Saga of the Northlands
In this campaign, instead of normal types such as aberration, magical beast, outsider, and the like, monster types consist of a body (describing the creature’s general shape and capabilities) and an origin (describing which of the Nine Worlds from whence the creature hails and some of its attendant traits).
Monsters come in three general varieties: folk, beasts, and spirits.
Folk are generally-humanoid creatures possessing intelligence, language, and possibly culture. They don’t tend to have great magical capabilities, though they are the only category of monster capable of taking class levels. The most common kind of folk are the Maðr (humans) of Midgard.
Folk who lack class levels possess the following features:
- 8-sided Hit Dice, rolled randomly: Folk are fairly hardy on the whole, but quite varied in their toughness.
- Base attack bonus equal to 1/2 total Hit Dice: Without combat training, folk have some difficulty standing up in a fight.
- Skill groups: any four. Folk are skilled and versatile, no two creatures entirely alike.
- Proficiencies: Folk can learn any proficiencies, but do not automatically possess any proficiencies beyond Master proficiency in the Region proficiency corresponding to their home region (for Maðr) or Expert proficiency in the Knowledge proficiency corresponding to their world of origin.
- Languages: Folk do not have racial languages; instead, they learn languages individually, or language groups via Region proficiencies.
- Folk breathe, eat, sleep, and age.
Beasts are nonhumanoid but still relatively “normal” (animalistic or partly animalistic) creatures that may or may not possess intelligence and language but are generally un-cultured. Most are nonmagical, but some have a handful of magical abilities. The most common kind of beast are the Dyr (normal animals) of Midgard.
All beasts possess the following features:
- 10-sided Hit Dice, all maximized: Nature is red in tooth and claw, and beasts must be very tough to survive.
- Base attack bonus equal to their total Hit Dice: All beasts are quite skilled with their natural weaponry
- Skill groups: Athletics and Perception, plus Survival; beasts of humanlike intelligence also gain access to either Empathy or Interaction. Beasts are concerned with getting along in the wilderness first and foremost, and the smarter ones are concerned about getting along with their fellow beasts as well.
- Proficiencies: Beasts can only learn Armor and Weapon proficiencies that apply to their natural weapons and any natural armor they may possess; beasts with humanlike intelligence can learn Region proficiencies beyond the one applying to their native region, but do not learn any languages when doing so. Beasts automatically possess Basic proficiency with all applicable Armor and Weapon proficiencies, Expert proficiency with Nature, and either Expert Geography and Master proficiency in the Region proficiency corresponding to their home region for beasts native to Midgard or Expert proficiency with the Knowledge proficiency relevant to their world of origin; beasts with humanlike intelligence can train these proficiencies further, but beasts with animal intelligence cannot.
- Languages: Every beast with humanlike intelligence possesses its own racial language, and can learn individual human or beast languages (but not human language groups) as normal. Beasts without humanlike intelligence have no language of their own and cannot learn any languages by any means.
- Beasts breathe, eat, sleep, and age.
- Bestial Toughness (Ex): Beasts increase their wound threshold by +2, and beasts of size Small or larger with natural armor improve their natural armor bonus by +1 for each size category they are above Tiny.
Spirits run the gamut of body plans, are either insubstantial or have some ability to become immaterial, and are not “alive” in the traditional sense, instead being an embodiment of some force or place or a purpose given physical form. All are magical and possess at least a rudimentary intelligence, but few possess language or culture. There are no spirits native to Midgard, but they are common there nonetheless as spirits find it much easier to travel between the worlds than folk or beasts do.
- 6-sided Hit Dice, all taking the average value: Spirits, not being made of flesh and blood, are not the hardiest creatures.
- Base attack bonus equal to 3/4 total Hit Dice: Every spirit is created with some innate skill at combat in order to carry out their purpose.
- Skill groups: Discipline, Perception, and one other. Spirits are mostly passive observers of the world, but have some training in areas relevant to their inner being.
- Proficiencies: Spirits can only learn Occupation proficiencies that are relevant to their purpose and can learn any sort of Knowledge proficiency. Spirits automatically possess Expert proficiency with any applicable Occupation proficiencies, Expert Nature, Master proficiency in any two Knowledge proficiencies, and either Master proficiency in the Region proficiency corresponding to their home region (if they are located in Midgard) or Expert proficiency with the Knowledge proficiency relevant to their world of origin.
- Languages: Every spirit with humanlike intelligence possesses its own racial language, and has some means of “absorbing” knowledge of languages from other intelligent creatures; they cannot learn languages in the normal fashion, nor can they improve their proficiency in a language learned from another creature.
- Spirits do not breathe, eat, sleep, or age.
- Spirit Sense (Su): Spirits are aware of the presence of all other spirits within 10 feet per hit die, sensing their type, exact location, and general emotional state. Spirits can also attempt to mentally “hide” from this sense and any other effects that would detect them (such as the various detect spells or a spirit shaman’s Detect Spirits class feature) by making Bluff checks against the detecting spirit’s Sense Motive in the same way one would make Hide checks against an observer’s Spot check to hide physically, with living creatures granting cover against this sense and foliage granting concealment against it the same way physical objects grant cover or concealment against sight.
Natives of a given world all have some traits in common. See the individual world pages for details:
|Alfheim||Alfar [Elves]||Tankande [Sapient Animals]|
|Asgard||Einherjar [Slain Warriors]||Valkyrja [Valkyries]|
|Helheim||Hamingja [Departed Souls]||Aptrgangir [Vengeful Dead]|
|Jotunheim||Jotuns [Giants]||Vadligjur [Giant Animals]|
|Midgard||Maðr [Humans]||Dyr [Animals]|
|Muspelheim||Lindwurms [Dragons]||Djavlar [Demons]|
|Nidavellr||Dvergar [Dwarves]||Trollar [Trolls]|
|Niflheim||Huvuddyr [Primal Beasts]||Flyktig [Ephemeral Ones]|
|Vanaheim||Levantran [Mobile Plants]||Landvættir [Local Spirits]|