Races (Shard Ne'Vaal Supplement)
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|“||Everyone is out only for themselves in this dying world. Try and prove me wrong, I dare you.||”|
|—Leylos, elven headhunter|
The races of Shard Ne'Vaal are varied and diverse despite the ruined landscape. Most of the traditional Dungeons and Dragons races you may know roam the landscape still, but they are joined by a host of homebrew creatures, which should be checked over by a DM with caution for balance issues. Many are native to Shard Ne'Vaal, having been here since times of Paradise. There was once porous spatial rifts that allowed for beings to seep through onto the world, and creating their own populations here. Since the Gorge, these spatial rifts have all but collapsed, trapping pretty much everyone on the shards.
Many races were driven to extinction by the battle for survival which ravages the land still. The ones who survived are the ones on this page, though there is a R.I.P. section for the ones you may have been hoping to see. Assume that they were destroyed.
Primary races are the ones who have more political power due to occupation of more territory because they have a larger population. After that are the secondary and tertiary races, with the latter being the most scattered and nearly unknown due to dwindling numbers.
Players Handbook p. 46, Heroes of the Fallen Lands p. 272, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms 264
One of the largest inhabitant races of Shard Ne'Vaal is humankind. They are diverse in culture and country, occupying mainly the canopy and trunk areas. There are secluded groups that live among the root shards on the world tree, and some who have even come to live within the tree as transition towns. Ever since the Gorge catastrophe, their nations were shattered and the refugees have formed hodge-podge communities. Their extensive tapestries of old kingdoms remains a constant reminder of their good old days. Few of these kingdoms remain, and only in fragments.
- Old World
In the Old World, humans were the most numerous of the bunch, with kingdoms rivaling that of elves and dwarves. Their versatility and myriad of talents created vividly colorful nations which were as prosperous as they were strong. But they were not united by any means, and warred with one another frequently over resources and land.
Monster Manual p. 277, Dragon Magazine #367 p. 47
The savage and vicious creatures roam the lands of ruin and easily run the place with their ruthless cunning and hunger-driven demeanor. They are one of the better-equipped races for survival after the Gorge, and they revel in the chaos which has come after the fall of many kingdoms. Like humans, they are widespread throughout Shard Ne'Vaal. While being extremely cutthroat, however, they are not to be considered constantly evil. Rather, they have adapted to the harsh new realities dealt onto them by fate and embraced it better than others. In this setting, gnolls were not made by Yeehongu, but by the goddess Espera to spite Shabast.
- Old World
Gnolls prior to the Gorge were much more subdued in population. They were almost completely limited to the continent of Okut, though some albino rarities were known to have been seen in the frigid reaches of the Himmländs. There were even some peaceful tribes at this time, who could coexist and be tolerated by other races.
Monster Manual p. 278, Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook p.34
Like the gnolls, these small but vicious creatures thrive in the current chaos of Shard Ne'Vaal. They mainly occupy the canopy and root levels, as the trunk is where many of the remaining powerful kingdoms could snuff them out. They are incredibly collective yet selfish at the same time, which has somehow attributed to their ability to survive. Most of their groups make a living hiding away from stronger monsters and stealing from caravans in transit.
- Old World
Goblins were created by Quthok to be loyal but expendable soldiers for his stronger creations like orcs. Goblins are creatures very accustomed to abuse, but this helps obscure their true guile. They occupied the cave systems of Bevel mostly, with a more feral variety present in the wilds of Okut.
Monster Manual p. 278
Orcs are perhaps the race most unchanged by the course of the events since Paradise Lost. Since the old world, they've lived in their warbands and camps throughout the unforgiving areas of the world, honing their skills of plunder and savagery. They are therefore extremely hardy and dangerous. In the Old World, they often clashed with other kingdoms, and even might dragons and giants led lives devoted to physical strength and conquest. Their land was wherever they should desire it, and they brutalized those who stood in their way. This is particularly true for tribes in Himmländ. Elsewhere, like in Okut, orcs were very tribal and isolated, though they sometimes would trade with other races. In Dasoon there were orcs among even scholars. The Gorge has splintered much of the old continents and therefore mixed the bag of orcs, but they have simply just reverted to a more primal instinct of protecting their own by seizing what others have. Most people see very little difference.
These races usually became severely diminished as a result of the world's destruction. Many prospered prior to Paradise Lost. Some, however, rose in number after the Gorge.
Monster Manual p. 276, Forgotten Realms Player Guide p. 8, Heroes of the Fallen Kingdoms p. 246
These dark elves came into larger numbers after the Gorge, making some believe the influence of the void warped some elves and turned them into creatures of darkness. This is largely erroneous however since drow precede the Gorge and have lived mainly just out of view in subterranean networks. However, once the Old World was destroyed, the terra was changed so drastically that it forced most of them to the surface. Due to their dislike of the sun, they usually dwell now among the roots of the World Tree. There they conduct themselves like normal elves, as they are not devoted worshippers of Lolth in this setting. However, there is a great stigma against them still due to the suspicion that they might be cultists of Graghk.
Players Handbook p. 36, Heroes of the Fallen Lands p. 248
Dwarves were supposedly one of the first races in the Old World. They aided humans in the cultivation of their lands and were favored by Vatar the Sky Striker. It is even said they were made in his image. However, when the world was shattered, their original resources were lost en masse. Their stricter codes of life, devoted to forges and their clans, were inefficient at adapting to the harsh new reality that was Shard Ne'Vaal. Thus, their numbers have dwindled a lot since then, and many feel deracinated from their ancestors. What they have left are stories of their greatness from the days of Hocheim and Preius, but there is little hope of return to those days. Most dwarves remain around the trunk section of the World Tree, living among the most robust of human civilizations left.
Neverwinter Campaign Setting p. 52
What used to be one of the most numerous of dwarves has now dwindled to one of their more endangered groups. Shield dwarves were known for their hardy nature, having toughed out lives in the cold mountains of the north. They populated the Arctic as well as monopolized the mines of the Igdrys Scepter back in the Old World. Their original stronghold of Durenheim was one of the shining jewels of civilization, and they waged epic battles against orcs and giants. However, this lifestyle had not prepared them entirely for what the Gorge brings. Most of their original home is lost, along with much of their greatest trophies and weapons, leaving them with scraps and broken memories.
Players Handbook p. 36, Heroes of the Fallen Islands p. 260
The elves were a proud race that supposedly migrated to the Old World eons ago when the world was young. The gates of the fey world were open long enough for a large diaspora of the elven people to populate a good deal of the continent of Bevel. Seldom did they stray from there, but they built a great empire which rivaled Preius for the longest time. They fared better than dwarves after the Gorge, but the effect of the void is believed to shortened their lifespan due to the halt of fey and primal energies circulating the world. Nowadays, they die around 200 years of age. This significantly reduced their numbers, as their culture normally banked on their longevity to tide their population for generations to come.
The legacy they left in the Old World can still be seen in many places, from their old academies to forest fortresses. However, they rarely have the strength to hold these forts down, and have mainly joined human civilizations for safety. Most elves dwell either in the canopy or trunk layer of the World Tree.
Monster Manual p. 277, Player's Handbook 2 p. 10
Dragon Magazine #422 p. 9
Players Handbook p. 42, Heroes of the Fallen Kingdoms p. 252
Players Handbook p. 44, Heroes of the Fallen Lands p. 266
Player's Handbook 2 p. 14, Heroes of the Fallen Kingdoms p. 258
These are races occupying small areas and are very specific to certain regions. Some may be on the verge of extinction.
Monster Manual, p.276
Player's Handboook, p.34
- Note: The Dragonfear variant is not included in this setting.
Monster Manual 2, p.220
Player's Handbook, p.38
Player's Handbook 2, p.12
Dragon Magazine Issue 404, p.51
Eberron Player Guide p.30
Monster Manual 2, p.220 and Dragon Magazine Issue 411, p.7
Monster Manual, p.278 and Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook, p.40
Player's Handbook 3, p.10 and Monster Manual, p.278
Dark Sun Campaign Setting, p.20
Heroes of the Feywild, p.28
Monster Manual, p.279 and Player's Handbook 2, p.16
Dark Sun Campaign Setting, p.22
Player's Handbook, p.48
Eberron Player's Guide, p. 32
Player's Handbook 3, p.14
The following races are playable, but severely lack any real substantial numbers to constitute a society in the setting.
Manual of the Planes, p.117
Monster Manual 2, p.220
Eberron Player Guide, p.28
Player's Handbook 3, p.8
Monster Manual, p.277
Dragon Magazine Issue 376, p.34 and Heroes of Shadow, p.116
Heroes of the Feywild, p.34
Heroes of Shadow, p.121
The following is open-source, unofficial content made by fellow wikians. Be sure to consult your DM about the eligibility of these races as their powers may vary wildly from that of an official race.
The following races were either rendered extinct or cut out by the creator for the following canon reasons:
They follow a very specific ritual and family lineage that didn't fit well with the narrative. Also, shadow power source seems to be their main thing, and while the shade is workable into the concept of shadow instead being the void, this one doesn't go as well. If you wish, you can still include them as an anomaly in the setting.
They are formed of the living gate primarily, which is either not a thing or too far across the Astral Sea for them to have wandered here. In canon, their numbers here were few, as they were hunting the Far Plane influences of the gith and mindflayers who found their way here amid the Astral Period. However, these small numbers were snuffed out in the Gorge.
Thematically their closeness to the divine doesn't sit well with the theme of the world. In the story however, they were once there, having settled in the Old World. But when the Gorge occurred, they were among the first casualties, and eventually they were rendered extinct.
The Plane of Shadow is not very prevalent here, as the power source is virtually replaced by the Void.
As the power of the void grew, the elemental arcane and primal energies dwindled and so the genasi were no longer sustained as a race. If you wish, you may have corrupted versions of genasi in your campaign, using the options from Dragon Magazine, issue 380. Instead of being corrupted by the Abyss, they are called Voidtouched.
Being more tied to the powers of the Feywild than other counterparts like satyrs or elves, the hamadryad fared poorly when the fey energies were cut off and primal energies waned. They used to populate some of the forests, which are now all but silent. Instead, supposedly their vengeful spirits remained mired there, making much of nature a haunted nightmare.
|Shard Ne'Vaal Campaign Settingv|
|Players' Handbook||Races, Languages, Classes, Backgrounds, Themes, Magic, Psionics, Religion, Literature, Legends and Lore|
|Shard Ne'Vaal Crash Course||History, Geography, Climate, and the World, Bestiary, Flora, Factions, Calendar and Holidays, Cosmology and the Planes, Politics and Law|
|Dungeon Master's Guide||About, Items of Legend, Campaign Ideas, Consumables, Sample Places, NPCS, Variant Rules|