This game is about more than just meeting aliens—it’s also about playing alien characters. The word “race” usually refers to an intelligent, self-aware species whose members can be considered characters rather than simple monsters. While not all races are appropriate for player characters, many of them are; any creature with a racial traits entry is a member of a potentially playable race, provided that your GM approves it.
The following section introduces the core races—seven species so common as to be ubiquitous (or at least recognized) throughout the solar system. Remember that these are only the races most common—the system also contains many civilized but less prominent races.
Picking your race is one of the biggest choices in character creation, as once it’s made, it can’t be changed. In addition to its cultural flavor, each race comes with a set number of Hit Points that you get at 1st level, plus several other racial traits that modify your statistics or grant you additional abilities. The ability score modifiers are the most significant of these. These bonuses and penalties apply during the generation of your ability scores, and reflect your race’s natural aptitudes and disadvantages, such as vesk being stronger on average than the other races and ysoki being weaker. If you already know what class you want to play, it’s often a good idea to compare its key ability score to the ability score modifiers granted by the respective races when selecting your race, so you don’t accidentally end up with your racial adjustments to your ability scores making it difficult to play the type of character you want. Some races’ ability bonuses make them a perfect fit for certain classes, such as the vesk’s bonuses to Strength and Constitution, which make them natural soldiers. However, don’t be afraid to play against type if the idea excites you—every race presented here has members of every class within its society.
The myriad peoples of the universe speak a wide variety of languages, from the system-wide trade tongue called Common to obscure alien dialects and ancient languages from other planes of reality. Many worlds have a shared planetary language, most races speak a racial tongue, and all of the prevalent languages have both signed versions and written versions (including both visual and tactile writing).
A character begins play speaking and reading Common, her racial tongue (if any), and the language of her home planet (if any). She can also choose a number of bonus languages equal to her Intelligence bonus from the lists below. A character can learn the signed or tactile version of a language she knows, either as a bonus language or by putting a rank in the Culture skill. A character who begins play blind automatically knows the tactile versions of any languages she knows; a character who begins play deaf automatically knows the signed versions. An astonishing number of languages are spoken and not all are understandable or reproducible by other races without complex technology; some of the most commonly spoken tongues are presented below.
- Common, the most prevalent trade tongue, is believed to be based on one or more of the old human languages. The other most widespread languages (and their typical speakers) include the following.
- Lashunta (lashuntas)
- Kasatha (kasathas)
- Shirren (shirrens)
- Vesk (vesk)
- Ysoki (ysoki)
The following languages are somewhat less common, but they are often encountered by scholars, spellcasters, and those doing business on their speakers’ respective home worlds.
- Abyssal (demons, chaotic evil outsiders, inhabitants of the Abyss)
- Aquan (inhabitants of the Plane of Water)
- Auran (inhabitants of the Plane of Air)
- Celestial (angels, good outsiders, inhabitants of the good-aligned planes)
- Draconic (dragons, reptilian humanoids, Triaxian dragonkin)
- Drow (drow)
- Dwarven (dwarves)
- Elven (drow, elves, half-elves)
- Gnome (gnomes)
- Goblin (bugbears, goblins, hobgoblins)
- Halfling (halflings)
- Ignan (inhabitants of the Plane of Fire)
- Infernal (devils, lawful evil outsiders, inhabitants of Hell)
- Kalo (kalo)
- Orc (orcs, half-orcs)
- Sarcesian (sarcesians)
- Shobhad (shobhads)
- Terran (inhabitants of the Plane of Earth)
Table 3–1 suggests some basic ranges to help you determine your character’s height, weight, and age. While most characters fall somewhere in the middle of the range for their race, some exceptional individuals may be larger or smaller. Gender plays a significant role in the size and shape of some races, yet even for those races, you should feel free to build the character that feels right to you. Environmental factors can also play a role in determining your character’s size and shape—a character from a low-gravity environment is likely taller and thinner than average, while one raised on a high-gravity world might be shorter and more muscular due to the stresses placed on his body.
The age of maturity listed on the chart represents the age at which a member of a race is likely to be considered an adult. It is a generalization based on physical and cultural factors—individual cultures may vary. The maximum age listed includes an element of randomness to reflect the capriciousness of death, and it is the assumption for the race’s longevity without magical or technological intervention—with the right life-extension technology, individuals of all races can become nearly immortal.
In addition, most of the races presented here are Medium; they have a space and reach of 5 feet and a land speed of 30 feet per round. While the ysoki are Small, their space, reach, and land speed are those of Medium creatures.
Androids are Artificial creatures with both biological and mechanical elements, originally created by humanity as servants and now free to chart their own destiny among the stars.
Lashuntas are naturally gifted psychics, divided into two subraces: one tall and lean, the other short and powerful. Both are compelling to other races and dedicated to scholarship and self-perfection.
Found nearly anywhere, humans have spread far since the disappearance of their home world. They are known for their curiosity, tenacity, and adaptability.
Once part of a terrifying hive-mind that devoured all in its path, the insectile shirrens mutated and broke away to become independent but community-minded individuals addicted to the freedom of choice.
An ancient four-armed race from a distant star system, kasathas are staunch traditionalists with customs that make them seem wise and mysterious to other races.
Despite their sense of honor and their utility in combat, many races distrust the reptilian vesk due to their long-standing devotion to conquest and dominance.
Passionate and scrappy, the ratlike ysoki are experts at getting both into and out of trouble. They let their love of technology, exploration, and adventure carry them throughout the galaxy.
Reading the Race Entries
The following pages explain the rules for the core races.
Ability Adjustments: These are race-based adjustments to ability scores implemented during character creation. For instance, the ability adjustment for androids is +2 to Dexterity and Intelligence respectively, but –2 to Charisma.
Hit Points: These are the additional Hit Points you get from your race at 1st level.
Racial Traits: Each race lists the special abilities you get when playing a character of this race. You automatically get all of these—you don’t have to pick and choose.
Playing the Race: These notes offer a starting place for how you, as a character of this race, might interact with the world. Note that, as with other cultural details presented in the race entry, these are just suggestions based on a typical member of your race. Personalities vary, and your character might diverge wildly from the suggestions, especially if she was raised in a different culture or under unusual circumstances.
|Race||Avg. Height||Avg. Weight||Age of Maturity||Maximum Age|
|Android||5–7 ft.||100–200 lbs.||0 years||See text|
|Human||5–7 ft.||100–300 lbs.||18 years||80+2d20 years|
|Kasatha||6–7 ft.||120–200 lbs.||25 years||100+2d20 years|
|Lashunta||5–7 ft.||140–180 lbs.||20 years||80+2d20 years|
|Shirren||5–6 ft.||100–150 lbs.||5 years||50+1d20 years|
|Vesk||6–8 ft.||200–300 lbs.||16 years||70+1d20 years|
|Ysoki||3–4 ft.||60–100 lbs.||10 years||60+1d20 years|