Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Yak Folk

I never was a big fan of D&D 3.x. But there were some gems (well hidden) in and amongst its sourcebooks. Here's one, kitted out for use with BECMI:

Yak Folk

In the high plateaus of Bhauta live the Yak Folk, a race of nomadic slave-owners whose utter indifference to other forms of life is easily mistaken for malice. They move around their mountain realm in clan groups numbering in the several dozen, herding both their yaks (who they view as their children) and their humans (who are seen as equal in status to all non-yak animals). Twice a year - once in spring when the snows begin to thaw, and again in autumn before the heavy snowfalls - they perform elaborate rituals before setting off to raid the valleys and foothills for more slaves. Life as one of their chattels is brutally tough, but the Yak Folk are generally sensible enough not to allow their slaves to die unnecessarily.

Yak Folk adults stand considerably larger than a man (6-7' for a female, up to 8' for a male), and they are covered in shaggy black fur. They are extremely vain, and enjoy elaborate, decorous clothing, especially dyed in yellows, reds and purples, and they usually adorn their horns with expensive silk tassels and scarves. The materials for clothing are often stolen on slave raids, where the Yak Folk take great care to select only the very best and most expensive looking goods.

Yak Folk are equally powerful in magic and combat. In a fight they wield short, heavy scimitars and kukri knives, and can also gore with their horns (although they view this vulgarity as a last resort). They prefer illusory spells which confuse and befuddle their opposition, and often employ such tactics to subdue an enemy; opponents are usually worth more alive as slaves than they are dead.

Armour Class: 3
Hit Dice: 5
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2 scimitar/1 horns or 2 kukri/1 horns
Damage: d8+4/d8+4/2d6 or d4+4/d4+4/2d6
No. App: 3d4 (raid), 6d6 (clan group)
Save As: Cleric 8
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: E
Intelligence: 14
Alignment: Chaotic

Special Abilities:

Each Yak Folk encountered also functions as a magic user (Wokan) of level 4, except for one of their number, who will be a level 6 Wokan.

Once per day, three Yak Folk can perform a ritual to call 2d4 Lesser Djinni to their aid. The ritual takes two rounds, during which the Yak Folk cannot be disturbed. Any summoned Djinni serve for the length of the combat before returning to the elemental plane of air.


  1. Alas, I must report that the Yak Folk first appeared (as the Yak-Men, with their dao henchmen) in Al-Qadim, a 2nd edition product. Wolf Baur did a nice article for them in DRAGON magazine #241.

  2. Oooh, very nice! I always loved that Yak Folk illo, and they were set to feature prominently if peripherally in a 3e homebrew world that never got past the planning stages (thanks to the fact that I never ran 3e...heh).

    I will be sure to gank this for my RC Uresia setting, though! Gracias!

  3. That's a fantastic illo. I've actually got an empty spot of highlands plateau in my homebrew which might benefit from a small Yak Folk populace.

    Nice work!

  4. Jeff: Tch. I did actually play a bit of Al-Qadim back in the day, but never owned the setting materials.

    Sirlarkins: They're featuring in a new homebrew world I'm drawing up at the moment. I love that quasi-Tibetan feel they have.

    Zach: Thanks!

  5. Yak folk! I always wanted to use them in a game, but never got a chance. They always struck me as an ideal bad guy race -- a good combination of motive and style. I guess I'm going to have to throw in a few mysterious mountain ranges in my next game.

  6. Can we get any sillier? Yaks are a smelly and hairy breed of cow. So how exactly do these upright Yak ladies deal with their dangling udders? Give me a break.

  7. I dunno, is it any sillier than wasting ten seconds of your life to leave idiotic anonymous comments in somebody's blog?

  8. Face it, noisms--you got zinged. Hard.

    Reminds me of this letter from an April issue of Dragon magazine:

    I am writing in the hopes that other players of the TOP SECRET/S.I.™ system will agree with me in my dispute with the Administrator of my group. My character is a Ninja.... My Administrator thought that he had killed my character while he was making an assassination attempt on two other player characters. [The Administrator] refuses to accept the truth that Ninjas can only be killed by other Ninjas. This was proved to be true in the movie, Ninja III: The Domination, when the Ninja continued to live when his head was cut off. This was also proved in the G.I. Joe comic book in which the Ninja StormShadow went into a Phenix trance, which only made him look dead, when he was shot.... Why don’t we make these games realistic?

  9. sirlarkins: Damn you, April 1st!