View Full Version : Crushed Man (player race) [PEACH]

2008-10-16, 10:31 AM
Hi everyone. This race was originally meant as a player race for the Giants in the Earth setting being homebrewed on this very forum. It is a race of fallen giants, technically size Huge but hunched over to size Large. I've tried to make their normal ability scores and their special Stand Straight ability as balanced as possible. All feedback is welcome!

The Crushed Men

These are the descendants of the ancient giants. They are much bigger than humans, but they walk hunched over as if they fear their height. They are nowhere near the size of their ancestors, as anyone who has seen the ruins can tell. They have shrunk considerably over the generations, and are often pitied rather than feared.

The Crushed Men are not very common, but common enough that at least one or two can be found near any village or town. Many of them live in the wilderness or camp out in the remains of their ancestors' empire. These feral Crushed Men generally keep to themselves, but can be extremely hostile and dangerous if spooked or provoked by travelers. They are sombre and morose by nature. Many won't even speak; they simply hide out and bide their time, and attack without warning if angered. Diplomacy is only as successful as the Crushed Man's mood that day.

Some few Crushed Men take kindly to humans, and become trusted guardians of the townland. They stay away from crowds and large cities, but are careful about their strength and can even be trusted to watch children. Their soft heart is evidenced by their tendency to adopt pets or nurse wounded wildlife back to health.

The most peculiar thing about the Crushed Men is that they are all male. No female has ever been spotted. Some people wonder if this was the cause of the fall of the ancient giants, but the Crushed Men accept it as a matter of course. They have long life-spans like elves, and how they were brought into being at all without females is a mystery.

The typical Crushed Man should be size Huge but counts as size Large in all respects. Their stooped posture limits their physical prowess, so their speed, strength, constitution and weapon size are all those of a Large creature. Crushed Men have oily grey manes of hair, grey-white skin and the salt stains of tears in their beards. They care little for life or their own wellbeing. Although sad by nature, their loyalty is great to those who bring them even brief moments of joy.

Crushed Men Racial Traits

* Type: Giant

* +2 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Wis

* Huge size, but treated as Large from being hunched over. -1 penalty to Armor Class, -1 penalty on attack rolls, -4 penalty on Hide checks, +4 bonus on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits double those of Medium characters. A Crushed Man requires four times the amount of food and water that a human does (so rations for one day cost 2 gp rather than 5 sp).

* Space/Reach: 10 feet/10 feet. Special: A Crushed Man cannot enter passages that are only 1 square wide (or narrower), and is treated as Squeezed (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/movementPositionAndDistance.htm) in passages that are only 2 squares wide.

* A Crushed Manís base land speed is 40 feet.

* Low-light vision.

* +2 racial bonus on Climb, which is always a class skill for Crushed Men.

* Special Qualities: Slow Reflexes (-2 on Reflex Saves), Stand Straight (see below)

* Weapon Use: Crushed Men can wield Large-sized version of any weapons with which they are proficient with no penalty. While Standing Straight they can also wield Huge-sized weapons without penalty. This does not grant any automatic proficiency.

* Automatic Languages: (special for setting)

* Favoured Class: Ranger

* Level Adjustment: +1

Slow Reflexes (Ex): Crushed Men have severe muscle aches and cramp up if they move too suddenly, giving them -2 on all reflex saves.

Stand Straight (Ex): Once per day as a swift action a Crushed Man can force himself out of his stooped, cloistered posture and assume his true height. When he does so, his spine and joints pop like woodpeckers and he lets out a roar of pain and anguish (the Crushed Man cannot make Move Silently checks while using this ability).

While Standing Straight, the Crushed Man is able to use his full power as a Huge creature. He gains an additional +4 to Str and +2 to Con, Ė1 penalty to attack rolls and armour class, -4 penalty to Hide checks, +4 bonus to grapple checks and +10 feet to speed. Additionally, his space and reach both grow to 15 feet. (If the Crushed Man is standing somewhere that will not allow his space to enlarge to 15 feet he cannot use this ability.)

A Crushed Man can remain Standing Straight for as many rounds as he likes, but each round he takes 3 points of non-lethal damage from the intense pain. This damage cannot be healed by any means until he resumes his normal posture (a free action). If he resumes his posture willingly he loses all bonuses and penalties from Stand Straight and returns to normal. If he is knocked unconscious while Standing Straight, however, he is distended for the rest of the day, resuming his normal size and losing all bonuses but keeping all penalties until he can rest.

It should be noted that, since a Crushed Man is technically Huge at all times, his Stand Straight ability stacks with any effect that enlarges his size (as a giant, Enlarge Person won't do it, however). Wen he is enlarged, he remains stooped to one size category smaller than his new size and must Stand Straight to use his full new size. Additionally, any time a Crushed Man's Stand Straight ability would let him act as a creature larger than Huge, he must make a will save (DC 15 + 4 per size category over Huge) or go berserk. A berserk Crushed Man attacks the nearest creature (friend or foe alike) or smashes some object smaller than itself if no creature is within reach, then moves on to the next nearest creature or object. The Crushed Man cannot end this berserk frenzy voluntarily; it lasts until he passes out or is knocked out.

2008-10-16, 12:36 PM
I would make them count as Huge for sqeezing purposes all the time, and perhaps for being swallowed whole as well...

Baron Corm
2008-10-16, 01:51 PM
I would make it Constitution damage instead of hp damage, so that it affects crushed men of all levels equally. A level 1 crushed man could only use this for 1 or 2 rounds before passing out. Another option is to make it by the round...

Even with that change I'd give it LA +1, unless you made them count as Medium normally and Large when standing straight. Really cool race though.

Hung Lo
2008-10-16, 01:54 PM
Very nice, great color and an interesting but not-too-crazy mechanic.

2008-10-16, 03:23 PM
I would make it Constitution damage instead of hp damage, so that it affects crushed men of all levels equally. A level 1 crushed man could only use this for 1 or 2 rounds before passing out. Another option is to make it by the round...

Actually I was hoping the number of rounds would scale with level. Here is my thought:

My math:

Let's say someone puts a 14 into their Con stat. +2 racial adjustment for being a Crushed Man = 16. +2 more while Standing Straight is 18. If they play a barbarian and are allowed to take max hp at 1st level, that gives them 15 hp normally or 16 while Standing Straight. At 3 points of nonlethal damage per round, they can use the ability for 5 rounds safely - less if they are taking hits (seems likely). So 2-5 rounds at level 1, once per day.

At Level 8 let's say they've put both stat bumps into Con (18 normal, 20 while Standing) and they have a +4 Con item (22/24). At 6.5 hp per level for lvsl 2-8, that's 105 hp while Standing. They could probably go 16 rounds once per day (I'm assuming they're getting hit by some heavy attacks at 8th level) and stay up, so they get one free fight per day of Standing Straight the whole time.

My hope is that the ability will slide with HD. That way it's valuabe at all levels instead of being too powerful for Level 1 and too weak to waste an LA on.

2008-10-16, 03:34 PM
I absolutely love the concept, but, like flying, I think it might need an LA. It might be a bit less extreme if you changed the type to monstrous humanoid like they did with goliaths to keep Enlarge Person from being used on them...

2008-10-16, 03:42 PM
Hmm, I foprgot to put it in but I was thinking their type would be Giant, in which case Enlarge Creature would be needed, right?


2008-10-16, 03:47 PM
Hmm, I foprgot to put it in but I was thinking their type would be Giant, in which case Enlarge Creature would be needed, right?


Ah, right, yes. That would help.

2008-10-16, 03:50 PM
I also amended the original entry. The Crushed Man can use size Large weapons normally; he can use Huge sized weapons only while Standing Straight.

Hopefully that nerfs it down a little.

What do you guys think? With those changes, this is a large giant with lowlight vision, +2 climb, and no other special stuff except the Stand Straight once a day, which'll probably land him with day-long penalties. Good for melee types and not much else.

Am I dreaming to think this could be LA +0 now?

2008-10-16, 04:20 PM
Take away everything else and access to Large weapons is still worth 1 La. Its a colourful race but it seems just the sort of thing the LA system was invented for. I'd accept an LA1 and try and duck calls for 2.

Most battles don't last more than 3 rounds. So 9hp (1level) hp penalty to be huge in battle? Its not even lethal damage so worst case scenario he passes out. Besides you give him extra hp from the con bonus (stacking with his level?) in the ability - this isn't even a penalty after a few levels.

As a player I'd be miffed if I ran into opponents like this. Large to Huge is just a whopping great ability given reach, damage bonus, and weapon damage increase.

How bout coma or berserk status if the character is enlarged any further?

What sort of food and space requirements do they have?


2008-10-16, 04:28 PM
to bring the LA not to mention the favor of the race as a whole, it would make sense if they suffer from not really being accepted into the every day society, not stated but the image of the few of them that don't participate with other races. So maby something like a...roll to see if you get a Diplomacy penalty or something to represent that is possible. You have it in favor, but not to much in actual stats.

2008-10-16, 04:38 PM
I agree, interesting class but there is no way that it is LA 0. I'd put it at LA 2 myself. Actually, it makes sense that the weakest of these guys is still beefy so what I'd actually thing you should do is give him HD. 2 HD and 1 La would be my estimate.

2008-10-16, 04:41 PM
Racial Curse - No game mechanic can undo their stoop.
Berzerk if under the affects of further enlargement. Attack random foe etc.
1/2 healing from magical sources except wish.
Cannot be raised due to their special background.
Can only wield large weapons. (Have you seen what enchanted huge weapons can do?)
3x normal food intake.
4x normal water intake
30' movement.
-6 on stealth skills
-4 Diplomacy, +4 intimidate
Enhanced jump distance.
Must have suitable oversize mounts to ride.

Still la 1

It should be noted that, since a Crushed Man is technically Huge at all times, his Stand Straight ability stacks with Enlarge Creature and similar effects. It also stacks with the barbarian rage ability.

So a first level spell would make him Gargantuan? This might be the only place in the game this was allowed. Even the enlarge spell goes out of its way to say multiple growth magics don't stack. I'd never allow this, further magic size increase might work but it drives him nuts - NPC time, kill kill kill!

Innis Cabal
2008-10-16, 04:44 PM
This looks...familiar.... :P

Looks good though A.P

2008-10-16, 06:09 PM
Very nice, interesting new mechanic and generally awesome.

2008-10-17, 07:33 PM
Have you see Zeta Kai's walking Colossus PRC?


2008-10-27, 11:22 AM
I normally don't review Player Character races as I'm not a good judge of determining playability and balance. However, these seem interesting. I would love to see a sample Crushed Man. Has anyone statted one out?


2008-10-27, 12:03 PM
Alright! I've updated the Crushed man with some serious nerfs. But, I think they're the good kind of nerfs: nerfs that don't constantly annoy, require thinking tio live with, and offer some cool roleplaying challenges. They are:

-Squeezed like a GHuge creature, per suggestion above (squeezed in passages 2 squares across, cannot enter one-square passages). That leads to tactical considerations and some serious combat penalties in hallways.

-Will save vs. berserk if Standing Straight while Enlarged

-Favoured Class: Ranger (even though they have a Wis penalty

-4x ration & water requirements

-A penalty of -2 on all reflexr saves (in addition to the -2 Dex).

-LA +1

I've not added HD, because then the LA becomes effectively higher, and it makes sense for these guys to be frail because of their crippled posture. I've also not taken away the access to Huge weapons, because of all the combat penalties they must now consider.

@Sigurd: as already mentioned, a Level 1 spell will not Englarge them, because they are not humanoid. I've searched the SRD in vain for an "Enlarge Monster" spell - there doesn't seem to be any core spell that works to enlarge Giants. I'm sure it's in a splatbook somewhere, but must be higher than Level 1 (just as Hold Monster is higher level than Hold Person). In any case, I've added the berserk feature to limit its usefulness.

I've now read the Walking Colossus PrC, and I love it.

@Debby: I haven't statted one out, as I've just now gotten what I think are finished, balanced abilities. If you would like to stat one out, I'd love to see it! Post a link if you do :)

By the way, thanks for all the kudos and feedback guys, even the criticism.


2008-10-27, 03:48 PM
Oh, this race is so brilliant; I wish I had thought of this. You treated the larger size category very well; I know from Tears of Blood how hard it can be to make a larger-sized race balanced.

Languages unique to setting, eh? I would like to see this setting.

2008-10-30, 08:39 AM
I think it's a really cool race, I even might try to use it in a future campaig. Still, I think a race of creatures that size should start the game with more than one hit dice. I know it'll make the race's ECL bigger, but a technically huge creature with so little HP makes very little sense. The relatively small strength bonus can be explain by their muscle problems, but not their HP.

2008-10-30, 09:56 AM
Well, I guess I can see that point. I would offer these possible solutions:

1) RP Solution: Most Crushed Men have more hit dice, but not the one a player starts off as. Players who opt for Crushed Man as a race start as a juvenile Crushed Man, thus the low HD. This has the added benefit of a plot hook and character trait: if he is a young Crushed Man, where did he come from? Does he have a mother? Are there Crushed Women?

2) World Solution: Crushed Men are afflicted by more than just a general melancholy. They are warped and weakened in body and mind by some racial curse. Perhaps it is a remnant of the fall of the ancient giants - and perhaps that means that the Crushed Men were the lucky ones, the survivors...

3) House Rule Solution: Add hit dice and thus increase the ECL. If you're the DM, you have every right to do so; if you're a player, you can at least ask your DM.

Between those three possibilities and all the others that imaginative RPers can come up with, I feel alright leaving my race listed with no racial HD, which is the way I'd prefer them to be for an actual campaign.

edit: by the way, if you do use the Crushed Men in a campaign, will you come back and let me/us know how it goes? I'd love to hear the results of actual playtesting.