View Full Version : Singer (animal template)

2007-12-17, 10:56 PM
The background for this idea comes from a D&D session a few days ago. I was playing a high-level summoner sorceror, and the party was under attack by dire sharks in the water. Halfway through the fight, I got exhasperated with the low AC but massive HP of these damn things, especialy since I was swallowed by one. So, after I blasted my way out of it's stomach with a Icelance, I dropped a trio of feindish Orcas on their finned asses. to which a fellow player replied, jokingly:

"great. of all the horrible demon things you could summon, you pick free willy. what are they going to do, gum the sharks to death?"

to which I replied that Orcas are badass sadistic bastards with huge teeth who love to torture their food before they eat it, tossing it back and forth between podmates.

I was exaggerating: they toss the food back and forth to stun and disable the prey before they eat, not out of cruelty. probably. But it made me realize that there's alot of interesting design space in D&D for whales and so forth. It also reminded me of old games like Echo The Dolphin. I only played it once, but I read it's wikipedia article a few years ago.

Anyhoo, though I like whales as much as anyone, i despise hippies and soft-hearted ignorant enviromentalists (I like realistic, educated enviromentalists, though, just to clarify). So I wanted to avoid the whole "big, cute, wise giants of the deep who wouldnt harm a soul and like, help disabled kids or something" thing. Ugh, disney. So, to add more versatile badassery to Whales, I give you the
Singer (template)
Singer is an inherited template that can be applied to any cetacean (whale, porpoise, or dolphin). Singers are whales and dolphins who, having already acheived intelligence independently of one another, have culturaly spread Bardic Lore amongst themselves to such a degree that practicaly all of them can cast songmagic. Dolphins focus on intercommunication and illusion effects, while orcas use utility and mobility/buff spells to get the drop on their prey. Sperm Whales focus on the bard's few agressive spells and information-gathering, the better to hunt their Kraken prey, while Pilots and other Cachalots are diverse in their castings. Blue whales are diverse as well, but often select spells that allow long-range communication and divination, and seldom bother with agression

Size and Type: change type to magical beast. HD, saves, BAB, ect remain unchanged,
Armor Class: unchanged
Special Qualities:
Spell-like Abilities: Singers gain two unique spell-like abilities, each castible 1/day, from the ceric, bard, sorceror/wizard, or Water domain spell lists. These are usualy weather-based, sonic effects, or enchantment effects. the maximum level of the spells can be no higher than 1/3 of the base creature's HD
Musical Affinity: Singers have the spellcasting ability of a bard of 1/2 their HD, as well as the Bardic Music class features of the appropriate level.

Some Singers instead gain the spellcasting ability of Sorcerors or Clerics, though these individuals are rare in the extreme. They have access to the Water, Animal, and Protection Domains.

Abilities: change from base creature as follows: Int +(8+1d6), Cha +(8+1d6). These ability scores can be adjusted manualy within discretionary limits, to provide individuality.
Skills: Singers gain additional skill points via their increased intelligence scores. they treat Perform (sing), Knowledge (all), Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Jump, and Speak Language as class skills. singers speak aquan, though most learn common as well.
Challenge Rating: 1-4 HD:same as base creature +1; 5+ HD: as base creature +2
Alignment: usually Neutral (any)

Sample Singer
This gracefull orca moves through the waters of the varisian gulf with an air of purpose. as a spray of water is expelled from his blowhole, you can see two small crystals orbiting his head. You also hear a complex, barely-audible hum, as though someone was humming joyfull arpegios underwater.

Meki !'eloo
Male Singer Orca
N Huge Magical Beast
Init +6 Senses Low-Light Vision, Blindsight 120 ft, Spot +12, Listen +12
AC 21, touch 11, flat-footed 19
(+6 natural, -2 size, +2 dex, +1 insight, +4 armor)
hp 94 (9d8+54)
Fort +11 Ref +8 Will +5
Spd Swim 50 ft (10 squares), Swim-by Attack
Melee Bite +12 (2d6+12)
Space 15 ft; Reach 10 ft
spell-like abilities (CL 9): 1/day: Sound Lance (9d8, Fort DC 15 half), Fog Cloud
Spells Known (CL 8)
2nd (1/day)- Swift Fly, Sound Burst (DC 14)
1st (3/day)-Expeditious Retreat, Improvisation(16 points, max 8/check, 8 rounds), Swift Invisbility, Cure Light Wounds (1d8+5)
0 (6/day)-Mage Hand, Detect Magic, Dancing Lights, Light, Message, Ghost Sound, Lullaby
During Combat
Meki!'eloo makes good use of his maneuverability, disengaging from combat to cast Improvisation and Fog Cloud from a safe distance. He then charges in and bull-rushes his opponent into the water. From there, He attempts to parley once he knows his opponent will take him seriously. Should words fail, he fires a sonic lance at the squishiest looking-target, and retreats. He then casts Swift Invisibility and Charges, biting any opponent that proves capable of damaging him from afar, taking advantage of his Spring-attack feat. Ideally, all of his foes wind up in the water, at which point he moves in to finish them off, attacking from below. When hunting, he casts Either Swift Invisibility or Swift Fly to get the drop on his prey, then spends a few rounds tossing the wounded seal about before swallowing it.
Morale Meki!'eloo is fairly self-regarding and does no appreciate pain. if reduced to less than half his HP, he decides that his foes arent worth his trouble and heads off to heal himself.
Str 27, Dex 15, Con 21, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 15
Base Atk +6, Grp +22
Special Abilities: Bardic Mysic 4/day (inspire competence, inspire courage, fascinate, countersong), Bardic Knowledge +5
Feats Practiced Spellcaster, Swim-by attack, Improved Toughenss, Improved Initiative
Skills Listen +12, Spot +12, Perform (sing) +10, Knowledge (nature) +5, Diplomacy +4, Spellcraft +5, Jump +12, Swim +18, Speak Language (2)
Languages: Common, Aquan, Elven, Draconic
Gear Pearl Tooth of Power (2nd), Ioun Stone (dusty rose prism), Ioun Stone (blue spindle) [+4 armor bonus]

Meki!'eloo is a young, curious male who hangs about in temperate waters, eating Pinnipeds and fish. He's mostly killing time and improving his hunting and musical abilities so he can land a mate next year, though his hunting strategy is more effective among the ice flows of the arcitc than rocky coastline and sandy beaches. At the moment, he's discovered the usefullness of the Ioun Stones made by humans, and he's looking to aquire more of the fascinating little gems, since they're one of the few magic items he can use. So, he's started hanging about shiping lanes, looking for a chance to get some cool loot from those clever little land monkeys, perhaps by scaring them or doing work of some sort. So far, he's aquired a pearl-inlaid tooth via taking out a merchant's competitor by sinking his ship.

2007-12-17, 11:26 PM
I like it a lot. Might use it in a game, likely the players will never see them but I really like world building so they will be there in my head at least.

Yells: SAVE THE WHALES!!! Cause they are like smart and stuff. Like for real they sing songs and have spell casting powers. No I'm not on pot. Ohh all my words are like text man radial.

2007-12-18, 02:02 AM
did his name start with an exclamation point?

why don't you at least give us some chance of pronouncing it!

2007-12-18, 02:05 AM
Hmm, this reminds me of Rifts Whale Singers. At any rate, an interesting template.

2007-12-18, 10:57 AM
did his name start with an exclamation point?

why don't you at least give us some chance of pronouncing it!

I'm pretty sure the "!" is actually a legal... uh... letter-esque symbol. I think it represents a clicking sound.

Also, according to this template, you can have a fully advanced Orca that casts true resurrection twice per day as a spell-like ability.

Lady Tialait
2007-12-18, 11:05 AM
Intresting way to give glass levels to an animal..I like it.

I always liked whales, my fave is a blue whale, I am sooo applying this Template to a fully advanced blue whale giving it a divine rank 0 and having at my unsuspecting party...they keep going after sea based shrines of the sanguin and distroying natural habitat...the fools will feel the wrath of the sea!