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

Random Starting Ages
Illumian20 years+2d4+3d6+4d6
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.
Aging Effects
Race Middle Age OldVenerable Maximum Age
Illumian50 years75 years100 years+4d20
Random Starting Height And Weight
RaceBase HeightHeight ModifierBase WeightWeight Modifier
Illumian, male4' 11"+2d10110 lb.x 2d4 lb.
Illumian, female4' 6"+2d1080 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.

Other Races and Monster Races
Races of Faerûn
Character Creation

Source: Races of Destiny