Thursday, February 2, 2017

Celtic Races for 5E

I haven't been able to get a Shadow of the Demon Lord game going yet, but I have been running 5E D&D at Card Kingdom in Seattle. I hadn't played 5E yet but I'm liking it a lot so far.

As I'm wrapping my head around the new edition, figuring out the similarities and differences from older editions, I'm still struck by how well "vanilla D&D" works for a Celtic fantasy setting with Arthurian overtones. So here's some ideas for putting a Celtic theme on character options.


Gaels--The Gaels were the first humans to come to Albion, displacing the Tuatha de Danaan. They are still a wild, tribal people, impossible to conquer and impossible to unite. Gaels are known to paint their bodies, spike their hair, and charge into battle shirtless and screaming. They are close to the fey and their primal gods. (Use Human stats)

Britons--The largest group of humans in Albion, the Britons are divided culturally between the rural clans who follow the old ways, and the civilized city dwellers who adapted Imperial customs. Rural folk live simply, close to the land and the fey nearby, and will fight stubbornly to defend that land. The city folk have rallied around the Good King to build a strong future for Albion, but have had trouble recruiting allies. (Use Human stats)

Saxons--From across the sea, droves of invaders from Midgard have tried to claim Albion after the Empire fell. The Saxons are slowly gaining ground and driving out the Gaels and Britons. They follow proud war gods and are skilled sailors. (Use Human stats)

Picts--The Emperor's Wall cuts off Caledonia from the rest of Albion, for in the rocky north dwell the mysterious Picts who are hated by all and hate everyone in return. They were strong in the time of Atlantis, and the bloodlines of their chiefs keeps the determination and savage nobility of their people intact. Many though have been corrupted by dark forces in the dark corners of Albion and become horrible brutes. Picts worship beasts and monsters of the wild, tattoo themselves, and have subtle characteristics that mark them as different from other humans. (Use Half-Orc stats for noble bloodlines, Orc stats for degenerates)

Tuatha de Danaan--The Children of the Earth Goddess are wild fey, exemplifying the primal power of Albion. They defeated the Firbolgs and drove the Fomorians into the sea, but the Gaels ushered in the time of humans to rule Albion. The Tuatha, or Pren elves, live in the remote wilds now but are always eager to battle threats to the land. Bushy beards, hair the hue of sky or flowers, or even antlers are some of the strange appearances they can manifest. (Use Wood Elf stats)

Sidhee--The noble fey of Albion have always been more comfortable in their faerie hills than the mortal realm. Beings of otherworldly desires and interests, the Morwen elves view humans as playthings and pawns in their games or wars, even kidnapping children to raise amongst them when they wish. Their features are beautiful but sometimes in an unsettling way, and their eyes are fields of stars. (Use High Elf stats)

Changelings--When the Sidhee take the fancy of a human child, they leave behind something to fool the parents. Crafted from elven wood and troll blood, a Changeling takes the form of a baby and eventually learns to mimic anyone they want to. Never feeling at home among mortals or fey, Changelings can become morose and malicious. The children raised in the Otherworld however, grow to see the beauty in both worlds, and become great heroes and adventurers when they come of age. (Use Changelings from Eberron, and use Half-Elf stats for stolen children)

Knockers--Named because their mining can be heard in mountains and caves. Knockers are wonderful smiths but universally grumpy and antisocial. Its almost impossible for them to do a task without complaining about it, and they always find a flaw in even the finest craftsmanship (especially their own). Pale or ruddy skin and bushy grey hair, brows, and beards are common. (Use Mountain Dwarf stats)

Coblynau--Many tell the tale of a Saint who found the hard-working Coblynau in the hills and converted them to his god, though they still build cairns to their ancestors. This race of dwarves seems small but are just as strong as a human, and seem wizened and old but are tireless. They are mysterious even to other fey. (Use Hill Dwarf stats)

Boggans--Rural folk sometimes are lucky enough to have a Boggan nearby, and if they keep it happy with gifts and praise it will help them with chores and defense of their home. Rarely seen, if they are unappreciated they will disappear entirely, if insulted they will wreak havoc. (Use Lightfoot Halfling stats)

Tylwyth Teg--The opposite of their quiet cousins, the Good Folk are loud, dirty, and often have subtle bestial features. They love pranks and can be obnoxious, but are also loyal to those they have befriended. (Use Stout Halfling stats)

Brownies--Small even for fey, these hairy beings live in forests among small beasts that they count as equals. Bursting with energy, they can become single-minded when set to a task. (Use Forest Gnome stats)

Gruagach--While most fey love nature, Gruagach love things. They are skilled crafters and can create out of any materials, even trash and scraps. Their creativity has a nasty competitive side that can turn into bitter jealousy. (Use Rock Gnome stats)

Blood of The Dragon--Sometimes the wild magic of Albion, called The Dragon by Druids and Wizards, leaves its mark on a newborn. The elemental magic inside them can be unleashed with great destructive power. They may have a large twisting scar or even have draconic eyes, but seem mostly human. (Use Dragonborn stats)

Demon Blooded--Albion faces corruption from various dark forces, whether the Fomorian sea devils, the fey of the Unseelie Court, or the horrible demons from the void before time. Any of these can try to spread evil by siring a half-breed mortal, but the human lineage still allows for free will. Even Myrddin fought his devilish heritage to help the Good King to the throne, although with many questionable acts along the way. Deformities mar most Demon Blooded. (Use Tiefling stats)

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate the ability to appropriately reflavor existing mechanics to fit your needs. Top job. I'm currently running a 5e game with a few of my tour mates. Non-existent traditional group composition. 2 rogues, a monk and a druid. More intrigue than I expected.