View Full Version : Mutually Exclusive and Parallel Racial/Class Levels

2009-09-10, 03:39 AM
Racial Progressions - Unfinished works
The idea of racial progression being a standard rule of play! It doesn't not make sense that class levels should contribute to HD.
In the real world, some professions do contribute to a healthier, tougher body, one that can take a larger quantity of cuts and beatings before carking it: military personnel, professional fighters, bodybuilders, labor workers. This transfers to the idea of Barbarians, Fighters, Rogues to an extent. Wizards generally will spend their hours on their bottoms letting their bodies whither away in the pursuit of knowledge. Despite all this talk of occupation, a lion is going to take more cuts and bruises than a man, and a Mammoth more than a lion... just because of species! It makes sense then that a Human must work on his body to become a larger human to get more HD, and a Demon will simply HAVE more HD, as will a Troll and a Halfling will have less. Changing Con bonuses around would be an alright way to represent this, but HD and Con are completely different mechanics. It was because of this that I organized a system where there are both Racial and Class progressions, with parallel XP tables and parallel potential XP gains.

General Idea:
A character gets Class XP for killing units and doing quests. A character may have the opportunity to Progress Racially if those units he killed and the quests he did helped toward him becoming a paragon of his race.

Start as the chosen race as normal with all detriments and benefits such as +/- stats, abilities and traits. As a race progresses they get +1 to the stat which their race is aligned to, and a secondary ability or trait becomes more powerful.

This is a style of levelling where it is expected that PCs start with low ability scores (15pt buy), and the campaign accelerates into a high powered game.

Contextual Example of this mechanic working within a custom campaign:
In this campaign, cannibalism is not an evil act. If you eat the flesh of a creature you will become more like that creature (magically). In the same way Cultures eat the heart's of their enemies for their courage, a human can eat the flesh of animals, other humans, and all other races that do not contribute to become a paragon of another race. In this setting we decided that there is no need to eat, and that eating is a completely religious and philosophical. Gluttony still exists within the world, so this, and eating the Undead are both taboos which represent pure evil (as opposed to basic cannibalism like in the sourcebooks). Eating the flesh of a sentient creature without it's consent is also considered an evil act. This is why the Celestial Kingdom sends down creatures of pure Good and Law to be consumed by humanity so that humanity may become more Good. Creatures from the depths of hell try to raise to the earth so that they may convince humanity to revel in the power of corruption ensuing corrupted bodies. Of course there are those that eat the flesh of their enemies, so that at the cost of becoming part of them they may have more power to destroy them.

Another setting might require feats of conditioning to be performed in intervals, or may just have it timed so that every few ingame weeks there is a progression.


Racial HD: +d4

Racial Progression: +4 skill points each level, and +1 Natural Feat every second level.

Mortals are fickle and fragile creatures: they must take the long and basic road to improving their bodies. The most understood way of improving a human body is exercise and food. The body can recover, or it can grow, so humans will hunt prey to grow their bodies. They get XP toward their racial level equal to the XP contributed toward their class level for killing the creature, if they consume it's flesh. In this way you may not have to kill to earn Racial XP, but more often than not you will.

Getting from level 10 to epic: The human body can only be taken so far, thus a character who wants to become the perfect human must reflect upon what it truly means to be part of humanity. You could represent this by having Knowledge (Humanity) or (Philosophy) as a general all-class trained skill. Either that or you could have quests which are closely related to the discovery of such philosophies. Think about what the importance of keeping a pure immortal soul is, and the nature of the universe and how one's body is best to manipulate it. This could turn out very Matrix-y, or it could become very religious – if you don't think this is the right approach for your group you may have to find your own ideas.

Human Natural Feats:
Natural Ability: A Human may choose to train one of his ability scores. +1 to any ability score
Powerful Build: This is now a feat. Req. Str 18 and Monkey Grip.
X Weapon Proficiency: I always thought weapon proficiencies should be free to fast learners
Run: Human's good proportions are good for running like hell away from danger!
Toughness: It is such a human thing to do to self-inflict pain, just to get used to it
Negotiator: People learn these kind of skills just by living
Animal Affinity
Fear of Death: +1 to caster level for (un)life-extending spells, processes and abilities.
Leadership: always a fun feat no one takes, very human, too.

I'm sure you can think of more non-game breaking feats that represent human progression.

Losing One's Humanity...

By ritually consuming the flesh of a celestial, one becomes more celestial. By consuming the flesh of a fiend, a creature becomes more fiendish. This could be introduced to the players by them encountering some fiendish animals which had feasted on a wild tiefling.

The reality is that becoming celestial or fiendish will contribute to the development of one's soul. The Higher rank you are the more good or evil you will be inclined to be. This is not a definate statement, as a fiend wishing to infiltrate Heaven may consume the flesh of many celestials, and still stay evil, but the chances of him rising to be an Archon and remaining evil is very slim, as his conscience will lead him astray from his goals before he can complete the transformation. The same applies to an angel becoming feindish to infiltrate hell – there will be those with the will power to become a fiend hunter in the depths of hell, and there will be those who fall.

Flesh of the Celestial
Celestials gain spell-like abilities according to the SRD table in Half-Celestial template, according to their HD.

Rank 1 – Freeblood Aasimar - d6
+1 Cha, +1 Wis, +2 Spot and Listen, Darkvision 30ft

Rank 2 – Aasimar - d6
Darkvision 60ft, +1 Cha, +1 Wis, Resistance to acid 5, cold 5, and electricity 5, Daylight

Rank 3 - Pseudo Celestial - d6
Spell resistance equal to Racial Rank, +1Wis, +1Cha

Rank 4 – Half Celestial - d8
Immunity to disease, Resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and electricity 10, +1Str, +1Con

Rank 5 – Half Celestial - d8
Natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction,
+1Str, +1 Wis

Rank 6 – Weakblood Celestial
Damage reduction 5/magic, +1 Cha, +1 Con

Rank 7 – Fledgeling Celestial
Immunity to disease, +4 racial bonus on Fort against poison

Rank 8 – Prime Celestial
Wings (average maneuverability), +1Cha, +1 Wis

Rank 9 – Prime Celestial II

Rank 10 – Prime Celestial III
+1Con, +1 Str

Rank 11 – Prime Celestial Paragon

Rank 12 – Prime Celestial Paragon - d8
Damage reduction 10/magic, Wings (good maneuverability)

Rank 13 – Archon - d10
aura of menace (Will DC 15 + character’s Cha modifier)

Rank 14 – Hound Archon - d10
Resistance electricity +10, +1Str, +1Con

Rank 15 – Messenger Archon - d10
Tongues, Continual Flame, Aura of Menace

Rank 16 – Astral Deva - d12
Teleport 2/day, Wings (perfect maneuverability), +1Str, +1Wis

Rank 17 - Astral Deva - d12
Teleport 3/day. Change Shape, Stun

Rank 18 – Planetar - d12
+1 Size category, Teleport 4/day, regeneration 10/epic and evil, +1Str, +1Wis

Rank 19 – Planetar – d12
Teleport 5/day, regeneration 15/epic and evil, +1Str, +1Cha

Rank 20 – Solar - d12
Teleport 6/day, damage reduction 15/epic and evil, immunity to acid, cold, and petrification, regeneration 15/epic and evil, +1Str, +1Cha, +1Wis, +1Con


Rank 16, 18, 20 – Astral Messenger – d10
No bonuses

Rank 17, 19 – Astral Messenger - d10
+1 Any Ability Score

Rank 20 (half dragons) - Golden Protector (Lammasu)
Immunity to fire, sleep, and paralysis, Material Stability

Flesh of the Fiend

Rank 1 – Freeblood Tiefling - d6
+1Dex, +1Int, -1Cha, +2 Bluff and Hide, Darkvision 30ft

Rank 2 – Tiefling - d6
Darkvision 60ft, +1Dex, +1Int, -2Cha, Resistance to cold 5, electricity 5, and fire 5, Darkness

Progression and Planar Stability for Celestial and Fiendish Characters

As a creature ranks up, their body becomes less stable in the Prime Plane, and as such this can be represented by them taking Stability Damage, which acts as subdual damage, and can only be healed if the creature returns to his 'sub-type's' plane. If a creature falls unconscious he automatically uses Teleport as a swift action, the moment before he does so. If he cannot teleport he will not.

Rank 16 – d6 damage every hour unless Summoned
Rank 17 – d12 damage every hour unless Summoned
Rank 18 – d12 damage every half hour unless Summoned
Rank 19 – 2d12 damage every 10 minutes unless Summoned
Rank 20 – 4d12 damage every 5 minutes unless Summoned

If a character is summoned with a spell (as per Summon Monster X spell) he does not take any damage for the duration of the spell. He may use Summon Monster X on himself to transport himself to a place on a plane and not suffer damage for the duration. He may use Teleport to the effect of a Plane Shift to the Prime Plane, but will suffer Planar Instibility.

Class Modifiers

Because Class levels no longer award HD, they instead contribute a modifier to the Racial HD. When a character levels his Racial HD, it is modified by the class in which the character most recently progressed in.

Class Dice
New Modifier
*A character's modified hit points gained cannot drop below 1, in the case of the -2hp modifier.

Example of it working for other races:

Elf Racial Progression

Elf Ability Scores: Dex, Int, Cha, Str
Elf Ability regressions: Con, Str, Int

Rank 1 – Half Elf or Weak Elf d4
-2con, +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks
Immunity to sleep spells and effects, +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects, Low-light vision
Rank 2 – Elf d4
+1 Dex, +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks, Find Concealed Doors
Rank 3 – Elf d4
+1 Elf Stat
Rank 4 – Elf Pseudo-Paragon d4
Spell Resistance equal to Racial Rank
Rank 5 – Elf Paragon d4
Darkvision, +1 Elf Ability Score
Every Rank X – Elf Paragon d4
+1 Elf Stat, spell-like ability improvement
Every Second Rank – Elf Paragon d4
+1Ability Score, -1 Ability regression

Dwarf Racial Progression

Dwarf Ability Scores: Con, Str, Int
Dwarf Ability regressions: Dex, Cha
Dwarf starting HD: d4 (Rank 2 progression to d6)

Halfling Racial Progression

Ability Scores: Dex, Cha
Ability regressions: Strength
Starting HD: d3
Progressing Abilities: Search, Climb, Listen, and Move Silently, morale bonus on saving throws against fear, endurance feats

Half-Orc Racial Progression

Ability Scores: Str, Con, Int
Ability regressions: Int, Wis, Cha
Starting HD: d6

Other Notes:

Of course I let my players start at Rank 1 of any Racial Progression, they do not all start as humans, some started as Tieflings, others Aasimar, one decided he wanted to be a Troll.
In this case the LA is simply added to the Racial Progression (they start at Rank 6 as a Troll, and therefore must spend more XP to get to the next rank than going from Rank 1 to 2.
All Ability Score bonuses are unrelated to the Class Level Ability Score additions at 4th, 8th, 12th etc. This way races may still add to ability scores outside their Racial Ability Scores.

I also think that this kind of High-Powered low level stystem is fun tactics-wise, because everyone has a chance of getting heals, and little utility abilities without out-shining the class character who has the same spells. A lot more healing goes on in battles, on both the Character's side and the DM's NPCs – most interesting of all people begin to roleplay their race a lot better because they 'feel' the character better due to the progressions.