Monday, April 15, 2024

Dragonbane Kin: Woolly Neanderthal

Note: The woolly Neanderthal originally appeared in the Operation Unfathomable Players' Guide and was created by Jason Sholtis.

Last week, I made an attempt to convert a player race from Operation Unfathomable, designed for use with Swords & Wizardry, to a Dragonbane player kin. This week I will give another of its unusual player options, the woolly Neanderthal, a try.

In the original publication, woolly Neanderthals are described as follows:

"Native to the chilly northern lands of Mastodonia, the woolly Neanderthals abide in small, physically isolated clans, often making their homes in and among great piles of huge glacially deposited stones. They subsist upon a variety of mastodon meats and have refined the arts of drying, smoking, curing, and barbecuing this sole source of nutrition to a high level of sophistication. Gourmands from civilization have been known to risk travel through the savage provinces to feast among the Woollies. Their material culture remains at a Stone Age level, despite (generally unwanted) contact with humans and other cultures."

Again, there is a bit more description than that, but this gets the gist across. Woollies don't have much in the way of special abilities. Instead, they are more likely to have high Strength and Constitution scores. They do have a natural armor class of 6 in the original rules, but no kin in Dragonbane have innate armor, so I will skip that. Still, by looking at some of the other kin in Dragonbane and its Bestiary, one can make something that feels roughly appropriate.


Woolly Neanderthal
Woolly Neanderthals are large, hairy, and sturdily built people who dwell among the rocks of the northern realms. 
They are hardy folk who live hard lives. Lacking the knowledge of metallurgy, theirs is a rustic culture that revolves exclusively around the hunting and preparation of giant mastodons. A reclusive, even shy folk, woollies tend to avoid the company of other kin, but a few are known to form strong bonds with outsiders. They often possess great natural cunning, but their tendency to use few words means that other kin may underestimate their intelligence.

Ability: Rugged
Willpower Points: 1
By activating this ability, woolly Neanderthals get a boon on a CON roll for resisting cold (page 54 in the Rulebook), a boon on a HUNTING & FISHING roll, or can make camp without rolling BUSHCRAFT (page 103 in the Rulebook). In addition, woollies can always eat raw food without falling ill (no WP required).

GM Notes
As presented in the original Operation Unfathomable Players' Guide, woolly Neanderthals must pay 50% more for weapons and armor "due to their exceptional size." (Personally, I would skip this, especially since I haven't given them their innate armor from the original.) As they are described as averaging 6 and 1/2 feet in height, they are not considered Large creatures in Dragonbane. I suggest automatically giving them the Child of the Wild weakness at the game's start.

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