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Common Fantasy Races

One of the great things that set fantasy worlds apart is the collection of different races that inhabit them. The following is partial list of the many races that tend to inhabit fantasy worlds. You must realize that the AD&D rules provide for many different fantasy worlds, and some races may not exist on some world; indeed, some may be unique to one DM's imagination! Also, races may vary from setting to setting... an elf in J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle Earth isn't quite the same as an elf from the world of Krynn (DragonLance). So, most of the descriptions here are biased towards my own world of Audalis. I will try to point out notable exceptions.

Elves (Sylvari or Syls) - slighter of build than humans, in most world elves are also slighly shorter (not in Audalis, however). They have pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes; elves love nature and the forest, and tend to dislike cities. Elves live an extremely long time - 600 years is very typical. Conversely, they do not mature as quickly... 60 to 100 years is cosidered to be the elven equivilant of manhood. Elves commonly consider themselves to be the 'highest' race in a world, and are often thought arrogant by other races. Elves have natural skills with bow and sword (+1 to hit with either), as well as resistance to sleep and charm spells (90% chance). Additionally, elves often take well to music and magic. Elves are very agile, and gain a +1 to dexterity, but are not quite as sturdy as humans, and suffer a -1 to constitution. Elves possess a special ability known as infravision - basically, they can see in the dark, to a limited degree. Elves can be multi-classed characters

Half-elves (Half- Sylvari) - Half elves are not truly a race, per se, but a result of human and elven intermingling. While longer-lived than humans, their lifespan is shorter than that of elves, typically 250-300 years. Like elves, most half-elves have pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes; unlike them, most half-elven males grow facial hair. Half-elves tend to fit in better with humans, but in some cases, don't fit in at all (depends on the game setting). They posess infravision, though not as strongly as elves. Half-elves are very diverse, and can belong to more character classes than any other race.

Dwarves (Khordaldrum or Khords) - Sturdy and strong, dwarves make some of the best warriors in most campaigns. Dwarves rarely grow taller than four feet, but are very solidly built. Long-lived, dwarves can see 300 years easily. Dwarves love the earth, and often live in subterranian cities. Many consider them greedy, as they love to mine for gems and precious metals. Dwarves are excellent smiths, and make prized armor and weapons. Dwarves are very tough, receiving a +1 to constitution. They are also typically a bit unpolished, suffering a -1 to charisma. Dwarves distrust magic. Dwarves posess infravision similar to half-elves. Due to their small size and skill against these creatures, dwarves gain bonuses when fighing giants and the like, and those creatures suffer penalties against dwarves. Dwarves have a limited range of multi-class options open to them, as well.

Kender (Cidals) - often mistaken for elven children due to their small height (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet) and pointed ears, most people grab their money sack in fear when they notice a kender's characteristic wrinkles and outlandish clothing. Kender are consumate thieves - though most get quite offended if this is suggested. Kender simply have little grasp on the concept of personal property, and are naturally good at picking locks and pockets ("Here, you must have dropped this", or "Ooops, this door seems stuck!"). Kender are biologically immune to fear. This is good; they never run in panic. This is bad; they never run in panic. Many a kender has stood its ground against a charging dragon, giant, or the like, thinking "Gee, he looks mad...." A kender has a similar lifespan to a human. They have limited infravision. At the onset of adolescence, kender become infected with a condition known as 'Wandelust', forcing them to travel the world. Due to their boldness, there are few old kender. Kender can be thieves, clerics, and thief combinations. They are perhaps more agile than elves (+1 dexterity), but weak physically (-2 strength). In Audalis, kender also suffer -1 to intelligence and wisdom.



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Thanks to Olan Suddeth for this contribution!

 


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