View Full Version : Homebrew template feature centred (monster consumption) Help/Ideas appreciated

2018-11-28, 12:35 PM
Hey guys, I'm coming to you as a long time player but not entirely experienced DM. I've started a game with two friends/players, one of whom is very into and invested in the FR lore but hates eberron. I'm DMing this time around and so decided to create a homebrew setting (which I will set out shortly). For their characters and for reasons that will become apparent I am creating what basically amounts to an LA 0 template (though do not take that into account for power levels) that runs in the family. It is with this that I am open to ideas and help. First I'll set up the basics of the setting, then my ideas for the features and see where this goes. Apologies for setting out as much as I can but as this is setting specific and tied to the lore of the setting, the background will hopefully be helpful:smallbiggrin:

The basics of the setting:
The players live in what amounts to an enclosed area of the world where all the humans live (now) unaware of the wider world and the "monsters" (read non-humans). The area the humans live would be approximately the size of europe for comparison and is bounded by barren wasteland of one form or another (unsurpassable mountains, desert wastes, icy wastes etc). This, however, extends also to magical separation set up in common by all the non-human races to protect themselves from the humans (with the aid of the players' ancestor). The "veil" created the physical boundaries of the world but also created magical boundaries making the humans within unable to and unwilling to believe there is a world outside.

Now this is a world without magic as we may think of it, though spell like effects and magic items can be happen in different ways. Magic is very closely related to the life force of the non-humanoid intelligent races to a higher degree, and other monstrous races to a lesser degree though this magic may not be employed in ways other than those inherent to each race. In some it is passive (i.e. strength or physical endurance) in others it is manifest as supernatural abilities closely resembling D&D stereotypes. But here's the catch, those who possess it they are unable to make use of the magic of another individual of their own or any other race. They have their own personal stock of magic which can grow in accordance to their will etc (i.e. read closely matches monster classes and abilities and levelling up). In cases of extreme duress or danger one can give up their own magic and life force, sacrifice themselves in order to create an effect or item which can aid those facing the event (i.e. high level magical items). These are unique, always known by the name of the one who gave their life and commemorated and remembered.

There is however a loophole. Humans are not bound by these limitations. In order to do so, however, they need to consume the flesh and/or organs of the others or use parts of their bodies as magical items basically. This was not widely known by humans (only a small and secret group knew the secret) and not at all by the other races who took it as a given that humans could not use magic at all (and therefore looked down on them). The knowledge was first gained by the ancestors of the players who were an honourable order of knights dedicated to protecting the weaker humans from the predation of the malign elements of the other "stronger" races. There's always some elf noble or orc raider looking to take advantage of the small and weak humans. So they banded together to lawfully protect their fellow humans. The tradition of consumption began in secret and by accident, but soon became a core of the power (unexplained until much later) of the knights and harnessed only from the aggressors and in defence. A second group, however, formed within this order of knights seeking power for power's sake.

Anyway, to make a long story short, humans belonging to that group basically reaped non humans for their magic which they either consumed or crafted into magic items (yes that wand looks like bone, but is in fact just very white wood *trust me*). However, eventually the secret came out (resulting in all out war), in no small part because the leaders of that group developed a taste for the flesh of a specific race thus gaining hints of their appearance. In the meantime, the humans had grown slowly from being the runt of the litter to strong enough to threaten all the others (as humans tend to do once they get a leg up thanks to the protection of the knights)...and the more they killed, the more powerful they became, eventually splitting into "armies" that specialised in the killing and consumption of specific races.

Two side-effects arose through the war, the more one consumed the more magic the human absorbed, sometimes losing control of it thanks to the availability of flesh available due to the war. This was unintentional and did happen throughout the war as weaker specimens consumed more than they could handle, giving rise to the first abominations. The second was an intentional side-effect that came after the realisation of how powerful abominations were and the inner circle that initiated the whole thing began to experiment to create intelligent abominations, or at least controllable ones. They failed.

It was at this point that the ancestors of the players broke off with said group, realising that what was happening was unnatural and had gone too far. It started small and "innocent", then getting caught up in a powerful movement and then realising to their shame that though they had been the leaders they had been manipulated into a war not of their own making. And thus, with the help of the players' ancestors the other races managed to seal humanity for the peace and benefit of all. The bloodline of the players becomes the anchor for the veil and the story passed on to each generation (now living a humble life in penance) upon their maturity.

The game starts a little before the players' maturity (twins) with the last living relative being their grandmother. The remnants of the original conspirators, however, the only ones now able to resist the memory altering and enchantment effect of the veil (along with the bloodline of the players) manage to discover their whereabouts before the players are given the whole story by their grandmother in order to try and break down the anchor of the veil that lies within her (not passed to the younger generation yet). As the veil degrades players will be faced with incursions of "monsters" while they will be taught about their bloodline by a spirit created in the original monster hunting days with the ability to teach them how to fight and about what became an ability of their bloodline (i.e. no hints as to the greater game).

The ability itself, Im having some problem with in balancing or concentrating on. What I have so far (not wedded to any of these ideas, feel free to muck about):

1) ability centred around the consumption of the flesh of monsters
2) certain preparations of specific organs can preserve them and allow consumption one off ability based on the level of the originator
3) level dependent, the higher the level of the subject consumed the more powerful the magic but also limited by level of the character

What im not clear on and cant decide, both in terms of balancing and in terms of permanency, what abilities/attributes one should get.

Ideas: permanent abilities must be gained through special preparation and consumption and burn magic always at a steady degree. Cannot be altered. If one runes out of magic he loses access but needs to replenish those first to regain the ability. Magic is consumed towards this first (e.g. wings require 2 pots (arbitrary) of magic. X runs out of magic and loses access to wings. Recovers 3 points -> two go to replenishing wings, therefore stockpile of 1 point). Permanent abilities count towards the limit.

One shot abilities from consumption, can use an ability of one of the creatures consumed and power it up with magic up to whatever they have.

Gain in physical attributed by consuming more of one race ->also becomes more and more like that race.

The effects of eating abominations would come with larger benefits but also a chance of mishap and/or negative effects the more powerful the abomination or the more of them are consumed.

The players are not squeamish so feel free to propose any ideas you may have.

Thanks in advance guys.