Monday, January 23, 2017

D&D 5e: The Veytikka Personality

For the most part, my series on personality features for each race has stuck to official D&D races, with the exception of homunculi. Today, though, I'm tackling one of the races of my own creation: the veytikka. I've talked about them a good bit in the past, and I'll repost their stats below, but the short version is that they are a race of carrion-eaters - similar to ghouls, but not undead or evil. They have a keen sense of smell, claws, the ability to run faster on all fours, and so on.


Elves | Dwarves | Halflings | Gnomes | Half-orcs | Homunculi | Dragonborn | Tieflings | Goblins | Aasimar | Kobolds | Drow | Thri-Kreen | Veytikka

Veytikka

Veytikka are a humanoid race typically despised by their neighbors, but living among them as vagrants or outcasts. They are carrion-eaters by preference, and will consume the flesh of any being that is not a veytikka, as long as it has had a few days to decay. Once they do begin to eat, they leave almost no trace behind, aside from stains that have soaked into surfaces. To avoid drawing the ire of other races, they are much more circumspect about their eating habits while in cities. The main reason they are permitted to stay in the cities of other races is that they have the useful ability to perceive across the veil of death, and even communicate for short periods of time. Among their own kind, they speak a language they call Veyti; they also use this language when communicating with the dead.
Their skin tones range from a pure white to slate gray. Their faces are distinctly inhuman, with slightly elongated snouts, pointed ears, and black tongues. Eye colors include brown, green, and red. Veytikka have long, retractable claws, but just as often use weapons they have found or made. They are highly resistant to all forms of disease - necessary, given their diet. When their hands are empty and they are not significantly encumbered, they can move on all fours for increased speed.
In their interactions with others, veytikka are friendly, but possess an intensity that others find unsettling. They avoid showing their anger openly, but hold it tightly inside. Revenge, like dinner, is a dish best served only when it has fully ripened. Many are surprised to discover that a veytikka's home is almost indistinguishable from the home of a human of the same level of wealth, though most veytikka live in some measure of poverty.


  • Ability Score Increase: Divide three ability score points between Charisma, Dexterity, and Constitution. None of these may increase by more than two points.
  • Age: Veytikka age at the same rate as humans.
  • Alignment: Veytikka tend toward neutral alignments, balancing their obligations to the cycles of life and death with the impulse to rebel against societies that reject and oppress them.
  • Size: Medium. The average veytikka is four inches taller than the average human.
  • Speed: 30 feet. When your hands are empty, you are wearing Light or no armor, and you are not encumbered, you can increase your speed to 40 feet by moving on all fours.
  • Claws: Your claws are natural weapons, which slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength or Dexterity modifier. Your claws count as magical for the purpose of overcoming an undead creature’s resistance or immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.
  • Keen Smell: You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
  • Resistance to Disease: You have advantage on all saving throws to resist contracting a disease, including magical diseases. 
  • Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Veyti, the language of the veytikka.

Subraces
  • Surface-born: Lore of the Dead: You can slip into a trance to communicate with unmanifested ghosts, who are often inclined to lend you their aid. This aid usually takes the form of advantage on skill checks relating to the area, or to topics of their particular interest.
  • Deep-born: Lore of the Dark: The things that live in the deep places of the earth whisper to you when you are in their domain. When you are underground, gain advantage on Intelligence ability checks.


Personality Traits

d8Personality Traits
1I casually mix formal attire and grubby clothes.
2I spew profanity that would make a sailor cringe.
3I keep teeth or locks of hair from every sentient creature I have tasted.
4I spend so much effort on where my next few meals are coming from that I don't plan for much else.
5I have difficulty trusting anyone who hasn't gone through the same hard times I have.
6When my life is on the line, I become nearly feral.
7My sense of humor treads on, or crosses, the line between "black" amd "sick."
8The dead are better friends, and more trustworthy, than the living.


Ideals

d6Ideals
1Independence: We aren't obliged to obey laws as unjust as these. (Chaotic)
2Live and Let Live: The Ghostlands have souls enough - let none of us hasten another on their way. (Good)
3People: Loyalty to the living and the dead matters more than obscure principles. (Neutral)
4Tradition: The dead have left us a great store of wisdom, and whisper it to us even now. (Lawful)
5Hunger: Everyone feeds on someone - it's the way of the world. We just make it literal. (Evil)
6Destiny: The Gods invested us with a mighty purpose, and striving against that purpose only increases suffering. (Neutral)


Bonds

d6Bonds
1I will convince - through persuasion or force - the powers that be to improve the lives of the veytikka.
2I will impress other races with the great talents of the veytikka.
3I preserve and recover the lore of my people's storied past.
4Magic is the great equalizer, and I will control as much of it as I can.
5The living must be guarded from the dead, and the dead from the living.
6I am a mighty hand of vengeance for ghosts of the unjustly slain.


Flaws

d6Flaws
1I nurse a deep resentment against the Gods for the suffering my people have endured.
2I can't resist needling people in positions of power. It's going to get me in real trouble one day.
3I took forty lashes for a crime I didn't commit, and now I'm marked as a criminal.
4Lying, cheating, and stealing: they worked so well for the people in power, why shouldn't I try them out?
5I have a fine collection of vices… just to take the edge off.
6If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.

Design Notes

These personality features strongly emphasize the veytikka struggles in society, which has been a central theme of their experience in the course of my campaign. If you use veytikka in your own campaign but de-emphasize social friction and the oppression of the veytikka, the majority of these features won't fit all that well. I can at least say that veytikka have been one of the most popular races in the campaign, probably second only to humans among the large pool of players and their characters. I think that many players see the appeal in playing someone under the thumb of the system and heroically resisting it, and in getting to make other characters (gently) uncomfortable with cannibalism jokes.

The features given to veytikka subraces, and the shift of all ability score bonuses out of subrace to a more fungible approach in the main race stat block, are contrary to the standard 5e approach, but this is how the race works in my campaign and it certainly doesn't break anything (other than the playtest revenant race, which is a mess anyway). But then all of Aurikesh's races are homebrewed, even humans, so I don't have firsthand experience of them alongside core PH races. They should be fine.

Veytikka claws are Just Better than the weapons of other PC races with claws, in part because of theme and in part because I created veytikka in the wild and woolly days of D&D Next. They're still not as crazypants good as minotaur horns, though! What with still "occupying" a hand.

I expect to work my way through personality features for the other PC races of Aurikesh - beruch and kagandi, because even for Aurikesh I'm not doing humans - before too long. Though kagandi are pretty debatable - in-setting, they split the population and power majority with humans right down the middle, so they "should" be presented as having the same no-stereotype-possible breadth as humans. I dunno.
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