A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    In my campaign I introduced an aristocratic family of Hextor worshippers that I plan to use as important antagonists for a while. I'll use them as the faces of the Hextor fiefdom, and their main source of high level characters. They embody the most positive aspects one can find in a god of tyranny; they are social darwinists, but they are strongly meritocratic. They oppress the weak, but they respect those who stand up to them; they treat worthy opponents honorably. They work their serfs hard, but they also protect them and ensure safety and stability. And if a greater evil comes along, you can generally count on them to help against it.
    They are not cruel or malicious, but they have an unshakable belief that society ought to be a pyramid, with the "best" people on top. As aristocratic, they believe that their duty is to be "the best". And they take this duty VERY seriously.
    I wrote a blurb about the way they train their young

    From birth, a young Ermenegigi is filled with invigorating potions. A few of them die from collateral effects, but the family believes the benefits justify the sacrifice.
    At age two, the child receives the first rings of susteinance, to get them used to less sleep.
    At age three they are given to expert tutors and they start a harsh training regime, for up to 16 hours per day.
    At age 5, the young Ermenegigi is already schooled in basic literacy and mathematics, knows their gospel, can play a musical instrument, is trained in fighting bare-handed and with melee and ranged weapons. At this age, according to their individual attitudes they are chosen to specialize.
    At age 10, those who are selected as spellcasters are already mastering their first spells. Those trained as fighters could defeat most professional soldiers.
    Many youngsters suffer mental breakdown from the stress. But those that succeed have incredible elite training.
    Among the general population, only one in 10000 has 5th level spells. Among the students enrolled in a magical academy, one in 100 will progress that far. Among the Ermenegigi family, there's one in 15.
    I was thinking how to represent that on the character sheet. Those guys have a very wide training, but it does not translate well to d&d levels. An Ermenegigi wizard is still trained in all manners of fighting, but from an optimization perspective that's a penalty; am I supposed to multiclass them with fighter, losing spellcasting levels? take weapon proficiency feats instead of metamagic ones?
    And so i was thinking of a template.
    A small template, giving some minor bonuses that are unlikely to be useful in combat, worth a +0 LA
    something like
    Template: Ermenegigi family member
    The Ermenegigi are a noble family that trains their youth very hard. Most of that training is represented by regular class levels, but they are also trained in a few additional abilities
    Creating an Ermenegigi: Ermenegigi is a template that can be added to any humanoid creature with pc class levels. The creature type does not change. An Ermenegigi gains the abilities described below in addition to those granted by their class levels.

    Damage: the Ermenegigi have a limited training as a monk. Their unarmed attacks deal damage as a 1st level monk one size smaller than they are. This bonus is not cumulative with any monk class level or class feature they may acquire later
    Abilities: the Ermenegigi do not receive a direct bonus to their stats, but the boost from their potions and trainings is represented by them all having elite array abilities or better
    Skills: the Ermenegigi start at first level with 3 bonus ranks in the following skills: tumble, concentration, knowledge(religion), spellcraft, perform(an instrument of choice), ride. They will always treat those skills as class skills, in addition to any other class skill they have from their regular class. They also receive 1 bonus rank in all other knowledge skills. Those skill ranks are in addition to any other skill point they are entitled by their classes. The limit for the maximum amount of ranks in any given skill applies normally
    Feats: the Ermenegigi receive the following bonus feats at first level, even if they do not qualify for them: acrobatic, athletic, endurance, improved unarmed combat, run, proficiency in all simple and martial weapons, shields, and light armors
    Treasure: the Ermenegigi generally have better equipment than an npc of their level, because the family is filthy rich
    Such a template would nicely represent the wide array of eclectic abilities they got from their generalistic training, while at the same time having virtually no effect on their combat potential. I mean, you are a warrior and you got some free ranks in perform and spellcraft. It's a nice way to represent that you are a refined aristocrat rather than a dumb brute, but it's not going to break the game. And if you are a bard and you actually need perform, you'd have maxxed it with your regular skill points anyway, you just gain 3 skill points that you can spend in something else. I rarely ever bother to allocate skill points on npcs anyway, except for skills that are relevant.
    The only potentially useful thing is the tumble bonus, and even that is rarely rolled - most people with tumble can avoid attacks of opportunity on a natural 1, and those untrained generally try to not provoke.
    The template is weak enough that if a player came up with a backstory of being a member of this family, I'd let them have it with little compunction. If that wasn't the case, it would feel unfair to give it to npcs for free.

    At the same time, I feel that it's missing something. Exactly because none of those little boosts actually matters, the players aren't even going to notice. I'd like to add something of actual use, that would make for a cool signature more or ability, but still that would not be a significant combat buff. Something that I could give for free to a pc for roleplaying reasons.

    I am open to suggestions
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    Is there any downside to taking this +0 template? If not, it seems like "something for nothing", and PCs would all want it.

    If it is NPC only, then balance doesn't matter, but then you could have the NPCs be multi-classed anyhow. A fighter 1/rogue 1/wizard 1 may be weak compared to a level 3 wizard, but will be miles ahead of a level 1 commoner, which is the majority of those ruled by these NPCs.

    Light the lamp not the rat LIGHT THE LAMP NOT THE RAT!!!

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    Quote Originally Posted by Particle_Man View Post
    Is there any downside to taking this +0 template? If not, it seems like "something for nothing", and PCs would all want it.
    no downside, you just have to have the background.
    generally, at my table it is assumed that if you roleplay and you create a memorable character, you can get some small gifts from the dm, provided that they are not particularly relevant for charOP. i could say stuff about encouraging dedication and rewarding positive behaviour, but really, it just feels right and it has no real impact on the game.
    I am asking all this from a relaxed rules perspective.
    So, if my players come up with an elaborate backstory of having been born in this family, i'd probably let them get those kind of boosts. If they just ask the template because free useless bonuses is still better than no free bonuses, the answer is no.
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    Why does it have to be a template? Why can't it just be expressed as a higher level at a lower age. It sounds more like a path of progression instead of them being innately better.

    It sounds to me that they are trained as a fighter with spellcasters dual classing into combat wizard and entering eldritch knight at level 7. Meaning 1 in 15 are 11th level characters. Losing only a couple levels of casting is extremely minor in the long run

    As a +0 template it would be extremely strong for a PC to have. If I were to make it a +0 template usable by players, I would have the player roll a d6 to subtract from their starting age, make the skills usable untrained and provide a bonus instead of ranks, and give them proficiency with all simple weapons and a -2 reduction in armor check penalties (if you wanted, you could also reduce the AFC by 5% to accommodate shields for casters).

    If it's just for NPCs you can just do whatever and the players will just have to deal with being not as dedicated as those NPCs.
    Last edited by Darg; 2021-09-25 at 12:10 PM.

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    Not sure how that could be translated in level adjustment (and for that reason I'd suggest to make it NPC only) but allowing members of that family having received the above-mentionned training to gestalt their first few class levels would show their "superior training".

    The classes thus gestalted could also be limited if you dont want them being too overpowered compared to the PCs. They could choose between mixing any 2 of Expert, Adept and Warrior (or Fighter) for example.
    Last edited by Chainguy; 2021-09-25 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Typo

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    It's rather easy to import something like Starting Occupations from d20 Modern to D&D. Every character gets such an occupation at character creation and receives some combination of free feats, bonus class skills, reputation or wealth bonus. Just give normal occupations to everyone else and one custom, imbalanced occupation that gives more of everything to Ermengigi.

    http://www.d20resources.com/modern.d...ng.occupation/
    http://www.d20resources.com/future.d...g.occupations/
    http://www.d20resources.com/arcana.d20.srd/occupations/


    Regarding the fluff, the family will likely have to kill off a majority of their offspring during childhood and adolescence or deal with a large number of overtly damaged, unstable and dysfunctional adults. In this case the female members of the family will be expected to bear a very high number of children to make up for the losses, in turn hampering their ability to du much badass adventurer stuff with all those impressive skills they gained from training. Maybe it should be less of a noble family and more of a cult adopting outsiders into their ranks?
    Last edited by Berenger; 2021-09-25 at 06:47 PM.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    Quote Originally Posted by Berenger View Post
    Regarding the fluff, the family will likely have to kill off a majority of their offspring during childhood and adolescence or deal with a large number of overtly damaged, unstable and dysfunctional adults.
    One in ten dead for side effects of the potions, one in three emotionally damaged.
    Those that don't excel are still kept in the family, though they are considered lesser members. Their children will not inherit the surname and association, for example. Sometimes they are married off for political alliances, sometimes given supervising roles in their economical empire that do not require exceptional skill

    In this case the female members of the family will be expected to bear a very high number of children to make up for the losses, in turn hampering their ability to du much badass adventurer stuff with all those impressive skills they gained from training. Maybe it should be less of a noble family and more of a cult adopting outsiders into their ranks?
    On the other hand, with all the access to clerical magic they still need less offspring than any preindustrial society. And a woman giving childbirth, instead of suffering a lengthy recovery, can get a heal spell and be back on her feet immediately.
    They also have access to more exotic options; at least one of them had her fetuses removed from her and implanted into a serving woman, this way pregnancy didn't hamper her adventuring.
    They also, indeed, occasionally adopt people into their family. But the way of the hextor fiefdom is to reward exceptional individuals by granting them a title and let them start their own house.
    The church of hextor expects all noble houses to use their money and power to train really hard to be the the ruling elite, and most do it to some extent, though nobody else is nowhere near as serious as the Ermenegigi
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    I'm pretty sure the best way to represent some eclectic training for these people is to have their first 2 or 4 levels be gestalt. A wizard specialist level 11 would hence be wizard//rogue 1; wizard//fighter 1; then pure wizard 9. This would probably make something like a strong LA+1 template for 2 levels, and LA+2 for 4 levels. (of course, you can give it for free if the gestalted classes are not optimized)
    Trying to resurrect the Negative LA thread, any comment and discussion are very welcome!


    Quote Originally Posted by H_H_F_F View Post
    3.5 allows you to optimize into godhood, yes, but far more importantly, it lets you optimize weak, weird, and niche options into relevance.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    Representing characters with a broad skill set is one of the things 3.X does poorly. Which isnít news to anybody, just setting the stage for my thinking here. The system as-is rewards specialization and makes it virtually impossible to be good at a wide range of things.

    Personally, I donít like the idea of an NPC-only or background-restricted template here. Nor do I like the idea of gestalt levels if youíre not using them for other characters. Basically, I donít love the idea that these characters get built with a different set of rules from everybody else.

    To be clear, you can absolutely do that with NPCs - just give them the abilities you want them to have and donít worry about it. If your goal is just to make NPC statblocks, thereís nothing really wrong with just giving out bonus feats, skills, and abilities until you like what the stats look like.

    If you want to maintain the 3.X convention that NPCs use the same rules as PCs, though, The easiest way to do it is probably just to give a couple extra character levels. One level of a skill-monkey class plus one level of Fighter, combined with judicious feat selection, gets you most of what you want, except maybe not all the bonus feats. You could also use a custom PrC that gives all of these things over the course of 2-3 levels, with the only requirement for entry being fluff so that it could be taken from level 1.

    Fluff-wise, this is suggesting that by training earlier and harder than everybody else, these characters are reaching adulthood with the abilities of veterans. It also fits with the strict meritocracy in that anybody could do this, if they were willing to put in the effort and make the sacrifices.

    Mechanically, the only real difference between getting these background abilities from a +2 LA template and getting them from two class levels is that the class levels also give BAB, HP, and saves. Which isÖ fine, I think. And makes sense in that you wouldnít have a character go through this intense training but still get one-shot by an orc like any other schmuck.

    tl;dr - donít overthink it, just give them class levels.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beni-Kujaku View Post
    I'm pretty sure the best way to represent some eclectic training for these people is to have their first 2 or 4 levels be gestalt.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chainguy View Post
    allowing members of that family having received the above-mentionned training to gestalt their first few class levels would show their "superior training".
    Quote Originally Posted by TheStranger View Post

    If you want to maintain the 3.X convention that NPCs use the same rules as PCs, though, The easiest way to do it is probably just to give a couple extra character levels. One level of a skill-monkey class plus one level of Fighter, combined with judicious feat selection, gets you most of what you want, except maybe not all the bonus feats. You could also use a custom PrC that gives all of these things over the course of 2-3 levels, with the only requirement for entry being fluff so that it could be taken from level 1.

    Mechanically, the only real difference between getting these background abilities from a +2 LA template and getting them from two class levels is that the class levels also give BAB, HP, and saves. Which isÖ fine, I think. And makes sense in that you wouldnít have a character go through this intense training but still get one-shot by an orc like any other schmuck.
    I considered gestalting them a few levels, but I don't like giving them abilities that would actually make them stronger in combat. If I want to make them stronger in combat I just give them more levels.
    Ultimately, while this family's strenght shows in a few dozen people being able to muster enough high level power to rival a small nation, I want a 9th level Ermenegigi be as strong as a 9th level anyone else.
    And yes, it makes sense that a character with this training does not get one-shot by an orc like any other schmuck; they don't, because they reach adulthood with already several levels under their belts.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheStranger View Post

    Representing characters with a broad skill set is one of the things 3.X does poorly. Which isnít news to anybody, just setting the stage for my thinking here. The system as-is rewards specialization and makes it virtually impossible to be good at a wide range of things.

    Personally, I donít like the idea of an NPC-only or background-restricted template here. Nor do I like the idea of gestalt levels if youíre not using them for other characters. Basically, I donít love the idea that these characters get built with a different set of rules from everybody else.

    To be clear, you can absolutely do that with NPCs - just give them the abilities you want them to have and donít worry about it. If your goal is just to make NPC statblocks, thereís nothing really wrong with just giving out bonus feats, skills, and abilities until you like what the stats look like.
    yes, I agree with the sentiment, and it's usually my modus operandi. But there is one caveat: everyone important in my campaigns is allowed some levels of cheese, i.e. powerful stuff that no one else gets. it represents a hero/boss being really the best at what he does.
    the pcs above all, while I try to keep them rooted in the setting with a consistent power level, I also allow every pc a few special boosts of their choice to make them shine. End-campaign npc bosses get as much love as the pcs, and they get their own unique abilities, or maybe they get to stack more plusses than anyone else, perhaps they have an unique artifact; I also put more effort into building them. I want the pcs to see those characters as their equals. Story arc bosses and people established as really important get less goodies, but they can still shine over most other people of their level; I want the pcs to see those guys as exceptional, and worthy of being treated with respect, or waryness.
    the rank-and-file npcs get generic fast builds. they may be pretty powerful themselves if high leveled, but when it's their turn they are going to make a flat attack, or cast a flat spell, and that's going to be it.

    So, a template granting a few useless feats and a bunch of skill points does qualify as a power-up, and it is "building someone with unique rules". But everyone important is allowed some unique rules in their build, so it's fully precedented in the campaign world.

    But, since I already established the precedent of giving some people unique boosts because they are important to the plot, why am i so reluctant to give the ermenegigi family a normal power-up like I'd give to any other miniboss?
    Yeah, no reason.

    tl;dr - donít overthink it,
    I am indeed overthinking it. I don't even need to do it anyway; as I said many times, it's not as if those eclectic skills will come up in battle. And when they come up in fluff, i can use them without need to roll dice. It's just something that i would like to be able to make in a satisfying way
    Last edited by King of Nowhere; 2021-09-27 at 02:44 PM.
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

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    Metastachydium's Avatar

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    (A dip in factotum/savant could do some of the things you're after just fine; okay, it's not a dozen bonus feats and free skill points, but it gives you all skills as class skills with a good amount of skill points to spend on them, as well as proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light armour and shields.)

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    Default Re: A template to represent extensive training in multiple fields?

    I mean, not exactly what OP is suggesting, but there is a template that kind of fits the theme of "extensive training in multiple fields". I think the fluff is you are born with the memories/spirits of other creatures already in your mind.

    The Memelith template (Dungeon # 117) gives all skills as class skills, and a random bonus to all skill checks. It also has a bunch of supernatural stuff relating to the spirits inhabiting the creature, though. As a downside, has difficult using Displomacy, Intimidate or Sense Motive, and difficulty in taking 10 or 20 on checks.

    Not an ideal fit for what OP is going for, I guess...

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