Sort of. Certanly there are a number of creatures in standard fantasy who show every sign of being the offspring of normally incompatible races-centaurs, chimeras, griffons, harpies, hippogriffs, medusas, minotaurs, and sphinxes, just to name a few. Unfortunately, as we shall see, very few of these are truly the spawn of arcane rituals. Unfortunately, the art in this book is actually pretty good.
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Sort of. Certanly there are a number of creatures in standard fantasy who show every sign of being the offspring of normally incompatible races-centaurs, chimeras, griffons, harpies, hippogriffs, medusas, minotaurs, and sphinxes, just to name a few. Unfortunately, as we shall see, very few of these are truly the spawn of arcane rituals. Unfortunately, the art in this book is actually pretty good. Introducing Crossbreeds into Your Campaign This section is actually pretty good. It offers pretty solid advice to the GM who is foolish enough to use this book.
It also reasonably suggests that you could use the half-breeds as a chance to open up new areas for the players to explore, like a land of the half-trolls or something. It then suggests that players could use the new half-breeds to develop their characters more: suddenly learning your dwarf has gargoyle blood in him, or that your elf is descended from a unicorn. This is the first hint of some of the things that follow, but this is reasonably good advice. Then the book reveals its true nature.
Mommy, where do half-dragons come from? This is, no shit, the title of the section. It starts by musing on why humans can breed with orcs and elves. He rambles on about elves and orcs until he finally gets to the point that if half-elves and half-orcs can exist, why not other halfbreeds? He then goes on to suggest that halflings and gnomes may be able to breed with goblins. Then he says that with magic, anything can breed.
What follows is also reasonable advice. Half-breeds will be received by society differently depending on their origins. The example given is that half-elves are generally well received because humans and elves not only look alike, but in many settings are allies. Half-orcs are viewed with less sympathy since they serve as reminders to darker times. Makes sense.
He then offers suggestions of half-breed campaigns, where all characters are half-breeds. For more "believable" situations, he suggests either a game where everyone is somehow related, or a post-apocalyptic setup. To my disappointment, he does not suggest that magic radiation creates them, but desperate wizards who wish to preserve their race. He also gives the first hint of his love of dwarves, which will soon become apparent. EDIT: I just love this picture.
The disappointment of the orc leader, the angry guy drinking angrily, the orc wracked with visions of a dark and eldritch future, the orc annoyed by the dancers antics and above all the bartender all make this into a realistic and touching portrayal of orc life. We are then offered some half-breed archetypes. Brooders : The way the book puts it is so much better than anything I could say about it.
No one ever lets it drop when you answer that things went wrong about the time you were born. I kinda like this one, especially in comparison to the ones right next to it. Gentle Giant : Of course. Heart of Hate : quote: You think of everything in hunting terms, from the acquisition of wealth to romance. Killer : They have an instinctual need to kill. Basically a Brooder, but worded to sound bdass.
Simpering Cur : Since you were born as a terrible monstrosity, you decided that maybe it was best to not to draw attention to yourself. The tentacled dude is a brooder. The dinosaur mount is a builder. Sorry, but this is giving me PKSD flashbacks.
Now is when the book gets a little crazy. For these dreamers, it is not enough to fly by means of spells or magic items - they must feel wind beneath their wings and clouds rushing through their feathers. Driven to take on winged form, many become druids or wizards, using wild shape or polymorph self to assume the shapes of giant eagles, traditional allies of mountain-based elven strongholds. For most of these sky-craving elves, an occasional journey on feathered wings is enough.
This second sort find a way to actually become giant eagles, taking up lives among the aeries of those magnificent creatures. Occasionally, unions between the two produce half-breed offspring.
Wait, what? Also, I keep getting an image of a Giant Eagle seeing what hatches and going " Holy shit what the fuck is this " and then there being a long, awkward discussion between the Eagle and their lover about their true nature. The child probably serves as a reminder to the former elf parent that they will never truly be eagles. No matter how caring the earthbound family, an aellar grows up knowing he is different and generally leaves home as soon as his wings are strong enough.
Appearance They look like taller elves with big eagle wings. They are darker skinned than other elves, and some have feathers instead of hair. The color of their hair and wings is complementary, and usually are roughly the same as eagle coloring. They have sharp features, hooked noses and thin faces, but no beaks. Because they need to stay light in order to fly, they often wear "minimal clothing of the thinnest possible material". Demeanor They are described as builders.
They want to have something last beyond their lifetime. In history, aellar are often artisans, professors, and some were powerful emperors. They tend to be chaotic good and chaotic neutral.
Evil aellar Sometimes knows as raptors, they often hunt wingless beings for sport, form raiding parties of winged monsters, and kidnap the most attractive potential mates from flightless races using experimental magic in hopes of turning them into aellar or similar creatures. Shoot for the stars! Adventurers Because they are misunderstood outcasts who only want to be free they make great adventurers. They get along great with druids and sorcerors, adding another reason that the Raptors are selling themselves short.
This is what Brooders actually believe. Even more rarely this love is returned, and a strained romance forms. Most common of all such mismatched pairings is the bond between unicorn and an elven ranger or druid. Such relationships are besieged by prejudice and awkwardness, but for truly dedicated lovers no barrier is too great to overcome. Each couple faces these challenges differently, but in some cases the solution results in offspring - the rare crossbreeds known as alicorns. I had to bold that entire paragraph.
Everything about it is terrible. And it only gets worse. Also called whitemanes or illear "golden-born" , alicorns are shy and unassuming in social settings thought many are firmly dedicated to the causes of freedom and right. They frequently do not lead happy lives, constantly struggling against bigotry as they try to make the world a better place.
Their ears are very long and pointed, sticking out horizontally. Their coloration is always pale, and they have rich manes of white, silver, or golden hair.
An alicorn has a small silver or gold nub on the forehead, generally no bigger than a thumbnail. Can it get any worse? Remember the underlined portion? Hahahaha, nerds. These dread individuals always have black or midnight blue skin, red eyes, and wild manes of white or purple hair. A dark alicorn has a solid black nub in his forehead, often in a ragged or pentagram shape.
They are often paladins. Now, if you were reading the book, imagine this, but for two whole pages. No, they were made during a siege upon halfling lands by trolls, and some druid asked her goddess for help. The offspring is always a blinkling, although some individuals have more pronounced canine features than others. When I first read this, I read it as "Blinklings are able to breed with other blinkdogs and halflings.
Blinklings are found both in halfling communities and blinkdog packs, where they serve as emissaries to other communities. I kind of like that, actually. Males grow shaggy facial hair that makes them look somewhat like terriers.
Most do not have fur over the majority of their bodies, but some have patches on their backs, hands, or feet. Females are slightly smaller and thinner, and almost never have excess hair. Their eyes are almost always a deep brown, but hair color ranges widely.
Blinkling hair is thick and wild, resisting all efforts to keep it combed or pinned up. Oh god. The next part. They enjoy simple pleasures, such as chasing games and hunting. Though they are energetic and always in motion, they never get bored even with repetitive activities, as long as they require a lot of moving about. Blinkdogs refer to blinklings as "eternal puppies", and the description is apt.
Blinklings are not good at activities that require long periods of quiet or concentration.
Bastards & Bloodlines: A Guidebook to Half-Breeds (PDF)
There are four prestige classes in the book, all only available to half-breed characters: And last but not least is the Spell Resistance. I also have a character that is going to start playing a Wyrd although we decided that the alternate Deimos sounded much better and I am not quite sure how to handle this. The artwork is outstanding through out most of the book. The magic items and spells revolve around racial abilities.