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    Default [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    I'm currently working on a homebrew setting for a new campaign. It's intended to have a psuedo-medieval Asia tone and theme, but also to be very open for player input and design, and for details to be added in as the game progresses (so players won't have to read an entire sourcebook to have an idea of what's going on and what the world is like - in fact, when it comes to where they're from, the players have the option of making things up as they go).

    In any case, I am developing some background info on the main setting of the campaign, the trade city of Xiao Cheng, which is part of the Sunrise Empire. The rest of the world I'm developing in broader strokes. More info on it can be found on my Wiki.

    In any case, I've adapted some material from 3.0's Oriental Adventures, and I'm stealing borrowing concepts from other sources as well. One thing I'm keen on is adding a few more races to give the world some unique aspects. In particular, I'm adding reworked versions of the Nezumi and Vanara. I also am a big fan of the Orochi from Magic's Kamigawa cycle, so I'm planning on adding them.

    That brings me to the real point of this post - I was looking to get some feedback for the remixed Nezumi and Vanara, and some help with statting the Orochi. I'd also like to add one or two additional races, preferably including something that can fit into the pseudo-Middle Eastern area of the game world, and I'd love to get some suggestions. I'd like the races to be LA +0 or +1 at most.

    In any case, here are the stats for the revised OA races and the ones I did up for the Orochi.

    Nezumi
    • +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Strength, -2 Charisma. Nezumi are agile and tough. However, they tend to be a bit crude and are not particularly imposing physically.
    • Medium-size.
    • Base land speed of 40 feet.
    • Darkvision out to 60 feet.
    • +2 racial bonus to Climb, Hide, and Move Silently checks.
    • +2 racial bonus to saves versus Disease. Primitive nezumi live in vermin infested warrens that breed disease; as a result, even more civilized members of the race have an inherited resistance to illness.
    • A nezumi has a natural attack in the form of a bite that deals 1d4 points of damage.
    • A nezumi with a Wisdom score of 13 or better may take Scent[2] as a feat.
    • Favored Class: Rogue (Ninja in the Sunrise Empire). Nezumi prize stealth and guile, and have a physical advantage when it comes to stealth.


    Vanara
    • +2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma, -2 Strength. Vanara are self-assured and strong willed, but their small frame limits their strength.
    • Medium-size.
    • Base land speed of 30ft.
    • Vanara have a base climb speed of 20ft.[3]
    • +4 racial bonus to Balance and Jump checks.
    • Prehensile Tail (Ex): Vanara have a remarkable degree of control over their dexterous tails, allowing them to use it as almost a third hand. The tail is not particularly strong, though. Vanara can lift an object that weighs up to the light load amount for his Strength -10, minimum 1 (for example, a Vanara with Strength 9 can lift up to 3 lbs. with his tail, while a Vanara with Strength 16 could lift up to 26 lbs. with his tail). A Vanara's tail cannot be used to make an attack (whether unarmed or with a weapon). A Vanara cannot use his tail for somatic spell components. A Vanara may use his tail to aid in Dexterity checks requiring the use of his hands, such as Open Lock, which grants a +2 circumstance bonus to the check. If the Vanara attempts such a check using only his tail, the roll suffers a -2 circumstance bonus.
    • Low-light vision.
    • Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. Despite their generally amiable attitudes, most Vanara study some form of martial arts, often as an aid in their quest for enlightenments and spiritual growth.
    • Favored Class: Cleric. Vanara place great importance on spirituality.


    Orochi
    • +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Orochi are strong and lithe, but are often cold, and can be unnerving to non-reptilian races. Orochi also tend not to focus much on formal learning or study, preferring to let instinct and gut feelings guide them.
    • Orochi have the Reptilian subtype.
    • Medium-size.
    • Base land speed 30ft.
    • Low-light vision.
    • Leap (Ex): Orochi are impressive jumpers. An orochi is always considered to have made a running start when she makes a Jump check, even if she is standing still. Orochi also gain a +4 racial bonus to Jump checks.
    • Multiple Limbs: Orochi have four arms and thus can take the Multiweapon Fighting feat instead of the Two-Weapon Fighting.
    • Orochi have a natural attack in the form of a bite that deals 1d6 points of damage.
    • Poison (Ex): Bite, initial and secondary damage paralysis, DC 11 + Con modifier. An orochi produces enough poison for one poisonous bite per day.
    • Orochi have a +2 racial bonus to Escape Artist checks.
    • Favored Class: Ranger.
    • Level Adjustment +1.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Do you need a shape changing race(minor, sorta like were-things, but a different take).

    I do like the Orochi, they look excellent. Also, good job on making multiple limbs not to overpowering, but you might want to put the same limits on these as the Thri-Kree have(I know I didn't spell that right, but its the multi-armed insect race from Psionic Handbook.)

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Maybe a d20 Modern Style occupations system (http://ca.geocities.com/spike_fightw...cupations.html if you're not sure about what I mean) based on differant social castes. Would be better than a hackneyed Samurai class and would be a big part of an india based world as well (since you're using Vanara I'm guessing you're sticking to Japan with a few Chinese stuff that slipped under the radar).

    For Example

    Peasant Caste
    Bonus Skills: Choose any 3; Craft, Handle Animal, Profesion (farmer), Knowledge (local or nature), Survival
    Starting Package: Commoner's Outfit, Peasant's Weapon (Kama, Scythe, Sycle, Three Sectioned Staff or Nunchaku), 2d4 gold pieces
    Favoured Class: Choose either Commoner, Sorcerer, Druid, Warrior or Monk.

    Bureaucrat Caste
    Bonus Skills: Choose any 2; Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Forgery, Gather Information, Knowlege, Profession (book keeping), Knowledge (history, Nobility and Royalty or Religion), Sense Motive, Speak Language.
    Starting Package: 2d20 gp.
    Favoured Class: Choose either Aristrocrat, Wizard or Cleric

    Warrior Caste
    Bonus Skills: Choose any 1; Knowledge (history or Nobility and Royalty), Swim, Jump
    Starting Package: Katana or Glaive or Halberd and Wakizashi or Shorsword, 2d10 gp.
    Favoured Class: Choose either Fighter, Ranger, Warrior or Barbarian.

    Merchant Class
    Bonus Skills: Choose any three; Appraise, Bluff, Profession (Book keeping), Knowledge (Arcana or Local), Sleight of Hand, Speak Language.
    Starting Package: 3d20 gp
    Favoured Class: Choose either Adept, Wizard or Expert.

    Those are just ideas. Maybe they should restrict your choice of first level feats or something.
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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by MeklorIlavator View Post
    Do you need a shape changing race(minor, sorta like were-things, but a different take).

    I do like the Orochi, they look excellent. Also, good job on making multiple limbs not to overpowering, but you might want to put the same limits on these as the Thri-Kree have(I know I didn't spell that right, but its the multi-armed insect race from Psionic Handbook.)
    Actually, thri-kreen have more options, as they also have four natural claw attacks. The wording for their multiple limbs is nearly identical (though kreen can also take Multiattack). In fact, the orochi are very similar to the kreen, though not as powerful. Both have four limbs, a poisonous bite attack, and are good jumpers. The kreen also get darkvision, racial hit die, are naturally psionic and can manifest a few psi-like abilities, have Weapon Familiarity with Gythka and Chatkcha, are faster, and are even better jumpers (flat +30 to Jump checks).

    Quote Originally Posted by Closet_Skeleton View Post
    Maybe a d20 Modern Style occupations system (http://ca.geocities.com/spike_fightw...cupations.html if you're not sure about what I mean) based on differant social castes. Would be better than a hackneyed Samurai class and would be a big part of an india based world as well (since you're using Vanara I'm guessing you're sticking to Japan with a few Chinese stuff that slipped under the radar).
    The concept is basically that the Japan-analogue state and one of the Chinese-analogue states allied, and then conquered the rest of the region. The dwarves control a Korean-analogue states and the Vanara are from an area that is sort of an Indian sub-continent analogue. The orcs control a northern Mongolian-analogue state, and I think I'm going to have the local halflings be from a Thailand-analogue state.

    Beyond the main game region, there's a region that parallels Medieval Europe, and one that roughly parallels the Medieval Middle East, with elements from more classical/ancient cultures added in here and there.

    For samurai, I'm planning on each group having local equivalents that are considered part of that class by the Empire; I'm also not using any of the samurai classes, instead keeping it as a title.

    Beyond adding some races and using classes from supplements I have available, I don't want to throw too many house rules or variants in as some of the players are going to be pretty new to D&D.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    I dunno , I keep looking at the races, and they seem a bit powerful. If this was intended, please let me know, but in the mean time, I'll keep mulling it over.
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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    how big is the mythical and martial arts element in this campaign?

    I also find the name "Xiao Cheng" to be a little ironic and quite amusing, since in your wiki, Xiao Cheng is actually a major city while the name can be read phenotically as "Little City".
    Last edited by elliott20; 2007-02-26 at 02:58 PM.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    You're welcome to transpose the Leilani (or even any of the races of the eye), and give them a less Hawaiian name. Change the fluff a little and make them more monkeylike, and you're golden.

    Conversely, a dragonkin race (asian dragons, not european ones) would be nifty.

    EDIT: The Nezumi seem to be Animal or Vermin-type to me.
    Last edited by Fax Celestis; 2007-02-26 at 03:02 PM.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post

    EDIT: The Nezumi seem to be Animal or Vermin-type to me.
    Vermin is for insects (stupidly enough) and animals can't have more than 2 int. Nezumi should be monstrous humanoids. They're also pretty much Rokugan brewed so use them if you like them but keep in mind they aren't traditional.

    I would keep the name Orochi-bito rather than shortening it to Orochi. Orochi tend to be gigantic sea serpents so you're limiting yourself by miss using the name.
    "that nighted, penguin-fringed abyss" - At The Mountains of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Calver View Post
    I dunno , I keep looking at the races, and they seem a bit powerful. If this was intended, please let me know, but in the mean time, I'll keep mulling it over.
    The orochi are of course LA +1 and thus more powerful than standard races (somewhat unbalanced stat modifiers, four arms, several other excellent abilities); for the Nezumi and Vanara, I don't think they're significantly better than the standard races. Both have balanced stats, and I don't think the signature abilities are out of whack with the power level of most LA +0 races.

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    how big is the mythical and martial arts element in this campaign?
    Martial arts will be more important and common than in a typical D&D campaign, but it certainly won't be a wuxing style campaign, or really a central theme. For mythological elements, about as much as with a standard D&D game - that is to see, they aren't mythical to the characters, but there are plenty of monsters and magic going around.

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    I also find the name "Xiao Cheng" to be a little ironic and quite amusing, since in your wiki, Xiao Cheng is actually a major city while the name can be read phenotically as "Little City".
    I was wondering if someone would catch that

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    You're welcome to transpose the Leilani (or even any of the races of the eye), and give them a less Hawaiian name. Change the fluff a little and make them more monkeylike, and you're golden.
    Oh, I like those a lot. I may stick them down in the Fire Lands (far, far south of the main campaign area), or I may make them a companion race of the Vanara. I'll have to think on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Conversely, a dragonkin race (asian dragons, not european ones) would be nifty.

    EDIT: The Nezumi seem to be Animal or Vermin-type to me.
    I considered dragonkin of some sort, but decided against it in the end. I want dragons to be big, scary, and very mysterious for this campaign, rather than more common, as I've done in other campaigns.

    Closet Skeleton nailed the Vermin/Animal type concerns dead on. Plus, think of them more as ratfolk than anything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Closet_Skeleton View Post
    Vermin is for insects (stupidly enough) and animals can't have more than 2 int. Nezumi should be monstrous humanoids. They're also pretty much Rokugan brewed so use them if you like them but keep in mind they aren't traditional.

    I would keep the name Orochi-bito rather than shortening it to Orochi. Orochi tend to be gigantic sea serpents so you're limiting yourself by miss using the name.
    I'm actually keeping the nezumi as humanoid; being a monstrous humanoid is actually advantageous. For the orochi name, I've vacillated back and forth a bit; I think I will go with orochi-bito/snakefolk rather than just orochi, and leave open that name for the seven-headed serpent of myth (and other variations), either as a monster or a patron spririt for the race, or maybe something else.

    Really, I've been trying to come up with a more Middle Eastern flavored race, but I'm not a fan of the ones in Sandstorm. I may look into using a non-psionic half-giant variant... Anyone got suggestions on that?

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Don't go Half-Giant. Everyone will think you're copying Athas.

    Use, say...ant-people, more towards dromites than formians. But ant-people in gigantic hives underneath the burning desert is just...well, it seems pretty cool to me.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    If you want to play up the 'mysterious' magical near east, you might try Genasi- they could easily be adapted to be related to Djinns, which to me says 'middle eastern mysteriousness'.

    Or, you could play up the Middle East as cradle of invention, and use Mechantrixes as inventor-types.

    If you see the Desert as barren and death-intensive (the way I do, usually), there's my Returned, who always struck me as being tied into dust and sand somehow.

    Personally....
    I'm inclined to be interested in the Middle East as cradle of theocracy and religious war; the crusades are nothing if not interesting.
    Thus....perhaps a divinely inspired race, with a few orisons as spell-like abilities...traditionally they'd also have access to fire powers or something, but I'd rather see them have something similar to a Dust Mephit's breath weapon.

    Just my two coppers.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Or you could populate the middle-eastish place with Modrons!

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    well, I ask about the martial art setting because your current base class settings are not really that conducive to having a the variety beyond the standard d&d martial arts feel.

    My suggestion is to just include the swashbuckler for the abilities, tweak the flavor text slightly, and just make that your "dex fighter" class, and then maybe allow the inkyo and some of the inkyo abilities. Or maybe even just give them the Quintessential Monk. That will on it's own cover the martial arts them very nicely.

    Since you don't want to go all out Wuxia, you can hold the tomb and blood. That will just create too many issues.

    In terms of the monster aspects. My suggestion is to make the Taoist priest more common place, and they will basically act as the information stand for various monstrous creatures, explaining that they are mostly spirits of mundane creatures becoming sentient, enlightened or twisted.

    Remember, a lot of creatures from the MM can be moved over with a minimal shift in description and flavor.
    Last edited by elliott20; 2007-02-26 at 06:39 PM.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Or you could populate the middle-eastish place with Modrons!
    Them's some adorable-type robotfolk. D'aw.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Don't go Half-Giant. Everyone will think you're copying Athas.

    Use, say...ant-people, more towards dromites than formians. But ant-people in gigantic hives underneath the burning desert is just...well, it seems pretty cool to me.
    Good point. I'm a big Dark Sun fan, and sometimes that goes to my head. On the other hand, I really like insectoid races, but my favorite - the thri-kreen - are a bit too much for this game (way too powerful, and also psionic). Some non-psionic dromite variant could fit in very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick View Post
    If you want to play up the 'mysterious' magical near east, you might try Genasi- they could easily be adapted to be related to Djinns, which to me says 'middle eastern mysteriousness'.
    That's perfect. Hrm, have the genesai stats been updated to 3.5...? I seem to remember seeing them, but I can't recall which book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick View Post
    Or, you could play up the Middle East as cradle of invention, and use Mechantrixes as inventor-types.

    If you see the Desert as barren and death-intensive (the way I do, usually), there's my Returned, who always struck me as being tied into dust and sand somehow.

    Personally....
    I'm inclined to be interested in the Middle East as cradle of theocracy and religious war; the crusades are nothing if not interesting.
    Thus....perhaps a divinely inspired race, with a few orisons as spell-like abilities...traditionally they'd also have access to fire powers or something, but I'd rather see them have something similar to a Dust Mephit's breath weapon.

    Just my two coppers.
    All very good ideas, but I don't want to get too weird with the newbies by throwing in construct and undead characters. I also like the second idea a lot, but I think the genesai would be simpler and fill a similar role. I may try and write that race up though, because it's a great concept!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Or you could populate the middle-eastish place with Modrons!
    Quote Originally Posted by Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick View Post
    Them's some adorable-type robotfolk. D'aw.
    Yeah... but no


    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    well, I ask about the martial art setting because your current base class settings are not really that conducive to having a the variety beyond the standard d&d martial arts feel.

    My suggestion is to just include the swashbuckler for the abilities, tweak the flavor text slightly, and just make that your "dex fighter" class, and then maybe allow the inkyo and some of the inkyo abilities. Or maybe even just give them the Quintessential Monk. That will on it's own cover the martial arts them very nicely.

    Since you don't want to go all out Wuxia, you can hold the tomb and blood. That will just create too many issues.
    Yeah, I wasn't going to play around too much with combat styles, just give things a more Eastern flavor and have more monks. I'm not a big fan of the swashbuckler, but maybe I can adjust it a bit...

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    In terms of the monster aspects. My suggestion is to make the Taoist priest more common place, and they will basically act as the information stand for various monstrous creatures, explaining that they are mostly spirits of mundane creatures becoming sentient, enlightened or twisted.

    Remember, a lot of creatures from the MM can be moved over with a minimal shift in description and flavor.
    I think I'm going to go with a more direct "monsters are just monsters" for the majority of creatures, though that angle works very well for a flavorful explanation of undead and similar beasties.

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. - Mark Twain
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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    A few things:

    1. The Genasi were updated to 3.5 in the Player's Guide to Faerun.

    2. I don't know how you feel about butterfly people, but they're insectoid and a bit different than most of the other bugraces I've seen: Ameena

    3. As far as nonpsionic ant people, that's something I'm actually brainstorming over. I'l llet you know what I get when I finish.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbash Kazdar View Post
    That's perfect. Hrm, have the genesai stats been updated to 3.5...? I seem to remember seeing them, but I can't recall which book.


    All very good ideas, but I don't want to get too weird with the newbies by throwing in construct and undead characters. I also like the second idea a lot, but I think the genesai would be simpler and fill a similar role. I may try and write that race up though, because it's a great concept!
    Player's guide to Faerun, yessir; although the original stats don't conflict with 3.5 as far as I can tell. Then again, I'm not the rules guy.

    Technically, mechanatrixes are still humanoid (with a mechanistic feature), and Returned aren't full undead; they're kind of obscure Fiend Folio/Homebrew stuff, though, and you're quite right...that might be a little weird for most. Heck, my stuff is expressly designed to be as 'out there' as I can concievably make it.

    Genasi are fun to play, LA notwithstanding; I'm glad you think they'll fit.

    Feel free to take a crack at desert-dwelling dust-people; I might do it myself if I have the time, and I'm really happy you like the concept.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Yeah, I wasn't going to play around too much with combat styles, just give things a more Eastern flavor and have more monks. I'm not a big fan of the swashbuckler, but maybe I can adjust it a bit...
    Well, in this particular case, you're not including the swashbuckler for their flavor, you're doing it for the mechanical portions as opposed to writing up a new class. So, I say just change up the flavor text, shift a couple class skills around and use that. (i.e. move perform to something else like ride and say that these warriors believe the best block is to not be in the way of the blow or something and you're done)

    Now, of course, you could always just make the players do monk/fighter and remove the monk multiclassing restriction so that they can get the whole "armorless fighting" thing as an option. But then that punishes the character's BAB a little, not to mention you get some MAD going on when you do that. Also, this kind of thing requires that your players can actually come up with this sort of build. Giving them a single class to build off of just makes it a little easier.

    I think I'm going to go with a more direct "monsters are just monsters" for the majority of creatures, though that angle works very well for a flavorful explanation of undead and similar beasties.
    Yeah, I was thinking that for the most part, monsters are going to be just that. But for somethings that are meant to be played with a bit more mystical flare, the spiritual interpretation works well.

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    Default Re: [Race] Denizens of the Sunrise Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    Well, in this particular case, you're not including the swashbuckler for their flavor, you're doing it for the mechanical portions as opposed to writing up a new class. So, I say just change up the flavor text, shift a couple class skills around and use that. (i.e. move perform to something else like ride and say that these warriors believe the best block is to not be in the way of the blow or something and you're done)
    It's not so much the flavor I'm concerned with - easy enough to rework that - but I think the class is rather weak and in need of revision rules-wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    Now, of course, you could always just make the players do monk/fighter and remove the monk multiclassing restriction so that they can get the whole "armorless fighting" thing as an option. But then that punishes the character's BAB a little, not to mention you get some MAD going on when you do that. Also, this kind of thing requires that your players can actually come up with this sort of build. Giving them a single class to build off of just makes it a little easier.
    I do think I'll drop the monk multi-class restrictions for flavor reasons as well, but that's a good point.
    Last edited by Gorbash Kazdar; 2007-02-27 at 12:45 PM.

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