The Races of Purgatorio
The races found within Paradigm are more or less allied with one another in their pursuit for Paradisio.
Note that the term “humanity” may not refer to humans in particular, but references all of theses races that rose from the Pits as a whole.
The following races are assumed within Purgatorio’s default setting. If a player were to play a race not listed, the DM will fill out a section on the race’s basic position within the civilized world.
Aarakocra resemble their regular physiology, yet have descended directly from the primordial king Pazuzu, one of the most ancient and powerful demons found within the Pit. Pazuzu’s name is forbidden to speak within Aarakocra culture, as speaking his name thrice is said to sell one’s soul to a life of servitude to the ancient lord in exchange for a warped wish. Instead, he is referred to as “The Raptor” when he must be called something. While that legend has never been confirmed, those who claim to be witness to Pazuzu’s invocation are hesitant to recollect the horrors they’ve seen.
Aasimar resemble their Tiefling bretheren in the sense that they were created to serve an age-long purpose. While Tieflings careful stand watch over the borders of life and death, Aasimar are charge with the two individual realms, protecting life and death individually. This sacred mission was bestowed by Hel, the primordial of life and death, before her death eons ago. Aasimar who protected life helped to nurture and grow, becoming one of the major contributors of Paradigm’s wealth and success, and Aasimar of death ensured those who had passed on rested peacefully, be it through sacred funeral rites or delivering death to those who mingle too long in the realm of the living. Their alliance with Tieflings came early as they realized their destinies were intertwined, woven together in the fabric of destiny.
While Hel has been gone for countless centuries, the Aasimar remain in high spirits, as they feel the blood of Hel trickling within them, crashing and flowing within their bodies like a storm of passion. They differ with their brethren on the topic of Revenants, however, as A Revenant is a heretical child of two worlds that should never touch one another.
Dragonborn are believed to be products of the dragon goddess Tiamat, a primordial dragon who writhed within the Pits. Her greed and malice was unmatched, with the Dragonborn being unexpected results of her and her many dragon consorts.
Dragonborn fall naturally into the class of adventurer due to their strength, resilience, and natural charisma. Those suited to less hazardous lifestyles make accomplished merchants, owing to their cursed bloodline.
Dwarves were the products of the three master smiths Goibbne, Credne, and Luchtaine for reasons lost to the annals of history. Luchtaine, master carpenter, forged the bones and sculpted the flesh of Dwarves from the legendary Ironwood, for a Dwarf must have the strength and resolve to persevere. Credne, master silversmith, forged the lustrous form of the Dwarven cunning, as a Dwarf’s unfettered mind must steer their strength, lest it be unguided and purposeless. Finally, Goibbne, master of the forge, crafted the aspects of a Dwarf together into a united form, shaped by the bellows of destiny. With it, the sparks of passion burn brightly within the Dwarf, as a Dwarf is to burn away to achieve purpose and perfection.
Dwarves inhabited the Pits as mindless machinations for an untold time, their fates condemned to stagnation due to being cast from Purgatorio by their creators. As the Key fell in its radiance, Dwarves were blessed with noble blood and reignited with passion and destiny. The tales of their glamorous heritage steer Dwarves into many artisan professions in homage of their creators, but no matter what they choose as their life’s work, Dwarves are infinitely motivated in their pursuit of perfection. In their quest for immaculate form, does it not make sense to emulate the perfection that had crafted oneself? But what had made that perfection Dwarves strive to be? In the world of Purgatorio, gods forged humanity, but who had forged the gods?
Dwarves share a natural affinity with the Goliaths and the Genasi, all being of a race born of the earth. Their culture is otherwise fairly resemblance to humans in a western European/Anglo-Saxon form.
From the Pits grasped the ever-present hands of darkness. Strangling the life out of everything they touched, the world was destined to whimper in the blackness of hell forever. Then, from the heavens, her radiance Amaterasu came forth to drive the shadows away. Her war was waged for eons, fighting the forces of darkness in solitude, until a primordial demon sundered her armor and took from her her left arm. Disadvantaged and tainted with the shadow’s plague, she retreated from battle, but from her boiling blood sprung forth the first of elvenkind. Fueled by their goddess’s fiery blood, elves charged into battle mere moments after rising from the blood. At first they knew not even what they fought for, but in their hearts, they felt their goddess’s blazing passion, and for elves, that was enough.
The elves have proven to be dedicated allies of humanity, as they naturally oppose the forces of darkness. Their long-lived nature and increased intellect see to elves in many positions of authority and respect. Even the elves born from the tainted blood share the passion and talents, although due to their cursed lineage, they are more willing to waver from their duties. Regardless, elves of all kinds inherit Amaterasu’s passion for all things. To elves, without passion, there is no life. Sadly, they possess Amaterasu’s fierce independence, leaving many elves to be arrogant, ignorant, or unmoving in their ways.
Elves have an oriental aesthetic to them, focusing on but not exclusive to Japan and China.
Genasi are different from other races in that they are products of raw elemental energies given mortal form. Their heritage is one of an arcane nature, not divine, so their origin is of a strange source of magic humanity is not yet able to understand fully.
Genasi legends state of the polygamous relationship between the four elemental primordials: Akadi of air, Grumbar of earth, Istishia of water, and Kossuth of fire. Through their individual efforts, raw elements came to be, and through their passionate relations came the elements between. Their love created nature, and from nature came the Genasi.
The Genasi honor their heritage from their heart. Their culture is one of art and passion for nature and everything born from it.
Above the skies lay the heavens, and within the heavens rest the Zorja, twin goddesses of the stars. Dressed in auroral garb and blessed with eternal beauty, they are charged with forever watching over the dreaded hound of doomsday, Simargl. The hound had been chained to Polaris, the North Star, and if he ever slipped free of his bonds, he would devour the stars and end the universe.
The Zorja had also been tasked with assisting their father, Dazbog, as he rode the sunlight chariot across the sky. One sister opens the gate for the chariot in the morning, and the other closes at night when the chariot returned. One day, Simargl tried to shake free of his bonds as the doors were being closed. One of the sisters had run to Polaris in a hurry to restrain him, bumping into constellations along the way. From these radiant bodies, the first Gnomes were born, fallen from grace and banished to the Pits.
Blessed with the knowledge and tales the Zorja had sung them as they lay dormant within the heavens, Gnomes utilized their cunning and skills to survive within the Pits for centuries. When the Key fell during the Notoria, they had been chosen for noble blood. Gnomes saw this as a sign that they were meant to return to the stars and once again shine alongside the Zorja.
Due to their long lived nature and ability to thrive within the Pits, Gnomes had somewhat cemented themselves in a position of seniority within Paradigm. Many turn to them for their valuable wisdom and insight, and although Gnomes are willing to cooperate with the races of humanity, they see themselves as above the others to a degree, mildly insulted to be depending on the efforts of races that were once vermin like humans and half-orcs. Gnomes live comfortably within Paradigm, yet many live in a far off settlement named after the star Simargl had been bound to till the end of time. Named Polaris, it is a wondrous city crafted by Gnomish ingenuity. Traveling between the two cities proves to be rare though, as the journey between the two towns is a grueling week-long struggle for one’s life due to the primordial demons that lurk within the Pits. The journey is almost always worth it, however, as most of humanity’s most advanced technology originates from Polaris, including vehicles and firearms.
Gnomes live in Polaris along with the refugee race of Illithids. They accept that they are born of the stars, but not wholeheartedly, as to think something lives beyond the realm of gods and goddesses is simply absurd.
Goliaths are said to have descended from the earth mother Jord (yord). She was of the Pit’s very stone and soil, and from her bosom the first Goliaths were lovingly sculpted, for a mother must have children to be whole.
After countless centuries, Jord has grown old and settled down to rest alongside a mountain in the mountain range Paradigm is located. From her chest springs forth a blessed oasis, a wound she obtained during her travels in the ruthless Pits. Goliath society has sprung up around her consisting of stone and adobe housing in the village known as Jordheim.
Goliaths enjoy comfort being close to their mother, yet rumors have begun to surface about Jord’s oasis. They say that when the waters stop flowing, Jord will pass on, leaving many conflicted about what to do about her eventual death and how Jordheim will be affected by the lack of water.
Goliaths resemble the Pueblo tribe of Native Americans aesthetically and live in both Paradigm and Jordheim.
As Elves and Humans came into cohabitation, the sparks of destiny and passion lit the fires of love within their hearts. From their nights of unending love came the Half-Elves, true personifications of the fires of life. Half-Elves are a new but dynamic breed, as varied as their parent races. Half-Elves are expected to be great, for what can the child of passion and destiny not take with their own two hands?
Orcs are descendants of the ancient being once called Grummsh, the one eyed warlord of the Pits. As he razed the lands, his unending rage fell like hellfire from his wounds, giving birth to the first orcs in the ashes of his enemies. These orcs were ravenous and lusted only for blood, passing along their blood through vile acts upon the lowly humans of the Pits whenever boredom set in. From their cruel sportings rose Half-Orcs, condemned to a life of slavery and neglect for their inferiority..
When the Key fell, the Half-Orcs were able to cast off their chains and rise to the peerage. Gruumsh and his forces fled from the radiance of the Key into the shadows, his location unknown to this day. Uniting with their fellow man, Half-Orcs carried their unfulfilled desire for revenge into the new age, swearing a silent but ever-present vow to slay Gruumsh for his crimes against them.
Half-Orcs do not deny their heritage, instead using their disdain as a culture to spur themselves into action. As Gruumsh was a vassal of war, so too are his bastard children, as many Half-Orcs harness their violent ancestry to become peerless soldiers and warlords. The ones that cannot hold onto such hatred instead turn to lives of peace, eager to run from their shameful past.
Humans did not descend from any particular demon or primordial. The earliest of humans were in fact lowly insects within the Pit. Scavengers and parasites, humans wallowed in their pitiable existence as the lowest creatures in existence, being worth less than dirt. Vile and stupid, they possessed no qualities to be chosen or ever deemed worthy to ascend to the warm light of Paradisio.
For this reason, it is unknown why the Key of Paradisio chose humans to rise from the Pits. Perhaps the events of the Notoria were predestined, written by some transcendental entity or law? Is their destiny written into the fabrics of the world? If so, how much of one’s fate, or even one’s will, can a man truly control?
Revenants are a race of few numbers, yet in the world of Purgatorio, unseen forces manipulate life and death in ways mortals cannot truly comprehend. A mortal that dies with its purpose unfulfilled or with the fires of revenge burning within their belly, they may rise once more to obtain their goals. These beings call themselves Revenants, for something within their new form grants them instinct. Revenants are social outcasts to all for the essence of their newfound nature. After all, what living creature would respect one who walks amongst the dead? The exception to this are the Tieflings, who grant them peerage for having cross the line of life and death not once, but twice. Their comrades in arms, the Aasimar, are the polar opposite. As they are charged with protecting the individual realms of life and death, Revenants are vile creatures of a heretical nature.
When Pazuzu created the first Aarakocra, the skies were his to control. With his newfound armies, he began a conquest like none had ever seen. His forces caught the eye of the goddess Morrigan, who envied to his his creations for her own purposes. She had the Aarakocra stolen and disfigured into her own image, but not before discovering the Aarakocra she had taken were cursed by Pazuzu to never fly again. These flightless avian humanoids were branded as the Tengu and left to rot within the Pits, as neither their father or mother had love to give them.
Many Tengu feel both kinship and jealousy for their fellow avians, as they are of the same origins yet have been robbed of the true blessing of Pazuzu’s infernal legacy.
As the Aasimar are charged with protecting life and death, Tieflings are faithful watchers of the border between the two worlds, blessed by the Undying Mother, Ereshkigal. Made in her image to stand guard over the realm of purgatory, Tieflings rose to the peerage during the Notoria and saw it as a blessing from their loving matron, enveloped in their ordained purpose. Ereshkigal rarely speaks to her children these days outside of the occasional public communion, yet Tieflings live with unprecedented confidence in their mother’s love. To where she has gone is unknown to Tiefling dismay.
Tiefling society is heavily based in Sumerian culture with an emphasis on their matron and her worship. Tieflings have an unwavering sense of duty and are fearless in the face of death, as they know their mother will love them no matter where they may destined to be. Ereshkigal’s children take after their mother, however, and easily give into lust and jealousy as she did when she tore her sister, Inanna, from her husband Nergal in her bridal bed and bled her like a pig.
Gnolls began as lowly beasts within the Pits, predator for small game and prey for larger creatures. They roamed within packs, being led by a single, massive alpha. When the Key to Paradisio fell into the Pits, a few of these packs were chosen by the Key to inherit noble blood. This eventually gave rise to civilized Gnolls living within Paradigm and roaming the flatlands around the area.
While most races have a strong tie to a demonic ancestor, Gnolls have no record of their history due to their bestial nature. This gave rise to some who see Gnolls as lesser creatures within society. These individuals question why Gnolls were chosen to inherit noble blood, but the Gnolls themselves don’t question it, mainly due to their short-sighted view on life.
Ability Score Improvement: +2 Str, +1 to Dex or Con
Age: Gnolls reach adulthood around 14 years old and live to an average of 55 years old.
Alignment: Usually chaotic or neutral
Natural Weapon: Bite: 1d4 piercing damage, finesse
Keen Senses: Adv on Perception checks relying on smell or hearing
Rampage: Bonus Action to move your speed and make a bite attack when you reduce a creature to 0 HP.
Sensitive Hearing: If you take thunder damage, you lose the hearing-based advantage of Keen Senses for 1 hour. If you are ever deafened, the length of time you are deafened for is doubled unless it is a spell effect that is ended voluntarily.
The Hexapoda are a race resembling giant insects in many forms, yet all share the basic traits of standing upright, possessing 4 arms, and sporting a natural exoskeleton. Preferring to nest underground or in massive organic structures called Hives, Hexapoda function as a society broken into well-coordinated subsystems, making for efficient and comfortable living for all individuals in the hive. Their methodical habits and calculating minds make for infamous and terrifying efficiency even when faced with the toughest tasks.
The Hexapoda did not rise from the darkness with the common races, yet have always been by their side. Their origin has been researched for centuries, yet always lead back to a being named Beelzebub. Called the Lord of the Flies and the Hand of Satan by the most ancient and treasured Hexapodal scripts, his presence seems to vanish at the start of the Notoria, leaving the Hexapoda to conclude that this being had died or been sealed somehow. While they live in lawful societies, the spark of chaos left by Beelzebub can be easily ignited in their hearts, leading some to reject the structured order of the Hive to revel in chaos.
Many of the major Hexapodan hives thrive within the very mountain range Paradigm is found in. The closest hive is Chit’al, consisting of complexes above and below the earth. Those that are farther away are connected through a massive network of tunnels under the soil. These underground passages guard one against the denizens of the Pits, yet exposes one to what lies under the Pits.
Ability Score Improvement: Your Constitution increases by 2
Age: Hexapoda live a slight longer than humans, reaching adulthood around 25 years old and living to an average of 90 years.
Alignment: Due to their rigid social structures, Hexapoda tend to be lawful or neutral at most.
Size: While their forms may vary greatly, they are generally of the same size category. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet
Darkvision: Accustomed to life in a Hive, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Multiple Arms: You possess four arms instead of two. These arms may not wield weapons or be used for attacks, but can be used to hold objects or interact with items.
Insectoid Skeleton: You have vulnerability to fire damage.
Hivemind:Living in a society with similar mindsets and common interests have linked you to a magical phenomenon called the Hivemind. You may cast Message at will to all Hexapoda within range with no somatic or material components. This Message can also convey emotions and desires.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Insecta, the language of Hexapoda. Insecta is a mixture of buzzes and clicks combined with body posture that Hexapoda utilized before the use of Common became prevalent in their societies. Most native Hexapoda do not speak Common, but individuals who undertake a study of some kind usually learn Common to utilize in their research.
Larval Evolution: Early in your life you were but a larva, but your genetic code shaped you into one of three major subraces of Hexapoda. Choose one of these evolutions.
Vespoidae are the backbone of any Hive. Resembling large ants or termites on all varieties, Vespoidae are powerful workers, capable of lifting objects several times their size. This evolution of Hexapoda effortlessly digs the tunnels and constructs the Hives all Hexapoda live in and are the most common of the three evolutions, although their physical appearance usually differ greatly depending on the Hive they were raised in.
Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity increases by 2.
Powerful Build: You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Worker’s Specialization: You gain one tool proficiency of your choice.
Vespoidae Nimbleness: You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.
Neopterid are the powerhouses of the Hexapoda, resembling massive, humanoid goliath or stag beetles with shining eyes that tower over even the tallest of the common races. Their exoskeletons are almost like iron and their second pair of arms have shrunk slightly in favor of massive primary arms. Conditioned from birth to be fierce warriors, Neopterids fill the role of the warrior caste in Hives, working diligently to protect the Hive and its residents from outside threats.
Ability Score Increase: Your Strength score increases by 2.
Hardened Exoskeleton: You gain a +1 bonus to your Armor Class.
Neopterid Horn: You are proficient with your horns, which are a melee weapon that deals 1d10 piercing damage. Your horns grant you advantage on all checks made to shove a creature, but not to avoid being shoved yourself.
Neopterid Might: When you use the Attack action during your turn to make a melee attack, you can attempt to shove a creature with your horns as a bonus action. You cannot use this shove attempt to knock a creature prone.
Rhopalocerids fulfill the leadership positions in Hives due to their increased intelligence and natural wisdom. While all resemble thin humanoids with large, multifaceted eyes, they differ from other Hexapoda due to their wings. Their wings range from extremely colorful and complex to simpler and duller colored, although the Rhopalocerids do not consider one better than the other. Rhopalocerids work in councils to coordinate the efforts of the Vespoidae and the Neopterids in the interests of the Hive.
Ability Score Increase: Your Wisdom score increases by 2.
Insectoid Wings: You have evolved large wings, which appear as either colorful with complex patterns or dull with simpler patterns with a collar of fuzz around your neck regardless of wing type. You gain a fly speed of 30 feet.
Natural Leadership: You gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill.
Educated: You gain one tool proficiency of your choice.
The illithids are said to have descended from the heavens as the Gnomes, yet from beings beyond the stars. Banished to the realm of Purgatorio by their fathers, Illithids lived lives of scholars and scientists of malice, as they were controlled by the masses of flesh and contempt known as Elder Brains. When the Key fell from the lands above, its divine aura stunned the nearby Elder Brains, leading to a small sect of Illithids to flee from its grasps. These refugees were chosen by the Key to inherit noble blood, earning them a chance to return to the stars above.
Children of the stars like the Gnomes, Illithids offer an unmatched intellect to those in need. They live long as the Gnomes and greatly enjoy their advanced intellect, yet have no true home. To this, the Gnomes have chosen to offer their home of Polaris to the Illithids, basking in stimulating debates and groundbreaking scientific review.
The Illithids do not reproduce normally, instead amassing massive breeding pools of larva to be inserted into humanoid hosts. The method for choosing humanoids to use has become one of precision and careful consideration, usually opting to use captured Pit demons or other vermin. They use these lesser creatures for stock as well, cultivating their numbers to feast on their intelligence as they rend their brains from their bodies. The Illithids have banned Gnomes from their breeding and feeding procedures out of respect, yet there are those who cannot resist the call of a more filling intelligence.
Ability Score Improvement: Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age: Illithids live about 400 years on average.
Alignment: Illithids must feed on the brains of intelligent creatures and may take pleasure in doing so, pushing them towards neutral or evil.
Size: Illithids stand well over 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed: You have a base walking speed of 30 feet.
Natural Psionics: You know the Message and Mage Hand cantrips, with the hand produced being invisible. Once you reach 3rd level, you gain the ability to cast Detect Thoughts. Your spellcasting modifier for this ability is Intelligence. You cast this spell innately, requiring no material components. Once you cast this spell, you can’t cast it again through this feature until you complete a short or long rest.
Mind Blast: You can send out a psionic blast in a 30-foot cone. Creatures within the cone must make an Intelligence saving throw with a DC of 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed save, a creature takes 1d8 plus your Intelligence modifier in psychic damage. This damage increases by 1d8 every five levels after 1st, to a maximum of 4d8 at 16th level. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
Intellect Devourer: If you are grappling an incapacitated creature that has a brain and has 0 hit points, you can use your action to kill the creature and extract its brain. If you go more than a week without devouring a fresh humanoid brain, you gain one level of exhaustion. You can subsist on lesser brains, but require ten times as many to sustain yourself.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Deep Speech.
Ability Score improvement: Your Constitution score increases by 2, and either your Strength or Intelligence score increases by 1.
Age: Warforged do not age, allowing them to live for centuries with proper maintenance
Alignment: Many Warforged operate under strict codes and lean towards lawful tendencies.
Size: A Warforged stands anywhere from 5 to 7 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed: You have a base walking speed of 30 feet.
Living Construct: Even though you were constructed, you are a living creature. You are immune to disease and poison damage. You do not need to eat or breathe, but you can ingest food and drink if you wish. Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
Armor Plating: When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your Constitution modifier.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write in Common and two other languages of your choice.