Major Races on Peth
Peth has a vibrant variety of life, and the sentient races are no exception. Some races are similar enough to their Pathfinder standard archetypes that you should have little trouble adapting them to this new world. Their roles in Peth are discussed below.
Human: Per standard Pathfinder rules. Humans in Peth are frequently sailors, farmers, conscripts, or laborers. Most leaders of cities that lie on the flatlands of Urath are human, and they take to the sea better than any race save the Coral Imps. Humans are the most tolerant of the major races in Peth, and members of almost every other race can frequently be seen in their cities. They tend to harbor friendships with multiple races and travel frequently to their lands. (~25% of the population of Peth)
Humans tend to be any of the available classes.
Human Racial Traits: Human
Stat Bonuses: Per pathfinder rules.
Longdwarf: Per standard Pathfinder rules for Dwarves, save that Longdwarves are roughly the height of an average human; they remain stout and stocky. Almost always neutral or good, longdwarves scour the tunnels of the Wurms deep within Urath’s tower. They make temporary cities that last anywhere from 3 months to 30 years before moving on to a new source of minerals and food. They tolerate visitors, but the multiple small bands that they travel in frequently have wildly different customs and laws. Their skin ranges from ruddy light gray to dark ocher to almost green. Following a wurm means harvesting the moulds and fungi that grow in it’s wake, which few but the longdwarves appreciate. Fortunately, they tend to live in tandem with a local network of merchants. They usually dress simply with animal skins, though when it comes time to do battle they have some of the fiercest militias the world has seen. They also have a knack for creating sleds, simple mechanations, and other creative tinkerings. (~15% of the population of Peth)
Longdwarves tend to be barbarians, fighters, sappers, and geomancers.
Longdwarf Racial Traits:
Stat Bonuses: Per pathfinder rules for dwarves.
- Ancient Foe : Longdwarves have long lived in a dangerous dance with the local Wurm population. Longdwarves gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC against magical beasts (wurms), and a +2 racial bonus on combat maneuver checks made to grapple creatures of that type.
- Unusual Diet: Longdwarves gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease, ingested poisons, and becoming nauseated or sickened.
Irondwarf (or Stonedwarf less commonly): Per standard Pathfinder rules for Dwarves. Stonedwarves are almost always neutral or evil. Most of them live in the Crystal Forge, but they find a home wherever there is a cave to hole up in. Their skin is crystalline in appearance, and each has a flesh that has a sheen of opals, obsidian, or sapphires. They are especially confident of their blacksmiths and stonework, and they generally live by trading their war instruments for food and luxuries. (~10% of the population of Peth)
Irondwarves are often fighters or sappers, sometimes geomancers, or rarely barbarians or bards. They all consider their ability to create a hallmark of being an Irondwarf: all Irondwarves must choose the Quartermaster or Transmuter subclass.
Irondwarf Racial Traits:
Stat Bonuses: Per pathfinder rules for dwarves.
- Craftsman: Irondwarves gain a +2 racial bonus on all Craft or Profession checks to create objects from metal or stone.
- Master Tinker: Irondwarves gain a +1 bonus on Disable Device and Knowledge (engineering) checks. Members of this race are also treated as proficient with any weapon they have personally crafted.
- Obsessive Creators: Irondwarves must select the Quartermaster or Transmuter subclass, if any.
Half-dwarf: Half-dwarves are the often deformed, much maligned offspring of a human and a dwarf. They tend to stand as tall as a human, with elongated, some would say ape-ish arms. Most (about 60%) half-dwarves suffer from some disfigurement such as a skin disease or a missing limb or eye, though many are healthy and handsome. They tend to live on the outskirts of society and generally only find a good home in human or coral imp settlements, where they are begrudgingly suffered. (~1% of the population of Peth)
Half-dwarfs take well to most classes.
For all intents and purposes, assume their stats to be the same as a half-orc, except obviously you have dwarven blood. [+2 to a single stat, Intimidating, Darkvision, Dwarf Blood (claim Dwarf as a race in terms of items), familiar with Battleaxes and Picks, can speak common and dwarven.]
Half-dwarves can live to be 80 years old.
Half-dwarf Racial Traits:
Stat Bonuses: Per pathfinder rules for half-orcs.
- Treat all instances of ‘orc blood’ and references to orcs in the Pathfinder description as if they were references to dwarves instead. Summary: +2 to a single stat, Intimidating, Darkvision, Dwarf Blood (claim Dwarf as a race in terms of items), familiar with Battleaxes and Picks, can speak common and dwarven.]
- Because they are the largest race in Peth, most Half-dwarves find themselves either digging or fighting at some point. As a result, all half-dwarves are assumed to have proficiency with battleaxes and picks.
- (optional) Roll a d20 upon character creation, DC12. If you pass this check, take no deformity. Otherwise, select a physical or mental deformity and apply it to your character. This can be anything from a missing eye to a mangled limb, insatiable hunger, tumors, gigantism or dwarfism, or anything else that could be considered a deformity. It is up to the player whether they want to take one that will meaningfully effect their gameplay, but it is encouraged.
Halfling: Halflings are quite uncommon in Peth. They have no large towns; at best there are some scattered settlements said to be miles true north of Urath in the water lands. Halflings have a hard life in most places on Urath; some get work as sailors or servants, but many live lives on the edge of society, sustenance farming or stealing in order to survive. A rare few end up as merchants or scholars, and they do generally have a high level of intellect and work ethic. However, halflings have trouble being taken seriously in Peth, especially by Coral Imps (who are of a similar build). (~3% of the population of Peth)
Halflings in Peth are often rogues, rangers, or really brave bards.
Halfling Racial Traits:
Stat Bonuses: Per pathfinder rules for halflings.
Coral Imp: These imps stand about 4 feet tall, and are slight and muscular in their build. Their noses are smooth and pointed like a shark’s, and they have large, gentle eyes that are quite keen. Their skin is scaly but smooth like that of a snake, and they range in color from white to sky blue to dark blue to deep sea green; they are rarely orange or red, a coloration only seen in females. Their ears are broad and pointed, often adorned with one to dozens of jewels, charms, or even potion bottles. Coral Imps love dressing in colorful garments that compliment their skin tones, even with their choice of military uniforms.
They live around the water, which is where they tend to build their cities. There are many coral imps at the fortresses on the western part of the Urath tower, because the imps believe fiercely that the Tar men coming out of the water is a direct assault upon their race. They readily offer their ranks to protect their lands, and these normally carefree folk spend every third year conscripted to the fortresses. They are known for their preoccupation with celebration (whether convenient or not) and their ability to squeeze out of difficult situations. Coral imps make excellent rogues, bards, sappers, fighters, and warpriests. (~33% of the population of Peth)
Coral imps live about 65 years.
Coral Imp Racial Traits:
Stat Bonuses: Coral Imps gain a +2 bonus to DEX, a +2 bonus to CHA, and a –2 WIS. Coral Imps are quick and impulsive, but they have a friendly, quasi-confrontational nature that makes them likable.
Small: Small races gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on combat maneuver checks and to their CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. Small races have a space of 5 feet by 5 feet and a reach of 5 feet.
Standard Language: Members of this race start with Common plus their racial language (if any). Furthermore, choose up to seven languages (except for Druidic or other secret languages). Members of this race with high Intelligence scores can choose from any or all of these additional languages.
Cat’s Luck: Once per day, when a Coral Imp makes a Reflex saving throw, it can roll the saving throw twice and take the better result. It must decide to use this ability before attempting the saving throw.
Lifebound: Coral Imps gain a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws made to resist death effects, saving throws against negative energy effects, Fortitude saves made to remove negative levels, and Constitution checks made to stabilize if reduced to negative hit points.
Lucky, Lesser: Coral Imps gain a +1 racial bonus on all saving throws.
Beguiling Liar: Coral Imps gain a +4 racial bonus on Bluff checks to convince an opponent that what they are saying is true when they tell a lie.
Water Child: Coral Imps gain a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks, can always take 10 while swimming, and may choose Aquan as a bonus language.
Pilgrim Angels: Pale grey, tall, and faceless, the pilgrim angels step lightly and give off a frightening presence to those unfamiliar with them. They stand 7 to 8 feet tall and are almost impossibly thin. They have the appearance of a skeleton that has been draped in grey cloth, with wispy wings that jut out of their shoulder blades. They cannot fly, but their form of locomotion looks strangely like they are taking long, slow strides with every step, as if they were walking in place while floating along the ground. They often give off a faint glow, which they can amplify if they so wish to light a room. They generally wear elaborate stone headdresses or crowns, along with loose, flowing clothing.
Pilgrim Angels generally live in the uppermost strata of the known world in the air realm. In the intervening millennia, Pilgrim Angels have spread their knowledge and religion to all areas of the globe. Their race invented a technology that allows the air to be purified per race, which has allowed some well-connected creatures access to different strata of Peth. They guard this secret of air purification with their lives, and it is a tiny portion of the Pilgrim Angel population that even knows this secret.
Pilgrim angels tend to be clannish and stick to others of their kind. They are seen as difficult to work with. Even their form of communication is strange, where they will look at you and move their mouth slowly and talk with a voice that sounds like it is coming from your own head; the experience is not unpleasant once one grows used to it, but it feels directly invasive, especially if the angel beckons to an unwitting stranger! For game purposes a Pilgrim Angel’s voice carries as any other, the other creatures simply percieve that voice as coming from their own head. Pilgrims that travel are often Warpriests, Geomancers, and less frequently Fighters or Sappers. (~13% of the population of Peth)
Pilgrim angels live about 180 years.
Pilgrim Angel Racial Traits:
Stat Bonuses: Pilgrim angels gain a +4 bonus to WIS, a –2 penalty to STR, and a –2 penalty to CHA. Pilgrim Angels are patient and observant, but they are not strong, and their appearance and manner are off-putting to most other races.
Standard Language: Members of this race start with Common plus their racial language (if any). Furthermore, choose up to seven languages (except for Druidic or other secret languages). Members of this race with high Intelligence scores can choose from any of these additional languages.
Medium: Medium-sized races have no bonuses or penalties due to their size. A Medium creature has a space of 5 feet by 5 feet and a reach of 5 feet.
Lightbringer: Pilgrim angels are immune to light-based blindness and dazzle effects, and are treated as one level higher when determining the effects of any light-based spells or effects they cast (including spell-like and supernatural abilities). If they have an Intelligence of 10 or higher, they may use light at will as a spell-like ability.
Gliding Wings: Pilgrim angels take no damage from falling (as if subject to a constant nonmagical feather fall spell). While in midair, pilgrim angels can move up to 5 feet in any horizontal direction for every 1 foot they fall, at a speed of 60 feet per round. Pilgrim angels with gliding wings cannot gain height with these wings alone; it merely coasts in other directions as it falls. If subjected to a strong wind or any other effect that causes a creature with gliding wings to rise, it can take advantage of the updraft to increase the distance it can glide. A Pilgrim that has had his wing stalks removed may not use this ability.
Curiosity: Pilgrim angels are naturally inquisitive about the world around them. They gain a +4 bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information, and Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (local) become class skills for them. If they choose a class that has either of these Knowledge skills as class skills, they gain a +2 racial bonus on those skills instead.
Major Organizations of Peth
Basic Geography and Mythology
Peth is a large tower-like landmass in the center of an infinite ocean; most residents refer to this ever-present feature as the ‘tower’ all the time. The tower is split into 4 strata, each representing a single element: Urath (earth), Godpalm (fire), Usine (water), Pillar (wind).
Urath is a versitile land that streches from sea level to about 30 miles up. It contains deserts, forests, fortresses, cities, lakes, rivers, and a whole ecosystem within the base of the tower.
Godpalm is a gigantic carved representation of a demon god sitting on a equally large throne, pockmarked with lava, stretching from 30 to 70 miles up.
Yusine is a verdant and magical land that thrives with flora and fauna, mounded on top of Godpalm in what would look like a gigantic broken bowl. It stretches from 70 to 130 miles up.
Pillar is a stunning series of suspended cylinders, connected by chains of magical origin. Pillar stretches from 130miles to about 200 miles, where the atmosphere of Peth completely obscures what is above that.
An ocean that is filled with life surrounds the landmass of Urath. Surrounding this ocean, on all sides, is a dark, oily tar. From this tar comes disease, humanoid armies of Tar Men, and their beasts and machines of war. No one knows why the Tarmy marches onto the land from all directions, or why they target the desert especially hard, but a fact of life on Peth is that there must always, ALWAYS be a defense against the Tarmy.
Leaders of humans, longdwarves, coral imps, and pilgrim angels are part of the Peth Concordant, an agreement to promote trade among the four sections of Peth. (The irondwarves consider themselves independent (and too valuable/proud to lump their fate in with the other races). The halflings and half-dwarves have no representation in most of the world.)
A council of 20 seats a member of each race, with a member representing each strata of Peth. The 17-20th slots are held by Supreme Appointment and they hold office until death. Slots 1-16 are decided via various processes unique to the strata they come from. This office handles trade and valuation of the currency, among other issues such as strata-to-strata travel and immigration. The Pilgrim angels, with their ability to easily ferry supplies from strata to strata, have a particularly strong position on this council, and the 17-20 are usually all Angels.
Trade is tightly controlled in Peth. Moving from one elemental tier (strata) of the world to another is a feat, and all sorts of passports and ID verification are done from one area to the other. Generally, Urath supplies food and weaponry and defense against the Tarmy, Godpalm supplies lava that warms the land and fuels forges, Yusine supplies fresh water and magical charms, and Pillar maintains the means of transporting from strata to strata.
The Coral Imps long ago built a long series of walls that streches from nearly the entire landmass of Peth, from the southern shore close to Sunhome to the northern shore where the tower meets the sea. Coral Imps have commanded the four major Forts of the Fort Wall for generations, and each race has representation on it’s barracks. It’s purpose is to continually hold back the tide of Tar Men and their terrible, never-ending army that marches in from the tar past the sea. While the tar appears to surround Peth on all sides, the Western region of the landmass tends to get attacked by the largest forces 95% of the time. The forts (from north to south: Darkwatch, Klugman, Kah, Sunwatch) have at times sustained heavy casualties, but sometimes the forts can go years without a battle. Troops from all over Urath are sent here to train, producing some of the greatest agents and warriors that the world has ever known.
Major Religions of Peth
Long ago, the four elements were manifested as gods. The heavy earth sank to the bottom. Fire, needing earth to birth it’s magma, settled atop it. The steam rose high into the air and settled atop the fire, and the air swept up and around the universe. From this creatures arose and took to tending the earth. The history of Peth is about 16,000 years old, with several major events changing the shape and face of the tower. At one point around year 11,000, a gigantic demon king had the fire realm carved out into a giant sculpture to enclose him; he employed billions of slaves for 1,200 years to finish his project before he was somehow betrayed and turned to stone, and he is now by far the most prominent feature of Peth.
Over time, the vast, empty ocean began to despoil. A thick tarry oil bubbled within the horizon, and whereever the oil was the thickest and most active came the Tar Men. The first few attacks from the Tar Men were fended off by locals long ago, but the Tar Men adapted and learned, and they attacked in far greater numbers. Over time the races, fearing complete destruction, banded together to combat the universal threat. Towns were consolidated, racial divides forgiven, and great defenses and armies were built.
The Peth of today has all types of faiths and customs spread over the surfaceland and the tower. Constant fear of being overrun by the Tar Men is reason enough to keep a relative peace among races and cultures. Urath, the lowermost earth realm, supplies most of the world’s food, and it’s crystal mines produce some excellent weaponry. Godpalm, the fire-aligned second lowest realm, regulates the magma flow that is crucial to critical systems in the other realms. Yusine, the water-aligned second highest realm, has enchanters and alchemists that supplement healers and warriors alike. Pillar, the wind-aligned uppermost realm, provides travel from one land to the other, and they too wield plenty of magical and political power because of that ability to travel.
One of the predominant belief systems in Peth. There are Synagogues of the Quartet in every corner of Peth, where worshipers give their service to the (very real) four gods of the elements. Each synagogue tends to favor a specific element, and these are usually tailored to the elemental that the temple was built near. For instance, there are many temples of water near desert oasis, or temple of fire near a thermal spring. The 4 gods are:
- The Lord of Dark Earth, Thraa
- The Heartbeat of Chaos, K’threy
- The Lord of Clear Thought, Quasis
- The Goddess of Pure Breath, Pilgrim (often refered to as ‘True Pilgrim’ to avoid confusion with the race)
Long ago, the four elements were manifested as gods that supposedly keep Peth’s natural machanisms working. The Quartet generally believe that the god’s ‘restore’ themselves by dying and being reborn at an unknown (or at least not agreed upon) interval of time. They also generally agree that this is inevitable and that this process should be left alone. Many adherents to this faith attempt to find patterns in nature to determine how old a particular god is (i.e. “This is a rain from a Young Quasis!”) and such nonsense.
The Sundered Ring
There is another sect of those who are more active in the workings of the gods. The Sundered Ring is an illegal faith that supports the stealing and/or murdering of the gods in order to grow their next-of-kin in a more favorable place. They argue that the power needed to destroy the Tarmy is within everyone’s grasp, should they simply choose to relocate the god’s power to (for example) the Tar. Not surprisingly, this idea deeply offends many, who would consider the alteration of the god’s natural order to be blasphemy, if not straight-out dangerous.
The Sundered Ring does not openly worship. There are hiding places where they gather, and their numbers are few, but not so few that they can be ignored. Many races and municipalities actively hunt down these sects, others have a live and let live policy. After all, how much influence over the gods can one tiny group actually have?
The Adherents of Chud
Few religions are so bold in their support for material wealth as this one. The Adherents of Chud largely reject the Quartet as either pointless or incorrect, and pursue what Chud asks of them: money, wealth, power, and material goods.
Temples to Chud are opulent and ridiculous.
Order of One Light
The Order is a small but dedicated sect that wishes to ascend Peth to a new golden age free of the Tarmy threat. The Order has temples in most major cities of Peth, especially in Usine (water strata) and Pillar (wind strata).
Their legend is that if the essences of the four gods can be brought together and brought to a sacred place, then the gods will merge into a single benevolent entity. This entity (the ‘One Light’) supposedly can purge the Tarmy from the waters and bring an age of peace and prosperity to Peth.
Extremist members of this faction attempt to make this legend come true through confluence of events; the consequences of their success are unknown. Some say that the releasing of the great demon was related to such a scheme millennia ago, but who knows?