Abilities:

  • The Mooneyes practice witchcraft and sympathetic magic. Mooneyes, regardless of race, may become Enchanters (wizards specialized in the Enchantment school). Goblins, Kobolds, Hobgoblins, and Mongrelmen may advance to 10th level as Enchanters. These specialists are unable to cast spells from the Abjuration school (in addition to the enchanter’s normal forbidden schools). Female Mooneyes may become Witches without meeting the normal ability requirements.
  • Mooneyes, regardless of class, are able to attract a familiar as a wizard. A Mooneye can cast find familiar once per year (he must still provide the necessary material components).
  • Mooneyes have extensive experience with poisons giving them the same chance to identify a poison as an Assassin.
  • Human Mooneyes have managed to pick up some of the mining skills of their goblin ‘family’. They gain the following bonus “Detection Proficiencies”. See the entry for dwarves for details on detection proficiencies.
    • Detect new tunnel/passage construction: Wis
    • Detect grade or slope in passage: Wis

Special Disadvantages:

  • Mooneyes, because of their trade relations and mixed-races, spend more time on the surface than other goblinoids. Goblin, Hobgoblin, and Kobold Mooneyes only hace infravision out to a range of 30 feet (instead of 60 feet).
  • Similarly, because of extended time spent in caves, mines, and tunnels, Human and Mongrelman Mooneyes share some of their ’family’s’ aversion to sunlight, giving them a -1 penalty to their attack rolls when in direct sunlight.
  • Because of the magical influence exerted by the Mother Mooneye on her clan, all Mooneyes suffer a -1 penalty on saving throws against Enchantment and Charm spells and effects.

Lizard Men of the Twilight Marsh

Base Requirements

  • Races: Lizard Man
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: none
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: 1d4 x5 gp
  • Bonus Languages: Lizard Man, Yuan-ti
  • Recommended Languages: Bullywug, Common, Tharian, Yip Yak
  • Local Religions: Cyric, Eldath, Sseth

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: 1/2 normal
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: Darts Group
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Boating, Stonemasonry, Survival (swamp)
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alertness, Crude Clothesmaking, Danger Sense, Direction Sense, Fire-building, Fishing, Herbalism, Hiding, Hunting, Land-based Riding, Natural Fighting, Shamanic Rituals, Tracking, Weather Sense.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps:
  • Move Silently:
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: While individuals and small groups of Lizard Men have spread to various locales throughout the north, the only concentration of these creatures north of the Moonsea is in the Twilight Marsh, north and east of Phlan. Some sages and archaeologists claim that the Lizard Men have been present in the Marsh since the time of the ancient Ogre empire of Thar. Rumors abound that the Lizard Men traffic with such evil creatures as Yuan-ti, Ogre Magi, and demons, and that they ride into battle atop such dangerous and unlikely creatures as catoblepas or wyverns.

Two large tribes of Lizard Men control the Marsh, the Three Towers Tribe in the north, and the Scaly Death Tribe in the south. While both tribes make their homes in ancient Kur-Tharsu ruins, they remain relatively primitive and aggressive. The major advancements made by these lizard men are the development of primitive stonecutting skills, to repair the ancient fortifications that they call home, and the use of skiffs and barges for transporting materials and goods. The Lizard Men are highly territorial, and regularly ambush caravans passing through the swamp. Luckily for merchants forced to travel that road, the cold weather ensures roughly a hundred days of safe travel each year, as the cold-blooded Lizard Men go into a state of near-hibernation when the frosts come.

Special Abilities:

  • These Lizard Men know the swamps better than any creatures alive. They gain a +2 bonus on all non-weapon proficiency checks and a +2 bonus on Surprise checks when in the Twilight Marsh.
  • The Twilight Marsh is highly magical, rife with wild-magic zones and the remnants of ancient Kur-Tharsu magical experiments. Lizard Men from the Twilight Marsh each start with one magical enhancement or mutation. Treat them as being affected by a random 1st-level wizard spell from the school of Alteration. This effect is permanent and cannot be dispelled. If the effect generated would not affect humanoid creatures (such as metamorphose) or would normally have a duration of instantaneous, the lizard man can instead cast that spell three times per day. The spell (whether activated or permanent) works as if cast by a wizard of the Lizard man’s character level.
  • Another side effect of their constant exposure to the form-altering magical emanations of the Marsh, is that these Lizard Men gain a +2 bonus on all saving throws against Petrification and Polymorph spells and effects.

Special Disadvantages:

  • Weather is the greatest threat to large reptiles living in these northern climes. If exposed to prolonged cold, these lizardmen fall into a torpor called cold sleep. They can resist this for a number of turns equal to their Health score. Times can be doubled if they wear insulated clothing. Warmth revives them one to two hours. More than a day in the cold causes death.
  • Magical cold-based attacks are also very harmful to these creatures. Any cold damage suffered by one of these Lizard Men causes them to be affected as if by a slow spell for 1 round per point of damage suffered.

The Orc Tribes of the North

Base Requirements

  • Races: Orc, Half-Orc
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: Str 11
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class
  • Bonus Languages: Chardic or Tharian
  • Recommended Languages: Chardic, Chuklian, Easting, Erakic, Gnoll, Jogishk, Jotunhaug, Jotunise, Tharian, Yip Yak, Zhent Argot
  • Local Religions: Cyric, Iyachtu Xvim, Tempus, The Elder Elemental God

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: +1 slot
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Looting, Survival (arctic), Weapon Sharpening
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alertness, Armorer, Blacksmithing, Bowyer/Fletcher, Carpentry, Chanting, Close-quarter Fighting, Horde Summoning, Hunting, Intimidation, Religion, Set Snares, Spellcraft, Tracking, Weaponsmithing,
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps:
  • Move Silently:
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: The most numerous and most diverse of the humanoid races in the north, there are countless Orc tribes scattered across Thar, Vaasa, and the Tortured Lands. While some tribes such as the Black Spears, Burning Daggers, and the Red Claws have been around for generations, hundreds of other tribes rise and are destroyed (usually at the hands of other tribes) seasonally, such that a true count of them is nearly impossible. Priests of Xvim actively proselytize to the many orc tribes, and the Zhentarim are said to be able to field several legions of orcs from their allied tribes in the Dragonspine Mountains. Any unscrupulous warlord seeking to assemble a large army in a hurry need look no further than the warlike orcs.

Sample Tribe Names: The Bloody Fist, The Eyegougers, The Bonegnashers, The Manslayers, The Bloody Hands, The Skullmashers, The Blood Guard, The Fist of Xvim, and many many more

Special Abilities:

  • Orcs have a distinctive horde mentality—they naturally congregate together and hate a fair fight. Orcs of the north gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls and morale checks any time they outnumber their foes at least 3 to 1.
  • Orcs from the Tribes live very harsh, and typically brief, lives. Orcs created with this kit use the next larger hit die for determining hit points (i.e. d6 becomes d8), to a maximum of a d12. Orc Barbarians reroll any result of 1 or 2 when rolling for hit points.
  • The many Orc Tribes that appear in the north work hard to distinguish themselves, often by their choice of weaponry. An Orc from one of the tribes may use and gain proficiency in any weapon, even those normally barred to their class. Learning a weapon outside of those normally available costs 2 slots (instead of the normal 1 slot).

Special Disadvantages:

  • The Orc Tribes have a very poor reputation in the north. They suffer a -4 penalty on all NPC reactions with any lawful or good aligned NPCs.
  • The constant fighting between the tribes, and the encouraged horde-mindedness, leaves these orcs little room for academic pursuits or free thinking. Orcs from the tribes suffer a -1 penalty on all Intelligence and Wisdom based non-weapon proficiencies.

The Goblin Tribes

Base Requirements

  • Races: Goblin
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: none
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: 2d4 x10gp
  • Bonus Languages: Common
  • Recommended Languages: Bugbear, Chardic, Daraktan, Dethek, Erakic, Gnoll, Jogishk, Tharian, Undercommon
  • Local Religions: Lliira, Mask, Meriadar, Goblin pantheon

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class, plus Rogue
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Foraging, Land-based Riding (worg), Venom Handling
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alertness, Animal Handling, Animal Training (worg), Begging, Chanting, Close-quarter Fighting, Drinking, Eating, Fast-talking, Feign Sleep, Fortune Telling, Gaming, Hiding, Hunting, Information Gathering, Looting, Mining, Religion, Set Snares, Singing, Whistling/Humming.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps:
  • Move Silently:
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: Nearly as numerous and just as disorganized as orcs, but much less likely to kill each other, Goblins congregate in small tribes and gangs throughout the north. More interested in plunder than murder, the goblin tribes often make their homes near larger settlements of other races (including most human cities), where they live on the fringes, taking advantage of the benefits of civilization without having to establish such themselves. They engage more in thievery and vandalism than outright assault, and are typically looked on as scavengers and pests by their neighbors.

The inherent laziness of the goblin tribes even extends to their raiding—they prefer to travel mounted and make quick ambushes with poisoned crossbows or other ranged weapons, then leave any extended fighting to their worg allies. They seldom take prisoners, and when they do it is for amusement, rather than slaves or ransom—most such captives are made to either perform for the goblins (they’re not too picky about the quality of singing) or else fight in gladiatorial bouts.

Sample Tribe Names: Stone Pass, Evil Eye, Bloodier Teeth, and Scab Eaters.

Special Abilities:

  • Goblins of the northern tribes are natural thieves. Regardless of class, they are assumed to have access to all of the eight basic thief skills (Pick Pockets, Open Locks, Find Traps, Move Silently, Hide in Shadows, Hear Noise, Climb Walls, and Read Languages). These abilities all have a base value of 0% (unless their class would grant a higher value), with the normal modifiers for race, kit, dexterity, and armor. These goblins gain 10 bonus discretionary points to spend on these thief skills per level (in addition to any granted by their class).
  • While worgs and goblins everywhere traditionally associate with each other, the bonds between the two species are particularly strong in the north. Starting at 3rd level, any goblin may attract a worg as a companion and some-times mount. This worg acts in many ways as a Paladin’s bonded mount, gaining a +1 to its Intelligence, 1 additional hit die, +3 to its base speed, and a +4 bonus to morale when fighting alongside its goblin partner. The worg will always be within one step of the goblin’s alignment (though the majority are evil), and particularly weak-willed or dimwitted goblin’s may find that the worg becomes the controlling interest in the partnership.

Special Disadvantages:

  • Unused to hand-to-hand combat, goblins of the northern tribes may only become proficient in small-sized melee weapons. They may learn to use medium-sized ranged weapons normally.
  • Goblins from the northern tribes love to be entertained and are easily distracted by music and the like. Any use of a performance-related proficiency (Juggling, Singing, etc.) within their line of sight requires that the goblin make a Willpower check or stop and watch, losing any other actions, for 1 round, regardless of the situation. In addition, they suffer a -2 penalty on saving throws against music-based attacks (such as the song of a Harpy or Sirine).

Gnoll Bands

Base Requirements

  • Races: Gnoll
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: Con 11
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class
  • Bonus Languages: none
  • Recommended Languages: Bugbear, Chardic, Chuklian, Daraktan, Jogishk, Tharian, Troll
  • Local Religions: Malar

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Eating, Endurance, Hunting, Running
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Animal Lore, Animal Noise, Animal Training (hyena), Animal Training (wild boar), Close-quarter Fighting, Danger Sense, Foraging, Fortune Telling, Heart Feast, Hiding, Intimidation, Jumping, Local History, Looting, Mountaineering, Night Vision, Observation, Swimming, Tracking, Undead Lore, Vision Quest, Wild Fighting.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: Astronomy, Cartography, City Familiarity, Dark Sense, Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Navigation, Orienteering, Planar Direction Sense, Portal Feel, Trail Marking, Trail Signs, and Underground Navigation

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks:
  • Find/Remove Traps:
  • Move Silently:
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls:
  • Read Languages:

Overview: The least organized of all the humanoid races, the Gnolls in the north have no large tribes or settlements, instead forming small, nomadic bands or packs. They often work as mercenaries or bandits, hiring on as extra muscle to orc or ogre armies—though most better-organized forces will turn them away due to their unreliability. These gnolls never form settlements and seldom stay in one place for long. Many can be found wandering aimlessly through the Grass Sea, the Dragonspine Mountains, or The Ride, probably looking for their next meal. In this way, at least, they are much less lazy than their counterparts elsewhere in the Realms.

Special Abilities:

  • Spending so much time on foot has made the Gnolls of the north much faster than their kin elsewhere. These Gnolls gain a +3 bonus to their movement rate.
  • The Gnolls of the north are extremely hardy due to their time spent wandering out of doors in all conditions. They can survive in temperatures between 0 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit without penalty, and gain a +2 bonus on any checks or saving throws related to resisting weather effects. Similarly, they suffer 1 less point of damage per die from cold and heat (but not fire) based attacks.
  • The Gnolls of the north have a strange connection with the undead, ghouls in particular. These gnolls are all able to Command Undead, as an evil cleric of one-half their level (rounded down). Against ghouls and ghasts this power functions at the gnoll’s full level. This ability only works on corporeal undead. It has no effect on disembodied spirits (such as specters or wraiths).
    Gnoll Clerics and Shamans gain +2 to their effective level for turning or controlling undead when interacting with ghouls or ghasts.

Special Disadvantages:

  • These Gnolls are notoriously unreliable companions and combatants. Any force battling a group that contains Gnolls gains a +2 bonus on its Morale checks, as they figure that its only a matter of time before the Gnolls give up.
  • These gnolls have remarkable metabolisms and are constantly hungry. They require twice the normal amount of food for a creature of their size.
  • Despite the long distances they travel, the Gnolls of the north have perhaps the worst sense of direction of any sentient creatures in Faerun. They may never gain any of the Forbidden proficiencies listed above (even as bonus proficiencies), suffer a -3 (-15%) penalty on any checks related to getting lost, and treat their intelligence as 3 points lower for determining the duration of Maze spells and effects.

The Griff Clan

Base Requirements

  • Races: Dwarf
  • Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: none
  • Alignments: Non-Chaotic
  • Starting Cash: By class
  • Bonus Languages: Tharian
  • Recommended Languages: none
  • Local Religions: Dwarven Pantheon

Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: Crossbows Group
  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Proficiencies: Dwarven Runes, Mountaineering, Stonemasonry
  • Required Proficiencies: Dwarf History
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Artistic Ability (sculpture), Awareness, Boating, Bowyer/Fletcher, Cryptography, Danger Sense, Dark Lore, Defensive Tactics, Dragon Lore, Engineering, Excavations, Geology, Hiding, Rope Use, Set Snares, Survival (Mountains), Trail Marking
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: Deep Diving, Poison Use, Swimming, Venom Handling

Thief Skills:

  • Pick Pockets:
  • Open Locks: -10%
  • Find/Remove Traps: -5%
  • Move Silently: +5%
  • Hide in Shadows:
  • Hear Noise:
  • Climb Walls: +10%
  • Read Languages:

Overview: The Griff Clan (or Clan Griff) is the oldest and largest group of dwarves north of the Moonsea, with clan-holds scattered throughout the Dragonspine and Galena Mountains. Once famed as masons and merchants, shipping stone from the mountains down the Stojanow River to Phlan to build the great cities of the Moonsea, the Griffs have become highly insular and isolationist since the fall of Phlan. The Griff are seldom seen outside of the mountain holdfasts, appearing only to drive off unwanted visitors, of which there are many in the mountains (orcs, goblins, dragons, Eraka nomads, Zhentarim, and others).

The Dragonspine Mountains are not known for ores (other than lead), and most of the Griff mining efforts throughout the centuries have been failures. The Griff, therefore are much less mechanically minded than other dwarves, but have a keen sense for cutting and carving the great granite blocks that make up the mountains. Their weapons and armor are typically made of lead alloys, making them both softer and heavier than those used by their kin, thus the Griffs have become famous for their avoidance of confrontation (by dwarf standards at least), preferring to rain death on their enemies with lead-tipped crossbow bolts than to engage in melee in their substandard armor.

Special Abilities:

  • Griff Clan dwarves are highly skilled masons. They gain a +2 bonus on all proficiency checks when attempting to craft any stone item or structure. In addition, their Dwarven Detection Proficiencies function at a range of 15 feet (instead of 10 feet).
  • Griff Clan dwarves are excellent marksmen. They gain free weapon proficiency with the Crossbows Group at 1st level, and may use such weapons regardless of any limitations imposed by their class or kit (even Griff priests use crossbows). Each Griff dwarf begins with a heavy crossbow and 5 lead-tipped bolts, in addition to his normal starting cash.
  • Griff Clan dwarves are all taught at least the rudiments of the ancient arts of rune magic. A Griff dwarf begins knowing a single rune at 1st level, and learns 1 additional rune at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels. These are in addition to any runes the dwarf may learn based on his class or kit. A Griff Dwarf that is not a Runecaster may have only a single active rune at any given time.

Special Disadvantages:

  • The Griff Clan is strictly hierarchical and caste based. Griff Clan dwarves may not be multi-classed characters. Griff dwarves may not become specialty priests (of any religion). In addition, only female Griff dwarves may be members of the Cleric class, and must take the Totem Sister kit.
  • Because of their prolonged exposure to lead and the corrupted nature of the Stojanow River (a.k.a. the Barren River), the dwarves of the Griff Clan are much more susceptible to poisons than their kin. They do not gain the normal dwarven bonus on saving throws against poison.
  • All metal weapons and armor purchased by a Griff Clan dwarf at character creation are made of lead (instead of steel or iron). These items are the normal price, but weigh 150% the normal amount. Slashing weapons made of lead suffer a -1 penalty on damage (due to the inability to hold an edge). Armor made of lead provides 1 less point of AC bonus, but grants immunity to certain divination spells and effects.

Return to Homelands.

Northern Humanoids

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