Tuesday, August 4, 2009

OD&D: The Hyborian Age Part III

Races of the Hyborian Age Part 2



Hyrkanian: Hyrkanians are a horse culture living on the Steppes of the Eastern Hyborian world, across the Vilayet Sea from Turan. They are roughly analagous to the Huns, Mongols, and Cossacks of history, and are known for their prowess at archery. Hyrkanians can progress as Fighting-Men, Borderers, Thieves, or Assassins.

A hardy folk of the plains, Hyrkanians gain +1 to Constitution and -1 to Charisma, as they are not accustomed to the niceties of Western society. In addition, Hyrkanian Fighting-Men gain benefit with bows as follows:

  • Hyrkanian Fighting-Men are always treated as 1 level (Man) higher than their actual level when using the Troop Type system for archery. When a Hyrkanian Fighting-Man hits 10th level, against unarmored or 1/2 armored foes, he instead inflicts an extra die of damage on a successful hit with a bow.
  • When using the Man-to-Man or Fantasy Combat system, Hyrkanian Fighting-Men gain +2 to all attacks with bows.
  • Hyrkanian Fighting-Men can fire bows from horseback and perform split-move and fire when mounted.
  • Hyrkanians who are not Fighting-Men attack as Fighting-Men when using bows, but do not gain the other above benefits.


Due to strong racial superstitions, Hyrkanians are -2 to save vs. any sort of mind-affecting magic, including illusions.

Khitai: The ancestors of the modern Far Eastern peoples of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc., the Khitai are an exotic race with distinctly Far Eastern features. Player characters from Khitai can operate as monks, sorcerers, illusionists, fighting-men, thieves, and assassins, being restricted to 5th level as fighting-men and thieves, and 8th level as assassins and illusionists. They gain +1 to Intelligence and -1 to Constitution, being of a slight, frail build. Monks' thief abilities are as per the modified Thief class listed in Part One.

Lemurian: Little is known about the Lemurian race; they are a Caucasian, mountain-dwelling people who live in the peaks of far Lemuria, beyond the Far East of Khitai, and who worship degenerate dark gods and demons of the Outer Dark. They are included here for completeness' sake, though no Lemurians are ever encountered in Howard's writing. Lemurians should gain +1 to Intelligence and -1 to Constitution, and can advance as Fighting-Men, Illusionists, Sorcerers, Thieves, Assassins, and Monks. They are restricted to 4th level as Fighting-Men and Thieves, and 8th level as Assassins.

Pict: The Picts are a stone-age tribal culture who inhabit the farthest Western regions of the Hyborian Age world. They are constantly engaged in border skirmishes and wars with Aquilonia, who at one time was expansionist and imperialist and threatened the very survival of the Pictish wilderness. Though Caucasian in appearance, the Pictish culture in Howard's stories is often depicted as (badly stereotpyed) Native American in type, with sprinklings of historical Pictish trappings, such as the blue face-paint with which they adorn themselves. Picts gain +1 to Dexterity and -1 to Intelligence and may advance as Fighting-Men, Thieves, Borderers, and Sorcerers (Pictish shamans), being restricted to 4th level in Thief and Sorcerer. For purposes of the Thief abilities of Hide, Listen, and Move Silently, and the Borderer ability to Track, Picts are treated as though they are four levels higher than they actually are, so long as they are in a forested, wilderness area.

Shemite: The Shemite Race covers Shem, Khoraja, Drujistan, Iranistan, Kosala, and all of the smaller tribal territories therein. Shemites tend to be tall, broad-shouldered, brown-skinned, and sport great blue-black beards and dark eyes. They are renowned as skilled bowmen and fearsome warriors. Shemites may advance as Fighting-Men, Assassins, or Sorcerers.

A Shemite character gains either the berserker ability of the Aesir/Vanir OR the archery abilities of the Hyrkanians (save that Shemites do not gain the ability to fire when mounted or perform split-move and fire on horseback). This choice must be made at character creation and cannot be changed. On the down side, Shemites being a fatalistic race, they suffer -1 to all saving throws of any kind.

Stygian: Haunted Stygia, the realm of the serpent god Set, produces the most feared sorcerers in the world. They are tall, thin, gaunt, and brown-skinned with black hair and black eyes. Stygians gain +1 to Intelligence and -1 to Strength. They may progress as Fighting-Men, Thieves, Assassins, and Sorcerers, being restricted to 5th level as Fighting-Men and Thieves. Stygian Sorcerers always cast spells as though they were one rank higher than they are (i.e. Seers cast as Magicians, Magicians as Warlocks, etc.), though they are still restricted as normal regarding what level of spell they may cast.

Tribesman of the Black Kingdoms: These cover both the civilized and semi-civilized kingdoms such as Darfar, Keshan, Kush, and Zembabwei, as well as the primitive tribes that inhabit the southernmost portions of the Hyborian world. They are black-skinned, short and slight of stature, and the more primitive stone-age tribes partake in cannibalism. Their in-game bonuses and penalties are the same as those for Picts, save that their bonuses apply to desert or jungle climes (depending on the tribe; choose at character creation) rather than forests.

Turanian: Turanians are the ancestors of modern Turks, who live on the western side of the Vilayet sea. They share the same racial characteristics as Hyrkanians.

Vendhyan: The ancestors of the modern people of India, Vendhyans are an ancient, noble race known for their skill in diplomacy and their complex philosophies and society. They may progress as any class without restriction, and gain +1 to Charisma. They gain +1 to all saving throws except those that are mind-affecting, including illusions, against which they suffer -2.

Zamoran: Zamora is a corrupt and decadent society marked by its tolerance, if not outright allowance, of shadowy violence and crime syndicates. Zamorans are of a Mediterranean countenance: an attractive people who are olive-skinned with dark hair and eyes. Zamoran characters may progress as Fighting-Men, Thieves, and Sorcerers, being restricted to 5th level as Fighting-Men or Sorcerers. Zamorans gain +1 to Dexterity but -1 to Strength, and when operating in urban or subterranean conditions, Zamoran thieves are treated as being one level higher than they actually are, for purposes of thieving abilities.

Zingaran: Zingarans are the ancestors of the modern Spanish peoples. They have a dark olive complexion, black hair and dark eyes, and often dress in bright, flamboyant colors. Swashbucklers at heart, Zamoran culture is obsessed with shows of honor and face, and marked by a lust for life. Zamorans gain +1 to Charisma but -1 to Constitution, and may progress as Fighting-Men or Thieves (though even Zamoran thieves are marked by their strict codes of honor). Zamorans are noted for their florentine fighting style, which uses a rapier and main-gauche in tandem, and when they enter combat if wearing armor lighter than chain may choose to gain one benefit of the fighting style each round:

  • Offense: Gain one additional attack die in the Troop Type System (+1 to hit Man to Man or Fantasy)
  • Defense:, defend as the next higher Troop Type (or improve AC by 1 in Man-to-Man, or subtract one from opponent's roll in Fantasy).

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