Dwarven literature reads like a cross between a blueprint and a chess games. Stories follow no set narrative, but are instead presented as great interlocking wheels to represent the many choices of the heroes and villains. Dwarves believe the pinnacle of literature is to be able to see and understand the entirety of a story all at once. What could have happened is always as important was what did happen. Because of this take on storytelling, there are actually very few dwarvish stories, just many permutations.
All important works of dwarven literature are engraved onto buildings. Every inch of a dwarven structure will be covered in runic engravings. Because of this, a dwarf that wishes to learn the entirety of a story must explore every last nook and cranny of the building it is written on. Their fondness for secret passages and puzzles make thorough reading synonymous with exploration and problem solving.
Dwarven architecture is based in complicated mathematics, allowing amazing feats of balance and structural integrity to exist side by side. Stones fit together with such accuracy that mortar is never used. Pushing open a dwarven door is so easy a child could do it, the difficulty lies in finding the door in the first place. Dwarves are great pranksters and love incorporating tricks of light, shadow and perspective into their buildings, making the simple act of walking down a corridor challenging for even the most aware and astute among us. Many an explorer has wasted hours attempting to cross a room entirely tiled in circular disks that spin at different intervals when stepped on.
The halls of dwarven buildings are designed to be natural resonators for music. At the heart of any dwarven construct is a chamber designed specifically for song. These rooms are build in such a way that a single dwarf may sing a piece designed for 7 voices in round, filling the halls with ghostly harmonies. These chambers are utilized in battle as well- a team of Dwarves will whisper through the halls and fill the heads of the enemy with what they think are voices of ghosts, then launch into a deafening Dwarven battle song. While their foes writhe on the ground from the sound, Guerrilla strikeforces will emerge from hidden passages and finish the interlopers quickly.
Monday, March 2, 2015
|Ratha Orgon "The Brute" was the first Ursa |
to grace our hangout. Art by Sarah.
I've started converting my most recent home game to 5e.
When I started the campaign last year, I had some rough Ideas for races, but told the players they should pick one and flesh it out themselves. Sarah looked at the list, said there should be bear people, and made some.
The Ursa are an intelligent but powerful people. Resembling black bears with slightly longer limbs and hands more suited for gripping tools and weapons. Their fur ranges from light brown, to red, to black. Extremely rare, albino Ursa are considered divine oracles, mouthpieces of their god Astromika, and are trained to be priests at a very young age.
Ursa tend to shed in the spring. This is a ritualistic time for the Ursa when they will typically gather as a family or community to shake off their winter down. It’s often accompanied with much ale and games to prove physical strength. The shedding is frowned upon by innkeepers everywhere should the Ursa not be home for the event.
Ability Score Increase: Your Strength score increases by 2 and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age: Ursa reach physical and mental maturity around 40 and tend to live to be around 180. It is thought that their generally detached nature and penchant for stargazing keeps them from suffering the toll that stress would normally take on a body.
Alignment: Ursa value family and friends above all things, and often turn a blind eye to conflict that does not directly involve them.
Size: Standing, they tend to compare in size to a male black bear with the females being just a bit smaller (About 6-6.5ft tall). They
Speed: 35 feet The Ursa typically run and walk on their hind legs the same way humans do, but they have been known to run short distances on all fours; up to about 2 miles before they need to stop. To ride on the back of an Ursa is said to be one of the greatest signs of trust it can give. Whenever available, Ursas prefer riding tremendous oxen to walking.
Languages: Common, Ursari Ursa speak with one another in their native tongue of Ursari, the language is similar to the ways that their cousins, the common bear, would communicate. Much of the language is based in body language and scent, making it difficult for outsiders without a comparatively developed nasal passage to communicate. Ursa do, however have command of the common tongue. The only complaint being that as stargazers, they often utilize metaphors that are often thought of as meaningless and confusing.
Improved Sense of Smell: Ursa have a very advanced sense of smell. They may add their proficiency bonus to Investigation and Perception.
Bear Hands: Ursa gain proficiency when making unarmed attacks. Their claws deal 1d8 + Str Mod damage.
She also wrote up the details for their religion.
Associated Race: Ursa
Associated God(s) and Goddess(es): None
- Astromikals, ie. Stargazers
- Never say very useful things (ie: Encha Minor is very bright tonight…)
- It’s looked down upon by most others as a silly and not very useful way of thinking
- Most Astromikals will assemble on Wednesday evenings in remote forest clearings designated for watching the stars and meditating. That’s it. Really.
- It’s common for members to get lost and never be seen again due to excessive wandering and looking up.
- Head injuries are likely as a result of running into trees and branches.
- Astromikals will also worship when certain astronomical events occur (planets aligning, solar/lunar eclipses)
- It’s common to find worshippers meditating at night
- Religious artifacts/symbols include:
- Small astrolabe worn around the neck of every worshiper
- A paper-map of the stars that fits in a tube
- A tiny, fold up scope (It’s not very useful)
- The main symbol is a simplistic outline of Ursa Major