Illumian (Races of Destiny)
The illumians are a race created by sorcery. Through painstaking ritual, they have developed a mystical connection to the magic rune that make up their alphabet, granting the power of an eldritch language made flesh.
Illumians are contemplative. humanoids, driven and ambitious, taught from an early age to master every field of study.
Personality: Illumians tend to be somewhat cautious, choosing to study a situation and develop a plan before acting.
They're also proud of their heritage as illumians, extolling the virtues of illumians in general and their cabal in particular for anyone who'll listen.
Physical Description: Illumians look like the humans who first learned the Ritual of Words Made Flesh - pale skinned and somewhat taller than average. More than half of all illumians are bald, while the rest have blond or red hair. Facial hair is almost unheard of.
Of course, their most significant features are the luminous sigils that float above their heads, endlessly circling. These sigils are described in detail below.
Illumians - even poor ones - favor the most expensive dress they can afford, with fine embroidery, long robes and capes, and multiple layers. Their bulky dress makes illumians look bigger and more muscular than they actually are. Illumians have a great distaste for dirt and take pains to keep their clothes clean, even in a wilderness or dungeon setting.
Elaborate facial makeup is also common among illumians, particularly older ones who have already mated for their cabal. While some humans wear makeup to make themselves appear more attractive, illumians wear it for the opposite reason: to keep others at a distance. The more garish and outlandish an individual's makeup, the more likely it is that she wishes to be left alone.
Relations: Illumians regard humans as a brother race, but remain somewhat distant - after all, the illumians left pure humanity behind when they undertook the Ritual of the Word Made Flesh. Elves are admired for their long life spans, love of learning, and facility with magic, while dwarves are regarded as consummate craftsfolk but with little else to offer. Illumians confronted with gnomes and halflings sometimes let a bit of paternalism seep through their efforts to be polite, subconsciously treating the small folk like children. Whenever they can, illumians seek common ground with species that demonstrate a love of learning, such as dragons and outsiders. Conversely, illumians have regarded the githyanki as implacable enemies ever since the githyanki discovered and sacked the illumians' High library on the Astral Plane. Except for those of the Gravewhisper cabals (described below), illumians abhor undead.
Alignment: The cabals that form the backbone of illumian society maintain codes of honor they expect members to follow, so illumians have a tendency toward lawful alignments. Gibber cabals (described below) seek power in the disorder of invented words, and so have more chaotic tendencies.
Illumian lands: Illumians usually form a small community far away from civilization, where they are free to make their plans without outside interference. Some cabals (or clusters of allied cabals) occupy buildings or neighborhoods in major human cities, where eventually their appearance ceases to arouse particular curiosity. Many cabals have access to a magic portal that whisks illumians to the Shadow City of Elirhondas, a teeming metropolis in which illumians make up the overwhelming majority of the population.
Religion: Illumian clerics mainly worship Tarmuid, the First Speaker, who invented the Ritual of the Word Made Flesh and uttered the words that created the illumians centuries ago. Since then, a few other illumians - mostly those who participated in the very first Ritual of the Word Made Flesh - have ascended to godhood by making a final utterance (described below). Tarmuid and these illumian deities are described in The Illumian Pantheon, in Races of Destiny.
Language: Illumians speak the language that Tarmuid discovered (or invented, according to some cabals), the magical language that powered the ritual that created the first illumians. Even infants can speak Illumian - slowly and poorly - within a few days of birth. Nonillumians don't have an instinctive grasp of the language and find it very hard to learn. Because they aren't magically infused with the language the way illumians are, other speakers of Illumian receive no power from the hundreds of sigils that form the language's alphabet.
Names: Illumian personal names are almost always two or three syllables long, chosen from syllables that have a positive connotation (the paragraphs below contain a list of good choices for an illumian PC). Illumians also take the name of their cabal as their own. Because the cabals help define an illumian's place in the world, illumians give their cabal name first, followed by their personal name. When speaking in Common, illumians usually translate their cabal name but leave their personal name in Illumian because it most likely doesn't have an exact match in Common.
Male Names: Abthek, Byerek, Duensel, Ghautar, Hautra, larmid, Kaulesh, Kyrish, Ooleg, Shelkau, Vyurek, Yeylea.
Female Names: Andrin, Chalaum, Eallie, Fraona, Nuele, Prekish, Querik, Rhealoo, Sreiska, Woothal, Xiroth, Zhaolei.
Cabal Names: Blackpennant, Bloodwing, Driftcloud, Duskwatcher, Frostpeak, Rustdreamer, Stormwind.
Adventurers: Illumians travel to learn more about the surrounding world on behalf of their cabals, occasionally undertaking dangerous missions on behalf of their cabal leaders. A few illumians have been cast out of their cabals, but it's far more likely that an adventuring illumian left voluntarily, hoping to gain enough knowledge and power to attract other illumians and thereby found a new cabal. Illumians spend a number of their adolescent or young adult years wandering the world, dreaming of being the master at the center of a powerful illumian cabal.
Illumian Racial Traits
- Humanoid (human): Illumians are humanoid creatures with the human subtype.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, illumians have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Illumian base land speed is 30 feet.
- Luminous Sigils (Su): The sigils that orbit an illumian's head glow softly, providing illumination equal to that of a candle. Illumians can make their sigils disappear by concentrating for a moment (a standard action), but they don't receive the sigils' benefits and can't use any special abilities granted by illumian words (see below) while they're doused. Restoring the sigils to visibility is a free action.
Luminous sigils (including power sigils; see below) are insubstantial and disappear into any matter they touch. An illumian's sigils remain present and in effect even when the illumian takes another form, unless she would lose her supernatural abilities as a result of the form change. An illumian wizard who casts a polymorph spell on herself retains her sigils, but an illumian who becomes a zombie loses them.
- Glyphic Resonance (Ex): Illumians are the physical embodiment of a magical language, so they interact strangely with symbol-based spells. This group includes all spells whose names contain the word glyph, rune, sigil, or symbol (such spells include explosive runes, glyph of warding, greater glyph of warding, sepia snake sigil, and the various symbol spells). When an illumian encounters such magic, one of two things happens: Either the illumian's resonance overpowers the spell, or the foreign magic corrupts the mystical language that defines the illumian. Illumians have a -4 racial penalty on saving throws against these effects if their level is less than the caster level of the spell. If an illumian's level equals or exceeds the spell's caster level, she is immune to the effect.
- Power Sigils (Su): In addition to the array of dimly glowing luminous sigils that orbits her head, a 1st-level illumian has a single brightly glowing power sigil that grants her certain bonuses (see below). A power sigil can be discerned from other sigils surrounding an illumian with a DC 10 Spot check, and identified with a DC 15 Knowledge (arcana) check.
On attaining 2nd level in any class, an illumian gains a second different power sigil, and the bonus granted by each power sigil increases to +2. Depending on the combination of power sigils she chooses, an illumian gains one or more extra special abilities (see Illumian Words, below). The benefit of each power sigil is given below, along with the Common translation of each sigil's Illumian name.
Aesh ("vigor"): +1 bonus on Strength checks and Strength-based skill checks.
Hoon ("life"): +1 bonus on Wisdom checks, Constitution checks, and Wisdom- or Constitution-based skill checks.
Krau ("magic"): +1 bonus to caster level for all spells and spell-like abilities (up to a maximum value equal to the illumian's character level).
Naen ("mind"): +1 bonus on Intelligence checks and Intelligence-based skill checks.
Uur ("grace"): +1 bonus on Dexterity checks and Dexterity-based skill checks.
Vaul ("soul"): +1 bonus on Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks.
- Illumian Words (Su): Each combination of two power sigils' names makes an Illumian word of great power, and thus grants extra abilities to a character who possesses those two power sigils. The benefit of each word of power is described below.
Aeshkrau: The illumian can use her Strength score to determine the bonus spells she gains for a high ability score, instead of the normal ability score used by her class to determine this feature. If she has more than one spellcasting class, she may use her Strength score in place of any or all of the ability scores used by those classes for this purpose.
Aeshoon: Twice per day, the illumian can spend a turn or rebuke attempt as a swift action to gain a bonus on weapon damage rolls equal to her Wisdom bonus. This effect lasts until the beginning of her next turn, and it applies only to weapons with which she has selected the Weapon Focus feat.
Aeshuur: When the illumian deals damage to a target with a sneak attack or a critical hit, she gains a +2 dodge bonus to her AC against that target until the beginning of her next turn.
Hoonkrau: The illumian can spend a turn undead attempt as a swift action to add 1d8 points to the damage healed by any cure spell she casts before the end of her next turn, or a rebuke undead attempt as a swift action to add 1d8 points to the damage dealt by any inflict spell she casts before the end of her next turn. The illumian may use this ability twice per day.
Hoonvaul: Twice per day, the illumian can expend a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) as a swift action to gain a bonus equal to the spell's level on turning checks, turning damage rolls, and on attack and damage rolls when making a smite attack. This effect lasts until the beginning of the illumian's next turn.
Naenaesl'a: During the time when the illumian prepares spells, she can choose to leave up to two spell slots unfilled to gain the ability to cast any other prepared spell (or spells) of the same level as if it had been prepared with the Still Spell feat. This effect lasts until the next time the illumian prepares spells. She cannot fill the vacant spell slot (or slots) until the next time she prepares spells.
Naenhoon: Twice per day, the illumian can spend one or more turn or rebuke undead attempts as a swift action to add a metamagic effect to a spell she is casting, with no effect on the spell's casting time or effective level. She must have the metamagic feat whose effect she wants to apply. The illumian must expend a number of turn or rebuke undead attempts equal to the normal level adjustment of the metamagic feat (for example, it costs two turn or rebuke attempts to apply an Empower Spell effect). If she chooses to apply the Heighten Spell effect, it costs her one turn attempt per level that she heightens the spell, up to a maximum of 9th level.
Naenkrau: During the time when the illumian prepares spells, she can choose to leave up to two spell slots unfilled to add +1 to the save DCs of all her other spells of that level (including spells from different classes). If she leaves two spell slots unfilled, they must be at different spell levels. This effect lasts until the next time the illumian prepares spells. She cannot fill the vacant spell slot (or slots) until the next time she prepares spells.
Uurhoon: Twice per day, the illumian can expend a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) as a swift action to gain an insight bonus equal to her Wisdom bonus on Reflex saves and her Dexterity bonus on caster level checks to overcome spell resistance. This effect lasts for 1 minute per level of the spell slot expended.
Uurkravi: The illumian can use her Dexterity score to determine the bonus spells she gains for a high ability score, instead of the normal ability score used by her class to determine this feature. If she has more than one spellcasting class, she may use her Dexterity score in place of any or all of the ability scores used by her classes for this purpose.
Uurnaen: During the time when the illumian prepares spells, she can choose to leave a 1st-level or 2nd-level spell slot unfilled to add an insight bonus equal to the spell slot's level on attack rolls when making an unarmed strike or a sneak attack. This effect lasts until the next time the illumian prepares spells. She cannot fill the vacant spell slot until the next time she prepares spells.
Vaulaesh: Twice per day, the illumian can expend a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) as a swift action to gain an insight bonus equal to the spell's level to AC and on weapon damage rolls. This effect lasts until the beginning of the illumian's next turn, and the damage bonus applies only to weapons with which she has selected the Weapon Focus feat.
Vaulkrau: Twice per day, the illumian can expend a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) as an immediate action to gain an insight bonus equal to the spell's level on the next saving throw she makes before the start of her next turn.
Vaulnaen: Twice per day, the illumian can use a spell slot (but not a slot holding a prepared spell) to spontaneously cast any of her prepared spells of the same spell level. For example, a 3rd-level bard/1st-level wizard who had prepared burning hands as a wizard spell could use one of her 1st-level bard spell slots to cast burning hands. The spell is cast using the caster level at which it is prepared (the bard/wizard in the above example would cast burning hands as a 1st-level caster).
Vaultivir: The illumian may expend a spell slot (but not a prepared spell) as a swift action to add 1d6 per spell level to her unarmed strike damage rolls and her sneak attack damage rolls. This effect lasts until the beginning of her next turn, and she may use it twice per day.
- Final Utterance (Ex): When an illumian dies, her body releases the stored Illumian language within it. For 1 round per Hit Die of the illumian, anyone within earshot hears ulularing Illumian syllables - usually gibberish, but occasionally a prophetic phrase or a final curse on the illumian's enemies. The illumian's body need not remain intact for the final utterance to occur. Even if an illumian succumbs to a disintegrate spell, her disembodied voice still utters strange gibberish for several rounds.
- +2 racial bonus on saves against spells with the shadow descriptor: The illumians' magical heritage is tied to the Plane of Shadow.
- Superior Literacy: Illumians are always literate, regardless of their character class. Speak language is always a class skill for illumians, regardless of class.
- Automatic languages: Common and Illumian. Bonus languages: Any except for secret languages (such as Druidic). Illumians love languages and travel far and wide to learn new languages from other races.
- Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass illumian takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count. (See Multiclass Characters.) Illumians hold versatility in high esteem, and most members of the race are multiclass characters. Furthermore, illumian paladins and monks can leave those classes and return to them without penalty.
|Random Starting Ages|
|¹ Simple classes are barbarian, rogue, and sorcerer.
² Moderate classes are bard, fighter, paladin, and ranger.
³ Complex classes are cleric, druid, monk, and wizard.
|Race||Middle Age||Old||Venerable||Maximum Age|
|Illumian||50 years||75 years||100 years||+4d20|
|Random Starting Height And Weight|
|Race||Base Height||Height Modifier||Base Weight||Weight Modifier|
|Illumian, male||4' 11"||+2d10||110 lb.||x 2d4 lb.|
|Illumian, female||4' 6"||+2d10||80 lb.||x 2d4 lb.|
Behind The Curtain: Illumian Power Sigils
While illumian power sigils are useful to most characters, multiclass characters gain the maximum benefit from Illumian words. This is intentional - illumians enjoy multiclassing, and such pursuits are common among their people.
The DM should resist the temptation to simply add more power sigils without carefully considering the ramifications. A finite number of illumian power sigils exist. This limits the number of Illumian words in the game, which prevents the number of options available to illumian characters from becoming overwhelming. Adding even one power sigil to the list adds six new combinations, and dramatically increases the number of Illumian words available to illumians with two power sigils.
If you choose to adjust the selection of power sigils available in your game, do so with care. In general, the power sigils don't add directly to a single-class character's combat prowess. A power sigil that grants a bonus on attack or damage rolls, for instance, would not be a good addition. Not only would it benefit single-class characters as much as or more than multiclassed characters, its power level makes it much more attractive than any of the other power sigils. Even the krau power sigil only improves the caster level of a multiclass spellcaster or a character whose caster level isn't already equal to his character level (such as a paladin or ranger), and thus isn't attractive to single-class spellcasters.
Any new Illumian words you create should reward multiclass characters more than single-class characters.
Source: Races of Destiny