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Ethnicities and Ethnic Featsby Andrew Theisen
Toying around with the Regions/Regional Feats concept from 3E a bit more, and am trying to work around some of the problems with the "geographic" style of regions that is the standard in Forgotten Realms. The big problem with that, as has been pointed out a couple of times by various people, is that (particularly in the Known World nations) you have large numbers of ethnically diverse peoples within one geographic region, and they defy the "broad" regional classification as a result.
For example, in Glantri alone, if you wanted to be fair to all the various ethnic groups, you'd have to have at least 8 "regions" for humans alone. Contrast that to the Forgotten Realms, where "the Dalelands"- consisting of many different Dales- is considered one region. (Even if you wanted to break that down further- such as the Altumbel region of Aglarond) you'd still be better off than in Glantri, where there is no distinct geographical "cut-off".
As such, I'm combining an idea I had for Clans/Ethnicities on my Twilight of the Dawn site with the Region classification system in the FRPHB. It is based on the "Human Clans" from Oriental adventures- i.e., each ethnicity gets its own Class Skill that reflects a talent that is highly valued and taught in that culture (and is a class skill regardless of what class you are). They also have a Favoured Class that may or may not be different from the "generic" base race (again, reflecting an area or areas where the culture is more inclined to focus).
I'll post a couple of examples here so I can get some feedback from you guys.
The Aalbanese hail from the nation of Glantri, living primarily in the nation from which they derive their name. Men and women of Hattian and "common" Alphatian descent merged their bloodlines centuries ago, combining the strong martial traditions of the Hattians with the wizardly teachings of the Alphatians.
Favoured Class: Fighter or Wizard. If an Aalbanese character has levels in both classes, only the highest level class is not counted when determining if he suffers an XP penalty.
Class Skill: Spellcraft.
Automatic Languages: Common (Thyatian), Hattian or Alphatian (choose one).
Bonus Languages: Alphatian, Hattian, Traladaran, Elvish (Alfheim dialect), Elvish (Belcadiz dialect), Flaemish, Sylaire.
Ethnic Feats: Discipline, Militia, Spellcasting Prodigy
Bonus Equipment: (A) Banded mail*, or (B) wand of magic missile (CL 1st, 20 charges)
Glantri is the exclusive home to the Belcadiz clan of elves. These swarthy skinned elves are renowned for their fiery tempers. Whether they be lovers or fighters, they pursue their passions with gusto.
Favoured Class: Fighter.
Class Skill: Bluff.
Automatic Languages: Common (Thyatian), Elvish (Belcadiz dialect).
Bonus Languages: Alphatian, Traladaran, Elvish (Alfheim dialect), Flaemish, Sylaire, Ethengarian.
Ethnic Feats: Artist, Bull-headed, Twin Sword Style.
Bonus Equipment: (A) Longsword*, or rapier*, or (B) Scroll of two 2nd level spells.
Just a couple of examples, and definitely subject to change (the equipment, for one, may not remain the same, nor the feats). Let me know what you guys think!