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Admiral Squish
2008-02-24, 04:15 AM
Okay, this was an idea I'm just throwing together off some interesting ideas my friend and I came up with in conversation.

Braineater:

Braineater is a template that can be applied to any variety of zombie.
HD:
A braineater gains one level in undead for every ten brains eaten. A braineater PC begins having eaten twice as any brains as their character level, and cannot be created with an int. or cha. score higher than their level.


Size and type:
Size and type are unchanged

Speed:
Speed is unchanged

Armor Class:
A braineater gains one point of Insight bonus to AC when their intelligence increases past zero, and another one point for every five points of intelligence beyond that.

Attack:
A braineater that has no bite attack already gains a bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage (for meadium braineaters). Braineaters with bite attacks already use that attack instead

Special Attacks:
A braineater gains The following special attacks:

Eat brain:
Eating brains is a full round action. It works on any living helpless intelligent target with a brain, or any dead target who was intelligent with a brain, who has been dead for less than a minute. It heals 1d6 HP, +1d6 for every size category larger than medium of the target, HP. Smaller brains divide the healing by two for each size category smaller. They gain one point of intelligence and one point of charisma for each brain, and bonus points equal to the target's respective modifiers. Negative points are not possible. A braineater starts with an effective intelligence and charisma score equal to -10 for this purpose. Once the braineater reaches ten points in both intelligence and charisma, they may also add a bonus to wisdom using the same rules.

Special Qualities:[/B]
A braineater gains the following special qualities:

Gray Matter Dependence:
A braineater constantly hungers for the gray matter of the living. A braineater loses one point of intelligence and charisma for each week they go without eating a brain. They also lose wisdom, if they are capable of gaining bonuses to it. In addition, they must also make a DC 10 will save whenever presented with a living creature with a brain, or go into a ragelike state. They can take no actions except attempting to kill the victim and eat his brain if they fail. Once the brain is consumed, they regain control. They gain a bonus on this save equal to the combined modifiers of their intelligence and charisma scores.

Disguised Unlife:
A braineater has a -20 penalty to disguise checks to disguise its undead nature. However, for each point of charisma over zero, they gain a +1 bonus to this check as their body regains some of it's former function. Their charisma penalty still applies as normal.

Multiple Actions:
A braineater with an intelligence score of one or higher is no longer restricted by the Single Action Only special quality of their unintelligent bretheren.

Psionics:
If a braineater consumes the mind of a creature with psionic class levels, they gain 1/4 the creature's power points, and three powers known. They have a manifester level equal to 1/4 their HD, rounded up.

Alignment:
Usually Neutral Evil

All other attributes as the base creature.
-------------------------------------


What do you guys think? Good? Bad? Ugly? Keep in mind this is just the rough basics for these guy, I hope with the playground's help I can whip these guys into shape.

Naga-Darmag
2008-02-24, 11:20 AM
I like it, therefore I think it is my duty to try to brake it so any problems with it can be fixed. First of is this something you want to be available for the players or is it a npc-only temple. If itís available to players you ned to find a good level adjustment for a zombie braineater, and the int increase is to large. Turning the tables on a mind flayer if filed with ironic goodness but also gives a permanent +5 to int. thatís the equivalent of a 137500g one use item but unlike a tome of understanding you can have seconds. As a npc it is difficult to determine its cr because it depends on how many brains it has eaten and if it has any suitable class levels. A solution to both these things might be to adding points to a pool for every brain it eats (for example 1+ any positive int mod the victim had). When that pool is equal 10 or more subtract 10 points from the pool and the braineater gains a hd, +2 int, +1car & wis and some other fun stuff.

The insight bonus to AC I would simply make it a +1 for every 5 int from the start. Because as it is written now it have +2 at int 5, +3 at int 15 and one more for every 5 int. or Iíd just drop it and ad a bonus on natural armour based on the extra hd sins insight bonus is usury associated with powerful psionics and not int 5 creatures. Adding some pionic abilities or giving it a manifester level when its int passes 10 might be an idea.

FlyMolo
2008-02-24, 02:19 PM
These are cool, and are going into the folder marked "Stuff my players won't be expecting because it's not in the MM". Well done, only awesome stuff goes in there. The wording is a bit clunky from time to time, and some Psionic abilities would not go amiss, but I like these.

Parvum
2008-02-24, 02:44 PM
The ability to gain unlimited intelligence is highly abusable. I recommend using an intelligence decay system instead; rather than starving, braineaters constantly lose intelligence and do not regain mental ability damage naturally. For player characters, an alignment distinction could exist (evil loses intelligence quickly, neutrals on a regular basis, and good can go long periods without brains).

Perhaps a limit to brain-given intelligence?

What I guess I'm saying is that I want to make a zombie paladin with this.

Admiral Squish
2008-02-24, 09:41 PM
Hmm... Perhaps the intelligence decay idea has merit. Instead of starving penalties, they lose one point per week, or so. A good braineater would have to eat bigger 'meals' at longer intervals. I don't have the slightest idea how I'd start out with making a LA for this, though, so PCs might not be the best idea. The potentially infinite mental scores does make it a bit of a challenge. PCs would have to start with a specific score.

How about for psionics, I tack in a cumulative five-percent chance of developing psionic powers for every intelligence point over ten? Or would it be easier just to give them some psi-like abilities?

Edit: Fiddled with the punishment for not-eating, and came up with a system for psionics. Anything else I should mess with?

Icewalker
2008-02-25, 12:57 AM
I could see a really vicious BBEG who is one of these with 25+ int, so he is a complete genius, and nobody recognizes that he is a zombie, so he tricks people into situations where he can eat their brains without attention being drawn to him.

Naga-Darmag
2008-02-25, 06:37 AM
Time for me to start taking pot-shots at your creation again. Needs cr end maybe la, the la can be ignored if it never can be a pc but a cr is a must.

Eat brain:
There are three things that bug me a little with this.
A: Why only heal by eating brains from size large or bigger creatures.
B: Why only int 5+ for the healing part.

Iíd like to se this thing bite the head of rats for haling.

And finally.
C: a full round action to eat a brain regardless of the size of the brain and the size of the braineater.

Maybe something like this could work
Size of brain eaten hp healed
Diminutive 1
Tiny 1d2
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large> 1d6+1d6 for every size category above large


Size of victim time required
3 smaller then the eater or more move action
2 smaller then the eater standard action
1 smaller or same as the eater full round action
Larger then the eater 1 extra full round action for every size category larger then the eater.

And the intelligent gain applies to any brains of int 5> eaten.

Just an idťe.


Gray Matter Dependence:
Iíd let it lose 1 point of int every month regardless if they eat. The eating replaces the lost point rot prevent it (and give it at least 1 more) as it is written now. And 1p month seems kind of to nice, 1p week is better in my opinion but thatís mot to important.

And if the handling undead hunger variant rule from libris mortis is used I would say non-inelegant food will do.

Because it can gain cha or wis instead of int Iíd throw in something about losing one of those instead of int (but no lower then the starting score).

Psionics
Now this is the worst part.
1: a % chance to developing psionic abilities of a difficult to predict amount of power, turns it from a template that is difficult to determine the cr and la of, to a template that is impossible to determine the cr and la of.

2: whatís the manifester level of this thing? Giving it a manifester level that is higher then its hd makes it difficult to balance. But to low manefester level and it wont be able to use many of its psionic abilities.

3: not all psionic creatures have powerpoints. Thereís psilike abilities and other stuff out there.

I'd give it psionic abilities based of it intelligence (or sum of int, wis & cha) and if you donít give it racial hd as it grows smarter Iíd avoid PowerPoint an shuts and give it psi like abilities instead.


End of lecture.
Hop it is useful.

Admiral Squish
2008-02-25, 01:51 PM
Time for me to start taking pot-shots at your creation again. Needs cr end maybe la, the la can be ignored if it never can be a pc but a cr is a must.
I was hoping to iron the whole thing out before coming up with a CR or LA. I'm thinking +1 LA for every five points of intelligence, and it has to start with an int lower than it's class level, for a PC.


Eat brain:
There are three things that bug me a little with this.
A: Why only heal by eating brains from size large or bigger creatures.
B: Why only int 5+ for the healing part.
I have to mess with my wording AGAIN. It's supposed to be 1d6 for medium brains, and +1d6 for every size category up.



Iíd like to se this thing bite the head of rats for haling.
The logic is it has to be gray matter of sufficient complexity for them to gain health an inellect. Also, A rat's brain wouldn't be nearly enough nutrition to heal anything.


And finally.
C: a full round action to eat a brain regardless of the size of the brain and the size of the braineater.
More rules, greaaat.


Maybe something like this could work
Size of brain eaten hp healed
Diminutive 1
Tiny 1d2
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large> 1d6+1d6 for every size category above large

I think going all the way to diminutive is a bit much. The brain would a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of the mass of a medium brain. A small brain as you have it heals 3/4 of the health a normal brain does, but it's a quarter of the volume. Small brains would heal one, and you get no health benefit from something smaller.


Size of victim time required
3 smaller then the eater or more move action
2 smaller then the eater standard action
1 smaller or same as the eater full round action
Larger then the eater 1 extra full round action for every size category larger then the eater.
This would probably only actually be any use to zombie dragons, and such.


And the intelligent gain applies to any brains of int 5> eaten.
No, there's no gain from less than five, because that opens up about a billion ways to cheese with that. Go to the sewer, eat a billion rats and surface with more int than you could possibly need.




Gray Matter Dependence:
Iíd let it lose 1 point of int every month regardless if they eat. The eating replaces the lost point rot prevent it (and give it at least 1 more) as it is written now. And 1p month seems kind of to nice, 1p week is better in my opinion but thatís mot to important.
The idea is that higher-intelligenced brain-eaters don't have to eat very often, and can hold off for longer to maintain their identities.


And if the handling undead hunger variant rule from libris mortis is used I would say non-inelegant food will do.
I wish I had that book.


Because it can gain cha or wis instead of int Iíd throw in something about losing one of those instead of int (but no lower then the starting score).
Maybe. I'm loath to add more rules to an already tangled mess.


Psionics
Now this is the worst part.
1: a % chance to developing psionic abilities of a difficult to predict amount of power, turns it from a template that is difficult to determine the cr and la of, to a template that is impossible to determine the cr and la of.
I'd say it was pretty impossible to start with.


2: whatís the manifester level of this thing? Giving it a manifester level that is higher then its hd makes it difficult to balance. But to low manefester level and it wont be able to use many of its psionic abilities.
Manifester level equal to 1/4 HD?


3: not all psionic creatures have powerpoints. Thereís psilike abilities and other stuff out there.
I wouldn't count those, myself. That's just a whole new can of worms I'd rather not get into.


I'd give it psionic abilities based of it intelligence (or sum of int, wis & cha) and if you donít give it racial hd as it grows smarter Iíd avoid PowerPoint an shuts and give it psi like abilities instead.

This means I'm going to have to make tables...

Yakk
2008-02-25, 03:19 PM
Tidy it up:

Max Int: The intelligence of the pre-Zombie creature.

Eat Brains: Eating brains is a full round action. It works on any living helpless intelligent target with a brain, or any dead target who was intelligent with a brain dead for less than a minute.

It grants 1d6 HP, +1d6 for every size category larger than medium of the target, HP. These HP can exceed the Zombie's max HP, but such excess HP decay at a rate of 50% every minute.

It also grants brain points. 1 brain point base, plus 1 for every size category greater than medium, plus the intelligence modifier of the target. Negative brain points is not allowed.

Accumulated brain points grants benefits. Every 20 brain points grants +1 intelligence, a +1 insight bonus to AC, DR 1/-. These benefits are capped at the natural intelligence of the creature.

The Mindeater Zombie loses 1 brain point per intelligence per day.

...

Some Mindeater Zombies become geniuses. These can have up to +5 intelligence over the base creature, and can also increase their wisdom and charisma by 5 each. Their Brain Points decay at twice as fast a rate, however.

...

Some Mindeater Zombies aquire Psionics from eating the brains of a Psionic victim. They gain Psionic class levels.

They have access to a Psionic Braineat -- a full round ranged touch attack with 30+5' for every 2 Manifesters levels, resisted by will that does 1d4 temporary damage to all 3 of int, wis and cha . If the target is reduced to 0 in any mental stat, the Brain is considered eaten.

...

Braineater Zombies can consume 20 Brain Points to have a full action rather than a Standard action on a round.

Admiral Squish
2008-02-25, 04:34 PM
Tidy it up:

Max Int: The intelligence of the pre-Zombie creature.

Eat Brains: Eating brains is a full round action. It works on any living helpless intelligent target with a brain, or any dead target who was intelligent with a brain dead for less than a minute.

It grants 1d6 HP, +1d6 for every size category larger than medium of the target, HP. These HP can exceed the Zombie's max HP, but such excess HP decay at a rate of 50% every minute.

It also grants brain points. 1 brain point base, plus 1 for every size category greater than medium, plus the intelligence modifier of the target. Negative brain points is not allowed.

Accumulated brain points grants benefits. Every 20 brain points grants +1 intelligence, a +1 insight bonus to AC, DR 1/-. These benefits are capped at the natural intelligence of the creature.

The Mindeater Zombie loses 1 brain point per intelligence per day.

...

Some Mindeater Zombies become geniuses. These can have up to +5 intelligence over the base creature, and can also increase their wisdom and charisma by 5 each. Their Brain Points decay at twice as fast a rate, however.

...

Some Mindeater Zombies aquire Psionics from eating the brains of a Psionic victim. They gain Psionic class levels.

They have access to a Psionic Braineat -- a full round ranged touch attack with 30+5' for every 2 Manifesters levels, resisted by will that does 1d4 temporary damage to all 3 of int, wis and cha . If the target is reduced to 0 in any mental stat, the Brain is considered eaten.

...

Braineater Zombies can consume 20 Brain Points to have a full action rather than a Standard action on a round.

I think you're fiddling with mechanics that don't need fiddling. You're also being cruel to the poor things.

20 brain points for one int? Lose brain points per DAY equal to your intelligence? 20 Brain points to have a full-round action? A 10 int braineater would have to eat two ithillid brains a day to maintain a steady score, six if he wanted to go up by one, and ten if he wanted ONE full round action that day. and that's in +4 brains! He'd have to eat fifty commoners in a single day to get that effect, and all within one minute of killing them! The cost is ridiculous! At single actions, this would be impossible to maintain.

Your rephrasing is good, and I appreciate that. I'll use parts of it.

Yakk
2008-02-25, 05:03 PM
I wanted the possibility of smart, fast-moving zombies -- but not common super-genius zombies.

And isn't it better for the zombies to have to slaughter in order to keep up their intelligent status? The rate at which a zombie loses intelligence is based off of their current intelligence: so maintaining 10 to 20 int is very hard (you need to feat constantly on brains), but maintaining 2 to 5 intelligence is relatively easy.

What is better is that these Mindeater zombies can substitute for every zombie in a campaign world. Most zombies don't have a regular supply of brains, so would devolve to being mindless.

/shrug.

Note that the "percent chance to become psionic" isn't really needed in an NPC opponent. It can be left at "sometimes", which removes a bunch of needless crunch?

Admiral Squish
2008-02-25, 06:24 PM
I wanted the possibility of smart, fast-moving zombies -- but not common super-genius zombies.

And isn't it better for the zombies to have to slaughter in order to keep up their intelligent status? The rate at which a zombie loses intelligence is based off of their current intelligence: so maintaining 10 to 20 int is very hard (you need to feat constantly on brains), but maintaining 2 to 5 intelligence is relatively easy.

What is better is that these Mindeater zombies can substitute for every zombie in a campaign world. Most zombies don't have a regular supply of brains, so would devolve to being mindless.

/shrug.

Note that the "percent chance to become psionic" isn't really needed in an NPC opponent. It can be left at "sometimes", which removes a bunch of needless crunch?

Well, the problem is rarity would be acheived anyway. They do gain, yes, but how many people die to zombies? let's say... fifty people a month, for simplicity. Each is a commoner, all 10s. One zombie gets a brain out of each death. Assuming 200 zombies are doing the murder, five weeks in a month... Distributed evenly, they're all still mindless. However, let's say one zombie gets a wizard brain and five other brains. They're now at an advantage over their peers. They can move fast, and can think, albeit simply. This leads to an increasing exponent of performance, making it easier for a smart zombie to stay smart and get smarter, and still hard for a stupid one to get smart. A lone zombie could be killed with pitchforks and torches. Their en masse tactics hinder themselves, leaving a very limited number lucky enough to actually reach sentience.

Your way makes it virtually impossible to get smart, and even harder to stay smart.

Also, I fiddled the psionics thing.

dentrag2
2008-02-25, 07:50 PM
fine. A little coup de grace action now.
*Rant start* Sigh. i congratulate you for figuring out the rest of the rules, well done with the psionics, but i feel i should at least have a say in this as i instigated it.*rant over*
a little fix
zombies gain one level for each 10 brains eaten, if they are still not sentient, then it goes into warrior. once they are sentient (+3 and above) they can become any class excluding paladins and good clerics or neutral clerics that can turn undead. ( i imagined a scene where a good cleric zombie turned himself by mistake.) also, wouldent it be a little unethical for them to cast animate dead? seems that way to me. how would they gain physical stats? how would they heal? they certainly cant heal naturally.

EDIT: i agree with squish. that loss of one brain a day would cause it to become more likely that you would see umber hulk or troll supergenius zombies.

Admiral Squish
2008-02-25, 08:07 PM
fine. A little coup de grace action now.
*Rant start* Sigh. i congratulate you for figuring out the rest of the rules, well done with the psionics, but i feel i should at least have a say in this as i instigated it.*rant over*
a little fix
zombies gain one level for each 10 brains eaten, if they are still not sentient, then it goes into warrior. once they are sentient (+3 and above) they can become any class excluding paladins and good clerics or neutral clerics that can turn undead. ( i imagined a scene where a good cleric zombie turned himself by mistake.) also, wouldent it be a little unethical for them to cast animate dead? seems that way to me. how would they gain physical stats? how would they heal? they certainly cant heal naturally.

EDIT: i agree with squish. that loss of one brain a day would cause it to become more likely that you would see umber hulk or troll supergenius zombies.
Let's simply make it one zombie HD for every ten brains, in addition to any class levels they have. Hmmm... to limit players, let's call it you have to have eaten a number of brains equal to twice your class levels, and your Int is limited to the total of your character levels, at first. Sound good? This way you can't just start with 40 int and no HD. We still need to come up with a basic LA, though.

dentrag2
2008-02-26, 10:38 AM
pretty good to me. still though, a level adjustment would be one for every 7-8brains they had eaten before they started. that gives you a +3 adjustment to start. dunno how they would fit into society. wouldent they get mobbed?

Admiral Squish
2008-02-26, 11:20 AM
pretty good to me. still though, a level adjustment would be one for every 7-8brains they had eaten before they started. that gives you a +3 adjustment to start. dunno how they would fit into society. wouldent they get mobbed?

That's why there's a disguise bonus involved, plus any ranks you put in it, and your constantly-growing charisma score. You don't have variable LAs, so we need something steady that would add onto racial HD to make it balanced.

dentrag2
2008-02-26, 12:55 PM
That's why there's a disguise bonus involved, plus any ranks you put in it, and your constantly-growing charisma score. You don't have variable LAs, so we need something steady that would add onto racial HD to make it balanced.

If we dont have variable LAs, i would put it at +4 or +3 because of the eat brain and psionic thing. the only thing keeping me from locking it at 5 is that they are a little restricted in alignment and class. i doubt they could be sorcerors or warlocks unless they were in life. not a good player race then. +4 if we want to add another ability, or +3 as it is.

DaragosKitsune
2010-07-09, 12:53 PM
I like this idea. I can also see how a +3 LA would be warranted. However, I personally think that if a person wanted to use this for PC, one could use the abilities of this (Needs brains to stay intelligent and heal, increasing mental stats via grey matter, and psionics) as a base class that uses the undead racial levels as a starting point. But that's just me, and, it's really only suggested if you want this to be used by players.