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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    "To leave the nest...they spread and vibrated their wings and rose with little apparent effort, as though they were lighter than air.... Often they flew upward and backward until they cleared the nest, then quickly reversed and darted forward and away."

    Alexander F. Skutch
    Essay on White-eared Hummingbirds


    Hummingbird

    Fine Animal
    Hit Dice: ¼ d8 (1 hp)
    Initiative: +7
    Speed: 0/Fly 100 (perfect)
    Armor Class: 25 (+8 size, +7 Dex)
    Base Attack/Grapple: +0/-21
    Attack: Peck +15 melee (1d2-1)
    Full Attack: Peck +15 melee (1d2-1)
    Space/Reach: ¼ ft./0 ft.
    Special Attacks: Cunning peck, mighty peck
    Special Qualities: Torpor, imperious squeak, practiced memory
    Saves: Fort +0, Ref +9, Will +4
    Abilities: Str 1, Dex 24, Con 10, Int 7, Wis 14, Cha 16
    Skills: Hide +10, Listen +8, Move Silently -2*, Spot +8
    Feats: Weapon Finesse, Flyby Attack
    Environment: extremely varied, including tropical forests (year-round), temperate forests (warm months), boreal forests (summer)
    Organization: Solitary, or rarely pair; also singing assemblies, rarely a loose nesting group
    Challenge Rating: ⅛
    Treasure: none
    Alignment: Always neutral
    Advancement: None
    Level Adjustment: -


    The smallest birds in the natural world, hummingbirds move with flickering speed and effortless grace--and a pugnacity to match. Well over three hundred species live in a wild variety of habitats and altitudes, from northern taiga to lush river-forests, from high-mountain grasslands to dense mangrove thickets on the shores of tropical seas.

    Hummingbirds generally live seven to ten years, although longer lifespans are not uncommon. Unlike many other birds, hummingbirds rarely form pair-bonds; typically the females build the nest, incubate the eggs and raise the young alone. Males will sometimes gather in loose groups called singing assemblies, where the younger males learn their particular calls. Females may occasionally build their nests near one another, but they each rear their hatchlings alone. Brilliantly colored and often iridescent, the males and females of many species may be equally flamboyant--and difficult to tell apart.

    A hummingbird feeds primarily on flower nectar--an ultra-high-energy liquid diet--supplemented whenever possible by tiny insects and spiders for protein and nutrients. Many hummingbirds will either vigorously defend a feeding territory, dense with life-giving flowers, or will trapline along a complex route. Full of energy during the day, after sunset hummingbirds descend into a state not far from death--perched on a branch or in a tiny nest, hoping no harm will find them before sunrise comes again.


    Torpor: A hummingbird's metabolism runs at a ferocious pace, and without a constant supply of high-energy food a hummingbird will quickly starve to death. For a hummingbird, coping with a long dark night is not far from surviving a miniature winter at the end of every day. Like other creatures that must survive the winter, a hummingbird essentially hibernates through each night, dropping its body temperature and metabolic rate to a ghost of its daytime levels. A hummingbird in torpor is almost literally dead to the world.

    If a sleeping hummingbird is awakened, it takes fifteen minutes to bring itself out of torpor, continuously shivering its flight muscles to raise its body temperature. It must feed within one hour or perish of hunger, as its overnight reserves are quickly depleted by the demands of returning to full activity.

    Cunning Peck (Ex): Absolute masters of the aerial duel, hummingbirds can harrass moving targets at high speed with almost complete impunity. A hummingbird uses its Dexterity bonus rather than its Charisma bonus when making a Bluff check as part of a feinting attack.

    Mighty Peck (Ex): Some hummingbirds make breakneck dives to impress potential mates--or to attack an unwary intruder. A hummingbird's diving attack is treated as a charge, which may be combined with Flyby Attack.

    Imperious Squeak (Ex): Hummingbirds rarely take no for an answer. Hummingbirds gain a +4 racial bonus on all Bluff and Intimidate checks. (After all, size matters not.)

    Practiced Memory (Ex): Apart from their nightly torpor, hummingbirds are in constant metabolic overdrive, needing to drink at least twice their body weight in nectar every day. Since most flowers only produce a small amount of nectar at any one time, many hummingbirds trapline for fresh blossoms, following an elaborate route along a series of reliable blooms and hitting each one at peak nectar output. In addition to expert timing and navigational skills, this habit of traplining relies on a sharp memory, which is further developed by the hummingbirds' relatively long lifespans. Nesting hummingbirds have been known to recognize (and tolerate) individual humans across a period of several years.

    Owing to its well-developed memory, a hummingbird which is being trained may learn two additional tricks beyond the normal limit. In addition, a hummingbird serving as a familiar to an arcane caster offers the following benefits:
    • For a caster with the Familiar Concentration feat (Lost Empires of Faerūn, p. 8), the hummingbird familiar may concentrate to maintain a spell as though its Intelligence were 2 points higher.

    • For a caster with the Spell-Linked Familiar feat (Player's Handbook II, p. 83), the hummingbird familiar gains the ability to cast an additional 0-level spell at caster level 9, an additional first-level spell at caster level 12, and an additional second-level spell at caster level 15.


    Skills: A hummingbird has a +4 racial bonus on Spot and Listen checks, and a +8 size bonus on Hide checks while motionless.
    * A hummingbird's low-pitched, namesake drone (20 to 80 wingbeats per second), together with its insistent pipping while in flight, generally does away with any notion of stealth on the wing.



    Notes

    Spoiler
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    The hummingbird familiar comes up every now and then on the Playground, but usually only as a mildly cheesy way to spike initiative, and I wanted to work up a version that had some fun, interesting features in its own right. (Besides which, as anyone who knows birds will understand, using thrush stats is absurd.)

    One thing I should mention is that I don't subscribe to the game designers' extremely limited conception of animal intelligence, so I'm deliberately using a value here that doesn't conform to the SRD. I'm good with that. I'm on somewhat shakier ground with the Charisma score...but hummers are such assertive little things, it just seemed to fit. I'm likewise open to comments on skills, feats, ability scores, all of it.


    Sources

    Spoiler
    Show
    Chu, M. 2007. Songbird Journeys: Four Seasons in the Lives of Migratory Birds. Walker & Company, New York.

    Collins, C. T. 2003. Swifts & Hummingbirds. In: Encyclopedia of Birds, pp. 134-137. Fog City Press, San Francisco.

    Gill, F. B. 1985. Hummingbird flight speeds. The Auk 102: 97-101.

    Skutch, A. F. 1999. Trogons, Laughing Falcons, and Other Neotropical Birds. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.

    Skutch, A. F. 1996. The Minds of Birds. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.

    Stiles, F. G. and Skutch, A. F. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica, First Edition. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.

    Tobalske, B. W., Warrick, D. R., Clark, C. J., Powers, D. R., Hedrick, T. L., Hyder, G. A. and Biewener, A. A. 2007. Three-dimensional kinematics of hummingbird flight. The Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 2368-2382.


    Le Changelog

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    6-24-13: per Debby, added CR of ⅛, Ex to special abilities; text changes pending


    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2013-06-24 at 09:13 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    This is interesting, and I like it. The only downside is, well, the hummingbird already blows most other familiars out of the water, and this just makes it better (at least, it makes it significantly more amusing to throw buffs on your familiar). Personally, I'd love to see a similar write-up for other familiars -- cats, toads, ravens, etc -- that gives them a bit more character.
    Last edited by Eurus; 2013-06-23 at 03:16 PM.
    Avatar by araveugnitsuga.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    Thanks for the comments, I appreciate it. This is intended as an alternative version to the one in Dragon magazine, so hopefully not quite as high-powered.

    On a permanent sugar high, yes, but not too overpowered.





    EDIT: So, thoughts, comments, criticisms? All constructive feedback welcome.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2013-06-23 at 06:17 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    A couple of missteps but not bad.

    Fine creatures have a Space/Reach: ½ ft./0 ft. See SRD.

    You should probably note that hummingbirds have poorly developed feet and can barely walk.

    Special Abilities ALWAYS have a designator (Ex, Sp, or Su). I recommend that the hummingbirds special abilities all be Ex.

    Which feat is its bonus feat? Otherwise it has too many feats.

    Torpor isn't really a special ability; it's a description as there are no game mechanics that go with this.

    Mighty Peck is missing a game mechanic. It needs a DC for an opponent to avoid.

    CR is 1/8 most likely.

    Otherwise, I think it looks okay.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2013-06-23 at 06:57 PM.
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either. Note I generally only critique 3.5 and Pathfinder material.
    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.
    my creations in homebrew signature thread

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    Originally Posted by Debihuman
    *various well-spotted points*
    Okay, thanks for the meticulous and fine-grained review, I appreciate it.

    For feats, I'm giving Flyby Attack as a bonus feat. No idea why I didn't give a CR, but ⅛ sounds good to me. Likewise Ex for special abilities.

    On torpor, the second paragraph is intended to define the in-game effects of rousing a hummingbird from its nightly torpor. This section probably needs to be rewritten anyway, since torpor isn't actually sleep, and I need to clarify the distinction. Need to think about the wording on this one.

    For Mighty Peck, why would it need a DC? My intention was to make a diving attack equivalent to a charge attack, which (I can't resist) is more AC than DC.


  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Okay, thanks for the meticulous and fine-grained review, I appreciate it.
    You're welcome.

    For feats, I'm giving Flyby Attack as a bonus feat. No idea why I didn't give a CR, but ⅛ sounds good to me. Likewise Ex for special abilities.
    Bonus feats are noted with as: feat (B) or featB.

    On torpor, the second paragraph is intended to define the in-game effects of rousing a hummingbird from its nightly torpor. This section probably needs to be rewritten anyway, since torpor isn't actually sleep, and I need to clarify the distinction. Need to think about the wording on this one.
    Not one thing in that paragraph is a "game mechanic" It is all description. A game mechanic always includes a check or save or even a bonus or penalty to skill. If those things aren't included, what you have is description.

    Here is how it looks as a game mechanic and without the unnecessary information.

    Torpor (Ex): Hummingbirds are voracious eaters and must eat often. A hummingbird that has not eaten in 4 hours or one that has woken up from sleeping must eat within the next hour face or face starvation. If it fails to feed within that time, it must make a Constitution check each hour (DC 10, +1 for each previous check), or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Once its nonlethal damage exceeds its hit points, it takes lethal damage.

    For Mighty Peck, why would it need a DC? My intention was to make a diving attack equivalent to a charge attack, which (I can't resist) is more AC than DC.
    You may not be aware of this but the rules state that a flying creature can fly down at twice its normal flying speed. A peck is a type of attack, usually one that causes damage. Since that isn't what you intend, you may want to change it to dive. With added speed, it should gain a bonus to attack.

    Dive (Ex): As a standard action, a hummingbird can fly down at three times its normal flying speed to attract a mate or to make an attack. If used as part of an attack, the hummingbird gains a +2 Circumstance bonus to attack and takes no penalty to AC.

    Note: A charge is at twice normal speed so dive is faster. A charge is a full round action and dive would be a standard action (after all hummingbirds are fast for their size). Also, on a charge you take a -2 penalty to AC. The dive doesn't have that penalty.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2013-06-25 at 09:45 PM.
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either. Note I generally only critique 3.5 and Pathfinder material.
    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.
    my creations in homebrew signature thread

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    Unless this is intended to specifically be a write-up for the familiar, 7 Int is way too high. Animals can ONLY have 1 or 2 Int.
    Avatar by Venetian Mask. It's of an NPC from a campaign I may yet run (possibly in PbP) who became a favorite of mine while planning.

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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    I really like it. I would drop the INT to 2, as I don't think hummingbirds are more intelligent than other animals. But it's a great build.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SuperDave's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    This is awesome! For a while now, I've been thinking about making up some hummingbird stats for an alt-America campaign setting that I've been contributing to (since they're central to Aztec beliefs about the soul and the afterlife), but yours are way better than anything I could've come up with on my own.

    Kudos to you!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    Originally Posted by Debihuman
    *clarifying points*
    Thanks for the extra information, especially on the rules for diving attacks. I'll check that out.

    Originally Posted by Razanir
    Unless this is intended to specifically be a write-up for the familiar, 7 Int is way too high.
    Addressed in the second paragraph of my spoilered notes.

    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    This is awesome! For a while now, I've been thinking about making up some hummingbird stats...but yours are way better than anything I could've come up with on my own.
    Thanks, I appreciate it lots.

    And thanks also for the mention in the Crossroads thread. That's a really cool setting, especially with the Chinese contact with Native American cultures. Maybe I should do a coyote next.


  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Thanks, I appreciate it lots.

    And thanks also for the mention in the Crossroads thread. That's a really cool setting, especially with the Chinese contact with Native American cultures.
    You're quite welcome. I'm glad you like the setting! We've been working on it for a long time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Maybe I should do a coyote next.

    Coyote, eh? That'd actually be pretty sweet. If you feel like doing it, I'm sure that the others would support its' addition to the monster-roster.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Hummingbird [3.5 Creature, WIP / PEACH]

    thumbs up from kitteh!
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