Some more ideas for my postulated dungeon-brawling mash-up campaign...
I like the idea of variant races, and plan to provide lots of choices for players. I've "traditionally" transplanted hobbits with rat-men, and have also thought to re-skin the race as goblins, kobolds and monkey-men. My recently posted reptiloid race also comes with a few variants. So, how about these variant gnomes, dwarves and half-orcs...
Note that the clockwork dwarf race is obviously inspired by Hill Canton's robo-dwarf class.
The rest of this post is designated Open Gaming Content according to the Open Gaming License.
Clockwork dwarf: These rare beings of obscure origin are occasionally encountered in adventuring parties or working as clock-smiths. They have all the normal faculties of a sentient being, but are made of metal (typically brass or bronze) and run on clockwork.
Clockwork dwarves cannot ingest normal food or water, and indeed react to such as poison. Instead they must consume one pint of lamp oil every other day, and often like to snack on nuts and bolts.
Additionally clockwork dwarves have the substantial advantage over their fleshy brethren that they do not need to breathe, and can thus happily exist in airless environments. It must however be noted that clockwork dwarves are damaged by water, taking 1d3hp damage per round they are submerged. This can be avoided by pre-preparing themselves by smearing 3 pints of oil over their whole body. Such protection lasts for several hours.
Clockwork dwarves have no affinity with stone, and lack all of the standard dwarfish stonework abilities. They do however have a natural armour class of 7.
Strangely, healing magic (including potions) works normally on clockwork dwarves. The reason for this is a mystery.
Stone dwarf: Some dwarven communities have retreated so deep into the mountains that they have, over many millennia, begun to meld with their stony environment, becoming beings half-flesh, half-stone. Such dwarves are as slow and determined as rock, and gain several advantages. Firstly they have a natural armour class of 5. Secondly they are completely immune to petrification magic, being already half-stone. They also have the ability to speak the language of earth elementals and their kin.
As a downside, healing magic of all kinds has only a 50% chance of taking effect on a stone dwarf.
Deep gnome (a.k.a. svirfneblin): This race dwells in deep subterranean caverns, and are sometimes encountered by dwarves as they delve for metals. Deep gnomes are an especially miserly race, giving them a -2 CHA penalty. On the positive side, they are able to identify gems and precious metals simply by smell, and at a distance of 10'.
Forest gnome: A meek and homely race, unlikely to produce much in the way of bold adventurers. They dwell in shallow burrows in sandy forest soils, and do not have the deep affinity with the subterranean world which their cousins possess – they are unable to detect their depth and orientation underground. They do however have ability to speak the languages of burrowing animals, which are often found in their company.
Psychedelic gnome: The origin of the psychedelic gnomes is something of a mystery, and the gnomes themselves refuse to provide details. Physically they are very similar to their “bog-standard” counterparts, however their behaviour and tastes are wildly different. Psychedelic gnomes, as their name implies, have an outrageous style of dress, eschewing the traditional drab earth-tones and red pointy hats in favour of clashing fluorescent colours, swirling paisley, tie-dye, and apparently religiously inspired patterns which they refer to as “fracktals”. Some sages suspect that these gnomes are from the future.
Psychedelic gnomes have no affinity with earth or stone, and lack the standard stonework abilities of their race. They are also of a less robust constitution, and gain no bonuses to saves against poison, paralysis or petrification. Instead they have an affinity with magic and illusion, which grants them alternative abilities.
Firstly, all psychedelic gnomes know how to cast a single 1st level spell once per day, chosen at random from the illusionist spell list. This spell is innate, and does not require study or a spell book.
Additionally their affinity with magic of illusion grants them a +4 bonus to saving throws versus this type of magic. On a successful save, there is a 15% chance that an illusion spell will rebound from a psychedelic gnome and affect its caster.
Half-bugbear: Hairy beast-men whose racial heritage is plain to see. Half-bugbears lack the standard half-orc's ability to find secret doors, but are instead able to move silently as a thief of equal level. Half-bugbear thieves instead gain a +10% bonus to their move silently skill.
Neanderthal: This race of brutish sub-humans are sometimes known to leave their caves and mix with other races. They have no ability at finding secret doors, but have a natural resistance to magic, gaining +2 on saving throws.