I have liked the aranea since I first read about them in the Monster Manual but I have never been able to use them as often as I've wanted. They seem to have a lot of potential that goes untapped: as shapechangers, they can take a humanoid form and move around largely undetected, and their spider underpinnings give them a touch of the alien/exotic. They're also natural sorcerers, which gives them a further leg up in mingling with others without arousing suspicion. Although they are listed as living in forests, I've always imagined them as city dwellers, as well - and although they are magical beasts, I've always fancied them as being able to breed with humanoid creatures. So I've whipped up a template to reflect that, and if you allow araneans in your game, you might also want to take a look at the sorcerer bloodline I've created.
I know that a lot of people complain about all of the races and templates that have been published, and I understand that it may seem like overkill. But there is often a rational progression showing what happens when greater races mix with lesser races. For example: fey + nonfey ---> half-fey + nonfey ---> feytouched. The blood is diluted the further down the family tree it goes, but there are still some noticeable benefits. I tracked down all of the races set up in such a fashion and realized that something was missing: those with dragon blood a step below the half-dragon.
It made sense to me that dragon blood should progress at least one more step before being dispersed completely. Dragons are legendary in their power the way that fey, celestials, and demonic creatures are. They are also known for being longer lived than elves, and we know what comes with long life, don't we? Boredom. Do we know what happens when folks get bored? Idle hands are not said to be the devil's playground simply because they are used for crime; sex is often the result of ennui and aimless curiosity. What's more, some dragons are granted the natural ability to change their shape, and all dragons given time develop the ability to cast spells. Dragons have all that they need to copulate with anything they want.
To continue with my line of thought, I consulted the Book of Erotic Fantasy (which I have reviewed elsewhere on this site). The book contains a handy chart on page 50 regarding interspecies crossbreeding, and whether various combinations are possible. The chart shows where different types of creatures are limited: celestials cannot breed with demons, for example, except through magic or the will of a god. Some species simply cannot make offspring with others. Every other species listed on the chart has at least one such limitation, but dragons have none. They are noted for their ability to produce offspring across species.
Since it seemed reasonable and good to me, I set out to complete the dragon progression: dragon + nondragon ---> half-dragon + nondragon ---> dragonblooded. I wanted to make something dragon-related that players would actually be able to play; i.e., something with a low level adjustment and useful abilities. To keep the feel of dragons, I turned to the details of the dragons themselves. I used the Monster Manual I & II and the Monsters of Faerun and came up with what I felt was a suitable formula. I based the abilities of the dragonblooded on the various dragon types, taking directly where I could and taking inspiration for choices where I felt the dragon's abilities were too unbalancing for a +1 level adjustment. The chart above, with all of its selections, shows the result of my labor.
The last touches on the dragonblooded were their feats. I began to play a silver dragonblooded character and when it came time to take feats, my boyfriend suggested I should be able to take a small breath weapon as a feat - which of course led me to all sorts of ideas. I made a limited selection of feats based on the greater abilities of dragons, and I also looked up feats that would work for genasi or dragonblooded characters. These are all listed above.
I have always liked the idea of the genasi and their various descriptions, but I have always been a bit disappointed in their mechanical construction. They didn't seem to be worth the level adjustment, especially when compared to the aasimar and the tiefling. I decided to try my own hand at it to see if I could come up with a version that pleased me. I came up with what you see here.
I based them on the half-elemental template and made my templates for any corporeal creature with an Intelligence score of 4 or more. I figured that half-elementals themselves have the same qualification, so why would their descendants be human-only (which is what the genasi in the books are)? I also figured that the gifts of elemental blood would be fairly predictable in most respects across the races (thus a dwarven earth genasi would have the same bonuses as a human earth genasi).
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