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D&D 3E
Quick question. 
4th-Mar-2006 03:16 pm
Can anyone name some templates that fit either of the following two requirements:

* Acquired template, can be applied to an animal or magical beast, cannot make them undead or reduce intelligence to below 3 (preferably not at all).
* Inherited template, can be applied to an animal, does not change the creature's type from animal.

I'm looking for some inspiration for some PC/NPC designs for future games. Mostly revolving around an awakened animal (I'm primarily looking for something with some Strength to offset the penalty I'm looking at, but that's personal preference, not a requirement).

Thanks in advance!
4th-Mar-2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
Check out Sword and Sorcery's Book of Templates, if you can. I know that they have some templates that do exactly what you mention -- affect animals without changing them.

If you're thinking about animals and NPC desings, though, might I humbly suggest that you take a look at Mindcraft? A significant portion of the book is designed to be essentially animistic magic -- binding spirits to weapons, tying them to fetishes that give a human wearer part of the animal's ability scores, et cetera.

My shameless shilling out of the way, though -- what are you thinking about doing with the animals? There's no reason you can't base an NPC with an 18 strength to offset their penalty. And awakened animals can have class levels... ;)
4th-Mar-2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
I built a PC the other day with rolled Str/Dex/Con, but keeping the base Int/Wis/Cha.

It's an awakened chipmunk that eventually grabbed twelve levels of monk. A chipmonk, if you will (it's been a long running gag in our game from a session where a monk player got polymorphed into a rat -- I said it would be more appropriate if he was a chipmonk and we all got a good laugh out of it).

The thing is, it's diminiutive, so it has a -10 Strength by default (basing it on the stats of a rat as per Dragon's advice for a squirrel, and then dropping it a size category as chipmunks tend to be smaller [and I would argue closer to a large toad than a small cat]).

The original workaround we had in place was to use half-dragon, making it a half bronze dragon (since it actually says in their description they tend to take the form of small animals to observe adventurers and so forth -- what's to say they wouldn't progress farther than that once in a blue moon).

However, the problem I noticed with that (and we all forgot about that night) is that the half-dragon template changes the creature into a dragon subtype and is inherited, meaning the creature cannot be awakened. This would give it a 3-4 Int, which I'm not fond of (talk about crippling skill points).

Anyway, personal munchkinism aside, while looking for other templates I noticed there was a lack of templates that did fit either category mentioned above, hence why I asked :)

Before people wander off into "omg you're a munchkin" territory, the GM and I have discussed this in depth (and he waived the two magical beast hit dice from awaken, so he may wave the type-change from half-dragon or allow awaken to work on augmented animals [i.e. templated animals), we've juggled some quick background back and forth to see if it's at all plausible in his game (former druid animal companion, druid shunned material possessions personally, his travelling companions geared out the chipmunk with some appropriate gear, blah blah blah blah blah -- we'll flesh it out once I finish building it and it gets approved), and so forth.

I have no objection to playing a normal character, but this is the first game he's run that this character would not be exceptionally goofy and out of place. Plus, he's comfortable with my rules knowledge to know I know all the rules for diminutive creatures and I've always been up front and honest with the rules whether it kills me or not, so he has no fears about me trying to 'break the game' (besides, he feels that the War Weaver PrC does that as is).
4th-Mar-2006 07:53 pm (UTC)
And all shilling aside, the book does look interesting.

Since I'm not currently running a game, I'll mention it to the GM -- but I might pick it up if I do run something ;)
5th-Mar-2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
The thing is, it's diminiutive, so it has a -10 Strength by default (basing it on the stats of a rat as per Dragon's advice for a squirrel, and then dropping it a size category as chipmunks tend to be smaller [and I would argue closer to a large toad than a small cat]).

To be pendantic -- chipmunks have -10 strength because they're chipmunks, not due to their small size.

As for the half-dragon template: please pass along my encouragements for your GM to allow it. IMC there's even a spell that allows precisely what you're describing:

Imbue Nature
Grant spellcaster's nature to target.
Level: 7
Components: V, S, XP
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Target: Creature Touched
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Automatic
Spell Resistance: Yes

By casting this spell, a nonhuman caster bestows part of its special essence upon a willing character. An elf can use this spell to turn a human into a half-elf, or a half-elf into a full elf. A dragon or outsider may use this spell to turn any creature into a half-dragon / half-outsider, or to turn a half-dragon or half-outsider into a full dragon or outsider.

The character automatically gains all the effects of such a change, as if he had always had the mixed or nonhuman blood. If the character is not willing at the time the spell is cast, the spell fails.

Costing this spell costs 1000 XP, plus a number of XP equal to what the target would need to spend to gain their new level adjustment as regular charcter levels.

5th-Mar-2006 08:31 pm (UTC)
Well really, to be pedantic, a chipmunk has a -10 Strength adjustment because the D&D rules don't officially have stats for them, the newest Sage Advice advises that rat stats are used as a base for squirrels, and the GM and I decided that a chipmunk would fit into a smaller size category than a squirrel, meriting an additional -2 adjustment when compared to the basic statistics.

So, they have a -10 because they are smaller than the creature that is compared to a larger yet similar creature.

Which I guess means they have a -10 for being chipmunks, in the end.

I like the spell. The experience cost is painful since I'd have to pay out of pocket, and even I snagged this before gaining character levels I'd still have to pay 20,000 gp (or, fortunately [?], 10,000 gp in this game since the GM is dropping the ECL of templates/special races by 1 for something to do).

4th-Mar-2006 08:18 pm (UTC)
I know that the awakened template doesnt fit your criteria 100% but give it some thought.

Awakened Animals and Plants make great characters and plot devices.

It gives an animal PC stats in their Mind stats (you actually roll their Wis/Int/Cha but they become magical beasts (or plants)
4th-Mar-2006 08:22 pm (UTC)
I'm already looking to have the animal awakened (as said in the post).

I'm looking for any templates that could effectively be applied to an awakened animal without turning it into an undead creature or reducing the creature's intelligence (ideally).

That's the tricky part. ;)
4th-Mar-2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
I forget what books it's in, Savage species I think, but there is a "war beast" that just buffs the creature up a little bit...I think it raises it's intelligence.
5th-Mar-2006 05:04 am (UTC)
MM2 methinks, and it doesn't.

Although the GM and I spoke about it tonight and, since he's interested in seeing it in practice, he's allowing awaken to be applied to an augmented animal.
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