Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Class: The Folk

“Faërie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons; it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted.”
- Tolkien, On Fairy Stories.

“We do not want merely to see beauty... we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.”
-C.S. Lewis

Xia Chenjie

Class: The Folk

Folk possess only two stats, Forma and Numen (Form and Presence, if you roll that way,).

Forma (FRM): The strength of the Folk's physical manifestation. Folk can withstand damage equal to their FRM before losing their material body. They may re-manifest in FRM / NMN modifier days, rounding up (ignore negatives). When you level up, roll d20: if it is higher than your Forma, increase that score by 1.

Numen (NMN): The strength of the Folk's true being. Tied with the health of their home locus: each act that honors / desecrates this locus will increase / decrease this stat by one. If the modifier is negative, the locus has become polluted and the Folk corrupted. If NMN is reduced to 0, the Folk fades completely and cannot return.

Roll 4d4 for Forma; Numen always begins at 10.You may subtract up to 2 from one score and add it to the other.

Saves are resolved by rolling under the appropriate stat.

Folk do not gain experience or levels: instead, the templates a Folk possesses are equal to its Numen modifier. They will always possess the traits of template 0.


0) Folk Magic, Words of the World, 2 Power

N1) +1 Power

N2) + 1 Power

N-1) Sickly Nature, -1 Power, +1 Corruption

N-2) Polluted, +2 Corruption

Folk Magic

Certain magics are universal among all of the Folk. They are:
  • The ability to change shape as they wish.
  • The ability to appear and disappear as they will.
  • Knowledge of the language of all birds and beasts.
  • The ability to be heard in a man's native tongue.
Folk are tied to their home, whether it be a single tree or an entire biome; they cannot pass far beyond the border of their locus without invoking 2 Power for the duration of their journey.

Words of the World

There is no separation between the Folk and the world, and this is their greatest magic.

Invoking Words of the World requires Power. Power is invoked for as long as the effect is active, and returns when the effect is dispersed. Actions will scale depending on how much Power is invoked.

(This is all just barely tweaked from Kevin Crawford's system in Godbound, by the by.)
  • Damage against a single target (1d6 /1d8 / 1d10 / 1d12)
  • Damage against multiple targets (1d4 / 1d6 / 1d8 / 1d10)
  • Gain armor or defenses (as leather / as chain / as plate / as plate and shield)
  • Resist damage or an effect(damage reduction, damage resistance, countering spell effects, etc)
  • Hinder or weaken an enemy (Penalties to hit, take extra damage, status effects, etc.)
  • Create something
  • Change something
  • Other
For Folk operating outside of their homes, roll d6 for each point of Power invoked. Dice that come up as 6 are considered burnt until the next day.

Sickly Nature

Folk whose numen has been severely damaged take a 1d6 penalty to all rolls that they make, and they may not leave their home territory.

Corruption acts the same way as Power, though it is fit only for foul and misbegotten uses. When it is invoked, the Folk must make a Numen save, or will lose 1 point in that score.

Polluted Form

At this point the Folk has either faded to near-nothing (and thus cannot / will not act), or embraced its corruption and transformed into an abomination. Some small fragments of its old essence might still remain, but drawing them out is next to impossible.

All those who encounter must make a save vs magic at -4 to avoid contracting sickness or curse, per turn. No save may be made for direct physical contact.

Folk who have reached this level of corruption will often attempt to survive by severing themselves completely from their home. This should not be allowed to happen.


 Folk PCs

There are uncountable varieties of the Folk that might be found in the great wide world. I'll have a post detailing some of them later down the line.

The most common Folk that might be found in the company of dungeon hobos and the like will be nymphs, woodwose, brownies, goblins, and talking animals.

Needless to say, any Folk who would end up in such a situation already positively inclined towards humanity - there are more of these than one might think, considering the many alliances Mother made in the distant past.

Outside of fools and the truly foul, Folk traveling in the world of men will be met with great respect.

The greatest threat to the Folk is the growing tumor of Hell - fending off this threat will bring many Folk to call upon mankind for aid, or offer theirs in kind.


  1. Finally, an elf class I am happy with. This one's been percolating for almost a year now, after I listened to a fantastic talk on yokai at a convention last summer. Thanks to Slaytanical via Discord, who suggested using the Godbound Words mechanic.

  2. Does that mean all Folk PCs will be down 2 Power for their entire adventuring lifetime, unless they somehow manage to stage a showdown at their locus?

    1. Yep. Now, there are many Folk who treat an entire region as their home (example, a river spirit could go up and down the length of the river without losing Power), but most will be quite diminished.

    2. Additional thought to that, if someone wants to play as Folk they could easily be a different Folk every session. Word travels fast and the spirits can always round up a few friends the next mountain over.

    3. what about air aligned folk? Those winds and sylphs and rain spirits might have a sort of travelling home, although they may be admittedly averse to dungeoneering

    4. Oh, good catch there! They have a range along the general weather patterns, so can be here there and everywhere, more or less. They'll still often have a home shrine, but that's for human convenience.

  3. Holy crap, this is a fantastic fantastic race as class. Wow. Congrats.

  4. Love the class, and especially love replacing ability scores as a way to make different species truly different.

    That said, do things that effect ability scores, like poisons, curses, etc. similarly reduce forma and numen, or are Folk just implicitly immune to any ability score effecting statuses?

    Also, GLOG has bonuses and penalties greater than 2. 18 nets you +3, for example. Do Folk abilities cap at 16, per rolling 4d4? Or should they have N+3 and N-3 templates?

    Do they roll each level to potentially raise Forma and Numen?

    1. Poisons would reduce / damage Forma. Curses (and poisons delivered to the locus itself) would attack Numen, since they are attacking the home base / true essence as opposed to the projected body.

      I'll add something about raising Forma per level; as for Numen, that is increased by actively strengthening the home locus - holding appropriate rites, caring for the shrine, that will bump you up.

      I use GLOG primarily for spellcasting and templates, so the normal old school bonus dispersion is still on.

  5. Great stuff Dan! Biting old fleshy elves suck, weird stuff is much better.