Deriving their name from an alternative spelling for a domestic hobgoblin associated with Scottish folklore, the Bauchan, buckawns are a forest-dwelling relative of the brownie. They appear as tiny (2ft or so) humans with dark skin (dark tan to brown) and fair hair (light brown, blonde or white), with elfin facial features, long, pointed ears, arching eyebrows, and high cheekbones. 2nd edition lore establishes them as natives to the world of Oerth. They possess supernaturally keen senses, and a number of innate illusionist and druidic spells, and are famous for their skill at brewing especially potent poisons.
Dwelling in "sylvan" woodlands - forests where other fey races like to dwell, which in post-Great Wheel cosmologies would be touched by the Feywild - buckawns live simple lives. They dwell in clan-groups which establish homes by carefully carving into the bowels of great trees; the largest tree in a given forest is almost certain to be a buckawn clan's home. They live simple lives as hunter-gathers, feeding on rodents, small game, nuts, berries and fruits, though some clans have taken to domesticating "herds" of chipmunks or squirrels to serve as their livestock.
Unlike their more "domestic" brownie cousins, buckawns possess a spiritual tie to their forest homes, similar in nature to that of a hamadryad. Whilst they are not physically tied to their forests, like dryads, their life force is tied to the forests; should the forest be ravaged by sickness, corruption, fire, clear-cutting or other forms of devastation, than the native buckawns will sicken and die.
Perhaps because of this, buckawns are quite insular, if not outright xenophobic; they don't even trust buckawns from different clans. Unfriendly at best, buckawns have a love of trickery and a very un-brownie-like readiness to resort to violence, especially against beings who they know are responsible for damage to their forest homes. In general, they are a reclusive folk, who generally prefer to ignore the outside world and focus on their day-to-day lives.
But... not all are so short-sighted. There are buckawn adventurers, usually driven by the desire to take a more proactive approach to protecting their forests. Such adventuring buckawns are most likely to travel with other adventurers from the sylvan lands, such as other buckawns, satyrs, pixies, centaurs and grugach (Oerthian Wild Elves).
Stats for the Buckawn PC appeared in issue #262 of Dragon Magazine:
- Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 3/15, Dexterity 12/20, Constitution 3/16, Intelligence 5/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/18
- Ability Score Adjustments: +2 Dexterity, -1 Strength, -1 Constitution
- Class & Level Limits: Fighter 8, Thief 12
- Multiclass Option: Fighter/Thief
- Available Kits: Tribal Defender and Sellsword for Fighters, Scavenger and Tunnel Rat for Thieves
- Thieving Skill Adjustments: Pick Pockets +5%, Open Locks -10%, Move Silently +20%, Hide in Shadows +20%, Detect Noise +15%
- Natural Armor Class: 7
- Infravision 60'
- Base Movement Rate: 12
- Non-Thief Buckawn can Hide in Shadows and Move Silently, both at a 20% value (before adjustments for armor), and can also Detect Noise at a 15% chance.
- A buckawn has the scent ability of a bloodhound, and can see 1.5 times as far as a human.
- +3 bonus to Surprise Rolls when in forests, +1 bonus elsewhere
- A buckawn can always make a save vs. spell to detect invisible characters, and if they detect them, they can attack them without penalty.
- A buckawn can cast these spell-like abilities at-will: Audible GLamer, Change Self, Dancing Lights, and Invisibility.
- A buckawn learns one spell-like ability from the folowing list at 3rd level, and then learns another SLA at every other level (5th, 7th, 9th): Entangle, Pass Without Trace, Summon Insects, and Trip. These SLAs can only be used 1/day each.
- A buckawn's spell-like abilities function as if cast by a 6th level caster.
- -2 penalty to saves vs. attacks that target the senses.
- Buckawn fighters advance using the Paladin XP table, whilst buckawn thieves advance using the Cleric XP table.
- Buckawns do not receive experience bonuses for high ability scores.
- A buckawn's connection to its forest can be attacked by attacking the forest, but DM's prerogrative as to how this manifests, including lowered ability scores, loss of levels, and loss of special abilities.
- Buckawns can only wield Tiny weapons one-handed, such as Buckawn Knives (1d2) and Buckawn Darts (1d3), or Small weapons as two-handed weapons.
- Nonweapon Proficiencies: Alertness, Animal Handling (Chipmunks/Squirrels), Animal Lore, Animal Noise, Artistic Ability, Brewing, Cobbling, Cooking, Dancing, Danger Sense, Direction Sense, Drinking, Eating, Hiding, Hunting, Leatherworking, Observation, Seamstress/Tailor, Set Snares, Tracking, Weather Sense, Whistling/Humming
Buckawns are a superstitious breed, seeing omens both good and bad in the way that plants, mosses and fungi grow in their woodland homes. They also have a superstitious dread of fire and lightning storms, due to the damage these can cause their forests.
Buckawns appeared for the first time in the AD&D Monster Manual II. They then appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix for AD&D 2nd edition, and finally in the 3rd party bestiary "Tome of Horrors" for 3e.