View Full Version : [5e] Bodak Race

2015-06-15, 10:33 AM

-Multicultural: Because a Bodak is the remnant of a humanoid destroyed by the touch of absolute evil or power, they can come from all backgrounds, planes, and cultures. Add +2 to either Str, Wis, Con, Dex or Cha (not Int because their minds have been affected a little by the raw power of what killed them in life). Alternatively, you may start with a feat instead of the +1 ability score bonus.

-Speed: 25ft (they're described as having a leisurely pace).

-Immunities to disease & poison, resistance to necrotic damage and 60ft darkvision.

Death Gaze: Once per long rest, you may draw upon a small amount of the vast power that was responsible for your death. Choose a target within 30ft. The target must make a Con saving throw (DC8 + con mod + proficiency). Upon a failed save, they are paralysed for 1d4 rounds. A successful save causes them to take 1d6 necrotic damage.

So basically I love Bodaks, and I'm planning to run a campaign where players will be allowed to play a few types of undead. I wanted Bodaks to be an option because I think they're cool.

My reasoning for the mechanics is this:

* The "Multicultural" stat bonus: I'm going with the interpretation of Bodaks from the 3e Monster Manual which states that they're the result of a mortal being "destroyed touched by the touch of absolute evil." I'm personally interpretting this for my setting as anybody who has been destroyed by exposure to something powerful or evil enough, especially magical. Most likely demons & devils, but it could be far realm stuff or something else entirely. So because anybody from throughout the planes could end up with this fate if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, I wanted to give them the sort of flavour humans have in the Player's Handbook - they're very versatile. So I wanted a sort of "human-style" ability score increase without just copying the human one directly. But they can't choose INT because their mind has been damaged a bit by the power that destroyed them, or DEX because they're known for being leisurely.

* Speed: they're described as having a leisurely pace. So they're a bit slower.

* Death Gaze: Loosely based on the 4e death gaze. The 3e one is a save vs death, and that is obviously too OP for a PC to have. In 4e they reduced it to knocking you unconscious if you're weakened, but the Bodak also has another ability that can weaken the enemy. I'm not sure if I should nerf this Death Gaze to only knock them unconscious if they're suffering a condition caused by an extra ability I create for Bodaks, i.e. a cantrip that stuns for a round or two, or if I should just drop the unconsciousness altogether. Obviously this ability needs some kind of balancing regardless, but I still want it to have the flavour of being able to affect the target's condition somehow.

Here's some other ideas that might be good or terrible:

* Possibly give them a second ability score bonus they can assign as well.
* Give them a (more limited) version of the "spectral form" ability they have in 4e, where they turn invisible and can phase through things, but can do nothing but move in this form. In the 4e monster manual it's at will, but that might be a bit OP for a player (or maybe not, I'm not sure) so it could be limited to once per short rest, or once per long rest.
* Or maybe a once per short rest ability that can frighten or daze. Then I can link it to the death gaze.
* Buff the death gaze's potential necrotic damage.
* The 4e version simply gives them a 30ft speed, so I could just revise them to 30ft instead of the 25, with the leisurely pace being more of a flavour/attitude thing.

So this is all just in the works and I'm looking for ways to have it be reasonably balanced, basically.