Excerpts 07/06/2004

Planar Handbook
A Player's Guide to the Planes
By Bruce R. Cordell and Gwendolyn F. M. Kestrel

You've adventured in sunken ruins, abandoned dwarven mines, temples to death gods, and the thief-filled sewers of large cities. Still, you know there must be more to adventure, more to reality than what you've so far seen. You yearn to experience for yourself the mystical realms told about in stories and authenticated by the appearances of strange outsiders pulsing with elemental vigor or divine strength. You know there has to be more to the multiverse. And you are right.

The Planar Handbook offers a vast array of options for exploring and adventuring on the planes. Like a hero of myth, your character can descend into the land of the dead, traverse Olympian mounts, or battle devils in Hell itself. In this player's guide, you'll discover new races, classes, feats, equipment, spells, and magic items to help burst the barriers and bridge the gaps between the Material Plane and other environments and realities. Now, you hold the reins for instigating a trip away from the familiar Material Plane. With this handbook, you can become better prepared to make that trip -- and to return.

From Chapter 1: Races


Spikers are of the same general ancestry as bladelings (see Monster ManualII). Both races hail from Acheron, but scholarly speculation places their origins on the Nine Hells of Baator, the Bleak Eternity of Gehenna, or even some unknown metal-based plane.

Personality: Spikers, like bladelings, share a great love of battle. They bravely enter combat, often focusing their attacks on the most dangerous opponent they perceive.

Physical Description: The skin of a spiker is of a dull metallic hue, spotted with patches of metallic spines. A spiker's eyes are a deep violet, and its blood is black and oily. Spikers are about as tall as humans but are considerably heavier, with the average male weighing over 200 pounds and the average female about 40 pounds lighter. Spikers don't reach adulthood until past the age of 30, and even the longest-lived among the race don't survive to see the end of their ninth decade.

Relations: Spikers are conservative about trusting other races, and they tend to be very cautious around anyone other than fellow spikers and bladelings.

Alignment: Spikers tend toward lawful alignments, gravitating toward lawful neutral or lawful evil. Lawful good and nonlawful spikers are uncommon, but not unheard of, though such characters usually choose to leave Acheron to travel the planes.

Religion: Hextor's emphasis on law and war appeals to most spikers. Sometimes the sheer joy of battle fosters an affinity for Kord, and many spikers who worship the god of strength choose to be barbarians.

Language: Spikers speak Common. Many also learn Infernal.

Names: Spiker names tend toward visceral or combat-oriented words, with no gender differentiation. A spiker's first name is usually a simple one (often a weapon or a combat-focused verb) given at birth. The second name is usually a nickname earned in adolescence or adulthood.

First Names: Dirk, Grip, Parry, Rend, Spike, Thrust.

Second Names: Bloodletter, Demonbane, Falldown, Fartraveler, Gutrender, Spellfodder.

Adventurers: Spikers love combat. The best way to test one's bravery and skill is through serious, no-punches-pulled fighting. Thus, the adventuring life offers ideal opportunities for a spiker to test her mettle. Also, spikers who do not have a lawful neutral or lawful evil worldview find themselves misfits in the spiker society on Acheron.

Spiker Racial Traits

Spikers have the following racial abilities and characteristics.

  • Humanoid (Extraplanar): Spikers are humanoids native to Acheron. They gain the extraplanar subtype when not on Acheron.

  • Medium: As Medium creatures, spikers have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

  • A spiker's base land speed is 30 feet.

  • Spikers have darkvision out to 60 feet.

  • Natural Armor: A spiker's metallic hide offers protection from physical attacks in the form of a +1 bonus to natural armor.

  • Damage reduction 2/bludgeoning: A spiker's spiny skin grants resistance to bludgeoning attacks, though piercing or slashing attacks slip through normally.

  • Resistance to acid 5: Despite the metallic hue of their hide, spikers are not metallic in nature and suffer no special effect from rusting attacks and the like.

  • Weapon Proficiency: Spikers receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feat for armor spikes as a bonus feat. This allows them to use their natural spiked skin as a weapon without penalty (see below).

  • Natural Spikes (Ex): A spiker's skin is replete with sharp, jagged spikes. A spiker can deal extra piercing damage on a successful grapple check, or deal piercing damage with a melee attack, as if she wore armor spikes.

  • Because of their spiked skin, spikers have a difficult time wearing armor. The maximum Dexterity bonus of the armor is reduced by 1, and the armor check penalty is worsened by 2. For instance, a chain shirt worn by a spiker has a maximum Dexterity bonus of +3 (instead of +4) and an armor check penalty of -4 (rather than -2). These changes don't affect the armor's arcane spell failure chance, nor do they apply to shields used by the spiker.

  • Automatic Language: Common. Bonus Language: Infernal.

  • Favored Class: Fighter.

  • Level adjustment +0.

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