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D&D 3E
1st-Sep-2009 02:24 pm
So I'm trying to get this Rotating DM game going and I ask my wife the other day what kind of class she wants to play. Druid. I even convince her that with this druid, can she try Wild Shaping, as the last time I let her trade in Wild Shape uses for additional spells per day things went a little...crazy (*Cue flashback of a mad fairy Finger of Deathing everything in sight*).

I ask her what kind of race she wants to play. A bee-person. With a stinger that would kill her if she uses it. And a bee animal companion. My wife, god bless her, has the strangest whims sometimes.

So, this is my efforts to throw together a bee-people race that I call Apials. I'm wondering if I've got them a little too weak or too strong or just right. So, your thoughts?

Small Humanoid
Ability Score Adjustments: None
Speed: 20 ft, fly 80 ft (good)
An apial has a +2 natural armor bonus to AC.
Free Will: An apial begins life as part of a hive, her actions controlled purely by reactive stimuli. During this time, she has vermin traits, including mindlessness. A queen may release any apial from the hive mind, granting her free will. The apial may later resume the hive mind state, but cannot regain free will unless it is again granted. While in a free will state, an apial has a +2 bonus to saving throws to resist mind-affecting abilities.
Empathy: While not telepathic, an apial can still send and receive empathic thoughts with creatures with whom she is familiar, as long as they are within 100 ft. This ability functions similar to a familiar's empathic link ability in that the apial can only send and receive generalized messages such as "Danger."
Secondary Limbs: An apial possesses a second set of arms. These arms are too fragile to be effective in a grapple, in climbing, or in wielding a weapon, but she can hold an item with these secondary limbs and for the purposes of feats and special attacks that require the user to be unarmed, such as Deflect Arrows or disarming an opponent, the apial is considered to be unarmed, even while wielding a weapon in her main pair of hands.
Sting: A natural weapon attack that deals 1d4 piercing damage and delivers a poison.
Poison: Save DC 11 + Con. Initial and secondary damage 1d4 Con.
Favored class: Ranger.

I'm thinking about making their flight work similarly to the Raptorans' flight progression (see Races of the Wild) in that they unlock flight abilities throughout their advancement, but since this character starts at 10th level, I'm not too worried about that right now.
Also, I'm not too sure if I should make the sting kill the apial outright, or if the apial just starts taking massive amounts of bleed damage that could be healed through.
1st-Sep-2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
My god, 80' fly speed (good)?! That's amazingly awesome. Yeah, make it work like Raptorans unless you want a level adjustment. Also drop the speed A LOT. Flying is already better than walking, don't make them almost 3x as fast as normal characters.

+2 nat armor should also be at least a +1 LA

Empathy is a fine racial ability

Secondary Limbs are also awesome. Being able to hold extra items is pretty amazing. Can she carry a shield with it? What about hold or use a wand or staff (or any other magic item)? That should at least have a +2 LA or so IMO.

So as written, this looks like a +5 LA class. Or maybe a +4 with 2HD of monstrous humanoid.

I'll ignore the poison attack, as it sounds like that's a "use once and die" ability, meaning it'll never get used :p Why even include it in the racial write-up?

Drop the fly speed (and make it only short-term, like raptorans); get rid of the extra limbs (or make them a simple mechanical bonus--maybe she gets a +2 to +4 bonus to grapple, climb, and balance checks, but can't hold anything). Then it's probably okay, maybe LA +1. I still might reduce the natural armor to maybe +1 and perhaps give a minor other bonus (+2 spot checks? maybe Scent even?)
1st-Sep-2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
I'd expect a small creature to have a strength penalty.

Kobolds have +1 natural armor and no LA, but they also have a net -4 to ability scores, but +2 is pretty nice.

The fly speed is also nice. If you were starting at first level, I'd have it turn on gradually, but by 10th level, flight isn't that big of a deal. In addition, the character is going to be a 10th level druid. She could wild shape into a hawk and get the exact same fly speed.

On the secondary limbs, I'd add a restriction against shields and items that need to be activated. If she wants to hold a Continual Flame or The Orb of Glk'gr'kz that the party is retrieving, that's fine, but not a wand or a rod.

If the sting is a use and die scale effect, it's vastly underpowered. In reality, probably 10 drones use it and die, killing a threat to the hive. It probably has reasonable stats for that. For a PC, it's not very impressive.

I'd make the save 10 + 1/2 level + Con modifier, which is the standard formula for poison. I'd probably add a racial bonus of +2 or so to the save DC. I'd also boost the damage to something like 2d6 Con/1d6 Con. I wouldn't make it an instant death effect either.

2*level bleed damage per round sounds about right for somebody who just had part of their body torn off. I'd probably also add the staggered condition (only a move or standard action, no full round actions). I'd probably require a sizeable amount of healing (25% normal hit points?) to stop the bleeding. You could even require a Regeneration to regrow the stinger.

If you do think that she wants the ability to dramatically sacrifice herself in a dire situation, make the sting a poison effect that auto-kills the target and kills her one round later (so she has plenty of time for a death speech).
1st-Sep-2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
auto-kills the target? disagree. That's entirely too overpowered. But kill with save, or kill something with 50 or fewer HP with no save, I'd be okay with.
1st-Sep-2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
I think "she can't wield a hand crossbow, but she can DEFLECT AN ARROW" is illogical. Take that out.

Agree that fly 80 (good) is ridiculously high, so consider a LA for that.

I think saves are typically 10 + 1/2 racial HD + Con, so...actually, just about right.

Bear in mind that the bleed damage for the sting is ONLY a mitigating factor for the sting. It is not--repeat, NOT--a mitigating factor for the "fly 80 good" or any other good feature of this race. Because a smart PC would just never use the sting, so would never suffer the drawback.

That said, you could have it be Con damage--that starts to resemble "massive amounts of bleed damage" pretty fast.

However, I would suggest buying the Monster Manual II and looking up "Abeil." You can get an idea for this using Amazon.com's "Search Inside" capability, I believe. To get an idea of what abeils are like, think formians, only with bees instead of ants. (There are probably other differences too, I haven't checked abeils in a while...but yeah.)
3rd-Sep-2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
It looks like abeil stings don't kill the abeil.

For extra flavor, you could get an Amber Amulet of Vermin (giant bee)! :-) Or some such.
1st-Sep-2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
There is a bee race with similar name in MM2 or fiend folio... Will check
1st-Sep-2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
The auto-kill is only available if the PC wants a dramatic sacrifice. It also auto-kills the PC. There's a significant downside to using the attack.

Would I include this effect in a race I was publishing for anyone to use? No. For a PC that I know and think would make effective (but limited) use of it? Yes.
3rd-Sep-2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the existence of resurrection kind of makes the Dramatic Self Sacrifice trope less, well, dramatic.
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