The underfolk are descendants of bands of humans who chose--or were forced--to live in caves and twisting passageways of the underground world. Over generations, these humans adapted to this strange world, filled with natural wonders and dangerous creatures. SOme underfolk societies have not ventured to the surface n generations, and others have forgotten their true origins altogether. However, those who live close to the caves that give entry to the underground realms make occasional forays to the surface and even engage in limited trade with surface dwelling humans.
Underfolk are simple, clannish people dedicated to their homes and the safety of their race. Because of the multite of evil and predatory races and creatures in the caves and tunnels they call home, underfolk have become quick, stealthy, and survival-oriented. Although rather primitive and rustic when it comes to technology, underfolk make up for this lack with a superior knowledge of how to survive beneath ground, although even they avoid the deepest depths of the subterranean realms.
Underfolk Racial Traits Edit
- Humanoid (human): underfolk are humanoid creatures with the human subtype.
- Medium: As medium creatures, underfolk have no special bonuses or penalties due to size.
- Underfolk base land speed is 30 feet.
- Darkvision: underfolk can see in the dark out to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and underfolk can function just fine with no light at all.
- +4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level, since underfolk (like their human ancestors) are versatile and capable. (the 4 skill points at 1st level are added on as a bonus, not multiplied in.)
- +2 racial bonus on Listen checks: living as underground hunters for generations has given underfolk keen hearing.
- Weapon Familiarity: Underfolk treat light and heavy picks as simple weapons rather than martial weapons.
- Camouflage (Ex): Underfolk can change their skin coloration at will to mimic the surrounding terrain, giving them a +4 racial bonus on hide checks. In rocky terrain, this bonus increases to +10. This ability works even if an underfolk is viewed with darkvision, although true seeing negates the bonus.
- Light Sensitivity (Ex): Underfolk are dazzled in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
- Automatic language: Common
- Bonus Languages: Drow, Dwarven, Gnome, Goblin, and Orc. Underfolk mingle with subterranean races and learn their languages to facilitate interaction..
- Favored Class: Any
Underfolk are insular and focused on their tribe's well-being. They can be mildly xenophobic and suspicious of strangers, although they become deeply loyal to those who are true to their word and prove their worth. While not as bound to their grudges as dwarves are, underfolk nevertheless take oaths very seriously and immediately sever ties with any being who lies or otherwise deceives them.
Underfolk maintain a deep spiritual connection with their home and have come to understand the subtle rhythms of its seasons. They delight in the natural beauty of underground caves, warrens, and grottos, and do their best to keep them from harm. Underfolk have a rich oral tradition and fill their speech with allegories, oaths, and hyperbolic statements. Unlike those of dwarves, who share a similar custom, underfolk stories are poetic and rather dreamlike in quality.
Singing is a favorite pastime among underfolk, and every individual knows a litany of tunes.
Physical Description Edit
Underfolk are both short and slight, with builds similar to elves, they typically stand between 5 and 5-1/2 feet tall weighing 100 to 150 pounds. Their eyes and ears are prportionally larger than those of humans, having evolved to enable underfolk to see in pitch blackness and make out the quietest sounds. Underfolk have thick body hair to keep them warm in the chill of their tunnels, and they wear their typically black or silvery-white tresses long.
Underfolk depend for survival on their ability to blend into the surrounding terrain. Their skin has evolved special pigmentation that can mimic the various rocky hues found in the underground, allowing them to seemingly disappear into a nearby wall.
Underfolk prefer to keep to themselves, although of necessity tribes try to build goodwill with friendlier races that live nearby. Underfolk who live close to the surface have contact with humans, halflings, and the occasional elf society, and serve as guides for those who want to plumb the depths of the underground realms. However, they are shy and suspicious when dealing with surface dwellers. Underfolk are decidedly neutral when dealing with dwarves, because this stout race views underfolk as primitive and barbaric. Those dwarves who over look this prejudice find a kind of people who simply want to be left alone. In turn, underfolk occasionally provide aid to dwarves when needed, especially when their mutual assistance is needed to find against their common foes--drow, orcs, and the like.
Underfolk are the target of drow, svirfneblin, and kuo-toa aggression, and they do their best to avoid contact with these races. However, as hunter-gatherers, underfolk commonly have to enter their enemies' territory to find enough food to survive. Also, due to their relative closeness to the surface, underfolk come into hostile contact with orcs, who have need of the same caves the underfolk inhabit.
Concerned primarily with their own survival, and the well-being of the tribe, underfolk remain neutral with a slight tendency toward good or lawfulness. Chaotic underfolk are not common, but are typicaly relegated to the outskirts of society rather than driven out entirely, since the tribe's welfare depends on every individual's efforts. On occasion, underfolk tribes that love in close contact with drow or deep gnomes have fallen to evil, after centuries of warfare, depression, and cynicism have worn down their sense of justice and hope.
Underfolk Lands Edit
Underfolk live in the "shallowest" regions of the underground, within a mile or so of the surface. Tribes live in the same territory as orcs, goblins, drow, and other subterranean dwellers, but do their best to remain unnoticed. Most underfolk tribes number between fifty and one hundred individuals, although larger tribes exist, including at least a few "cities" of nearly a thousand people. Underfolk tribes with a militaristic bent make forays into orc and goblin warrens, in an effort to drive those creatures out of areas they want to claim for themselves.
Underfolk are deeply spiritual and connected closely with the natural world. Some tribes brought the memories of the "surface gods" with them, especialy Obad-Hai. Tribes in close contact with dwarves or gnomes show a healthy respect for Moradin or Garl Glittergold
Underfolk live close enough to the surface that they still speak a heavily accented version of Common, with each tribe infusing its speech with phrases from Dwarven, Gnome, or other languages of nearby races. Underfolk learn to speak these languages as well, and they find Undercommon especially useful. Few underfolk bother to learn how to read, and those who do use Dwarven script rather than Common.
Underfolk names were originally human but have evolved over generations of isolation from humans and the influx of words from subterranean races. The few linguists who have studied the simple and gutteral underfolk names see connections with surface cultures that died out long ago.
Male Names: Baroo, Gungir, Hoornoo, Mettar, Narar, Turungo
Female Names: Ahmpa, Bethera, Halla, Noola, Tooloo, Vema
Hardy, Self-reliant, and fierce in battle, underfolk commonly become barbarians or rangers. Because of their tie to the natural world, underfolk spellcasters are druids or clerics, although wizards and sorcerers exist among tribes in close contact with gnomes. Their rich oral history and love of song make bards a common sight among the underfolk, acting as liaisons and diplimats between far-flung tribes. Rogues are uncommon, but they excel in the darkness, slinking among the stones with quiet grace. Paladin and monk underfolk are exceedingly rare