The Sunborn

September 11th, 2014

Alex Riggs

Exotic Encounters Archive

                Today is the end of Summer Week, and nearly the end of summer. As the cold days are approaching, you’ll want something to help keep you warm through the winter months. My advice? One of the sunborn, a new player race closely linked to summer fey, who are empowered by the sun and overflowing with energy. Enjoy.



                The sunborn are an unusual race of humanoids with a childlike attitude who live their lives running, swimming, foraging, and playing in the wilderness. They have strong ties to the fey, as well as to sunlight and warmth in general. Though they typically come from idyllic and peaceful woodland utopias, they are nonetheless eager to get out and see the world, and don’t mind fighting monsters to do it.

                Physical Description: Sunborn are very human in appearance, and most could easily pass for dark-skinned humans or elves. Their skin ranges from sandy brown to a ruddy crimson most of the time, although when they are exposed to intense heat their skin changes to a metallic golden-brass-like color, and hardens considerably as well. Even in less extreme temperatures, such as a hot summer’s day in the sun, a sunborn’s skin seems to ripple and shimmer as their skin constantly shifts between “natural” and “metallic” coloration in a dappled, marbled pattern of constant motion.

                A sunborn’s hair is wiry and metallic, with silver and ebony shades being the most common, but gold, copper, bronze, and occasionally metallic shades of green and red are all possible. Sunborn typically wear their hair long, often braided in an intricate fashion. Sunborn have pointed ears like elves, and tend not to develop facial hair (when they do, it tends to be sparse and understated, and resembles the rest of their hair). Sunborn never have hair below the neck. A sunborn’s eyes have irises that are almost always a deep blue (sometimes lighter blues or turquoise shades), but the whites of their eyes are a bright yellow-orange, instead.

                Sunborn generally wear little clothing, preferring the feel of the sun on their skin. They generally wear just enough to meet the demands of modesty. When more covering clothing is required, they typically prefer loose, flowing clothing such as robes, but in cold climates they bundle up even more than most races, in order to maximize the amount of preserved body heat.

                Society: Sunborn society is wild and free, and, in the view of some races, barely qualifies as “society” at all. Most sunborn live in small communities of a few dozen, and survive by hunting and foraging, rather than agriculture, spending their days wandering and exploring in the wilderness. Disputes between two sunborn are somewhat less common than disputes in many other races, and when they occur, they are often left for those involved to work out on their own, if possible, with the rest of the community stepping in to intervene only if it seems necessary to prevent the dispute from growing into a feud, or ending in bloodshed.

                Many sunborn retain a childlike outlook on life well into their adulthood. They tend to have difficulty with delayed gratification, and are often very impulsive. They are also far more resistant than most humanoid adults to doing things that they do not want to do, and are apt to abandon any chores or other unpleasant tasks that might be assigned to them. That said, may humanoid races find their optimism and impish playfulness to be refreshing.

                When a sunborn reaches a certain age, just before adolescence, certain instincts, related to her fey heritage, awaken within her. If she chooses to pursue these instincts, and her fey nature, then over the course of a year or so, she transforms into a fey, and leaves her friends and family behind for a new life. Those who don’t heed this call by the time that they enter puberty lose this ability, and remain sunborn, instead. The sunborn do not mourn those that become fey, but instead celebrate them. However, becoming a fey in this fashion is considered no better or worse than remaining a sunborn—merely different.

                Relations: Many sunborn go their entire lives without interacting with other humanoid races more than a handful of times, and a few sunborn communities are so remote that they may actually go an entire generation without encountering any other humanoids at all. Curious, playful, and optimistic, sunborn tend to enjoy the company of most other humanoid races, although extended contact with some, such as the dour dwarves, can try their patience, and obviously they are not friendly with evil races that try to enslave or kill them. They tend to get on particularly well with elves, who share their love of freedom and nature, and with humans, who often share their energy and enthusiasm.

                Alignment and Religion: As creatures with strong ties to the fey, sunborn are typically chaotic in alignment, and in fact most sunborn gravitate strongly towards a chaotic good alignment, which is perhaps part of the reason why their idyllic nature communities are able to thrive, when so many human settlements with the same idea are doomed to failure. Not all sunborn fit this mold, however, and neutral good, chaotic neutral, and true neutral sunborn are not uncommon by any stretch of the imagination. Anything further than that from chaotic good is unusual, but not unheard of. Sunborn are more likely to be evil than lawful, but only by a slight margin. Lawful evil sunborn are all but unheard of.

                Adventurers: For a sunborn, becoming an adventurer has more to do with opportunity than anything else. Few sunborn will actively seek to leave their peaceful communities, but if a chance for adventure happens to stumble across a sunborn one day, few sunborn will think much of following along, even if it means never returning to their forest home. Sunborn adventurers tend to be loyal companions, and often form the heart and conscience of an adventuring company. Sunborn adventurers are typically more interested in the opportunity for travel and excitement that adventuring affords, rather than for fame, wealth, or other reasons.

                Many sunborn become bards or rangers, and a few become druids, clerics, or sorcerers, but the majority of sunborn adventurers become monks. A sunborn’s natural proclivity for athletics, and their unusual fey nature, allow them to master many of the same techniques as monks, without the rigid mental discipline.

                Male Names: Armik, Burmadu, Ejano, Ganaro, Janga, Orland, Madrin, Ridvik, Sebbuin, Tikvali

                Female Names: Antija, Bamara, Comoco, Howai, Jomica, Maribu Mecoco, Pismi, Ria, Somao


Standard Racial Traits

                Ability Score Racial Traits: Sunborn are graceful and resilient, but lack the patience for study and learning. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, and -2 Intelligence.
                Type: Sunborn are humanoids with the sunborn subtype.
                Size: Sunborn are Medium creatures, and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
                Base Speed: Sunborn have a base speed of 30 feet.
                Languages: Sunborn begin play speaking Common and Sylvan. Sunborn with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following languages: Aklo, Aquan, Auran, Draconic, Ignan, or Terran.


Defensive Racial Traits

                Feytouched: A sunborn gains a +2 racial bonus on saving throws made to resist the spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities of fey.

                Heat Adaption: Whenever a sunborn suffers fire damage, she gains fire resistance 5 for 1 minute. If she suffers any further fire damage while this resistance is in effect, the resistance increases to 10, and her natural armor bonus to AC increases by 2. These benefits last until the sunborn has gone a full minute without suffering fire damage. Fire damage negated by the sunborn’s fire resistance does not count as “taking fire damage” for the purposes of this ability.


Skill and Feat Racial Traits

                Athletic: Sunborn receive a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics, Climb, and Swim checks.

                Swift: A sunborn gains its choice of one of the following feats as a bonus feat at first level: Dodge, Fleet, Improved Initiative, or Run. She may only select Dodge if she meets its prerequisites.


Miscellaneous Racial Traits

                Internal Heat: A sunborn is immune to the normal effects of extremely cold temperatures, as her body creates enough internal heat to warm her even in these conditions. This is very taxing, however, and can actually be worse for the sunborn over long periods of time. When exposed to environments of between 40° Fahrenheit and 0° Fahrenheit, the sunborn is fatigued for as long as she remains in an environment of that temperature, and for 1 hour thereafter, while one exposed to environments of between -1° Fahrenheit and -20° Fahrenheit suffers becomes exhausted, instead. A sunborn exposed to environments of less than -20° Fahrenheit suffers 1d4 points of nonlethal damage per round. This damage is caused by the sunborn’s body taxing itself to keep warm, and not directly by the cold, so it is not cold damage, and cold resistance or immunity does not apply. Effects that would protect the sunborn from the cold temperatures (including endure elements and cold weather gear, if it would be sufficient in the conditions the sunborn is exposed to, protect against these effects.

                Finally, a sunborn’s unarmed strike deals 1 additional point of fire damage with each successful hit.

                Sunbathing: If a sunborn spends a full hour in direct sunlight, she gains a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and saving throws. This bonus lasts for as long as she remains in direct sunlight, and 10 minutes thereafter. If a sunborn goes a full 48 hours without any exposure to direct sunlight, she suffers a -1 penalty to attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and saving throws. This penalty lasts for as long as the sunborn goes without exposure to direct sunlight, but ends as soon as she enters an area with direct sunlight.

                Wild Discipline: A sunborn ignores the monk class’s restriction that only lawful characters may take the class. Sunborn of any alignment can take levels in monk.