It has long been known that many sorcerers have dragon blood in their veins. For the majority of these individuals, their spellcasting abilities are often the only hint of their draconic heritage, but sometimes the evidence is clearer.
Occasionally, when two humanoid sorcerers produce a child, the infant displays decidedly draconic features and physiology. The child is, in fact, a spellscale rather than a member of either parents' races.
In much more rare instances, a sorcerer of great power produces such a child by mating with someone who is not a sorcerer. To those who believe that some (or all) sorcerers have draconic heritage, these children are strong evidence of the theory's truth--if such a child's draconic characteristics did not come from the sorcerer, then how else to account for them?
In certain situations a spellscale infant might arouse speculation about the mother's having mated with a dragon and might be misidentified as a half-dragon.
Spellscales are, however, a distinct race. They breed true among themselves and almost never interbreed with other humanoids. In such an odd instance, any child produced is a full-blooded spellscale
Spellscale Racial TraitsEdit
- +2 Charisma, -2 Constitution. Spellscales are charming creatures who often neglect their physical bodies while pursuing intellectual or social interests
- Medium: As Medium creatures, spelllscales have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Spellscale base land speed is 30.
- Low-Light Vision: A spellscale can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- Humanoid (dragonblood): Spellscales are humanoids with the dragonblood subtype. For all effects related to race, a spellscale is considered a dragon.
- Blood Quickening: Each day, a spellscale can perform a draconic meditation to gain a benefit. Variations of this meditation are described below.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Draconic
- Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, and Halfling.
- Favored Class: Sorcerer
Spellscales exhibit all the best characteristics of dragons in a compact humanoid form. Their skin, formed of lustrous scales comes in a wide variety of hues, including nearly every color of the rainbow.
No spellscale is merely one color, but each displays a rich spectrum of variants on his main color. A spellscale who is primarily green might have patterns of a deeper forest green over his body, fingernails and toenails of a slightly lighter green and eye ridges and nostrils that are a deep greenish aquamarine. The coloration is complex, making a spellscale look much more elegant than other scaled humanoids such as kobolds or lizardfolk.
Spellscales dress eccentrically, but their effusive charm enables them to create pleasing looks. The fashions and stylings they use are clearly and purposefully unconventional. Every aspect of dressing is a variable that spellscales experiment with.
Cotton, linen, silk, and wool are the basic building blocks of fashion. An almost infinite variety of fabrics can be made from them, with varying degrees of softness, density, weight, and finish. Textures can be smooth or coarse. Fur and leather come from many different creatures and can be treated in many different ways. Even with all this variety, spellscales often use unusual materials for their clothes, including paper, feathers, and even hair.
Diverse spellscale tastes have also driven innovations in the dye and pigment industry for many years. They have provided the consumer demand and the financial backing for alchemists, clothiers, and tanners to experiment. A dye's unique traits when applied to fabric can be as valuable to a spellscale clotheshorse as the pigment's rarity.
Colors can be solid, but stripes, checks, houndstooth, and herringbone are only a few of the many patterns into which thread or yarn can be woven to produce cloth. An incomparable hue woven into an original pattern can set a spellscale dandy apart from his peers.
Clothes can be perfectly tailored to fit one's body, but just as interesting to the spellscale is clothing that is intentionally too big or too small. An oversized white jacket that looks as if it would fit an ogre makes a memorable statement on a lithe spellscale's frame.
Long robes, tunics with many pockets, trousers featuring numerous straps and buckles--spellscale styles are as numerous as snowflakes in blizzard and just as unique. In addition to creating their own fashions, spellscales happily choose from among all other humanoids' styles. Spellscales enjoy both selecting which articles of clothing to wear and mixing or matching each piece. One outfit might be a purple velvet doublet over dazzling white breeches made from the tanned hide of a frost worm, with boots made from purple worm skin and girallon fur. Another spellscale might garb himself in plane brown robes with fur trim and lining made from rats captured at the local docks. The ensembles look stringing and are often attractive, but they clearly show a whimsical, novel approach to fashion. Spellscale clothing might be admired, but it's too odd to set many trends.
In personal grooming, spellscales utilize as much creativity as they do with their attire. While individuals tend to keep themselves very clean, spellscale grooming techniques allow for nearly infinite variations on one's appearance. A spellscale's innate vanity is often overcome by his desire to make a statement with a new method of body adornment.
Spellscales have developed ways to highlight and tint their scaly skin, much as other humanoids can color their hair. Grooming options for their scales include simple lotions and creams that give a glossy sheen to their skin. This gloss is often tinted with colors hinting at any of the chromatic or metallic dragons. Those seeking hues that are more daring often choose amber, violet, or a pastel color. Such tinting lasts for six weeks.
Some spellscales have just the tips of their scales tinted or tattooed. Simple lines serve to give depth and definition to scales. Putting a wavy pattern on the edges of scales lends a softer almost ruffled look.
Tattoos offer even more options to audacious spellscales. The permanent nature of a tattoo proves no deterrent to a spellscale who decides to acquire one. A tattoo is seen as a great way to capture a moment or a feeling that one wants to remember forever. Spellscale tattooes also reflect current fashions and popular trends at the time of inking.
Given the changeable nature of a spellscale's affections and interests, tattoos provide a unique record of his life. They might offer tantalizing hints to an observer. A sedate, solitary spellscale, known for his conservationism and his views opposing intoxication might have a tattoo on his right arm that reads "Don't hesitate!" and sport the emblem of the Tipsy Dragon Brewery on his neck. These tattoos suggest that the spellscale wearing them was not always so straitlaced.
Of course numerous ways exist for spellscales to rid themselves of their tattoo chronicles. The simplest and most often used way to do away with unwanted ink is to incorporate a dated tattoo into a larger design, using some of the existing lines and filling in others. Simple illusion magic or items can be effective, if temporary, ways of altering these mementos. As an expensive, extreme measure, some spellscales resort to a regenerate spell.
Spellscales use their hair as another way to show off their originality. They test variations of hairstyles, including curling, straightening, braiding, dreading, and shaving. Many dye their hair. Some opt for garish colors such as purple, yellow, and blue. Color combinations tend to be popular. These are sometimes modeled after other creatures, such as couatls, tigers, or even phase spiders. Of course, hair dyes need not color one's entire hairdo--many treatments just use one or more streaks or highlights
Of all the wondrous aspects of the world, the most exquisite is magic. Spellscales feel the pull of their dragon blood toward the magic that suffuses their very beings. Magic sings and thrums throughout the multiverse but it resonates more strongly and purely in the spellscale race than it does in any other humanoids.
Spellscales are perpetually curious and full of wide-eyed wonder at the beauty and diversity of life. They seek encounters of all sorts to broaden their understanding. Anything and everything can attract a spellscale's curiosity. No matter how objectively lovely or horrific an object, creature, or experience is, it merits deep attention. The myriad colors of a sunset, the whorls and patterns on a human's fingertip, the fur and feathers of owlbear, even the diversity of sizes and shapes of a gibbering mouther's many maws—all these phenomena are unique, noteworthy, and attractive to a spellscale who might later incorporate these details into song, art, or even dance. Despite spellscales’ deep-seated curiosity and fascination with exploration, they do not act foolishly. Although one might admire the fur and feathers of an owlbear, he has the common sense to render the creature harmless before examining it in detail.
Spellscales’ curiosity is not limited to the outside world. Even as toddlers, spellscales expend a great deal of time and effort on self-analysis. They focus their attention on their bodies and minds. Spellscales listen to their heartbeats and breathing when at rest and after vigorous activity. They heed their true thoughts and feelings, expressing them when doing so is prudent. What pleased me today? What angered me? What bored me? How can the next day include more of the interesting and less of the dull?
Most spellscales spend part of each day in introspection, examining the physical, mental, and emotional changes their recent experiences have wrought. They then focus their energy upon the coming day and prepare to face it by dedicating themselves to one of the draconic gods. This blood-quickening meditation can center on any dragon deity, not necessarily one of an alignment compatible with that of the meditating spellscale. See the Blood-Quickening Meditations sidebar for more information.
Living Without Apology or Explanation Edit
While a spellscale meditates and seeks inner truth, he views his interpretations as subjective. He lives life without lingering regret. After all, everything he has experienced or done has contributed to the individual he is today. A spellscale is usually happy with who he is.
A spellscale can’t bring himself to apologize for anything. Perhaps the outcome wasn’t what he anticipated, but trying the action was what he fully intended to do. One shouldn’t apologize for something one meant to do.
Parents of spellscale children quickly learn that demanding their child apologize for any action either leads to a rebellious but truthful refusal or a white lie. False apologies become more apparent when the child resumes the activity that prompted the situation in the ﬁrst place.
Parents of a spellscale child soon come to learn that telling their child to behave well is practically fruitless. The equivalent spellscale parental saying is, “Be wise.”
Roleplaying Application: Most of the time, don’t offer apologies. If one is demanded of you, be very speciﬁc about what you’re sorry about. Don’t apologize for what you did; apologize for unforeseen or unwanted consequences. Thus, after unintentionally catching a couple of companions in the area of your ﬁreball spell, don’t say, “I’m sorry I cast that spell.” You might say, “It’s unfortunate that you got hurt.” This statement expresses a truth but doesn’t admit to any culpability or regret.
What use is it to give an explanation after you do something? What did you do? Why did you do it? Most of the time, what people want to hear isn’t what really happened. Someone doesn’t always know why he did something at a particular moment—it simply seemed a proper thing to do at the time. However, when asked, a typical nonspellscale creates some plausible explanation to placate the hearer. Spellscales dispense with much of this social baggage by often simply refusing to answer.
Roleplaying Application: Don’t bother to explain yourself. If you are asked why you did such-and-such or what you were thinking at a particular time, merely smile, shrug, or ask the questioner what it is she expects as an answer or why she cares. Whatever happened, it’s over and done. If you ever find yourself forced to give an explanation, either be truthful or so outrageously untruthful that it mocks your interrogator.
Spellscale Life Edit
Spellscales approach life with intensity, always living in the now, and caring little about the past or future. A spellscale wholeheartedly pursues whatever he’s doing at the moment. His current career, hobby, or relationship is of paramount importance. He ardently believes whatever he professes and what he values at any particular time is permanent for him. That is the truth of the moment.
With the exceptions of sorcery and family, spellscales never pursue the same objective or feel the same way for very long, though. Their interests change, they grow bored, or they simply ﬁnd something or someone newer and more intriguing. This change is sometimes made in a carefree manner and sometimes with deep regret.
To an outside observer, an obvious tension exists between a spellscale’s ardent pursuit of the moment and the mercurial nature of his desires. An impartial and ignorant observer might assume that whatever a spellscale is wrapped up in is a constant passion or a lifelong pursuit. Anyone with a modicum of insight about the race, however, knows that a spellscale’s focus inevitably changes.
Crucial to comprehending spellscales as a race is understanding that they truly don’t see things that way. Their hearts and minds tell them that “now” is the ultimate truth and will remain so forever. Even if one points out to a spellscale the transitory nature of his past interests, the spellscale always feels that this time is different. This time, it’s permanent.
Spellscales enjoy leisure. They use their free time in a great variety of ways, depending upon each individual’s current philosophy and temperament. One spellscale might lead a highly ordered life in which he maximizes every moment of time. For him, everything must have a purpose, a stance rather like the dragonborn’s philosophy. Another spellscale might indulge in hedonistic activities, putting personal comfort and pleasure above all other concerns.
Spellscales love board games, dice games, card games, social games, and roleplaying games. They especially enjoy games in which both skill and luck affect play. These are the richest of experiences, enabling the use of strategy and experimentation while maintaining an element of chance.
It should come as no surprise that the game of threedragon ante is a spellscale favorite. This card game combines the luck of the draw with both strategic and tactical play. Spellscales happily spend hours at a time wrapped up in this fanciful diversion.
Roleplaying Games Edit
Spellscale children love to test different ideas and diverse roles. They regularly play “Let’s Pretend” games, adopting roles as varied as grocer, town guard, blacksmith, parent, and adventurer.
When adopting a role, a spellscale shows a great deal of imagination and creativity. He won’t necessarily heed traditional ideas. Gender roles are bent or broken. Physical realities are disregarded. Thus, a puny, sickly child could gleefully pretend to be a beefy guard, a boy might play at being a mother, or the biggest child might make believe he’s a mouse being chased by the other children playing as cats.
Rules in these games are ﬂuid, amounting to whatever the children agree upon at the moment, and are quite likely to change several times in one play session.
Ruler for the Day Edit
Spellscale children play this specialized roleplaying game, which is a microcosm of a spellscale community’s government, among their own kind. In the morning, the children draw lots to see who gets to be the ruler that day. The elected ruler makes all the decisions within the children’s purview, dictating how the day is spent, what games to play, how chores are done, and who has to do them. In this way, spellscale children experience both leader and follower roles. At one time or another, they act as oppressors or liberators, slave masters or slaves, caring representatives or ruthless autocrats. Most of them learn that it’s better to be reasonable, fair, and kind than arbitrary, ruthless, and mean, but also that every viewpoint has its merits and ﬂaws.
Arts and Crafts Edit
Naturally gifted as performers, most spellscales ﬁ nd poetry, song, and music suitable venues for expressing themselves. With or without training, a spellscale enjoys experimenting in a variety of artistic disciplines.
Some become bards in the colloquial sense of the word, meaning general entertainers. Few actually become spellcasting bards. The limited potential of the bard compares poorly to the heights attainable by a sorcerer.
Spellscales take on a wide variety of activities—painting, sculpture, knitting, armorsmithing, alchemy, and more. One spellscale might try all these pursuits. He intensely engages in an activity for as long as it interests him, moving to new hobbies as they capture his attention.
Even though they often only dabble in their pursuits, spellscales do develop remarkable innovations. For instance, Terithx, a spellscale architect, was learning how to play the ﬂ ute while he was designing a stronghold set on a windy mountain top. He merged his interests and crenellated the battle ments in such a way that they played a pleasing, melodious tune when the wind blew through them.
Technology and Magic Edit
To a spellscale, technology has some merit. Some scientiﬁ c advances produce novelties and amusements. Magic, however, is the ultimate achievement. It is elusive yet attainable, devastating and marvelous. Invariably, spellscales approach magic with passion and a dedication unusual for their kind.
Magic is part of a spellscale’s very being. He feels it with every blink of his eyes and sees it in every aspect of the world. It is to be felt and experienced. A spellscale pursues magic as ardently as a paladin does righteousness. This need goes beyond mere intellect and is part of a spellscale’s nature—he craves it as a vampire craves blood.
Other spellscales view a spellscale without magical abilities as inferior. All else in a spellscale’s life might come and go. His fascination with and devotion to magic is eternal.
Sensibility, not sense, rules spellscales in matters of affection. They feel love and other emotions with grand intensity.
Spellscales don’t hatch from eggs. They enter the world as live births. Like most other children, spellscales have a strong and abiding affection for their birth families, especially their mothers. It’s a connection of both blood and emotion. They sometimes honor, sometimes disobey, occasionally even hate, but ultimately and always deeply love their parents and children.
This familial devotion provides a rare, stable aspect to a spellscale’s emotional mayhem. To a spellscale, family is, well, family. You love, accept, and support your family, no matter what they are. After all, even if one holds conﬂ icting views with one’s brother, those views are bound to change eventually.
Perhaps one spellscale supports a righteous cause while his sister is part of the opposition. So what? Even when philosophies are entirely incompatible, siblings are more apt to gather for a family holiday and share a meal than to come to blows in armed conﬂ ict.
Few aspects of life offer as much intensity as love and romance. Spellscales enjoy romantic love to the utmost, approaching it with the same wide-eyed curiosity and desire to experiment with which they view the rest of life. They delight in new relationships, from the frisson of initial attraction to getting to know a prospective partner and all the delights and perils of falling in love. Spellscales revel not only in the joys of new love, but also in the pains of heartbreak, rejection, and betrayal.
Most other individuals can’t quite grasp spellscales’ romantic melodramas. A spellscale’s emotional history seems like a confusing and poorly written serialized play. He falls in love with someone, starts a relationship, grows bored, falls out of love, and ends the relationship. Next, he falls in love with another, but that individual is already in a relationship, so he worships silently and painfully from afar. Eventually that individual becomes available, but the spellscale is no longer interested. He then courts an elderly spellscale, marries, and abides devoted and faithful until his spouse dies. A long period of celibacy and mourning follows. Eventually, love strikes the grieving widower. This time, he falls for someone who proves unfaithful repeatedly. Totally devastated, the betrayed spellscale seeks solace in another’s arms.
These tales of love won and love lost, of betrayal and grief, seem almost farcical to members of more emotionally stable or sedate races. The most important fact to understand about spellscales is that they are always sincere. They really feel their professed emotions, and they never outgrow this intensity.
Spellscales at War Edit
Spellscales play at war, as they do most other aspects of life. They often ﬁ nd battle and war acceptable responses to provocation and threats. Sometimes they even start the altercation. No matter what their motivations, each conﬂ ict ﬁ nds spellscales rallying both for and against the cause.
For as long as a spellscale holds a belief or philosophy, it becomes his one true path, even though in a year’s time he might hold different views. Some spellscales are keen to assert or defend their paths, willing to risk death to preserve current beliefs. Intense creatures, spellscales do kill and die for their ideologies.
While spellscales may feel an initial thrill at going to war, they usually tire of battle quickly. Prolonged suffering and needless bloodshed can persuade the staunchest spellscale that his views might need some examination and alteration. Such changes of heart often lead to the cessation of war.
Death is yet another adventure, but it presents an obstacle to worldly desires and pursuits. Spellscales usually return to the call of a raise dead or resurrection spell, feeling that they died prematurely. The joy and strife of living is better than the afterlife.
However, death speaks to the spellscales’ sensibilities. They greet the passing of a loved one with a great deal of pomp, sincere grief, and histrionics. Funerals and memorial services are elaborate affairs designed to celebrate and exemplify the life and interests of the departed. Since a spellscale might have indulged in many different pursuits and friendships over the course of his life, tributes can be very long and complicated. Often, eulogists use a chronological approach, scheduling speciﬁ c times for different eras of the dead spellscale’s life. Mourners usually show up during the intervals devoted to the times when they associated with the spellscale. In general, only the family and the closest friends of the deceased attend the entire homage.
Having allowed their natural amorality to become twisted, some spellscales become interested in what eternal undeath has to offer. Worse fates can be had than becoming a lich or a vampire. Such a form just lends another aspect to the experience of existence.
Changeable Rituals Edit
Spellscales place a strong emphasis upon ritual. Each spellscale adopts a personalized, precise way to accomplish any task. What is done and the way in which it is done is highly individualized.
One spellscale might have an eating ritual in which food is consumed in a particular order. Perhaps foods are eaten in order of color—all dark-colored foods consumed first, followed by dishes lighter in color. Another individual might always read a book by starting with the last chapter, then reading the rest of the book from the front to the back. Not all rituals are about the order in which something is done. This idiosyncrasy might manifest in something as simple as only dressing in shades of blue or as bizarre as speaking only in questions.
These ritualistic behaviors are as short-lived as any other of a spellscale’s interests. After a few days, weeks, months, or years, the spellscale tires of the sameness and makes a change, possibly altering, reversing, or abandoning his previously established pattern.
Society and Culture Edit
Spellscales place a strong emphasis on the individual, even above the community. They hold self-realization as a major motivation. The world offers so much to experience, to learn, and to feel.
Spellscale philosophy states that, since every individual occupies a unique physical place in the universe, no two individuals can ever have exactly the same experience. Everyone stands in a different place, making his angle of perception different from that of every other. Spellscales extend this philosophy of unique placement to the social, emotional, and intellectual dimensions. The differing vantage points of each individual are what make him or her unique. Spellscales value these differences and explore them both through their daily meditations and through seeking a diversity of actions and experiences. They call this “following one’s blood.”
Spellscales value differences, but they have an odd approach toward prejudice and intolerance. As a whole, spellscale society accepts everything. Since it’s so thoroughly part of spellscale nature to experiment, going through different fads or phases of philosophy, tolerance tends to be the default attitude. However, as part of a spellscale’s personal growth, he might adopt an extremist view, perhaps a prejudice based on culture, race, or alignment. Spellscale culture tolerates these fringe philosophies, mostly because one spellscale has little power to enforce his views on others. Other spellscales are busy with their own pursuits.
It’s okay to be a devout paciﬁ st who consumes only food and drink that was created by magic because killing anything, for food or otherwise, is abhorrent. It’s equally okay to be intolerant of such paciﬁ st magivores. Neither spellscale’s physical mistreatment or oppression of the other is likely to be allowed, however.
Spellscales usually inhabit a land with its own system of governance, law, and taxation. They’ll do what’s necessary to get by as citizens of that land, but they have their own ideas about government. Depending upon what the local authorities are willing to put up with, a spellscale community within a larger municipality has its own organization and its own ruler—either openly or in secret.
The caprice and individuality of the spellscale race is nowhere so perfectly epitomized as in its form of government. Every year, the spellscales in a community hold an election lottery. In a public ceremony, a large, black box is prepared. One gold bead is mixed with silver beads, the lot equaling the number of adult spellscale residents of the community. Every adult spellscale then pulls a bead at random, and whoever pulls the gold bead is the new ruler. This individual rules in whatever fashion he chooses for one year. He has full authority and must be obeyed, and he gets to choose his title (often “King” but sometimes as quirky as “Your Grand Pomposity” or as severe as “Autocrat”), advisors, and staff.
The leader cannot alter two fundamental rules. A new, purely random election must take place the next year. Also, any spellscale who wants to do so can move away from the community until the next election.
As can be expected from such a random process, the quality and intensity of leadership varies greatly. One year, the ruler might not do anything, making no rules and collecting no taxes. The next leader might rule with an iron fist, demanding military service and taxes and imposing a tyrannical, bureaucratic government.
In general, spellscales find this diversity intriguing and fulfilling. Where else can you live and experience such a multiplicity of governments?
Spellscales and Other Races Edit
Spellscales view members of most other races as too limited in their perspectives and pursuits. No other race has the spellscales’ natural inclination for sorcery. No other race ﬁnds the entire world so fascinating.
Dragonborn: Spellscales consider dragonborn distantly related creatures, as a human might view a third cousin by marriage. The dragonborn’s singularity of intention interests spellscales, because every dragonborn seems to have the same purpose and the same drive. Fascinating in a way, if terribly dull.
Dragon-Descended: Spellscales share a kinship with draconic individuals, since they both sprang unexpectedly from an otherwise “normal” society. Spellscales have additional empathy for those with draconic heritage; most spellscales are born to sorcerers and thus have an easier time being accepted, but draconic individuals can be born to nearly any parent. Half-dragons are so mysterious that spellscales can’t help but be interested in them, much to the amused annoyance of most half-dragons.
Dwarves: Spellscales think dwarves are slow—ponderous in their physical movement, their social bonding, and their decision-making. Nevertheless, dwarves are mesmerizing to observe in this slowness. A spellscale blissfully watches a dwarf in action and often correctly predicts the outcome of that action. Far from being boring, this activity is comfortable and reassuring, akin to rereading a favorite novel.
Elves: While elves have the right idea when it comes to holding a ﬁne appreciation of magic, they’re too academic in their approach to matters arcane. However, everyone is entitled to his own eccentricities, and the elves’ racial penchant for wizardry over sorcery is peculiar but acceptable. Aside from this, spellscales see elves as graceful, free spirits who have a love of life nearly equal to their own.
Gnomes: In their many musings, most spellscales wonder what place gnomes have in the multiverse. Spell-like abilities in a humanoid race are unusual, but what real good are a couple of cantrips and the ability to talk to furry creatures that live in the ground? Further, many gnomes only dabble in spell casting as bards, forever isolated from the splendors of mighty magic. Most spellscales view these sadly hampered humanoids with a mix of pity and compassion, treating them gently, as one would a slow-witted child, to be protected and educated.
Half-Elves: Most spellscales’ outlook toward half-elves can be summed up in a phrase: charming, quite charming. Half-elves have a resourcefulness born from a mixed heritage. They have poise and personality. And, like humans, a half-elf can do just about anything. This ﬂexibility and variability is to be respected.
Half-Orcs: A bit too crude and boorish to hold much social attraction for spellscales, half-orcs nevertheless prove physically fascinating. Not even half-orcs notice the nuances of their physiology. A spellscale might marvel at how one half-orc’s lower teeth point inward and another’s outward, or at just how capable a half-orc is in toe-to-toe battle and feats of strength.
Halﬂings: Fellow storytellers and agreeable folk, halflings and spellscales get along well. Spellscales appreciate how halﬂings ﬁll many niches in the societies of other races while retaining a distinct outlook.
Humans: Humans, with their nearly inﬁnite diversity, appeal to spellscales’ curiosity. Humans vary greatly in their lifestyles, ambitions, and philosophies. Each individual is unique and interesting. The human race is young compared to dragons or dwarves, adding to its charm. Spellscales treat humans with a fond tolerance.
Kobolds: These creatures try hard as sorcerers, they really do, but they’re far too limited in their talents and their worldview. The kobold race’s inclination toward both strict loyalty and sociopathic behavior perplexes spellscales. How could a race with so much potential limit itself with such philosophical baggage?
True Dragons: While spellscales admire and revere dragons, ever curious about them, they feel no particular attraction for them. A spellscale is naturally interested when presented with an opportunity to investigate a dragon’s lair or converse with a friendly dragon, but he is equally fascinated to explore the nooks and crannies of a human city or delve into the depths of the earth. Spellscales acknowledge the link between themselves and dragons, but they view themselves as something apart from dragons—and possibly, in a small way, superior.
Other races and Spellscales Edit
Unlike dragonborn, characters of other races who are drawn to the spellscale lifestyle and psychology cannot merely undergo a ritual to become a spellscale—at least such is the general belief. Because dragonborn can only come into existence through a ritual, whereas spellscales are born naturally, this belief has become entrenched. But no arcane feat is beyond those with a will to make changes. The Rite of Spellscale Assumption enables individuals of other races to become spellscales.
Rite of Spellscale Assumption Edit
The Rite of Spellscale Assumption is a rare procedure that allows a character to fully manifest latent draconic potential within his body, transforming from a member of his original race into a spellscale.
Becoming a spellscale is a choice that is made only after long consideration. Giving up one’s heritage is not to be done impulsively. It is a choice one makes knowing full well that when the rite is complete, all vestiges of one’s former race are wiped away, replaced by a body and a look that might at ﬁrst seem alien and awkward.
When the rite begins, the subject spends six consecutive days fasting and meditating on texts discussing spellscale history, demeanor, and characteristics. The character uses this time to fully get into the heart of what it means to be a spellscale.
After the meditation ends, the prospective spellscale bathes in a special mixture of fragrant salts, water, and dragon scales for 24 hours, with a spellscale ritualist standing over the water, chanting the words of the rite. When the period of chanting has passed, the character arises from the bath. As he does so, he ﬁnds himself magically transformed into a spellscale.
Prerequisites: Any willing humanoid can undergo the Rite of Spellscale Assumption. The rite must be performed by a spellscale who can cast the polymorph spell and who has at least 10 ranks in Knowledge (arcana).
Beneﬁt: This ceremony converts any nondraconic humanoid into a spellscale. A character who undertakes this rite is stripped of all his racial traits, and in their place gains the racial traits of the spellscale race. See the Substituting Spellscale Racial Traits sidebar for details.
Time: The Rite of Spellscale Assumption takes seven consecutive days to complete. The ritual cannot be conducted on an unwilling subject.
Cost: This rite requires special salts and a collection of dragon scales gathered from ancient dragons of varying colors. These materials cost 2,000 gp.
Spellscales prize magic above all else, considering it holy and giving it the reverence most other races accord to their deities. Certainly, spellscales believe that deities exist. Gods are powerful and awesome, but magic is too, in a way that surpasses even the power of the deities.
Spellscales alternately honor all dragon deities through their daily meditations. They gain great spiritual satisfaction from their devotion to magic. Their rituals blend a sense of divinity in with sorcery, uniting both spirit and blood.
Almost every spellscale goes through a religious phase, indulging in short-term excesses of pious behavior toward one god or another. During this period, many spellscales devote themselves to a dragon deity, but some are attracted to deities of magic. Boccob, the Lord of All Magics, is especially attractive because of his permissive, hands-off attitude toward his followers.
The exclusive, long-term commitment that most deities and churches demand of followers is difﬁcult for the changeable spellscales to meet. Aside from the aforementioned bursts of piety, few spellscales consider themselves ardent followers of any one deity, dragon or otherwise. The rare spellscales who do follow one deity throughout their lives are most often worshipers of Aasterinian. The Messenger of Io is more willing than many other deities to indulge the spellscale’s changeable nature.
Magic Worship Edit
Many spellscales don’t worship a specific deity. They hold a much broader approach that worships magic as a whole. This worldview holds that arcane magic inhabits everything. Magic can be found in every rock, tree, animal, and creature. Each of these objects and creatures contains a soul or sacred consciousness formed of magic. Practitioners of this belief system hold that arcane magic binds the universe together.
Deities and demigods are very strong nexuses of this arcane might. Whether a deity is or was a mortal being or is merely a personiﬁcation of an ideal means little to a spellscale. Humans believe that it’s possible to ascend to godhood, as St. Cuthbert did. Spellscale magic worshipers also believe that if one is able to harness sufﬁ cient arcane energy, one can become a god.
Law and Chaos, Good and Evil Edit
Spellscales are great experimenters. They feel that change is a natural outcome of experience. As part of their lives and personal growth, they often try out different worldviews, philosophies, and alignments.
Spellscales are also tolerant of other worldviews. While each makes determinations about what is good or right for him or her as an individual, spellscales don’t usually seek to apply this philosophy outwardly. For a spellscale, right and wrong is a personal matter.
Spellscales host celebrations and holidays at irregular intervals compared to other races. They make merry when it suits them, involving family, friends, and the community as they please. It’s common for a celebration to start small and grow large. One household might throw a party to celebrate a daughter’s return from war. If the neighbors hear of the festivities, they might come to welcome the daughter home. News spreads, and soon it’s a communitywide event, complete with banners and a parade.
Election Day Edit
The most important and the only regularly celebrated spellscale holiday is Election Day. The date of this celebration is variable. It’s always held no more than a year after the current spellscale leader took power, but because an election is also held to replace a leader who dies, it’s not always on the same date.
Election Day is a wonderful time in a spellscale community. All the businesses close down for the day, and a party atmosphere ensues. The day is ﬁlled with glorious potential. Any spellscale might become the community’s next ruler. Candidates for leadership spend the day telling tales of all the wonderful, interesting things they would do if chance favors them.
First Spell Edit
Magic is central to almost every spellscale’s life, and this importance is emphasized on the holiday called First Spell. The day that a spellscale child learns to cast his ﬁrst spell is a day of joy. A celebration of the event indulges the new spellcaster in every way. It’s his special day. The spellscale’s parents throw a party, inviting all the child’s friends. Guests bring gifts of spell components or focuses. No matter how short the notice or how poor the guest’s pocket, everyone brings something, be it as humble as a feather or as grand as a large mirror suitable for a scrying spell.
New Spell Edit
Spellscales love breakthroughs. When a spellscale discovers a new way to shape magic, it’s a wonderful event. If a spellscale creates a new spell, the community honors him, and every member of the settlement gathers to see the new magic demonstrated. The spellscale casts the spell and then describes in detail what materials he used and precisely how he was thinking, feeling, intoning, and gesturing. He repeats this process as many times as he can every day for a week. At the end of that time, he gets to give the new spell a name that his community uses for it from that point on.
History and Folklore Edit
The spellscales’ fascination with the world and themselves has led to a rich and varied body of folklore. Spellscales view these tales with nonchalance and acceptance, dealing with each one as if it were true. A spellscale accepts paradoxes and contradictions in folklore as a matter of course.
Origin Stories Edit
Spellscales have a number of stories to explain the origin of their race. One of the most widely told is presented below.
Magic the Entity Edit
Magic is real, as we all know. What few know is that Magic is sentient. It has thoughts and feelings. Long, long ago, Magic existed all alone and all-powerful. One day, it realized it was lonely, so it created the multiverse and all the magniﬁcent and horriﬁc creatures and places. It made some creatures, such as dragons, intensely magical, and others, such as dogs, with only the magic of life itself.
This activity pleased and amused Magic. For millennia, Magic watched the grand panoply of the world’s events without further interference. It observed, entertained by the creativity and unpredictability of the many things it made. It saw conflict and cooperation, wars and peace, grand empires and humble households. All provided pleasure to Magic. It did not judge what was good or bad. Such petty distinctions matter to many of its creations, but not to Magic. Magic loves everything.
Recently, however, Magic began to feel lonely again. It wanted to create something new, something different, a creature that would be a microcosm of the great multiverse. Magic took a little bit of everything from the multiverse and put it into one form—the spellscale. It made these wondrous creatures and gave them to sorcerers of great power who honor Magic best. It also made spellscales a true-breeding race so that they can have more spellscale children, providing Magic with new generations to ensure the continuation of its masterpiece creation.
This story explains why a spellscale is so changeable in nature. His soul is made of a great sampling of everything in the multiverse. He is a little bit bad, a little bit good, a lover, a hater, a creator, a destroyer, a warmonger, and a paciﬁst, accepting and rejecting every philosophy and worldview because each one is both true and false
Recent History Edit
As a new race, spellscales have just begun making their mark on the world at large. The tale of one recent series of events is recounted below.
Magehaven's Militia Edit
A group of spellscales settled together to form the community of Arcaniss Okarthel, more commonly called Magehaven. They chose a sparsely inhabited area about midway between a human village and an elf town. Once they began to build on the land, both the humans and the elves sent envoys to speak with them. The land they had chosen for their home was a contested tract that both groups claimed for their own.
The newly elected leader was Darstrik Orn, a spellscale with an unusually abrasive personality. He decided since he hadn’t been the one to sign the Okarthel Accord, he didn’t need to abide by it. He disbanded the militia, and the goblin activity resumed.
When the elf and human diplomats returned to sort out the misunderstanding, Darstrik met them with cold words and an immovable mind. The envoys felt as if they had been tricked. They sought out Bensvelk, who tried to soothe their anger. She did much to assuage their apprehension, explaining the eccentricities of spellscale government. Bensvelk started up an entirely volunteer militia, and she enlisted many recruits to patrol the area. After all, the patrols helped Magehaven at least as much as the other humanoids. The diplomats eventually departed, appeased but ill at ease.
Now, more of the world knows about spellscales and spellscale habits. As a race, they are viewed by most as unreliable allies. Diplomats who know—or think they know—what spellscales are about sometimes attempt to ensure that every adult (that is, every potential leader) in a spellscale community approves of any treaty and agrees to honor it. In such a situation, the diplomats suppose, a newly elected leader can’t disregard an agreement as easily. In point of fact, however, any agreement made by a spellscale is subject to being rescinded at any time—a previous unanimous vote notwithstanding.
Unquestionably, Draconic is the most important language to spellscales. It’s the language of dragons and of magic. Spellscales also speak Common and other languages for mundane communication.
Spellscales born to spellscale parents usually are given elaborate names in Draconic. Their names reﬂ ect their parents’ philosophy and interests at the time of the child’s birth. It’s typical for these names to be idiosyncratic. Many a spellscale has a name or part of a name that translates from Draconic into odd aphorisms such as “Diamonds Are Forever” or “Barbarians Are Butch,” haughty statements such as “Daughter of the Master of the Illusion School” or “Prettiest Child,” or even moment-dependent sentiments such as “Rainy Season” or “Blooming Daisies in a Vase on the Windowsill.”
Spellscales born to nonspellscale parents have names of normal sort for members of their parents’ race. A spellscale daughter born to an elf might be named Qillathe Liadon, while one born to a half-orc sorcerer might be called Ownka or Shautha.
Spellscales value their individuality and have distinctive personalities. Along with that individuality comes more than a touch of egotism. Most feel very strongly about their names and representations of their identities. They enjoy fame and recognition. Because of this, they never abandon their birth names and family names, though they might add monikers they earn such as “the Brave” or “the Talented.”
Spellscales don’t easily ﬁ t into other races’ communities. They’re not constant or constrained enough in their philosophies, feelings, and activities to be tolerated for long by nonspellscale settlements. It’s hardly surprising, then, that spellscales form their own communities.
Often, these communities are districts inside a larger town. Spellscales take over a neighborhood through a variety of means, ranging from lawful purchases to shady deals. Some cities set aside areas for spellscale habitation, and this arrangement suits the spellscales well. Within such localities, spellscales have all the resources and amusements of a larger settlement along with a place that fosters their individuality.
Standard of Living Edit
A spellscale community has a disproportionate number of talented arcane spellcasters in its population. Magic is commonplace. Spellscales like to show off, most especially with their magical talents.
The community’s quality of life is enhanced by simple aids such as cantrips and unseen servants. Continual flame torches serve as ordinary lighting, and many buildings are warded by alarm spells. Travel by means of a mount spell or even phantom steed is nothing unusual.
A spellscale community is a wonder to behold. Each building reflects the personality of the builder, as well as past and current residents. In the space of one city block, a tall inn with minarets, gables, and numerous bay windows might tower beside a plain, squat building with a waterfall ﬂ owing down its streetward face. A stucco and oak-beam manor house with mullioned windows seems quite ordinary beside a large, smooth wall, likely the result of a wall of stone spell, painted with lovely landscapes in muted hues on one side and bright grafﬁ ti on the other.
Creating Spellscale Characters Edit
Spellscales’ devotion to fulﬁ lling their magical potential constantly comes into conﬂ ict with their desire to experiment. Many dabble in another class or two. In this way, they can still experience the power and wonder of the highest degrees of magic while indulging their curiosity. Very few spellscales sidetrack their sorcerer careers for more than two levels.
Barbarian: Some spellscales enjoy the ﬁerce, visceral emotions that lend a barbarian his power to rage. The hardiness of the barbarian is attractive to those who might view themselves as fragile. However, while many spellscales toy with the idea of becoming a berserker, only a few wind up doing so.
Bard: A spellscale’s racial abilities make him a good candidate for a bard. The capabilities offered by the class can fulfill the spellscale desire for arcane magic while providing some of the versatility and derring-do granted by the rogue class. Some spellscales see a bard’s spellcasting talents as second-class magic, fine for other races but beneath a spellscale who is destined by birth for better.
Cleric: The variability of their temperaments and the fact that typical spellscales try out several different philosophies during their lifetime makes spellscales ill suited for constant devotion to one god or cause. The odd spellscale does become a cleric. He might serve one of the dragon gods, but such clerics usually have their own specific worldviews, rarely selecting an alignmentbased domain.
Most spellscales don’t deviate from their sorcerous pursuits to become clerics. Others might dabble. The most ardent and devoted of spellscale clerics become mystic theurges, enabling them to continue with both their sorcerer and cleric spell progressions simultaneously.
Druid: Very few spellscales feel a call to devote themselves wholeheartedly to serving the natural world. A spellscale can agree with the desire for balance and dispassion, but he is more likely to find it by experiencing the extremes rather than by eschewing all radical viewpoints. Spellscales are too filled with passion to deny themselves any particular course of action, making the career of a druid a poor choice for them in general.
Fighter: Most spellscales feel that the path of a ﬁ ghter simply doesn’t have enough variety to keep them interested for long. Why battle doggedly when you can have the ﬂ ourish of a rogue or a bard? The truth is that their generally low Constitution scores also drive spellscales away from being the focus for incoming attacks. Almost any spellscale, however, can beneﬁ t from taking a level of ﬁ ghter now and again if he has any interest in up-front physical combat.
Monk and Paladin: Spellscales are too capricious to adhere to the stringent paths that members of these classes must tread. The commitment required of a cleric is difﬁ cult enough. Spellscales feel compassion for those who follow the vocations of monk and paladin, because such extremists only get to sample a small selection of life’s great options.
Ranger: While most spellscales prefer the variety and swirl of activity that are part of aurban life, one who ﬁ nds himself drawn to the mystery of the natural world might take up a career as a ranger, at least for a time. Spellscale rangers often specialize in dealing with and training animals, taking advantage of their naturally high Charisma.
Rogue: Living a life that contains a touch of danger is great for a spellscale. Starting one’s career by acquiring a grand diversity of skills is even greater. Quite a few spellscales begin their professional lives as rogues. The diversity of abilities represented by the rogue makes the class very attractive to spellscales.
Sorcerer: The thrum and tide of magic are in a spellscale’s very essence. Spellscales are born to be sorcerers, and they feel this compulsion on both an individual and societal level. Sorcery is part of their beings, part of who and what they are. Almost all spellscales devoted some time to sorcerous skills during their lifetimes.
Wizard: Spellscales are naturals at wielding magic. It’s perplexing to them that some would choose to learn their magic from books. Spellscales do see the value in the variety of arcane knowledge a wizard learns, but rarely pursue such studies themselves.
Spellscales in Faerun Edit
Spellscales in Eberron Edit
Spellscales fit into Eberron without any alteration. Sorcerers in Eberron credit dragons as the source of their power, though they generally mean the progenitor wyrms. A sorcerer’s child might be born a spellscale.
In Eberron, such an event provokes much speculation regarding the draconic Prophecy. It’s unclear if spellscales play a role in the Prophecy or if they’re just a peculiar side effect of the Prophecy made manifest in the world.
Spellscales born into a dragonmarked family never possess normal dragonmarks. They can become important members of their houses and even rise to positions of influence, but never to the level of a dragonmarked scion. A spellscale can, however, take the Aberrant Dragonmark feat.