Yes, I know. Another post about role-playing games. Sorry, folks. I’ll move on soon, promise!
D&D is a game about the underground. It’s about exploring the underdark, cave networks, dungeons and sewers. While games can (and do) take place in settings aboveground, at some point the valiant heroes are going to go down a set of ancient steps, torch in hand where they battle creatures that have made the underground their home.
That’s why I’m surprised that D&D has so few humanoid races that are able to Burrow. The only ones I could find are the Armand and Harssaf, both in Monster Manual III, and they’re more desert dwelling critters than an underground dwelling one. There should be more.
After all, it makes sense to me. If a race lives underground for any length of time, it’s going to adapt to the environment. I can picture a small race digging out tunnels using it’s natural claws, creating a home for itself out of the earth and stone without need for other equipment. Imagine a dungeon layout that’s developed organically, and is likely to have changed the next time you visit, that contains no traps but the walls themseves can change, and foes appear from out of them before you can even react.
I’ve created the race below by taking a Badger, adding the Manimal template from Green Ronin’s Advanced Bestiary to it and adjusting to taste. Picture an upright badger wielding a spear and you’re there.
Brocka are savagely aggressive and are likely to attack intruders first and never ask questions. Their tunnels change constantly; the Brocka clan follow each other’s scent trails, not maps. They used very little equipment – a source of pride among the race – and train their young how to defend their home from a very early age. They are fierce enemies of Kobolds in particular though are likely to fight with anything that enters their territory.
While most Brocka are fighters, the race has produced more than it’s fair share of Rangers and Druids. Any other class is unusual, but not unknown.
Badger Manimal (LN Small Humanoid)
Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6 hp)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), burrow 10 ft.
Armor Class: 15 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-4
Attack: Spear +0 (1d6-1) or Claw +5 melee (1d2–1)
Full Attack: Spear +0 (1d6-1) or 2 claws +5 melee (1d2–1) and bite +0 melee (1d3–1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Rage
Special Qualities: Animal blood, Low-light vision
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +3
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10
Skills: Escape Artist +7, Hide +7, Listen +1, Spot +3, Survival +3
Feats: TrackB, Weapon Finesse
Environment: Temperate forests
Organization: Solitary, pair, or cete (3–5)
Challenge Rating: 1/2
Advancement: By class
Level Adjustment: +1
The Brocka is a furry humanoid with a squat, powerful body. Its strong forelimbs are armed with long claws for digging. An adult badgerkin is 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet tall and weighs 35 to 45 pounds.
Badgerkin attack with simple weapons or their sharp claws and teeth if cornered.
Rage (Ex): A badgerkin can fly into a berserk rage once per day. It gains +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, and –2 to Armor Class. A fit of rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the character’s (newly improved) Constitution modifier. A Brocka may prematurely end his rage. This acts as the Barbarian’s Rage ability and the number of uses stack with those from any other source.
Animal blood (Ex): A badgerkin counts as both animal and humanoid for the purpose of spells, abilities and effects that specifically target animals. It is allowed a Will save to resist spells and effects that only target animals.
Skills: A badgerkin has a +4 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks.
Badgerkin possess the following racial traits.
- -2 STR, +2 DEX, +2 CON, -2 INT, +2 WIS: Brocka are small, tough, agile and live by their wits in the gloom under the earth
- Small size. +1 bonus to Armor Class, +1 bonus on attack rolls, +4 bonus on Hide checks, –4 penalty on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits 3/4 those of Medium characters.
- A badgerkin’s base land speed is 30ft. They have a Burrow speed of 10ft.
- Low-light vision: Brocka still need a light source to be able to see, though their eyesight is far better than a human’s
- Track as a free feat: A badgerkin has inherited the keen nose of their animal cousins, and can use all their senses to track their food and foes
- +4 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks: Brocka can use their claws, teeth and agility to escape most bonds
- Rage (Ex): See above
- Animal blood (Ex): See above
- Favoured class: Fighter
- Level Adjustment: +1