I’ve been adapting Warcraft elements to 5E for my upcoming TTRPG. I previously shared Tauren and Forsaken races and Pandaren is next! Orcs are remaining after that, at least for my players. Tauren article has some disclaimers, but in summary, these aren’t supposed to be fully balanced and this game takes place in an alternate timeline, vanilla era. So this Pandaren adaptation is meant for a wanderer, pre-MOP.
Pandaren start with +2 Wisdom, plus +2 to one of the following: Str, Dex, Con Cha
Knowledge and Skills
Pandaren can choose one knowledge about food, drinks, eating or drinking (Drinking, Beer, Tea, Baking etc) and roll with advantage on their topic.
Pandaria Pandaren can choose three of the following: One of the races of Pandaria, Sha, August Celestials, Pandaria History
Wandering Pandaren can choose two topics, one of which can be a very unexpected, very hard to learn knowledge
Wandering Pandaren also know one extra Azerothian language.
Even those who wandered away from Pandaria were tainted by the Sha. Some say that the Emperor unwittingly caused this when he shrouded Pandaria, as his pride allowed the Sha of Pride to seethe into everyone and everything in Pandaria, Pandaren or not. Others say being far from the land creates anxiety in the pandaren, whether they accept it or not, which takes shape as a negative energy. Some completely disregard the Sha theory and instead claims that there is a greater balance that creates a sort of anti-zen energy, an Anti-Chi.
Those who think it’s Sha theorize that being away Pandaria makes it worse, as the remnant tries to find a new identity when separated from the source. Some explain this as losing the protection of the August Celestials. Anti-Chi says that Pandaria and its denizens, despite their conflicts, lean towards balance and as beings of this land, Pandaren are more suspectible to generating Anti-Chi without the surrounding harmony of Pandaria.
Regardless, this dormant energy can be supressed by the Pandaren easily on a daily basis. When the Pandaren is angered or becomes anxious, the energy rises. Still, meditation is enough to relieve the stress. But during combat, where the matter becomes unignorable by the mind, the dark energy festers very quickly. While they can live with it, the stress becomes more disturbing over time. They can choose to ignore it, but eventually they’ll have to expel it.
Every time the Pandaren deals damage or is dealt damage, they gain a point of dark energy, maximum of once per turn. They can expel the energy as a free action, to any target in a 20ft radius. At 5 points, the Pandaren starts feeling uneasy, being unable to use advantages on any rolls. I the pandaren expels the energy until they hit this point, it deals 1d4 damage. At 10 points, they are further constrained and start rolling saving throws with disadvantage. Expelling with more than 5 points before hitting 10 points deals 2d8 damage. At 15 points, the feeling is barely bearable, causing all rolls to be with disadvantage. Expelling at 10–15 deals 4d12 damage. At 20 points, the energy implodes, causing 2d20 damage to the pandaren and 2d8 damage to anyone at a 30 ft radius.
Enemies to None
While conflict is seen as a natural part of the universal harmony, it is extremely rare for Pandaren to see someone as true enemies and hold on to hate or enmity. In fact, they are very easygoing and they are known to shake hands with someone who they just threw punches against. Likewise, their genuinely friendly demeanor is known to catch others by surprise, creating many a friendship.
In the game, Pandaren can engage someone to be more friendly or less aggressive. This is different from a charm or suggestion type of spell that the Pandaren does not manipulate the other side. In fact, the intent of manipulation might affect the honesty of their communication. It’s okay if the Pandaren wants something out of the relationship, but their friendliness needs to be genuine. For example, the Pandaren can’t befriend a door guard who they plan to dispose once they enter through the door — unless the Pandaren tries to get them to be somewhere else and avoid being attacked.
Pandaren are best at befriending sentient beings but can affect animals to an extent. If there are drinks involved, expect the results to be better.
Ruleswise, this will usually work as trying to roll a charisma check when there doesn’t seem to be any conversations happening (someone attacking on sight) or getting advantage on a roll when things are less intense (talking to a guard).
Provebs of Power
Pandaria is a land of ancient races, stories and wisdom. Jinyu, Hozen, Mogu, Mantid, Yaoungol, Celestials, Sha and of course, Pandaren themselves. Being in the center of Pandaria, Pandaren has accumulated many proverbs full of wisdom. The right verb at the right time can be inspiring and empowering.
Twice per long rest, a Pandaren can speak an ancient proverb to inspire a sentient being of their choice for a particular task. The player needs to come up with the words and roll a wisdom check. Player’s choice of words can provide an advantage or a disadvantage to the roll. If successful, the target is inspired and they roll with advantage for that task. DM might find other uses too (for example, someone might work extra for a day, after being inspired).
This can be used before or during a fight to grant the party an advantage on their first attack roll.
Pandaren make the most out of any list of ingredients. While others will roast meat on a skewer, a Pandaren will find local herbs in the wilderness to enrich the taste, use their knowledge to soften the meat, pay attention while roasting so it’s crispy outside and juicy inside. While others grab an apple, take a few bites and throw it since it’d go bad, a Pandaren will take some spice out of their bags, make use of the tree’s resin turn it into a tastier snack that lasts for a week.
Pandaren can make and aid survival checks to find food with advantage and ignore natural 1s. When the party eats Pandaren-prepared food, a short rest heals +1HPs per HD the party uses to heal. The party is also inspired by the merry mood and the better-than-possible food and gain advantage on two dice rolls of their choice. These can be earned once per long rest and are lost after the long rest.
There may be further benefits to these skills. Pandaren are known to have made unlikely allies with their magical culinary skills.
There we are! Pandaren was probably the most challenging to come up with between the ones I worked on, but honestly I’m happy with each of them. Sha remnant is probably the most controversial one, but I think it adds a nice twist to Pandaren. A mild, inescapable curse that reminds them of their homeland and the threat of Sha. What do you think? Whose your favorite so far?