I was thinking about it after a late night discussion of what real-life me would be like in D&D 3.5. One of the things we talked about was serious levels of natural armor and damage reduction, along with quick healing, and some other things. So, I present Opus as a D&D race.
Opuses are a peaceful race distantly related to trolls and halflings but with skin tones that suggest human as well. They are less hairy than halflings, but males are known to have monobrows that extend to the tips of their noses. Hair color for an Opus is much like an anime character, almost any color in the spectrum (including infrared and ultraviolet) can be a natural hair color, and beards and eyebrows are not restricted to the same or even similar colors as hair anywhere else on the head or body. It is not common but even beards and moustaches can be colored differently on a male Opus. Male body hair can even have patterns like a cat, but that is unusual. There is a strong sexual dimorphism about body and facial hair for Opuses, with males getting furrier as they age while females have little to no body hair and barely have eyebrows.
Body appearance for an Opus is like a miniature troll, rounded head with a strong eyebrow ridge and long arms and torso with short legs. The legs are usually muscular with large calves because Opuses spend so much time walking or using strider horses, wheeled contraptions that allow them to move as fast as a horse on level ground, and much faster going downhill. We would call them hobby horses or balance bikes. They are common items in Opus villages.
The Opus’ deity has one commandment: “Make something awesome.” Some interpret this as “every day” while some interpret it as “before you die” with varying degrees of what constitutes “awesome”. But everyone tries to follow this commandment. This makes crafting a religious imperative, with one skill point per level assigned to crafting. Because of their deity Opuses are craftspersons of many things, with some specializing in one kind of thing and making that as well as Opusly possible. Opus tools are highly prized as objects of art as well as things to make other things, with ornate carved handles and etched and engraved blades. Similarly Opus clothing is either highly ornate or highly functional or sometimes both with the decorative touches meant to add another layer of functionality. It is not uncommon for Opus cloaks to be reversible, with one side meant to conceal and the other to attract attention, like a hunter’s vest that had a woodland pattern on one side and was bright orange on the other. There is also the skill “craft everything” that when taken allows an Opus to make nearly any non-magical item from whatever is available and have it be serviceable. It probably won’t be pretty, but it will work and will hold up to repeated use. As an example an Opus with this skill could mine the local dirt for meteorite dust that he could then forge into a knife or sword using a stick as the hilt. This is a valuable skill for an adventuring party. Warlock Opuses level 10 or higher can also use Eldritch Blast to forge metal without a fire or hammer. Opus are also very good cooks, partially because they need to eat 3 times as much as a human because of the natural armor and DR.
Almost all Opuses are magical to some extent, with 3 out of 4 being Warlocks with natural magic, half of those not a Warlock being a Wizard, and the final one in eight having no effective magic. The rare Opuses without magick are not all that crippled as they don’t share the -3 Cha penalty the rest of the race gets. As a race Opuses are the only Warlocks with healing spells, having “reversed engineered” Sickening Blast invocation to Healing Touch, with d8+level HP restored up to 20 times a day. This magical ability is stacked on whatever class the Opus player selects at startup.
In battle Warlock and Wizard Opuses use ranged spells and invocations to cover as much of the battlefield as possible while retaining as many options as possible. Those with Healing Touch will try to stay within a one-step distance of “squishies” for a quick healing if needed during battle.
Character creation. An Opus has +3 bonuses to Int and Wis, and a -3 penalty to Cha, unless the Opus has no magic. An Opus has no AC bonus for Dex (effectively always flat-footed) but gets a d6 bonus to base AC for Natural Armor (not bypassed by Touch attacks) at character creation and gets a d20 DR at character creation that stacks with any DR from class progression. Opuses have a ranged deduction on spot checks of -2 per 5 feet increment, but a natural +1 per level on listen checks. An Opus gets 1 extra skill point per level for crafting that can’t be used for any other skills, including at character creation. Opuses also get bonuses in any skill that can also be used to create things like rope skills and others of that nature at one point per level. To get Healing Touch the character has to have Sickening Blast and used it at least once. This is normally done during formal Opus education at the primary level so that as many Opuses as possible know how to use this invocation, but some Opuses don’t get Sickening Blast until they reach higher levels, and one in 4 is not a Warlock.
An Opus is a Medium size creature with a movement of 20 on foot, 15 swimming and climbing, and 100 on the strider horse on flat terrain, with normal 20 uphill and as much as 300 downhill. In addition a strider horse can carry 5 times the character’s carry on back limits of cargo with a half speed reduction going uphill. These are so common in Opus villages they almost seem like they are grafted to the villagers. All Opuses are ChG alignment and can play as any class that can be ChG. Any Warlock or Wizard Opus would have to multi-class to play as any other class, those are permanent parts of the race.
Opuses speak and read Common and Elvish plus Opus, which is a variation of Troll not understood by any other race. The written language for Opus uses the glyphs used by Elvish but pronounced differently (like Japanese uses Chinese characters), so someone who reads Elvish would read Opus as gibberish in Elvish.
Opus get whatever HP they get as a class or d10+Con per level, whichever is higher.
PSA, Opus (not the D&D race).