Late-night ideas: the Veytikka 18

I am giving myself permission to look away from the Dust to Dust rulebook writing long enough to post this. I’ve been thinking of creating some completely new races for whatever my next D&D campaign might be. I came up with one a few days ago, and another two last night. I haven’t decided if the standard set of D&D races would be available alongside these options. Included below are rough drafts of stats for one of those races in D&D 3.5 and 4e terms.


Veytikka are a humanoid race typically despised by their neighbors, but living among them as vagrants. They are carrion-eaters by preference, and will consume the flesh of any being that is not a veytikka, as long as it has had a few days to decay. Once they do begin to eat, they leave almost no trace behind, aside from stains that have soaked into surfaces. To avoid drawing the ire of other races, they are much more circumspect about their eating habits while in cities. The main reason they are permitted to stay in the cities of other races is that they have the useful ability to perceive across the veil of death, and even communicate for short periods of time. Among their own kind, they speak a language they call Veyti; they also use this language when communicating with the dead.

Their skin tones range from a pure white to slate gray. Their faces are distinctly inhuman, with slightly elongated snouts, pointed ears, and black tongues. Eye colors include brown, green, and red. Veytikka have long, retractable claws, but just as often use weapons they have found or made. They are highly resistant to all forms of disease – necessary, given their diet. When their hands are empty and they are not significantly encumbered, they can move on all fours for increased speed.

In their interactions with others, veytikka are friendly, but possess an intensity that others find unsettling. They avoid showing their anger openly, but hold it tightly inside. Revenge, like dinner, is a dish best served only when it has fully ripened. Many are surprised to discover that a veytikka’s home is almost indistinguishable from the home of a human of the same level of wealth, though most veytikka live in some measure of poverty.

3.x Stats

  • Ability Scores: +2 Charisma, -2 Wisdom
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, veytikka have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Veytikka base land speed is 30 feet. When their hands are empty and they are at Light encumbrance, veytikka can increase this speed to 40 feet by moving on all fours.
  • Claws: A veytikka’s claws deal a base of 1d6 damage, and are able to strike incorporeal creatures.
  • Keen Smell: A veytikka receives a +4 competence bonus to Spot checks for anything that she could reasonably smell.
  • Resistance to Disease: +4 racial bonus to Fortitude saves against disease.
  • Sight Across the Veil: Veytikka can cast deathwatch as a spell-like ability at will.
  • Voice Across the Veil: Veytikka of character level 5 or higher can cast speak with dead as a spell-like ability three times per day. Additionally, veytikka are skilled at communicating with ghosts and similar spirits of the dead, gaining a +4 competence bonus to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate checks when interacting with them.
  • Lore of the Dead: Veytikka can use the Gather Information skill in graveyards or old battlefields to speak with the dead there. This typically costs twice as much money as using the Gather Information skill in its normal setting, as the veytikka persuades the spirits with small gifts of silver coins.
  • A veytikka’s natural weapons, or magical weapons, have a 20% miss chance against incorporeal creatures, rather than the normal 50% chance.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Veyti. Bonus Languages: TBD
  • Favored Classes: Warlock or Sorcerer


4e Stats

  • Average Height: 5’7″-6’5″
  • Average Weight: 150-210 lb.
  • Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma
  • Size: Medium
  • Speed: 6 squares
  • Vision: Normal
  • Languages: Common, Veyti, choice of one other
  • Skill Bonuses: +2 Endurance, +2 Perception
  • Necrotic Resistance: You have resist necrotic 3 + one-half your level.
  • Knowledge of the Veil: You gain a +1 racial bonus to all attacks, ability checks, and skill checks against creatures of the undead type.
  • Voice Across the Veil: You gain Voice Across the Veil as an encounter power.

Voice Across the Veil – Veytikka Racial Power
You communicate with spirits, finding guidance from the voices of the dead.
Minor ActionPersonal
Effect: During this turn, you gain one of the following benefits: +2 bonus to your next attack roll, a bonus to your next damage roll equal to your Charisma modifier, or a bonus to your next skill check equal to your Charisma modifier.

Next up: the beruch, a red-skinned people with quartz-like, calcified growths.

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18 thoughts on “Late-night ideas: the Veytikka

  • Kainenchen

    I like this. Quite thorough. Questions/Comments:

    1) in 4e, the Veytikka will not be able to use their claws to attack? Or would you put in a racial feat for that or something (I think one or another of the shifters have something that might be comparable.)
    2) A charisma bonus was an interesting choice for unsettling carrion eaters. Was this because you were envisioning them as CHA casters?
    3) Mmm… necrotic resistance.

    Curious about the next two races!

  • Shieldhaven

    1) I… don't immediately know how I'd handle the claws in 4e, but giving them different options for their racial encounter power and making one of those options similar to Longtooth Shifting would be possible.
    2) Charisma here represents their otherworldly connections and personal intensity – so yes, it's there to make them Charisma-based casters, in both editions.
    3) The necrotic resistance is base 3 rather than base 5 because necrotic damage is substantially more common than other flavors.

  • samhaine

    Very cool. Sorta a Pak'ma'ra from B5/Corax from W:tA hybrid.

    The 3.X stats probably make them pretty awesome dual wield + city RP rogues: natural weapons, bonus to Cha skills, natural affinity with skulduggery, and potential to wring answers from spirits. You do not want to have a Veytikka assassin after you. There won't even be a body for evidence.

    Prepare for the pouch meat jokes, though 🙂 ("I put some meat in my pouch for later." "Would you like some… pouch meat?").

  • Shieldhaven

    I didn't have either of those comparable races particularly in mind when I came up with this, but it's certainly true that there are no new ideas. =)

    If that's what you took away from the stats, then I pretty much accomplished my goal, because that's how I see them too (though they're still pretty solid in more dungeon-exploration adventures, I think).

  • Kainenchen

    Okay, /that's/ where you were going with the intensity part, what would make them good at say, Intimidate/Bluff sorts of Cha-based checks. Durr.

    Also, I thought that 3+1/2 lvl made sense for just that reason. Since clearly, these are the guys you want to go deal with undead stuff.

    Oh man, I would so want to play a Pally/Divine Class with this race. Necrotic resistance + Radiant Damage? Yes plz.

  • samhaine

    Oooh, yeah. The 3.X one works as a pretty badass Paladin dedicated to wiping out evil spirits.

    You could also do a pretty fun bard telling stories lost to the living for centuries.

  • thebasicsofthegame

    I was just commenting on how I could not picture this as a bard at all. There is nothing charming about an outcast who eats the dead. Bards, by nature have to be able to get you to stop and listen to them. I could see them as really neat Warlocks, but Bard makes no sense to me. It is kind of like having a presenter sitting there with a swastika on his face. It doesn't matter how charismatic you are, with that handicap, no one will listen to you.

  • Kainenchen

    Yeah, but on the other hand, these people certainly have stories and songs of their own as well. They may not have what you would immediately consider charm, but I could completely see something like what Samhaine suggested, or a pied-piper sort of bard who travels from place to place (in a world where these folks are a curiosity). Sinister, yet compelling appeals to me. I could see a bard traditional among their own people, playing some sort of instrument unique to their race.

    The more I think about it, the more ideas I have that I'd kind of like to play or see played.

  • Ben

    Very neat and flavorful race!

    Why the penalty to Wisdom in the 3.5 stats? The ability to pierce the veil seems to me to demonstrate a certain amount of perceptiveness.

    As for 4th ed stats I have 2 comments/questions:
    1. Tieflings get Fire Resist 5+1/2 level. Is fire really less common than necrotic? Deva get 5+1/2 level to Radiant AND Necrotic. I don't think 5+1/2 level is out of line.

    2. Have you considered giving them a ability bonus set up comparable to the Changeling, PHB 3 races, or Essentials races? +2 Cha/+2 Con or Dex might be cool (Rogue, Warlock, Sorcerer, Bard).

  • Shieldhaven


    The Wisdom penalty is there because I was even more unhappy with my other options, frankly. Int might be a reasonable runner-up. Obviously, the Charisma bonus is a contentious point in itself.

    1. I do feel like necrotic resistance is overtly better than any other energy resistance in the game, even if gear stats don't acknowledge it as such. I wasn't taking Devas into account when I wrote this, but you make a valid point.

    2. Oh, hey, I should totally do that. For these guys, I'd go so far as to write it as any two of (+2 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Cha), because I'm pleased for them to be excellent warlocks, assassins, rogues, bards… and so on.

  • Ben

    Looking at my big list of Classes and Ability scores, another good 4ed stat combo occurred to me:

    Charisma + Strength or Dexterity. Classes this would open up as top-notch choices: Barbarian (I can eat my fallen foes? sweet!), Cleric, Paladin, Warlord, Ardent, Assassin, Rogue, Sorcerer, or Warlock (Hexblade). Notice that there are no Cha/Str or Cha/Dex Bard builds…while they'd still make good Bards, they don't have the Cha/Con stat combo making Bard SUCH a sexy option.

  • Shieldhaven

    @McCoy – I still disagree with you here. Imagine it from the perspective of a human who has known half a dozen veytikka in his life: it's still icky, but you know, these guys serve some useful purposes. They're part of our society, if a marginalized one. I think the parallel situation you describe really only applies if it's the first time you've ever met one of this race. Familiarity dulls that reaction of disgust.

  • thebasicsofthegame

    I think the problem is the stat represents to much. Charisma as force of personality works, but it also represents how likely people are to positively react you on first meeting. If you are a Romany Gyspy traveling in eastern europe right now, it doesn't matter how awesoem a speaker you are, you still run the chance of getting hassled at the very least. Sadly the majority of the people in those countries are being pretty racist right now towards Romany.

    If I were to represent them as a people in a game, I certainly would not feel like giving them a Charisma penalty would be right, but on the face of it, in those countries they are at a negative.

    Same with the brain in a jar monster that had +14 Chr. With the exception of some very deranged cultists, no one will be likely to respond well to these guys on first meeting. Yet the rules on charisma, says they likely will.

    I don't dispute Charisma as a bonus on this race as I do believe the bonus on one aspect applies very well. My problem is with the limits in the system. In your example above, you have the human having a positive reaction due to familiarity. I would argue a marginalized people, say like blacks in the south in the 1960's or earlier, would not have a bonus in dealing with people because of the social stigma. The system should be a little more robust to represent the difference I guess.

  • Shieldhaven

    Okay, for that level of granularity in reactions, what you want is not a Charisma penalty (affecting the character's ability to do a lot of things other than interact with the local humans) but a circumstance penalty to Diplomacy, Bluff, and Gather Information, and Perform. Circumstance bonus to Intimidate. The whole reason for these bonuses and penalties is that Use Magic Device shouldn't be fundamentally altered.

    An elf sorcerer goes into a country full of goblins. His Charisma score does not go down, no matter how much they hate his guts and would rather skin him than hear what he has to say. His spells are not easier to resist, and he does not lose bonus spells per day.

  • thebasicsofthegame

    Right. I don't want them to loose power, just represent the actual problem in playing them. I would say given your description on the race then, they would likely have a penalty on interactions with all non monster races. Sure the guy more familiar with them can get past his revulsion some, but would he like them? Would you like a carrion eater, even a really charming one? Jokes about my eating habits aside, of course.

  • B

    First of all, great idea! I found your Korad description to be descriptive yet flexible and the idea for this race is a cool spin from the usual Ghoul bit…

    You didn't adress here in your expanded idea the fact that they were proposed as tribal in organization. Would you mind sharing some of your ideas on that? I am glad for the stats, but they aren't as interesting to me as just your ideas of how the Veytikka might function socially in the proposed fantasy urban environment.

    The thing I like best about your idea for this race is that this kernel could be molded to fit any of the big gaming genres really tightly, using the same small description with many different outcomes.


  • Shieldhaven

    @ WBM –

    Honestly, the reason I didn't mention the tribal aspect in this writeup is that I forgot I had written it.

    Having said that, I imagine that each tribe of veytikka have their own distinct relations with the spirits of the regions they inhabit – my concept of the world and cosmology also includes spirits with their own political games. I haven't give the veytikka tribes any further thoughts, but were I to include these in a game, I'd expand on this considerably.

    I'm flattered that you like the idea for the race! Thanks for posting, consider yourself invited to use them in your own games (that's why this post is tagged "free content"), and if you do, let me hear about it.

  • B

    I am pretty interested in how the Veytikka might come to fit really closely with other sapient cultures. Mostly just because I see a lot of potential answers for that question. The permutations are interesting and varied.

    With minor changes in how long Human and Veytikka have been exposed to each other in a fantasy setting, you have the potential for lots of interesting outcomes.

    In a high-magic fantasy you might oppose your Humans and Veytikka on the morality scale and get really spooky "evil doers" for your humans to depose. In this role, the Veytikka might be more like traditional ghouls…used as a symbol of degeneration, desecration of the dead, and otherness.

    In that same setting, the two races might shake out to a kind of cultural and ecological symbiosis. Having occupied the same lands for countless generations, these Veytikka hold places of honor as oracles, keepers of stories, and sages beyond the ken of mere humans. They are kept in comfort and power. A big deal is made of proper types of "tribute" and the Human disposition on carrion is gilded with tradition and trappings. The combination of human ambition meshed with the insight of the Veytikka could form the spine of a great empire.

    …and thats just two that I was riffing on my afternoon walk today. Lower magic settings or more morally ambiguous settings might provide one of my favorite flavors of fantasy "other" … The magical native. In particular, the magical, yet-tragically oppressed and marginalized native.

    In that situation, the Veytikka might be the remnant, in decline, of a once great and thriving culture that has been steam-rolled by humans with slightly better tech, or just higher birth rates and no moral compunction with regards to the occupation of another race's ancestral lands.

    Before I go absolutely nuts and switch genres…I will stop. But you get the idea when I say that the amount of info you provided is fresh and vague enough to present interesting questions. The answers might make good games.