Races of X
The Races of X were a series of splatbooks for Dungeons & Dragons 3e. As their name suggests, each book in the series examines a select group of races centered around a common theme, with extensive cultural writeups of the more prominent races and smaller sections on lesser races, alongside new feats, spells, gods and other crunchy bits.
Races of Ansalon
Races of Ansalon is a splatbook examinning the many, many races indigenous to the Dragonlance setting. Divided into race-focused chapters, each contains a brief history, common traits, an extended writeup of the different subraces, a guideline to the race's status in the various eras of Krynn's history, and race-based alternative class features. Individual chapters may house other segments as well.
The Humans chapter divides the myriad human cultures into two categories; Civilized and Nomadic. It also features a subchapter on Ithin'Carthians, the bizarre foreign human-offshoot race first introduced as the Tarmaks, or "Brutes", in the Age of Mortals splatbook.
The Dwarves chapter covers all four species of Krynnish dwarf - Hill, Mountain, Dark and Gully - and also covers the Half-Dwarf race. It features the unique subchapter, "The Golden Hammers", which covers the elite fighting force of the dwarves and comes with a membership prestige class.
The Elves chapter mirrors the Dwarf chapter; it covers all five elf races (Kagonesti, Qualinesti, Silvanesti, Dargonesti and Dimernesti, or Wilder Elves, Wood Elves, High Elves, Deep Elves and Shoal Elves), and the Half-Elf race. It features the unique subchapter, "The Kirath", which represents the elite scouting organization of the Silvanesti, complete with roleplaying and mechanical guidelines, as well as variant class features for fighters, rangers and rogues who belong to its ranks.
The Gnomes chapter, lof course, focuses on the infamous Tinker Gnomes of Krynn, including their "Mad Gnome" and Wild Gnome cousins and their Half-Gnome progeny. It features a new prestige class, the Gnomish Tinker, and also rules for building Gnomish Contraptions.
The Kender chapter covers all three branches of the family; True, Afflicted and Half-Kender. It also features three kender racial prestige classes - Belladonna's Eyes, the Nightstalker and the Handler - and rules for rummaging into a kender's pouches and seeing what turns up.
The Minotaurs chapter covers both the true minotaurs and the more savage Thoradorian Minotaurs. It also has rules on belonging to a Minotaur Legion.
The Ogres chapter is quite large; in addition to full PC writeups for ogres, Half-Ogres and Irda, it also examines the other branches of the Krynnish ogre family tree - the Athach, the Ettin, the Giant, the Hag, the Ogre Mage and the Troll - and covers the Ogre Slaver prestige class.
The final chapter, titled simply "Other Races" is a grabbag of lesser races - Centaurs, Kyrie, Phaethons, Thanoi and Ursoi - as well as the Elder Phaethon Prestige Class, alternate class features for the aforementioned races, and a general listing of feats, armor, weapons, gear & special items, magic items and artifacts connected to the various races.
Races of Destiny
Races of Destiny is part of the "corebook" Races of X line, and is focused on "dynamic" races. As this was still the era when humanocentrism was the norm in D&D, this translates into "Humans and human offshoot races".
This book contains information on the following races:
- Sea Kin
It also features the following Prestige Classes:
- Menacing Brute
- Outcast Champion
- Scar Enforcer
- Shadow Sentinel
- Urban Soul
It also contains the deities Urbanus and Zarus (as well as the whole Illumian racial pantheon), a variety of feats, racial substitution levels for Half-Elf Bards, Fighters & Rangers as well as Half-Orc Barbarians, Druids and Paladins, skills, magic spells, psionics, and information on running a "Campaign of Destiny".
Races of the Dragon
The first chapter of the book focuses on the Dragonborn of Bahamut, the weird religiously-motivated transformed humanoid dragons that were subsequently dumped for the Nerathian version in the next edition.
The third chapter, regarded by many as the best, focuses on kobolds, finally exploring their mysterious connection to dragons that they gained in their 3e redesign.
Chapter five is all above dragon-themed prestige classes, with the Disciple of the Eye, Dracolexi, Dragon Devotee, Dragonheart Mage and Singer of Concordance.
The sixth chapter is all about character options; skills and feats, mostly, but also racial substitution levels for "Dragonbloods" (any of the races in the book or which has the Dragon type)) of the Cleric, Sorcerer or Paladin classes, as well as Kobold Fighters, Rangers and Rogues, as well as Spellscale Bards.
Chapter eight, focused on equipment, contains new armor materials, special substances & items, wondrous items, and draconic grafts for fleshcrafting.
Chapter nine talks about running campaigns focused on playing draconic races.
For appendixes, there's a primer on the Draconic language and a detailed writeup of the draconic deities:
Races of Eberron
Races of Eberron is one of the three "Races of X" splatbooks that focus on providing greater lore and mechanical support for the native races of a particular setting - in this case, Eberron itself.
The first half of the book focuses on Eberron's races; Warforged, Shifters, Changelings and Kalashtar all have their own dedicated chapters, whilst the fifth chapter covers Eberron's particular take on the Dwarf, Elf, Drow, Gnome, Goblinoid, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Halfling and Orc races.
There are two prestige classes for each of the four Eberron-unique races, consisting of:
- Cabinet Trickster
- Quori Nightmare
- Spellcarved Soldier
Races of Faerun
Races of Faerun is one of the three "Races of X" splatbooks that focus on providing greater lore and mechanical support for the native races of a particular setting. The very first of its kind, it covers the many different races of the Forgotten Realms.
Fourth chapter is the Half-Elf chapter, introducing new variants for half-elves with aquatic elf or drow parentage.
Sixth chapter covers the Halfling race, which is divided into Lightfoot, Strongheart and Ghostwise ethnicities in Faerun.
Seventh chapter is all about the different Human ethnicities of Faerun.
The eighth chapter is the Planetouched; in addition to the iconic Aasimar, Genasi and Tiefling trinity, it introduced the Fey'ri and the Tanarukk races. Of most note is that it's literally the only sourcebook with Genasi PC stats; they didn't even make it into the later "Races of Destiny" splat, which was all about human offshoots!
The book finishes with an Appendix, which covers new racial equipment, feats, magic items, monsters, prestige classes and spells. The prestige classes consist of:
- Elven High Mage
- Great Rift Skyguard
- Orc Warlord
- Warrior Skald
- Warsling Sniper
Races of Stone
Part of the "core" branch of the Races of X series, Races of Stone focuses on those races with a particularly strong connection to the earth.
In other words, this is the sourcebook for you if you want to play a Dwarf or a Gnome. It also introduced the Goliath race, and a small smattering of unique races. With the traditional array of new prestige classes, skills, equipment, magic, psionics and campaign tips, it's a solid entry.
The first chapter, which focuses on the dwarves, is pretty straightforward. The most unique new thing in this chapter is a new version of the Morndinsamman, presumably based on the Greyhawk version of the pantheon, consisting of the following deities:
The second chapter, focused on Gnomes, likewise creates a whole new gnomish pantheon:
- Garl Glittergold
- Callarduran Smoothhands
- Gelf Darkhearth
- The Glutton
- Rill Cleverthrush
- Sheyanna Flaxenstrand
The Goliath chapter is completely new material, although it also presents them with their own racial pantheon who never appeared again in any subsequent edition:
The fourth chapter, "Other Races of Stone", is the smallest of them all; aside from two new gnome variants (Chaos and Whisper) and a new dwarf variant (Dream), it houses only two races; the Feral Gargun and the Stonechild.
The chapter on Prestige Classes is quite large, containin the following:
- Blade Bravo
- Cragtop Archer
- Divine Prankster
- Earth Dreamer
- Goliath Liberator
- Iron Mind
- Peregrine Runner
- Shadowcraft Mage
- Stonedeath Assassin
- Stonespeaker Guardian
By comparison, the following chapter on Character Options (skills, feats and racial substitution levels) is quite small.
The seventh chapter focuses on equipment and magic, including new mounts, systems for ancestral weapons, and new systems for magic forges and rune circles, to let dwarves have some of their more distinctive magical styles.
The book ends with a chapter on running campaigns centered around "races of stone", including how to ssemble the group, adventuring in dwarven & gnomish communities, and some unique holidays & monsters.
Races of the Wild
Part of the "core" branch of the Races of X series, Races of the Wild focuses on those races that have a particularly close connection to nature.
Which means the first chapter, of course, is all about the Elf. As with the dwarves and gnomes in "Races of Stone", a new iteration of their racial pantheon, the Seldarine, was presented, possibly based on Greyhawk lineup:
- Alobal Lorfiril
- Corellon Larethian
- Deep Sashelas
- Elebrin Liothiel
- Hanali Celanil
- Sehanine Moonbow
- Vandria Gilmadrith
Surprisingly, the Halflings made it into this book as the second chapter; WoTC probably couldn't think of anywhere else to put them.
Like all of its kind, Races of the Wild featured racial prestige classes:
- Arcane Hierophant
- Champion of Corellon
And it then completed its collection with new skills, feats, racial substitution levels for elves (Paladin, Ranger, Wizard), halflings (Druid, Monk, Rogue) and raptorans (Cleric, Fighter, Sorcerer, new weapons, armor, gear, magic, psionics, and tips on running campaigns focused on the races of the wild.