Savage Progressions
Level-Adjusted Races
By Sean K Reynolds

In last month's installment, we converted the ghost and the werewolf templates to template classes, thus finishing the templates in the Monster Manual. This month, we take the concept in a new direction by examining how monster classes can aid DMs in fitting level-adjusted races seamlessly into adventuring parties.

Racial Classes

In the same manner that the abilities granted by a template can be broken down into a level advancement form, the abilities of a PC race with level adjustments can be divided into base racial abilities (equivalent to a human, elf, or other standard PC race) and racial levels to fill out the remainder of the race's level adjustment. For example, a drow can be broken into a set of "base" drow abilities (LA +0), plus two extra drow levels, thus bringing the character up to her full +2 level adjustment. Racial classes allow a player to create a 1st-level character of a level-adjusted race at the same power level as a 1st-level character of a standard race. Thereafter, the character can take levels in her racial class in order to gain her full complement of racial abilities. These racial class levels follow the normal rules for gaining levels in a template class.

In this article, we'll create racial classes for aasimar, drow, duergar (gray dwarves), feytouched (from the Fiend Folio), svirfneblin (deep gnomes), and tieflings. We'll also examine the half-fey template class (from the Fiend Folio).

The Aasimar

Aasimar are good choices for players who want a touch of the divine in their mortal characters. This racial class offers a set of base racial abilities plus one racial level.

Aasimar Base Racial Features

All of the following are base racial abilities for the aasimar.

Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Charisma.

Outsider Type: Aasimar are native outsiders. Thus, they are vulnerable to spells and effects that work on creatures of the outsider type but immune to effects that target other types. For example, an aasimar would be subject to the extra damage from an outsider bane sword but immune to hold person, since that spell affects only humanoids.

Size: Aasimar are Medium size.

Speed: Aasimar base land speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision (Ex): An aasimar has darkvision to a 60-foot range.

Light (Sp): The aasimar may use light (caster level equals aasimar's character level) once per day.

Skill Bonuses: An aasimar has a +2 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks.

Resistances (Ex): An aasimar starts play with resistance 2 to acid, cold, and electricity.

Automatic Languages: Celestial, Common. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Halfling, Sylvan.

Favored Class: Paladin. A multiclass aasimar's paladin class does not count when determining whether an experience point penalty applies.

Table SP-19: The Aasimar Racial Class

Level CR Special
1st +0 Wis +2, daylight, resistances (acid 5, cold 5, electricity 5)

Aasimar Racial Class Features

All of the following are class features of the aasimar racial class.

Ability Score Changes: An aasimar's Wisdom increases by +2 at 1st level.

Daylight (Sp): At 1st level, the aasimar may use daylight (caster level equals aasimar's character level) once per day. This ability replaces the base racial feature light.

Resistances (Ex): A 1st-level aasimar's acid, cold, and electricity resistances increase to 5 each.

The Drow

Drow characters are popular choices for players who like to play evil characters, as well as for those who enjoy scimitar-wielding, misunderstood outcasts. This racial class offers a set of base racial abilities plus two racial levels.

Drow Base Racial Features

All of the following are base racial abilities for the drow.

Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence.

Size: Drow are Medium size.

Speed: Drow base land speed is 30 feet.

Proficiencies: A drow is proficient with the hand crossbow, rapier, and short sword.

Dancing Lights (Sp): A drow may use dancing lights (caster level equals drow's character level) once per day.

Darkvision (Ex): A drow has darkvision to a 60-foot range.

Immunities (Ex): A drow is immune to magic sleep effects.

Light Blindness (Ex): Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds a drow for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, he is dazzled as long as he remains in the affected area.

Skill Bonuses: A drow has a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. Furthermore, a drow who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if he were actively looking for it.

Automatic Languages: Common, Elven, Undercommon. Bonus Languages: Abyssal, Aquan, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Gnome, Goblin.

Favored Class: Wizard (male) or cleric (female). A multiclass drow's wizard or cleric class (male or female, respectively) does not count when determining whether an experience point penalty applies.

Table SP-20: The Drow Racial Class

Level CR Special
1st +1 Darkvision 120 ft., faerie fire, spell resistance (5 + character level)
2nd +1 Cha +2, darkness, saving throw bonuses, spell resistance (11 + character level)

Drow Racial Class Features

All of the following are class features of the drow racial class.

Darkvision (Ex): A 1st-level drow's darkvision range increases to 120 feet.

Faerie Fire (Sp): At 1st level, the drow may use faerie fire (caster level equals drow's character level) once per day.

Spell Resistance (Su): At 1st level, the drow gains spell resistance equal to 5 + character level. At 2nd level, her spell resistance increases to 11 + character level.

Darkness (Sp): At 2nd level, the drow may use darkness (caster level equals drow's character level) once per day.

Saving Throw Bonuses (Ex): At 2nd level, a drow gains a +2 racial bonus on Will saves against spells and spell-like abilities.

The Duergar

A duergar is a good character choice for players who like dwarves with a creepier and darker edge. This racial class offers a set of base racial abilities plus one racial level.

Duergar Base Racial Features

All of the following are base racial abilities for the duergar.

Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Constitution, -4 Charisma.

Size: Duergar are Medium size.

Speed: Duergar base land speed is 20 feet. However, a duergar can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load (unlike other creatures, whose speed is reduced in such situations).

Combat Bonuses: A duergar gains a +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it's caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.

Darkvision (Ex): A duergar has darkvision to a 60-foot range.

Enlarge Person (Sp): Once per day, duergar may use enlarge person (caster level equals twice the duergar's character level, minimum 3rd). This ability affects only the duergar and whatever she carries.

Light Sensitivity (Ex): Duergar are dazzled in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.

Stonecunning: This ability grants a duergar a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn't stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A duergar who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if she were actively searching, and she can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A duergar can also intuit depth, sensing her approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.

Saving Throw Bonuses: A duergar gains a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against paralysis, phantasms, poison, spells, and spell-like effects and a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs and goblinoids.

Skill Bonuses: A duergar gains a +2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items and on Craft checks that are related to stone or metal.

Stability: A duergar gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).

Automatic Languages: Common, Dwarven, Undercommon. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Giant, Goblin, Orc, Terran.

Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass duergar's fighter class does not count when determining whether an experience point penalty applies.

Table SP-21: The Duergar Racial Class

Level CR Special
1st +1 Darkvision 120 ft., immunities, invisibility, skill bonuses

Duergar Racial Class Features

All of the following are class features of the duergar racial class.

Darkvision (Ex): A 1st-level duergar's darkvision range increases to 120 feet.

Immunities: At 1st level, the duergar becomes immune to paralysis, phantasms, and poison. This ability replaces the base saving throw bonuses against these effects included in the duergar's base racial features.

Invisibility (Sp): A duergar may use invisibility (caster level equals twice the duergar's character level, minimum 3rd) once per day. This ability affects only the duergar and whatever she carries.

Skill Bonuses (Ex): A 1st-level duergar gains a +1 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks and a +4 racial bonus on Move Silently checks.

The Feytouched

Feytouched are good choices for players who like exotic characters with a touch of mischief and mystery. This racial class offers a set of base racial abilities plus one racial level.

Feytouched Base Racial Features

All of the following are base racial abilities for the feytouched.

Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Charisma.

Fey Type: Feytouched are fey. Thus, they are vulnerable to spells and effects that work on creatures of the fey type but immune to effects that target other types. For example, a feytouched would be subject to the extra damage from a fey bane sword but immune to hold person, since that spell affects only humanoids.

Size: Feytouched are Medium size.

Speed: Feytouched base land speed is 30 feet.

Low-Light Vision (Ex): A feytouched can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

Saving Throw Bonuses: A feytouched has a +4 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects.

Automatic Languages: Common, Sylvan. Bonus Languages: Elven, Gnome, Halfling.

Favored Class: Bard or rogue. A multiclass feytouched's bard and rogue classes do not count when determining whether an experience point penalty applies.

Table SP-22: The Feytouched Racial Class

Level CR Special
1st +0 Charm person, immunities, skill bonuses

Feytouched Racial Class Features

All of the following are class features of the feytouched racial class.

Charm Person (Sp): A 1st-level feytouched may use charm person (caster level equals feytouched's character level; save DC 11 + feytouched's Cha modifier) once per day.

Immunities (Ex): At 1st level, a feytouched becomes immune to all mind-affecting effects. This ability replaces the saving throw bonuses against these effects included in the feytouched's base racial features.

Skill Bonuses: At 1st level, a feytouched gains a +2 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks.

The Half-Fey

Half-fey are the spawn of powerful fey creatures and the mortals they find so intriguing. Often confused by the ignorant with half-fiends, some half-fey grow up tormented by their peers, but a few use their gifts to win over others and become quite popular.

"Half-fey" is usually an inherited template, but it could be acquired through other means as well. Certain mortals who are obsessed with the fey study fey magic and dwell in sylvan places in hopes of gaining power, and a few actually do manage to acquire the half-fey template. Such beings can advance in the half-fey template class, just as natural-born half-fey can if they wish to develop their powers more slowly.

Table SP-23: The Half-Fey Template Class

Level CR Special
1st +0 Dex +2, Cha +2, Con -2, fey type, low-light vision, saving throw bonuses, spell-like abilities
2nd +1 Wis +2, Cha +2, immunity to enchantment, wings

Half-Fey Template Class Features

All of the following are class features of the half-fey template class.

Ability Score Changes: The indicated ability score increases or decreases by the amount noted. These changes are cumulative.

Fey Type: At 1st level, the half-fey completes her metamorphosis, and her type changes to fey. She becomes vulnerable to spells and effects that work on creatures of the fey type but is immune to effects that target her original type. For example, a half-fey/half-human would be subject to the extra damage from a fey bane sword, but she is immune to hold person because that spell affects only humanoids.

Low-Light Vision (Ex): At 1st-level, the half-fey gains low-light vision.

Saving Throw Bonuses (Ex): At 1st level, a half-fey gains a +4 racial bonus on saving throws against spells and effects from the Enchantment school.

Spell-Like Abilities: Starting at 1st level, a half-fey with an Intelligence or Wisdom score of 8 or better gains spell-like abilities. The exact abilities gained depend on the half-fey's character level and level in the template class, according to the following table. In each case, the caster level equals the half-fey's character level. Save DCs, where applicable, are Charisma-based (10 + spell level + half-fey's Cha modifier).

Minimum
Half-Fey
Level
Minimum
Character
Level
Spell-Like Abilities Gained
1st 1st Charm person at will, hypnotism 1/day
3rd Detect law 3/day
5th Protection from law 3/day
9th Eyebite or lesser geas 1/day
13th Mass invisibility 1/day
17th Insanity or mass charm 1/day
2nd 1st Faerie fire or glitterdust 1/day
3rd Enthrall or sleep 1/day
7th Confusion or emotion 1/day
11th Dominate person or hold monster 1/day
15th Geas/quest or mass suggestion 1/day
19th Otto's irresistible dance 1/day

The character gains each spell-like ability as soon as she meets both qualifications for it. Spell-like abilities are cumulative, so a 2nd-level half-fey whose character level is 3rd has charm person at will, detect law 3/day, enthrall or sleep 1/day, faerie fire or glitterdust 1/day, hypnotism 1/day.

Immunity to Enchantments (Ex): At 2nd level, a half-fey becomes immune to all spells and effects from the Enchantment school. This ability replaces the saving throw bonus against these effects included in the half-fey's base racial features.

Wings (Ex): At 2nd level, a half-fey grows insectlike wings (usually similar to those of a butterfly) and may use them to fly at up to twice her base land speed with good maneuverability.

The Svirfneblin

Svirfneblin are a popular choice for players who like playing gnomes with a more serious outlook. This racial class offers a set of base racial abilities plus three racial levels.

Svirfneblin Base Racial Features

All of the following are base racial abilities for the svirfneblin.

Ability Score Adjustments: -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma.

Size: Svirfneblin are Small size. As a Small creature, a svirfneblin gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.

Speed: Svirfneblin base land speed is 20 feet.

Combat Bonuses: A svirfneblin gains a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids and a +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against monsters of the giant type. Any time a creature loses its Dexterity bonus (if any) to Armor Class, such as when it's caught flat-footed, it loses its dodge bonus, too.

Darkvision (Ex): A svirfneblin has darkvision to a 60-foot range.

Illusion Affinity: Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by svirfneblin. This adjustment stacks with those from similar effects.

Low-Light Vision (Ex): A svirfneblin can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

Saving Throw Bonuses: A svirfneblin gains a+2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions

Weapon Familiarity: A svirfneblin may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.

Skill Bonuses: A svirfneblin gains a +2 racial bonus on Listen checks and a +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) checks.

Automatic Languages: Common, Gnome, Undercommon. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Orc, Terran.

Favored Class: Rogue. A multiclass svirfneblin's rogue class does not count when determining whether an experience point penalty applies.

Table SP-24: The Svirfneblin Racial Class

Level CR Special
1st +0 Wis +2, darkvision 120 ft., disguise self, Hide bonus +0/+2, stonecunning, saving throw bonus +1
2nd +1 Blur, saving throw bonus +2, Hide bonus +2/+4, spell resistance (5 + character level)
3rd +1 Blindness/deafness, nondetection, spell resistance (11 + character level), svirfneblin dodge

Svirfneblin Racial Class Features

All of the following are class features of the svirfneblin racial class.

Ability Score Changes: An svirfneblin's Wisdom increases by +2 at 1st level.

Darkvision (Ex): A 1st-level svirfneblin's darkvision range increases to 120 feet.

Hide Bonus: At 1st level, a svirfneblin gains a +2 racial bonus on Hide checks when underground. At 2nd level, he gains a +2 racial bonus on Hide checks under all circumstances, and his bonus while underground increases to +4.

Disguise Self (Sp): The svirfneblin may use disguise self (caster level equals svirfneblin's class level) once per day.

Stonecunning: This ability grants a 1st-level or higher svirfneblin a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn't stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A svirfneblin who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and he can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A svirfneblin can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.

Saving Throw Bonus: At 1st level, a deep gnome gains a +1 racial bonus on all saving throws. This bonus overlaps (does not stack) with his normal +2 racial bonus on saves against illusions. When he reaches 2nd level, his bonus on all saves increases to +2.

Blur (Sp): At 2nd level, the svirfneblin may use blur (caster level equals svirfneblin's class level) once per day.

Spell Resistance (Su): At 2nd level, the svirfneblin gains spell resistance equal to 5 + character level. At 2nd level, his spell resistance increases to 11 + character level.

Blindness/Deafness (Sp): Once per day, a 3rd-level svirfneblin may use blindness/deafness (caster level equals svirfneblin's class level; save DC 16 + svirfneblin's Cha modifier).

Nondetection (Su): At 3rd level, the deep gnome gains a continuous nondetection ability (as the spell, caster level equals svirfneblin's class level).

Svirfneblin Dodge: When the deep gnome reaches 3rd level, his +4 dodge bonus against giants becomes effective against all creatures.

The Tiefling

A tiefling is a fun choice for players who want a humanlike character with a touch of evil or a mysterious background. This racial class offers a set of base racial abilities plus one racial level.

Tiefling Base Racial Features

All of the following are base racial abilities for the tiefling.

Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma.

Outsider Type: Tieflings are native outsiders, so they are vulnerable to spells and effects that work on creatures of the outsider type but immune to effects that target other types. For example, a tiefling would be subject to the extra damage from an outsider bane sword but immune to hold person, since that spell affects only humanoids.

Size: Tieflings are Medium size.

Speed: Tiefling base land speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision (Ex): A tiefling has darkvision to a 60-foot range.

Lesser Darkness (Sp): Once per day, the tiefling may use an effect similar to darkness (caster level equals tiefling's character level), except that the radius is 5 feet. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell.

Skill Bonuses: A tiefling has a +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Hide checks.

Resistances (Ex): A tiefling starts play with resistance 2 to cold, electricity, and fire.

Automatic Languages: Common, Infernal. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Orc.

Favored Class: Rogue. A multiclass tiefling's rogue class does not count when determining whether an experience point penalty applies.

Table SP-25: The Tiefling Racial Class

Level CR Special
1st +0 Int +2, darkness, resistances (cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5)

Tiefling Racial Class Features

All of the following are class features of the tiefling racial class.

Ability Score Changes: A tiefling's Intelligence increases by +2 at 1st level.

Darkness (Sp): At 1st level, the tiefling may use darkness (caster level equals tiefling's character level) once per day. The ability replaces the base racial feature lesser darkness.

Resistances (Ex): A 1st-level tiefling's cold, electricity, and fire resistances increase to 5 each.

About the Author

Sean K Reynolds spends a remarkable amount of time on trains, where he defeats bandits, solves complex mathematical equations, and shushes noisy children. Then he wakes up. Check out his website. Sean would like to thank Brian Cortijo for coming through with the fey statistics in a pinch.


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