Races and Cultures


“When change comes, you can scream and try to force things to stay the same. But you’ll usually end up getting trampled. However, if you can direct the changes, they can serve you Just as the Power serves us, but only after we surrender to it”

Wheel of time

The fields and forests of Andor are home to proud and upstanding peasants and townsfolk who live their lives simply, without affectation or indulgence. The residents of Arad Doman, on the other hand, are known throughout the land for their sensual natures and scandalously revealing clothing. Someone who lives in a large, humid southern coastal city, such as Ebou Dar or Illian, looks, acts, and talks differently from a tall, stern northern person. And of course a giant Ogier or a desert warrior of the Aiel sticks out like a sore thumb anywhere in the westlands (the lands west of the mountains of the Spine of the World).
Though all these people are human (except the Ogier, naturally), where they come from influences what they’re like, how they think and act, and the way they develop as they grow. A child raised in Shienar typically becomes a very different sort of adult than one raised from Tarabon, Tear, or Cairhien. In the Wheel of Time™ setting, you reflect these sorts of differences by choosing a background for your character.

Human Characteristics
As a human, your character is Medium-size, and his or her base speed is 30 feet. This is true of all human characters (though the latter can be altered by feats and class abilities). Their language is New Tongue but this can vary by dialect depending on region.

Background :Your character’s background determines some of his or her qualities, including special traits unique to that background, skill bonuses, and what dialect of the New Tongue he or she speaks. A character can only have one homeland, so you cannot enjoy the background benefits of both the midlands and nearby Tear, even if you decide that your character was raised in a peddler family and traveled throughout both areas as a child. You must choose the one that best fits your concept of your character. As you think about your background, you’ll probably want to consider the class you have in mind, as some backgrounds lend themselves to a particular role more than others. Aiel, for example, can be wanderers, but their homeland and upbringing make them better suited to being algai’d’siswai. A list of the Human backgrounds are as followed.

Background Benefits Each background benefits from an ability increase and an ability specific to each background.
Regional Traits These special abilities represent the common sorts of talents people from that region learn. Choose two of them for your character, the ones available to you are dependent on your background. Bear in mind that some traits can be selected more than once.
Background Skills: There are also several skills for each background. These are skills commonly acquired by people from that background. Select one skill for your character. You gain 1 rank in this skill and it becomes a class skills for your character, regardless of which class you choose for your character.
Countries: The countries that make up a given region; while most consist of only a single country, some backgrounds are shared by two or more nations.
Dialect: Although everyone in the westlands speaks the same language, known as the New Tongue, they all speak it a little differently. A person from Falme has a different accent than one from Arafel and witty turns of phrase in Tear may meet with blank, uncomprehending looks if used in Cairhien or Caemlyn. The thick Illianer accent is most notable of all; people from other kingdoms sometimes have trouble understanding lifelong residents of Illian.
Comparison: Robert Jordan has commented on real-world equivalents of many of the tongues appearing in the Wheel of Time™. This column notes what the various dialects resemble (for possible roleplaying applications or simply for curiosity’s sake).

Ogier Characteristics
Ogier are a race of nonhuman creatures whose existence predates the Age of Legends. Substantially larger than humans and known for their artistic temperaments (many of the westlands’ most beautiful cities were originally built by Ogier stonemasons), Ogier are peaceful creatures who live in isolated communities and have little contact with humanity. As a result of this remoteness, many westlanders consider Ogier little more than legends or children’s tales.

Ogier characters gain the following traits:
• +4 Strength, +2 Intelligence, -2 Dexterity. Ogier possess great strength and wit, but their size sometimes makes them clumsy.
• Large Size: As large creatures, Ogier have a natural reach of 10 feet and a -1 size modifier to Defense.
• Ogier base speed is 40 feet.
• Low-Light Vision: Ogier can see twice as far as humans in poor illumination.
• Ogier automatically receive 1 rank in one Knowledge or Profession skill or in Linguistics. The chosen skill is automatically a class skill for the character.
• +2 bonus on Fortitude saves.
• +2 bonus on Perception checks. The large ears of Ogier allow them to hear better than humans do.
• +2 bonus on Craft checks related to working stone or constructing buildings.
• Skill Restriction: Ride. Ogier do not normally ride and cannot purchase ranks in the Ride skill at character creation. Ride is never a class skill for Ogier.
• Feat Restrictions: Armor Proficiency (Light, Medium, and Heavy), Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Martial Weapon Proficiency. Ogier do not train with weapons and cannot have any armor or weapon proficiency feats (except for simple weapons) at character creation, even if such proficiencies would normally be granted by their class. These feats can be gained normally as the Ogier character advances in level or multiclasses.
• Ogier do not possess the ability to channel and cannot gain levels in any channeling class.
• Home Language: Ogier, New Tongue (choose dialect). Not all Ogier speak the New Tongue, but all adventuring Ogier do.



Races and Cultures

The Wheel of Time Spotts