Traveling woodborn sometimes joke that they have the easiest job in the world. Woodborn are the result of a pact of magic between a grove of treants and a group of elven druids; when the heart tree of the treants was threatened by corruption, the druids had the idea of spreading its power from a single tree into many mobile hosts which would feed the forest with their vitality and be empowered by it in turn. The spell was months in the weaving, but at its culmination the dying tree of life dropped dozens of acorns, which grew into the first woodborn. Woodborn have precisely two duties expected of them—live, and occasionally raise a new woodborn.
Their simple existence—let alone the fact that they have spread, thrived, and become a race in their own right—has empowered the enchanted forest from which they ultimately originated, and given its treant and elf guardians more magic than they really know what to do with. Where once the creators of the woodborn personally knew each and every one of their children, these half-bloods are now found the world over, thriving in nature, in civilization, and even delving into the ancient secrets of the world. Every now and again the treants and druids come together and wonder what, precisely, they have unleashed.
Woodborn can be mistaken for elves at a distance, but up closer differences become obvious; their skin is made of a tough, yet flexible bark and what appears to be hair is instead, stiff, bristly twigs that change colors with the seasons. Woodborn have green eyes that sometimes bottom out to gray if the woodborn is starved or injured. Woodborn rarely dress in metal and will make heavier armors out of ironwood or enchanted glass if they feel the need to wear them. Woodborn rarely accessorize, but do occasionally grow flowers in their “hair” or on their bodies, which they tend carefully and display with a certain amount of pride.
Woodborn smile a lot. Raised by loving single parents (or families, or sometimes as the apprentice of a druid or ranger who agrees to take on the child because the woodborn who sired it is busy with vitally important duties), woodborn are aware that they get to experience the world in a way few others get to. Woodborn know the taste of sunlight, the songs of windblown grass, and the unstoppable glory of life unfurled, and they couple this with the raw life that pounds through their veins and fills them with unquenchable joy.
That feeling, of being full of life, is the defining trait of the woodborn. They attack their lives with a verve that both of their parent races find confusing and a little unnerving; though long-lived, woodborn move through their lives like humans do, always racing to complete one project and start another, each with total enthusiasm. It isn’t that woodborn have trouble seeing the long view or acting with an eye towards a greater good, it’s just that they feel very alive, and the energy that races through them demands to be spent. Woodborn find it easy to look at the bright side of things and to find hope even amidst sorrow.
Most woodborn are raised by a woodborn parent or else by a druid or ranger trusted by their parent; grown from seeds, woodborn spend the first few years of their childhood rooted in the ground before they learn how to walk and lose their roots. Woodborn are taught young about the origins of their race, and that they should feel proud of having such an important duty that helps so many people. Most eventually leave home, sometimes before reaching full adulthood, to see the world and decide what they want to do with their lives. Often, the answer is “a little bit of everything”.
Eventually woodborn settle into a particular career path, and as they become adults begin to produce one acorn every ten years or so—the seed of more woodborn. Not all of the seeds grow, but enough do that woodborn are a thriving, spread-out race that can be found all over the world. Woodborn are mostly used to being rare in any given region, and if they want to the company of their own kind they can always make the journey back to the forest of their origins and meet with those that have chosen to help tend it.
Woodborn mostly adventure to help others; they work to defend frontier towns, drive back ancient evils, and preserve the wild lands. Most woodborn are clerics, druids, or rangers, though a strong subset embrace the bard class. Woodborn may learn exotic skill sets simply for the joy of knowing them, but their minds are not easily built for rote learning and they do not excel as wizards, warders, and other classes with an emphasis on formal education. Woodborn have a love-hate relationship with alchemists and arcane casters, marrying deep curiosity with instinctive distrust born of their treant heritage. Woodborn start out liking most races and quickly learn that many of them—but especially orcs, gnolls, and others that gather in resource-devouring hordes—are annoying, evil, destructive, or some horrible combination of all three. Woodborn instinctively like fey creatures and may be prone to trusting them unreasonably.
Ability Score Adjustments
Medium: Woodborn are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Other Racial Traits
Speed: Woodborn have a base speed of 30 feet.
Oakflesh: A woodborn’s flesh turns blades like oak. This increases their natural armor bonus by +2.
Font of Life (Su) Woodborn are all branches of the tree of life. They gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against death effects and have negative energy resistance equal to 5 plus their character level.
Oak Limbs (Ex) Woodborn’s limbs are as stout as oak and the woodborn gains 2 slam attacks that deal 1d4 damage each.
Darkvision (Ex) Woodborn can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Low-light Vision (Ex) Woodborn can see twice as far as humans in dim light.
Languages: Woodborn begin play speaking Common and Sylvan. Woodborn with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aquan, Dwarf, Elf, Giant, Goblin, Orc, and Terran.
Alternate Racial Traits
Assassin Symbiote (Ex) Some woodborn have a special relationship with a breed of assassin vine. This vine grants the woodborn the constrict special quality, dealing 1d6+Strength damage on a successful grapple check. This replaces oak limbs.
Deathoak (Sp): Some woodborn have mutated into a rare subtype of woodborn that thrives off death. These “death oak” gain the benefits of a death knell spell for 1 minute up to three times per day whenever they successfully kill a living creature. This replaces font of life.
Destructive (Ex) Some woodborn have inherited the destructive ability of their treant progenitors. Whenever they attack an object, they deal double damage before hardness. This racial trait replaces oakflesh.
Nature’s Confession (Sp): Some woodborn’s connection with the tree of life is less resilient, but no less powerful. Once per week by spending an hour concentrating and communing with the voices of the wilderness they gain they gain the benefits of the commune spell. This replaces font of life.
Favored Class Options
Aegis: Add +1/4 to the aegis’ customization points.
Cryptic: The cryptic gains +1/6 of a new insight.
Dread: Add +1/3 to weapon damage when channeling a terror through a weapon attack.
Guru: Add +1/3 to dispel checks made as part of your sunder veil ability.
Marksman: Add 1 to the number of times per day the marksman can use the wind reader class feature.
Tactician: Add +1/4 to the tactician’s strategy daily uses.
Vitalist: Gain +1/2 additional daily use of transfer wounds.
Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens