Races of the Vale

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There are four dominant races in the Vale, each of which includes at least two subraces: gnomes, halflings, goblins and kobolds. For the most part, the four races live in peace; while there may be instances of racial stereotyping and mild intolerance in some communities, outright bigotry is rare. Each race is seen as filling an important role in the overall functioning of the Vale; these roles are not absolute, but are generally expected. For instance, most farmers are halflings; a kobold could pursue a life of farming if they wished, but this would be seen as mildly unusual.

The races rarely interbreed. They are not cross-fertile; a gnome and a goblin may choose to marry, but they cannot produce offspring. In most communities, such partnerships are regarded with little more than a raised eyebrow, and there is little racial prejudice; a halfling farmer is likely to be more suspicious of a halfling from another town than of the kobold who is his neighbor. A few may be more provincial. The four peoples were not always on peaceful terms, and old grudges linger for generations in remote places.

The Common Folk


The builders and warriors of the vale, the city-folk. Many gnomes become engineers or town guards, joining local militias, or hunting down bandits and dangerous wildlife. Gnomes are also found in jobs pertaining to knowledge, such as scholars, librarians, alchemists, and judges. Many craftsmen are gnomes, favoring work with stone, metal, and gems.


They favor a more pastoral life, with many being farmers or animal-tenders. A great many halflings are craftsmen, often working with wood, leather, and textiles. While some halflings live in cities, they tend to prefer quiet country life.


More rustic than halflings, many goblins pursue lives as hunters and herbalists. Many are merchants, traveling from town to town and trading their wares; and like gnomes, not a few goblins are warriors of one sort or another. They have a strong tradition as healers, and some are alchemists.


The most comfortable with life underground, and many work as miners. They also have a natural affinity for magic, and by extension arcane lore; many kobolds work as hedge wizards, teachers, and sages. Their knack for mechanics often leads kobolds to work with devices of all sorts, building and repairing them; the best crossbows are kobold-made. Finally, kobolds have a natural knack for bureaucracy, rivalled only by the gnomes.

Other Races


Tall and graceful, ageless and mysterious, the elves dwell in the vast and ancient Winterbole Forest. They stand twice the height of a halfling, with large, pointed ears, shining eyes, and an unearthly grace no tallfellow could match. Elves are an enigmatic folk, at once reserved and benevolent, possessed of powerful magic, but reluctant to stir beyond the borders of their land except in dire need. Though they once dwelled far and wide - indeed, ancient elven holts dot the denser forests of the Vale - they all withdrew into the Winterbole ages ago.

By the terms of the Fivefold League, no elf may own land anywhere within the boundaries of the Vale; they are, however, immune to all tolls and borders, and may travel freely wherever they wish. A handful of elves take advantage of this, wandering the Vale on their own mysterious business, occasionally renting a room at an inn and hiring locals to accomplish specific tasks for them. The Winterbole is their domain, but they are tolerant of those who live within the boundaries of the forest - several small communities of wood gnomes and woodwalker goblins - provided the small folk behave themselves.


The denizens of the Stonemarch Mountains, orcs are the stuff of nightmares. These pig-faced humanoids are as tall as an elf, and twice as broad: massive, muscular creatures able to fling the stoutest gnome aside with little effort. Most of them time they live in the mountains in savage, stone-age communities, mostly warring amongst each other and occasionally sending small raiding parties into the Vale proper. Every effort to treat with orcs diplomatically has ended in failure; the creatures seem to be incurably violent, unable to interact with small folk as equals, and prone to gluttony and bloodshed.

Every so often, for reasons unknown, the normally-fractious orc tribes will unite and come rampaging into the Vale like a plague of humanoid locusts, devouring and destroying all in their path. These orcish incursions are greatly feared, and the folk of the Vale rely on the aid of the elves to repel them.

Unlike all other races, orcs never cease growing as they age; given sufficient food, an orc can swell to enormous size. These giant orcs, some reaching heights of ten feet or more, are known as ogres. Ogres are sometimes found wandering in the Vale, having perhaps been driven from their home communities. Ogres are defined by their gluttonous appetites; a well-fed ogre will even forego their usual penchant for violence. This is a dangerous bargain, as a single ogre can consume an entire day's harvest and come back for more the next day.


In the southwestern corner of the Vale, where the Harken Forest gives way to the Witchlight Fens, dwells a strange race of frog-people. Known variously as grungs or grippli, and occasionally called bullywugs by their neighbors, these creatures resemble humanoid frogs the size of a full-grown gnome. They are mostly insular, keeping to their own small swamp or forest communities, and occasionally trading or fighting with the swamp rat goblins. Some tribes are friendly to travelers, if cautious, while others are more aggressive and even hostile. They show no interest in joining the greater society of the Vale, being content to remain in their damp homes.


Tough and sturdy, gnomes take well to a variety of environments. They are the most common race in the Vale after the halflings.

Gnome Traits

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence score increases by two.
  • Age: Gnomes reach adulthood at age 30, and can live up to 250 years.
  • Size: Gnomes are between 3 and 4 feet tall and weigh around 40 pounds. Your size is Small
  • Speed: Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
  • Darkvision: Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Gnome Cunning: You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saves against magic.
  • Languages: You can read, speak, and write Common and Gnomish
  • Subrace: Choose the forest gnome, rock gnome, or whisper gnome subrace.

Forest Gnomes

Forest gnomes make their homes in woodlands, preferring younger forests with plenty of brush to the ancient elven woods. They make their livings as woodcutters, hunters and herbalists. Forest gnomes are closer to their fey ancestors than the other subraces, and are the most likely to learn the arcane arts. Forest gnomes have pale skin and brown or red hair; their eyes may be any shade. They are the shortest of the gnomes, rarely exceeding 3’ 6”.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by one.
  • Natural Illusionist. You know the Minor Illusion cantrip. Intelligence is your spellcasting modifier for it.
  • Speak with Small Beasts. Through sound and gestures, you may communicate simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts.

Rock Gnomes

Rock gnomes are stubborn and durable folk, almost as home underground as the kobolds. Tireless laborers, rock gnomes are often soldiers or guards. They have an affinity for earth magic. Rock gnomes stand 3’ 6” to 4’ in height, and their skin is light brown; their hair is usually brown or black, but redheads are not unknown.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by one.
  • Artificer's Lore. Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to magical, alchemical, or technological items, you can add twice your proficiency bonus instead of any other proficiency bonus that may apply.
  • Earth Magic. You know the Mold Earth cantrip.

Whisper Gnomes

Unlike most other gnomes, whisper gnomes are quiet and reserved, eschewing the joys of music and tale-telling. Suspicious by nature, they fare poorly as entertainers but make excellent scouts and merchants. Most whisper gnomes prefer urban life to the perils of the wilderness. The tallest and most slender of the gnomes, whisper gnomes occasionally exceed 4’ (if only by an inch or two). They have pale skin and dark, dark hair and eyes.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by one.
  • Naturally Quiet. You are trained in the Stealth skill.
  • Silent Spells. You know the Mage Hand cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Dissonant Whispers spell once with this trait as a 1st-level spell, and you regain the ability to cast it this way when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.


Goblins are the eternal outsiders, viewed with suspicion and rarely trusted. Despite this, they are no more prone to evil than any other race. They are said to be distant kin to the orcs of the mountains, but if this is true, the latter bear them no love.

Goblin Traits

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by two
  • Age. Goblins reach adulthood at age 15 and live up to 60 years.
  • Size. Goblins are between 3 and 4 feet tall and weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. Your size is Small.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Fury of the Small. When you damage a creature with an attack or a spell and the creature's size is larger than yours, you can cause the attack or spell to deal extra damage to the creature. The extra damage equals your level. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
  • Nimble Escape. Attacks of opportunity that target you are made with disadvantage.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Goblin
  • Subrace. Choose the woodwalker, swamp rat, or wolfblood subrace.

Swamp Rat Goblins

The least-numerous of the goblin subraces, swamp rats dwell near water. Some live in marshes, others prefer the banks of ponds or rivers. They swim as easily as they walk, and seem immune to the diseases that fester in such places. Swamp rats are hunters and traders, often dealing in information. Swamp rats have muddy green skin, sometimes with a sickly-looking yellow tint, and brown or black hair. Their ears are disproportionately large, and their eyes are almost always green. The shortest of the goblins, they average 3’ in height.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by one.
  • Goblin Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against diseases and poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.
  • Swim. You have a swimming speed of 30 feet.

Wolfblood Goblins

Fierce nomads with a warrior tradition, wolfblood goblins claim descent from a race of lupine beings. They are wolf-riders who fight with a fury equal to that of their mounts, and excel as messengers, soldiers, and bards. When the orcs invade or a monster ravages the land, it is the wolfblood goblins who are the first to answer the challenge. Wolfblood goblins have brownish-gray skin and gray or black hair, with yellow eyes like their wolf companions. They stand 3’ 6” to 4” in height.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by one.
  • Brave. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
  • Speak with Wolves. Through sound and gestures, you may communicate simple ideas with canines.

Woodwalker Goblins

At home in the woodlands, woodwalker goblins excel as hunters, trappers and scouts, though they sometimes come into conflict with forest gnomes. Woodwalker goblins average 3’ 6” in height, with gray-green skin and green-black hair. Their ears are large and pointed, and their noses long and beaklike. Their eyes are usually yellow or green.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by one.
  • Camouflage. You have advantage on Stealth checks made in a forest.
  • Natural Magic. You know the Druidcraft cantrip.


Halflings are the most numerous of the races in the Vale, the “common folk” inasmuch as such a term can apply. They tend to prefer quiet, peaceful lives, and many are farmers or herders. Halflings avoid cities, but enjoy bustling towns.

Halfling Traits

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity score increases by two.
  • Age: A halfling reaches adulthood at the age of 20, but is not considered really grown up until 35 or so. Most live into the middle of their second century.
  • Size: Halflings average about 3 feet tall and weigh about 40 pounds. Your size is small.
  • Speed: Your walking speed is 25 feet.
  • Lucky: When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die. You must use the new result, even if it is a 1.
  • Brave: You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
  • Nimble: You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.
  • Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.
  • Subrace: Choose the ghostwise, lightfoot, stout or tallfellow subrace.

Ghostwise Halflings

The rarest and least sociable of the halflings, ghostwise halflings have a reputation for silence and distrust that is not unearned. Unlike the others, they prefer a nomadic existence, wandering from town to town or region to region. They are viewed as rustic and untutored by their kin, and often clash with the wolfblood goblins. Ghostwise halflings stand 3’ 6” tall, with some rare individuals approaching 4’. They have dark brown to black hair, and brown or gray eyes; they are pale but tan easily.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom increases by one.
  • Speak Without Sound. You can communicate telepathically with anyone within 30’ with whom you share a language. Communicating in this manner takes as much mental focus as normal speech.

Lightfoot Halflings

The most numerous halfling subraces, the lightfoots are resourceful and clever, able to scrape a living out of nearly any circumstances. They favor a peaceful, agrarian existence, but can be surprisingly stubborn when pressed. Lightfoot halflings average 3’ 6” in height, with light brown skin that freckles easily in the sun. Their hair is usually some shade of brown or blonde, and their eyes can be blue or brown.

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence score increases by one.
  • Naturally Stealthy: You can attempt to hide even when you are obscured only by a creature that is at least one size larger than you.

Stout Halflings

Stout halflings are orderly and organized, preferring cities to the wilderness and orderly rows of crops to the vicissitudes of the hunt. They build to last, and are the stubbornest of halflings; where others might flee, stouts will stand and fight. It is said that stout halflings don’t seek out conflict, but neither do they avoid it. Stouts average 3’ 6” in height, with brown or red hair. Their eyes are usually blue or gray, and their skin the same light brown as their lightfoot kin.

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution score increases by one.
  • Stout Resilience: You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.

Tallfellow Halflings

Graceful and merry, tallfellow halflings are said to have a touch of elven blood in their veins. They are more adventurous than the lightfoots, prone to wandering and fascinated by songs, tales, and old lore. Many are bards, merchants, scouts or caravan guards. The tallest of the halflings, tallfellows approach 4’ and occasionally exceed it. Their skin is pale and their hair is usually light brown, red or blonde; their eyes are bright blue or green.

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma score increases by one.
  • Magical Knack: You know one cantrip taken from the bard’s list. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this cantrip.


Miners and mechanics, the kobolds are perhaps even more outsiders than the goblins. Although they work and trade peacefully with the other races, the kobolds are the only ones to dwell underground, preferring their mines and hidden halls to normal houses. They are cautious to the point of paranoia, protecting themselves and their valuables with traps and alarms, and while they are the shortest of the races, it is said that they have a dragon’s pride.

Kobold Traits

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma increases by two.
  • Age. Kobolds reach adulthood at age 16 and can live up to 120 years.
  • Size. Kobolds are between 2 and 3 feet tall and weigh between 25 and 35 pounds. Your size is Small.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Trap Sense. You have advantage on saves made to avoid traps, and resistance to damage done by traps.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Draconic.
  • Subrace. Choose the canidas or draconis subrace.

Canidas Kobolds

The canidas kobolds share the same general body shape as their draconis cousins, but despite their hard scales, their faces greatly resemble those of small dogs - complete with whiskers. They have no unusual facility with magic, but are trapsmiths without equal; and while an individual canidas is small threat, they work together instinctively, swarming larger foes like ants. They are as adept at mining as their reptilian cousins, and are even more skilled at mechanisms, such as their beloved crossbows. Canidas kobolds stand between 2’ 6” and 3’ in height, just a few spare inches taller than their kin. Their scales are thicker than those of the draconis, but their heads and faces are scaleless. In coloration they are always some shade of brown, with large yellow or orange eyes.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity increases by one.
  • Natural Armor. You have tough scales and dense fur. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.
  • Tool Proficiency: You gain proficiency with the artisan's tools of your choice: smith's tools or mason's tools.
  • Stonecunning: Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

Draconis Kobolds

The draconis kobolds claim to be descended from the great fire-breathing wyrms, and it is undeniable that they have a facility with magic. Draconis are the scholars of koboldkind, taking great pride in their mystical knowledge; they hoard books, scrolls, and minor magical devices. They are reptilian in appearance, with scale-covered bodies and long, crocodilian snouts; their coloration varies from shades of brown to dull orange and even red. They are the smallest race, averaging just 2’ 6” in height and rarely exceeding 3’. Their eyes may be red, yellow or orange.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence increases by one.
  • Arcane Lore. You are trained in Arcana.
  • Dragon-blooded. You know one cantrip of your choice from the sorcerer’s list.