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Your campaign might be set in a snow-swept expanse of glaciers, mountains and icy seas. Settlements cluster around sources of heat, including hot springs and volcanic vents. Frozen in the ice are relics of a forgotten, warmer time. Strange creatures descend from the glaciers, wreaking havoc and drawing adventurers like beacons.
Players wanting their characters to be nonhuman arctic dwellers can build characters using these variants or their character could encounter these races while journeying across the ice and snow.
The following cultural attributes are common to most arctic races.
Personality: Nearly all ice dwellers are more grim and humorless than members of their standard races. Efficiency in word and deed is crucial to survival in the harsh arctic realms, so arctic creatures tend to get straight to the point in conversation, and they have little patience for those who speak in riddles or half truths. Because they must struggle for even the most basic existence in the severe climate of the arctic regions, excess of any kind is offensive to them. Thus, they tend to be frugal and to value hard work for the benefit of all over individual accomplishment.
Physical Description: An ice dweller is hardier than a member of his standard race, and he tends to carry extra weight on his frame even when in exceptional physical condition. His skin can be any shade from pale white to light blue, and his hair and eyes can be of any color found among members of his standard race.
Arctic creatures wear many layers of clothing as protection against the intense cold of their homeland. They do not particularly value jewelry or other ornamentation, and they carry only what they need to survive.
Relations: Those who spend their lives in the bleak and comfortless arctic regions treat outsiders with guarded wariness, if not outright distrust. Though members of most arctic tribes are willing to welcome strangers in from the cold, they tend to watch such newcomers very closely and hurry them on their way as soon as possible. Of course, a stranger with a particularly useful skill may be invited to stay—it is difficult to turn away a strong back or a skilled toolmaker in the desolate and frigid lands where the arctic races make their homes.
In addition to their particular distrust of outsiders, members of arctic races tend to harbor many of the same prejudices held by their standard races.
Alignment: Arctic races are generally toward the alignment preferences of their standard races.
Lands: It is difficult for any living thing to survive in the frozen wastelands where arctic races live. Thus, most other races know little or nothing of their arctic cousins, and what they do know is often tainted by legend or hearsay. Most arctic creatures make their homes in ice caves or beneath the ground, although some tribes have adapted to life on the surface by building ice houses and other structures that can survive fierce winter storms.
Religion: Arctic races worship deities of their standard races. Gods of nature are a popular choice of worship, and some give sacrifice to gods of death to ward away the attention of the reaper. Gods of magic are often associated with the uncaring forces of arctic weather.
Adventurers: Ice dwellers must exert themselves merely to survive the bitter climate of their homelands, so they tend to make ideal adventurers. Those who dislike the constant struggle of life in the arctic often travel far from their homes in search of comfort, if not adventure. Occasionally, arctic tribes send emissaries into temperate lands to gather aid against particularly strong enemies or to secure emergency stores during hard times.
General Arctic Racial Trait
All arctic races have the following racial trait.
- Cold Endurance: Members of arctic races have a +4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of cold weather or exposure.