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Eschek

Eschek claim their forebears emerged full-grown from the depths of the ice. Their oral history dates back for several centuries, long before the Divine War, full of cultural stories that originated with those first icy fey and still guide the morals and traditions of eschek society today.

These diminutive fey are commonly and erroneously called winter gnomes by scholars claiming there is a race of fleshy beings that look quite similar to eschek living far away in the jungles of Termana. While most eschek merely scoff at this idea with a wry smirk and roll their eyes, some more cantankerous eschek shout down anyone calling them such a ludicrous name.

Physical Description: While these diminutive people share the stature and features of gnomes (short, slight builds, bushy head and facial hair), eschek are certainly not gnomes at all. They are made completely of bluish ice, and their hair (including beards and mustaches) is comprised of many small icicle formations. Eschek tend to eschew clothing, and in fact do not make clothing for themselves at all. When they are outside of their tribal lands or living in multiracial communities they choose to wear loose-fitting, comfortable garments purchased from other races. Eschek are skilled ice crafters, though, and when they take the battlefield, they do so in armor of glittering ice.

Society: Eschek communities are tribal, ranging from one large family unit up to a few dozen such groups that come together for comfort and safety. While some tribes are nomadic, many reside in small villages which the eschek build from ice. The material the eschek create for these exceptionally well-crafted buildings, their decorative sculptures, columns, and even furniture have come to be called iceworks.

While the eschek are largely peaceful and have no organized militia, they band together to defend their own.

Those who seek to harm members of a tribe often learn the hard way that the eschek are experts in guerrilla warfare, taking advantage of their frigid environments with hit-andrun attacks on enemies, staying hidden under the snow for hours to ambush an enemy.

Relations: The eschek are a race of crafters, akin to dwarves in their fascination with creating things. The eschek are skilled enough to make objects such as tools and furniture of solid ice using only their hands, and their abilities are sought after by other tribes and villages.

Though the eschek tend to view strangers with a certain level of suspicion until they prove themselves trustworthy, they often develop ties with those they do business with and may forge strong friendships with members of other societies that they see frequently. When eschek away from their tribe encounter a stranger, they often observe the newcomer for hours or even days before deciding whether to make contact. Being relatively peaceful, most eschek prefer to hide or leave if a stranger appears hostile or dangerous. If a person seems to be trustworthy, the eschek quickly warm to them, doing their best to make the stranger feel comfortable and welcome, and filling their head with tales of lore and yesterday. Eschek are quick to anger, however, and turn hostile if such a stranger proves to have ill intentions.

Alignment and Religion: Their main religion is a spirit-centered faith. Ushada are the primal spirits of places such as a mountain or forest, totems such as wolves or eagles, and dead ancestors of the current generation. The eschek particularly revere their ancestors, as well as spirits of ice and snow, and offer incidental prayers to other ushada. Whether this belief system originated in the jungles of Termana or developed separately in multiple lands, the truth has been lost to memory. Rumors among other races suggest an eschek cult devoted to a strange and terrible elemental from beyond this plane, though most eschek consider this accusation unworthy of a reply.

Adventurers: Due to their icy nature, eschek keep to frigid regions and rarely are seen beyond. There are those who heed the call of adventure, too wild to live a regular life, or those deemed unsavory by their tribe and pushed into exile. The very brave who wish to adventure beyond safe climates often go in search of the components needed to fashion a frost ring (p. 38) to permit them to withstand the warmer temperatures of other lands.

Names: Eschek remain nameless until they have reached maturity. Before that time, they share their parents’ names, such as “Daughter of Munda” or “Son of Brightsong.”

For the ceremony of adulthood, a young eschek’s family and friends (sometimes their entire tribe) comes together to choose a name. As no standard surnames exist for the eschek, a chosen name is always unique, and often describes some great deed or personality trait the participants hope the eschek will achieve during their lifetime.

Example Names: Blessedshaper, Dunis, Farwalk, Felha, Montish, Snidli, Twilightshield, Yetistone

Eschek Racial Traits

Eschek traits correspond to their icy nature.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
  • Age. Eschek mature similarly to humans and are considered ready to settle into an adult life by age 40. Their lifespans are much longer, however, ranging from 350 to 500 years.
  • Size. Most eschek are between 3 and 4 feet tall and weigh an average of 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet, which increases to 30 feet if you are on snow or ice.
  • Cold Dependent. Due to your frosty flesh, you are especially susceptible to heat. You are uncomfortable in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, suffer disadvantage on saving throws against fire damage or heat, and incur one additional point of damage per damage die from sources that deal fire damage.
  • Cold Focus. Harnessing your nature, you empower cold-based magic you wield. You receive a +1 bonus to hit with spells that deal cold damage. The save DC of spells you cast that deal cold damage increase by 1. Any spell or effect that you cast which deals cold damage causes one additional point of damage per cold damage die.
  • Dual Nature. Your creature type is both Fey and Humanoid.
  • Elemental Traits. You are immune to cold damage and the effects of severe cold, and have advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, paralyzed, stunned, or put to sleep. You only need to sleep for 4 hours per day to gain the same benefits as a human from 8 hours of sleep. You can hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to four times your Constitution modifier (minimum 1).
  • Spell-like Abilities. You know the cold snap cantrip (p. 39). At 3rd level, you gain the ability to cast speak with animals at will, without the need for components. At 3rd level you can also cast ice shards (p. 40) once per day without the need for components. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
  • Weapon Familiarity. You have proficiency with the hooked hammer.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write i.
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Frostlands of Fenrilik © 2020 Travis Legge