View Full Version : Three AWESOME races, could do with some advice?

2010-08-28, 07:57 PM
Hello there. I'm designing a campaing setting where there will be only three playable races; the Kenku, the Dreamers, and the Spellbound. What I need your advice for, awesome folks here, is to check if they are balanced against each other. They are more or less designed to be approximately LA+2, but this is far less important than whether or not they're fair against each other.

Without much ado, here they are.

The Winged Kenku
Small Humanoid (Kenku)
- -2 Str, +6 Dex, +2 Cha
- 20ft land speed, 30ft fly speed (good maneuverability)
- Mimicry (Ex): Can mimic any voice, as Kenku (MM3)
- Great Ally (Ex): Better aid another and flanking, as Kenku (MM3)
- +2 racial to Hide and Move Silently
- Natural weapons: Two claws (1d3 slashing)
- Low-light vision
- Favoured class: Rogue

Kenku among the high towers and on the city floor, scratching a living by theft, entertainment or whatever means necessary. They are an agile and vicarious race, short, with greyish-black feathers, a long beak, and strong wings, similar to a large jackdaw, and like a jackdaw, they enjoy chatting and socialising, even with the soulless*, and often move in large flocks.

*The soulless are, like they sound, soulless humans who form the only other sentient race in this setting, and aren't available as player characters for meta reasons.

The Spellbound Humans
Medium Humanoid (Human)
- +4 Int
- 30ft land speed
- Two bonus feats at first level*
- Mageborn (Sp): Detect Magic and Read Magic at will
- +2 racial to Spellcraft and Use Magic Device
- Favoured class: Artificer

The Spellbound humans live in the towers and buildings of the surface city. Rarely descending from their lofty positions, the Spellbound are masters of arcane magicks and complex artifice. They appear similar to soulless humans, but are slower in their movements and put much thought into every word spoken. Their skin is pale, almost translucent, and crystalline. Their eyes tend to purple or blue, and the crystal appearance is especially noticable in their hair and sharp features.

*Flaws aren't allowed in this campaign setting.

The Dreaming Dwarves
Medium Humanoid (Dwarf)
- +2 Str, -2 Dex, +4 Con, +2 Wis, -2 Cha
- 20ft land speed, 10ft burrow speed (not reduced by armor or encumbrance)
- Stability (Ex): As Dwarf
- Spell Power (Su): +1 CL for Divination spells, as Dream Dwarf (RoS)
- Stonecunning: As Dwarf
- +2 racial save against poisons, as Dwarf
- +3 Natural Armour
- DR 5/Adamantine
- Resilient (Ex): Dreamers staggered by nonlethal damage do not fall unconscious until the nonlethal damage exceeds their hit points by their Constitution score or more*
- Darkvision (90ft) with Dream Sight (Su): can see the ethereal, as Dream Dwarf
- Favoured Class: Soulborn or Psychic Warrior

The Dreamers live in the large caverns underneath the city, where the water is pumped up to the surface. Large communities exist at peace down in the darks, and no-one knows how deep they go. Dreaming Dwarves are masters of the self, learning to control the power that flows through them, whether it be in the form of Psionic, Incarnate, or Divine power, rather than the Arcane mysteries of the world. Short and stocky, these bearded dwarves have eyes of solid blue, without obvious pupils, white or grey hair, and tough, stony skin.

*House rule: the 'death limit' is -CON rather than -10, hope this makes more sense with that in mind.

Right, that's it. It might be obvious that i've come from somewhere with some of these (Kenku are just Kenku+, the dwarves are basically Dream Dwarves with the Mineral Warrior template), but what I want to know is how balanced they are against each other. Not against, as in, if they were to fight, but rather, if they were in a party together, would any one of them feel too powerful, or left out? I've tried to more or less aim for LA+2 like I said, but that's of less importance.

Another thing; I know some of these are pretty well suited for certain classes right out of the box, and that's almost intended; Many Spellbound humans become Wizards, for example, and I see little problem in giving such a boost in stats in that direction.

So yeah. On top of what I've already asked, PEACH, but do bear in mind this is a small small demiplanar setting without other sentient races (aside from the abovementioned Soulless humans), and very little in the way of 'monsters', it's mostly animals, some undead, probably oozes and fungi-based stuff, but no rampant owlbears, bugbears, dragons, minotaurs, semisentient stuff like that. Currently I'm feeling that Dreaming Dwarves may be the strongest.

Any suggestions welcome.

2010-08-30, 09:05 AM
I could really use some advice with this, please? Even if it's just 'these are fine, have fun', or 'these races are all too powerful for LA+2', or 'Dream Dwarves are far more powerful than the other two'.

Please? :smallfrown:

2010-08-30, 10:37 AM
I think the setting sounds highly interesting. Will you publish more on it somewhere?

2010-08-30, 11:13 AM
The main problem I see, is the human+ problem; if someone can gain two extra feats by playing as a certain race, why would they play anything else?

2010-08-30, 11:28 AM
The main problem I see, is the human+ problem; if someone can gain two extra feats by playing as a certain race, why would they play anything else?

Because the two other choices are equally powerful? I keep hearing how feats are underpowered... also, you ARE aware that balancing these against a human is completely unnecessary, right?

2010-08-30, 12:46 PM
you ARE aware that balancing these against a human is completely unnecessary, right?

I wasn't saying you needed to balance these against the human; I was stating that if the race people play most is human for the extra bonus feat, having a race with two extra bonus feats just compounds the problem...

2010-08-30, 02:01 PM
Spellbound Human with magic-blooded template makes me have happy, happy thoughts. >.>

2010-08-30, 02:08 PM
I would play a spellbound human if I wanted an Int-based class.

If I wanted a rogue, or the like, I'd play a kenku but I'd heavily consider spellbound human.

The dwarves I'd consider for melee, but it depends upon level (at high levels the +2 AC and DR 5 aren't worth as much as they were and those 2 feats and extra skill points are worth more). The fact that they lose their bonus on saves versus spells hurts. The burrow speed is nice though so worth considering.

Aran Banks
2010-08-30, 02:39 PM
I wouldn't play Kenku or the dwarf, and I'd only play spellbound human to pump my Int to 22.

Give the Kenku 2 humanoid hit dice and no LA. Same with the dwarf. The spellbound human doesn't need a change.

EDIT: ... Wait DR 5/Adamantine? JESUS. +2 LA, then.

EDITEDIT: Sorry, the Kenku has a fly speed. That's like an auto-win on all combats till around level 6. It needs to come later, or else you need to give it +4 LA or something ridiculous...

2010-08-30, 02:46 PM
The dwarves are very nice at low levels thanks to that DR and burrow, but yeah, it's less significant at higher levels. The feats, by contrast, become increasingly more valuable as they can serve as prereqs for PrCs or other feats. As for the Kenku... I was prepared to write them off as nothing special except for easy flight, but the two natural weapons are pretty good for anyone like a rogue with a source of bonus damage. So yeah, I'd say all of the races have their niches, but I wouldn't play a dwarf past level 6 or so. And while kenku might make slightly better rogues and dwarves might make slightly better tanks, humans can probably compete with both.

Oh, one thing: Kenku rogues would be awful at 1st level, probably. I almost think you could get away with giving them free weapon finesse. It's such an annoying feat tax anyway.

EDIT: And I imagine that, in a setting where flight is so easily available, ranged weapons or cramped quarters are just a fact of life. And it's unlikely that you'll have a party of all kenku, so even landbound creatures can menace the rest of the party (like the slow, slow dwarves. :smallamused:) just fine if they can't flee.

2010-08-30, 04:47 PM
Glad to hear that there's definitely good points to all three races! The general consensus seems to be that Kenku are the less powerful in terms of stats, but that flight is a great ability. I'm considering upping the NA on the Dwarves to +4 (I intended to balance the bonus to AC with that of the Kenku, and forgot that the Dwarves had -2 to dex).

Regards the setting, and levels it intends to be run in, I will publish it online at some point (a lot of typing up to do), with a couple of miniadventures and whatnot, but for evaluating balance, it is set in an tiny E10 demiplane; Characters will probably start at character level 4, and go up to character level 10 (approximately ECL12), which is a hard cap; no higher-level effects exist beyond that (so no 6th-level spell effects in scrolls or magic items), which should (I hope) make irrelevant some of the more late-game power of the spellbound that people have mentioned.
I also tend to use the houserule whereby polymorph/wildshape effects generally can't be anything the character hasn't explicitly seen, and, as a primarily urban setting, this is usually going to be limited to vermin, some animals, some undead, and urban-centric monsters like fungi, oozes, mimics. No Fleshrakers, for instance :smallwink:. Extraplanar contact with most likely have special restrictions placed on it.

Regards the flight thing, I have plans on how to make it less dominating at low levels. Things like frequency of net-based weaponry, good archery, that kind of thing.

Regards using Hit Dice rather than LA, I'm probably going to have some fairly newbie players (or rather, less stats-oriented) and I don't really want to have to explain how HD work to them. I don't usually use xp (rather; I just let everyone level up at once when I've calculated they are about ready), so in essence they don't even need to think about that side of things at all. I just change my internal calculations for xp and loot.

Erm yeah, aside from that, thanks a lot for the feedback guys, it's all really helpful!

2010-08-30, 08:28 PM
If the flight at level 1 seems too strong, you could do something like the flight raptorians get in Races of the Wild, but somewhat faster. It doesn't give them full flight at level 1, but staggers it to keep it from being too strong (I think level 1 is just jump bonus and gliding, level 5 gains limited flight, and full flight at level 10).