I've long had a personal fetish for roleplaying Dwarves, and this enjoyment comes through in Phoenix.
Before I get to that - let me talk a little bit about my approach to races in Phoenix. For Phoenix, I want a largely classical feel. Yes, that frequently means Tolkien-inspired. I'll also draw from mythology - especially Celtic, Germanic, and Norse - for some aspects.
While I enjoy seeing some creative liberties with classic races like Dwarf and Elf, sometimes it goes too far for my tastes.
|No. Hell no.|
I also want races in Phoenix to be worth something more than a minor ability score alteration. I'd like for them to materially affect play throughout a character's career.
In some games, the difference between a 20th level Dwarf and a 20th level Human is so tiny, it's laughable. Where's the fun in that? I can respect older games that treated Dwarf and Elf as classes. I want to be a 20th level Dwarf. But I recognize that combinations enhance replayability, and a 20th level Dwarf Elementalist sounds cool, too.
As characters progress in tiers, races will keep coming back with more detail. A demigod Dwarf might be able to instantly craft a suit of armor better than the wildest dreams of any human. A heroic Elf might be able to stride across water as if it were solid land.
There are two type of abilities for a Phoenix race: Traits, and Culture. Traits are genetic - a Dwarf is born with more Endurance. It's just the way they are. Culture abilities, on the other hand, are learned by growing up in that culture. By separating these abilities, it's possible to be born a Dwarf and grow up in Elvish culture. Bowmaster Dwarf, anyone?
Let's look at the Dwarf specifically, at least in the current sketch.
Characters gain all Traits of a race, and can pick two Culture abilities.
Dwarves in Phoenix are, generally, classical dwarves. They like to build things out of stone and metal and they don't like to frolic in the woods. They've probably never run a LARP, unlike those crazy elves. In fact, it's probably a crime to run a LARP as a Dwarf. A capital crime.
From the draft headline:
Dwarves are as solid as the earth they live in. Not known for their quickness of movement, dwarves are instead known as dependable, consistent, and unforgiving.
Dwarves in Phoenix do get out of their caves a little more than their average classical kin, and are respected architects around the world.
Mortal Dwarves have a maximum Discipline of 25 and a maximum Dexterity of 15. All other attributes have the standard maximum of 20.
Elements Defense +5. Dwarves are naturally resistant to elemental forces.
-5 for all checks which involve handling, riding, or interacting with beasts.
Combat Speed -1.
By trusting in your hereditary instincts, you can sense what other races can’t when underground.
Direction Sense. FAI/Easy: You may determine cardinal directions when underground.
Depth Sense. FAI/Average: You may determine your approximate depth underground (+/- 10%). A failed check results in an error of up to d% in a random direction. You may only check once per level or underground region, unless additional clues are gained.
Some effects may interfere with Undernative senses, such as a strong magnetic field.
Gain a bonus Crafting specialty of your choice, representing required youth training in a specific guild. At the option of the GM and the player, this guild may also be detailed out as a starting organization for the character to belong to.
Any checks called for as part of this specialty gain a +5 bonus.
Dwarves are renowned for their skill at architecture in stone and earth, and Master Architects are considered elite advisors of Dwarven society. Selecting this ability means that your character is trained and capable in such architecture, and has had an extended apprenticeship to a Master Architect. As such, you may not also select the Apprenticeship cultural ability.
You can detect stonework and earthwork stability and safety by examining it. This may call for a successful INT check, especially in cases where the area’s safety is being deliberately obfuscated (such as with a falling floor trap).
You can also understand weak points in architecture, which is particularly useful when attempting to protect or destroy a building (such as in a siege). Correctly interpreting weaknesses may require INT checks, and failure might indicate false information.
Many Dwarves participate in a coming-of-age ritual that involves them in the creation of their own weapon. Such weapons are always striking – usually an axe or hammer of some kind. This ritual is one of the most sacred of Dwarven customs.
After aiding master craftsmen in the creation of the weapon, you enter a week-long ritual – likely with the help of a clan elder – that involves carving runes and meditating upon the nature of the universe. In doing so, a minor elemental spirit is summoned into your weapon.
If this weapon is ever permanently lost or destroyed, then this process would have to be repeated, which takes at least a month. It is a sign of dishonor to lose such a weapon and Dwarves will frequently quest for years to recover a lost weapon.
Regardless of weapon training, you are always proficient in the use of your bonded weapon.
Weapons of Air can be thrown up to 5m distant, for their regular damage.
As an action, Weapons of Air within 10m can be summoned, flying straight towards your hand. If your weapon is currently held by an opponent, device, or similar, then you can make an opposed check using your FAI against their STR or other appropriate value as chosen by the GM.
Earth/Fire/Water (snipped for this preview)
Heavy Armor Training
Maximum Armor Class (MAC) is effectively 1 higher than otherwise allowed.
“Praise my beard, I’ve never seen such an interesting combination of silver, mithril, and tin before!”
You have trained extensively with a wide variety of metals and alloys, and can recognize most such substances with only a glance. You also know the likely uses and general limitations of identifiable metals or alloys. You also understand what it takes to make such alloys or to smelt rare metals from difficult rocks.
Gain Brewing and Mining as bonus specialties.