Four Arms and a Bad Attitude: Thrake PC Race for 5E

Converting Iron Gods to Pathfinder is a labor of love, and I’m glad that there are other excellent blogs out there doing the same work I’m doing.

Dungeonmusings is doing some nice conversions of races and classes. I’m using his android and gunslinger conversions, and they’re great.

The Lazy Dungeon Master is a beautiful blog with a lot of after-action write-ups. The conversions are a little more Warhammer 40k than I’m going, but there’s a lot of great stuff.

Daemons and Deathrays has moved on from the sci-fi conversions, but there is some really great stuff in the archives. I especially like the bear-people race.

Paizo has been pretty clear about their desire not to produce material for 5th Edition, and I have great respect for that. With that in mind, whenever I’ve changed something proprietary of theirs (like a named race), I’ve changed the name. This isn’t about owning it myself, since I don’t think that I could publish 5th Edition content for money, right now, even if I wanted to. It’s all about respecting what I think are the wishes of the people who own the games I love.

With that in mind, the kasatha thrake race: four-armed desert dwelling nomads from a far-off world that is in no way the Mars of Edgar Rice Burroughs. (No one is clear on how it’s pronounced. Is it “thrak” with a long “a”? Is it with a short “a” and a short “e”? Is the “e” silent? No idea. I’m inclined towards the first, so that it sounds like a stone hitting a wall. Like “thwack.” Invent your own fun pronunciations!)

isuma_by_miguel_regodon_by_miguelregodon-d8fr4vtThrake PC Race

Your Thrake character has a variety of natural abilities, the result of generations of survival in the harsh landscape of your homeworld (far beyond your current star system).

Ability score increase. Your Dexterity score increases by +2.
Age. Thrake grow to adulthood quickly in the harsh environment of their homeworld. A Thrake typically undergoes a rite of passage into adulthood after 10 years, and most live to be no more than 80 years old.
Alignment. Thrake refuse to be chained, generally avoiding even the confines of cities or other structures. What few towns they build tend to be spread out, with tightly-knit neighborhoods, where neighbors care for one another but harbor a deep distrust of outsiders. The nomadic tribes that comprise the majority of Thrake culture are even more insular. They lean strongly towards chaos and neutrality.
Size. Thrake range in size from just under six feet to just under seven feet tall and have slender builds. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. The desert night is long and dark, and 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 gray.
Multi-armed: You have four arms. As a bonus action, once per round, you may interact with your environment up to two additional times, as long you are not holding anything in two of your hands. In addition, these hands may be used to hold items (such as extra weapons or ammunition), although they do not necessarily grant you additional actions to attack.
Warrior Born: You have proficiency with the pike. (The thren’ja, or thrakan pike, has three tines like a trident, but functions as a pike.)
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Thrakan. Thrakan is a language that allows for quick communication of complex ideas, incorporating clicks and glottal stops to change the meanings of words. Outsiders often believe that the Thrake are unable to produce to art or poetry, but this is untrue. Rather, Thrake art is performative, and the poetry is a mixture of language and dance, both incorporating their physiology to communicate complex ideas quickly and beautifully. It is, however, never committed to writing or shown to outsiders.
Subrace. Cultural divisions among the Thrake have led to two subraces: the nomadic desert runners and the more sedentary cavern stalkers. Choose one of these subraces.

Desert Runners
As a desert runner, you are hardy and dislike staying in one place too long. You spend your time moving between oases and campgrounds, moving quickly beneath the blistering sun. The heat does not bother you to the same degree that it does others.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Desert Stride.You move through difficult terrain in desert environments at normal speed.
Distance Runner. You have advantage on Constitution saves against exhaustion from running, forced marches, starvation, and thirst in hot environments.
Multi-armed warrior. At 7th level, you may take an additional unarmed attack whenever you take an action to attack. This does not grant you the ability to attack with a weapon in hand, nor does it grant you proficiency with unarmed strikes. If you make an additional attack in this manner, you may not add your ability score to damage on the attack.

Cavern Stalkers
Some Thrake have settled in lose encampments in the valleys of Korb. These towns can last for generations, but they are always relatively small and tight-knit, and even in these small towns smaller groups form alliances. Even the most settled Thrake is ready to move at a moment’s notice, if the need arises.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Jumper. You make standing long and high jumps as though you had moved 10 feet before jumping.
Hidden Encampments. You have advantage on Stealth checks in rocky environments (including mountains and hills).
Multi-armed archer. At 7th level, you may use two of your arms to attack with a ranged weapon as a bonus action, whenever you take an action to attack. This ability does not grant you proficiency with ranged weapons, if you do not already have it. If you make an additional attack in this manner, you may not add your ability score to damage on the attack.


Hacking the Thrake

I had two simple goals, here: I wanted to make the Thrake feel like their had four arms without breaking action economy, and I wanted the transitional Toru to be an attractive choice.

In the Thrake, I had an opportunity to play with the “use an object” rule in interesting ways. In 5th Edition, anyone can open a door at any time, but if you want to unlock it, or open a door and close it behind you, that takes an additional action. While I could imagine that the extra arms might get in the way of an inexperienced Thrake fighter, I thought that giving them the opportunity to unlock a door, open it, and close it, all with different arms, would give the feeling in play of a blur of multi-armed motion, without unbalancing the action economy. It might be that two extra actions are too many, and that one is enough.

Most 5th edition races have darkvision, so that seemed like a small bonus, and since the trident is a strange-looking weapon, it seems like a natural fit for a martial race.

As a Thrake levels up, both subraces gain additional attacks with their arms. This might unbalance the action economy, as no other race gets anything like it. The unarmed attack is geared towards monks, which is why it doesn’t require a bonus action. This class feature doesn’t do much to increase the power of most classes, but it does give monks an additional attack every round, in addition to their flurry of blows. Likewise, the ranged attack is useful for a variety of classes, but not getting the ability modifier to damage limits the impact, somewhat.

I have one player with a Thrake character, who is also a changeling, and was glamoured for much of her life. Only recently has her heritage asserted itself, and that has led to some complications for her (having to escape the Technic League, where she was an apprentice, being the most significant, so far). She’s a gunslinger, which should make interesting use of the extra attack, giving her three by level 7. I still don’t think that she will keep up with the Ranger for damage against robots, though. (This is the player who rolled her character completely randomly, which was awesome.)

Next time: The most complicated race conversion (and also the most fun): the Lashunta Cupian Aratomin! 

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4 responses to “Four Arms and a Bad Attitude: Thrake PC Race for 5E

  1. Pingback: Summerlands Recap and New Directions | Dungeon Hacking

  2. Pingback: Iron Gods: Session summaries and some adaptations | Dungeon Hacking

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