Victorian adventure, horror, and fantasy stories often have a number of non-human or near-human races in the mix. Here are a few classics and a few from more modern horror for Player's to chew the scenery with.
NOTES: A number of these races have attribute modifiers at character creation. I know not everyone likes this method but I happen to like it as helps me better mechanically flesh out the archetypes I'm putting forth here. Not all stat bonuses/penalties are equal. Some have more than others. Same with Abilities and Drawbacks. The balance shouldn't be too far off but, to be honest, I'm more concerned with fun and flavor than perfect character balance.
Attributes are still minimum 3/maximum 18 after all adjustments.
Don't like them? Simply ignore them and use the races otherwise.
I intend to run these with my Victorian rules this coming week, five HD limit and all.
I'm thinking a League of Extraordinary Monsters type game...
Brought back to civilization as adults or raised by scientists, they are remnants of a lost civilization in hidden parts of the world such as the lost city of Opar. Savage or civilized, they are fearsome in appearance and a curiosity in the modern Victorian age. Apemen are primitive, with apish features, long arms, and twisted muscular bodies covered in hair ranging from rusty red to brown and black.
- Berserk: If angered or attacked the Apeman must make a saving throw or go into a violent rage attacking the source of his distress with a +2 bonus to hit/damage with melee weapons, a -2 penalty with ranged weapons, and a -2 penalty to AC. Once combat is over (the irritation is dead or has successfully fled) the Apeman must make another saving throw to calm down and not attack his allies in his frenzy. He makes this saving throw check each round til he comes out of the rage.
- Climber: The Apeman's body is adapted to climbing as a Thief of the same level.
- Gristle: +1 to AC from fur and muscle.
- Inhuman Strength: The Apeman is far stronger than a human. To reflect this he gains a +2 (in addition to their normal Strength bonus) to all melee and unarmed damage rolls, as well as to attempts to open doors. The +2 is also used as a bonus to any Strength attribute checks.
- Fear of the Unknown: Apemen have a natural fear of the unnatural and strange. They receive a -2 penalty to saving throw checks vs magic.
- Freak: Because of his bestial appearance and mannerisms the Apeman is a freak in normal society, looked upon as a subhuman or an animal. He effectively has a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people. Some may overlook these traits however and become tolerant or even affectionate if the Apeman has earned this.
- Primitive: Coming from a primitive society the Apeman often finds unfamiliar technology frightening and confusing. They receive a -2 penalty to rolls while using modern inventions such as firearms, vehicles, etc. Some devices such as a telephone, typewriter, etc will require an intelligence check to use properly without assistance.
+1 Con, +1 Int
Mutated amphibious descendants from the sunken city of Atlantis. The Atlanteans sometimes venture from their sea kingdom to explore the rest of the world. Others are exiled for crimes against their kin. The Atlantean can blend in well with normal Victorian society. The only traces of his ancestry are slight webbing between fingers and toes and a set of gills on the neck, easily covered by a high collar or scarf.
- Amphibious: The Atlantean can breath both water and air.
- Dark Vision: Attuned to the murky depths the Atlanean can see in the dark up to 60'.
- Icy Depths: +2 bonus to saving throws versus cold due to their life in the frigid waters of the deep sea.
- Swimmer: In water the Atlantean is incredibly fast and can swim with a speed of 18.
- Dehydrate: The Atlanteans have two problems with this drawback. First: they require twice as much water as the average human to keep thenselves hydrated. If they does not get enough water they begin to dry out and will lose one hit point per hour until death. Secondly: they recieve a -4 penalty to saving throws vs fire or heat.
+1 Dex. +1 Con
Victor Frankenstein’s experiments inspired others to experiment on the dead. Over the decades partial and flawed copies of his notes have made their way into forbidden circles of colleges and mad doctors dreaming of creating life. From these clues a rare few discover the secrets of resurrection and the Created is the result of these experiments. Most do not survive more than a few minutes after their awakening. Those that do often go mad and turn on their creator, destroying the creator, themselves, or sometimes both. Those that do survive and escape find they are outcasts in the world. The Created are a horrific sight of a gigantic body of stitched together body parts.
- Ageless: The Created do not age.
- Inhuman Strength: The massive bodies of the Created are frighteningly strong. To reflect this it gains a +3 (in addition to their normal Strength bonus) to all melee and unarmed damage rolls, as well as to attempts to open doors. The +3 is also used as a bonus to any Strength attribute checks.
- Iron Constitution: Due to their inherit toughness the Created only take 1/2 damage from cold (1/4 with a successful saving throw.)
- Massive Stride: Due to their long stride and muscle they move faster than an ordinary man. They move at a 15.
- Spark of Life: Part of the resurrection of the Created involves massive jolts of electricity. This life spark has allowed them to regenerate damage when struck with electricity.They receive one hp up to their maximum total hp's for every dice of electrical damage done to them.
- Fear of Fire: A deep primal fear of fire still lurks in the resurrected dead brains of the Created. When confronted with fire as a weapon or a massive wall of flame the creature must make a saving throw. Success allows it to act normally but with a -2 penalty to all actions. Failure causes it to go Berserk sending it into a mindless rage attacking those who wish to hurt it or get in its way. While berserk the creature recieves a +2 bonus to hit/damage with melee weapons, a -2 penalty with ranged weapons, and a -2 penalty to AC. Once the attacker is dead or the creature has managed to flee the wall of fire it can make another saving throw to calm down and not attack anyone in its way. The creature makes this saving throw check each round til it comes out of the rage.
- Freak: Because of its grotesque and unnatural appearance the Created is shunned by normal men and women who are horrified by it. It effectively has a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people, even allies. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Created's actions.
+1 Con, +1 Int
Summoned to by witches covens, banished to Earth by their masters, or accidentally dropped through an inter-dimensional portal Demons sometimes end up trapped in the Victorian world. All are physically twisted in some way. Many have a bestial appearance (horns, hooves, claws, toad's features; the list is endless) while others look like beautiful men or women with red skin and only a few animalistic features. All tend to scheme and crave power and dominion over those around them.
- Darkvision: A Demon can see in the dark up to 60'.
- Fire Breath: 3x per day a Demon can spit fire up to 20' for 3d6 damage.
- Horn and Claws: The Demon can make one attack with its horns or claws for 1d4+Str bonus damage.
- Fire Tolerance: The Demon receives a +4 bonus to saves versus fire and only takes 1/2 damage (1/4 on a successful saving throw.)
- Flight: A Demon possesses wings allowing it to fly at a speed of 18. It can fly for a number of rounds equal to it's Con score before having to land and rest for 1d6 rounds.
- Cold: Demons are vulnerable to cold attacks and take a -4 penalty on saves vs cold.
- Freak: Demons look horrific and even the beautiful ones are bizarre and frightening to the minds of the Victorian populace. Religion and mythology have firmly ingrained the idea of the Demon as an infernal enemy and living breathing symbol of evil. They effectively have a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people, even allies. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Demon, but even this is uncertain due to the religious beliefs of many.
- Unholy: A Demon cannot approach within 10' of a holy object, bible, holy water, or sacred ground without making a saving throw. Even then they take 1d6 damage if they come into physical contact.
- Vow: Demons live by their word. They cannot break any vow, oath, or bargain they make unless a successful saving throw with a -4 penalty is made.
+1 Dex, +1 Con
Children born of a human mother and a vampire father they exist in the world of both the living and the undead. As a number of vampires have spread out across the western nations, the number of Dhampir has risen as well. They are often successful vampire hunters, able to detect undead. They are also cursed with their father's lust for blood. Many are nomads, rejected and feared if their true nature is discovered. Dhampir's appear as normal men or women with small fangs and pale skin.
- Bite: The Dharmpir's razor sharp fangs inflict 1d4+Str bonus damage.
- Blood Healing: For every 2 hp damage the Dhampir causes with his teeth he can drink and regain 1 hp. He can only do this with living human or animal blood.
- Darkvision: A Dhampir can see in the dark up to 60'.
- Sense Undead: When within 30' of an undead creature the Dhampir gets to automatically roll a saving throw to sense the creature.
- Curse of Blood: When explosed to fresh blood the Dhampir must make a saving throw or attempt to feed on the source.
- Sunlight: In the sunlight all of the Dhampir's actions are at a -2 penalty.
+1 Con, -2 Cha
Ghouls are men and women who have transformed into a monstrous parody of themselves either by a curse or degeneration and are compelled to eat the rotting flesh of corpses. They haunt morgues and graveyards searching for corpses to sate their fiendish desires. They often live in shabby underground tunnels and warrens beneath graveyards, away from normal society, only emerging at night to prowl around. Ghouls look like normal men and women but with unusually sharp, dirty teeth and an unsettling but hard to place oddness about their features and paleness of skin.
- Bite: The Ghoul's jagged teeth inflict 1d4+Str bonus damage.
- Burrowing: The Ghoul is adept at tunneling through earth to get to their meals and to build underground warrens for their kin to hide and breed in. They can burrow through dirt at a rate of 5' per round.
- Darkvision: Years of living underground have given the Ghoul the ability to see in the dark out to 60'.
- Hardy: The unnatural diet and lifestyle has given the Ghoul a +4 bonus to saves vs poison and disease.
- Rubbery: A Ghoul's body undergoes subtle changes as it degenerates from human to monster. Their bodies are pliable and slightly rubbery giving them an easier time of slipping through tunnels and small openings in tombs. It also grants them a +2 to AC.
- Curse of the Grave: Ghouls crave rotting human flesh. They must eat several pounds of it daily or begin to lose one point of Con per day until they expire. Feeding causes this damage to stop and return at the rate of one point per day as long as they keep feeding. In addition to this any Ghoul who comes near dead human flesh must make a saving throw with a -4 penalty or attempt to devour the flesh.
- Sunlight: The nocturnal existence of the Ghoul has given it an aversion to sunlight. All daylight actions are at a -2 penalty.
The Living Dead
+1 Str, +1 Con, -4 Cha
The Living Dead are intelligent reanimated corpses with free will and a craving for living flesh. They can be the result of black magic, alchemical experimentation, radiation, and other bizarre methods. They appear as corpses with varying levels of decay. Once reanimated their rate of decay is halted by the eating of living flesh. The Living Dead, with the proper precautions, can blend into society and try to lead a normal life. At least until their craving overwhelm them and they eat their neighbors. With makeup, cologne, and poor gas lamp lighting even severely decayed ones can pass for a living human.
- Eat the Flesh: The bite of the Living Dead (1d3+Str bonus damage allows them to feed on living flesh. They regain 1hp for every 2hp devoured.
- Immune: The Living Dead are not affected by Sleep and Charm spells.
- No Biologic Functions: They need not eat, drink, sleep, or breathe. They are immune to poison and disease.
- Nonvital Organs: Their nonfunctional organs and dead flesh make them harder to damage. +2 to AC.
- Curse of the Flesh: The Living Dead is cursed to crave the flesh of the living. It must eat at least 4 hp of living flesh by dusk each day or begin to crave to feed. When this happens the Living Dead must make a saving throw when sighting any live creature (humans preferred) or attack the living to devour its flesh.
- Unhealing: The dead body of the Living Dead does not naturally heal. It must repair itself by consuming living flesh.
+1 Dex, +1 Int
Their ancestors ruled the primordial world before men became men. Hiding in tunnels and secret places in the earth the Serpentmen have existed along side mankind, waiting for their chance to reclaim their lost glory and empires. Modern Serpentmen are adept at blending in with mankind either by magical disguise or stealth and trickery, often using minions as their public face. They view humans as inferior 'monkeys' and most desire nothing short of ruling the world by gaining knowledge and power. Theirs is a tradition of powerful magic and sorcery, is not uncommon for Serpentmen to belong to the Wizard class or its variants.
- Climbing: The Serpentman's sinewy body and limbs allow it to climb as a Thief of equal level.
- Darkvision: The Serpentmen can see in the dark up to 60'.
- Poison Resistance: Serpentmen have a natural +4 save bonus vs poisons.
- Poisonous Bite: The Serpentmen have a nasty fanged bite dealing 1d4 damage. In addition, 3x per day, they can inject venom with the bite. Damage is 2d6, save for half damage.
- Magic Resistance: Serpentmen have always dealt in magic and the blood of powerful sorcerers run in all of their veins. +2 bonus to saves vs spells.
- Scaly Hide: The scales of the Serpentmen give them a +1 bonus to AC.
- Cold Blooded: Serpentmen do not tolerate cold very well. They have a -4 penalty to saves vs cold.
- Freak: Serpentmen are walking snake-men. They are a horror to the average man or woman who will most likely run screaming or try to kill it if discovered. They effectively have a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people, even allies. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Serpentman, if he can treat the people in question as more than lab monkeys or food.
These rare creations are the result of advanced, often far ahead of their time, inventors and scientists who have managed to create self-aware machines. Running on steam, clockworks, and sometimes radioactive materials the Victorian Robot is self-aware and a true oddity and marvel of Victorian Science. Although they are viewed with curiosity and often mistrust and fear from society the Victorian Robot often seeks approval and a sense of self-worth. For convenience and to mimic humanity they are often humanoid shaped metal constructs.
- Armor: The Robot is sturdily constructed. +4 bonus to AC.
- Hands of Steel: The Robot does 1d6+Str bonus in unarmed damage.
- Hardened: The Robot receives a +4 bonus to saves vs fire and cold.
- Immunity: The Robot is immune to Sleep and Charm spells.
- No Biologic Functions: They need not eat, drink, sleep, or breathe. They are immune to poison and disease.
- Freak: Because of their odd appearance and origins they are looked upon as property by the majority of society. They effectively have a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Robot, especially if it can convince those people that it is more than a talking garbage can.
- Power Source: Because of their relatively primitive construction (compared to modern machines) the Victorian Robot must replenish its power source once every three days or it will begin to lose one point of Con per hour until it reaches 0 Con and shuts down. After shut down it can be reactivated with proper fuel and regains Con at the rate of two points per hour.
- Repairs: Victorian Robots do not naturally heal but must be repaired. The mechanic must make an Int check each hour to repair 1d6 hp for that hour of work.
+1 Con, -1 Cha
Werewolves are men or women who are afflicted with the curse of transforming into a raging wolfman on the three nights of the full moon. They can control the change on other nights, changing at dusk and back to human at dawn. They appear normal, but a bloodthirsty beast resides in their soul, waiting to burst free and kill anything around it. They are damned and most cannot live with the guilt of their monthly rampages and attempt to confine or imprison the Beast when it manifests. Often they come to a point where they kill themselves. Others embrace the Beast inside and in their madness become evil predators in their human form as well.
In Human Form
- Alertness: The Werewolf is only surprised on a 1 on a 1d6.
- Change at Dusk: On non-full moon nights the Werewolf can choose to change into his Wolfman form at dusk. He is in control during this time, unlike during the full moon. He must stay in this form until dawn.
- Pentagram Mark: The Werewolf has a +2 bonus to saves vs magic.
- Track by Scent: The Werewolf can follow a scent trail on a 1-4 on a 1d6.
- Animal Panic: A Werewolf cannot come within 10' of an animal or that animal must make a saving throw or try to flee in panic from the Werewolf.
- Curse of the Full Moon: Werewolves, on the three nights of the full moon, become agitated as the moon begins to rise. They are irritable and twitchy, often uncomfortable in clothing and around others. Once the moon reaches its zenith the human form undergoes a monstrous change. Over the course of five rounds the human form sprouts hair over the entire body, the joints twist and reform as muscle and bone are increased, the nails and teeth become monstrous claws and cruel fangs, the ears elongate, and the eyes become wolfish as a short muzzle dominates the face.
Using its Berserker ability the Wolfman will viciously attack anyone it sees until its victim is dead or the beast is driven off. It will make no distinction between friend or foe. It will ravage anyone in its way. Those who are bitten by the Beast and survive are cursed to become Werewolves upon the rising of the next month’s full moon.
In Wolfman Form
-2 Int, -2 Wis
- The Wolfman has the same HD that he did in human form. Add +2 hp per HD for the new hp total.
- These hp are subtracted from the human form's total when he changes back at dawn. This may bring him below 0 hp.
- Attacks are at +1 per HD, as any normal monster.
- Saving Throw is the same as human form.
- Cannot use any class abilities in this form.
- Cannot speak in this form.
- Alertness: The Wolfman is only surprised on a 1 on a 1d6.
- Berserker: If angered or attacked the Wolfman must make a saving throw or go into a violent rage attacking the source of his rage with a +2 bonus to hit/damage and a -2 penalty to AC. Once combat is over (the opponent is dead or has successfully fled) the Wolfman can make a saving throw to come out of his rage and not attack his allies in his frenzy. He makes this saving throw check each round til he comes out of the rage. On nights of the full moon, the Wolfman can use this ability at will.
- Bite and Claw: The Wolfman can attack with two claws(1d6+Str bonus each) or one bite (2d4+Str bonus.)
- Inhuman Strength: The Wolfman is far stronger than a human. To reflect this he gains a +2 (in addition to their normal Strength bonus) to all melee and unarmed damage rolls, as well as to attempts to open doors. The +2 is also used as a bonus to any Strength attribute checks.
- Pentagram Mark: The Wolfman has a +2 bonus to saves vs magic.
- Regeneration: The Wolfman regenerates all damage but silver at a rate of 1 hp per round.
- Runner: The Wolfman has a movement of 15.
- Supernaturally Tough: The extra bone and muscle gives the Wolfman a +2 bonus to AC.
- Track by Scent: The Wolfman can follow a scent trail on a 1-4 on a 1d6.
- Weapon Immunity: The Wolfman takes 1/2 damage from all sources except silver or magical weapons. These do full damage.
- Animal Panic: A Wolfman cannot come within 10' of an animal or that animal must make a saving throw or try to flee in panic from the Werewolf.
- Freak: He's a huge werewolf. He'll send the average man or woman into a screaming panic or a catatonic coma. Wolfmen effectively have a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Wolfman.