Men & Monsters of the Aegean: Antaean (5th Edition D&D Race)

Michael O. Varhola
Barce looked over at the two oxen sleeping in the shade of a nearby citrus tree and, despite herself, allowed a smile to cross her face. She had guided the little draft animals in the plowing of two acres that day and now they were exhausted. Barce had been up and working even longer than them, of course, but laboring with the earth invigorated her as much as it tired her, and once she had unyoked the beasts she decided to work a little in her orchard before heading back to the house. As she plucked one of the waxy yellow fruits hanging about ten feet from the ground and placed it in her basket, however, she froze upon hearing movement and then strange voices in the grove to her right. Unlimbering the three-foot-long sickle from her girdle, Barce began to ready a spell to help her contend with whatever threat might manifest …
Antaeans are hulking, powerfully-built humanoids that tower seven to eight feet in height and which tend to have bronze or grey skin, dark hair, and bronze, silver, or copper eyes. They are descended from a legendary Hill Giant who was slain by a somewhat more formidable demigod, and Antaeans still maintain some of their antipathy toward the deity and no member of this race will ever be a champion or priest of it. Many Antaeans are as proud as their doomed ancestor but few are so belligerent, and most are rather stoic in outlook, preferring to master their emotions rather than give in to excess. Perhaps because of their size and this attitude, they have a reputation for fearlessness, which many of them try to emulate.
Giants of the Earth
Antaeans are generally skilled at farming, employing a subtle earth magic to increase the fecundity of the land under their care. They can be found living in almost any mainland areas but tend to be drawn to arid and semi-arid environments, especially desert oasis, plains, and hills where they can tend fields, flocks, and orchards. Few are encountered on islands or other places accessible only by sea, however, as they prefer to maintain their connection to their earthbound ancestor by remaining in constant contact with the ground.
            Antaeans tend to have a size and musculature that makes them adept at warfare, for which they favor mauls, picks, slings, and hard-hitting thrown weapons like handaxes and javelins. Those with martial professions will generally use heaviest armor they can afford. Antaeans rarely use mounts of any sort, but some have been known to ride elephants or other size Huge creatures.
Cooperative Individuals
Antaeans tend to organize themselves into loose but orderly communities in which individuals strike a balance between autonomy and interaction with their neighbors, and where cooperation is exercised most profoundly in matters of survival (e.g., defense against attack).
            Most Antaeans encountered outside of their homelands are engaged in some business on behalf of their people (e.g., making contact with an isolated community to see how it is doing), seeking a broader knowledge of the natural world, or working as adventurers.
Antaean Names
Antaeans have naming conventions that reflect their generally simple and unpretentious natures. Each has a given name, typically taken from an ancestor or notable relative, that its family gives it at birth, and day-to-day many are not identified in any other way. Antaeans in a community large enough to have multiple members with the same names will collectively but largely unconsciously assign appropriate labels to individuals in order to differentiate them (e.g., Alceis the Midwife in the case of a woman who serves this function, Juba the Elder in the case of the oldest male in the village with this name). Such labels can change over the years as the status and occupations of Antaeans shift. If Antaens from different areas are interacting with each other then place names are sometimes substituted for their labels (e.g., Syphax of Terrgurt).
            Male Names: Alexidamus, Antaeus, Änti, Asphaleio, Diodorus, Juba, Kheer, Palaemon, Petraio, Sagoth, Syphax.
            Female Names: Alceis, Barce, Gaia, Iphinoe, Jocasta, Pia, Thorga, Tinjis.
            Labels: the Blacksmith, the Brewer, the Elder, the Farmer, the Merchant, the Midwife, the Soldier, the Vintner, the Watchman, the Weaver, the Younger.
Antaean Traits
An Antaean character has a number of traits common to members of its kind.
            Ability Score Increase. An Antaean’s Strength score increases by 4.
            Age. Antaeans reach full maturity somewhat more slowly than humans, by about age 20, and typically live to around 100 years of age on average.
            Alignment. Antaeans tend to be moderate in their approach to both good and evil and law and chaos, and most are neutral with regard to at least one if not both of these.
            Size. Antaeans are generally between 7 and 8 feet in height and tend to be more massively built than Humans, an adult male typically weighing at least 400 pounds. Their size is Large.
            Speed. An Antaean’s base walking speed is 35 feet.
            Languages. An Antaean can speak, read, and write Common and Giant. Dwarvish, Gnomish, Goblin, Halfling, and Primordial are among the additional languages most commonly known by Antaeans.
            Child of the Earth. When in skin contact with earth, mud, stone, or sand, an Antaean receives a +2 bonus on all saving throws. This can generally be assumed if the Antaean is barefoot on or uses a bonus action to establish contact with an appropriate surface.
            Earth Magic. An Antaean knows the cantrip Druidcraft and Charisma is its spellcasting ability for it.
            Enhanced Strength. An Antaean has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws and has a limit of 24 rather than 20 with regard to increases to Strength through class-based ability score improvement.
Antaean Weapons & Equipment
Weapons scaled for Antaeans use the next better die for damage than do normal Human arms (e.g., d6 instead of a d4, d8 instead of a d6, 2d8 instead of a d12), and both weigh and cost twice as much as usual. Range increments for thrown melee weapons scaled for Antaeans are 50% greater than for those designed for Humans (e.g., 45/180 rather than 30/120 for a javelin). Armor scaled for Antaeans costs twice as much as usual and weighs four times as much.
In the Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting, and possibly in other settings with a basis in the history, geography, and mythology of the real-world Mediterranean, a number of specific details apply to Antaeans:
            * Antaeus, the child of earth Titan Gaia and the god Poseidon, was the ancestor of the Antaeans. Many Antaean priests venerate one of these deities — Poseidon primarily in his role as “earth-shaker” — or goddess of the harvest Demeter. Some also worship various great Titans such as Atlas, the grim gods of the Hill Giants, or their ancestor himself. Many of these latter dwell in the Hill Giant kingdom of Gintu in the lands at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and relish incorporating the skulls of slain enemies into their places of worship.
            * Herakles, demigod of strength and athletic competition, is the deity who engaged in an epic wrestling match with and slew Antaeus, creating a lasting antipathy between followers of the demigod and descendants of the great Giant. No Antaean will ever be a champion or priest of Herakles.
            * Antaeans dwell mainly in North Africa, notably Libya and to some extent Aigyptos, but can be found living in other places throughout the world as well; some, especially the minority drawn to evil or disorder, dwell in giant kingdom of Gintu. Antaean towns on the North African coast are common stops for the ships of grain merchants bold enough to brave a region known for being dominated by descendants of the chaotic Titans. Antaean town militia drill regularly, however, and are a match for the majority of incursions by disorganized Titan-spawn like Orcs and Ogres.
            * The Common tongue employed by Antaeans is Greek.