Human, Subraces

I am considering removing elves, dwarves and halflings as player character races for my future Primeval Thule games. This would leave the players to choose from Humans and Half-Elves. I needed to figure out alternatives to replace the variety in player races. Primeval Thule already introduced a human subrace with the Atlanteans, so why not take it a step further and create all the human cultures of Thule as subraces.

Human, Dhari
The Dhari are a spiritual people giving reverence to nature spirits. They speak their minds and prize self-control.
Ability Score Increase. +2 Wis, +1 in ability of your choice
Feat. Gain one feat of your choice.
Skills. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
Control Emotions. Advantage on all saving throws to resist the Frightened condition.

Human, Kalay
The Kalay show concern for manners and appearance. They have a gift for the gab and are known for their skill in conversation.
Ability Score Increase. +2 Cha, +1 in ability of your choice
Feat. Gain one feat of your choice.
Skills. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
Chatty. Gain +2 on all persuasion and deception checks, so long as the target understands your language and is not a Kalayan themselves.

Human, Lomari
Most Lomari consider themselves warriors and martial training is a standard part of their childhood. They are honourable and settle disputes with challenges and duels.
Ability Score Increase. +2 Con, +1 in ability of your choice
Feat. Gain one feat of your choice.
Skills. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
Early Training. Gain +2 on all athletics checks.

Human, Nimothan
A Nimothan is tall and strongly built. Bold and boastful they are easily angered, but rarely hold a grudge. They live in the most northern parts of Thule, in some of the coldest regions.
Ability Score Increase. +2 Str, +1 in ability of your choice
Feat. Gain one feat of your choice.
Skills. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
Strong and Resilient. Gain advantage on all exhaustion checks.

Primeval Thule – Races

Having Dungeon Mastered a few Thule one shots and a short campaign in Primeval Thule, there are some revisions that I would suggest to make it more low fantasy. It’s my hope that this will make it less likely that my future Thule games will slip into the high fantasy genre.

Elves, dwarves and halflings are one of the staples of high fantasy and while I feel there is a place for them in Thule, I don’t think they need to be a player race. Many of the fantasy D&D races were already removed from the Primeval Thule setting: half-orc, gnome, tiefling and dragonborn. So why stop there?

Elves are from another world and migrated to Thule in ages past. They’re civilization is in decline and many of them have grown addicted to the black lotus milk. I think they make a better mysterious “alien” race and the less the players know about these strange elves the better.

Dwarves migrated to Thule from parts unknown and with the exception a few clans all live in the eastern volcanoes. The best part about Thulean dwarves is that they know the secret of steel. So many great stories come to mind of heroes seeking a dwarf smith to forge them a weapon. They fill a niche as the NPCs who know how to forge steel.

Thulean halflings, to me seem to be an after thought of the design team. Tribal halflings who live in the jungle reminds me of the cannibal halflings in Dark Sun. Besides there are far better pint sized cannibals in Thule like the tcho-tcho. So why keep halflings?

That leaves us with atlanteans, half-elves and humans as player races. It’s a short list, but lets not forget that Thule expands its humans into sub-races. We can further define these sub-races by assigning them unique racial traits specific to their culture/heritage. In the coming weeks I’ll post some examples of the human sub-races for Thule.

Thoughts on Primeval Thule

There are no shortage of setting books for fantasy role playing games. There was a time when they were scarce, but the internet changed all that. I am fond of setting books because I find them to be a source of inspiration. That being said, I don’t commonly run adventures or campaigns set in them. I think the reason for this aversion, is that I fear I’ll get it wrong. I’d love to run a Dragonlance game, but what if my player’s know the world’s lore better than I do?

Primeval Thule by Sasquatch Game Studio is a campaign setting that I decided I could run, without the fear of getting it wrong,  or so I thought. The setting draws on the origins of pulp, sword and sorcery literature. Authors like Robert E. Howard (Conan) and Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) are strong influences on the setting. It also draws on H.P. Lovecraft (Cthulhu), utilizing his Great Old Ones and their cults as villains. Primeval Thule is a low magic setting, where magic is not something the common mortal was meant to wield. However, its an original setting and I didn’t have to worry about a player knowing more lore than me.

My current Primeval Thule campaign offered perks to players who chose classes that do not wield magic. Spell casters were not restricted, but they were not encouraged. In the end our group of six, had three spell caster. The characters are 7-8 level now and I feel the campaign has lost its low magic feel. If I were to run another campaign in Thule, I would make spell casting more of a chore. Maybe ask casters to track their spell components and have them constantly searching for more components. Another option would be to find new classes and sub-classes that don’t rely on spell casting. This would give players more options during character creation to stay away from magic users.

This idea of different classes and sub-classes makes me wonder if Dungeons & Dragons is the right system for Thule. D&D is based on a high magic, fantasy world and therefore its classes lend themselves easily to wielding magic. There was a third edition D&D setting called Iron Heroes, by Mike Mearls. Iron Heroes introduced a wide range of martial character classes. As it assumed a low magic setting. In my opinion a system like that would be better for the Primeval Thule setting. However, third edition D&D is very rule heavy and my preference is for light rule systems. I’m not sure what the fix is.

I enjoy Primeval Thule as a setting and I enjoy its source material. Its intention is to be a low magic setting with high adventure. If everyone in your party is a spell caster I feel as though you’ve missed the point. You have gotten the setting wrong. That’s where I’m at with my current Thule campaign, but fortunately it is nearing its end and I will have time to reflect before revisiting Thule.

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