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Vorkosigan
2006-05-22, 05:11 PM
Chetir-ryai

The chetir-ryai are a very strange race, evolved most likely from large rodents. *Unlike most others of this class, they are neither climbing nor burrowing rodents. *It is possibly this pressure that drove them toward sapience, though it is a very strange kind of sapience. *The individual braincases of the creatures are not large enough to support sentient thought, and so they have developed a limited Hive Mind that enables them to speak, use tools, and cast spells. *Each individual chetir-ryai exists as a joining of the minds of four bodies. *These bodies, or ryai (singular: rya) each provide a part of the brainpower needed for the chetir-ryai to act and converse on a sapient level. *Chetir-ryai are always both male and female. *Each rya has a gender, but the chetir-ryai always balance their component ryai to contain two female and two male members. *The only exception to this is the rare Quincunx Meld described below.

Personality: *Chetir-ryai are very strange to other races. *They can fluctuate between insane bravery and utter cowardice depending on the situation. *It makes sense from their perspective, though. *Chetir-ryai are, in a strange way, immortal. *As long as one of the ryai of any given chetir-ryai survives, the memories of the others do, in a sense, live on. *But should a chetir-ryai ever be put in a situation where all the ryai might be threatened, it risks complete and utter death. *Therefore, chetir-ryai adventurers are comparatively rare, and atypical of their race.

Physical description: *Each rya looks very similar to a cross between a cat and a raccoon, but is the size of a large dog. *Or, if you prefer, a lemur with a cat’s head and a larger skull. *They can move on two or four legs with equal ease, and their forelimbs are developed for tool use. *When standing upright, they average about a head shorter than a Halfling. *It is often difficult for other races to tell which rya of a chetir-ryai they are speaking to. *It is easy for a chetir-ryai, but irrelevant. *What one hears they all hear. *The only time distinguishing between them is important is when the physical abilities of the component ryai differ greatly.

Relations: *Chetir-ryai get along with other races better than other races get along with them. *Their unpredictable nature means that other races often have trouble understanding them, but the chetir-ryai are quite hospitable to visitors and easy-going as companions. *In fact, their most off-putting trait is a sort of condescension to the poor single-bodied mortals who die out of memory in an eyeblink.

Alignment: *The alignment of a chetir-ryai is, like everything else, a composite of its personalities. *There are no neutral rya. *All ryai are either LG, CG, LE, or CE. *Neutral chetir-ryai result when the rya within it balance out. *No rya can keep its alignment secret from its fellows in the chetir-ryai meld, and mostly, any rya that is sensed to be a disruptive influence is placed in chetir-ryai meld that will counterbalance, or even overwhelm it. *For example, a chetir-ryai consisting of three LG ryai and one CE rya is, as a whole, LG and eligible to be a paladin. *Of course, if such a chetir-ryai became involved in combat and had one of its LG ryai killed, and could only replace it with, say a CG rya, then the alignment of the character would shift to NG, and it would be unable to remain a paladin. *This may explain why there are very few chetir-ryai paladins.

Religion: Chetir-ryai generally respect good deities, but do not worship them as a whole. *They regard themselves as greatly blessed by the Creator as the only race who knows any sort of immortality in this life, but they do not claim to know their Creator.

Language: *Most chetir-ryai speak common, though they do so with a strange accent due to mouth-parts not quite evolved to the task. *The chetir-ryai among themselves use an intricate system of telepathic contact and chordic speech, impossible for the single-bodied to even approximate.

Names: A chetir-ryai name consists of four syllables and a clan name. *Each syllable names a rya, which is another source of confusion to outsiders, who believe that this implies some sort of separate personal existence. *It doesn’t. *It merely serves to describe to others and itself the likely function of the parts. *For example, the name CanHayHayChun roughly translates as FighterScoutScoutSinger, indicating that the person in question is a warrior by calling who is highly watchful and also pursues art and history. *In the rare event that names are exactly duplicated, tonal variations make all the difference.
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Chetir-ryai Racial Traits

Constructing a chetir-ryai character can take awhile. *It involves the creation of four separate beings, which then merge into a single entity. *For each component rya, roll dice with the following attribute modifiers:

Attributes: *STR -2, DEX +2, CON -2. *Initially, the mental scores for each rya is INT 2, WIS 2, CHA 2. *Once all scores are generated, the chetir-ryai’s INT, WIS, and CHA scores add to create the final scores of the character. *Then, generate additional mental scores for the entire meld (as if for a fifth character) using INT -8, WIS -10, CHA -8. *If any of these come to less than 0, use 0. *These scores now add to the base 8 provided by each of the component ryai, giving a score between 8 and 18 (or 8 and 16 for WIS). *The excess points for the character should be divided among the component ryai as evenly as possible. *The chetir-ryai character is a singular personality, no matter which component rya uses a skill based upon them. *The physical scores remain distinct and unique to each component rya.

Small: *Each component rya is a Small creature with all the advantages and disadvantages that implies.

Speed: *Component rya base land speed is 30 feet quadrupedal or 20 feet bipedal. *Obviously a component-rya moving quadrupedally can carry nothing in its hands while doing so.

+2 competence bonus on Perform (sing) or (acting) checks. *Chetir-ryai performers can sing chords and perform multi-role plays by themselves.

+1 racial bonus on ranged attacks, due to widely divergent points of view.

Naturally Psionic: A chetir-ryai has a +4 to its power point reserve (+1 from each component rya). This benefit does not grant them the ability to manifest powers unless they gain that ability through another source, such as levels in a psionic class.

Psi-like abilities: *Hive Mind: *This is a limited-range, continuous psi-like effect that enables the chetir-ryai to function as a singular sapient being. * As long as all the component ryai are within 100 ft of one another, the chetir-ryai function as a single mind. *They cannot voluntarily go beyond this distance from one another. *Should they be forcibly separated from one another, see Component Ryai Alone. *In the rare event that a chetir-ryai is forcibly separated in two pairs, the components of which remain within 100 ft of each other, the chetir-ryai effectively will function as two separate beings, adding the component ryai scores to determine the pairs’ mental attributes. *The pairs will, if able to do so, even at risk of death, attempt to reunite, expending all available resources to do so. *Any function that disrupts psi-like effects will disrupt the Hive Mind, in which case, see Component Ryai Alone, below.

Racial Ability: Fifth Component. *It is not uncommon (though it does take a special dispensation from the character’s superiors and the DM) for an adventuring chetir-ryai to take along a fifth (in rare cases, even more) component rya. *The major use of this spare component is to provide an immediate replacement should one of the other components be killed or incapacitated, in which case it can immediately function as a full replacement (though it and all the other components are still subject to the Will save in case of Death.) *While the fifth component is not part of the chetir-ryai meld, it is treated as though it were a Component Rya Alone, as above, but always looks to the chetir-ryai as its master. *In order for the fifth component to be able to take up the meld in an emergency, it must replace one of the other components at least one full day per week, or be subject to the DC 20 Will save above. *Component ryai can be cycled into and out of the meld as a move action.
When a fifth component cycles into the meld, it exchanges its INT, WIS, and CHA of 2 directly with the rya cycling out. *All component ryai alone have mentl attributes of 2.

Racial Ability: Quincunx Meld. *If a chetir-ryai does have one or more fifth components in tow, it can, for one minute per day per five character levels, bring the fifth component into the chetir-ryai meld, thus adding its own class levels, skills, feats, power points and attribute scores to the whole. * *This lasts only for the one minute per day per 5 levels, and cannot be extended by any means whatsoever. *During the Quincunx Meld, all five component ryai act as a unit, just as the normal four do. *The Quincunx Meld provides an exception to the general rule that a Knowledge Skill cannot be retried. *Should a chetir-ryai character want to re-attempt a knowledge skill during the Quincunx Meld that had failed earlier, it can.

Favored Class: *A Chetir-ryai can multiclass up to four classes (excluding PrCs) without penalty. *Thereafter, no more multiclassing is permitted. *

Advancing chetir-ryai characters: *Chetir-ryai are single personalities, but they inhabit four brains. *For each class, feat, or skill attained by a chetir-ryai, a component rya must be chosen to “host” the feat, class, or skill. *

Classes: At first level, all the component ryai are considered to “host” the base class. *Should the character opt to multiclass, one of the component ryai is chosen as “host” for that class. *This has no effect on what the component ryai may do while all the components remain alive. *If a sorcerer chetir-ryai takes a level of fighter, all the component ryai gain the bonus. *Should the host component rya be killed, however, all its hosted class levels for the chetir-ryai are lost, excluding only the hit points they grant to the rest of the component ryai. *If the dead component rya should be restored to life in some fashion, it is a level in the “hosted” class that is lost. *No more than four classes may ever be hosted. *Should a single rya host a class and a PrC, the PrC level is lost first. *

Feats: *Each feat, even at first level, likewise requires a host. *Again, as long as all the component ryai remain alive, each of the components may act as though it possessed that feat. *Should the rya hosting the feat die, however, none of the component ryai may use it until the host rya is returned to life. *Component ryai may not be reincarnated. *If all the components of a single chetir-ryai are slain, however, the character may reincarnate. *Hosting of feats is subject to feat spread. *For every character level after a feat is chosen, the player may choose to have another rya host the feat in addition to the first. *So, if a 1st level chetir-rya fighter chooses Weapon Focus (dagger), *he chooses a single component rya to host it. *At second level, two of the component rya may be considered to host the feat, and so on up to fourth level when all the component ryai are considered hosts for that feat. *A chetir-ryai may take a feat that some of its component ryai do not qualify for (e.g. Dodge when one rya is below Dex 13), but that rya cannot use the feat, nor can it host the feat by spread.

Skills: *Skills are hosted in the same manner as feats, but the skills are not subject to spread. *Physically based skills receive an attribute modifier equal to the attribute of the component rya attempting the check.

Attributes: *When a chetir-ryai increases its attributes through character level advance, only one component rya receives the attribute increase, whether physical or mental. *As with the initial attributes, the mental attribute increase of one adds directly to the entire character’s mental attribute score.

Hit Points: *Each component rya gets its own HD roll, divided by 2, rounded up and added to its individual CON bonus. I hope this is a decent compromise between giving each rya its own hit dice and quartering a single HD.

Combat: *Chetir-ryai obtain hit points from their classes like any other character. **Any Con bonuses also apply to the individual rya. Chetir-ryai get just one attack like everyone else. *They can be rangers and have Two-Weapon Fighting like everyone else; they do have eight arms, but the Chetir-ryai aren’t quite THAT cool. *Even with a full attack, a Chetir-ryai with Multiweapon Fighting can only have two attacks until such time as the character itself, according to class, receives additional attacks. *Now, these attacks can come from one component rya or two. *In fact, Chetir-ryai can use weapons that normally CAN’T be used in Two-Weapon fighting styles (paired small greatswords, for instance) and if two component ryai flank an enemy, they get a flanking bonus for it. *Also, even though the entire Chetir-ryai takes the full attack as a full-round action, the two or three (or perhaps, in the case of the Quincunx Meld, even four) ryai not actually attacking can move up to their full movement rate so long as they take no other action. When a Chetir-ryai actually comes to get more attacks from its class levels, these attacks can likewise be made either by a single component, or multiple ones, as the player wishes. *No combat feat requiring a physical attribute that a component does not possess may be used by that component. *All the ryai move and attack together, because the chetir-ryai has a single initiative roll. *The chetir-ryai’s initiative is based on the rya with the lowest Dex bonus. *Any physical effect that causes on rya to lose consciousness affects the chetir-ryai as though that rya had died, though going unconscious does not force a saving throw vs. Stun. *Any mental effect that successfully targets any rya affects the entire chetir-ryai. *A chetir-ryai may cast only one spell in a given round, which does provoke attacks of opportunity on any rya within any threatened square. *As long as any rya is able to move or speak, it may cast spells with verbal or somatic components.

Death: *Chetir-ryai have a unique perspective on death. *It can happen to them a little at a time. *For it to happen all at once is rare. *Should one component rya of a chetir-ryai character die, simply delete it. *The character continues as normal, minus any hosted levels, feats and mental attribute points that were contributed by the component rya. *A component rya returned to life returns to the chetir-ryai meld immediately. *Should this be impossible, the chetir-ryai may seek out a village of its kind and request that a replacement be granted. *The elders may choose to do so or not, but generally favor such requests unless there is an overriding reason not to. *All chetir-ryai fear being “diminished” in such a fashion, in much the same way that, generally, a human child wandering alone into a village would be taken care of in some manner. *Death of any component rya is extremely traumatic for the survivors. *They must make a DC 20 fortitude save or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. *Save halves this duration.

Component Ryai alone: *A Chetir-ryai can function on a sapient level even with only two components. *Should all but a single component die, however, this is no longer true. *An adult component rya has INT, WIS and CHA of 2. *The creature is no longer sapient. *It becomes a loyal follower of whatever member of the party it was closest to. *It can no longer use weapons, speak, cast spells, or use any feats or skills. *It can and will fight to protect its master using natural attacks. *These are not considered “unarmed” because the component rya is essentially an animal. *Being alone is extremely unstable for an adult rya. *If it cannot form a link to others of its kind, it must make a DC 20 Will save at the end of this time and once per additional week or become unable to reestablish the link, remaining an animal forever.
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Automatic Languages: Common and Chetir-rya Chordic.

Level Adjustment probably +1, perhaps +2, would appreciate advice on this.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Vernor Vinge for his wonderful novel A Fire Upon The Deep, without whom this race would not have come to be.

This Entry is now ready for comments, which will be much appreciated.

Rei_Jin
2006-05-24, 09:11 AM
I really like the angle you've taken for this race, it's very different to the rest of the entries.

They remind me of a similar idea that was proposed for a new race in the Dragon Compendium Volume 1. There's a race in there that actually consist of 1 soul divided between two bodies. Similar idea, but you've got a lot of differences between that and your entry.

This is not intended to be critical, but if it does come across this way I apologise.

A few things...

How many hitpoints do each of these Rya have? Do they get the standard hitdie for each level, or do they get only the hitdie for the class levels they retain?

Is this also true of Base Attack Bonus? Or do they access the BAB in the same way they access the skills and feats?

If this is the case, which component Rya holds the BAB? Is it a total spread between them?

I guess the main problem I can see is with hitpoints. If they get the full hitpoint total for all hitdie, then they will have 4 times the hitpoints of a normal creature. If they don't, then do they get 1/4 each, and then they add their con mod?

Stat alterations should normally be set to an even number, so the alteration of the base stats should be either -8 or -10. I'd probably lean towards -8.

The other problem you could have is if a min-maxer got hold of these guys, and maxed out their intelligence giving each of them an 18 before adjustment, and that means that they get a total intelligence of 36.

Do they get bonus powerpoints and spells each, or does it work as through the hivemind?

I think that a less problematic way to do this would be to give them all an intelligence and charisma of 2, then when they join in the hive mind they have a standard intelligence as per a normal character.

I'm just not sure how to balance this.

As a fully qualified Munchkin and Min-Maxer I could thoroughly break this race to make the single most powerful psionic being ever.

You've got a really good idea here, but I think it needs a bit of work to be functional.

Vorkosigan
2006-05-24, 12:28 PM
You have nothing to apologize for. This is EXACTLY the kind of criticism I'm looking for. Criticism I don't need would be along the lines of, "Gods, that's broken. What the hell are you thinking?" No. This is precisely what I need to know.

BAB: Each rya would have the BAB of the entire chetir-ryai.

HD: The plan now is for each rya to get full HD. Because if I quartered it, even barbarian 1st level characters would have only 3HP each and would be way too fragile to live. I was hoping this would be balanced by the race's extreme vulnerability to mental effects (e.g. put Sleep on one, they all sleep.)

Minimaxing: Crap, I forgot about this, so thanks a bunch for pointing this out. I'm a newbie at the game and forgot that sometimes people do other things than roll 4 keep three to get their stats. I'll have to work on it. Like your idea about starting the mental stats with 2 and then building off that. I'll see what I can do.

Bonus powerpoints and spells are mental traits, so they work through the hivemind.

Rei_Jin
2006-05-24, 12:56 PM
Okay, what if we did something a little different?

My idea is this. Take what you want from it, it's just an idea I had when looking over your work.

The Hivemind is the actual character. The Rya come together to give it power and to feed it. It's a kind of bond between Hivemind and Rya.

Thus, whilst they all have their own physical stats it has all the mental stats.

Because of the need for it to focus through the Rya to take physical actions it is limited in what it can do physically.

Each Rya receives 1/4 of each HD of the Hivemind, but they all receive their Con mod to each HD. Each Rya receives at least 1hp per hitdie from the Hivemind.

They can all attack at the full BAB of the Hivemind, but they can only attack once per round. It is impossible for a Rya to make a full attack action.

It is also impossible for Rya attached to the same hive mind to grant flanking bonuses to one another, although they may use the aid another action.

If the Hivemind wishes to use a power or a spell, it uses the Rya to focus its power and cast. Thus, all 4 Rya are taken out of action when casting takes place for the duration of the casting.

The Hivemind decides where to dispense its skills and feats. It must dispense them amongst the Rya to be able to use them, and it can withdraw them should one of the Rya die.

This is a kind of bonding that takes place between a psionic entity and the Rya, and it channels both directions. A Hivemind gains the ability to feed, and grow, whilst it grants the Rya increased power, and the ability to defend themselves far better, granting them spells or powers that would be impossible for them to otherwise gain.

If you did this you could create the Rya as a creature, and the Hivemind could be your race, thus using both elements of your original idea.

Vorkosigan
2006-05-24, 02:46 PM
Well, I think I may have fixed the mental attribute score problem. See the changes in the character generation for my resolution. Your solution is creative as far as the Hivemind/Rya symbiosis, but that's not quite my vision for this race. I was hoping to create a race that could in fact do multiple attacks per round and flank creatures on its own, so I'd like to keep that feature. On the other hand, since casting spells and using psionic powers are mental attacks, those definitely can only happen once per round, and it would expose any ryai in melee to attacks of opportunity.

How's that?

Rei_Jin
2006-05-24, 02:51 PM
I like the mental stat thing you've done, it's nicely balanced.

With the Quincunx meld you'd possibly be able to get up to a Intelligence of 20.

How would the stat boosts for levels work? Every 5 levels you gain a stat point, so where would you put it?

With them as they currently stand I'd be putting them as a LA +2 or maybe more, I'd have to go over them thoroughly to make sure though.

It's such an original idea, I love it!

Vorkosigan
2006-06-02, 01:39 PM
Thanks for all the helpful advice. It's been awhile to get back to this, I know. Been very busy.

I realize the four attacks/quadruple hit points to make the chetir-ryai formidable, to say the least. But i had noticed that in the PHB, just being Small was (I presume) considered such a disadvantage that halflings and gnomes come packed with racial bonuses to overcome this. That's why I really tried to avoid these with my race. Does that make sense or am I wishfully babbling?

As far as the stat boosts for levels, i think I addressed this in the original post under Attributes.

Vaynor
2006-06-02, 03:03 PM
Actually, I'd say +3-4 for the LA, being able to have four lives is very good.

Vorkosigan
2006-06-02, 04:04 PM
Not that I don't see your point, of course; I do. But I'd point out that a chetir-ryai doesn't actually have four lives. Death effects would kill the entire chetir-ryai at once. Anything mental affects the entire creature as one creature (Allip hypnosis, for example) So the question is whether or not that would be worth that large an LA. Not saying it's NOT, you understand, it's just that "four lives" isn't a complete definition.

Vaynor
2006-06-03, 03:15 AM
Yeah, what I meant was the four minds thing, also the +4 PP, 4 HD every level, and so on, is definitely a +3-4 LA.

Vorkosigan
2006-06-03, 10:35 AM
Yeah, what I meant was the four minds thing, also the +4 PP, 4 HD every level, and so on, is definitely a +3-4 LA.

Sorry, but I feel I'm being misunderstood here, or at least I'm not understanding. You say "it's the four minds thing." There aren't four minds. There is one. A chetir-ryai can only cast one spell in a round. It can make one psionic attack. It can make four physical attacks. And it stops being an operative character after three of the components are destroyed. It will gain major penalties when even one of its components are killed.

I acknowledge it is possible that the race is, despite this, overpowered. Perhaps I should adjust it so that each attack after the first has a penalty: -2, -4, -6. Or perhaps I should limit it to two attacks entirely. I also wonder if, for HD level adjustments, using 2 HD, and then splitting it among the four components would be a better idea, rounding up. That way, a 1st level barbarian of this race would have 4 components of 6 HP (+CON) each. A paladin would have 4 at 4 (+CON) and a wizard 4 at 2 (+CON). How would that be?

Vaynor
2006-06-03, 11:41 AM
Sorry yet again, meant bodies... :D

And yes, that makes more sense, and great entry by the way!

The Vorpal Tribble
2006-06-03, 09:29 PM
How does one handle the fact that there are four creatures in combat?

Do each one of them occupy a five foot space, and so for all intended purposes it has the reach of a Large-sized creature?

Also, each one is capable of wielding its own weapon. This would make it an eight-armed creature wouldn't it? What about Armor Class, and such things as Whirlwind Attack, etc?

Vorkosigan
2006-06-06, 03:02 PM
Edits:

This is to cover some of the points raised by those who have commented. Thank you very much for taking the time! I’m learning a lot.

Combat:

I have decided it’s just too powerful to allow these creatures to have four attacks. Therefore, we’ll solve it this way: Chetir-ryai just get one attack like everyone else. They can be rangers and have Two-Weapon Fighting like everyone else; they do have eight arms, but the Chetir-ryai aren’t quite THAT cool. Even with a full attack, a C-R with Multiweapon Fighting can only have two attacks until such time as the character itself, according to class, receives additional attacks. Now, these attacks can come from one component rya or two. In fact, Chetir-ryai can use weapons that normally CAN’T be used in Two-Weapon fighting styles (paired small greatswords, for instance) and if two component ryai flank an enemy, they get a flanking bonus for it. Also, even though the entire Chetir-ryai takes the full attack as a full-round action, the two or three (or perhaps, in the case of the Quincunx Meld, even four) ryai not actually attacking can move up to their full movement rate so long as they take no other action.

When a Chetir-ryai actually comes to get more attacks from its class levels, these attacks can likewise be made either by a single component, or multiple ones, as the player wishes. No combat feat requiring a physical attribute that a component does not possess may be used by that component.

Hit Points:

As a C-R has four bodies, it would normally get 4x the number of hit dice. This is unbalanced. On the other hand, actually quartering a single hit die among four bodies would make them fragile to the point of unplayability. (Imagine a C-R wizard that loses a quarter of his mental stats from taking a single hit!) So each rya gets its own HD roll, divided by 2, rounded up and added to its individual CON bonus. This makes sense to me seeing as every Chetir-ryai is going to have to be outfitted four times and will eat and drink twice what a Medium creature does. Glad to hear any disagreement of course.

I'll edit the original entry as time permits.

and now. . .


How does one handle the fact that there are four creatures in combat?

Do each one of them occupy a five foot space, and so for all intended purposes it has the reach of a Large-sized creature?

Also, each one is capable of wielding its own weapon. This would make it an eight-armed creature wouldn't it? What about Armor Class, and such things as Whirlwind Attack, etc?



Thanks for commenting, Tribble. To answer the questions in order, I think this post above should take care of the first one.

As far as the second, I'm not sure I understand. It doesn't have the reach of a Large creature, and wouldn't even come close to simulating one unless it arranged its components in a square. Even then, a rya holding a small greatsword couldn't strike into squares threatened only by the other components. The components are treated as four separate small creatures for targeting purposes, having their own HP, AC, etc.

Eight arms I address in the post above, and we just talked about AC, which leaves Whirlwind attack, I think. For that one, I'd say that since someone performing this feat "gives up" normal attacks, that the entire C-R can make one attack ant any opponents in each component's reach. Obviously only with the weapons that the relevant components are wielding. Should two components threaten the same opponent, the player may choose that either component (but not both) makes the attack.

Vorkosigan
2006-06-16, 04:16 PM
This entry is now updated in the text.

The Vorpal Tribble
2006-06-18, 09:16 AM
As far as the second, I'm not sure I understand. It doesn't have the reach of a Large creature, and wouldn't even come close to simulating one unless it arranged its components in a square. Even then, a rya holding a small greatsword couldn't strike into squares threatened only by the other components. The components are treated as four separate small creatures for targeting purposes, having their own HP, AC, etc.
Ok, a Small-sized creature generally takes up a 5-foot square. So four Small-sized creatures would therefore take four 5-foot squares. This is the same as being a Large-sized creature.

And since there are four, all lookign around, does this mean they also cannot be flanked or sneak attacked?

Vorkosigan
2006-06-19, 01:29 PM
Ok, a Small-sized creature generally takes up a 5-foot square. So four Small-sized creatures would therefore take four 5-foot squares. This is the same as being a Large-sized creature.

And since there are four, all lookign around, does this mean they also cannot be flanked or sneak attacked?

Actually, I don't think it is the same as being a large-sized creature. The only thing a Chetir-ryai has in common with a Large creature is that it takes up the same net area. But they don't have to be arranged in a square. They can be arranged in a line, or spread out as far as the corners of a square with a 100' perimeter. They get no bonuses to grapple, or any other trait that Large creatures generally benefit from.

As far as being flanked or sneak-attacked, that may be worth considering. I would say that a Chetir-ryai cannot be flanked under normal circumstances. However, if a Chetir-ryai were in a scouting situation and one of the ryai were out of sight of the rest, then that rya most certainly could be flanked normally. I don't think this should necessarily stop the Chetir-ryai from being sneak-attacked unless the DM rules that an unusual circumstance has occurred.