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Beorinvulk (Bear-Folk) (with PF points thanks Robo!)

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Prior to the Collapse, the Sascrian magocracy experimented on many types of animals for its gladiatorial arenas but none were was as well known for their sheer power than the Ursidian bear-folk created from the variety of specimens living throughout the different climates and regions of Gondal, Brandishing immense size and strength, hardy endurance and toughness, the different types of bears they used as their base animals offered a variety of advantages and disadvantages to the hedonistic Sascrian desire for blood thirsty entertainment. Of all the bear-folk that would be created from the initial Ursidian template the ones created from the winter bears native to the near frozen regions just north of Rhyrjia were arguably some of the most impressive in the arenas, at first thanks to their brutal power, resistance to damage, thick hides, and constitutions which set them apart from their southern cousins. Unfortunately as the warmer months started to arrive in the Sascrian cities the massive bears that were more acclimated for the colder weather proved unable to perform at the same level as they had once did forcing the mages to decide to send them back north to the region of their birth in order to still make use of them. This northern outpost of the Sascrian government, known as the Tower of Frost was a secret base from which they had planned to make use of their cold weather soldiers in the event that open warfare occurred between Sascria and the kingdom of Rhyrjia. Unable to pass troops or supplies to the north through enemy territory the Sascrian mages had devised a series of arcane webways in order to transport materials and people from one location to another and soon all of the Ursidians bread from the same northern stock were returned to the frozen north and set up to man and protect the Tower of Frost.
The Collapse brought about many changes to the face of Gondal and the essence of magic which resulted in the discontinued use of the arcane webways since passage through them could no longer be controlled consistently. Eventually the northern Ursidians would be left to fend for themselves, as the Tower of Frost was abandoned by its human occupants. These bear-folk would band together out of common ancestry and necessity and create the first tribe of Beorinvulk (or People of the Bear) and rewrite their own history. The Ursidians to the south (Ursanvulk) and those that were made from the black and white bears of the Eastern League (Ailurovulk) would be renamed as the Lost Tribes of the Beorinvulk with the bears of the north (Nordinvulk) believing themselves to be the true progenitors of the race.
The Three Tribes
Found in the colder regions of Gondal north of Rhyrjia and the Sarkan Tribelands these bear-folk were first created from a stock of large bears known for their strength and endurance. These winter bears were also highly resistant to cold weather and agile swimmers able to move within the frigid waters and harsh environments of the north with little discomfort.
Physical Description
Nordinvulk stand on average of 7 feet or taller and can weigh anywhere from 280-325 lbs of muscle. They tend to retain the black eyes and thick muscular necks of their bear ancestors with all body hair being white to ivory from birth. Nordinvulk wear little to no armor, as they feel they don’t need it thanks to their thick skin, and are just as commonly found to use only their natural claw and bite attacks as to use human weapons.
Since the Nordinvulk consider themselves to be the progenitors of the Ursidian race they tend to look with pity upon the bear-folk from the other “Lost Tribes” or at the most treat them with a mild disdain as they consider all other Ursidians to be weaker members of their race. They also do not have any excessive animosity towards humans as they were generally well treated and partially neglected by their human masters from The Tower of Frost then completely abandoned after the Collapse. They see humans as being a weaker species and rationalize their inability to survive in the harsher climates as a sign that they were never truly their masters. Unlike other Beorinvulk the Nordinvulk formed into one large tribe after the Collapse and have a strong sense of racial and cultural pride matched only by their fierceness in battle and devotion to their families and other tribesmen. Nordinvulk also live by a strong code of honor which has made diplomacy with many of the other, less honorable races in Gondal, a bit difficult.
On average Nordinvulk tend to be the strong and silent type. They will usually keep their own council, even in the presence of other Ursidians, as they have been isolationists for most of their history. Slow to anger they are very destructive when roused and tend to focus their attacks upon the cause of the infraction with a fury, and then just as quickly return to a normal even state. Nordinvulk also learned early on that if you cannot trust your traveling companions to have your back in a fight then its better to not have any and are more likely to be encountered on their own than with a party.
All Nordinvulk worship the Great Mother Bear who watches over them from her cave beyond the Sea of Ice in the coldest regions of their homeland. Few divine spell casters exist in Gondal but the Nordinvulk do have shamanistic warrior-priests who possess a small amount of clerical magic. Like other Ursidians, Nordinvulk tend towards neutrality.
Nordinvulk are almost exclusively of the barbarian class as they left the Sascrian arenas at an early stage in their development and were sent north to man the Tower of Frost. They also tend to enter fits of rage in combat but some more religiously inclined Nordinvulk have learned to channel the spirit of the Great Mother Bear and can cast divine magic. It is also not rare to find Nordinvulk who have remained on the path of the fighter or gladiator, a throwback to their Sascrian past.

Similar to other Ursidian names Nordinvulk almost always add an descriptive or occupational last name to their monikers like Foehammer, Iceheart, Hearthwarden, etc


(?pts) *Large Sized (+4 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -1 attack and AC, +1 CMB and CMD, -4 Stealth, upgraded weapon damage)
Nordinvulk are considered Large creatures for purposes of damage, attacks, grapple checks, and space but have a reach of 5

(-4pts) *+2 Str, -4 Chr Nordinvulk are immensely strong and hardy but not as agile as their other Ursidian cousins. Their isolationistic view, code of honor, and natural prejudice against what they consider weaker races makes them less personable than other Beorinvulk

(4pts) *Natural Swimmer - Swim is always a class skill for Nordinvulk and they have a base swim speed of 20 ft. They also receive a +4 Racial bonus on Swim checks.

(2pts) *ER 5 vs Cold

(1pt) *Lowlight Vision

(8pts) *2 Claw attacks at 1d6 and 1 bite at 1d4 Nordinvulk have two claw attacks and a bite and are never considered unarmed when making natural attacks.

(-1pts) *Heat Sensitivity - Nordinvulk's comfortable temperature range is reduced by 30 points compared to Humans - "very hot" becomes 60 degrees and "very cold" becomes 10 degrees

LA+1 (10pts +?)

*See Ursidian for general information.
Ursanvulkin (Lesser Ursanvulk)
These Ursidians who were crafted from the smaller black bears of the temperate regions of Gondal tend to be weaker but more agile than their larger brown bear cousins. This higher agility allows the Ursanvulkin to climb trees and tend to acquire many of the skills available to the rogue classes. Ursanvulkin tend to be friendlier and less solitary than other types of Beorinvulk throughout Gondal.
When the Sascrian mages tried to create Ursidians from these black and white bears from the Eastern Leagues they made a fascinating discovery that the bears possessed an innate ability to wield magic. In spite of their fairly large size this made them ill suited for battles in the gladiatorial arenas and more suited for further arcane studies. A similar but smaller version of the eastern bear known as Ailurovulkin to the Nordinvulk have reddish fur and like their black bear cousins to the west tend to favor rogue classes.
Stats coming soon...
Related content
Back references from Relationships in Character for Creature type: Beorinvulk (Bear-Folk) (with PF points thanks Robo!)
Title Author Last updatesort icon
Ragnar Coalheart adjusted MrCrow1776 09/11/2010 - 15:50
Back references from Relationships in Place for Creature type: Beorinvulk (Bear-Folk) (with PF points thanks Robo!)
Title Author Last updatesort icon
Arctoria the Frozen North MrCrow1776 09/13/2010 - 21:43


mikeb's picture

Level adjustments

If possible, I think we should avoid level adjustments for PC races that we expect to be commonly available to players. In the four main books that Paizo has put out for Pathfinder RPG - Core Rulebook, GameMastery Guide, Advanced Player's Guide, and Bestiary - they discuss monsters as PCs but don't go so far as to give them hard and fast mechanics. We could potentially go down that path, but it seems like we should avoid it for creatures that are intended to be PC races.

LOL me and Robo had a long

LOL me and Robo had a long talk about this. By 2nd level a Human Fighter with base 10 starting stats is already more powerful than a 1st level Nordinvulk Fighter and the rulebooks do have a Trait option for modifying the core races which make them stronger than their orginals. Also don't forget that three of the most popular settings in D&D (Dragonlance, Dark Sun, Ravenloft) all had modifications to their starting races or core races that made them stronger than the generic ones in the player's handbook because their worlds had different survival requirements. And by 4E, Dragonfolk, Aasimar and Teilfling all appear in the Player's Handbook as PC Races. I see Nordinvulk, in spite of their own philosophy, as a player option for an Ursidian if he is playing a campaign set in the Frozen north, just as a a Norsemen would be an option to a player if he wanted a different type of basic human. Norsemen and say an Aborigine from New Zealand are both Humans but they most certiainly would have different stats and abilities at 1st level. The Norsemen has a greater comfort zone to colder weather, would have a hardier consitution on average since he has been bred to travel through heavy snow and biting winds, a racial bonus to Swim and Sailing checks, barbarian as a favored class, etc whereas the Aborigne would have a tolerance for hoter weather, a bonus to surivial checks, weapon familiarity with boomerangs and spears, maybe a movement bonus, etc. Does that mean a PC shouldn't be allowed to play a Norsemen in a warmer climate? Or not bel allowed to play an Aborigine who left New Zealand and traveled to Tibet to chit chat with the Dalai Lama at the top of the frozen Himalayas? Of course not! The Vikings who happend to originate from Sweden had direct interaction with Arabs in the Middle East and were the inspiration for the Eaters of the Dead Novel that became the 13th Warrior movie.

It is an option and variety. And that's what D&D is all about.

The only valid question should be is Gondal the Dark Golden Age its own place and compatible with Pathfinder's Rules much like Pathfinder is compatible with 3.5E but is stronger or is Gondal merely a continent of Golarion? Because everthing in Pathfinder is stronger than 3.5E even though it is compatible with it. (Paladins, Humans, Alternate racial traits, Sorcerors with bloodlines, etc.)

Me, personally, am for making it like Pathfinder in spirit. Compatible with the original (i.e. Pathinder/3.5E) but different.

I agree in the case of races

I agree in the case of races that will be commonly available - right now I only see the Nordinvulk as part of a "wilds of the frozen north" exapansion, rather than a "core" race, because of the LA and their temperature limits. This came up a couple times in our (lengthy) discussion of the race. Basically, where we came down was that MrCrow's vision for the race just couldn't fit without a level adjustment. That is, without the LA, they lost too many of the racial traits that Crow thought were core to the concept.

As I wrote elsewhere, I'd still want playtesting to see how the level-adjusted race works in a mixed group. Going through a comparison between a 2nd level Human Fighter and a 1st level Nordinvulk Fighter, they seemed comparable.

Anyway, that's where Crow and I ended up. I'd still like to see (or write up myself) a "monster" version of the Nordinvulk with some extra racial Hit Dice.

An option for the Beordinvulk write-up with PF points (30pts)

(6pts total) *Nordinvulk +4 Str, +2 Con, -2 Dex, -2 Chr - Nordinvulk are immensely strong and hardy but not as agile as their other Ursidian cousins. Their isolationistic view, code of honor, and natural prejudice against what they consider weaker races makes them less personable than other Beorinvulk.

(-1pt) *-2 to Diplomacy or Persuasion checks

(1pt) *Imposing Figure - Nordinvulk are intimidating without trying. They get a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks.

(1pt) *Low Light Vision


(8pts total)*2 Claw attacks and 1 Bite

(~4pts) *Resist Cold 5 - Nordinvulk are bred for cold, wintery conditions and as such receive no penalty to Survival checks when traveling through arctic or polar conditions.

(~5pts) *Swim speed of 30 and +8 to Swim Checks- Like their winterbear ancestors, Nordinvulk are agile swimmers and receive no penalty for trying to swim in light armor.

(-1pt) *Armor restriction - Nordinvulk consider non Nordinvulk to be inferiors and as a result will not wear armor or equipment heavier than light armor as this tends to show a lack of confidence in their natural abilities.

(4pts) *Weapon restrictions - Nordinvulk favor one handed or simple weapons as this allows them to use at least one of their claw attacks in melee. They gain the Unarmed Strike feat as a bonus feat at first level as every Nordinvulk child is trained in using their natural weapons first.

(4pts) *Hardy- Nordinvulk are naturally tougher then other Gondalian races and gain the Toughness bonus feat at 1st level.

(-1pt) *Heat sensitivity- Because of their acclimation for colder climates, Nordinvulk receive gain fatigue and exhaustion levels at 2x the normal level when engaged in anything more than light activities when the temperature is above 55 degrees and 4x the normal levels when the temperature is above 70 degrees, therefore they will not knowingly enter arid or desert like environments without some sort of protection from the harsher weather.

So, that's a 30pt race, not

So, that's a 30pt race, not factoring Ferocity, which is probably about another 4pts if it is approximately equivalent to a Feat.

One option is to give the Nordinvulk a level adjustment of +2. Paizo doesn't talk about what to do with a 30pt race, but that makes sense to me.

Another option is for them to be non-playable. As I noted elsewhere, a polar bear in the SRD has 8 HD, so the precedent is there for them being huge, and I wonder if you lose too much trying to make them a PC race.

The third option is to cut 20 points from the race write-up, but that may very well break the concept

Thanks Robo

Thanks man for helping me. The Ferocity is from the Orc template and is actually 4 points.

I would have thought Heat Sensitive would have been worth more than 1 pt since it makes him Fatigued (can neither run nor charge and takes a –2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity) whenever the temp is over 55 degrees, which is most of the time in typical Role-playing games so that is a big penalty IMHO and he is 2x to 4x as likely to get Fatigued and Exhausted (half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a –6 penalty to Strength and Dexterity) in warmer weather.

And with only a +4 Str +2 Con he is directly on par with the Orc who gets no penalty for the weather, is Ferocious, Light Sensitivity which only effects him 50% of the time, (it's still hot at night), and has almost as much stuff, and the Half-Ogre which is from the Pathfinder SRD as a PC race.

Personally I think there are no such things as PC only races but hey that's just me. When I DM if you want to play a vampire than you can be a vampire it just means you have to deal with all of the baggage that goes along with being an undead. (stigmatism, fear, sunlight, thirst, hunters, clerics, etc).

So my guys are strong but not really that much stronger than say an Aasimar with only a +1LA, since the heat sensitivity and equipment restrictions and penalties are huge. I also wouldn't limit them to only NPCs or monsters since that is lame.LOL Telling a player that they can't play a race because it's a little stronger than a typical core race is not the words of a good DM since his primary function is to create a fun evening.

Once we can figure out what he is worth without losing the concept, i won't argue about everything I swear, :O), then i can work on the other Beorinvulk with that template to work on.

Thanks again Robo! You da Man!

Argue away! (or more

Argue away! (or more positively, discuss) That's what these comment threads are for as far as I'm concerned, and if we don't discuss things a lot, people picking up our products to see if they want to buy them sure as heck will.

The temperature restriction is only -1pt because I compared it to the example they give, which is a creature that can only be away from water temporarily - it seemed very similar; essentially an environmental restriction, but for cold weather instead of being aquatically-bound. I think Paizo just figures, and I agree, that players won't play Nordinvulk if the game isn't set in a northern region.

The armor restriction is similar - only -1pt because it is possible to play lots of classes which do not wear medium or heavy armor. Again, it may seem like a big restriction, but it is possible to get around, and Paizo puts those in the -1pt category.

One big difference with the Orc is that the Nordinvulk do not have a third attribute penalty. They also get two free Feats at character creation (Imp. Unarmed and Toughness) and those are 10pts right there of difference.

The Half-Ogre comparison might be helpful. Compared to the Nordinvulk, Half-Ogres lack the resistance 5 against Cold, the 2 starting Feats, the bite and claw attacks, the swim speed and +8 bonus to swim, and Ferocity. That's a lot of difference, and the armor restriction and heat sensitivity just don't balance it out.

In line with the concept, I think I would make them Large-sized (+4 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -1 attack and AC, +1 CMB and CMD, -4 Stealth, upgraded weapon damage), remove the free starting Feats, remove the cold resistance, remove the swim speed and just give them a +2 bonus to Intimidate and Swim checks (2pts), keep the claws and the bite attacks, remove Ferocity, drop the armor restriction, keep heat sensitivity, and give them a +1 LA if a player wants to play one. Something like this:

Large-sized humanoid
+2 Strength on top of that (+6 total)
+2 racial bonus to Intimidate and Swim
Bite dealing 1d6 and 2 claw attacks dealing 1d6 (same as the polar bear, no Grab ability)
Cold adapted - move their 'comfortable' temperature range down 30 degrees or so before they risk subdual damage
Level adjustment +1

I'd also have a "monster" version with a few HD, some armor and a nice big weapon for PCs to encounter

If they are created as a Medium-sized player-character race, I think they might lose their huge-ness and polar-bear-ness.

I also think that, while an individual DM might say it is ok to play unusual races at their table, I don't think we should assume that in a published Pathfinder product. As much as possible, I think we should try to be "in line" with the other things Paizo is doing. Whatever we publish, when you run the DGA, you can have all the vampire-PCs you want :) But I'd like a very picky, balance-oriented DM to be able to "drag and drop" the Nordinvulk right into their game without worrying about one PC outshining the others in fights.

What I'm concerned with is if our products aren't balanced with other Pathfinder products, they're a lot less likely to do things like mention us and support what we're doing (and we might not get listed on the D20PFSRD, etc.). Hence, I've sort of turned into the Paizo-point accountant for our new race builds. Alas.

And you are doing a good job of it!!

I have a feeling I'm not going to win this debate, am I? Haha. The old argument orginality VS profitablity. Admittedly, I'm not as familiar with Paizo's inter-promotional policies for worlds and characters based upon their core rules but from my D&D experience I know that sometimes the more unique and interesting a setting is the better off it will be as long as it's a complete setting.(Krynn and Athas come to mind) Meaning that supplements are fine with stronger baddies and races stronger than core races in them as long as the world's power level is clearly defined. I also know that sometimes none of that matters (Like Eberron which had alot of variety but maybe four people liked) and that some people will still play a plain old dwarf no matter what else is available because that's what they like. My friend Doug is like that. You can pretty much be anything you want in the campaigns that I've played in with him, none of which I actually DMed but he still plays a regular old human every time. I mean can you at least try and role-play geez.

Anyway, so I guess what I'm saying is I'm probably not going to be able to see the Nordinvulk in all their comceptual glory the way I want them untill the Frozen North DGA supplement comes out or as a foot note in the Monster Manual under Ursidians. LOL

On to this dilemna.

*Large Sized (not sure how many points that costs since its a variety of stuff)
(+4 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -1 attack and AC, +1 CMB and CMD, -4 Stealth, upgraded weapon damage), (would powerful build be cheaper?)

*+2 Str, -2 Chr (2pts?)

*2 Claw attacks at 1d6 and 1 bite at 1d4 (8pts?)

*ER 5 vs Cold (2 pts according to voodoo Mike when he discusses the EYolf the wild Commoner's Chelonei half way down the page and mentions Fire and Cold resistance) (2pts)


*Low Light Vision (1pt)

*Natural Swimmer - Swim is always a class skill for Nordinvulk and they have a base swim speed of 20 ft. They also receive a +4 Racial bonus on Swim checks. (polar bears are known above all of the other bears for being swimmers so it makes sense they actually have a swim rate.) (Again under the same Chelonei he discusses Swim) (4pts)

*Heat Sensitivity - Again I think this is more of a penalty for a PC than having a water preference since the merfolk guy can just hang out in a bathtub of water for a few hours and be good to go whereas the Nordinvulk are actually fatigued and exhausted (with all of the penalties) when the temperature is over 55 degrees and unless he is in a tavern with some magically created AC (air conditioning) he is prety much in deep doodoo. I mean the reduced movement alone is (-4pts) and massive ability penalties (-6 to Str and Dex) would be even more. So we will just have to agree to disagree on this one. (-4 at least)

-2 Diplomacy, Persuasion, Gather Information, Bluff (-4 pts)

LA +1
Total 15pts?

What's missing?
I can see your point on losing the free feats like Toughness and Unarmed Strike even though as a role-playing story concept i think they should have them. Same thing with the armor and weapon restrictions. I guess i can always just say in the description that a "typical" Nordinvulk would rather fight with his claws and little to no armor because it makes him more "Manly" in the eyes of Nordinvulk chicks but if there are some PCs who want to be oddballs and rock out with a two handed Large Greatsword than that's their perogative. And i figured if their strength is pretty high (+6 is pretty high) then they won't really need an additional bonus to skills that depend upon stength. So a NPC with a LA+1 or a PC with a LA+1. Now an entry in the DGA Monster Manual will be a beast and I will use every sneaky little trick I can think of, within the rules, to make him badass. :o)

Also look at the 3rd edition stats for the Dark Sun Muls, they have some interesting things I thought about adding like Subdual Damage Resistance 1/- and Tireless. All in all with their other goodies (+4 Str, +2 Con, -2 Chr) they were +1 LA. Not sure what Paizo has done to them with 3.5 edition since they took over Dark Sun. Also looked at the Half Giant from Athas too and he was like +3 LA and 10 feet tall!! A little too big. LOL


I'm not worried about win/lose; I just want things to be as good as possible, and I think you and I just have different design styles. For example, if I came across a setting where one starting race was a lot stronger than the others, I'd be inclined to put it down or house rule the race because I like an inexperienced player who knows nothing of min-maxing not to be overshadowed by the guy who knows to be X race and X class because they have these killer ability combinations, you know? It sounds like you just enjoy a slightly different kind of game, where the DM works harder to balance things, and the players might be more experienced. (I also think that Eberron is the best D&D setting ever published...:)

I would still change the heat sensitivity and just move their tolerances 30 or so degrees down. We agree to disagree on how many points it is worth - I'm just thinking that the heat sensitivity either won't matter at all (you're playing inthe north) or I would never play a Beordinvulk (if the game will move south, I wouldn't want to spend most of my time fatigued and exhausted) if that makes any sense.

If you're going to penalize all social skills, I'd just make that a further -2 to Charisma. It seems more direct and simpler.

Good find on elemental resistance - I was wondering about that with my Lupine build.

Here's my riposte :)

*Large Sized (not sure how many points that costs since its a variety of stuff)
(+4 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -1 attack and AC, +1 CMB and CMD, -4 Stealth, upgraded weapon damage, reach 5')
-->I'm not sure about the point cost of being large. You deal a lot more damage, but you also have to squeeze through every doorway, and can't sit on normal chairs, etc. We'd need to figure this out - maybe just ask on the forums, and definitely playtest
(Unknown point adjustment - maybe LA+1)

*+2 Str, -4 Chr (-4pts)

*2 Claw attacks at 1d6 and 1 bite at 1d4 (8pts)

*ER 5 vs Cold (2 pts according to voodoo Mike when he discusses the EYolf the wild Commoner's Chelonei half way down the page and mentions Fire and Cold resistance) (2pts)


*Low Light Vision (1pt)

*Natural Swimmer - Swim is always a class skill for Nordinvulk and they have a base swim speed of 20 ft. They also receive a +4 Racial bonus on Swim checks. (polar bears are known above all of the other bears for being swimmers so it makes sense they actually have a swim rate.) (Again under the same Chelonei he discusses Swim) (4pts)

*Heat Sensitivity - Nordinvulk's comfortable temperature range is reduced by 30 points compared to Humans - "very hot" becomes 60 degrees and "very cold" becomes 10 degrees (not to mention cold resistance)


LA +1, possibly LA +2 based on being Large (compare to Hobgoblins LA+1)
Total 11pts with unknown points for being Large

Here's what the author of the point system (VoodooMike) said about Large-size races:

"You're getting into super-iffy territory if you leave the normal size ranges. Again, this guide was about making core-balanced races, not trying to do a new Savage Species fiasco list. Smaller than size small, or larger than size medium, and you're starting to seriously shift game play in abnormal ways.

In summary - invent your own cost. I'm not even going to speculate when it comes to out-in-left-field race traits, such as things that affect space and reach in a constant and significant fashion. I would just say "no" to anything like that, regardless of how it was supposedly balanced."

We will probably just have to playtest this race in a party to find out how it works. I would need to see it in play, anyway, to know whether a player playing a Human Fighter and a player playing a Nordinvulk Fighter are having similar amounts of fun. If the Nordinvulk Figher, taking LA into account, just slaughters the Human Fighter every time, that's broken and I'd want to change it.

Here's one thing - create a level 2 Human Fighter and a level 1 Nordinvulk Fighter and compare.

Anyway, pong's in your court :)

Playing Styles

haha I'm giving you two now!

I agree we both have different design styles but i think that's a good thing since it ensures there is enough variety in the DGA for everyone's tastes. I'm used to playing mid to higher level campaigns (8th-15th) but have played 1st level guys too, with really nasty monsters that will either squish you within about five minutes, enslave you, or make you feel uncomfortable for a few days, so long life expectancy was never assured when we played unless we made sure we carefully chose the best things for our characters to use and the best course of action to take (we were a role-play heavy campaign). Now that might seem like min/maxing but it isn't. We were all role-players first and with the exeption of Doug (the human-phile I mentioned before) the rest of us tried our best to pick races or classes we knew we were in for a long night of serious role-playing challenges. And it was cool because our DM let us make that choice for ourselves we only had to rationalize a particular "monster" or oddball race or class in the pretext of the world. SO we had 1/2 dragons, fallen Plantetars, humans (Doug), dwarves that refused to use axes or hammers, Kender, doppleganger experts, teiflings, aasimars, mummies, orcs, were-panthers, etc and all of them PC characters at some point. And it wasn't difficult for the DM because the world we lived in (Netherworld) was just as varied and dangerous as the things we played and just as rich because of it since each of us had to create a backstory for those oddball characters, which I'm not sure if you'd noticed yet but I am definitely all about the backstory. :o)

I also used to drive him crazy because I'm the NPC maker and what I mean is if there is a town on the map then i'm going there. If there is a part of the amp that isn't drawn yet, I'm gettign in a boat and going there. If there is a guy with a green hat in the tavern then I' going to talk to him. I am the "complete every side quest in the game" guy and it used to drive him nuts because he would spend so much time making these great NPCs and I would completely ignore them to talk to the town crazy person for twenty minutes forcing the DM to add some kind of plot relevant event tied to him. I like keeping the DMs on their toes. I guess what my really long winded point is players know what they like and I beleive in offering them the most choices. If they want to play stronger PCs then let them choose don't say you can't play this or that because it is stronger than a core race or worry about that one player who wants to play a human and everyone else wants to be Draconians. Well no one forced him to be human in a party of scaley folk so the other players shouldn't miss out just because of one person. If I was making a core book I would list all of the races, strong and weak so they were all in the same place. Just make a note that it is the responsiblity of the players to decide, and the Dm, what kind of campaign he wants to run. Hell even seperate them into campaign levels. (There's and Idea)

These PC Races +1 LA and are meant for Colder Climate based Campaigns of the Frozen North.
These PC Races are similar in power to the Core Races in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook

I don't know somethign like that.

Boing!!! Volley

Hmmm I think he's getting closer to something I can be satisfied with. I know I can hear your sigh of relief from here LOL.

Anyway I made a 2nd level human fighter and a 1st level Nordinvulk fighter and am adding their stats to this post so you can make your own decision on who would win the fight. Now the rules for this encoutner were simple. I started both PCs with base 10s for all of the their ability scores befroe adding their individual racial templates (humans +2 to any ability and the Nordinvulk's massive +6 Str, +2 Con, -2 Dex, -4 Chr). then i made them both generic fighters and picked feats that I think would be good things for a human fighter to have at 2nd level and those that fall in line with the "typical" Nordinvulk at 1st level. And I gave them both the same starting equipment. This is what they look like. H = Human, N = Nordinvulk

Johnny Genericius            Yogi the Beorinvulk
Size/Type: H Medium/Human          N Large (Tall)/Nordinvulk
Hit Dice: H 2d10+0 (24 hp)          N1d10+1 (11 hp)
Initiative: H +4          N-1
Speed: H 30ft          N30ft/20ft Swim
Armor Class: H 12 (10 + 2 (leather armor)          N 10 (10 +2 [leather] -1 Dex, -1 Size)
Touch H 10 (10)          N 8 (10 -1 Dex, -1 Size)
Flatfooted H 12 (10+2leather armor)          N 10 (10 +2 leather, -1 Dex, -1 Size)
Base: H +2          N +1
Attack/CMB/CMD:H +3/+3/+13           N +4+5+14 (-1 size)
Attack: H +4 Long spear (1d8+1)           N +3 Claw (1d6+3) -2 Bite (1d4+3)
Full Attack: H +4 Long spear (1d8+1)           N +3 Claw (1d6+3) x2 Or -2 Bite (1d4+3) or Large Long Spear +3 (2d6+4)
Space/Reach: H 5x5          N 10x10 (Tall)
Special Attacks: H none          N none
Special Qualities: H-Human traits           N ER 5 vs Cold, Natural Swimmer, Low Light Vision, Heat Sensitive
Saves: H+3 Fort, +0 Ref, +0 Will          N +3 Fort, -1 Ref, +0 Will
Abilities: H12Str, 10Dex, 10Con, 10Int,           N 16Str, 8Dex, 12Con, 10Int,10Wis, 6Chr
10Wis, 10Chr        
Skills: H-Perception +1, Acrobatics +1        N Climb +3, Jump+3, Swim +8, Spot +2
Feats: H-Improved Initiative,      N Improved Unarmed Strike, Endurance
Weapon Focus (Long Spear),
Defensive Combat Training, Toughness
Environment: H Any          N Cold
Organization: H Solitary or in Group         N Solitary or in Group
Challenge Rating: 2           N 1
Treasure: H skulls           N Picnic baskets, honey pot
Alignment: H neutral           N neutral
Advancement:H As class          N As class
Level Adjustment:H -           N +1

Ok so, looking at what came up let's compare.

*Initiative Edge Human +4 (with feat +0 without) vs -1 Nordinvulk.. When fighting a humanoid polar bear it's definitely a better idea to go first, this way you can run if you need to.

*AC Edge Human 12 vs Nordinvulk 10. Both of them in leather armor doesn't make much difference becasue its bonus is so low but the -2 Dex still hurts the Bear.

*Damage modifiers Edge Nordinvulk +3 vs Human +1. doing a minumum of 4 points of damage at 1st level is big since it's half the hit points of your opponents even if they are fighters or barbarians and one swing would spell doom for mages. But by 2nd level ehh not so much for the melee classes to worry about.

*Weapon Damage Edge Nordinvulk Large Long Spear 2d6+3 vs Human Long Spear 1d8+1. Yeah this will hurt if it hits since his damage range with this tree trunk is 5-15 pts compared to the Human's 2-9 pts. that's painful at any level. Now if the Nordinvulk is only using his claws it still going to be painful against a lower level opponent (4-9pts) but closer to what the human is doing with his spear than an actual large weapon in Yogi's hands. Imagine a Large two handed greatsword at 1st level (3d6+4 or 7-22pts!) That's gonna leave a mark.

*Attack Modifier Edge Human +4 vs Nordinvulk +3. Weapon focus feat at 1st level is a good choice right off the bat so you don't have to worry about it later on and lets the puny human hit the big bad bear more often then he hits back which a good thing. And in this case a very, very good thing. :o)

*Miscellaneous Edge Human - Human fighters by second level can go first more often (much better Intiative), hit more often thanks to their better attack modifier, have better armor class thanks to defensive combat training feat and no Dex penalty, can kill the Nordinvulk in two hits on an average damage roll (5-6 each hit), and can run away since he's going to go first more of the time.

Now if they were both first level the human would be a warm meal for Yogi so I'm not sure what the facts mean in the context of the rules. And the Nordinvulk's other goodies (ER, Heat Sensitivity, Low Light Vision, etc) were completely non entities.

IMHO I think the bear is still going to get beat up. :o(

So take it away Robo!

PS God I hate Html!

Fork this

Huh. Looks like at starting level, the Human isn't as squished as I'd though. I think that LA +1 is reasonable for what we have as the most recent write-up, with one change - the base reach for the Nordinvulk should be 5'. If their base reach is 10', they'll get an attack of opportunity ever time a smaller creature moves past them or closes with them in melee combat, and that's a *huge* advantage that not all Large creatures have (some have reach 10 and some have reach 5).

That way our intrepid ursine-killing Human doesn't need a longspear to fight it on even terms :). With reach reduced to 5' it helps make the higher damage less devastating.

Again, I'd want to see, or hear about, the race in a playtest. I've actually never worked on balancing a Large player race before, so this has definitely been interesting. Thanks for all the effort of statting out the two combatants!

There is also another balancing factor to consider, even though Pathfinder and D20 are tactical combat games at their core - the Human is going to win friends and influence people a lot more easily compared to the -4Cha bear.

I say slap on the most recent version of the racial traits, keep the LA+1, and stick a fork in this one, pending playtesting. I think it's as good as we can make it for now, anyway.

So, looks like probably some

So, looks like probably some natural armor bonus, claw and teeth attacks, and a rage ability, maybe cold resistsance. Now the question is - are these aimed at PCs, or are they more an NPC type with "monster" hit dice and racial abilities, with a few of them going on to train as Barbarians?
For example, in the D20 SRD the polar bear has 8 (!) hit dice, making it imposing indeed. Maybe these could even be large-sized humanoids, real heavy-hitters, with a level adjustment?

Anyway, in case it inspires you further, there is the SRD on Polar Bears


Otherwise, I like these and look forward to what you'll add.


Some other racial templates.

Not sure if this will help our efforts for making stuff but its a page with most of the D&D races and their level adjustments for 3.5 edition in one place. Interesting just for a reference.