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Thread: Opinions on new race - Animus

  1. #1
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    Opinions on new race - Animus

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    I'm looking for opinions here, and thoughts on play balance. The finalized race will be posted in an article/blog.

    Animus:
    Humanoid race. Below the solders, they are bipedal in appearance, almost identical to that of a human, with minor cosmetic exceptions. Above the shoulders they have various animal heads. The head preset is entirely random, and is not related in any way to the parents. The however can speak normally despite their various heads. As of yet, only the heads of Mammals, avians, reptiles & amphibians have been encountered. (Heads of amphibians do NOT grant any breathing abilities.)

    Class Features:
    Medium Creatures, 30’ base move.
    +2 CON, -2 CHA - their animal natures a much sturdier than humans and the randomness of their animal appearances contributes to some issues with self worth.
    Low Light Vision
    Scent Ability
    Speak with Animal: An animus may, up to a number of times equal to their Wisdom modifier (Min 1), cast speak with animals as a spell-like ability with a caster level euqal to their hit-dice. This ability only lets them speak with the specific animal type who's head they posess.

    Variable +2 bonus to a skill or a conditional check, dependant on the head present:
    This bonus is always related to the head present in some way.
    Examples: Running Mammals (Horse, Gazelle, Deer) +2 Jump
    Predatory Cats (Cat, Leopard, Puma) +2 Move Silently
    Small Mammals (Mouse, Chipmunk) +2 Hide
    Tree Animals (Squirrel, Monkey) +2 Climb
    Water Animals (Otter, Beaver, Alligator) +2 Swim
    Canines (Dogs, Wolves, Hyena) +2 Sense Motive
    Snakes (Cobra, Python) +2 Bluff
    Avians (Eagle, Hawk, Owl) +2 Spot
    These are NOT set in stone and can be different, so long as DM and player agree, like a Lion headed Animus getting a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks. Conditional check bonuses are like a +2 to endurance checks to continue running or a +2 bonus to survive a specific harsh climate. Any animus only get’s a single +2 bonus.
    Animal Rage: Once per day, an animal cal let loose with their animal instincts and enter a rage similar to a barbarian’s rage. Get gains a +2 to Str and a +2 to Con, and a -2 to AC for a number of rounds equal to 5 + their Con modifier. When the rage ends they are fatigued for the rest of the encounter. SPECIAL: an Animus who takes levels in Barbarian has this ability replaced by the Rage ability of the barbarian class feature, but their rage lasts for an additional 2 rounds.

    Preferred Class: Barbarian.
    Alignment: Generally neutral, but all available.
    Level adjustment: +0


    I was tempted to go with Ability modifiers of:
    +4 Con, -2 Int, -2 Cha -- their animal natures a much sturdier than humans, while a strugle with animal instincts can cloud reasoning while the randomness of their animal appearances contributes to some issues with self worth.
    Last edited by InfoStorm; 09-14-2007 at 01:35 PM. Reason: Forgot an Ability I was thinking about.

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    I would suggest you look to Nezumi from Oriental Adventures (pg 13) for a baseline. They work out to be a little more powerful than what you suggest, in my opinion.

    If you are still happy with your writeup after comparing the two, then I think that makes it a balanced race.

    I'd resist the urge to create a ECL+0 race with better than a +2 to a single attribute.
    Last edited by DrAwkward; 09-14-2007 at 02:03 PM.
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    I'd be hesitant to hand out rage as a race ability. Especially a rage better than the barbarian ability. Rage allows you to qualify for a number of prcs and this would allow you to circumvent the necessity of being a barbarian.

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    Animal Rage

    Animal Rage: Once per day, an animal cal let loose with their animal instincts and enter a rage similar to a barbarianís rage. Get gains a +2 to Str and a +2 to Con, and a -2 to AC for a number of rounds equal to 5 + their Con modifier. When the rage ends they are fatigued for the rest of the encounter. SPECIAL: an Animus who takes levels in Barbarian has this ability replaced by the Rage ability of the barbarian class feature, but their rage lasts for an additional 2 rounds.


    Probably should have included the fill text, and a simple rename makes it not a rage:

    Animal Fury: Once per day, an animal cal let loose with their animal instincts and enter a fury similar to a barbarianís rage. He temporaroily gains a +2 to Str and a +2 to Con, and a -2 penalty to AC for a number of rounds equal to 5 + their Con modifier. When the rage ends they are fatigued for the rest of the encounter. While In a fury, the animus cannot use any Charisma, Dexterity, or Intelligence based skills (except for Balance, escape Artist, Intimidate, & Ride). He can use any feats except Combat Expertise, Item Creation, and Meta-Magic feats. SPECIAL: An Animus who takes levels in Barbarian has this ability replaced by the Rage ability of the barbarian class feature, but their rage lasts for an additional 2 rounds.

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    I'm not sure how self-worth would give them a -2 CHA modifier. I would suspect that having a lion's mane or a leopard's spots would make some people feel special or even superior to a normal human. I would contribute the -2 CHA modifier to their aberrant looks and the increased difficulty in dealing with the other races. That would make more sense with the description of how charisma works in the game. Self-worth is an inner quality measured by the individual while charisma is a quality almost bestowed on a person by those around them.

    I think an Animus would make a fine addition to any Greek, Roman, or Egyptian style setting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfoStorm View Post
    Animal Fury: Once per day, an animal cal let loose with their animal instincts and enter a fury similar to a barbarianís rage. He temporaroily gains a +2 to Str and a +2 to Con, and a -2 penalty to AC for a number of rounds equal to 5 + their Con modifier. When the rage ends they are fatigued for the rest of the encounter. While In a fury, the animus cannot use any Charisma, Dexterity, or Intelligence based skills (except for Balance, escape Artist, Intimidate, & Ride). He can use any feats except Combat Expertise, Item Creation, and Meta-Magic feats. SPECIAL: An Animus who takes levels in Barbarian has this ability replaced by the Rage ability of the barbarian class feature, but their rage lasts for an additional 2 rounds.
    Better. But why not make it 3 + constitution modifier and leave the barbarian ability.

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    This final into an article soon

    Animus:
    Humanoid race. Below the solders, they are bipedal in appearance, almost identical to that of a human, with minor cosmetic exceptions. Above the shoulders they have various animal heads. The head preset is entirely random, and is not related in any way to the parents. They can speak normally despite their various heads. As of yet, only the heads of Mammals, Avians, reptiles & amphibians have been encountered. (Heads of amphibians do NOT grant any breathing abilities.) The heads present in any group of Animus are also related to the animals natural to the region they are from with few rare exceptions.

    Class Features:
    Medium Creatures, 30’ base move.
    +2 CON, -2 CHA - their animal natures a much sturdier than humans and the pull of animal instincts contributes to problems dealing with others.
    Low Light Vision
    Heightened Smell: Animus have a better sense of smell than humans, and are more often able ti distinguish humans by scent than by sight. As a feat, Animus with a Wis of 11 or higher can take Scent. This feat lets Animus detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. For more on Scent see page 314 of the MM.
    Speak with Animal: An animus may, up to a number of times equal to their Wisdom modifier (Min 1), cast speak with animals as a spell-like ability with a caster level euqal to their hit-dice. This ability only lets them speak with the specific animal type who's head they posess.

    Variable +2 bonus to a skill or a conditional check, dependant on the head present:
    This bonus is always related to the head present in some way.
    Examples: Running Mammals (Horse, Gazelle, Deer) +2 Jump
    Predatory Cats (Cat, Leopard, Puma) +2 Move Silently
    Small Mammals (Mouse, Chipmunk) +2 Hide
    Tree Animals (Squirrel, Monkey) +2 Climb
    Water Animals (Otter, Beaver, Alligator) +2 Swim
    Canines (Dogs, Wolves, Hyena) +2 Sense Motive
    Snakes (Cobra, Python) +2 Bluff
    Avians (Eagle, Hawk, Owl) +2 Spot
    These are not set in stone and can be different, so long as DM and player agree, like a Lion headed Animus getting a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks. Conditional check bonuses are like a +2 to endurance checks to continue running or a +2 bonus to survive a specific harsh climate. Any animus only get’s a single +2 bonus.

    Animal Fury: Once per day, an Animus can let loose with their animal instincts and enter a fury similar to a barbarian’s rage. He temporarily gains a +2 to Str and a +2 to Con, and a -2 penalty to AC for a number of rounds equal to 3 + their new Con modifier. When the rage ends they are fatigued for the rest of the encounter. While in a fury, the animus cannot use any Charisma, Dexterity, or Intelligence based skills (except for Balance, escape Artist, Intimidate, & Ride). He can use any feats except Combat Expertise, Item Creation, and Meta-Magic feats. SPECIAL: An Animus who takes levels in Barbarian has this ability replaced by the Rage ability of the barbarian class feature, but their rage lasts for an additional 2 rounds.


    Preferred Class: Barbarian
    Alignment: Generally neutral, but all available.
    Level adjustment: +0
    Last edited by InfoStorm; 09-24-2007 at 09:44 PM. Reason: 9/24 - Changed Scent to Heightened Smell (Didn't want to re-enter the entire thing.)

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    I think maybe the stat's should be modified by animal type as well...a squirrel would have a -2 to Str and +2 Dex type thing...I don't think a squirrel should have a bonus to Con but more something typical of the animal.

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    Ahh, I saw the article entry first before I read this post. My comments are there as well:

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster
    This is an interesting idea. What is the background of this race? Do they gain an animal-blooded trait that makes them vulnerable to bane weapons, etc? I'd like to hear more about their sociology and origins.

    I'd also say that I'd probably recommend a +1 LA, given the special abilities and relatively minor attribute penalties.
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgamer View Post
    a squirrel would have a -2 to Str and +2 Dex type thing...
    Oldgamer, squirrels are weak because of their size. If it was a human sized squirrel, do you still think it would have less physical strength than the average human?
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    Oldgamer, squirrels are weak because of their size. If it was a human sized squirrel, do you still think it would have less physical strength than the average human?

    Not so much, I used that for a reference....but a bear that is human sized...would he gain in Str? Or lose? A tiger certainly would not have his strength and dexterity in a human body, I was trying to convey the animals true strengths and weaknesses not of what would happen if you enlarged a squirrel or shrunk a bear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    If it was a human sized squirrel, do you still think it would have less physical strength than the average human?
    I'd say the squirrel has -2 Chr because he's twitchy and prone to an embarrassing faux pas. He may try to grab the other player's nuts...

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    I stuck with a single Ability modifier for all animals because I really didn't want to make charts of different ability score modifiers for hundred of different creatures. I have enough of that with the +2 skill/conditional modifier. Also, these are not anthropomorphic animals, they did that in Savage Species, they are tribes of humanoids blessed, or cursed with animal heads. I haven't finished the background for the race because I'm still working on fleshing out the world they exist in. (I'm writing up a new campaign setting as my gaming group may be getting a few more players) Maybe I'll post that as a separate thread in Campaign resources.


    To Farcaster's suggestiong th race is +1 LA:
    The only thing in the entire race that might require the LA is the Scent ability. The +2 variable bonus is equivilent or less than similar bonuses most non humans get, as is low-light vision. Speak with animal is almost trivial and again less than other demi-humans like abilities. The Animal Fury at best is equivilent to a bonus feat, and is less than a barbarian's rage, especially as it is never more than once a day. Upon reflecting, I decided that the Scent ability alone was not worth a +1 level adjustment, as a few of the other demi-humans have more quantity of bonuses than I've given.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfoStorm View Post
    Upon reflecting, I decided that the Scent ability alone was not worth a +1 level adjustment, as a few of the other demi-humans have more quantity of bonuses than I've given.
    To my brain, the only way you can balance out the scent ability here and be LA +0 is by giving some more hefty ability score penalties. I don't even think that scrapping the rest of your racial bennies would allow for such a useful and problematic trait as scent. From a DM's perspective, I want my players as far away from scent as I can get them, unless they've earned it and/or paid for it in some way (taking a hit somewhere along the line).

    Giving PCs scent for free (since that's sort of what you're doing here by only penalizing a "dump stat"), you've just ruined every time you try to use invisibility effects, folks hiding in shadows, or any sort of stealth at all. Did you plan on letting that villain get away in a flash of light and puff of smoke? Well, too bad, because one of your PCs now knows exactly which way he went, etc.

    I gotta say, I think scent is worth an LA +1 all by itself.

    [EDIT] PS: Oh, and quantity of bonuses means nothing. It's the quality and substance of those bonuses that's important. A dwarf's stonecunning ability does not come into play in every environment; a half-elf's social prowess only helps when in a social situation; scent is almost always useful and can be used nearly anywhere.[/EDIT]
    Last edited by ajmuszkiewicz; 09-18-2007 at 01:37 PM. Reason: Avoid making a second post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajmuszkiewicz View Post
    I gotta say, I think scent is worth an LA +1 all by itself.
    Indeed. The Nezumi gain the ability to take scent as a feat, rather than gain it inherently.

    Another good resource would be shifter from Eberron. They are an ECL+0 race created by watering down natural lycanthropes with humans. They have a slew of different abilties to choose from depending on what type of animal they are associated with.

    Shifter
    * +2 dex, -2 int, -2 cha
    * medium
    * 30' base speed
    * Shifting (su) - 1/day enter a state similar to barbarian rage, tapping into base animal instincts. Choose one of 10 effects that mainifest. Shifting is a free action and lasts 3 rounds plus your con bonus. There are lots of feats that boost your shifting, and each one increases the duration by 1 round.
    * Low Light Vision
    * +2 balance, climb, Jump
    * favor Ranger
    * LA+0

    Sample Shifting Traits
    beasthide: +2 con and +2 natural armor while shifting
    longstride: +2 dex and +10' base movement while shifting.
    Wildhunt: +2 con and scent while shifting
    Last edited by DrAwkward; 09-18-2007 at 03:13 PM.
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    Well, I hunted down my Oriental Adventures book last night and I'm agreeing with you on knocking down the Scent to Heightened Smell, and will basically copy/paste the nezumi text in. This should be the final tweek needed to knock this race to a solid LA +0. I'll update tonight or tomorrow, depending on if I have time before my gaming session tonight .

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