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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Title says it all really...how viable and/or disruptive to a game is playing a Pseudodragon as a Player Character race? Just after some opinions really. I know that the LA listed is recommended for a cohort (though my copy of the MM doesn't say as much; it just lists a +3 LA) and the advancement entry doesn't say "by character class", but I don't see why a Pseudodragon couldn't make for a good Player Character.

    Personally, I don't see any overbearing problems...although they're a +3 LA, unlike some of the mid-range LA races (as in "over +2 but under +7"), they're not equipped with any particularly game-breaking abilities (like a Pixies Greater Invisibility ability) that I can see. Is there something I've missed?

    Here's some of the more prominent features that could be considered problems:

    1)Fly Speed: About the most difficult thing, for the DM to adjudicate/compensate for, is the fact that they have a fly speed (and a pretty good one too), but as far as I'm concerned, the usefulness of that is limited and balanced by the fact that they are Tiny and have (on average) a -4 modifier to Str (in relation to the Human average). This means that they can't do many things that a medium, average strength score dude could if given a fly speed (Tiny + (-4 Strength) = very low carrying capacity). Given the +5 ECL (+3 LA, 2 Racial HD), having a Fly speed just means that a Pseudodragon has a slightly better survivability (i.e. he can stay out of harms way, for the most part).

    2)Poison. Potentially very powerful, but the DC is quite low (unless you pump Con or burn feats to raise it) and the damage is only sleep anyway. Must be delivered through Sting, which has pitiful damage too.

    3)Tiny size but 5ft reach. one of the limiting factors of being Tiny is the lack of reach. Pseudodragons do not suffer from this, but only with their rather pitiful Sting attack. About the only "problem" I can see with this is if the DM decides to allow touch attack spells through his tail sting. On the other hand a PD spellcaster is 5 levels beind ECL...whilst other spellcasters are toting Fireball, he's still piddling around with Magic Missile.

    4)Spell Resistance. This is either a potential game-breaker or nothing to worry about, depending on how you adjudicate it. If you have it as a static statistic (i.e. SR: 19, no matter what level you are), it is useful at low levels, but becomes somewhat redundant in higher level games. If you scale with level (i.e. SR 19+class levels or similar), as is the case with most playable races that have SR, then it is a potent asset indeed and may be cause for concern. However, I draw you once again to the +5 ECL, which means that (barring the addition of feats like Spell Penetration), an equivalent ECL caster vs. a PD character will bypass his SR roughly 25% of the time. It's by no means an immunity and is, again, little more than an incresed survivability factor (which is something that some of the mid-range LA playable races lack).


    Other than that, I don't see any particularly unbalancing features. I don't see them being very good fighter-types (or combatant of any sort), due to low strength and size and I don't see them being amazing spellcasters (who need all the caster levels they can muster), which pretty much leaves them with skill-monkey as the only particularly viable option...with sneaky Spy-types excelling, what with the +4 racial and +8(?) size bonus to Hide and excellent vision options (Low-Light and Dark vision + Blindsense).

    Comments? Criticism? Personal experiences with the concept?
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    My youngest sister is currently playing in our game as a pseudodragon sorceress. We ignored the LA for her, since she was 11 when the character was first built, definitely not a twink (she wanted to play it "cuz it's cute", not because she had some sort of broken uber-build figured out), and putting a caster 5 levels down is really harsh.

    Thus far, it hasn't been a problem. We left SR as a static 19.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    I'd make a deal; get rid of the SR and reduce the LA to +1. The other abilities are fun but the pseudodragon has some drawbacks...easily grappled, isn't a standard, might not be able to use some equipment, only has reach with tail, etc.

    You could always make a sorcerer or wizard, take improved familiar, and play the familiar as the main PC and the sorcerer/wizard as the familiar's cohort.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by LotharBot View Post
    My youngest sister is currently playing in our game as a pseudodragon sorceress. We ignored the LA for her, since she was 11 when the character was first built, definitely not a twink (she wanted to play it "cuz it's cute", not because she had some sort of broken uber-build figured out), and putting a caster 5 levels down is really harsh.

    Thus far, it hasn't been a problem. We left SR as a static 19.
    Is it a bad thing that I want to play as a Pseudodragon for the same reason that an 11 year old girl does?
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    Is it a bad thing that I want to play as a Pseudodragon for the same reason that an 11 year old girl does?
    I wanted to play an Ewok for the same reason.

    Also, touch spells could be delivered with any part of the body that they're stored in.

    If you want to maximize blindsense, then carry around an eversmoking bottle. You have concealment, but you know where the enemy is.

    Pseudodragon Dragonfire Adept would be seriously fun to play.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    Is it a bad thing that I want to play as a Pseudodragon for the same reason that an 11 year old girl does?
    Depends how old you are. And please, dear god, don't answer that.


    In my opinion, pseudodragons wouldn't make the best PCs anyway. The RPing side of things would be restricting and complicated. Though this is coming from an extreme RPer so I wouldn't take it too seriously.

    By the way, on the scales of "cuteness" can pseudodragons be pink? If so, I wanna be one!
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaelaroth View Post
    In my opinion, pseudodragons wouldn't make the best PCs anyway. The RPing side of things would be restricting and complicated. Though this is coming from an extreme RPer so I wouldn't take it too seriously:
    ..They have telepathy and human-like intelligence. I don't know what pseudodragon you're talking about, but it's not the same one in the SRD. Pseudodragon.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaelaroth View Post
    In my opinion, pseudodragons wouldn't make the best PCs anyway. The RPing side of things would be restricting and complicated. Though this is coming from an extreme RPer so I wouldn't take it too seriously.
    I'm curious as to why you think they'd make bad PC's. I too prefer heavier role-play over roll-play, but I fail to see why it would be restricting and complicated (any more so than playing, say, an Orc or an Ogre).
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    One possible pitfall is what I call "ubiquitous pixie syndrome." They flit about, always in everyone's face, always chiming in, always getting into stuff, always derailing things. It's not so much a feature of the pseudodragon but often a feature of the type of person who likes to play little flying things:

    DM: "The king takes out a proclamation and begins to read it to you...."
    Pseudodragon PC: "I flit up and land on his shoulder and read it."

    Or:
    Human rogue PC: "I sneak down the corridor into the room."
    DM: "You see a closed chest."
    Pseudodragon: "I fly in and land on the chest and open it up..."

    They are always there.

    Addendum: I myself am guilty of this behavior in a superhero game... I had an (in retrospect) totally annoying teleporting shrinking hero.
    Last edited by lukelightning; 2007-07-18 at 08:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    We had a pseudodragon in our game and it behaved very nicely. The player wasn't constantly spamming its actions, and it was actually a fairly interesting character as far as what motivated it to act.

    And then an aboleth killed it.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by lukelightning View Post
    One possible pitfall is what I call "ubiquitous pixie syndrome." They flit about, always in everyone's face, always chiming in, always getting into stuff, always derailing things. It's not so much a feature of the pseudodragon but often a feature of the type of person who likes to play little flying things:

    DM: "The king takes out a proclamation and begins to read it to you...."
    Pseudodragon PC: "I flit up and land on his shoulder and read it."

    Or:
    Human rogue PC: "I sneak down the corridor into the room."
    DM: "You see a closed chest."
    Pseudodragon: "I fly in and land on the chest and open it up..."

    They are always there.
    Heh heh heh, I know exactly what you mean...I used to be one of those people whos character was 'always there' (fortunately, I've now gotten over that phase). Like you say, that's a feature of people rather than pseudodragons. The particular character I have in mind for this idea is more of a "lazy-cat" personality rather than a "mischevious pixie" one.
    Last edited by JellyPooga; 2007-07-18 at 04:07 PM.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    I don't see them being very good fighter-types (or combatant of any sort), due to low strength and size and I don't see them being amazing spellcasters (who need all the caster levels they can muster), which pretty much leaves them with skill-monkey as the only particularly viable option...with sneaky Spy-types excelling, what with the +4 racial and +8(?) size bonus to Hide and excellent vision options (Low-Light and Dark vision + Blindsense).

    Comments? Criticism? Personal experiences with the concept?
    Fitting in with the skill-monkey thing, I could see one being relatively successful in combat if they were advancing in a class that gives good Sneak Attack (or other precision damage) progression. Since most of their damage will be coming from the added dice rather than the base damage, a sneak-attacking flying pseudodragon could do some actual damage with its sting - or better yet, with a ranged weapon of some kind. Add in the SR, and they could seriously harass enemy spellcasters by fluttering over their defenders and potting them with Sneak Attack bowshots.

    That's not really a problem, by the by; if they didn't have a viable niche they wouldn't be much fun to play.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    They're balanced, to the point of being (if anything,) weaker than a standard ECL 5 character. They work best as a 5th wheel (I mean, come on! Blindsense, Telepathy, they're brilliant and keeping the wheels of a party from speaking), and due to their size they suck at anything direct, but they do work very well as anything Aura based (Dragon Shaman, Marshall etc), or things along the lines of Bard. They also make excellent sneaks - as I found out when one of my players played a Psuedo-dragon, a hiding psuedodragon is impossible to find. Something ludicrously over +20 to hide at 5 ECL - combine this with being able to report back to the group without actually vocalising (Telepathy) and being able to tell when invisible creatures are sneaking up on you (Blindsense), they make great scouts. Combine that with a ring of Sustenance, and they're basically the perfect watchguard while every else is sleeping.
    As I said, they're the best 5th wheel a party can have.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by lukelightning View Post
    One possible pitfall is what I call "ubiquitous pixie syndrome." They flit about, always in everyone's face, always chiming in, always getting into stuff, always derailing things. It's not so much a feature of the pseudodragon but often a feature of the type of person who likes to play little flying things:

    DM: "The king takes out a proclamation and begins to read it to you...."
    Pseudodragon PC: "I flit up and land on his shoulder and read it."

    Or:
    Human rogue PC: "I sneak down the corridor into the room."
    DM: "You see a closed chest."
    Pseudodragon: "I fly in and land on the chest and open it up..."

    They are always there.

    Addendum: I myself am guilty of this behavior in a superhero game... I had an (in retrospect) totally annoying teleporting shrinking hero.
    Hehehe, I am guilty of this kind of character in my current campaign... except she can't fly, she just has shadow-jump and an insane charisma.

    As for the Pseudodragon as a PC? I think it sounds like a great idea! (SR? maybe lower it to meet the SR of more conventional player races that have them in order to lessen the LA) I think with a bit of poking about you could get it to a LA +2... maybe even a LA +1 with a relaxed DM.
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Interesting you chose Pseudodragon. When people want to do that kind of thing, I normally see Faerie Dragons instead. Or did they not convert FDs to 3.x? (I don't see it in the SRD, and I'm too lazy to dig out my books right now. )

    I don't see anything wrong with trying it. There's going to be a *lot* of restrictions on the character though, so be prepared. It's going to be hard/expensive to find equipment that is suitable, and you're going to have trouble interacting with NPCs. Remember that what they'll see is a wizard's familiar, a pet, an animal companion. The idea that you're an indepentant entity will be a bit difficult to get through, and telepathy is never the best way of introducting the fact that you're sentient. (As a friend of mine says, 'You can trust me, I can read your mind!' every time a movie/TV/book telepath tries to make friends by projecting their thoughts into other people...)
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhaolan View Post
    Interesting you chose Pseudodragon. When people want to do that kind of thing, I normally see Faerie Dragons instead. Or did they not convert FDs to 3.x? (I don't see it in the SRD, and I'm too lazy to dig out my books right now. )
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    my friend also once thought of the Idea to make a Psuedodragon as a main party member...

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhaolan View Post
    I don't see anything wrong with trying it. There's going to be a *lot* of restrictions on the character though, so be prepared. It's going to be hard/expensive to find equipment that is suitable, and you're going to have trouble interacting with NPCs. Remember that what they'll see is a wizard's familiar, a pet, an animal companion. The idea that you're an indepentant entity will be a bit difficult to get through, and telepathy is never the best way of introducting the fact that you're sentient. (As a friend of mine says, 'You can trust me, I can read your mind!' every time a movie/TV/book telepath tries to make friends by projecting their thoughts into other people...)
    That's one of the reasons that I want to play a Pseudodragon...I like the challenge. As you say, interacting through Telepathy is never a good way to make friends quickly, so I don't actually see him using it an awful lot with NPC's. Rather I see him actually playing up on the Familiar/Pet aspect and getting his fellow party members to do his 'shopping' for him (whether that be actual purchase of stuff or 'shopping' for information).

    On the whole equipment thing, as you say, finding suitable equipment in dungeons and the like is going to a major DM fudge if ever I saw one, so I don't expect it and having stuff custom built could get expensive. Which is why I like Pseudodragon - it's racial abilities are focused on defense rather than offense (SR, natural armour, fly speed, etc.). As such, a lot of the equipment that would normally have to be custom built (like weapons, armour, cloaks, bracers and the like), I would simply not be using, because I have racial abilities that compensate for it. The sort of magical equipment I see him using is the low-end, use activated Wondrous Items (Quaal's Feather Tokens, the various Dusts and Elixirs, etc.), Potions and maybe the odd wand or two. On top of that, I see him using stuff like tanglefoot bags, alchemists fire and other alchemical doo-dahs and knick-knacks. In short, he has lots of expendible stuff instead of a few constant effect things.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Having experienced a Pseudodragon played by a capable character, as PCs they are very distruptive and have gamebreaking ability.

    Taking only the scout class, my friend was able to beef up his AC to 60 by level 15. Basically, he maxed dexterity, and got a lot of really good magical items, then got a ring of force, etc. etc.

    It wouldn't be distruptive if you don't powergame, but if you are powergaming, I advise you to not play it. Basically, because the pseudodragon was unhittable the DM had to make rediculous monsters that could hit it, and by extension, wipe the board with the rest of us. I had to get a paladin's AC up to 50 just to keep alive, for crying out loud!

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Superglucose View Post
    Having experienced a Pseudodragon played by a capable character, as PCs they are very distruptive and have gamebreaking ability.

    Taking only the scout class, my friend was able to beef up his AC to 60 by level 15. Basically, he maxed dexterity, and got a lot of really good magical items, then got a ring of force, etc. etc.

    It wouldn't be distruptive if you don't powergame, but if you are powergaming, I advise you to not play it. Basically, because the pseudodragon was unhittable the DM had to make rediculous monsters that could hit it, and by extension, wipe the board with the rest of us. I had to get a paladin's AC up to 50 just to keep alive, for crying out loud!
    So basically what you're saying is that Powergamers are disruptive...?
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Funny I always wanted to play as a terrasque ... for the challenge, I swear it.

    But yes, this as a PC race is kinda broken ... only downside thing would be equipment because of size since I am not a fan "lets take away race abilities to balance it".

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drakron View Post
    But yes, this as a PC race is kinda broken ... only downside thing would be equipment because of size since I am not a fan "lets take away race abilities to balance it".
    Magical equipment generally resizes itself to fit the owner.
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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Well, powergamers are distruptive too, its jsut that it was exceptionally easy to powergame with a pseudodragon.

    And I'm never going to advocate "build a horrid version of this on purpose" because it's one thing to say "I really want to play an orc wizard" and totally another to say "I want to play a Rakasha who refuses to use his abilities and must take hte barbarian class." One of them is a roleplaying gimmik and the other is annoying to the rest of hte party.

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    Default Re: Pseudodragons as a PC Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Superglucose View Post
    Well, powergamers are distruptive too, its jsut that it was exceptionally easy to powergame with a pseudodragon.
    Fair doos, I get what you mean (kind of like "It's easier to build a powerful Orc Barbarian than a Halfling one" style of thing)

    Quote Originally Posted by Drakron View Post
    But yes, this as a PC race is kinda broken ...
    Would you mind explaining why you think this is the case? I'm not saying you're wrong or anything (yet...), I just want to hear the reasoning behind your claim.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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