Norn (5e Race Variant)
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The individualistic norn live for the hunt, so their tracking, stealth and killing skills make them invaluable allies in any combat situation. The norn are a subrace of goliaths.
The norn normally have the appearance of large humans, but they are able to shift into a were-creature of one of the Spirits of the Wild. Norn can also have long lives. A norn might live to 120 and maintain their good health and vitality for a long time, though very few die of old age.
In their transformed shape they take on an upright half-norn half-animal form, taking after one of the animals of the Spirits of the Wild. The were-form is furred, fanged and clawed (or feathered, beaked, and taloned) and grants the norn attributes depending on the animal they transform into.
The transformation between norn and were-form is described as a blurring between the two with the form transformed into gaining a solid appearance over a short period of time. Any clothing or armor worn by the norn is covered by the were-form. While the were-form is generally stronger and more durable, wounds and poison do not appear to be cured by the transformation.
The norn have always been a nomadic people focused on hunting and individual goals and pursuits. For a brief while the norn were united as a race in the years after they assisted with the downfall of a great draconic monster, but it did not take them long to revert to a nomadic, individualistic lifestyle. This did not stop them from convincingly holding their lands in the far north Shiverpeaks against invading charr warbands. Their defense earned the respect of the charr and something of a cooperative peace emerged from their mutual respect for each other which has lasted for 200 years.
Norn culture is highly individualistic with a focus on personal success and glory—particularly when gained from the hunt or in a battle. The norn do not fear death as they believe the bold and strong can achieve immortality, but they do fear they will be weak and end up forgotten. As a result each norn seeks to prove themselves, to build their legend through feats of individual valor and great victories. Every norn hopes their legend will be told by the skaald and celebrated at a moot with story and song. Norn usually have a great sense of personal honor, for a norn without respect from others is already forgotten. For many norn, the focus on prestige means they're willing to accept any challenge which will prove their worth. They will never give up on their battle, quarry or friends, even if it means years spent tackling a strong enemy or difficult task. Yet for other norn the pursuit of prestige translates to bragging, bullying, unwise snap decisions and an unwillingness to listen to reason.
The norn have a shamanistic religion where they revere totem animals of the Spirits of the Wild, the spirits of the strongest, bravest, wisest, or most cunning animals of the Shiverpeaks. The Great Spirit is Bear, who is seen as the strongest of all the spirits and is said to have granted the norn with the ability to 'become the bear'. The worship of the spirits Snow Leopard, Raven and Wolf is also prevalent because of the assistance they gave the norn in the past on their exodus south. There are many other totem spirits among the norn, such as Ox, Eagle, and Wurm, but they are not as widely revered.
The norn draw strength from their totem beasts, calling on them in battle and enabling the transformation of the norn to their were-form. They do not worship the spirits as greater beings but venerate them for the strength that they bring to the norn that calls them.
The norn do not have a central government or nation. Most norn resist being followers and will not kneel before anyone. The closest thing to leadership comes from the respect gained from other norn by those who have performed significant, widely recognized heroic deeds. Those norn with exceptional strength and prowess in battle might establish a homestead, but they are not considered rulers of those living within it.
Most norn follow a Northern European or Viking-style first name system, though some have Dutch and Frisian names.
Their surnames can vary in a multitude of styles. Norn without any achievements or legends have surnames after one of their parents (father/mother's first name followed by -sson or -sdottir or a variant thereof); this is most commonly seen in children, and they're named after the more famous of their parents even if they do not like said parent. Surnames do not get adopted from generation to generation and they can be changed by the individual to fit their own personal legend (e.g., a famous Wolfborn member took the surname Wolfsdottir); married couples may not always share surnames either. Some norn may also take titles instead of a surname if it fits them and their legend more.
Male: Braham, Knut, Romke, Borje, Olaf, Ido, Forgal
Female: Eir, Gaerta, Thora, Wynnet, Ayla, Famke, Esmet
As the goliath doesn't have subraces, these traits replace their ability score improvement and the Stones Endurance trait respectively.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength, Dexterity and Constitution scores each increase by 1.
Were-form. Choose a totem spirit: Bear, Raven, Wolf, or Snow Leopard. Starting at 3rd level, as an action, you may take on a were-form that resembles your totem spirit for one minute. While in were-form, your unarmed strikes deal slashing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, and you gain a benefit corresponding to your totem spirit:
- Bear. Your AC can't be less than 17, regardless of what kind of armor you're wearing. When you enter were-form, you gain temporary hit points equal to twice your Constitution modifier (minimum 2).
- Raven. You gain a flight speed equal to your walking speed.
- Snow Leopard. When you hit a creature with a melee attack, you may, as a bonus action make a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you win the contest, you knock the target prone.
- Wolf. You have advantage on melee attack rolls against a creature at the start of your turn if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
You can't hold weapons, cast or concentrate on spells while in were-form. You regain use of this trait after you finish a long rest.
Hunter's Tread. You gain proficiency in the Stealth skill.
Random Height and Weight
|7′ 8″||+2d6||280 lb.||× (2d6) lb.|
*Height = base height + height modifier