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Squatting_Monk
2006-11-18, 10:42 PM
As I despise "half" races, I decided to allow orcs as a playable race in my Shadows and Silver campaign setting (still in development :smallsmile: ). However, I don't really like the way they're portrayed in D&D. I never cared for the whole "hordes of moronic, ugly orcs attacking the village" thing. So I decided to take a twist on them. I found a niche for them, other than the easy-to-hate bad guys: survivors. Orc society is centered around survival of the fittest, so why not let surviving be their forte?

This rewrite focuses on making orcs flavorful. Specifically, I wanted them to be able to live in hostile environments, especially those that were inadvertently created by humans. They can resist the plagues that decimate human lands, too. This gives them a unique edge in my world: if they can't drive out humans by force, use disease and blight to destroy them, then move onto the despoiled land.

This rewrite presents some nifty ideas for orc-specific Prestige Classes. Two are already going in my mind: the Orc Scout and the Orc Blighter (a shaman who spoils lands, making them ripe for orc use).


Orc

Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Orc)
+2 Strength, +4 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -4 Wisdom: An orc is strong and especially hardy, though rash, reckless, and unintelligent.


An orc’s base land speed is 30 feet.


Darkvision (Ex): Orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only but is otherwise like normal sight, and orcs can function just fine with no light at all.


Disease Resistant (Ex): Due to their sheer adaptability, orcs gain a +4 racial bonus of Fortitude saves versus natural diseases. This ability does not apply to supernatural or magical diseases.


Endurance (Ex): This ability functions as the feat of the same name. If an orc (such as a third level orc ranger) would normally gain Endurance as a class ability, he may instead choose any other feat (provided he meets the prerequisites).


Monstrous Visage (Ex): Orcs are utterly grotesque and horrendous to look upon. An orc suffers a -4 circumstance penalty to all Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Disguise (unless polymorphed into a non-orc) checks made versus non-orcs. On the flip side, he gains a +6 circumstance bonus to all Intimidate checks versus non-orcs.


Scent (Ex): An orc of third level or higher with a Wisdom score of at least 12 gains the Scent special ability (effective range of 30 feet).


Survivalist (Ex): Orcs are highly capable of getting along in the wild. They gain a +4 racial bonus to all Survival checks, and Survival is always a class skill for them.


Truesilver Abhorrence (Ex): Orcs hate the crafts of the elves, especially the mithral that is the hallmark of the elven people. An orc that has had physical contact with any item made of mithral in the past three rounds suffers a -1 morale penalty to all rolls. If the orc has contact with any mithral object during his turn, he suffers a -2 morale penalty to all rolls until the beginning of his next turn (this penalty does not stack with the former one).


Automatic Languages: Goblin (regional dialect). (Orcs who live in human lands also speak the regional mannish tongue.) Bonus Languages: Any goblin, dwarven, or mannish dialects.


Favored Class: Barbarian. A multiclass orc’s Barbarian class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

Captain van der Decken
2006-11-19, 05:05 AM
That seems fairly overpowered, at least worth +1LA.
Would be fine without scent I guess.

:tongue: I wouldn't think survivors would be rash and reckless.

Tauman.EXE
2006-11-19, 05:28 AM
I don't think that a survivor should have such a fat negative wisdom. However such unsocial creatures (as I assume they are) would fit into having a poor charisma.


Captain van der Decken wrote:
That seems fairly overpowered, at least worth +1LA.
I don't think they are powerfull enough to deserve a +1LA, except high strenght and constitution they don't have anything that will help them in combat. But they does somewhat got a weakness for mithral weapons.

I like the idea of having a sturdy orc race instead of a strong, and it does make more sense the more you think about it.

Pegasos989
2006-11-19, 09:12 AM
I dislike this a bit. First of all, strenght and con bonuses alone are big enough that with darkvision, they would actually became very well worth playing. With nifties in the amount equal to elves', they are certainly worth LA +1.

Also, high wisdom penalty takes the problem of orcs and makes them worse: Orcs are only decent in melee combat but can't do nearly any other role and -4 wisdom makes them very poor as rangers, druids, clerics... So with those abilities, barbarian, sorcerer and fighter are the only roles they could fit.

I would change abilities to +2 str, +2 con, -2 int, -2 wis so they would not suck that completely as rangers and clerics.

EDIT: Oh, and +6 int bonus? I would lower all penalties to -2 and give +2 or even +4 to intimidate. By removing cha penalty you let them become decent diplomats, so don't now counter it as something worse.


So yeah. Change stats to +2 str and con and -2 to int and wis, lower the skill penalties and bonuses a bit and they are still very strong race (bonuses to 2 physical stats, scent, etc.

Oh, btw, that scent thing seems weird. If you think senses and instincts are bases on wisdom (which they are), why give orcs so bad wisdom mod? So even more reason for me to say that reduce the abilities.

Pegasos989
2006-11-19, 09:18 AM
I don't think they are powerfull enough to deserve a +1LA, except high strenght and constitution they don't have anything that will help them in combat. But they does somewhat got a weakness for mithral weapons.


Scent? Darkvision? Endurance (or possibly any feat instead of it if they would otherwise gain it)?

averagejoe
2006-11-19, 12:48 PM
Even if you make the adjustment as per Pegasos989's suggestions, the racial abilitiy modifiers would be way good. Better than any of the core races. This is way too good.

Serakus_DeSardis
2006-11-19, 02:02 PM
Orc

Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Orc)
+2 Strength, +4 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -4 Wisdom: An orc is strong and especially hardy, though rash, reckless, and unintelligent.

I'd advise changing this to:

+4 Str, +2 Con, -4 Int, -2 Cha

or

+2 Str, +4 Con, -2 Int, -4 Cha

The reason for this is because your description of their culture would imply they that are survivalists, which means that Wisdom would be a virtue among them, as it respresent world knowledge or "street sense" rather than book knowledge or intellectual learning. And a Wis penalty of that magnitude would make it difficult to develop a shamanistic or any druid-like PrCs or culture for them. Also orcs and most frontier type societies in general tend to be somewhat antisocial or at least not at the top of social graces. The Str/Con switch was proposed because I felt maybe +4 constituition to be a bit overpowered.

Of course this is your piece, so I am just adding some constructive ideas. Overall I like where you went with this because its a little bit similar to what I've done with my own world setting.

Squatting_Monk
2006-11-20, 12:12 AM
I wouldn't think survivors would be rash and reckless.
Y'know, you're right. I hadn't even thought about that. *pops self on forehead for being an idiot*


I don't think that a survivor should have such a fat negative wisdom. However such unsocial creatures (as I assume they are) would fit into having a poor charisma.
You're right about the charisma. I hadn't wanted to give them a charisma penalty because I thought that they have a very strong force of personality (though not in the teddy bear kinda way). That whole thing about the Monstrous Visage seems screwed up now that I look at it. I should've just given them a hit to Charisma and a bonus to Intimidate.


I like the idea of having a sturdy orc race instead of a strong, and it does make more sense the more you think about it.
Glad you like the idea. :smallsmile: I think that +4 Constitution might be overdoing it, though. I mean, I wouldnít say dwarves are any less hardy, and they only get +2. I think Iíll reduce it to +2.


Of course this is your piece, so I am just adding some constructive ideas. Overall I like where you went with this because its a little bit similar to what I've done with my own world setting.
No problem at all. I put this up here for constructive criticism, and you guys are really hitting points that I hadnít thought much on. This wasnít nearly as well thought out as my piece on elves (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1554384#post1554384), so Iím especially glad I have criticism. (Note to self: no more writing races late at night.)

Squatting_Monk
2006-11-20, 12:28 AM
Okay, a rewrite of my rewrite, based on your suggestions, guys. I removed the Scent ability. It occurred to me that I wanted to use that to benefit the Orc Scout prestige class I wanna make, so why not just make it a feature of that PrC? This helps balance these guys out.

Orc

Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Orc)

+2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: An orc is strong and especially hardy, though unintelligent and hideous to behold.

An orc’s base land speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision (Ex): Orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only but is otherwise like normal sight, and orcs can function just fine with no light at all.

Disease Resistant (Ex): Due to their sheer adaptability, orcs gain a +4 racial bonus of Fortitude saves versus natural diseases. This ability does not apply to supernatural or magical diseases.

Endurance (Ex): This ability functions as the feat of the same name. If an orc (such as a third level orc ranger) would normally gain Endurance as a class ability, he may instead choose any other feat (provided he meets the prerequisites).

Monstrous Visage (Ex): Orcs are utterly grotesque and horrendous to look upon. An orc gains a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks.

Survivalist (Ex): Orcs are highly capable of getting along in the wild. They gain a +4 racial bonus to all Survival checks, and Survival is always a class skill for them.

Truesilver Abhorrence (Ex): Orcs hate the crafts of the elves, especially the mithral that is the hallmark of the elven people. An orc that has had physical contact with any item made of mithral in the past three rounds suffers a -1 morale penalty to all rolls. If the orc has contact with any mithral object during his turn, he suffers a -2 morale penalty to all rolls until the beginning of his next turn (this penalty does not stack with the former one).

Automatic Languages: Goblin (regional dialect). (Orcs who live in human lands also speak the regional mannish tongue.) Bonus Languages: Any goblin, dwarven, or mannish dialects.

Favored Class: Barbarian. A multiclass orc’s Barbarian class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

Hario
2006-11-20, 12:51 AM
What you want is a racial ability that applies intimidate to Strength rather than charisma, so instead of the +4 ability have Intimidate/ Diplomacy/ Animal Empathy apply for thier strength modifier, I think orcs try to use strength to demoralize their opponents through fear rather than charisma

Ing
2006-11-20, 01:09 AM
Why not add a sunlight weakness like that of Drows?

In direct strong sunlight they take -2 str, -4 wisdom or something

Squatting_Monk
2006-11-20, 01:22 PM
What you want is a racial ability that applies intimidate to Strength rather than charisma, so instead of the +4 ability have Intimidate/ Diplomacy/ Animal Empathy apply for thier strength modifier, I think orcs try to use strength to demoralize their opponents through fear rather than charisma
Thanks for the input, but I don't really agree. Intimidation is based on the force of one's personality, not one's strength. Strength may be intimidating, but the source of the fear an orc inspires in someone is not a result of the fear of how the orc could pummel them, but of how they're scary, both in the way they look and the way they act.

Think of Reavers from Firefly and Serenity: freaky scary, but because of their appearance and mannerisms, not because of strength.


Why not add a sunlight weakness like that of Drows?

In direct strong sunlight they take -2 str, -4 wisdom or something

Orcs used to have Light Sensitivity, and they would be dazzled when in bright sunlight (-1 to attack rolls, Search, and Spot checks). Giving them a penalty like what you suggested would severely weaken them, and there's not really a reason for it (orcs live aboveground as often as below, so they should be adapted for either). I specifically took out Light Sensitivity. It's a hold-over from Tolkien, but it doesn't fit into D&D's concept of orcs, and certainly not into mine.

Squatting_Monk
2006-11-20, 02:34 PM
I changed around Monstrous Visage some more. It occurred to me that, with the bonus I gave for orcs demoralizing an enemy in combat, this would make it so that players would probably overuse this ability (whereas it was always underused in my games before). I changed it around a bit, and this keeps the Charisma ability from hindering an orc's ability to Intimidate.

I edited my post as follows:

Monstrous Visage (Ex): Orcs are utterly grotesque and horrendous to look upon. An orc gains a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks. In addition, an orc may treat a negative Charisma modifier as a bonus rather than as a penalty for the purposes of Intimidate checks.

Hario
2006-11-20, 03:15 PM
I changed around Monstrous Visage some more. It occurred to me that, with the bonus I gave for orcs demoralizing an enemy in combat, this would make it so that players would probably overuse this ability (whereas it was always underused in my games before). I changed it around a bit, and this keeps the Charisma ability from hindering an orc's ability to Intimidate.

I edited my post as follows:

No just no... to make it balanced have it be no penalty at all but not a bonus, you're encouraging people to make an Orc with a 1 Charisma, sure he can be 1 hit with charisma drain spells, but the least their charisma is the better their intimidate is... Which really isn't a bonus one should have for having a lower stat.

Squatting_Monk
2006-11-20, 03:47 PM
Eww... you're right. That's too easy to abuse, even though the maximum bonus one could get for it would be +4. Changed back to normal. Thanks for the tip. :smalltongue:

Hario
2006-11-20, 03:49 PM
Eww... you're right. That's too easy to abuse, even though the maximum bonus one could get for it would be +4. Changed back to normal. Thanks for the tip. :smalltongue:

No the maximum bonus is a +5 for having a 1 charisma, as a humanoid you can have a 1 charisma as still be fine, just don't expect to be accepted into society...

Squatting_Monk
2006-11-20, 03:59 PM
No the maximum bonus is a +5 for having a 1 charisma, as a humanoid you can have a 1 charisma as still be fine, just don't expect to be accepted into society...

Oh, right. Thanks for the correction. *feels dumb*

Yakk
2006-11-21, 09:02 AM
This class seems too ideal for a melee combat munchkin.

How about:
+2 strength, -2 dex, +2 con, -2 int, -2 cha

That also pushes them away from "un-orc-like" classes (bard, sorcerer, wizard, rogue).

Because they have a net of -2 to their stats, this opens up more room for nice racial abilities.

If you don't like that, I'd think +2 str -2 dex +2 con -2 int would leave orc sorcerers and orc bards around. Orc bards (who use drums) aren't that far fetched (shamanistic).

Hmm. To discourage arcane caster orcs, you could give them thick skin (natural armor of 2, armor check penalty of -1, arcane spell failure of 10%, counts as light armor).

Squatting_Monk
2006-11-21, 11:39 AM
Umm... if it's already too ideal for a melee munchkin, won't making it so they can't be arcane casters make them even more ideal for munchkinism? There's nothing wrong with orcs who can cast arcane spells (though, because of specific rules in my setting, it'll be rare to find an orc who can). Since I'm allowing them as a PC race, it seems unfair to attempt to cloister players into the use of particular classes. Granted, orcs will be better at bashing than other things, but that doesn't mean they should be limited to that.

What do you think?

Krursk
2006-11-26, 10:35 PM
Now don't get me wrong, I have no ability at creating anything, but as a PC I would like having a creature of some form that's an amazing tracker. So if you did what Yakk was suggesting, that is
+2 strength, -2 dex, +2 con, -2 int, -2 cha
and put in Scent, I'd be happy with it. Althoug DMs may find it a bit over-powered

Squatting_Monk
2006-11-27, 12:12 AM
I was actually thinking again about adding Scent back in. I had chosen to put it in an orc scout prestige class, but most of the features I was going to put in the PrC are already present in the Scout base class. Scent will be eclipsed by Blindsight and Blindsense in the Scout class, but there's still one thing it can do that the others can't: track by scent. That was the whole reason I put the Scent ability in in the first place.

Doing the figures again, I find it makes the orcs powerful, but not unbalanced, and certainly not requiring a Level Adjustment. I think that means I can throw Scent back in without having to make a penalty.

Btw, glad you liked the tracker idea. I didn't come right out and say that's something I wanted them to do, but it was implied in the survivalist deal. :smallsmile:

John Longarrow
2006-11-28, 07:10 PM
For a very fun concept, I'd give them two abilities Dwarves have; Stability and the ability to keep going when carrying too much.

NOTE: It may be more fun to grant both Orcs and Dwarves a +2 to Str for determining their carrying capacity.

Khantalas
2006-11-28, 07:14 PM
My orcs are gorgeous beings, so I have to say no to the entire concept.

But others seem to like it, so it must be good.

Yakk
2006-11-29, 10:01 AM
Umm... if it's already too ideal for a melee munchkin, won't making it so they can't be arcane casters make them even more ideal for munchkinism? There's nothing wrong with orcs who can cast arcane spells (though, because of specific rules in my setting, it'll be rare to find an orc who can). Since I'm allowing them as a PC race, it seems unfair to attempt to cloister players into the use of particular classes. Granted, orcs will be better at bashing than other things, but that doesn't mean they should be limited to that.

What do you think?

Strength is powerful. It is as powerful as a casting stat for every melee class.

Int and Cha, for many melee classes, are dump-stats.

As it stands, orcs have better stats than any SRD race. Their secondary abilities match or exceed every standard-size PC SRD race.

If you are trying to make a overpowered race, you have succeeded. If you are trying to make a balanced race, you have failed.

I mean, take a look at the SRD orc:
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/orc.htm

Orc Traits (Ex)

Orcs possess the following racial traits.

* +4 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma.
* An orcís base land speed is 30 feet.
* Darkvision out to 60 feet.
* Light Sensitivity: Orcs are dazzled in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
* Automatic Languages: Common, Orc. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, Undercommon.
* Favored Class: Barbarian.


That orc is already damn powerful -- too much strength, really. It has far fewer special abilities, a serious disadvantage (light sensitivity), and still has more powerful stats than any other standard SRD PC race.

Tracersmith
2006-12-01, 11:24 PM
i love this soo much. if you dont mind i'm going to add this to my world of mythra