Races

Drow

Pros

  • Best infravision in the game - 12 squares!
  • Magic resistance - 50% + 2%/lvl
  • Overall +3 to attibutes
  • Sharp Senses
  • Can use poison without alignment penalty
  • Racial spells (especially Globe of Shadow and Levitation)
  • Adamant starting equipment
  • Ambidexterity
  • Extra domain for Priests

Cons

  • -2 Luck penalty

Tips and Tactics
Drow are an extremely powerful race and they excel in any class, but are particularly good Rogues, Mages, Rangers, and light-armored Warriors.

Ranged-attack characters can shoot from beyond the visual range of almost any enemy. Stealthy characters can use Globe of Shadow to become even more difficult to see. Levitation can get you across any pesky terrain (lava, water, chasm, traps, etc). Your magic resistance means you have less to worry about from enemy casters who like to destroy your equipment or curse you. Starting with the Ambidexterity feat allows you the option of using two weapons with fewer penalties. It should also be noted that drow priests start off with an extra domain compared to other priests — the Spider domain, which contains a useful spell or two.

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Dwarf

Pros

  • Weaponcraft
  • Infravision
  • Some magic resistance
  • Armor feats
  • Fatigue regeneration
  • Favor bonus with Ekliazeh

Cons

  • None

Tips and Tactics
Dwarves make excellent heavy armor Warriors, Paladins, and Priests. Their built-in armor feats are ones you would want to take anyway, and Fatigue Regeneration means you can fight longer in that heavy armor without having to rest. The Fatigue Regeneration ability can also be used extremely well by other classes like Mages (for Meta-Magic feat use) and Barbarians (for going Berserk or using Great Blows).

Dwarves have the ability to improve their weapons or even craft new magical ones. Infravision means you never have to worry about torches being destroyed. Magic Resistance is always nice to have when you are trying to close with a spell caster. Another major plus for dwarves is being able to start the game as an Ekliazeh worshiper, and getting a favor advantage with him. This means that you can get help from the start of the game if needed instead of having to fight your way to the Pantheon on level 2 before converting and then starting to build favor. A dwarf's natural abilities, combined with the bonuses granted by Ekliazeh can make you are serious tank! You will have an insane Con and will be well on your way to the Resilient feat which grants regeneration of those hundreds of HP.

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Elf

Pros

  • Overall +5 to attributes
  • Racial weapons (long sword, bows, and rapier)
  • Sharp Senses
  • Lowlight Vision
  • Fire and Cold resistance
  • Reverie

Cons

  • Maeve
  • Wrought Iron weakness (+2d6 damage)

Tips and Tactics
Due in part to their amazing starting ability bonuses, elves can excel at almost any class, especially dex-based, light-armored, or spell casting classes. The only one they cannot be is a Necromancy Mage because elves cannot cast necromantic magic.

Their Reverie ability means that if they have an encounter while resting the monsters do not necessarily act first and they aren't subject to coup de grace attacks. The racial weapons mean that any elf (like a Mage for example) can proficiently use a long sword, rapier, or a bow. This greatly increases the combat options open to elf characters.

All these great advantages come at a price. All elves have a built-in relationship to Maeve who can be very fickle. If your character chooses to worship another diety, whether by starting as a Priest or by converting at an altar, Maeve is angered. In any case, it is a good idea to try to keep on her good side as much as possible so that you are more likely to get good effects than bad ones.

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Gnome

Pros

  • Free Action!
  • Gnomish Backpack
  • Rapid Reload feat
  • Racial spells (especially Mirror Image and Displacement)
  • Racial skills (Alchemy, Handle Device, Use Magic)
  • Scent
  • Illusionist bonuses: Racial +4 Illusioncraft, Arcane Trickery (3 times a day +8 to disbelief DC of illusions)

Cons

  • Small size

Tips and Tactics
A gnome's natural abilities (like Arcane Trickery and Illusioncraft) make them extremely powerful Mages and Illusionist Mages in particular. The Rapid Reload feat and proficiency with the deadly arbalest (18-20 x5 crit) make them fearsome ranged fighters which make them well suited to life as a Rogue or Ranger. They can also make very capable melee fighter-types. Their Use Magic skill means that your Warrior, Barbarian, or Paladin can now make excellent use of all those wands he or she is finding.

Gnomes have several major advantages as a race. The first is Free Action. Never having to worry about being paralyzed or stuck in anything is a major relief. And it means you do not have to throw a bunch of skill points into a skill like Concentration or Escape Artist to get the same effect. Another is their racial skills like Alchemy, Handle Device, and Use Magic. Their Alchemy skill allows them to create many items which are extremely useful to any class. It is like being able to create a small set of magical items. Handle Device makes traps less of a concern, and even a source of some extra XP. And of course, Use Magic allows any character to be able to use wands. This combination gives their fighting classes a greater punch by giving them added depth and options. Their Scent ability helps them avoid being sneaked up on, making you less likely to be caught by surprise and sneak-attacked.

Small Races

Small races pose some unique challenges and opportunities. They cannot wield Large weapons and must use two hands to wield a Medium weapon, they have a 10% penalty to Hit Points and their carrying capacity is 3/4ths that of a Medium-size creature. However, they receive a +1 size bonus to DC and to all attack rolls, they get a +4 bonus to the Hide skill, and their smaller stature lets them navigate tunnels that a human could never fit into. In addition to the reduced carrying capacity, all small races also start with a penalty to Str.

Small characters, more than any other race, need to find a gnomish backpack early so they can dump their small starting pack. They must also focus on using their advantages by doing things like fighting in small corridors where medium and larger enemies lose Dex bonuses. Avoid reduce traps - they are doubly bad for already small races.

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Halfling

Pros

  • Overall +6 to attributes
  • +4 luck bonus and Unearthly Luck
  • +4 combined bonus to Hide skill
  • Strong Soul
  • Racial skills (Appraise, Climb, Diplomacy, Hide, Intuition, and Tumble)

Cons

  • Small size
  • Blind as a bat

Tips and Tactics
Halflings make excellent rogues, of course, but they also make good mages because of their high luck bonus to Mage Armor. They can excel at most classes as long as they are played with the correct style.

The high luck means you will come across better equipment earlier in the game. Unfortunately, unless you find it in a chest it will usually be used against you before you can get it. Unearthly Luck combined with their +4 Luck bonus means they usually have really good saving throws. Strong Soul provides them with an innate defense against ability score damage, fear, and death effects. They start the game with Hearthstones which allow you to rest in safety, but their high weight means you will probably end up having to drop them at some point. Halflings also start with a very impressive list of racial skills. Diplomacy is one of the most useful skills in the game and is combined with a +2 bonus to Cha. Their other skills are also extremely useful and some even combine with a racial bonus (Hide, Climb, and Tumble).

Small Races

Small races pose some unique challenges and opportunities. They cannot wield Large weapons and must use two hands to wield a Medium weapon, they have a 10% penalty to Hit Points and their carrying capacity is 3/4ths that of a Medium-size creature. However, they receive a +1 size bonus to DC and to all attack rolls, they get a +4 bonus to the Hide skill, and their smaller stature lets them navigate tunnels that a human could never fit into. In addition to the reduced carrying capacity, all small races also start with a penalty to Str.

Small characters, more than any other race, need to find a gnomish backpack early so they can dump their small starting pack. They must also focus on using their advantages by doing things like fighting in small corridors where medium and larger enemies lose Dex bonuses. Avoid reduce traps - they are doubly bad for already small races.

Being Blind as a Bat

Races with no special method for seeing or detecting enemies (like Infravision, Lowlight Vision, or Scent) must always make sure that they have means available to them to produce light. They should replace their starting torches with lanterns as soon as possible for the extended light radius provided. Spellcasters will want to get a light providing spell to use as a light source or as a backup. It is very common to lose torches and lanterns to things like Shatter spells, water-based attacks, and water traps. For a longer term solution, characters of these races will want to improve their vision and detection methods by learning spells, gaining levels in certain Prestige Classes (Sentinel or Shadowdancer both help), or choosing feats like Blind Fighting.

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Human

Pros

  • 2 free racial skills
  • 3 extra feats by the end of the game
  • 2 extra skill points per level
  • Inherent attribute bonuses can go to +8
  • 1 extra perk

Cons

  • Blind as a bat
  • No attribute modifications

Tips and Tactics
Humans can be anything and they can be very good at whatever they choose. That is their great strength - flexibility. They do not start with any stat bonuses so things will be a little harder in the beginning, but their inherent ability bonuses can be larger than any other race (+8 limit instead of +5) so they can be extremely powerful by the end of the game. Being able to choose your own racial skills is also very nice. You can pick Healing for your Mage, Athletics for your Ranger, Use Magic for your Warrior, or whatever you want. Other races must spend one of their precious feats to get another skill. The extra feats means you can have the flexibility to choose a wider variety of feats, or to go further down a given feat tree. Other races get 5 feats for the whole game and humans end up with 8. The two extra skill points per level means you may have extra points to put into a skill that may otherwise get undeveloped.

Being Blind as a Bat

Races with no special method for seeing or detecting enemies (like Infravision, Lowlight Vision, or Scent) must always make sure that they have means available to them to produce light. They should replace their starting torches with lanterns as soon as possible for the extended light radius provided. Spellcasters will want to get a light providing spell to use as a light source or as a backup. It is very common to lose torches and lanterns to things like Shatter spells, water-based attacks, and water traps. For a longer term solution, characters of these races will want to improve their vision and detection methods by learning spells, gaining levels in certain Prestige Classes (Sentinel or Shadowdancer both help), or choosing feats like Blind Fighting.

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Kobold

Pros

  • +4 Dex bonus
  • Racial feats (Weapon Finesse, Close Quarters Fighting, and Dirty Fighting)
  • Poison immunity
  • Evasion
  • Flawless Dodge
  • Racial skills (especially Handle Device , Hide, and Climb)
  • Infravision
  • Natural Weapons

Cons

  • Small size
  • -4 Str bonus

Tips and Tactics
Kobolds make some of the best Rogues in the game and also great Mages (Floating Disk eliminates the pack weight problems).

Kobolds always end up with an insane dex by the end game (+4 racial and +5 insight vs human's +8 insight). Kobolds have the standard problems associated with being a small race, but their starting feats makes it easier to use them to your advantage. Their high Dex helps them to get to a 20+ Climb rating without the Spider Climb spell so climbing around on the ceiling to attack, evade, sneak, or simply to cross chasms is a common tactic. The kobold's -4 to Str is a double-jeopardy with their small size and encumbrance tends to be one of their biggest troubles. Handle Device allows them to avoid and even gain XP from traps in the dungeon. The Hide skill is important for them because they will not want to be taking a lot of enemies on directly.

Small Races

Small races pose some unique challenges and opportunities. They cannot wield Large weapons and must use two hands to wield a Medium weapon, they have a 10% penalty to Hit Points and their carrying capacity is 3/4ths that of a Medium-size creature. However, they receive a +1 size bonus to DC and to all attack rolls, they get a +4 bonus to the Hide skill, and their smaller stature lets them navigate tunnels that a human could never fit into. In addition to the reduced carrying capacity, all small races also start with a penalty to Str.

Small characters, more than any other race, need to find a gnomish backpack early so they can dump their small starting pack. They must also focus on using their advantages by doing things like fighting in small corridors where medium and larger enemies lose Dex bonuses. Avoid reduce traps - they are doubly bad for already small races.

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Lizardfolk

Pros

  • Physical attribute bonuses
  • Natural Armor
  • Natural Weapons
  • Ancestral Memory
  • Focused Mind
  • Swimmer
  • Fire Resistance
  • Large racial skill list

Cons

  • -2 Luck penalty
  • -2 Int penalty
  • Blind as a bat

Tips and Tactics
Lizardfolk make very tough combat-oriented characters because of their bonus to both Str and Con (the only race with a bonus to both). They excel as Warriors, Barbarians, Monks, and Druids. Their natural armor means they can get away with wearing less armor than other characters. They can also take any other class and give it a little more survivability because of the physical enhancements and Natural Armor. The downside is the -2 Int penalty means fewer skill points are available, so classes which rely on having a lot of skills will be more difficult to play and it may be more difficult to qualify for a prestige class early in the game.

The main ability of the lizardfolk is the Ancestral Memory. It allows them to get a large bonus to any one skill for a small duration at the cost of 2 Fatigue Points. This is very useful for things where you have a need for a boost to a skill occasionally without sinking points into it, or just to get a better outcome on a skill check. Some examples of when you would use it are: on Healing before treating a particularly nasty Disease, Poison, or Stat Drain; or on Diplomacy before trying to get a powerful creature to join you; or on Find Weakness before a key battle; or on Craft before a difficult item creation roll. When you combine the Natural Armor, the +2 Con bonus, the Fire Resistance, Oily Secretion, and the Focused Mind ability, lizardfolk are all-around tough and can survive a lot of situations. The Swimmer ability is also a very nice bonus. After you have enjoyed moving across deep water without any worries about Swimming checks as a lizardfolk you will miss that ability when you play other races.

Being Blind as a Bat

Races with no special method for seeing or detecting enemies (like Infravision, Lowlight Vision, or Scent) must always make sure that they have means available to them to produce light. They should replace their starting torches with lanterns as soon as possible for the extended light radius provided. Spellcasters will want to get a light providing spell to use as a light source or as a backup. It is very common to lose torches and lanterns to things like Shatter spells, water-based attacks, and water traps. For a longer term solution, characters of these races will want to improve their vision and detection methods by learning spells, gaining levels in certain Prestige Classes (Sentinel or Shadowdancer both help), or choosing feats like Blind Fighting.

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Orc

Pros

  • +4 Str bonus
  • Overall +2 to attributes
  • Infravision
  • Devouring
  • Toughness
  • Weapon proficiencies
  • Scent
  • Spell Fury
  • Racial skills (Athletics and Intimidate)

Cons

  • Light aversion
  • -2 Int penalty

Tips and Tactics
Orcs make some of the best combat-oriented characters in the game. They excel as Warriors, Barbarians, and Priests. Because of their weapon proficiencies and and Str bonus they can also do well in other classes by adding greater combat ability (like a combat Mage, which would also use their Spell Fury ability).

Devouring is a racial ability that you will want to maximize your use of. By the end of the game you can have developed your resistances to a number of attack forms and hopefully also picked up substantial ability enhancements. Note that eating another corpse while full will merely cause you to vomit. You will still get any benefits of the devouring, so there is no need to wait for your hunger to fall naturally. Orcs also get the option of beginning the game with a diety - Khasrach. They can thus begin developing favor earlier than other characters and can use prayer to be helped in dire situations. Orcs will need to be mindful of their weakness in bright light. Enemy priests will take advantage of the -4 to attack and defense that orcs suffer. The other weakness of orcs is their -2 Int penalty which means they will have fewer skill points available as they gain levels.

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