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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Need ideas for enforcing bee-like aggression on a race



Tubercular Ox
2018-01-22, 07:14 PM
I want to make a eusocial species, inspired by bees, wasps, and ants, except that Iím prejudiced against their portrayals as mindless drones. Parts of it are easy, Iím here for a hard part. I want them to have that ironic terror that makes your little sister freeze up when a bee swoops in on her ice cream, even though sheís a thousand times bigger than it and could literally crush it with her bare hands if she had the nerve. Instead fifty-fifty sheís going to abandon her ice cream until the bee is done with it.

While this is a wonderful benefit for the species as a whole, for the individual itís a bit of a disadvantage. The reason why your little sister is so scared is because some bee somewhere gave up its life to temporarily inconvenience an otherwise invincible leviathan, and said leviathan complained about it to all her friends, including your little sister. (Unless it was your little sister.) And the species benefits only when every member of it is committed to the same sacrifice, should they be asked.

So I think all our mothers and fathers were right: They are just as scared of us as we are of them, and therefore Iím trying to write a species that runs towards danger when it is afraid, except in a way that is sensible, as long as sensible is written to exclude ďlife preserving.Ē

As far as Iíve gotten is tweaking the rules for Morale, Intimidation, and being Frightened, but every time I try to write a simple ďYou gotta go for it, dudeĒ effect, it swamps. I tried railroading a player with a suggestion or an effect similar to compelled duel, but there are traps.

One particularly nasty tripwire are all the spells that give the Frightened condition and then, on top of that, make you Dash every turn away from the foe. That has to go, but how to template it without accidentally giving them Freedom of Movement in certain limited situations?

This is probably where a generically worded missive with a wink and a nod to the DM would do wonders, but Iím a rules lawyer at heart and canít write one without unraveling my geas and being banished back to whence I came. Help?

Overall the ability should be detrimental without killing playability, but have situational usefulness against level appropriate fear-wielding foes and outside of combat when appropriately roleplayed. I'm open to suggestions that start with making them fearless then burdening them with their own problems, but I've had troubles thinking in that direction, too.

brian 333
2018-01-22, 10:11 PM
Why do bees do what they do? Pheremones. Asexual females are guided by sex chemicals in the air they breathe. For a thinking person the impetus must be as strong as the mating urge of bees turned sideways.

Social pressure is not quite enough, though it's a step in the right direction.

Here is an idea: Children are raised by the elders. Their parents are chosen by the elders and, upon delivery of the weaned babe, go back to work. In order to be selected forbreedingone must have no black marks onhir record. To die fighting for the tribe guarantees a child of that parent will be born via artificual insemination/implantation.

So, dying for the cause resullts in a kid, but being seen to be less than brave results in never being allowed to breed.


This idea may not solve your problem, though. Roleplayers are reluctant to intentionally killl off a character they have worked so hard to create. You mayneed to do something to encourage recklessness. I had the opposite problem: my players were too daring sometimes. I rewarded them by rewarding high level characters with more magic items. Perhaps rewarding the kind of play you want to see will help.

But I think you've run into a classic issue worldbuilders encounter: you had a great idea for NPC culture and your players have issues identifying with it. Perhaps if they see NPCs acting in the intended way the players will get it. Otherwise, I suggest you might have the players comefrom a more traditional culture.

Tubercular Ox
2018-01-23, 06:40 PM
But I think you've run into a classic issue worldbuilders encounter: you had a great idea for NPC culture and your players have issues identifying with it.

Actually, since youíve inspired me, I think I can make the player identify with the mindset, but Iím not sure how appropriate it is as a racial trait:

Death Is Nothing: While you are dead, spells to return you to life do not have a material component, nor does your body need to be present. The caster need only speak your name. However, if your body is present and the caster touches it, returning from the dead is not an ordeal for you and you do not suffer the -4 penalties.

You will be teleported to the caster if your body is not present. Other spell requirements, such as the condition your body needs to be in and how long you can have been dead, are unchanged.

At the DMís discretion, committing suicide may prevent this effect, for example if youíre trying to get a free teleport.

Family Is Everything: If you died and Death Is Nothing is in effect, you will eventually be resurrected by a family member if no one beats her to it. (Families are big, think bees again) No rules cuz this is just a design phase. Families would not be above sitting on the names of high level adventurers for several decades and resurrecting them just in time for some crisis.

Life Is Action: If you ever flee from or surrender to a foe, you lose the benefit of Death Is Nothing until you defeat the foe (intentionally vague wording) or gain a level, whichever comes first. If someone else defeats the foe before you, youíd better hope the DM decides pissing on its grave counts as defeating it or youíre stuck until you gain a level.

At the DMís discretion, committing suicide may count as defeating the foe, especially if a blaze of glory is involved, or at least spitting in someoneís eye.

If you are killed by a foe you have run away from or surrendered to, without defeating it, you cannot be resurrected by any spell except True Resurrection, and it will most definitely need a pile of diamonds to work.

Everything Else, Mastercard Charge: If any effect would compel you to run away from or surrender to a foe, you may cancel it by accepting a Suggestion equivalent to ďAttack that foeĒ. This Suggestion behaves like the spell but is not magical, cannot be dispelled, and never counts as suicidal, especially when it is. It expires when:

It is fulfilled. It only needs to be one attack, and it doesnít have to hit.
The foe tries to prevent it

e.g. you close in for a melee attack and the foe runs away
or you level your crossbow and the foe ducks for cover, but in a direction that happens to bring it closer, so canít really be called running away.

The foe is not visible and you make a Wis Save (DC 10) at the beginning of your turn.


If you choose not to accept the suggestion, the effect happens normally and you immediately fall under Life Is Action. You may cancel an ongoing flee/surrender effect by accepting the suggestion, but you remain affected by Life Is Action.

Having someone successfully intimidate you is enough of a surrender to trigger both Life Is Action and Everything Else, Charge, but do note that slapping someone is enough of an attack to satisfy the suggestion, so social situations donít have to immediately go into combat.

I wrote it as a suggestion because the intent is to let you fold it into your normal tactics. You can draw your greatsword and charge even if you have a rock in your hand and could in theory chuck it at the foe. Also, I donít want to go over all the cases if you happen to fall under suggestions for multiple foes. Be sensible, work it out.

That's what it means to be one of these critters: You'd rather die. You really, really would. I think I would fluff them as Shadowfell creatures, with an especially blurry line between life and death. But how powerful is it? Looking at Revenants, I don't think it's impossible to have a race like this, but I wonder what else I can reasonably give them.

Wryte
2018-01-23, 07:06 PM
One particularly nasty tripwire are all the spells that give the Frightened condition and then, on top of that, make you Dash every turn away from the foe. That has to go, but how to template it without accidentally giving them Freedom of Movement in certain limited situations?

Fight, Not Flight. Your instincts drive you to fight harder when frightened instead of fleeing. Whenever you fail a saving throw against being frightened, you can use your reaction to move up to your speed toward the creature that frightened you and make an attack or cast a harmful spell targeting them. Additionally, instead of running away on subsequent turns, you can only move toward the creature that frightened you, except to navigate around obstacles that would prevent you from reaching them, and you have advantage on attack rolls against the creature.

Grek
2018-01-23, 08:20 PM
Hive Rage: The flight or fight response of your people is markedly different from that of other races. Whenever you become Frightened, you gain disadvantage on all attack rolls not made against the source of your fear and are unable to willingly move farther from the source of your fear. If an effect would normally force you to take actions to move away from the source of your fear, you must instead take those actions to move directly toward the source of your fear if it is possible to do so. This replaces the normal effects of the Frightened condition.

dagfari
2018-01-24, 02:48 AM
Hive Rage: The flight or fight response of your people is markedly different from that of other races. Whenever you become Frightened, you gain disadvantage on all attack rolls not made against the source of your fear and are unable to willingly move farther from the source of your fear. If an effect would normally force you to take actions to move away from the source of your fear, you must instead take those actions to move directly toward the source of your fear if it is possible to do so. This replaces the normal effects of the Frightened condition.

This is really creative, I love it!

All these ideas have given me ideas for some Fey...

Tubercular Ox
2018-01-24, 11:33 AM
Hive Rage: The flight or fight response of your people is markedly different from that of other races. Whenever you become Frightened, you gain disadvantage on all attack rolls not made against the source of your fear and are unable to willingly move farther from the source of your fear. If an effect would normally force you to take actions to move away from the source of your fear, you must instead take those actions to move directly toward the source of your fear if it is possible to do so. This replaces the normal effects of the Frightened condition.

I wanted this one but couldn't come up with wording, so... I like it. My next request is what to do about Intimidation and pragmatic retreats. For the latter I was thinking of forcing them to make morale rolls (when surprised, when hitting half hp the first time, when unable to harm opponent) but don't know what to do if they fail. Inflict Frightened? And yes, I expect them to try and brainstorm workarounds for monsters they can't harm.



All these ideas have given me ideas for some Fey...

I often think of them as Fey, so just because you said that I'll throw out the rest of my ideas for discussion. Note I'm not making any attempt to balance it as a single race, this is literally "the rest" of my ideas.

Hive Speech: You speak a dialect of silent speech, like the Kor. Everyone in your family speaks the same dialect, and no one outside your family. Anyone may learn to understand (without speaking) a family's dialect, including members of other families (like you), by learning that family's dialect as an additional language. (It's complicated because it's meant to be a hard limit on how many families can cooperate with each other)

Teamwork: You may use Help as a bonus action if the person you are Helping can see you and understands your silent speech. You cannot use this ability if the action you are helping is resisted and the person resisting can see you and understands your silent speech.

Hive Marks: You can leave signs only your family members understand, similar to the signs from Thieves' Cant. The range of topics for these signs is limited to marking friends and enemies of the family, obstacles and exploitable resources, work that needs to be done and who is doing it ("no one" is a choice), work that has been done and who did it ("unknown" exists), and the location of any of the above.

Indelible Hive Marks: You can prevent a hive mark from being erased until you or another family member removes it. When you use marks in this way, they are magical and can be dispelled. They are invisible to all but your family members, but detect magic will reveal that the mark is there and that it is a hive mark, if not necessarily what it means. If the caster is familiar with the hive the mark belongs to, he will know the mark comes from that hive. When you use marks in this way, you can place them directly on a person by touching them. (Kisses on the cheek would be in character for fey.) The marks do fade over time so family members can get a sense for how long ago the mark was made, but they never disappear until erased or dispelled.

(I'm going to point out "This man needs killing" as a good mark to lay on a person in many situations.)

Optional tweaks: Understanding a family's silent speech lets you read their hive marks. This benefit may or may not be limited to members of other families, and it may or may not include indelible hive marks.

"There were about a half dozen pixies," said the scout.

The dwarf fingered his axe. "Wings?"

"Butterfly," the scout said with a sigh, "If they were bees I'd've said bees."

Hive Police: Any racial traits affecting fleeing, surrendering, fear, intimidation, or morale do not apply when the source of those effects is a family member.

The idea of making death super cheap for them is growing on me because I can do this:

Mother Dearest: Death Is Nothing only works while your mother is still alive. If your mother is killed, you can only be resurrected by True Resurrection (with diamonds, of course) until the foe who killed her is defeated. At the DM's discretion, dying while trying to defeat said foe may allow you to be resurrected as normal (or, at further discretion, with the benefit of Death Is Nothing), but once you are alive again you are still obliged to defeat the foe who killed your mother or be resurrected only by True Resurrection.

Mothers live much longer than daughters so she's unlikely to die of old age during your adventuring career. Furthermore, your family would not have let you go out adventuring if they didn't feel qualified to protect your mother, so this shouldn't come up more than once or twice in your adventuring career at most, but you know how DMs are.

I'm wondering how to translate that to a more straightforward "you flee forward" character.