Races of the East: Volodni
More than a thousand years ago, at the end of the terrible wars that racked Narfell and Raumathar, a proud Nar lord led a host of his people into the great forests of the ancient empire, seeking to escape the roaming demons and magical plagues that ravaged his lands. Some power of the old woods - perhaps an elder treant, or even the Oakfather himself - confronted the Nar refugees to deny them refuge unless they forswore their demon-summoning ways and agreed to take the forest's blood for their own. The lord agreed on the spot, convinced that any bargain was better than returning to certain destruction, but the price was greater than he could imagine: He and his followers surrendered their humanity in exchange for sanctuary. Thus the volodnis, the pine folk, were born.
The volodnis are a humanlike race of treefolk who defend their forest homes with iron resolve. Unlike other sylvan beings, volodnis aggressively seek to expand into new forests and grow the borders of old ones, regardless of who gets in the way. Many feel that only the fall of "warm folk" civilization can preserve Faerûn's forests, but others hope to peacefully persuade humans to allow the return of the ancient forests.
Personality: Volodnis are cold and dispassionate, remorseless in pursuit of any tactic that serves their ends. They remember every injury but have the patience of the forest itself when exacting vengeance. They are not acquisitive, as they have little need for material possessions. Some volodnis feel the blood of their human ancestors more deeply than others and are capable of benevolence - or spitefulness and crime.
Physical Description: Volodnis resemble their human forebears, but their skin is the deep olive-green of a pine needle, and their flesh is woody and tough. Clear sap runs through their veins instead of blood, and their hair grows in long, thick locks scaled like the bark of a young tree. Their eyes are gleaming black, and they tend to be tall and lean, with wide shoulders and long arms. The pine folk favor weapons and armor made from leather and wood, dyed in green and brown to blend in with the terrain of their forest home.
Relations: Volodnis get along reasonably well with other sylvan creatures such as centaurs and satyrs and usually work toward the same ends as elves. They revere treants and are warm to druids of any race, but they do not care for people who see a forest only as uncut firewood and unbuilt homes. Those who despoil natural settings out of spite rather than necessity wake a volodni's latent hostility into pure, cold rage (the most militant volodnis see no difference between the two actions). Consequently, volodnis harbor a stronger dislike for goblins, orcs, and such creatures than they do for dwarves or humans.
Alignment: Volodnis are not actively malicious, but they are not benevolent, either. They believe in the individual's call to act as he or she sees fit rather than laws and rules to guide behavior and so favor a chaotic disposition.
Religion: As one might expect, the pine folk have a strong druidic tradition. Druid circles govern their society, and all volodnis venerate nature gods. Among the forest deities they hold a deep reverence for Silvanus the Oak Father.
Language: Volodnis speak Common and Sylvan as well as the human language of the surrounding region - usually Damaran or Rashemi in the East. They often learn Draconic, Elven, Giant, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, or Treant to communicate with creatures of the woodlands.
Names: The pine folk go by simple human names, usually followed by a description of a favorite forest locale, such as Andror of the Deepspring, Harl of the Old Grove, or Mara of the Windridge. Male: Andror, Huvast, Isilvor, Leped, Normol, Strevast, Yevgen. Female: Atryanna, Hela, Kari, Lara, Naskyara, Slaela, Zashi.
Adventurers: Volodnis who leave their home forest to wander the world are unusual, but not as rare as one might think. The pine folk have a great desire to explore and see the wonders of Faerûn's surviving forests. Volodni druids and rangers go out into the world to protect woodlands and to spy out the civilized lands near their homes.
Regions: Most volodnis choose the volodni region, which reflects a pine folk character native to one of the large forests of the Great Dale. A small number of volodni characters choose human character regions such as Rashemen, the Great Dale, or Thesk.
Volodni Racial Traits
Volodnis have the following abilities and characteristics.
- +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: Volodnis are hardy and intuitive, but are not exceptionally bright or personable.
- Land speed 30 feet.
- Cold resistance 5.
- +4 racial bonus on Hide checks in wooded terrain.
- Low-Light Vision: Volodnis can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- Plant: Volodnis are immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and polymorphing. They are not subject to critical hits or mind-affecting effects.
- Half damage from Piercing: Piercing weapons deal only half damage to volodnis, with a minimum of 1 point of damage.
- Sustenance: Volodnis require only 2 hours of sleep per day to gain the benefits of 8 hours of sleep (although arcane spellcasters must still have 8 hours of rest to prepare spells). Volodnis only require one-quarter the food and water a human requires, as they absorb nutrients from their environment.
- Automatic Languages: Common, Sylvan. Bonus Languages: By character region.
- Level Adjustment: +2. A volodni has an effective character level (ECL) of 2 plus class levels, so a 1st-level volodni druid would have an ECL of 3. See Powerful Races.
- Favored Class: Druid. A multiclassed volodni's druid class does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty.