A few years ago I was part of this cool collaborative game design project called BySwarm. Basically, it was crowd-sourced RPG design and worldbuilding, open to anyone who came to the website and wanted to be part of it. It went amazingly well and was a great experience. Unfortunately, the ultimate goal was to publish a Pathfinder module in our new setting and go from there, but the project didn’t come to full fruition.
One thing we did was design a lot of cool beastfolk-style races for our setting using the initial version of the race design system that is in the Race Guide. They’re all work I’m proud of, and not just because I contributed a lot of that work. They’re also the kind of thing that might be helpful to other DMs and GMs putting together their own settings, so I’m sharing them here. The project has been defunct for a few years now, but if it comes to it, all rights reserved, BySwarm LLC. There are a lot of races, so this will be a three-part series.
Galidines are high-strung and honest to a fault, often trusting strangers a bit more than they should – until that stranger gives them reason to mistrust them, at which point they will be subjected to eternal vigilance and skepticism. Galidines take a critical and even scientific viewpoint in most situations, and want to be offered proof and evidence in all situations. This can be a virtue when Galidines are involved in tracking or investigation and a hindrance when they are called upon to make small-talk.
Galidines have light-colored fur and tend to have a lanky, thin build. They almost never appear to be at ease – their stance and expression bespeaks readiness and watchful intensity, and relaxing comes to them only with difficulty.
Galidines and Ophidians have an intense mutual hatred, which one would expect given their respective backgrounds. Aside from Ophidians, Galidines tend to judge each new person they meet on their own merits. They value honesty very highly, and readily give their trust as long as they have no reason not to. When betrayed or lied to, however, it is almost impossible to win the trust of a Galidine back.
Alignment and Religion
Many Galidines are Lawful in alignment and few are Evil. Because most Galidines are skeptical, critical sorts, they do not naturally gravitate to religious belief. The intervention of the gods and various spirits does not seem to be dependable enough to a Galidine, who values regularity and dependability.
Though they normally shy away from outright crime, Galidines make excellent Rogues. Galidine adventurers are also often Rangers and Fighters, focusing on fighting in light or medium armor and using their agility and intelligence to outwit opponents. A few Galidines have discovered arcane magic and have begun training as Wizards – this was not a legal option for them in old Sascria, but since the Collapse and the spread of beastfolk across Gondal, many new options have opened up to them.
Galidine names tend to be compound names composed of four or more syllables
Galidine Racial Traits
+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom. Galidines are nimble and clever but often lack insight and tend not to trust their own intuition.
Bestial Nature: Galidines are able to communicate with mongooses, though mongooses are rare. Galidines also receive a +1 to all attack rolls made against Ophidians.
Flexible: Galidines receive a racial +2 bonus to Escape Artist due to their incredible flexibility
High Strung: Galidines get one extra attack of opportunity per round – 2 without the Combat Reflexes Feat or their Dexterity bonus +1 with the Feat. They also receive a +2 racial bonus to Initiative.
Honest to a Fault: Galidines receive a -2 to Bluff and Intimidation and a +2 to Perception and Sense Motive checks. Galidines receive a -2 penalty to saves against [mind-affecting] spells because of their credulity
Low-Light Vision: Galadines can see twice as far as Humans in low-light conditions but still cannot see in complete darkness
Sharp Teeth: Galadines have pointy teeth that do 1d3 base piercing damage. They can make a bite attack in close combat at -5
Galidines begin play speaking Common and one local language from the country or region in which they were raised.
Muroideans, more commonly know as Ratkin, Ratfolk or Ratlings, are, as their common monickers imply, Beastfolk designed by School of Metamorphosis Wizards before the Collapse. It began as a common kind of experiment – scholars observed the tenacity and resourcefulness that rats showed in reaching and devouring food stores. Strategists felt that a rat-based hybrid might be useful as sappers or saboteurs.
One thing they did not take into account was that rats also have a very rapid reproduction rate to go along with their resourcefulness. A few escaped and…propagated. Regardless of the original plans for them, they are now a very common race of Beastfolk, found in any urban area, living as scavengers and improvisers.
In Sascria, Ratlings, as they are called, are hardly seen as sentient by most Humans. They are treated much like the rats they are derived from – though they are certainly a more dangerous version. There are standing bounties on Ratlings – their tails are collected and can then be turned for gold or favors from powerful organizations.
Muroideans are hardy, resourceful and cunning. Generosity is not something that comes naturally to them, and it is only rare that one will demonstrate what might be called “camaraderie”. They are materialistic, and always know what is theirs as well as what they want. Single-minded in seeking a goal, they are also always wary of rivals and other threats.
Muroideans are smaller than Humans, standing on average 3-4 feet tall. They have a hunched posture and long feet with long toes ending in claws and they have claws rather than fingernails on their long-fingered hands. Muroideans’s noses are almost perpetually moist and their eyes tend to be pale in color.
In Sascria, Muroideans are treated little better than large vermin, and are considered a pest species unless they are specifically in the employ of the Sascrian government or one of the Arcane Schools (in which case, they carry papers and are forced to proffer them at every turn). Outside Sascria, some of this stigma persists, but they are not hunted anywhere else like they are hunted at home.
Alignment and Religion
Some might think of Muroideans as tending toward Evil because they have learned that being selfish will sometimes be all that keeps them alive in a hostile environment. They are also always the ‘underdogs’, and because of this they have learned to fight suddenly and viciously and to flee when possible. In a situation where they do not feel their lives are always in danger, some Muroideans might even learn some altruism, or at the very least, to live-and-let-live. Constantly under threat in Sascria, however, they are vicious and mistrustful.
For the Muroidean, the life of the Rogue is almost an assumption. Many Ratlings who get the better of their hunters, however, have turned to the study of the arcane arts as either Wizards or even Alchemists, stealing and hoarding Sascrian texts and putting their secrets to use. Outside Sascria, these arcane Muroideans have the best chance of gainful, lawful employment.
Muroideans tend to choose vulgar forms of Sascrian names.
Muroidean Racial Traits
Small-sized. Muroideans are small in stature but very fast, particular when frightened, and their movement speed remains 30.
-2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence. Though they are small, Muroideans are nimble and far more intelligent than the Sascrians who hunt them assume.
Bestial Nature: Muroideans can communicate with small rodents at will.
Scamper: A Muroidean receives a +2 bonus to Climb and Stealth checks. Muroideans also take a -2 penalty to saves against fear effects – they are naturally prone to flee danger and err on the side of living to fight another day.
Shining Eyes: Muroideans have low-light vision
Vermin: Muroideans receive a +1 to saves against all types of disease, including magical
Versatile: Muroideans are automatically proficient with improvised weapons.
Voracious: A Muroidean can eat anything that is even remotely edible. Because of this, the cost of their meals and standard of living is 50% of normal. Muroideans also receive the Scent ability, and rely on their keen noses in complete darkness.
Muroideans automatically speak Common as well as the Sascrian dialect, even outside their supposed homeland. Bonus languages include Sylvan and Undercommon
Boriwogs tend to be vain types, fastidious and careful with their clothes and hygiene. Amongst themselves, Boriwogs are prone to duel over minor insults. They are often gruff and intolerant of prejudice against boriwogs or other beastfolk.
Boriwogs are broad, stocky, and about as good-looking as one can imagine when dealing with the concept of “porcine.” Instead of hair they have long, semi-flexible bristles which some enjoy manipulating with pomade and various dyes. Others go with a more insane look to increase their intimidation factor.
Of the beastfolk, the Boriwogs are some of the most likely to find a place in larger Human society, often as personal bodyguards. Many would rather go hungry than work as menial laborers, even though they have the physical strength for it. Some Boriwogs also show a capacity for scholarly pursuits.
Alignment and Religion
Boriwogs have an independent streak, and lean toward the Chaotic, valuing personal expression and independence that can turn a simple dispute into a deadly fight.
Naturally, Boriwogs tend to become Barbarians and Fighters, and some also become Cavaliers, riding through battle and enjoying how much attention they can draw to themselves. A few Boriwogs have dabbled in the arcane arts of the Wizard, and those who do are attracted to the school of abjuration.
Rolling Rs and long, round vowel sounds – Rombol, Borion, Kamor, Olgram, Gortrund.
+2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Boriwogs are large and powerfully built and they possess surprising porcine intelligence. Despite their preoccupation with appearance, however, they are still pigs.
Medium – These medium size creatures are typically a little shorter and stouter than the average human.
Bestial Nature: Due to their animalistic connections to their past, Boriworgs can speak with boars and domestic pigs at will as a supernatural ability. Many Boriwogs would never do this in public, however.
Charge!: When a Boriwog charges, she receives a +1 racial bonus on a single melee attack made at the end of the charge. Additionally, she receives a +1 racial bonus on a single CMB roll to bull rush at the end of a charge.
To the Death: The ferocity of Boriworgs enables them to fight until they are dead. They may continue to take a move or a partial action each round when they fall below 0 hit points. They do not bleed when below 0 hit points and are alway
Tusks: Boriworgs grow tusks from their elongated, boar-like faces. These tusks are considered a light slashing weapon that do 1d3 damage and may be used during a full attack action at -5 to the character’s base attack bonus.
Boriwogs begin the game speaking Common and Sylvan.