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View Full Version : Paleborn: A wraith in a human prison [3.5 PC race]



Jarrick
2010-10-14, 10:38 PM
I'll do a more complete writeup on the fluff when I come up with it. This is for a new campaign setting I'm planning out where planar incursions (The result of a great planar cataclysm) are allowing horrible things to leak onto the material plane, in this case negative energy. The important parts are there, I'm just concerned about balance issues. I think with all the drawbacks its ok, if a little dangerous to have around at low levels.

PEACH THIS PLEASE :smallbiggrin:



PALEBORN
http://www.earth-2.net/wallpaper/full/Wraith_001.jpg

In places where negative energy is prevalent, it sometimes corrupts infants in the womb, twisting and warping their very souls into an undead creature. This creature would break free and wreak havoc, were it not for the fleshy prison that keeps it in check. Such infants are born with deathly pale features, white hair, and empty eyes. These are the Paleborn, and they are forever at war with their own souls.


Racial Traits:

Medium Humanoid (Paleborn)

-2 Con. A Palebornís soul is eager for release, and works against the Palebornís good health.

30ft base land speed

Darkvision 60ft

+2 racial bonus on Hide, Jump, Move Silently, and Tumble checks. Paleborn seem to almost float when moving acrobatically. They are also unnaturally quiet and good at remaining unseen.

Undead Soul (Su): A paleborn's soul is undead, which has a number of effects. First, it always detects as evil and undead in addition to its actual alignment and type when subject to divination spells and effects, such as detect evil and detect undead. If the Paleborn is in the area of a turn or rebuke attempt and would be effected if it were an undead creature of its HD, it is instead Dazed for one round. Lastly, while within the area of a Desecrate spell or effect, the Paleborn's spirit is bolstered and impassioned, granting the paleborn a +1 profane bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws. Likewise when it is within the area of a Consecrate spell, its spirit becomes restless and agitated, imposing a -1 penalty to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws.

Unnatural Aura (Su): Animals, whether wild or domesticated, can sense the unnatural presence of a Paleborn at a distance of 10 feet. They will not willingly approach nearer than that and are shaken if forced to do so; they remain shaken as long as they are within that range. A Paleborn takes a -4 penalty to all handle animal and ride checks involving animals as a result.

Incorporeal touch (Su): A Paleborn can briefly manifest its spiritís ghostly nature in its hand to disrupt the life force of a living creature. Paleborn have an incorporeal touch attack that deals 1d4 points of damage to a living creature hit by it. As an incorporeal attack, this attack has no strength modifier to damage, and attack rolls with it use the Palebornís Dexterity modifier instead of its Strength.

Sense life (Su): Paleborn are supernaturally aware of the condition of living creatures around them. They instantly know whether any creature they can see within thirty feet is dead, fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left), fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points), undead, or neither alive nor dead (such as a construct). This ability sees through any spell or ability that allows creatures to feign death.

Spirit Release (Su): Once per day as a swift action, a Paleborn can lower the vital boundaries keeping its spirit in check, allowing it to become incorporeal. It gains all the benefits and drawbacks of the incorporeal subtype and flies at a speed equal to its base land speed with perfect maneuverability. A Paleborn can remain incorporeal until the beginning of its next turn without penalty, but it can also, however, choose to remain incorporeal for additional rounds. Doing so causes the paleborn to become Fatigued if it remains incorporeal for two rounds and exhausted after the third round. After remaining incorporeal for four rounds, the paleborn dies, as it loses grasp of its own life force. These effects take affect immediately when the Paleborn becomes corporeal again. When the Paleborn returns to solid form, attempting to go incorporeal again with this ability within 24 hours automatically results in the paleborn's death as mentioned above.

Death Release: Upon dying the Paleborn's undead soul breaks free 1d4 days later and becomes a free-willed Wraith under the control of the DM. This entity has a mind of its own, and immediately attacks the nearest living creatures to the best of its ability. Once its wraith has escaped, no resurrection magic outside of a True Resurrection or Wish spell can revive a dead Paleborn, unless its wraith is subdued and present at the time of casting.

Languages: Common

Bonus languages: Any

Favored class: Any

DaragosKitsune
2010-10-15, 12:31 AM
Wow, good little roguish utility abilities. I don't think I've seen a time bomb like this before. Wouldn't want to play one at low levels, That's for sure. Wouldn't want my death/failed will save to be a TPK.

Jarrick
2010-10-15, 12:48 AM
Heh, yeah I didnt have rogues in mind when I started making the race, it just worked out that way. As for the TPK, 3rd level or so should prevent that. The wraith does attack the nearest living things though, meaning if you're lucky, it will attack your enemies first and buy the party a couple of rounds of blasting. :smallamused:

The idea was they'd be Ok for one round per day, but in the event that more was needed, they could put their lives on the line to accomplish what they were attempting to do.

I was thinking about giving them +1 to saves vs. Sleep, stunning, paralysis, poison, and disease to reflect their semi-undead nature. Maybe +2. Too much? Thoughts?

Kellus
2010-10-15, 12:54 AM
This is actually a really cool idea, and a pretty good execution. I like the little details, like the way animals won't go near them. Unfortunately, you should never have something like the spirit release ability on a PC race. It's just not good for the game. It sounds cool in theory, but actually having a PC die because he botched his own saving throw really sucks in the middle of a game. There are ways to do incorporeality reasonably for a PC race, but putting in a drawback of BUT YOU MIGHT DIE isn't a good one. It's always tempting to try to balance out huge positives for any homebrew with huge negatives, but the huge negatives affect the game a lot more.

Jarrick
2010-10-15, 01:07 AM
This is actually a really cool idea, and a pretty good execution. I like the little details, like the way animals won't go near them. Unfortunately, you should never have something like the spirit release ability on a PC race. It's just not good for the game. It sounds cool in theory, but actually having a PC die because he botched his own saving throw really sucks in the middle of a game. There are ways to do incorporeality reasonably for a PC race, but putting in a drawback of BUT YOU MIGHT DIE isn't a good one. It's always tempting to try to balance out huge positives for any homebrew with huge negatives, but the huge negatives affect the game a lot more.

I was originally going to make it a flat one round per day, but I wanted to give them the option to last longer, but at grave risk. That they have the power, but using it too much might kill them is kind of cool. It could work either way, though. Either way you get one safe round of incorporeality a day. Which version you choose between the two depends on how much you trust your players not to stupidly abuse their powers. :smallamused:

I'm sure there's a better idea that I'm not thinking of though. How about after the second round, they're fatigued (until they rest) when they rematerialize and after the third they're exhausted. After the fourth, they die and we have problems.

Aran Banks
2010-10-15, 01:22 AM
Unlike the other guys, I really don't like the execution here... though the concept is fine.

The basic mechanic is "weird and situationally OP ability, then another, and then rocket launcher tag with yourself".

Give them Lifesense to 30' or whatever, and make that unnatural aura not have any effect on animals. I mean, panicked is a big thing. It means that Paleborns will basically auto-win encounters against animals, and immunity [animals] is a solid advantage. Druids would be pissed. Anyways, make that Extraordinary (so it applies all the time, even in antimagic fields) and make it so animals just don't like Paleborns. No detrimental effects.

DISCUSSION OF INCORPOREALITY
Incorporeality is crazy at level 1. It gives you the ability to totally ignore your opponent, and then pop out and stab them in the face for SA damage or something. It's "balanced" by the potential of your player killing himself and the DM taking the character over... but that's not a nice balance. You shouldn't have to balance things that way.

Paleborns should have, for ChaMod (or whatever relevant statmod... maybe ConMod, since it takes a penalty) + 3 rounds in a day, they get a 5% miss chance per every HD they have (so it's about as good as blur at level 4, and you can't use it as much). But it takes a swift or maybe a move action to activate...

Alternately, you could say that if a Paleborn spends 1 round (not just a full-round action) doing nothing but focusing, they get that 5%/HD ability for 1 round, which can be improved with feats.

In either situation, the miss chance applies to their attacks as well (also spells), which should be negatable with a feat.

Also, drop that "wraith craziness!" nonsense. It's annoying to lose a character because of a racial ability... or any of your own abilities, for that matter.

You might even be able to drop the con penalty this way... assuming your balance point is the human.

LOTRfan
2010-10-15, 07:14 AM
I really like this idea. Just a couple of questions:

If the Paleborn have undead souls, are the effects of positive and negative energy reversed like common undead, or does its living body affected as normal?

How does it react to turning/rebuking?

If the wraith is killed, is the soul destroyed, or does it go to one of the outer planes? If it does go to one of the outer planes, is it sent to a specific one because of its condition?

On a semi-related note, will you be making races like this for all the planes? If so, consider me very interested.

Jarrick
2010-10-15, 07:42 AM
Unlike the other guys, I really don't like the execution here... though the concept is fine.

The basic mechanic is "weird and situationally OP ability, then another, and then rocket launcher tag with yourself".

Give them Lifesense to 30' or whatever, and make that unnatural aura not have any effect on animals. I mean, panicked is a big thing. It means that Paleborns will basically auto-win encounters against animals, and immunity [animals] is a solid advantage. Druids would be pissed. Anyways, make that Extraordinary (so it applies all the time, even in antimagic fields) and make it so animals just don't like Paleborns. No detrimental effects.

DISCUSSION OF INCORPOREALITY
Incorporeality is crazy at level 1. It gives you the ability to totally ignore your opponent, and then pop out and stab them in the face for SA damage or something. It's "balanced" by the potential of your player killing himself and the DM taking the character over... but that's not a nice balance. You shouldn't have to balance things that way.

Paleborns should have, for ChaMod (or whatever relevant statmod... maybe ConMod, since it takes a penalty) + 3 rounds in a day, they get a 5% miss chance per every HD they have (so it's about as good as blur at level 4, and you can't use it as much). But it takes a swift or maybe a move action to activate...

Alternately, you could say that if a Paleborn spends 1 round (not just a full-round action) doing nothing but focusing, they get that 5%/HD ability for 1 round, which can be improved with feats.

In either situation, the miss chance applies to their attacks as well (also spells), which should be negatable with a feat.

Also, drop that "wraith craziness!" nonsense. It's annoying to lose a character because of a racial ability... or any of your own abilities, for that matter.

You might even be able to drop the con penalty this way... assuming your balance point is the human.

I think lifesense 30 would be way more OP than the animals thing. It's basically blindsense with living creatures. What if it was reduced to shaken, or the range reduced to like 15? I have another race that takes a -4 penalty to ride and handle animal checks because they are similarly unnatural, I suppose I could use that here. The limited incorporeality stays though. For one round a day, its not OP, just useful.


I really like this idea. Just a couple of questions:

If the Paleborn have undead souls, are the effects of positive and negative energy reversed like common undead, or does its living body affected as normal?

They're healed by positive energy, since their body is living.

How does it react to turning/rebuking?

It doesnt, for now... This is an interesting point, I'll have to think on this.

If the wraith is killed, is the soul destroyed, or does it go to one of the outer planes? If it does go to one of the outer planes, is it sent to a specific one because of its condition?

It's destroyed, I think. What would happen to an ordinary wraith?

On a semi-related note, will you be making races like this for all the planes? If so, consider me very interested.

Glad you like it :smallbiggrin: I might be making a few more. Daelkyr halfbloods will be similar representatives of the realm of madness. I'm still in the planning stages on this stuff though.

Milskidasith
2010-10-15, 08:04 AM
Auto panicking all animals is broken and should be nerfed.

The "Turn incorporeal, will save or die" ability should probably be reworked; it's just not ever worth using because a 5% chance of killing yourself is nuts. I'd just make it "incorporeal for one round/4 HD, minimum 1."

If their ability to sense life can see even invis, it needs to be nerfed as well.

TheGeckoKing
2010-10-15, 08:59 AM
How about you can be incorpreal for HD number of rounds, and for every round you over-do it, you take a small amount of damage? Oh, and Unnatural Aura has to go. Panicking things all the time will get annoying, not at least because your party will be annoyed the little bags of XP keep running away.

Zaydos
2010-10-15, 10:23 AM
How about you can be incorpreal for HD number of rounds, and for every round you over-do it, you take a small amount of damage? Oh, and Unnatural Aura has to go. Panicking things all the time will get annoying, not at least because your party will be annoyed the little bags of XP keep running away.

Not the least of which because you still get XP for them (you don't have to kill something only defeat it).

Milskidasith
2010-10-15, 10:37 AM
Not the least of which because you still get XP for them (you don't have to kill something only defeat it).

I wouldn't consider that defeating the animal in any way, and if it did count as defeating it, then this is broken the other way around (go into a... pack? den? of dire bears at level 1, profit.)

Zaydos
2010-10-15, 10:40 AM
I wouldn't consider that defeating the animal in any way, and if it did count as defeating it, then this is broken the other way around (go into a... pack? den? of dire bears at level 1, profit.)

It's broken in that it hurts your allies (Animal Companions) and that it is a no save Save or Lose against a whole category of monsters (animals).

Mordaenor
2010-10-15, 10:52 AM
I like where your going with it, I actually have a game world of my own that this would work well for. The concept that "my soul and I have different alignments" seems wierd to me, because by definition of the word, if my soul is evil, than I am evil, because I am my soul. But if you redefine the term to fit your campaign, more power to you.

I think the Spirit Release should probably be tied to Constitution Damage rather than a single roll of "Boom, your Dead." Especially knowing that if you fail, your party suffers.

Unnatural aura is thematically a good concept, but does need to be nerfed. Perhaps giving the animals a low DC to resist the effect, or restrict the range to only 5 or 10 feet. This prevents the Druid's wolf companion from having a fit.

Zaydos
2010-10-15, 10:54 AM
Possibly make it Shaken (a debuff) instead of panicked (they have to run away).

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-15, 12:40 PM
I have a single suggestion for spirit release, one that may reduce the risks of death at level 1 while making for some interesting situations.

Instead of having the wraith manifest immediately upon death, why not have it materialize 1d4 days later (time spent wriggling from the cage of flesh) much like some forms of create spawn. In this way, you don't automatically start slaying people around you when you die and your party still has a window of at least 1 day to get you revived and prevent the wraith from emerging altogether. Even better, imagine that a party has been carrying your corpse towards town for a couple of days. Are they going to risk carrying you for a third day or will they dump your body to avoid the risk?

Jarrick
2010-10-15, 03:23 PM
Ok, so everyone is saying basically the same things. Instant death = bad, and panicked = hella bad. I can fix those.

I think there's a point that a few people are missing though, I must have worded it poorly. You can be incorporeal for one round, but at the beginning of your next turn you can either become corporeal at no risk, or try to stay incorporeal for another round, which then promts the will save.

I know how I'm going to fix the panic field, but I'm not sure about the incorporeality yet. I have 2 ideas though.

1. After the second round, they're fatigued (until they rest) when they become corporeal and after the third they're exhausted. After the fourth, they die and we have problems. Still discourages them from overextending themselves, but is much more lenient about it and has a set time limit.

2. The Paleborn takes 1 point of Con damage per round after the first. (Maybe even Con drain.) This method fits more thematically, as the wraith attempts to break free at the body's expense. It means that 2 rounds per day arent too bad because next time you rest, you heal the ability damage. If its drain, it means that overextending themselves is a life-altering choice until theyre high enough level to have access to healing magic strong enough to heal ability drain.

Vote for your favorite or propose a new one! :smallbiggrin:

As for putting the delay between time of death and emergence of wraith, Its a cool idea. One I hadnt thought of because my players never bother with resurrection most of the time, preferring instead to just make a new character. I like it for the safety net it creates, but I dont like it at the same time because the wraith doesnt get to break free like its always wanted to and fly screaming at the party. It makes them frightening to even the most jaded players. Hmm... cool fluff, or party safety... :smallconfused: I'll think about it.

jiriku
2010-10-15, 04:21 PM
Thing is, if my group was starting a campaign at level 1 and somebody said "Hey, I'm going to play a Paleborn!" I'd say "Like hell you are!" No WAY am I playing in a group where Joey Joybuzzer is playing a character with a Con penalty and an built-in Russian Roulette option who TPKs the party when he dies. When he gets himself killed doing something stupid because it was "what my character would do" and the wraith eats my face, I will NOT be pleased.

I'd hazard a guess that, even if one of your players is cool with abruptly dying because of his own foolishness, most players in the group will NOT be pleased to have a ticking time bomb traveling in the party.

However, I'll concede that a time delay would make it more reasonable, as it gives the party time enough to get the hell out of Dodge before the wraith appears.

Jarrick
2010-10-15, 04:42 PM
Thing is, if my group was starting a campaign at level 1 and somebody said "Hey, I'm going to play a Paleborn!" I'd say "Like hell you are!" No WAY am I playing in a group where Joey Joybuzzer is playing a character with a Con penalty and an built-in Russian Roulette option who TPKs the party when he dies. When he gets himself killed doing something stupid because it was "what my character would do" and the wraith eats my face, I will NOT be pleased.


I am soooo familiar with this from my early days playing.... :smallannoyed:

SurlySeraph
2010-10-15, 05:30 PM
What about having Spirit Release inflict 1 negative level, no save, per round of incorporealness after the first? Lets it be usable in an emergency at low levels, still a heavy penalty, but predictable enough that you won't have the Rogue turning into a wraith and slaughtering the party. It also scales fairly nicely, letting him survive being incorporeal for one more round each level, though if you don't have Restoration it's unpleasant.
EDIT: On further reflection, I think auto-fatigue as you suggested is best. Con damage isn't too bad, since Lesser Restoration heals 1d4 and 2 rounds of incorporealness is totally worth a 2nd-level spell. And if the character takes a Strongheart Vest or binds Naberius, they can be incorporeal all they want. Con drain or negative levels are too hard to get rid of at low levels, and crippling your character until you can afford Restoration isn't much fun.

Sense Life kind of shuts down a fair number of plots. You might just let them use Deathwatch at will like paladins can use Detect Evil at will; still very useful, but they can't walk into a room, go "That guy's a vampire!" and instantly attack, and there are ways to interfere with it.

I'm not sure about the Incorporeal Touch. As it's (Su) it's a standard action. But it's still an incorporeal touch attack for the same damage as a dagger, meaning that until the character gets iterative attacks it's basically Weapon Finesse plus ignoring armor against all enemies, unarmed, for free. For balance comparison, there's Emerald Razor, a maneuver from Tome of Battle that lets you make one melee attack as a touch attack as a standard action; it's a 2nd-level maneuver, so you can't use it before 3rd level, you can't use it every round, and it's still considered pretty good. I like the flavor and Incorporeal Strike's not broken, but I can see trouble coming from it.
Also, you don't specify whether Incorporeal Touch uses negative energy. This is good. DON'T say that it's negative energy, or all Paleborn will pick up Tomb-Tainted Soul for infinite healing.

I don't think this race is broken, but I would hesitate to allow it at low levels. All of its abilities could be very powerful at low levels, and its drawbacks can be very irritating to the party (scaring the druid's animals, no resurrection so if he dies no more trapfinding), and are potentially powerful weapons (scaring off animals, hiding his body in a closet to use the wraith as an assassin).

At high levels it's more reasonable, but as-is I'm not sure it's balanced enough at low levels. The fear effect from Unnatural Aura is flavorful enough that I think it should stay, my suggestion on Spirit Release is above, and it might be prudent to put some kind of limit on Incorporeal Touch - say, costing 1 hp to use so it's not a no-brainer at low levels.

EDIT: Also, giving +2 to five skills that every single Rogue uses leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Sure Halflings get +2 to four skills and +4 to Hide, but Jump and Climb aren't nearly as important as senses and stealth. It's not overpowered by any means, but it looks excessive. It'll make people think you intended for this race to be an overpowered choice for rogues, and Incorporeal Touch and Spirit Release will solidify that judgment. You might want to drop one or more of those bonuses, or switch them to Knowledge (religion), Sense Motive, or something else that fits the flavor but doesn't come up as much.

And finally, I definitely like the flavor of the abilities. A ghost-touched rogue would be a fun character, someone born with an undead soul that is a cool idea, and you could have a lot of fun getting creative with Incorporeal Touch and Spirit Release. Just be careful about the power level.

Jarrick
2010-10-15, 06:42 PM
What about having Spirit Release inflict 1 negative level, no save, per round of incorporealness after the first? Lets it be usable in an emergency at low levels, still a heavy penalty, but predictable enough that you won't have the Rogue turning into a wraith and slaughtering the party. It also scales fairly nicely, letting him survive being incorporeal for one more round each level, though if you don't have Restoration it's unpleasant.
EDIT: On further reflection, I think auto-fatigue as you suggested is best. Con damage isn't too bad, since Lesser Restoration heals 1d4 and 2 rounds of incorporealness is totally worth a 2nd-level spell. And if the character takes a Strongheart Vest or binds Naberius, they can be incorporeal all they want. Con drain or negative levels are too hard to get rid of at low levels, and crippling your character until you can afford Restoration isn't much fun.

Ok, so one vote for auto fatigue.

Sense Life kind of shuts down a fair number of plots. You might just let them use Deathwatch at will like paladins can use Detect Evil at will; still very useful, but they can't walk into a room, go "That guy's a vampire!" and instantly attack, and there are ways to interfere with it.

Sense life is deathwatch, it's functionally almost identical. I might reduce the range on it though. Like 5 or 10 feet. That way its more like "That guy's a vam...::gets slaughtered by vampire::

I'm not sure about the Incorporeal Touch. As it's (Su) it's a standard action. But it's still an incorporeal touch attack for the same damage as a dagger, meaning that until the character gets iterative attacks it's basically Weapon Finesse plus ignoring armor against all enemies, unarmed, for free.
For balance comparison, there's Emerald Razor, a maneuver from Tome of Battle that lets you make one melee attack as a touch attack as a standard action; it's a 2nd-level maneuver, so you can't use it before 3rd level, you can't use it every round, and it's still considered pretty good. I like the flavor and Incorporeal Strike's not broken, but I can see trouble coming from it.

For 1d4 damage, period. No Str. The only way to increase this damage is with things like sneak attack. And it only works against living targets.

Also, you don't specify whether Incorporeal Touch uses negative energy. This is good. DON'T say that it's negative energy, or all Paleborn will pick up Tomb-Tainted Soul for infinite healing.

Yes, that was intentional. :smallwink:

I don't think this race is broken, but I would hesitate to allow it at low levels. All of its abilities could be very powerful at low levels, and its drawbacks can be very irritating to the party (scaring the druid's animals, no resurrection so if he dies no more trapfinding), and are potentially powerful weapons (scaring off animals, hiding his body in a closet to use the wraith as an assassin).

That's just not right, lol.

At high levels it's more reasonable, but as-is I'm not sure it's balanced enough at low levels. The fear effect from Unnatural Aura is flavorful enough that I think it should stay, my suggestion on Spirit Release is above, and it might be prudent to put some kind of limit on Incorporeal Touch - say, costing 1 hp to use so it's not a no-brainer at low levels.

EDIT: Also, giving +2 to five skills that every single Rogue uses leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Sure Halflings get +2 to four skills and +4 to Hide, but Jump and Climb aren't nearly as important as senses and stealth. It's not overpowered by any means, but it looks excessive. It'll make people think you intended for this race to be an overpowered choice for rogues, and Incorporeal Touch and Spirit Release will solidify that judgment. You might want to drop one or more of those bonuses, or switch them to Knowledge (religion), Sense Motive, or something else that fits the flavor but doesn't come up as much.

I was thinking that in the back of my mind. It really wasnt intentional to make this race so rogue-friendly, it just worked out that way. :smalltongue: I used the bonuses a ghost gets to its skills and threw in move silently because, well, incorporeal things are silent. I can pare out some of the awareness though without much of a loss and make some proper replacements.

And finally, I definitely like the flavor of the abilities. A ghost-touched rogue would be a fun character, someone born with an undead soul that is a cool idea, and you could have a lot of fun getting creative with Incorporeal Touch and Spirit Release. Just be careful about the power level.

I'm a fan of necromancy. What can I say? Glad you like it. :smallbiggrin:
My Night-touched race in my sig is descended from vampires, you might check it out too if you're interested. They're kind of like shifters.


Edit: Ok, I reduced the fear effect's range, and changed the skill bonuses. I like these better. Sense life is unchanged for now.

SurlySeraph
2010-10-15, 11:02 PM
For 1d4 damage, period. No Str. The only way to increase this damage is with things like sneak attack. And it only works against living targets.

No Str bonus isn't a problem for a rogue. Sneak Attack, Craven, Dex from Shadow Blade, Int from Swashbuckler, and various and sundry weapons enhancements are the main ways for rogues to get damage. Plus Sneak Attack usually only works against living targets.

In any case, I definitely like this, and all the changes you've made are good ones.

Night-Touched are pretty cool as well; modeling them after shifters to let the character focus on a particular aspect of vampirism is a nice touch. And looking at their racial feats, it occurred to me that Paleborn pretty much cries out for racial feats.

Jarrick
2010-10-16, 07:10 PM
Ok, so 24 hours and no further votes, I guess I'll go with the Fatigue>Exhaustion>Death model.

flabort
2010-10-16, 08:31 PM
I'm envisioning a Paleborn Paladin, entering the Sacred Temple where he, and the Holy Order of Paladins to which he belongs, was raised.
*beep!* *beep!* *beep!*
Paladins leap out of "hiding", as their detect evil goes off, cries of "SMITE IT FOR THE GOOD OF PELOR!" ring out, and blades bounce harmlessly off his skin.
...
"Oh, it's you. Welcome back," says whichever paladin. They realize who it is, their "brother". "Guys," he replies, "Once again, DO YOU SEE THAT ONLY A PORTION OF ME DOES THAT?!"

I'd take the next step, now, and produce some fun substitution levels for this race.
Also, does a Paleborn necessarily have to be born to a human? An Elf, Dwarf, or even better, an ogre, could be hit by the same effect. Logically, this would work as a template. However, I'm not going to put that stress on you. After all, to make it into a template, you'd have to nerf everything even more.

Jarrick
2010-10-16, 08:39 PM
Well, humans were the default idea, but a template might be cool too, of course like you said, you'd have to nerf it a lot or give it a LA. Lets say for now that human souls are the only common souls restless enough to be effected this way. :smallwink:

But anyways, yeah, feats, substitution levels, PrCs, if you guys have any suggestions, throw them at me and I'll post the ones that stick in the OP. I'll more likely than not include them when I compile and print out the setting for my group too. :smallbiggrin:

Edit: Incidentally, how does the Phantom template in MM5 get away without a level adjustment? :smallmad:

Aran Banks
2010-10-16, 09:32 PM
Incorporeality in general just sits bad with me if it's at level 1... there MUST be some way to abuse that.

Jarrick
2010-10-16, 10:16 PM
Well, lets think about some published level one adventures:

The Sunless Citadel: Lets you get into (But not out of) the locked path leading to the failed dragonpriest near the dungeon's beginning. So you'll most likely die facing him or the imp. Lets you bypass entire corridors, but you're isolated and what's on the other side might be worse than the room you left.

The Burning Plague: Maybe you can use it to get behind the kolbold barricades near the mine's beginning, but then you're surrounded by kobolds. You can fly up to the kolbolds' lair, but then you are staring at not only an entire village of kobolds, but their leader who is a sorcerer IIRC.

The Forgotten Forge (Eberron): You can get inside the Forge without having to find the secret entrance, but the two iron defenders would then proceed to likely ruin your day.


So in conclusion, walking through walls leaves you isolated and possibly trapped and maneuvering around your enemies likely makes you a target. Incorporeality is really only broken when you can use it for multiple rounds.

flabort
2010-10-16, 10:46 PM
I'm thinking Paladin, Druid, and barbarian should have some substitution levels, somewhere, and maybe rouge.

I'll see if I can make some... paladin? Nope. not me. never mind.

Jarrick
2010-10-17, 02:24 PM
I'm not too familiar with the intricate details of Incarnum, but from what I do know, this concept practically demands that something be done with Necrocarnum.

flabort
2010-10-17, 06:06 PM
Really, though. Far as I can tell, a Paleborn would show up on a detect evil radar regardless of alignment.
A good aligned paleborn would show up on both detect good and evil!
I'd rule it like that, anyways.

Fun times ahead, fun times ahead. :belkar:

Jarrick
2010-10-17, 06:56 PM
Really, though. Far as I can tell, a Paleborn would show up on a detect evil radar regardless of alignment.
A good aligned paleborn would show up on both detect good and evil!
I'd rule it like that, anyways.

Fun times ahead, fun times ahead. :belkar:

Hmm... If I add that in, and also give them some sort of drawback when they're "turned" (Like dazed for 1 round), I could probably give them the +1 to saves vs sleep, stun, paralysis, poison, and disease that I was thinking about earlier. How does that sound, playground?

flabort
2010-10-17, 07:09 PM
Well, showing up on a detect evil radar is more Fun Flavor (TM). Remember what happened to :roy: when :miko: got a false reading?
nothing.
I'd say the turning drawback would... Well, it would balance the +2 to Jump, hide, move silently, and tumble that it already gets.
A +1 to those saves your thinking of would not fit flavorfully. A -1 would make more sense, as their metabolism is busy dealing with you-know-what, and can't spare anything to fight sleep/stun/paralysis/disease/poison. Or a -2. And then you could give them a bonus feat (as humans) in exchange for the penalty.

Jarrick
2010-10-17, 07:42 PM
Well, showing up on a detect evil radar is more Fun Flavor (TM). Remember what happened to :roy: when :miko: got a false reading?
nothing.

Yeah, he was attacked. Against a more normal paladin he'd be heavily mistrusted to say the least, which means he'd probably have a hard time getting healed. It may seem like a flavor thing, but it has some mechanical implecations too.

I'd say the turning drawback would... Well, it would balance the +2 to Jump, hide, move silently, and tumble that it already gets.
A +1 to those saves your thinking of would not fit flavorfully. A -1 would make more sense, as their metabolism is busy dealing with you-know-what, and can't spare anything to fight sleep/stun/paralysis/disease/poison. Or a -2. And then you could give them a bonus feat (as humans) in exchange for the penalty.

Those are the conditions that undead are typically immune to. It would make sense that being partially undead would make them resistant.

I could have them detect as undead too. Heck, maybe even make them vulnerable to attacks that target undead, like sunburst, or undead-bane weapons if that would even it out. Thoughts?

Zaydos
2010-10-17, 07:54 PM
I'll point out there are times you want to detect as evil, it helps with infiltration. In most campaigns it will never come up and in others it can come up either way so it's not really a disadvantage.

Jarrick
2010-10-17, 09:25 PM
Added a new racial trait with sundry effects. Good? Not so good?

AugustNights
2010-10-18, 06:16 AM
Thoughts, only thoughts:

Unnatural Aura: It seems strange that a Dire grizzly bear would be shaken by a weak little ghost soul, perhaps it could effect Animals of up to HD equal tot eh Paleborn's HD+2 (or another arbitrary number.)

Why do Paleborn favor rogues? It seems to me, if I were born with a dead soul and frail body I would respond by studying the energies that created me. Wizard or Cleric seem much more reasonable to me. I realize they are well built to be rogues, and maybe I'm just curious by nature, but I image magic is more along the ally.

Spirit Release: Just to clarify, the entire creature becomes incorporeal, the Paleborn doesn't exit its body in a controlled wraith form leaving behind a vulnerable target that it must return to, yes?

Qwertystop
2010-10-18, 06:43 AM
What are the stats of the released wraith? I am going to use this in a campaign and I wan to make sure I have them ahead of time. Also, is it OK if I play that the wraith stops being insane (attacking wildly) after a short time, and can be bargained with by either side of the combat, but is generally opposed to what the Paleborn would have done?

Jarrick
2010-10-18, 06:52 AM
Thoughts, only thoughts:

Unnatural Aura: It seems strange that a Dire grizzly bear would be shaken by a weak little ghost soul, perhaps it could effect Animals of up to HD equal tot eh Paleborn's HD+2 (or another arbitrary number.)

That makes sense. I'll make the change after work today.

Why do Paleborn favor rogues? It seems to me, if I were born with a dead soul and frail body I would respond by studying the energies that created me. Wizard or Cleric seem much more reasonable to me. I realize they are well built to be rogues, and maybe I'm just curious by nature, but I image magic is more along the ally.

It was an arbitrary descision based on their strong points. :smalltongue: Monk would be a good choice too, because it helps them focus their minds and discipline their bodies to be strong. The better to keep their inner wraith at bay. The setting these guys were made for doesnt have wizards or clerics. Dread necromancer, beguiler, heck even ninja would fit. Honestly our group doesnt impose the penalty for multiclassing anyways. :smalltongue:

Spirit Release: Just to clarify, the entire creature becomes incorporeal, the Paleborn doesn't exit its body in a controlled wraith form leaving behind a vulnerable target that it must return to, yes?

Yes, the entire creature becomes incorporeal. I was thinking about a feat later on that would let them separate their wrait from themselves temporarily, like a summoned creature.

Edit:

What are the stats of the released wraith? I am going to use this in a campaign and I wan to make sure I have them ahead of time. Also, is it OK if I play that the wraith stops being insane (attacking wildly) after a short time, and can be bargained with by either side of the combat, but is generally opposed to what the Paleborn would have done?

Its getting used? Cool! :smallbiggrin: The released wraith is a normal wraith, as statted out in the monster manual. Letting the wraith calm down and be bargained with or whatever is fine, the important thing there was not to let the Paleborn's player decide he wants to play the wraith instead. I dont know about you guys, but if the wraith was under PC control, my group would see a lot of paleborn suicides.

flabort
2010-10-18, 10:52 AM
Undead soul is almost perfect, just the finishing touch to the racial abilities.
However, wouldn't players be in combat within desecrated areas more frequently than in consecrated areas?

And maybe add something, a sub-clause of sorts, where, if they use Spirit release inside a desecrated area... Saving throw or lose control? but make it an easy throw to make.
This may re-instate the save-or-die, as the wraith would want to escape, and therefore would cause you to remain incorporeal for 4 rounds, killing you, but letting him free.


on the topic of Substitution levels:
-Wizard/sorcerer could use the separated idea instead of a familiar. This could grant a bonus to the necromancy school, but bar the paleborn from certain schools.
-Rouge.... doesn't really need substitution levels. The flavor fits, the abilities fit... It's already perfect for a paleborn.
-Paladins could replace smite evil and lay on hands with... something... OK, I don't know, but the abilities don't fit with a paleborn, it seems. How about extra time/uses of spirit release?
-Again with paladins, the mount. a paladin would really suffer from -4 to ride and handle animal, considering said mount. the mount could be replaced by... flight?
-Druids. Oh, druids, and their animal companions. Really, we COULD prevent paleborns from becoming druids at all, or... I have no idea what to replace anything with here. We'd end up mangling the class like no-one would believe.
-Barbarians rage is based off of emotion. Wild, turgid pools of emotion inside, being let out. Hmm. What's inside the paleborn, that it could let out? That's right. The wraith. I'd emphasize any substitution levels in barbarian on Incorporeal Touch.

Zaydos
2010-10-18, 11:01 AM
A paladin's mount is a magical beast not an animal, just like a familiar, so it's not affected by the unnatural aura. I'd actually like to see a substitution level that made the mount into a phantom creature of some sort.

flabort
2010-10-18, 11:15 AM
Ok, but that still leaves the druid with that problem. Their animal companion remains an animal...

Zaydos
2010-10-18, 11:23 AM
Possibly a shadow elemental companion? Or some soul of the dead that accompanies you instead of an animal, giving you bonuses to skill checks as opposed to being the combat brute that the animal companion is. Or just use the Avenging Druid ACF (trades Animal Companion and suffers -4 to Wild Empathy to gain rage), or the Shapeshifter Druid from PHBII.

AugustNights
2010-10-18, 01:37 PM
What about the Umbral template from Tome of Magic? I don't have the book on hand, but if I remember right it's rather low CR and some decent shadowy bonuses? Does it change type? Would make for good mounts/animal companions.

Jarrick
2010-10-18, 05:40 PM
For paladin, instead of summoning a special mount, they could do Phantom Steed as a caster of their level in exchange for, well, probably a little more than just the special mount, since phantom steed is awesome.

For the druid, probably focus on hunting and slaying the undead, since they're experts in the matter of the unliving and know what trouble they can cause. Maybe trade the animal companion for Favored Enemy: Undead that improves as you level? Or maybe something like the warlock's shadowy companion thing from PHb2?

For the barbarian, I totally agree that something cool and ghostly needs to be done with Rage. Like a Dex and Cha bonus and maybe a 20% miss chance against enemy attacks, immunity to sleep, stun, and paralysis, and the ability to deal con damage with their touch + their Cha modifier to damage with their touch while raging instead of what barbarians usually get.

Wizards/sorcs, meh. I could live with or without anything for them. Maybe one that lets sorcs add 1 more necromancy spell to their spells known per spell level. Or lets them use the divine or arcane versions of necromancy spells, whichever is more beneficial.

Edit: Upon furthur consideration, I dont think I'm going to change the animal fear aura like I said I was earlier. The wraith's has no such HD limitation, and functions at a much longer range and panics instead of shakens, so yeah, I think its reduced enough without adding a HD cap.

Edit Edit: Added a pic link in the OP, for a general idea of their appearance. I understand the character pictured is some kind of comic book hero, but I know nothing about him, just for the record.

Edit Edit Edit: Is anyone actually working on this stuff? Just curious... :smallbiggrin:

Antonok
2010-10-21, 05:55 PM
This is prolly gonna sound, and probably is overpowered, but it'd be cool if they could take a feat or something that while incorporeal they could try to possess a living creature.

Actually, I just had a good idea for a PrC based on this ability.

Jarrick
2010-10-22, 07:33 PM
This race has inspired a series of races (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=173003) that ChumpLump and myself are collaborating on. If you like this race, head over there and check them out, or comment on this race. :smallbiggrin:

Note: The Paleborn do not posess the Deadborn subtype as listed on that thread. :smallwink: