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D&D 3E
Player Races 
19th-Apr-2006 10:08 am
Now that I've decided on what I want to do about magic (and therefore classes) in my new campaign world, it's time to decide on races. (For the record, I'm going with INT-based wizards with a modified spell-list and learn system, WIS-based binders with plenty of custom vestiges, and CHA-based bards with probably a modified spell-list and probably a roll-to-cast system to allow for even more flexibility).

In any case, here are my current thoughts about PC races. The world is intended to be a mostly naval campaign, with options for aerial and underwater adventures.

* First of all, humans are definately going to be the primary race. I plan to use the race as written, though perhaps create some regional feats once I get a better sense of the world map.

* I'm sick of elves and all that goes with them. So I want to replace them with another race. My current thought for the game is to have a race of creatures that live on floating islands that move about the world. These creatures are highly advanced (in terms of magic), and exert a lot of control over the happenings on the world's surface (something like the Guild from the anime Last Exile). These guys would not be a PC race primarily, having maybe a +3 or +4 LA and perhaps a couple of racial hit dice. What will be a PC race is a group that was kicked out of this advanced society, stripped of their powers, and forced to live on the surface--I'm currently refering to them as The Fallen.

The Fallen will be medium-sized creatures who are skilled wizards, as wizard magic "comes" from this advanced society. Now, I'm not sure what else to do with this race. My current thought is to make them draconic--using pictures of the Spellscales from RotD as inspiration (so generally human with some scaly growths). Then the advanced race could be a kind of non-template, modified half-dragon. But I'm not sure how I could work the different types of dragons into this set-up: does the advanced race have a number of subtypes for different kinds of dragons (say, the 10 defaults)? I'm pretty sure I don't want the Fallen to have color loyalties. What do you think? Stat-wise, I'm thinking the fallen are +2 INT -2 CHA (very smart/magical, but not very social--though it does seem that most my races have a CHA penalty, so I may need to change that), with some kind of special ability or skill bonus. Any suggestions?

* Dwarves will be in this world--I picture dwarven ships which are basically small floating mountains. Pretty much the standard race otherwise.

* Halflings will be replaced by Hadozee (the "winged deck apes" from Stormwrack), except small sized. I like the idea and ability of the race (it's different from a lot of the standards), and I think small-sized monkey characters won't be any more comical than characters straight out of Planet of the Apes.

* No more half-breeds--I never understood why you can have half-elves and half-orc but not half-dwarves, or a half-elf/half-orc. But I still want Orcs in the world, so I was originally planning to just make all Orcs use half-orc stats. However, I've since thought that I don't necessarily want the "stupid Orc" type, so don't really like the INT penalty. And since every other race seems to have a CHA penalty, I'm not sure I like that either. I see Orcs as a race of warriors, and so there is no reason they can't be as good leaders as a human. So I think I'm going to change the Orc stats to a +2 STR -2 DEX (strong but slow). Also, they are no longer an underground race, so dark-vision doesn't necessarily seem to fit. Any ideas for good abilities for the Orcs? Would the powerful build trait be too much for them?

* That leaves Gnomes. I don't have any plans for this race, so I'm not even sure I want it in the world. Do I need another small-sized race? Or another underground-dwelling race? And as I'm changing magic around, the gnome's innate spell abilities may seem out of place. What do you think, should I get rid of them? Keep them? Change them? I've always had a fondness for the tinker gnome type, maybe I could use that...

* I also would like aquatic adventuring to be part of the world. As such, I think I need an aquatic race to act as the main civilization under the sea. I'm thinking maybe something with a +1 LA to keep it primarily a NPC race. Perhaps merfolk? They don't seem to necessarily get a lot of play in D&D. Or perhaps some variant on the sea-elf (at least for style and appearance, since there are no elves in the world). This is less important, but any suggestions would be good.

* Other NPC races with societies which could in theory be used as PCs--sanguine (the aquatic badguy), Kobolds (perhaps another offshoot from the advanced draconic race?) and maybe Gnolls (though I'm not sure what to do with them). I think I'm going to get rid of most goblinoids (the Orcs take care of most of that flavor).

Is there anything that I'm missing? I've got a default race (human), fighter races (dwarves and orcs), a wizard race (The Fallen things), and a rogue race (the Hadozee). Any other neat race ideas I could maybe try to work in?

Also, back to magic real fast--any suggestions for flavor changes that get rid of the "wizard-scholar" type? I still want them to prepare spells, but I'm curious about maybe doing away with the bookworm stereotype.
19th-Apr-2006 04:18 pm (UTC)
What about Sahugin? They are an aquatic race that is definately different. They could even be the "fallen" unless you WANTED them to be new. But in a world mostly covered in water why a reptile race? Perhaps some offshoot of slaadi or another amphibious race? This is a rare chance for aquatic races to shine, so include some.

You may want to play with Dwarves some. If they are no longer subterranian, why do they have darkvision? Perhaps give them a +1 or +2 to an ability score or some skill racial bonuses to make up for low light vision instead of dark vision?
19th-Apr-2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
The one conflict I have with a totally amphibious race is that if the one guy can breathe water, his ability doesn't mesh with the rest of the group. He can't go for a real underwater adventures because the group gets left behind, and if the group decides to stick to the land then his ability is basically worthless.

Though perhaps a Hold Breath ability would make this less of an issue. Then he could at least jump off the boat and swim alongside. Stormwrack has a race like this (that looks pretty cool from the pictures), but they're +2STR/-2DEX also, and so wouldn't necessarily fit with the Orcs. But maybe a ranger-type race, even with a bonus to wisdom? Hmm...

I'm thinking I want this campaign to be about ships--both on the water and in the air. So I was more concerned with creating land/aerial stuff than with aquatic stuff because again, if the one human can't go underwater, then there's a problem.

Dwarves are still subterranian. They just move their mountains around the world now ;)
19th-Apr-2006 05:22 pm (UTC)
Think of it another way. IN the typical fantasy world, ever race has another race that opposes it, for example Elf/Orc, Ogre/dwarf, Halfling/goblin etc. While these diversities aren't always obvious, they make a nice balance in the game. You may want to include a balancer for each race, perhaps even as a plentiful NPC/enemy race.
19th-Apr-2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
Try the seafolk from Races of Destiny, humans that hold their breath and siwm about. Also, Darfellan form Stormwrack.
19th-Apr-2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
how about using the flavour for psions?
you certainly can't say those are bookworms
19th-Apr-2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
I've thought about that. I like the mechanics of psionics a lot, so may end up replacing wizards with them. In general though, psionics seem more internal to me, and I kind of want magic to seem more external--it's pulled from outside the self, not inside. Maybe.
19th-Apr-2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
Maybe have Wizard academies similar to the way the Warmage academy is described in Complete Arcane. Keep everything the same, just geared more towards practical, adventuring magic.
20th-Apr-2006 03:11 am (UTC)
In my campaign, I beefed up kobolds into a base race, and that turned out pretty well as a scaly alternative to gnomes. You might be able to do something similar.

Asapian Kobold

Size: Small: As a Small creature, a kobold gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but she uses smaller weapons than humans use, and her lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
Base Land Speed: 30 feet(despite their size).
Automatic Language: Common and Draconic.
Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Undercommon.
Favored Class: Sorcerer. A multiclass kobold's sorcerer class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

Racial Features

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength.
  • +2 racial bonus on Profession(Miner), Craft(Trapmaking), Listen, and Search checks.
  • Darkvision 60 feet.
  • -2 morale bonus on saving throws against fear, unless they are within 10 feet of an ally. This does not apply to fear caused by dragons.
  • +1 racial bonus on attack rolls made from cover or concealment.
  • +1 natural armor bunus.
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