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PHB2 for Mystara

by Rodger Burns

Since PHB2 has been out for awhile now, it might be worth going back to look at how the new races and classes in that book turned out and how they might work in a 4e Mystara.

Gnomes: The INT bonus they receive actually makes them decent artificers and ritualists, so they might be able to be used as skygnomes in Serraine or Oostdok with just some bonus feats. Another idea would be to reskin a warlock, swordmage or sorcerer into a 'machine-user'-type character; sorcerer especially could be interesting for less-predictable mechanical toys.
Half-Orcs: These would probably work well on Mystara as Beastmen or Brute-Men, considering that they've got a lot of the general flavour of standard goblinoids but their own distinct game mechanics. Alternately, they could just be orcs straight-up, given that we're not likely to see an actual Orc PC race writeup anytime soon.
Devas: Brand-new to D&D with the PHB2, and nicely rare even in canon. They probably are most common in Sind, but could also be expected to migrate into Darokin, Karameikos, Ylaruam and possibly Glantri and Thyatis in search of knowledge and to advance the greater good. An interesting Mystara twist might be that many devas magically disguise themselves as human, in order to avoid attention from servants of hostile Immortals - so that aged sage or reclusive wizard might not be human after all.
Shifters: As “lycanthropes-without-the-gamebreaking-specials”, these probably have their origins in the same place as Mystaran lycanthropes - Glantri and Alphatia. (Ironically, neither breed has the INT or CHA to do especially well in an arcane class - though they can be fairly versatile if somewhat underpowered wizards.) Many have likely emigrated to places like Karameikos, Norwold and the Northern Reaches where their physical capabilities are more appreciated.

Invokers: Despite the initial buzz about 'like clerics, except caster-focused', these guys have ended up more as 'living saints/divine representatives' in a way that most characters initially statted as Mystaran clerics don't mesh well with. Neither Sherlane Halaran nor Oliver Jowett is likely to be an Invoker IMHO - they're too far up in the established church hierarchy. On the other hand, Alexei Sergyev of the Cult of Halav? So very much an Invoker, and it ticks Alfric Oderby off but good. Some of the Ylaruam dervishes, and Song Anh of the Ten Thousand Fists of Khan, are also likely Invokers.
Avengers: These, on the other hand, are likely quite common on Mystara. Alfric Oderby is probably an Avenger, as are many Thyatian divine leaders; Thyatis likes Avengers because they can walk around in cloth armour, hide the f**k-off big weapon inside a bag of holding or similar, and look just like a wizard. The Alphatians never knew what hit 'em.
Sorcerers: Just as suitable for Alphatian magical traditions as they were in 3.x; in addition, some specific paths of sorcerer might also appear in other parts of Mystara (Dragon path in Aalban in Glantri, Storm path among the merchant princes of Minrothad). Not much else to say here.
Shamans: A very good fit for Atruaghin, Ethengar, possibly Sind and the Northern Reaches. Somewhat difficult to justify elsewhere.
Wardens: Completely new in my experience, their mechanical hook is a limited shapeshifting ability (into animal-like forms but also into plant and elemental shapes) that I don't think matches anything that currently exists in Mystara. This might be something used in Wendar, Heldann or Norwold, or it might be not present in Mystara.