Eclipse – the Thunder Dwarves of Ars’yam Taht’leil

   On most worlds Dwarves are naturally attuned to earth and stone.

   In the Twilight Isles, the elemental powers of the world are a part of its very structure. The forces of the elemental Storms of Ars’yam Taht’leil and the Jav-Sabok flow no less through the Earth than through the Skies and Seas. Such turbulence is slower – but, in the end, at least as terrible. From the storms of the sky and seas, the earth may offer shelter – but what shelter stands against the fires and shaking of the earth?

   The Thunder Dwarves draw in the elemental power of one of the Eight Thunders – Air, Fire, Earth, Water, Spirit, Life, Death, or Magic – with their first breath. Which it will be is hard to say; the place and environment, the current flow of energies, and the natural affinities all seem to play a role – but the effect is permanent. From that moment on, they are a child of that thunder, and the power burning within them will shape their life.

   Amongst the population at large, Earth is most common, closely followed by Fire and Air. Water and Magic are unusual, although there will probably be a Thunder Dwarves with such gifts in any decent-sized group. Life and Death are rare. Children of Life are always welcomed; they are likely leaders and healers are always blessing to the people.

   The Children of Death are less welcome. The power to severely wound or kill with an impulsive blow is NOT a good thing in a small child. Many blessings, spells, prayers, superstitions, and manipulations by the attending midwives are used – some with effect, others with no real impact – to avoid such a birthright. This does not always work, but the Children of Death are few.

   The power that burns within each Thunder Dwarf grants them a variety of strengths. Internally, it strengthens their abilities and enhances their ability to survive. Externally it allows them to invoke elemental effects and to channel the energies of Ars’yam Taht’leil into their works – lending enduring power to their magics and , allowing them to easily create enchanted objects – something of a mixed blessing, in that they find such objects, and their inherent disruption of the flow of natural magical energies, as disruptive as most of the other races of the Twilight Isles.

   Thunder Dwarf Racial Modifiers:

  • Use of Charms and Talismans: Shaping, Corrupted and Specialized for increased (level one and weak level two) effects/can only produce the effects for which the user has the appropriate foci ready, can only support a limited number (seven and three) of minor charms and more notable talismans at one time, charms and talismans are modestly expensive (and thus are limited by wealth and lifestyle) and take some time to attune for use (6 CP).
  • Use of Relics: Double Enthusiast, Specialized in Relics for Increased Effect (may use 4 CP worth of relics, 6 CP)
  • Tied to the Earth: The Persistent metamagic theorem, Specialized in Improved Persistent (giving spells a roughly 24-hour duration, 3 CP), with two levels of Streamline, Specialized in Persistent (12 CP). Essentially, all their spells with durations are tied into the energies of the earth, and have effective durations of twenty-four hours.
  • The Thunder Forge: Channeling (technically of elemental forces) 9 Uses/Day, Specialized/only for spell conversion, plus Spell Conversion/Four spells of up to level six related to a particular elemental theme. Both are Corrupted/the “user” is deeply tied to the elemental forces of the world. The local environmental conditions will affect his or her moods, he or she must make fortitude saves against Dispel and Anti-magical effects to resist being stunned for 1d4 rounds, and he or she can be easily detected by appropriate senses (15 CP). Note that, for effects with durations, the Tied to the Earth ability is effective.
    • Elemental Mastery: May produce any effect related to their element of up to level three (L3 base, +2 levels for any spell within a limited theme, +1 level for local casting requirements).
    • Spellbinding: Allows the user to bind a spell of up to level three into a dust, potion, or small charm. Such a spell can be released by some simple action – drinking or applying the potion, scattering the dust, rubbing or breaking the talisman, or using a command word – as specified when the item is created. Sadly, the ingredients may still be a bit bothersome to come up with and this still costs (Spell Level x Caster Level x 2) XP.
    • Swift Elemental Mastery: May produce a defensive or self-enhancing effect related to their element of up to level two as a swift action (L2 base, +1 level for any spell within a very limited theme, +2 levels for swift action, +1 level for local casting requirements).
    • Elemental Bond: This “spell” is automatically “cast” when the appropriate elemental flux is at its daily peak, leaving only eight uses of Channeling available for other purposes. This is a variant on the basic Summon-into-yourself routine effect from The Practical Enchanter, although it’s “summoning” raw elemental power rather than an actual elemental spirit. The effects, however, are almost identical (a L5 effect, +1 level for local casting requirements): The user gains:
      • +2d8 bonus hit dice and the appropriate constitution modifiers. Since these are acquired at level one, they are maximized as usual.
      • The ability to sense and analyze items and occult energies within his or her affinity. Thus a dwarf attuned to the Earth Thunder can sense the structure of stone and metal in the immediate vicinity, sense coming earthquakes and eruptions, sense flaws in stone structures and their foundations, and detect and evaluate earth magic in the immediate vicinity. This also provides a +4 bonus to relevant checks, such as when appraising or crafting an appropriate item, searching for a relevant effect, or trying to analyze an appropriate magic.
      • 60′ Darkvision.
      • The ability to communicate with elemental spirits of the appropriate type.
      • A +4 bonus on saves against Poison, Sleep, Paralysis, and Stunning effects.
      • The ability to inflict 1d6 lethal damage in unarmed hand-to-hand combat. They are never considered unarmed.
      • A reduction in his or her need to eat, sleep, drink, and breathe, being able to get along on only one-half the usual amount. Interestingly, this also decreases the rate at which they age.
    • Other special abilities depend on the Thunder to which they’re bonded. This includes two minimum attributes (if the characters generated attribute is below the listed number, it is raised to that number) and a natural armor bonus.

Base

20

16

NA

Special Abilities

Air

Dex

Cha

+2

Acrobatics with Light Foot, +4 Improved Initiative, Takes no damage from falls.

Earth

Str

Con

+6

No additional special abilities.

Fire

Dex

Int

+2

Fire Resistance 30, Produce Flame at will, Improved Initiative +4, Lunge (+5′ Reach).

Water

Con

Str

+4

Swim 30′, Elemental Resistance 5.

Spirit

Wis

Cha

+2

Spirit Sight, Spirit Speech, Witchcraft I and access to The Shamans Way magical path.

Life

Cha

Con

+2

Improved Healing Touch with Switch, Negative Energy Resistance 12/+4 on relevant saves.

Magic

Int

Dex

+2

+2d6 Mana, Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses.

Death

Con

Str

+4

+4d6 Sneak Attack.

   Bothersomely, the elemental bond tends to make the death of a Thunder Dwarf a bit messy. As the elemental power trapped within them goes free, the bodies of fallen dwarves tend to burst into flames (fire), half-dissolve (water), turn to crumbly stone (earth), go into near-instant decay (death), and so on. While this means that there’s no demand for Thunder Dwarf body parts, it also tends to damage equipment and makes bringing them back a bit more troublesome.

  •  
    • Immunity/Dispelling, Antimagic, and Dismissal effects (Common, Major, Epic, Specialized and Corrupted/only to protect their Elemental Bond and the abilities derived from it, 9 CP).
  • Eternal Thunder: Create Item (their choice as to speciality) with Harvest of Artifice, Specialized/only usable to create items related to their elemental theme (6 CP). As a side-benefit, this provides them with a +1 bonus on their effective Wealth Level (Privilege, 3 CP).
  • Innate Toughness: Universal DR 3/- (6 CP). The Thunder Dwarves enjoy some small degree of protection from both physical and elemental damage. It’s hardly invulnerability, but it is handy.
  • Short Legs: Thunder Dwarves tend to be short and solid, and have relatively short arms and legs. While this is rarely a major factor, it does reduce their base movement by 10, although this is not cumulative with the effects of armor and encumbrance (a -3 CP Disadvantage).

   At a grand total of 63 CP, this would normally be right at the upper limit for a +1 ECL race – but, fortunately (or unfortunately) for them, their entire racial package is considered Specialized, reducing them to a +0 ECL race. Like the Shadow Elves and the Ikam, the Thunder Dwarves can only use Relics who’s cost can be covered by the points available from their Enthusiast allotment, and can only tolerate (Con) “points” worth of regular magic items – and the “point” cost of any given item is up to the game master (as a rule, low-level single-charge items are little trouble, spell storing items are only moderately troublesome, and permanently-active personal enhancement items are very troublesome). Annoyingly enough, this limit also affects temporary external spells – although their short-term nature means that the limit is increased by the user’s (Con Mod).

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One Response

  1. […] and Racial Traits), Shadow Elves (Culture and Racial Traits), and Thunder Dwarves (Culture and Racial Traits). Since the Shadow Elves have numerous bloodlines, here are some samples – Part I, Part II, Part […]

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