Player Character Races


"The human race is governed by its imagination."

Humans are the most common of the races on the Written World, and are the race against which others are measured. They require no racial makeup, no special costuming and no roleplaying guidelines.

Humans come from one of the four Houselands, from the city of Farraway, or from Cottington Woods itself. Be sure to read the cultures section to determine which of these locations best suits your concept, though keep in mind that the culture section is a guideline only.

It is Humans who truly embody the power of the Written Word, and it is said that it is their story that the First Patron set out to write. As they grounded in the Word, they are more easily able to resist the madness of the Anathema.

Out of Game Stuff:
Racial Make-Up Requirements: None
Racial Abilities: Resist Madness, once per event (free); ability to purchase Culture skills
Racial Disadvantages: None
Roleplaying Requirements: None
Other Notes: All non-brer and non-golem human characters have the Human, Living, and Mortal Traits.

A Note from John:

I encourage all players of Cottington Woods to create a human character concept. If you wish to play a sub-human, you may create that concept as well. In order to maintain the "human-centric" vision I desire for Cottington Woods, I will allow only a small number of brer, and a much smaller number of golem, elf, and goblin characters to come into play. As a guideline, consider that of every ten player characters, seven will be human, two will be brer, and maybe one will be a golem, elf, or goblin. We are very willing to work with folks to make their characters as interesting as possible, but on this point we must be strict.

Human, Golem

"I want to be a real boy!"

Parents sometimes go through extraordinary means to bring children into the world. Consider the case of Pinocchio, Tom Thumb, the Scarecrow, or the fact that we know what happens when you combine frogs and snails with puppy dog tails. The result is a golem -- a created man. Each golem must have a unique creation story. Donít stick with the tales you know, since somewhere in the world, those tales have been taken.

Golems are not gargoyles or robots. As such, they are no less vulnerable than any other human character. The exception is the toughness of their skin. Golems can purchase Golem Armor. Though they are never made from stone or metal, they could be made of wood or earth. If a character has Golem Armor, he must use make-up or costuming that makes the armor obvious. In any case, a golem character always looks fabricated. His skin could be painted like bark, or pale like snow, or ruddy and rough as if he was made from clay. The exception is green. A golem cannot be green, since he might then be mistaken for a goblin.

Not always, but often, golems contend with a desire to be more. They are almost human, but really they are not. Their strange look and sometimes strange, not-quite-human behavior sets them apart. They are acutely aware of this.

Golems do not start with the Skill: Read/Write Print, but they can purchase it with character points.

Golems are extremely rare, and as such we will severely limit the number of golem characters allowed into the game. All golem characters require plot approval.

Out of Game Stuff:
Racial Make-Up Requirements: Makeup/masks and/or costuming that makes the character look fabricated. Cannot be green (as would confuse with Goblins) or animal-like (as would confuse with Brer).
Racial Abilities: can purchase Golem Armor
Racial Disadvantages: Must purchase Read/Write skill to be able to read and write
Roleplaying Requirements: They are not quite human and should act accordingly
Other Notes: All golem characters have the Golem, Living and Mortal Trait.


Human, Brer

"All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others."
-Animal Farm

"I could not help myself. It is my nature."
-the scorpion

Long ago, animals changed skin freely. This practice became less common over time, but the evidence remains. Brer are animals. They look like men. They walk and sometimes talk like men, and they dress in menís clothing, but they are still animals. It is easy to pick out a brer from any crowd, as every brer has some physical feature distinctive of their animal type. They may have a black wolfís snout and ears, a foxís bushy tail or a head of feathers in place of hair.

Most any type of animal can include brer, but most common to Cottington Woods are bears, boars, dogs, foxes, geese, crows and wolves. Brer players are required to roleplay as the animal they are. Please donít play a goose brer if you do not want to act like a goose, or if you are not prepared to be treated like one. Forget what animals usually are like, and play up the stereotypes. A pig is usually unkempt. Geese are silly. Dogs are loyal. Oh, and watch out for camels. They spit. Crows and ravens are thieves, and worse, they like dead things. Itís also fair to remember that, in tales, wolves are portrayed as the bad guys more often than not, and so they will be viewed, at the very least, with suspicion. If you consider playing a brer, it is best to ask plot if the animal you wish to play is acceptable.

No brer can claim natural armor or any other type of protection derived from his animal type, but some brer can use the natural claws they were born with. When a player decides to play a brer, it should be obvious if his animal type would have claws. If so, that character would have access to the Skills: Short Claw, Two Claws and Clawed Reach. All brer have access to the Skill: Speak with a Specific Animal Type, which allows him to speak without limitation to any animal of his type. Brer are never literate. Again, to be absolutely clear, brer cannot read or write.

Though not as rare as golems, brer are far less common then pure humans. We will limit the number of brer allowed into the game. All brer characters require plot approval.

Out of Game Stuff:
Racial Make-Up Requirements: Mask and/or makeup and/or costuming to appear as an animal
Racial Abilities: Speak to Animal Type (free), can purchase Claws, Two Claws, and Clawed: Reach skills
Racial Disadvantages: Cannot read or write
Roleplaying Requirements: Role play as the animal they are, and play up the stereotypes as portrayed in Folklore, Fairytales, and Nursery Rhymes.
Other Notes: All brer animals have the Animal, Living, and Mortal Trait.

A note on wild brer: While all brer are animals, some are more like animals than others. PC brer are always of the sort that walk like men, and of course they always dress like men. Talking like men is optional. The vast majority of brer do not talk like men and are as wild as the woods they live in. If an animal is met in the wild, even if it walks upright, it is best to treat it with caution. Consider the scorpion.

A Note from John:

We all love wolves. Heck, without them, what would we put on our t-shirts? I debated disallowing wolves as an option for brer player characters, but decided instead to say "it requires Plot Approval, but you should expect we will say no." However, a player choosing to play a wolf MUST be aware that there is a serious prejudice against wolves in Cottington Woods. Heck, it’s even written in stone, and I assure you, NPC wolves will show you why that is. Don’t take this as a role playing challenge. It will not ever get any better.)

Marsh Goblins

" We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things,
because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
- Walt Disney

Goblins are green-skinned, amphibious humanoids. They are sometimes twisted or hunched, and are considered unattractive by non-goblins. Goblins are regarded as mischief makers, in fact goblin magicians are called tricksters, and goblins rarely find welcome into any non-goblin settlement. Goblin magic is known to bend space, allowing goblins to pass quickly from place to place, and this service is sold, usually at a price, to non-goblins.

They inhabit swamps and fresh water coast lines in every corner of the Written World. Bracken is the nearest goblin settlement to Cottington, and is about a day’s walk away, on the border of a widespread bog called UnderMarsh. As caravan’s pass through and do business with Bracken quite regularly, most people from outside have no need to visit the place. Humans are welcome there, but they find it less than hospitable, as only about half of the town is accessible above the cold swamp water.

Goblins are very curious, often to a fault, and thus sometimes have little aversion to risk. They have a poor sense of boundaries and occasionally take things that belong to other people. Because they have this reputation of stealing, they are often viewed with distrust and few people will let a goblin into their home.

All UnderMarsh goblins share a deep racial hatred of elves, and there are no exceptions to this rule. The two races are antagonistic towards each other, and meetings between them often come to blows.

At the north edge of the forest stands Mount OverMarsh. Once the capitol of UnderMarsh, contact with the mountain was interrupted about thirty years ago. As goblins are not long lived - the oldest being about thirty to thirty-five years - there are none who recall with clarity a time when Mount OverMarsh was open and free. Further south is the Gobaleen Mountains, and the Goblins there still have some violence with people along the borders of the Diamondlands.

While goblins have no exceptional talent at blacksmithing, the metals they mine from deep beneath the earth is usually of high quality.

Out of Game Stuff
Racial Make up Requirements: Green skin and, sometimes, gills. Costume requirements - Goblins do not care at all about the quality of their clothing, given that most fabrics cannot handle well the continued soaking that an amphibious life entails. Most goblin clothing it tattered or worn.
Racial Abilities: Can purchase Amphibious (Goblins can breathe as easily under water as above), Standing Out, Stepping Out, and Goblin Magicians (Tricksters) gain access to Goblin Door Magic
Racial Disadvantages: Vulnerable to Aging
Role Playing Restrictions: Goblins hate bright sunlight, as it dries their skin and makes them cranky. This is a role-playing restriction, and does not confer any penalties.
Goblins are curious and have a poor sense of boundaries. Since they occasionally take things that belong to other people, they are viewed with distrust, and very few people will let a goblin into their home..
Racial Hatred: Goblins hate elves. There is NO exception to this rule.
Other Notes: All Marsh Goblins have the Goblin, Living, and Mortal Trait.

A Note from John:
If you are considering playing a Marsh Goblin, please contact us before putting effort into your character backstory so that we can work with you on the concept. There is information about Marsh Goblins and their culture that will not be shared unless you are playing one.

Wood Elves

“The Elven people believe that preservation of the land and all that lives and grows upon it, plant and animal alike, is a moral responsibility... every Elf is expected to devote a part of his life to working with the land... where(ever) the need to do so is found.”
- Terry Brooks, The Elfstones of Shannara
"Mythology was littered with people who meddled in the affairs of elves & fairies and were never again heard from”
- Thomm Quackenbush, Artificial Gods

Elves are the ageless inhabitants of the far corners of the Wood. They are considered to be proud and aloof, often snobbish. They tend to avoid contact with humans and other short lived races. Elves have a very strong tie to nature, and can often speak with animals. They favor the use of craft over faith or magic, though they are not restricted from being magicians or priests, and believe they have a duty to the Woods in which they live.

The nearest elven settlement is Thornwall, nestled in a protected valley to the east of Cottington. Beyond Thornwall is Greencloud, the secret homeland of the elves. Thornwall is as deep into elven lands as a non-elf has ever gone, and all elves will protect access to this place. Even in Thornwall the elves insist that non-elves stay as far away as possible and leave as quickly as possible. No non-elf has ever set eyes on the lands beyond Thornwall, and all non-elves are unwelcome there. Attempts to gain access to Greencloud are met with denial and then violence. The elves do not fool around with this.

Elves typically do not approach human settlements, and on the rare occasions that they do, they never stay for long. They view non-elves with poorly concealed disgust, and it is well known that the touch of a non-elf is disgusting to an elf. This constant distance is also evident in how elves fight – they choose to wield bows and to kill from a distance.

Without exception, to the very last elf, they absolutely hate goblins. The two races are antagonistic towards each other, and meetings between them often come to blows.

Out of Game Stuff
Racial Make up Requirements: Pointed ear prosthetics. Costume requirements - All elven PCs are required to have leaves or a leaf pattern worked into their costuming.
Racial Abilities: Can purchase Speak with Animals, Speak with Plants, Speak with Minerals, Bow Affinity, and Seeing through the Glamour.
Racial Disadvantage: Vulnerable to Aging
Role Playing Requirements: Elves are obviously uncomfortable in the presence of non-animal things that age, as if they are disgusted by being near them. Some elves believe that aging is a disease that is very contagious and that has no cure. They will almost never touch something that ages.
Elves tend to be proud (believing themselves to be superior to mortal races and favored by the Spirit of the Forest), and have a strong sense of honor. They have strong ties to nature and believe it is a moral imperative to care for the Forest.
Elves who have left Greencloud and would be among the people of Cottington have done so for a reason that is beyond mere curiosity or exploration.
Racial Hatred: Elves hate goblins. There is NO exception to this rule.
Other Notes: All Elves have the Elf, Living, and Mortal Trait.

A Note from John:
If you are considering playing a Wood Elf, please contact us before putting effort into your character backstory so that we can work with you on the concept. There is information about Wood Elves and their culture that will not be shared unless you are playing one.

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