Sunday, 22 June 2008

Doing Things With Elves (Double Entendre Optional) Part 1

So, here's the first of my Rules Cyclopedia Elf variants. It's based roughly on the Tupi mythological creature, the Curupira. For each variant, I'm not going to mention ordinary elves except in reference to mechanics - the implication being that the variant can completely replace elves in a given setting or game.

Elf (Curupira)

The Curupira are a race of humanoids who inhabit the thickest equatorial, tropical and semi-tropical forests. They are looked upon as a primitive ancestral remnant by those who are aware of them, but the majority of 'civilized' races know little, if anything, about them.

Their appearance is humanoid, with delicate features and pointed ears, although they are smaller and weaker than most humans. Their hair is almost always a bright flaming red, and their teeth and nails are green. Their most unusual feature is their feet, which face backwards. This makes them extremely difficult to track when they are in their forest home, and it gives them a loping gait which other humanoid races find disturbing and unnatural.

To other peoples, the Curupira are inscrutable. Their motivations are neither treasure nor power. Rather, their pleasure comes from the forest itself - the vibrancy of life around them, the thrill of the hunt, the noises and colours and smells. Like the forest, their character is mercurial and capricious: at times they can appear as implacable and as phlegmatic as a wall of trees; at others they can be warm and welcoming; and at others they are highly dangerous. These changes in mood do not have reasons or motivations which other humanoids can easily discern.

Curupira are strong with magic and make moderately good fighters, especially with missile weapons. They primarily use magic that allows them to manipulate their natural surroundings, and to beguile and confuse their enemies.

Elf (Curupira)

Prime Requisite: Wisdom and Dexterity.
Other Requirements: Dexterity, Wisdom and Intelligence of 9 or greater.
Experience Bonus: 5% for a Dexterity and Wisdom of greater than 13; 10% for a Dexterity and Wisdom of greater than 15.
Hit Dice: d6 per level up to 10th level.
Maximum Level: 10
Armour: Natural armours and shields.
Weapons: Spear, bow, sling, club, axe, javelin, bola, blowpipe.
Special Abilities: Infravision; Never surprised in wilderness areas; Impossible to track in wilderness areas; Bonus Skill (Stealth: Forest); +1 to hit when using missile weapons.
Experience Levels: As standard Elves. Upon reaching level 10 they gain fighter abilities as per standard Elves; note however that Curupira do not gain fighter abilities at first level.

Elf (Curupira) Spell List

Curupira progress in magical power as do standard Elves.

Level 1
-Detect Danger (D1)
-Faerie Fire (D1)
-Locate (D1)
-Purify Food and Water (C1)

Level 2
-Warp Wood (D2)
-Produce Fire (D2)
-Speak With Animals (C2)
-Snake Charm (C2)
-Entangle (M2)

Level 3
-Water Breathing (M3)
-Call Lightning (D3)
-Hold Animal (D3)
-Protection From Poison (D3)
-Growth of Animal (C3)
-Hold Person (M3)

Level 4
-Growth of Plants (M4)
-Hallucinatory Terrain (M4)
-Dimension Door (M4)
-Summon Animals (D4)
-Plant Door (D4)
-Speak With Plants (C4)
-Sticks to Snakes (C4)
-Neutralize Poison (C4)

Level 5
-Insect Plague (C5)
-Anti-Plant Shell (D5)
-Control Winds (D5)
-Hold Monster (M5)
-Woodform (M5)
-Teleport (M5)
-Wall of Stone (M5)
I'm not sure if, as it stands, the Curupira is overpowered or not, but my main concern is that it might step on the toes of the Druid too much. Any feedback would be appreciated.


  1. I don't know the details of the CR druid, but I think you're fairly safe here. A lot will depend on the advancement table, I'd think.

    How do their saves compare to the druid's?

  2. The advancement table is the same as for Elves. I think I might base their saving throw off the Cleric's.

  3. You might have few takers, since that elven advancement chart is brutal! Still, they look like they'd be fun to play.

    - Brian

  4. Yeah, the Elven advancement chart is tough, but it's balanced out by how powerful Elves are compared to humans at the beginning. I like the trade off in RC D&D between power in the early game, and power in the mid-late.

  5. Do the Curupira study their spells, or gain them through prayer or meditation?
    If the second option is the case, this does give them considerably more flexibility than standard elves.

    I don't see them stepping on the toes of Druids though, I love the Druid Spell list, and it's always a shame to have to wait for a player to meet the requirements before it is opened to them.

    I like spell lists that work into random die rolls. The cleric list in the RC for instance, let's you use a d8 to come up with a random Cleric Spell. Druids are d4. I believe Magic-Users used to be 12 spells per level (providing another use for the often ignored d12) but my copy of the RC now shows them as 13 (not including reversable spells). Boo. I used to love randomly rolling for Magic-User spells.

  6. They gain them through prayer and meditation. In fact I can see I'm going to have to edit the entry tomorrow to include some more such information.

    I like randomly rolling for spells too. It's good to force players to be creative with the spells they get - just like with stats, in fact.

  7. ktrey
    I believe Magic-Users used to be 12 spells per level (providing another use for the often ignored d12) but my copy of the RC now shows them as 13 (not including reversable spells). Boo. I used to love randomly rolling for Magic-User spells.

    I believe one of those spells is read magic, which every magic-user must have. So, at first level at least, you're still golden with your d12.

    - Brian