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View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Gargoyle as PC race viable?... Balanced?



nonsi
2014-12-05, 07:21 PM
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During some traveling in the great maze of youtube, I've encountered this nostalgia critic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGgVAYzJsfc).

I quickly managed to dig up these stats from a previous GiantITP attempt for a PC Gargoyle race.
I played with them a bit and this is what I came up with.



GARGOYLE RACIAL TRAITS:
+4 Str, +2 Con, 2 Cha. Gargoyles are extraordinarily strong and very tough, but their sinister countenance repels others.
Medium: As a Medium creature, a gargoyle has no special bonuses or penalties due to her size.
Movement: Gargoyle base land speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision: A gargoyle has darkvision out to 60'.
Claws: A gargoyle has two claw attacks, dealing 1d4 + Str-mod slashing damage. Gargoyle claws count as both 1-H and small weapons (whatever's best for the character) for game mechanics such as TWF, PA etc.
Gliding: Gargoyles can use their wings to glide, negating damage from a fall of any height and allowing them to travel 20 feet horizontally for every 5 feet of descent. A gargoyle glides at a speed of 40' (average maneuverability).
Climbing: Gargoyles have a climb speed of 20'.
Frightening: +4 racial bonus on Intimidate checks.
Freeze: A gargoyle can hold itself so still it appears to be a statue.
An observer must succeed on a Spot check vs. DC [20 + the gargoyle's character level + Cha-mod] to notice that the gargoyle is really alive.
While frozen, a gargoyle's metabolism drops tenfold. This means that:
- It can hold its breath 10 times longer than normal.
- It can go 10 times longer without food and water.
- The secondary effect from poison takes 10 times longer to take effect.
Furthermore, a frozen gargoyle gains DR 5/adamantine.
One thing that doesn't slow down when frozen, is the gargoyle's recovery rate. A gargoyle rests frozen, but never actually sleeps. Unless comatose, a gargoyle always remains aware of its surroundings.
Becoming Frozen is a standard action that provokes AoOs. Starting at 7HD, this changes to a move action.
Breaking Frozen state is a move action that provokes AoOs, except from creatures that have no clue that you're alive beforehand. Starting at 7HD, this changes to a swift action that doesn't provoke AoOs.
Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: Auran, Draconic, Dwarven & Terran
Level Adjustment: +1



Special: A gargoyle is eligible for taking IMPROVED DRAGON WINGS (RotD, p.100).
Writer's Note: Given that gargoyle wings are bat-like and function just about the same as Dragon Wings gained by some kobolds, this seems most appropriate to me.




So, any thoughts?

Just to Browse
2014-12-06, 02:21 PM
It's OK, but I wouldn't pay LA +1 for this unless I could get buyoff.

If this is meant to be all there is of the gargoyle, it's a little disappointing from a flavor standpoint. Their racial traits pretty much stack up to "I go places" and "I kill you", and their one flavorful ability forces your party into weird adventure schedules dependent on location and season (what's light like in the astral plane? Do gargoyles just never move on the north pole?). I would prefer that a gargoyle have cool abilities that make them significantly unique, like freeze, waterspout, talking to rocks, whatnot.

Solaris
2014-12-06, 02:46 PM
I'd say it works fairly well as LA +1, though I'd like to see some natural armor and perhaps even DR */adamantine to make it fit better in LA +1. As it is, it's good enough for LA +1 but isn't quite there yet, if you know what I mean.

Why do the claws operate differently than normal natural weapons?

nonsi
2014-12-06, 05:54 PM
Their racial traits pretty much stack up to "I go places" and "I kill you",


I wouldn't say that's all there is to it.
The combination of darkvision & wings could prove usefur for espionage, and the Intimidate bonuses is useful for interrogation.




and their one flavorful ability forces your party into weird adventure schedules dependent on location and season (what's light like in the astral plane? Do gargoyles just never move on the north pole?).


Yes, this would definitely be challenging, but other than fighting fatigue, I see no real problem inside an underground dungeon.




I would prefer that a gargoyle have cool abilities that make them significantly unique, like freeze, waterspout, talking to rocks, whatnot.


As far as the series went, gargoyles never had any affinity to cold or water. As far as interacting with stone, idk. I could give them burrowing capadilities, but it seems a bit too much for a 1st level ability.

nonsi
2014-12-06, 05:59 PM
I'd say it works fairly well as LA +1, though I'd like to see some natural armor and perhaps even DR */adamantine to make it fit better in LA +1. As it is, it's good enough for LA +1 but isn't quite there yet, if you know what I mean.


How about +2 nat. armor, plus DR 10/adamantine when in stony sleep?





Why do the claws operate differently than normal natural weapons?


First, a balance issue compared to other PC races.
Second, doesn't seem to my like the typical bipad is mechanically built for natural attack with claws.

Just to Browse
2014-12-06, 08:59 PM
Flight is "I go places" and doesn't really come on line until the ability is fairly commonplace. Darkvision is exceedingly common and can even be imitated by spells. The intimidate bonus is kind of interesting but very very limited. Also, the term "daylight hours" doesn't mean in the presence of daylight, but when the sun is up, so as-written you can be adventuring in a dungeon and turn to stone. If actual sunlight were the prerequisite, then you also need something addressing what happens when casters uses daylight. And it still kind of sucks that a party with a gargoyle in it isn't allowed to adventure during the day because Bob will turn to stone.

For abilities, I meant freeze as in the D&D gargoyle ability (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/gargoyle.htm). Waterspout is from the PF version. But right now there really isn't much reason to pick the gargoyle over a refluffed raptoran or dragonborn. That way you can also do things in public without fear of becoming a statue.

Meth In a Mine
2014-12-06, 09:14 PM
For what it's worth you could try the rules in the Advanced Race Guide for Gargoyles.

nonsi
2014-12-07, 10:04 AM
Flight is "I go places" and doesn't really come on line until the ability is fairly commonplace. Darkvision is exceedingly common and can even be imitated by spells. The intimidate bonus is kind of interesting but very very limited. Also, the term "daylight hours" doesn't mean in the presence of daylight, but when the sun is up, so as-written you can be adventuring in a dungeon and turn to stone. If actual sunlight were the prerequisite, then you also need something addressing what happens when casters uses daylight. And it still kind of sucks that a party with a gargoyle in it isn't allowed to adventure during the day because Bob will turn to stone.

For abilities, I meant freeze as in the D&D gargoyle ability (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/gargoyle.htm). Waterspout is from the PF version. But right now there really isn't much reason to pick the gargoyle over a refluffed raptoran or dragonborn. That way you can also do things in public without fear of becoming a statue.

Oh, that Freeze.
So, basically what we're talking about is that with Freeze, the "turn to stone during the daytime" thing could be no more than an urban myth?
This does make things a lot simpler.




For what it's worth you could try the rules in the Advanced Race Guide for Gargoyles.

Though I don't see how a quick glance could provide an answer (no gargoyle reference in it that I could find), I'll review the book in my free time and see if there are useful ideas to draw from it.

Solaris
2014-12-07, 11:05 AM
How about +2 nat. armor, plus DR 10/adamantine when in stony sleep?

If the +2 natural armor is all the time, that works.

What about a mechanic somewhat like the shifter's shifting? 1/day for Con+3 levels, they become a scary grotesque, gaining +2 natural armor, DR (1/2 level)/adamantine, and possibly another ability of the player's choice such as a bite attack, improved claw attacks, a waterspout attack, a gore attack, or something of the like?

Scerpico
2014-12-07, 07:26 PM
Seems neat though if it were me I'd think about including a racial class or something to represent the larger Gargoyles such as Goliath and Broadway who clearly mass substantially more than a human with bonuses to strength and toughness (The first thing we see Goliath do is effortlessly hold a full-grown man out at arms length followed by catching his sword in the palm of his hand with only a superficial cut) since the species seems to have some crazy internal variants in size and appearance even before we get to Brazilian and English variants.

Solaris
2014-12-07, 11:56 PM
I imagine most of those differences could be covered by different ability score rolls.

nonsi
2014-12-08, 01:48 AM
I imagine most of those differences could be covered by different ability score rolls.

That... plus feats (e.g. Powerful Built), features (e.g. Rage), templates (noting comes to mind atm, but there are (my templates-fu is not that hot)) etc.




If the +2 natural armor is all the time, that works.

What about a mechanic somewhat like the shifter's shifting? 1/day for Con+3 levels, they become a scary grotesque, gaining +2 natural armor, DR (1/2 level)/adamantine, and possibly another ability of the player's choice such as a bite attack, improved claw attacks, a waterspout attack, a gore attack, or something of the like?

1. I'm not sure LA +1 would tolerate this without it costing character reqources.
2. Bite attack & improved claws could be racial feats (I'd be happy to see what people come up, because I'm not sure about prereqs and benefits).
3. Thematically speaking, I'd rather save DR to Frozen state (and it should be Ex rather than Su, so it should probably be DR [X]/adamantine, not DR [X]/magic)

Scerpico
2014-12-08, 02:03 PM
I imagine most of those differences could be covered by different ability score rolls.

Some certainly, it doesn't take a genius to see that Goliath is hardly an average specimen for the species but catching a sword and keeping your hand isn't something I've seen justified with pure stats alone and there are several distinct body types we are shown amongst Gargoyles that are common and distinct enough to justify a possible racial variant even before the more exotic traits such as beaks and/or tails replacing legs come into play.

Racial feats could be a somewhat elegant solution to this; allowing for a nice degree of customization whilst keeping a relatively simple base chassis (I'm not aware of a general feat which grants powerful build or large size outside of very specific circumstances)

For conveniences sake it might be worth statting up a variant of the Amulet the Brazilian clan used that allowed them to stay active during the day, while it is flavorful being restricted to night only adventures could easily get frustrating.
No real idea on where to begin for this though, the closest thing already statted would be one of the many vampire related artifacts but Gargoyles lack most of the immunities and powers that drive up the costs on those.

nonsi
2014-12-09, 07:51 AM
Ok, taking JtB's suggestion and putting other suggestions into context, I decided to change Stony Sleep into Freeze.

This is how it goes . . .


Freeze (Ex):
A gargoyle can hold itself so still it appears to be a statue.
An observer must succeed on a Spot check vs. DC [20 + the gargoyle's character level + Cha-mod] to notice that the gargoyle is really alive.
While frozen, a gargoyle's metabolism drops tenfold. This means that:
- It can hold its breath 10 times longer than normal.
- It can go 10 times longer without food and water.
- The secondary effect from poison takes 10 times longer to take effect.
Furthermore, the gargoyle gains DR 5/adamantine.
One thing that doesn't slow down when frozen, is the gargoyle's recovery rate. A gargoyle rests frozen, but never actually sleeps. Unless comatose, a gargoyle is always remains aware of its surroundings.
Becoming Frozen is a standard action that provokes AoOs.
Breaking Frozen state is a move action that provokes AoOs, except from creatures that have no clue that you're alive beforehand.


Now, with a great hingrance tund into a great benefit, I'm not sure auto-improvement of flight without character resources invenstment still fits into LA +1.
I'm considering requiring feats to evolve gliding into flight.


Thoughts.............. ?

Solaris
2014-12-09, 09:06 AM
It's actually not a great benefit, because its use still requires surrendering actions. It makes the character tougher, sure, but it also means he can't be hitting things in combat or casting spells.
I'd call it a wash.

Entering and leaving the freeze provoke AoOs. Does the freeze itself provoke an AoO? If a character knowing the gargoyle's state were to walk up in the middle of it, would he get an AoO?

redwizard007
2014-12-09, 09:39 AM
Digging the concept.

Are you shooting for d20 modern, forgotten realms, hyborea..? It could change the balance factors pretty significantly.

nonsi
2014-12-09, 12:30 PM
It's actually not a great benefit, because its use still requires surrendering actions. It makes the character tougher, sure, but it also means he can't be hitting things in combat or casting spells.
I'd call it a wash.


Freeze is not meant to be used during combat, but it could grant you the element of surprise.
It's great because you can guard and rest simultaneously, and you can stay perfectly still if someone swings a weapon at you when you're frozen, just to test if you're alive.
Waiting at the bottom of a lake when pursued is another example.
Delaying the secondary effect of poison is another.

Two thoughts that just came to mind:
- I could add that when frozen, you're 50% resistant to precision damage
- I could also make it that at 6HD you may Freeze as a move action and Unfreeze as a swift action.




Entering and leaving the freeze provoke AoOs. Does the freeze itself provoke an AoO? If a character knowing the gargoyle's state were to walk up in the middle of it, would he get an AoO?


Sine you provoke just for not wielding a weapon you're proficient with, I'm inclined to say yes.
Also, if you suspect someone's spotted you, then there's no more reason to stay frozen.
It's a gamble that could lead to different results in different situations. Sometimes you'll benefit and sometimes you'll lose. It's up to the player to read the situation and make a decision.





Are you shooting for d20 modern, forgotten realms, hyborea..?


Hyborea or middle ages, in general.




It could change the balance factors pretty significantly.


In what way?

redwizard007
2014-12-09, 01:38 PM
In what way?

Mostly environmental aspects. In Waterdeep or Menzo... the Freeze ability is AWESOME camouflage but nearly useless in dungeons or the wild (aside from the bottom of a lake - that was brilliant!) Thus making a case for even dropping the +1 LA if you didn't have 2 alt movement types AND a full 30' land speed as well as natural attacks... Never mind. keep the LA here.

The original StoneSleep on the other hand would be awfully close to debilitation in these settings and would certainly negate the LA. Does the rest of the party really guard you all day? If not you don't live long...

In a more modern setting with huge skyscrapers and elaborate stone carvings on many churches even in smaller cities (and small towns in parts of europe) the potential for abuse of the Freeze mechanic creeps in as a permanent hide-in-plain-sight ability. And even the StoneSleep ability becomes a Rope Trick. In either case I'd feel secure in the +1 LA.




Side note: I saw a handful of comments regarding the variations between body types. While I agree they could be accommodated with sub races, I feel they would be better served with racial feats. Think warforged - Adamantine/Mithral Body...

nonsi
2014-12-09, 03:26 PM
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Ok, unless someone has a compelling argument why I'm dead wrong, I've decided that flight improvement will not be automatic.
As things stand now, it seems most reasonable for a gargoyle to be eligible for taking IMPROVED DRAGON WINGS (RotD, p.100).
Given that gargoyle wings are bat-like (just about the same as draconic wings), this seems most appropriate.


As for subraces........ I have nothing ATM, so any ideas for racial feats or subraces breakdown could help.

Kaje
2014-12-13, 03:51 PM
Just curious. Is that based on my Gargoyle?
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?250887-We-are-defenders-of-the-night-WE-ARE-GARGOYLES!-(peach)

nonsi
2014-12-13, 05:13 PM
Just curious. Is that based on my Gargoyle?
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?250887-We-are-defenders-of-the-night-WE-ARE-GARGOYLES!-(peach)

Yes it is.
The detailes were copied to a doc file and left forgotten for a long time.
I then found it and decided to add my touch to it.

Thanks for the wakeup call. It reminded me that I left things undone.
My only concern is that I'm not entirely sure it is LA+1 anymore.