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Your starting race can be one of: human, dwarf, elf, gnome or orc. All roles can choose to be human, whereas the other races are restricted to only some of the roles. Your race affects your starting and maximum attributes, the belligerency of co-racial monsters, and the safety of sacrificing particular races. Your race will also affect what constitutes cannibalism, as well as what creatures can be safely genocided.
Humans can be any alignment (subject to your chosen role allowing that alignment), but for the others, your race indirectly determines your alignment: dwarves are always lawful, gnomes are always neutral, and elves and orcs are always chaotic.
The guidebook offers the following advice about the starting races:
Dwarves are smaller than humans or elves, but are stocky and solid individuals. Dwarves' most notable trait is their great expertise in mining and metalwork. Dwarvish armor is said to be second in quality not even to the mithril armor of the Elves.
Elves are agile, quick, and perceptive; very little of what goes on will escape an Elf. The quality of Elven craftsmanship often gives them an advantage in arms and armor.
Gnomes are smaller than but generally similar to dwarves. Gnomes are known to be expert miners, and it is known that a se- cret underground mine complex built by this race exists within the Mazes of Menace, filled with both riches and danger.
Humans are by far the most common race of the surface world, and are thus the norm by which other races are often compared. Although they have no special abilities, they can succeed in any role.
Orcs are a cruel and barbaric race that hate every living thing (including other orcs). Above all others, Orcs hate Elves with a passion unequalled, and will go out of their way to kill one at any opportunity. The armor and weapons fashioned by the Orcs are typically of inferior quality.
SLASH'EM has new races, as well as changes to allowed alignments and statistics of original races. New races are:
- Drow - Can put monsters to sleep with bare handed attack
- Doppelganger - Has natural protection, very high stats, and the #youpoly ability
- Hobbit - fast
- Lycanthrope - regeneration and lycanthropy
- Vampire - regeneration, very high stats, level-drain resistance, moves by flying, but can only eat fresh blood