Pengols: A New Race from Frostfell

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Pengols: A New Race from Frostfell

Post by HawkDiesel » Mon May 21, 2018 6:47 pm

Hey guys,

So I was inspired to create a new race for Eberron. These are anthropomorphic penguins that carry a special curse. I throw in hints that the curse may be related to Dral Khatuur, the Heart of Winter, and that one way to begin freeing her might require the eradication of the entire race. But obviously, such explicit info depends on your campaign, as there is no way for a race to know of their natural bodies are the result of an act 100,000 years ago based on ancestral stories passed down verbally through the generations, or just a fluke of nature, or some other calamity (maybe an unlucky Pengol crossed the Traveler on the wrong day). Anyways, please let me know your thoughts and if there might be any way to improve it.


The Pengols are one of the few races native to the frigid wastelands of the Frostfell. They are hardy creatures that long ago adapted to the harsh conditions. While it is enough for most creatures to be able to survive, let alone thrive in lands as unforgiving as the Frostfell, Pengols manage to do so with a curse that goes back generations and affects each Pengol alive today. This curse causes a thick layer of ice to form over their chest close to their hearts, and prevents them from ever feeling warmth or finding respite from the cold that has from birth sunken into their bones. Despite all of this, they are a joyful people who always seem to find ways to love and laugh. In fact, Pengoss will seek out any excuse to celebrate, whether with friends or strangers, and always seem to find the good in even the most dour of circumstances.

Regal and Awkward
Pengols in many ways appear like their penguin cousins, their feathers colored in the familiar black and white pattern of a dapper tuxedo. Some some colorful plumage over their brows, while others are more streamlined in their appearance. They typically stand about the same height of most humans, ranging from 5 feet tall to well over 6 feet. They appear a bit bulkier than humans due to their specialized feathers and bodies made to survive the tundra, but they typically weigh about 185 to 250 pounds. Unlike many of the other races, females tend to be a bit larger than the males, though the differences are generally marginal.

A Righteous Burden or Devious Curse?
According to the verbal stories passed down from Pengols elders through the generations, when the races of Eberron were still primitive and without a written language, there was a war between demons and dragons. The war was long and bloody, but eventually the dragons won. They could not kill the greatest of the demons, and so they imprisoned them. One of these demons was imprisoned in the Frostfell. Such was her power, that even imprisoned she changed the land by her mere presence alone, transforming a once fertile paradise into a wasted tundra. The dragons could see that their prison was not enough to keep this demon from someday breaking free to wreck havoc upon the world. And so, one among their kind splintered the demon's essence into thousands of pieces, and bound it into the hearts of the Pengols. The result has left the Pengols eternally cold and seeking warmth that will never sate their needs, and a sheet of ice that will always cover their chest. This is the mark of that demon.

While this is the base story of the Pengol people to explain their burden of ice and cold, some elders tend to frame this as an alliance between themselves and the dragons. These Pengols tend to believe that they were willing participants in this act, and marks a sacrifice their ancestors made to save the world. Such Pengols view this not so much as a curse, but a mark of pride that makes each living Pengol a guardian against the evils that might seek to end the world. Other Pengols are more cynical, however. They believe that their ancestors may have been tricked or used by these dragons to contain a threat that they could not defeat. They maintain a deep hatred from the dragons, seeing them as amoral beasts that cared little about how their actions affected the lives and well-being of an entire race of people. Regardless of how Pengols view the act of the dragons, all Pengols demonstrate a powerful resolve to keep their heads high and press on despite the burden of their birth.

A Passionate People with Big Families
While Pengols are forever tormented by an everlasting cold and cannot feel the touch of physical warmth, they have a firm belief that the best way to endure is to fill one's heart with love, laughter, and passion. They see passion as the heat that warms the soul, and no matter how terrible the curse that has befallen on their people, the magic of this curse cannot touch their souls. And so Pengols do not just naturally seem inclined to live passionately and enjoy life, but see it as the only way to find respite from the chill within their bones. In addition, they believe that each one of them carries a portion of an ancient demon in their heart. Every Pengol that dies brings the demon one step closer to returning, and so Pengols often see it as their duty to have many children and further diffuse the essence of the demon. They also believe that if there are enough living Pengols in the world, it might weaken the curse to the point that they can finally warm their bodies. And so, Pengols try to have as many children as they can who are then raised communally among the tribe. This leads to Pengols having large and extended families.

Thrill Hunters and Curse Breakers
Pengols who take up the adventuring typically do so as an extension of their cultural mandate to live life to its fullest. They seek to fill their hearts with many new friends and experiences to celebrate. Many such Pengols tend to gravitate towards being bards, as this helps them to honor their ancestors through the stories they tell, and liven the mood for others with songs and mirth. Others find causes that they are utterly passionate about and pursue them with total conviction. These Pengols tend to gravitate towards being paladins, as it gives them an outlet to pursue their cause. Still, some Pengols take the curse of their people very seriously, and wish to find a means to break their people free while continuing to contain the evil that their burden is said to help contain. These Pengols tend to believe that while laughter and love can certainly warm one's heart, rage can ignite a firestorm within their chest to burn away the cold from within. Such Pengols are driven to to free themselves and their people from the cold within. Finally, it is not uncommon to find Pengol clerics. While these Pengols tend to worship their ancestors similarly to Valenar Elves, those more exposed to the religions of Khorvaire often gravitate to Onatar or Boldrei within the Sovereign Host.

Pengol Traits
Your Pengol character has an assortment of inborn abilities, part and parcel of Pengol nature.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.

Age. Pengols mature at the same rate as humans. However, due to their slower metabolisms they tend to live twice as long, usually living until about 220 years old.

Size. Your size is medium.

Speed. Pengols are a bit clumsy as they walk on their feet. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.

Darkvision. As night can last up to half the year in the Frostfell, and with the darkness you find in the depths of the ocean, you have become accustomed to seeing in such conditions. You can see in dim light with 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.

Aquatic Nature. As a species adapted to life in the cold sea, you have an ability to move about the water even more easily than on land. You have a base swim speed of 50 feet. While underwater you can hold your breath for up to 1 hour.

Speed Burst. You have found a convenient way to use the ice that supernaturally forms upon your chest, which also forms over the outside of any clothing or armor you may be wearing. By lowering your body to the ground and propelling yourself with your arms, you can move more quickly for a time, sliding along your icy chest. As a bonus action on your turn, if you have both hands free, you can increase your walking speed by 10 feet until the end of your turn.

Power of Frost. While you are cursed to never feel warmth, you have learned to use aspects of this burden to your advantage. You have cold resistance. In addition, you gain access to the Frost Ray cantrip. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it.

Hardy Folk. You can survive and endure in even the harshest of conditions. You gain proficiency in the survival skill. In addition, due to your natural toughness, your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.

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Re: Pengols: A New Race from Frostfell

Post by willpell » Mon May 21, 2018 7:14 pm

HawkDiesel wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 6:47 pm
anthropomorphic penguins
I don't know if this is brilliant, terrible, or both. :mrgreen:

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Re: Pengols: A New Race from Frostfell

Post by Sturm » Tue May 22, 2018 10:01 am

Seems a very interesting creation.
There are Dohwar in Spelljammer ( ... ohwar.html) and I'd like to have penguinfolks in Mystara too (I placed them in Threshold issue #5 and #9) as a possible subspecie of the bird-like gyerian.
Seethyr also placed them in Maztica here: ... enguinfolk
But your take is different and full of possibilities indeed.
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Re: Pengols: A New Race from Frostfell

Post by Seethyr » Tue May 22, 2018 8:54 pm

Sturm wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 10:01 am
Seems a very interesting creation.
There are Dohwar in Spelljammer ( ... ohwar.html) and I'd like to have penguinfolks in Mystara too (I placed them in Threshold issue #5 and #9) as a possible subspecie of the bird-like gyerian.
Seethyr also placed them in Maztica here: ... enguinfolk
But your take is different and full of possibilities indeed.
They’d certainly make a good antagonist for dohwar! They could be related certainly somehow in their back lore.
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Re: Pengols: A New Race from Frostfell

Post by HawkDiesel » Wed May 23, 2018 8:37 pm

Thanks everyone! I was unaware of the other types of penguin people basically, the process for creating these guys was as follows:

Step 1) Someone asked on the ENWorld forum what a penguin race would look like mechanically.

Step 2) I respond with with obvious features (cold resistance and swim speed of course).

Step 3) I realize that Penguins suck as walking. But then I remember that they are can go "faster" when they sled on their bellies (

Step 4) I am determined to make a mechanic for this.

Step 5) I realize that this belly sled feature only works if they are on snow or ice. How do I make it work everywhere?

Step 6) Oh, duh, they have a slick substance that is always on their chest to make them slide easy. Let's call this ice.

Step 7) How the heck do Penguin People get ice on their bellies that is always there and they are ok with it.

Step 8) Oh! They aren't ok with it. It's a curse. They hate it, but make it work.

Step 9) Ok, so what curse would cause everlasting belly ice?

Step 10) Obviously an ice devil fragment bound to their souls that causes not only belly ice formation, but also eternal feelings of cold that no amount of warmth can mend.

Then I just added the bit about them finding ways to warm their hearts so that they can find some respite from the bodily cold they can never escape from.

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