Lieutenant Hausler and his clanking legionnaires gathered just beyond the altar while the druids worked their magic on Viazo’s lifeless body. The druids slathered scented oils and thick unguents on the dwarf’s cold skin and beard as they chanted in unison.
Once the ritual concluded, the waiting began. The fallen dwarf’s comrades rested, boredom and exhaustion overriding their worry. When their fallen friend emerged from the druid’s ritual an hour later, the legionnaires were stunned by what stood before them. Though he wore the clothes of Viazo the dwarf, there stood an even shorter creature with the muzzle and ears of a hedgehog and long quills poking through Viazo’s now-baggy tunic.
When Viazo spoke to his friends, they were startled to find his voice had changed as well. He sounded softer and with a slight squeak, though his humor remained as intact as ever. His first words in his new form suited Viazo’s always-prickly demeanor even more perfectly than before the transformation.
“Who wants a hug?”
The reincarnate spell allows druids to bring the dead back to life, albeit in a new, often random, form. When casting reincarnate, the GM can instead roll from the Races of Midgard table below to determine the reincarnated character’s new form.
Racial options below are sourced from Kobold Press’s catalog of publications. Use this key to find the statistics for a particular race. If you don’t have the publication for the option you roll, select the following nearest result, rounding up or down as needed.
MH: Midgard Heroes
MHH: Midgard Heroes Handbook
MPG: Margreve Player’s Guide
SH: Southlands Heroes
SPG: Southlands Player’s Guide
SRD: System Reference Document
ToH: Tome of Heroes
UH: Unlikely Heroes
UPG: Underworld Player’s Guide
Races of Midgard
|4||Dragonkin, Stone||MH||53||Lizardfolk, Velesborn||SPG|
|7||Dragonkin, Wave||MH||56–57||Half-elf (Elfmarked)||SRD|
|8||Dragonkin, Edjet (Soldier)||MH||58–59||Half-Orc||SRD|
|10||Dust Goblin||UH||61||Ramag||UH, SPG|
|11||Centaur, Midgard||MH, MHH||62||Trollkin, Night Whisper||MH, MHH|
|12||Alseid||MH, MPG, ToH||63||Trollkin, Stone Hide||MH, MHH|
|13–15||Kobold, Midgard||MH, MHH||64||Trollkin, Dark||UPG|
|16–17||Dwarf, Hill||SRD||65||Trollkin, Southern||SPG|
|18||Dwarf, Fireforge||ToH||66||Bearfolk, Grizzlehide||MHH|
|19||Dwarf, Spindrift||ToH||67||Bearfolk, Purifier||MHH|
|20||Dwarf, Southland||MHH, SPG||68||Tosculi||SH|
|21||Dwarf (targeted player’s choice)||69||Halfling, Lightfoot||SRD|
|22–23||Ravenfolk||MH, MHH, SPG||70||Halfling, Courtfolk||ToH|
|24||Jinnborn, Speaker||UH, SPG||71||Halfling, Hinterfolk||ToH|
|25||Jinnborn, Shaper||UH, SPG||72||Halfling, Riverfolk||ToH|
|26||Drow, Delver (Midgard)||UPG, ToH||73||Halfling, Winterfolk||MHH, ToH|
|27||Drow, Fever-bit (Midgard)||UPG, ToH||74–75||Halfling (targeted player’s choice)|
|28||Drow, Purified (Midgard)||UPG, ToH||76||Sahuagin||UH|
|29||Drow, (targeted character’s choice)||77||Catfolk, Basteti||SPG, ToH|
|30–31||Elf, High||SRD||78||Catfolk, Nkosi||SPG, ToH|
|32||Elf, Shadow Fey||MH, MHH||79||Minotaur||MH, MHH, SH, SPG, ToH|
|33||Elf, Dunewalker||ToH||80||Minotaur, Bhain Kwai||ToH|
|35–36||Elf, (targeted character’s choice)||82||Minotaur (targeted player’s choice)|
|37||Derro, Far-touched||UH, UPG, ToH||83||Gnoll, Civilized||SH, SPG|
|38||Derro, Mutated||UH, UPG, ToH||84||Gnoll, Savage||SH, SPG|
|39||Derro, Uncorrupted||UPG, ToH||85||Gnoll, Desert||SPG|
|40||Mushroomfolk, Acid Cap||UPG, ToH||86||Gnoll, Necropolis||SPG|
|41||Mushroomfolk, Favored||UPG, ToH||87–88||Human||SRD|
|42||Mushroomfolk, Morel||UPG, ToH||89–90||Human, Kariv||MHH|
|43||Mushroomfolk (targeted player’s choice)||91–92||Shade||UPG, ToH|
|44||Satarre||UPG, ToH||93||Ghoul, Darakhul*||MH, MHH, UPG, ToH|
|46||Gnome, Neimheim||MHH||95||Dhampir, Feral||UPG|
|49||Gnome, (targeted character’s choice)||99||Werelion||SH|
*roll a second time to determine darakhul heritage, ignoring results 91–93. If a result does not have a published heritage option, the GM and player can work together to determine what benefits that new heritage might confer on the darakhul character.
Some racial options are associated with afflictions and inherited burdens. For someone transformed into a darakhul, shade, werelion, kariv human, derro, or drow, consider that the nature of their racial burdens go beyond heredity. Perhaps the reincarnate went awry or was subverted by another magic source? Maybe spell components were corrupted or substituted with something inferior. Exploring the causes and ramifications of a botched reincarnation can add intrigue.
How might a newly reincarnated character reconcile these challenges? Or, did the character have cultural biases towards the race of their new form? Considering how these internal conflicts affect your characters’ journeys (and your players’ experience) are important steps to keep your game fun while developing a richer experience.
The gearforged were once living beings whose souls were harnessed in soul gems before being installed in clockwork bodies. The gearforged undergo an esoteric ritual called soulforging (see the Midgard Heroes Handbook) that prepares a humanoid’s soul for clockwork binding. Because of this, gearforged are typically unaffected by the reincarnate spell.
Next time, we will devise a new spell for druids and GMs to play around with. As we continue, we’ll look at how to use the themes of rebirth and past lives to inform narrative and gameplay, create new player options, and craft NPCs with on-theme features and motivations.
about Sebastian Rombach
We can neither confirm nor deny that Sebastian is actually three raccoons in a trenchcoat. His freelance contributions can be found in Tome of Beasts 2, Tome of Heroes, and more. You can roll dice with him at https://startplaying.games/gm/dontbreakthedm or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @dontbreakthedm.