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Environmental Racial Variants
Racial variants are a great way add diversity to your game without drastically changing the ecology of your world. One method of altering the existing races is to introduce environmental variants, a number of which are presented here.
You may decide that one or more of these variants represent the “standard” version of a given race in your world. For stance, in a desert-based campaign the desert races presented below could replace the normal versions of the races described in the d20 System.
Alternatively, these variants could coexist with the standard races (or even with other variants) in your world. For example, you can use them as world-building tools—the existence of racial offshoots may constitute living proof of an ancient racial migration in response to some disaster.
Each racial variant modifies the race to which it is applied (hereafter called the standard race) in minor ways. All racial traits of the standard race—racial skill bonuses, bonus feats, special sensory capabilities (such as darkvision and low-light vision), ability modifiers, combat bonuses against specific foes, and racial weapon proficiencies—are retained unless the variant specifies otherwise. For instance, a human retains his extra skill points and extra feat at 1st level, a dwarf retains his stonecunning ability, and an elf retains her ability to spot secret doors, unless the variant description specifically indicates otherwise.
Many of the variant races described in this section provide alternate ability score adjustments. In these cases, the adjustments given here supersede the standard race’s adjustments. For example, the aquatic goblin’s ability score adjustments are −2 Strength, +2 Constitution, and −2 Charisma. These adjustments take the place of the goblin’s normal −2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, and −2 Charisma.
Because humans are, by nature, the most adaptable of races, environmental variants are generally not included for humans. The exception is aquatic humans, which, due to their ability to live and breathe underwater, are sufficiently different from other humans to warrant an environmental variant.
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