View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Help with a strange race idea

2018-03-29, 05:30 PM
Hello! So I'm going to start with a really brief description of this bizarre race idea, then give a touch of background, and then go into detail. I'm just looking for some help with nailing down some abilities, weakness and a name for this thing.

Here's the idea. A flock of birds with a hive mind that 'connect' to form into humanoid shapes and impersonate people/things. Shape changing Hive-mind birds.

Background: So sometimes in fantasy movies, someone dies by turning into a crowd of animals. Such as a man dissolving into a pack of rats or into a flock of birds. Well, I saw the flock of bird thing and thought "What if he was actually just a bunch of birds all along?" I ended up making this weird race to serve in one of my D&D campaigns and it went really well. Well enough that someone asked me if they could play as one.

More detail: To be more specific, the race is literally just a flock of birds. These birds come together, and because of their connected thought process they are able to move as one unit. They hook their feet together, they intertwine their feathers and change color to make it so they connect to make an exterior that looks like a humanoid they've seen before. From the outside it looks like that humanoid, but the inside is just a flock of connected birds supporting the birds on the outside. If you look closely enough, you'll realize that the skin is actually just really interconnected feathers, there's a faint chirping from inside every now and then and if you look down their fake throat...
I hope that was enough to not confuse anyone. Please feel free to ask questions / complain about the birds , because I'm sure there's going to be more need to explain.

Race: The Shape changing Hive-Mind Bird Flock (Help with this name would be much appreciated)

Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Your kind is made up of a strange species of bird, made by a wizard long ago whose name is forgotten. Built to connect with each other mentally and physically, these birds can preform amazing stunts of coordination and teamwork to get any job done. With prehensile and color-changing feathers, strong interlocking feet and a strange oily sweat that seals the feathers together into a single layer, <Cool Name> can easily form humanoid shapes together and pass for human, elf or any other humanoid they've seen before.

Infiltrators: These <Cool Name> are well known for imitating people, voices and getting away at the last minute. They serve as helpful spies and harmful enemies, because one usually must be extremely close in order to tell the difference between the real person and a flock of birds. After watching someone speak and move around for only a few minutes, they are easily able to come together into a perfect resemblance of that person. If they are ever caught, they simply dissolve into a flock of birds and fly away.

Strange personalities: With a conjoined mind, it is sometimes hard for <Cool Name> to not speak in the third person. Theirs is a strange kind of intelligence because it is not one mind doing calculations, but several dozen. When they speak it is usually an unanimous effort, as in everything they do.

<Cool Name> Traits:
Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity increases by 1 and your Charisma increases by 2

Age: Generally all the birds are the same age, and die around the same time. But sometimes the birds switch around, and a <Cool Name>'s life may be prolonged. You live for about 60 years, on average.

Speed: This depends on the size of the creature you are imitating. For Small creatures, you move 25 feet. For Medium Creatures, you move 30 ft. If you are not imitating someone, you have a flying speed of 30 ft and cannot go more than 60 ft high.

Imitation: With your conjoined mind and strange abilities, you can come together to imitate any humanoid you've studied. If you spend 1 minute studying a humanoid, the birds that make you up can come together and take it's shape. You cannot imitate their voice, mannerisms or anything unique about the character unless you've seen them use it/do it before. However, you have only so many birds, and so can only form a small or medium creature (unless another of your species combines with you).

Improvised Magic: You've spent so much time studying people that you can sometimes copy a spell they've used. If you imitate someone that can cast cantrips, and you've seen that person use that cantrip several times (up to the DM) then you can attempt to copy their Vocal sounds and Somatic gestures. If the spell requires Materials or a Focus, then you must provide them like normal. Make a Performance Check against the Spell-caster's Save DC (You have advantage if the spell caster is helping you), and you cast the spell if you succeed. On a failure, the spell fizzles or doesn't appear at all.

Instant Communication: Each bird that makes up your species can telepathically communicate with any and all of the birds, but not other creatures. To communicate normally with others, you must first hear the humanoid you are copying speak. In addition, if you do not know the language that the humanoid you are imitating speaks, you may make Performance check (DC depending on the situation and DM) to ad-lib the language to convey your point to the best of your ability.

Languages: You know common and one of your choice, probably a language that you had to learn to imitate someone.

So there you have it! Please help me with the name of this thing, and make sure it's balanced!

2018-03-30, 08:15 AM
Sounds a little like the Dysian Aimians from the Stormlight archive.

2018-03-30, 07:21 PM
Alright, so here are my thoughts

For a name, I think either Floco or Murdarm would be good(a play on Flock , a play on Murder and swarm, as in a murder of crows)

For speed I think a straight 30ft walk 30ft fly should work. If they want to imitate a smaller creature's speed, they can just choose not to move their full speed.

For ability score increase I would say +2 Cha +2 Dex -3 Con. They are a charming bunch with great coordination but they realistically couldn't take a hit.

Imitation: I like, but I don't think as a playable class you should allow them the ability to combine with others of their species. If you do, I think you should require some sort of Will roll to determine dominance, because two hive minds wouldn't easily mesh into one. Also I think a minute is too short a time to give them anything more than appearance, and even then it's pushing it if you want a decent disguise( on the assumption that they are studying from a distance, not up close)

Improvised Magic: a fun ability, but I think it should be simplified into using Prestidigitation as a spell-like ability a number of times a day equal to, lets say the character's CHA modifier+1

Instant communication:
Now here is an interesting concept, how about speak with animals, birds only, as a constant trait, and an improvement to Will saves with the caveat that the duration of effects that require a Will saves that you do fail double. Think, it is hard to break through the hive mind, but once it happens, it is hard to reestablish

Overall a very interesting race, whatever you go with, I hope it is successful ☺

While I don't know if the thread said this before your comment or not, this is for 5e. So there's not spell-like abilities, Will saves, all that junk.

2018-04-01, 05:06 AM
For a name I suggest Hamazan, it's an Old Persian word that means "fight as a group" or perhaps Sunergeo which is ancient greek for "to work together, help in work, be partner in labour, to put forth power together with and thereby to assist.". Something derived from the word "synergy" could work as well. Well those are some suggestions anyway :smallbiggrin:

2018-04-01, 10:31 AM
Thank you everyone for the name ideas! Using Synergy and messing it up sounds like the best name idea so far, I'll have to see what I come up with that.

@Bladewing2013 I believe I mentioned that I used this at a table once before? Well, one of the first things someone told me was "These birds are like those 'made-of-cremling' guys from Edgedancer"