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View Full Version : Moles, Ivy, and Beetles, 3.5, updated 5/12/12, PEACH still welcome



Baphomet
2012-05-08, 09:03 PM
After some thought (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=242530) I decided that there needed to be more creatures out there without ability score or level adjustment. After all, why should it be that nearly all creatures are so vastly different from the average in terms of physical and mental abilities, except for humans? So then I had to think, well, what are some things that would make it worth picking a race besides ability scores, that stacks up favorably with the human's bonus feat and skills, while still remaining LA +0? The Half-elf's low light vision, paltry skill bonuses, and dual citizenship definitely don't cut it, and neither does a Maenad's small psionic boosts.

I might come up with some more later, and these three probably need some tweaking, but here's some that I've come up with for now.

I am concerned about the balance both of the races and of the paragon classes. Hopefully the races should remain LA +0, and the classes should be balanced. Help me make sure that remains the case.


http://i45.tinypic.com/2nvcsj.png

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Talpid (AKA Moleman)
Talpids are short, furry creatures vaguely resembling bipedal star-nosed moles. They tend to stand around 3 ft. tall on average, and have large clawed hands. These claws are dull and not useful for attacking, but when pressed together they form a shovel-like shape that makes a very apt digging tool. Their bodies are covered in short, shiny fur, usually grey, black, or brown. Talpids have very keen senses except for sight; their large milky white eyes, when seen open, appear blank and unfocused.

Talpids tend to wear simple, unadorned clothing in grey or brown, which is almost always dirty. Though visually uninteresting, their garments often feature interesting textural elements. Talpids are sometimes described as "cuddly" or "touchy-feely" by many aboveground races, because of their predisposition towards feeling their acquaintance's textures or pressing their noses to them and sniffing.

Talpid societies are, naturally, found exclusively underground, where they create vast dwellings in a network of tunnels. Talpids are typically very well-acquainted with fellow members of their societies, about whom they know just about everything. They often expect full transparency from any adventuring companions as well, and are keen collectors of gossip.

Talpid Traits
Small Size: As a Small creature, a Talpid gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a Ė4 size penalty on grapple checks, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but it must use Small weapons and its lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
Monstrous Humanoid: Among other effects, Talpids are not subject to spells or effects that affect humanoids only, such as Charm Person or Dominate Person.
Speeds: Talpids' base land speed is 20 feet.
Poor Eyesight (Ex): Talpids' eyes are nearly useless due to living most of their lives underground in complete darkness. A Talpid cannot see anything more than 10 ft. away, cannot discern colors, and cannot read written language (but can read languages whose writing is based on touch) or generally discern any fine visual detail on objects, even up close. Additionally, a Talpid becomes dazzled in bright sunlight or in the effects of a daylight spell unless he closes his eyes. He is immune to illusions that require visual acuity, and immune to gaze attacks made by creatures greater than 10 ft. away. Any creatures outside the range of his blindsight or tremorsense have total concealment against him.
Blindsight (Ex): A Talpid can sense the location of objects within 30 ft. using a combination of sound, smell, and vibration.
Tremorsense (Ex): Talpids are at home digging in the earth, and are very sensitive to vibrations. A Talpid in contact with the ground can pinpoint the location of any moving object or creature also in contact with the ground within 60 ft.
Scent (Ex): A Talpid's nose is very keen, and he can recognize familiar scents as easily as humans can recognize familiar sights.
Keen Hearing: Talpids gain a racial +4 bonus to Listen.
Natural Digger (Ex): A Talpid may spend a full minute of digging in dirt or loose rocks to produce a 5-foot-wide, 10-foot-deep tunnel suitable for a medium or smaller creature to walk through. This tunnel may go in any direction horizontally or slope 45 degrees down or up. A DC 15 Strength check can collapse one 5-foot square of the tunnel. A Talpid may take another minute to reinforce any area of the tunnel, increasing the DC by 5 up to a maximum of 25. Creatures in a collapsed area must succeed a DC 15 reflex save or be pinned beneath rubble as per the earthquake spell. Talpids may not move if trapped this way (by this means or by the earthquake spell) but do not take damage as other creatures would and may dig themselves out.
Alignment: Any. The best and worst are found among Talpid societies.
Languages: Talpid Braille and Common
Bonus Languages: Undercommon, Terran, Goblin, Draconic
Favored Class: Fighter, Ranger, or Cleric.

Talpid Paragon
Hit Die: d6
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special
1|+1|+2|+0|+2|Track bonus feat, Burrow 5 ft.
2|+2|+3|+0|+3|Tremorsense 120 ft., Stonecunning
3|+3|+3|+1|+3|Blindsight 60 ft., Iron claws, Burrow 10 ft.
[/table]
Skills: (4 + Int modifier, x4 at first level) Talpid Paragons' class skills are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge: History (Int), Knowledge: Local (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Cha), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex)
Stonecunning (Ex): This ability grants a Talpid a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isnít stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A Talpid who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if he were actively searching, and a Talpid can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A Talpid can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.
Iron claws (Su): The Talpid's claws are very adept at digging through even the toughest materials. He may now burrow through solid, nonmagical stone at half his usual burrow speed.


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Lilikin
Lilikins resemble thin, greenish-brown armless humanoids covered in green, thickly-interwoven vines with large red or purple flowers. A Lilikin's arms are formed from long, prehensile vines that are woven or braided and draped in large flowers or leaves, terminating in an unwoven portion that vaguely resembles a hand. These arms are exceptionally long, and Lilikins tend to either drag them along behind or wrap them around their bodies when they aren't using them.

Lilikins have a strong desire to travel, and live for new sights and experience. They often marvel at the beauty of things that other creatures find mundane. They greatly enjoy music, stories, and intimate companionship, but they tend to tell long rambling tales without much point if not stopped.

Lilikin Traits
Medium Size: Lilikins have no special bonuses or penalties due to size.
Speed: Lilikin's Base land speed is 30 ft.
Plant type: Lilikins, being plants, are not subject to spells that rely on the subject having a similar physiology to humans. They are immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning, and do not need to sleep. However, unlike normal plants, Lilikins are vulnerable to mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), though they gain a +4 bonus to their save against such effects. Also unlike plants, Lilikins are vulnerable to critical hits. Lilikins are not subject to spells that affect humanoids only. The spell plant growth can be cast at a range of touch on a Lilikin, in which case it behaves like enlarge person cast on a humanoid. Likewise, diminish plants can be cast on a Lilikin, behaving like reduce person.
Low-light vision: Lilikins can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of shadowy illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Reach (Ex): Lilikin's two vine-like arms are longer than the limbs of most creatures of its size, but it is tiring for them to keep them extended to their full range at all times. Lilikin can make attacks at a distance of twice normal, but their threat range is typical for their size. A Lilikin may stabilize herself as a move action. If she does so, she threatens all the area she can reach until the beginning of her next turn.
Vulnerability to Fire (Ex): Lilikins' plant bodies are exceptionally vulnerable to being burned. They take 50% more damage than normal from any fire energy effect.
Alignment: Lilikins tend fairly strongly towards chaotic alignments and slightly towards good, but any alignment can be found in their population.
Languages: Common and Sylvan
Bonus Languages: Any
Favored Class: Rogue, Bard, or Barbarian

Lilikin Paragon
Hit Die: d8
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special
1|+0|+2|+2|+0|Improved Reach, DR 1/cold iron
2|+1|+3|+3|+0|Botanical Maturity
3|+2|+3|+3|+1|DR 3/cold iron, Out of the Frying Pan
[/table]
Skills: (4+Int Modifier, x4 at first level) Lilikin Paragon's class skills are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Knowledge: nature (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Tumble (Dex)
Improved Reach (Ex): The Lilikin may now attack three times as far as a normal creature of her size, and constantly threatens twice as far as normal. However, she can no longer stabilize herself to threaten her full reach.
Botanical Maturity (Ex): The Lilikin gains the full effects of her plant heritage, gaining an immunity to mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects) and no longer being vulnerable to critical hits.
Out of the Frying Pan (Ex): The Lilikin's plantlike body has adapted to burns, and the Lilikin loses her vulnerability to fire ability.



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Carabi
Carabi are large, round, beetle-like creatures. They usually stand about four and a half feet tall, and have short, squat legs and four thin segmented arms ending in small, four-fingered hands. They also bear a chitinous shell on their backs, which reaches from behind their heads to the ground. This shell is covered in odd patterns unique to each individual Carabi.

Carabi are typically friendly and industrious creatures. They have a reputation for being rather quick-witted for an insectoid race, though in truth their mental abilities are on par with a human's. Carabi love brightly-colored objects and clothing, and Carabi attire is often mismatched in an effort to display as many different colors as possible.

Carabi Traits
Medium Size: Carabi have no special bonuses or penalties due to size.
Speed: Carabi base land speed is 20 ft.
Monstrous Humanoid type: Among other effects, Carabi are not subject to spells or effects that affect humanoids only, such as Charm Person or Dominate Person.
Darkvision: Carabi can see in black and white out to a distance of 60 ft. in areas with no light.
Natural Armor: A Carabi's chitinous exoskeleton grants them +4 natural armor.
Hard-shelled (Ex): Carabi have a hard, curved shell on their backs which is covered in strange, naturally-occurring patterns. Carabi may, as a standard action, protect themselves with this shell as if using the concealment-granting effects of a tower shield. The Carabi gains total concealment, though opponents may attack the shell directly. The Carabi may not attack while hiding, and additionally must restrain her movements while hidden in a way that gives her a 50% arcane spell failure chance. The Carabi may stop hiding under her shell as a swift action. This shell has hardness 5 and 20 hit points. Additionally, this shell grows naturally with odd patterns that disrupt spells. Treat the Carabi as if she has spell resistance equal to 11+the Carabi's hit dice while she conceals herself with the shell. The shell fully heals naturally when the Carabi rests unless it is completely destroyed, in which case it takes 1d4 days to regrow.
Extra Arms (Ex): Carabi have four arms: two primary limbs and a secondary, weaker set of arms. Their weaker limbs are poorly suited to carrying weapons or shields, but they do an excellent job of providing stability and support to the upper limbs. The Carabi's extra limbs allow her to use weapons one size category larger than normal without penalty. The Carabi's secondary arms must be free for her to gain this benefit. This benefit does not extend to larger weapons. For example, a Carabi can wield a Large longsword with a single primary arm without penalty by steadying the blade's pommel with her lower limb. A Carabi can wield a pair of two-handed weapons by using all four of her limbs. The Carabi gains the full benefits of wielding a two-handed weapon, such as 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus on damage rolls. The Carabi suffers the standard penalty for fighting with two weapons and carrying a non-light weapon in her off hand.
Alignment: Carabi are usually lawful, and range from good to evil in equal quantity.
Languages: Common and Carabi
Bonus Languages: Any
Favored Class: Paladin, Wizard, or Fighter.

Carabi Paragon
Hit Die: d8
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special
1|+1|+0|+2|+0|Strong Arms
2|+2|+0|+3|+0|Improved Chitin
3|+3|+1|+3|+1|Disjunctive Shell
[/table]
Skills: A Carabi Paragon's class skills are Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spot (Wis)
Strong Arms: The Carabi is better at using all four of her arms to make attacks. She gains the Multiweapon Fighting feat as a bonus feat.
Improved Chitin (Ex): The Carabi's natural armor bonus increases by 4. Her shell's hardness increases to 15, and its hit points increase to 40.
Disjunctive Shell (Ex): The patterns on the Carabi's shell shift to become completely destructive to magic targeted at it. When using her hard-shelled ability to grant herself cover using her shell, she gains complete immunity to magic.

Baphomet
2012-05-10, 11:27 AM
This is the last time I'm gonna bump my own thread and then I'll just let it drop.

Can I ask what I'm doing wrong? It seems like every time I make a homebrew, it just falls away and never gets any replies until I bump it at least once. I read the FAQ and guidelines, but I still feel like I must be breaking some rules of etiquette or something and just don't know. If someone would tell me what I'm doing wrong so I don't keep doing it in the future, that would be awesome.

Debihuman
2012-05-10, 11:51 AM
Honestly, I just don't find races all that interesting. Unless there's even an issue, I don't critique them. I'd rather see more monster blocks than race traits.


Debby

Baphomet
2012-05-10, 12:17 PM
That's interesting. I feel the opposite: I'd much prefer throwing PCs into hordes of fellow sapients, even though it gets a little harder to stat them all unless they're generic Warriors or whatever.

So I take it from your phrasing that that's one vote for "there are no problems with these". I was afraid I was drifting out of LA +0 range on some of them.

I'm trying to think of small things for each race that a PC playing one would still appreciate having at level 20; usually stuff they're already going to devote some magic items to. You've got superior sensory aptitude (are the Molemen pushing LA+0 or would it be okay to give them a nice listen skill bonus too?) that comes with an inherent ability to detect invisible things. You've got a nice big block of immunities to crits and mind-affecting things plus reach on the plants (is the fire weakness unnecessary or would taking it away make them LA +1?) and you've got some means of producing concealment, plus spell resistance. Invisibility, flying, fast healing, specific energy immunities, and DR are other things a level 20 character would still appreciate, but I'm not sure of ways to attach them to a creature and keep that creature LA 0.

Admiral Squish
2012-05-10, 01:31 PM
I'm just gonna be honest. I think they're all too powerful for LA 0.

Talpid get a burrow speed, which in a PC's hands is even worse than a fly speed. I like the rest of that race's abilities, though. Especially the choice of tremorsense instead of blindsense.

Lilikin are plants. Plant type is a really, really powerful creature type, and you didn't mitigate any of the qualities it grants. Oftentimes plant PC races will mitigate the plant bonuses, such as giving them vulnerability to critical hits or making them susceptible to mind-affecting effects. Throw reach atop that, and there's just no way to justify it being LA 0. Vulnerability to fire helps mitigate a little, but not a whole lot.

Carabi are better than the rest in terms of balance. They're closer to LA 0. But I think the four arms are a bit too much. Perhaps you could go with something like the diopsid's extra arms ability from the dragon compendium?

Temotei
2012-05-10, 02:39 PM
I'm just gonna be honest. I think they're all too powerful for LA 0.

Talpid get a burrow speed, which in a PC's hands is even worse than a fly speed. I like the rest of that race's abilities, though. Especially the choice of tremorsense instead of blindsense.

Lilikin are plants. Plant type is a really, really powerful creature type, and you didn't mitigate any of the qualities it grants. Oftentimes plant PC races will mitigate the plant bonuses, such as giving them vulnerability to critical hits or making them susceptible to mind-affecting effects. Throw reach atop that, and there's just no way to justify it being LA 0. Vulnerability to fire helps mitigate a little, but not a whole lot.

Carabi are better than the rest in terms of balance. They're closer to LA 0. But I think the four arms are a bit too much. Perhaps you could go with something like the diopsid's extra arms ability from the dragon compendium?

I have to agree with this entire post. They're just too powerful for standard D&D's LA +0 races.

However, if you're working on a campaign setting or a rework of all races, then it would be okay, since the baseline would be higher than in standard D&D.

Admiral Squish
2012-05-10, 03:01 PM
I would like to say that they all look very interesting, though. Though you didn't accomplish your goal of LA 0/no stat adjustment races, I think the races you did come up with are certainly cool. I'd love to see them with the right LA.

The Tygre
2012-05-10, 03:26 PM
... I think they're all intensely awesome. :smallsmile: You had me at 'star-nosed mole'. These are really creative, I love what you've done with them! And you even got the formatting done right! You have no idea what a good selling point proper presentation can be. Keep going; I want to see more weird-nature races from you!

Baphomet
2012-05-10, 03:59 PM
Okay, so I took out the Talpid's burrow speed and nerfed their senses a little. (but I re-added the burrow in the paragon class, just much slower). Since digging is sort of intrinsic to their nature as molepeople, I gave them another ability that allows them to dig out rooms and tunnels fairly slowly, mostly for flavor. I made the Lilikins vulnerable to mind-affecting things but with a small bonus to their saves. I also nerfed their reach to either require a stabilizing move action to activate or to throw them off balance for a round. I also changed the Carabi's multiple arms to resemble the Diopsid's rather than the Thri-Kreen's. Am I any closer to LA 0?

Admiral Squish
2012-05-10, 04:27 PM
Well, a simpler solution would have been to add LA, honestly. Really, I think they were all very good candidates for LA +1. Strong LA +1s, like goliaths. Honestly, I think trying to pare them down to LA 0 isn't worth losing the excellent design and interesting mechanics of the originals. Add in some stat adjustments and they would have been perfect. But if that's what you choose, I shall help as best I can.

Talpid look much better. I'm not sure it's LA 0, but it looks much closer than before. Maybe reduce the maximum range of the

Lilikin's reach is an interesting solution to the issue. If I may suggest, however, perhaps the ability to attack, but not threaten, with the reach of a creature one size larger would be a good alternative. Though I like the idea of being able to stabilize to threaten that reach as well.
Also, what I think is possibly the largest advantage of plant is immunity to criticals. No sneak attack or precision damage neutralizes the whole shtick of a whole bunch of classes. Including a vulnerablity to crits, though with some decent fortification, would probably put it at LA 0.

I'm not really sure on the carabi, honestly.

Baphomet
2012-05-10, 06:05 PM
Okay, I like that idea for nerfing the reach better. I've made the Lilikins vulnerable to criticals, and reduced the range of the Talpids' tremorsense a bit more in exchange for a little listen bonus.

I also added Lilikin and Carabi Paragon classes that restore the bits that they've lost to get them to LA 0, and do some other neat stuff. But now I'm worried that those classes are too powerful. Opinions, both on that and on whether I've succeeded in getting their LA lowered?

Debihuman
2012-05-11, 09:07 AM
A cleric with the Plant domain can can rebuke or command a lilikin. I'm not entirely convinced that the lilikin make for a good PC race for that reason.

Spells that affect plants don't normally affect Plant Creatures. Normally, plant growth and diminish plants would not affect a Plant Creature even though those spells affect normal plants. Once you allow that, you open the door for other spells such as entangle.

Debby

Baphomet
2012-05-11, 12:15 PM
A cleric with the Plant domain can can rebuke or command a lilikin. I'm not entirely convinced that the lilikin make for a good PC race for that reason.

Spells that affect plants don't normally affect Plant Creatures. Normally, plant growth and diminish plants would not affect a Plant Creature even though those spells affect normal plants. Once you allow that, you open the door for other spells such as entangle.

Debby

Oh, right! I forgot about entangle. I should add this to the stat block:

Entangle can be cast with a range of touch on a Lilikin. Rather than the usual effects, this causes the Lilikin to have a bad hair day. She suffers a -2 penalty to Charisma for the rest of the day and becomes extremely grumpy.:smalltongue:

I know those spells don't usually have that effect on plant creatures, I was making an exception in the same vein as how transmute rock to mud acts like slow on a stone golem. Do players typically try to extend that to other spells? What other spells are you worried about, besides entangle, and what would you argue that a player would try to convince a DM that they do?

Are clerics with the plant domain really that much of a problem? I mean, yeah, you as a DM could throw plant domain clerics at the party just to persecute the Lilikin player if you wanted, or a druid with control plants, even. But, in my experience, those things don't see a lot of normal play, especially not as antagonists. And a significantly larger subset of clerics (all of them!) can rebuke, command, turn, or destroy undead creatures, but that still doesn't stop a lot of players from wanting to play one.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that you're helping (seriously, thanks!) but I'm having trouble seeing how the things you brought up actually pose significant problems.

Answerer
2012-05-12, 02:52 PM
You could give them Turn Resistance (like most intelligent/meant-to-be-played undead), if you're really worried about it. I agree that it's largely a non-issue though.

Baphomet
2012-05-12, 04:04 PM
I don't think I need to, but I suppose that turn resistance isn't really a balance concern. I was planning on using all of these guys in an upcoming campaign, with no intention of using plant-domain clerics against them, but if anyone else wanted to pick them up for their games and think it might be a problem then probably... turn resistance 4, same as a lich? That sounds reasonable.

Speaking of balance, can I assume these are basically balanced now? Races are all LA 0, and paragon classes aren't too OP?

Tarvon000
2012-05-12, 05:52 PM
The races look balanced for the most part. However, I noticed one racial trait that could easily be abused:


Hard-shelled (Ex): Carabi have a hard, curved shell on their backs which is covered in strange, naturally-occurring patterns. Carabi may protect themselves with this shell as if using the concealment-granting effects of a tower shield: the Carabi can choose to make no attacks for a turn in order to grant herself total cover for that turn. This shell has hardness 5 and 20 hit points. Additionally, this shell grows naturally with odd patterns that disrupt spells. Treat the Carabi as if she has spell resistance equal to 11+the Carabi's hit dice while she conceals herself with the shell. The shell fully heals naturally when the Carabi rests unless it is completely destroyed, in which case it takes 1d4 days to regrow.

There's a reason tower shields have a 50% arcane spell failure chance. Any spell that isn't a touch attack can be used while hiding behind them. Even if you use the invisibility (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/invisibility.htm) spell's definition of an attack, a carabi wizard could still cast plenty of powerful spells from the safety of her total cover and spell resistance. Therefore, I would suggest a more stringent penalty for a carabi hiding in her shell, such as only being able to take one move action per round.

Baphomet
2012-05-12, 06:27 PM
Move action only seems a little restrictive...what if I say they have to scrunch themselves up behind their shells in a way that restricts their movements, giving them the same 50% arcane spell failure chance the tower shield gives? After all, Clerics can still turtle up and cast Summon Monster spells or whatever else with a regular tower shield.

Answerer
2012-05-13, 07:36 PM
I dunno; Tower Shields as-is are basically unusable. The ASF is not some kind of "necessary balancing drawback," it's just "enforcing the designers' image of how wizards look"...