Pine Tribes Characters in the Steel Realms

Steel Realms

The ©Players Handbook is the defacto starting point for characters and races of the Steel Realms. The Human Pine Tribe people of the Steel Realms correlate to the Human race of DnD. Pine Tribe culture requires different options. They are closely related to the Ilbarsi Tribes of the Eastern Heartlands.

The Pine Tribes are a loose set of people, with many sub-cultures that have spread over the realms, but share many cultural and social norms. As a “people” they are very diverse, but share a great distrust of “civilized” cultures and races, a draw to the archetypal spirit-deities of the Wyld Faith, and a language root.

The Shadowy Origins: There are few recorded sources of where these tribes came form. In truth, they are the remnants of an ancient human “barbarian” horde that came as allies of the Blood of Saemon but spurned siding with host fighting the dark gods in The Valley of Sighs after so many deaths. They fled west, settled in the great northern pines and managed to thrive – it was centuries before the Blood of Saemon encountered them again, and centuries more before there were any competition. The Pine Tribes (as they have come to be known) themselves venerate the great Earth-Mother Gaia, and Beast-Father Darupet, gods who have a presence and name which differs from the common names of the gods from tribe to tribe; Along with this they all revere the natural spirit-deities of the animal archetypes.

Spread Far and Wide: By then, the tribes were plentiful and spread out and their numbers and knowledge of the land held back the push of civilized lands. The elves pushed them out of some of their areas, and so their oldest myths and legends teach them to fear and revile the elven presence in the deep woods. The gradual push into their lands lead to many large battles and a fracturing of the tribes – many lost touch with each other but managed to hold on to a few areas all across the heartlands – served by their expertise in stealth and their knowledge of the land. Their aspects are hardly the fierce and hoary stereotype barbarians – but they do try and make use of the cliches to keep the civilized homesteaders away. The tribes are hard, and angry at their land and culture being constantly threatened… but like the way of all such ancient, more primitive cultures, they are gradually giving way in some places – but their alliance with elemental and archetypal power affords them resistance in remote places.

Places of Origin: They inhabit The Wyldes, areas of the north Hinterlands and Kaald (allies with the Kaaldians), forests, islands off Sayvalod, Kalascor, and hills and forests around the north and central heartlands.

Free of Fealty: They are often called the “Free-menz” (Free-Men); ‘The blood of free menz runs deep in the Tribes’. None of the tribes recognizes the authority of the High King, though they hold the High King’s Rangers in great regard. the refer to those paying fealty as ‘knee benders;. They do not mix with the Ilbarsi Tribes, but respect their common ancestry and traditions – but acknowledge that the Ilbarsi long ago broke with core beliefs. They also admire the thin line the Kaaldians walk, and have healthy respect for the denizens of the “kingdom” of Kalascor (though don’t acknowledge its boundaries).

Pine Tribes Totem Warrior

The tribes have the standard totems available to them, plus an additional one.

Boar Totem Spirit: While Raging, the boar grants you +5 on your Relentless Rage checks, and if you begin combat with a Dash action, any attempt to Parry or Dodge suffers Disadvantage and the attack gains the Pulverize effect regardless of the weapon used.

Boar Aspect: You gain the single mindedness and fierceness of the boar. You have Advantage on all Constitution checks automatically stay conscious on will alone for the first round after you are reduced to 0 HP.

Pine Tribes Spirit Warrior

Spirit Warriors are those who have pledged themselves to defend the natural places and spirits that dwell there. They despise the undead and animations as unnatural, and sometimes work with the civilized people who border their lands, and the High King’s Rangers in fighting them wherever they are fought. A Few legends exist where these warriors have become rangers themselves. these warriors leave the comfortable tribal life in favor of more remote places – places of powerful natural beauty and remoteness. Spirit warriors are calm, wiley, and helpful but relentless in combat against their hated foes. They are strong inspirations to the young, and many are quiet; experiencing long moments of stillness where they take in everything around them.

Requirements: The spirit Warrior class uses the Totem Warrior path (at 3rd level) as a baseline, with the a few important changes. The character must have Divine Aptitude and begins play with Piety of 1 and chooses their patron spirit-deity of the Wyld Faith – must keep the same totem animal through entire Barbarian path of development. Their background must be Outlander.
  • Brave: The character gains Advantage on checks against fear.
  • Calm: Loses the Rage ability of the barbarian is lost. Instead, the Reckless Attack is substituted (including uses and damage bonus); this ability triggers the Relentless and Persistent Rage abilities of 11th and 15th level.
  • Animistic: The Spirit Warrior gains Magical Initiate feat and may choose from the Druid or Cleric powers.
    > At 6th level they gain the use of Entangle 1/Long Rest as a Ritual – This special version is used for ambushes. Undead entangled in it take 4 damage per round as the vital forces of life tear apart animated dead and undead. This damage doubles at 12th level.
  • Exposure Outside: Skills Language: speak Mercat [Primitive] – bypasses Cultural Lag limitation.
  • Critical Observer: At 6th level, the character gains the Critical Observer trait.
  • Level-Headed: Codes of Conduct/Alignment of Malicious, Evil, or Chaos are prohibited; compulsions of Blood lust, Quick Tempered – or acting in any way like it – are prohibited.

Characters from the Hinterlands can attempt the Trial of Winter Walkers to be Winter Warriors as well.

Culture Overview

There are a few large clans lead by the spirit-men (Shaman); but most are organized into small regional tribes lead by a chief and a medicine-man or woman. They wear a combination of traditional dress and modern – they only resemble the concept of a cliche savage in that they wear furs and dress appropriately for the clime they are in. They understand currency and use it to trade with outsiders and to varying degrees with each other – but most trade is a form of barter. They have a strong sense of humor and wit, are easy to laugh, rarely hold grudges (but are quick to fight and settle arguments by contest – though not necessarily violence). They understand and even teach their youths some of the ways of civilized cultures, but simply prefer the more elemental way of life. The warrior-hunters have a special place in the tribe. A few elite train for nothing but, but many are also farmers, husbands, fathers, kinsmen and tribe members first. They are masters of the use of natural cover though – having no problem in covering themselves in mud or the like to blend in, where they may not move for days. They do not believe in large pitched battles – preferring small groups, ambush, and single combat.

Those of the Pine Tribes speak an offshoot of ancient Dundarion called “Dundrav” at a [Conversational] level. With this they can also speak Dundarion language at [Rudimentary] level. Dundrav uses the same alphabet, has been simplified and is commonly called “Wyldsign”. It cannot communicate any idea beyond the [Understandable] level. Tribesmen are all familiar with the written form of Wyldsign at [Primitive] level – they hide words in natural formations and obscure them with signs only they know of to ward off other tribes and help guide hunters and travelers of their own clan and tribe.

Animist Outlook

  • Bear
  • Boar
  • Hawk/Eagle
  • Wolf

“Captures” Game

The tribes had a way of settling disputes (usually for bragging rights only) without warfare by a game called “captures”. Each side would have a home territory and have to find three hidden balls. A PER check to spot the “things”/ball – could be hidden. No weapons are allowed and there were only 5 members on each team. There were 2 judges, and they would scour the area ahead of time, making sure the balls were placed where the captains of each team said and that there were no extra members on the field (cheating is ‘fair’ too as long as it was not violent).

Capture Encounter >

  1. Mobility check
  2. Jump check
  3. Climb check
  4. Evade Check (grapple)
  5. punch/kick (inertial attack)