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Race, Brownie

By Arthur Rackham -, Public Domain,, Race, Brownie
By Arthur Rackham –, Public Domain,

Originally Posted by Galliard of the Book of Fey forums.

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Brownie (fey)

Brownie” is just one name for these small trooping fairies; they are also known as lares, penates, boggans, domovoi, tomte, tonttu, and even house fey. They resemble rather overweight, stunted Gnomes with spindly limbs (though some Unseelie have been known to get quite boney). Their hair color ranges the entire human spectrum (usually wild and unkept on the Unseelie), and most males (and the occasional female) will sport some facial hair. Skin can be any tone from ruddy pink to sallow tan to dark brown. They have large, bulbous noses, and their eyes are small and black, but bright, like shiny chips of Obsidian. Like most fey, they have slightly pointed ears, which tend to stick out quite far from the sides of their heads. They are very skilled at crafting clothing from items acquired from mortals.

An honest job, good company and a regular routine are all most brownies desire. Once you gain their trust, brownie homebodies are known for their hospitality, and truth be told few can refuse to help a good person in need. Though rare, those that wander usually take up the life of a tinker, making whatever repairs or improvements are needed then moving on. Brownies have a great affinity for mortal structures. Each brownie will typically find a home to call his or her own, and guard it and all who live within. It seems that if the inhabitants of a house move out, any brownies will also abandon the house. Even large ships and gypsy wagons have been known to house brownies. Virtually any type of abode will suffice, though they don’t seem to favor those that are too flimsy, such as tents or other very temporary housing.

They can be found in both fey courts, Seelie brownies display altruism out of compassion and the goodness of their hearts. This does not mean the Seelie ones are foolhardy or naive…they tend to be cautious and prudent in regards to strangers. Still, they will rarely let anyone come to harm if they can help it, and they usually don’t mind lending a hand even if not asked. They place great value on manners and recognition, and one who does not properly thank a brownie should not expect him to help again. They don’t want personal thanks or monetary rewards, but they often appreciate a kind word spoken out loud, or a bit of food or colorful scrap of cloth left out. Beneficiaries who grow complacent are cut off quickly

Unseelie find themselves drawn to the needy out of opportunistic desires. Though they work just as hard, and can have equal talent, Unseelie expect a good day’s wages for their labor, such as a copper coin or a pie. They tend to destroy their work…and a bit more besides…if they are not compensated. It doesn’t matter to them if they were asked to do the work or not. Unseelie also like to horde their treasure, and cuddle with it on cold winter nights. Brownies of either stripe enjoy good food, ale and smoke…after any necessary work has been completed, of course.

Racial Traits

Starting Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity

Size: Tiny (+2 AC/attack, -8 grapple, +8 Hide); see Alter Size (below)

Speed: 20 (all sizes)

Low-Light Vision (Ex): Brownies can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish colour and detail under these conditions.

Automatic Languages: Common, Sylvan

Skills: Gain a +2 racial bonus to all Craft and Profession skill checks. Starting at 5th level, a brownie may choose one of these skills and increase the bonus to +4 with that skill.

Cold-Iron Allergy: If a brownie is hit with a weapon of cold-iron, he must succeed at a WILL save [DC 5 + damage dealt] or be shaken for 1 rd. + 1/5 full hp of damage. He is treated as sickened if bound with cold-iron chains or shackles, in a cold-iron cage, wearing cold-iron armour, or wielding a cold-iron weapon. If the brownie is in contact with a sufficient amount of cold-iron to affect him for an extended period of time, he gains a negative level. The negative level cannot be removed while he remains in contact with the metal, but can be removed in the normal manner once he is freed. Brownies gain a negative level for every 24 hours of continuous contact.

Even if he somehow overcomes this limitation through magic, cold-iron armour always imparts a risk of spell failure for any spell or spell-like ability employed, arcane or divine, while it is worn. This is a trait of the metal, and cannot be circumvented by feat, enchantment or class abilities. This chance is equal to double the armour’s normal arcane spell failure.

Brownies can automatically detect appreciable amounts of cold-iron (i.e.: an amount able to affect them) due to a foul odour it gives off that only fey seem able to sense; treat all brownies as having the Scent special ability, but only in regards to cold-iron.

Class Skills: Appraise, Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Heal, Hide, Knowledge (all), Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Perform, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, Tumble.

LVHDBABFortRefWillFeatsSkill PointsSpecial
11d6+0+0+2+21[6 + (Intelligence mod.)] x4Feat, alter size (Diminutive), strong back
32d6+1+0+3+316 + (Intelligence mod.)Bonus feat, +2 Intelligence
42d6+1+0+3+31Alter size (Small), speedy worker
53d6+1+1+3+326+ (Intelligence mod.) Feat, warren

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Brownies are proficient with all simple weapons, light armor and shields.

Feats: Brownies receive one feat at 1st LV and an additional one at 5th. After 5th LV they gain feats normally according to their class level. Brownies also receive a bonus feat at 3rd level, which they must choose from the following list: Alertness, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Endurance,
Improved Initiative, or Skill Focus.

Spells: Starting at 2nd level, a brownie can cast spells as a wizard of a level equal to its brownie Hit Dice. If a brownie chooses to advance as a wizard after 5th level, it may stack it·s wizard levels with its three brownie levels to determine caster level, spells per day and maximum spell level. Brownies do not gain familiars until they gain ordinary wizard levels, though sometimes have their familiars act as “family pets” to their house-mates.

Brownies require spellbooks, and record spells in a manner identical to wizards. Mortal wizards and brownies can benefit from each other’s spell books. They favor spells that help them in their various chores and projects, though are fully capable of using their magic to defend themselves.

Alter Size (Su): Brownies can alter their size, growing both larger and smaller. Starting at 1st level, a brownie may shrink to Diminutive size (-2 Strength, +2 Dexterity; the following modifiers replace existing size modifiers: +4 AC/attack, -12 grapple, +12 Hide), as a full round, at-will action. Once he reaches 4th level, he can increase his size to Small (+2 Strength, -2 Dexterity; the following modifiers replace existing size modifiers: +1 AC/attack, -4 grapple, +4 Hide), for a number of minutes equal to his hit dice. This duration need not be used all at once, but each use expends a minimum of one minute.

Strong Back (Ex): Unlike most creatures of smaller size, a brownie does not suffer any penalty to the amount of weight they can carry, regardless of his current size. In addition, treat the brownie’s Strength as 4 points higher than it really is for purposes of calculating lifting and carrying capacities.

Speedy Worker (Su): Brownies are renowned for how quickly they can get a job done. When calculating the required time of a given task such as crafting an item (magical or otherwise), only apply one quarter the normal time required. The presence of any other intelligent creature (except other brownies) prevents the brownie from using this ability. Unseen, scrying or invisible observers will likewise prevent this ability from working, and can tip off a brownie to a possible spy.

Warren (Sp): When a brownie lives continuously in a house for a full week, he may create a ·warren·. A warren is an extra dimensional space that conforms in most ways to the spell mordenkainen·s magnificent mansion, except as noted. The brownie simply picks a spot on a wall or floor, then summons the area into being, effectively creating a small stationary portal. Initially, the space beyond the door is rather small, comprised of only five 1 foot cubes. Unlike the spell, this ability does not create food or items to decorate the space. With each full month that the brownie stays in the same house, he may either add an additional set of five 1 foot cubes to his existing space, or create a second (or more) space with its own separate portal/entrance. The process continues for a number of months equal to the brownies hit dice.

The portal (or portals) are immobile once create, though the brownie may destroy one as a full round action, causing the space beyond to vanish (randomly scattering any possessions or inhabitants within a 30 foot radius). A brownie must have all of his warren portals in the same location. If he wishes to move to a new home, he must lose or destroy any of his remaining portals.

Any sturdy construction that provides permanent protection can serve, including some traveling wagons and boats. Only a location that serves as a home to at least one mortal creature can hold a warren. If the other inhabitants leave, the expansion process outlined above goes into reverse, losing one effective “month” for each day that passes. This explains why brownies always want to live with mortals, and why they guard them to some extent; moving can be rather inconvenient. A single dwelling can hold multiple warrens of multiple brownies.

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