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    Default The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    The Common Garden Pixie (Homunculus hortus familiaris)
    Designed for Crossroads: The New World

    Spoiler: Representative Pixie Varieties of the Old World
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    The creature that flutters before you on gossamer wings is humanoid in form, though its features are blended with those of both insect and plant.

    Common Garden Pixie Swarm, CR 2
    XP 600
    CN Diminutive Fey (swarm)
    Init +3; Senses Low-light vision; Perception +12
    ____________
    Defenses
    AC 20, touch 20, flat-footed 19; (+4 Size, +5 Dex, +1 Dodge)
    HP 5d6 (18 hp)
    Fort +0, Ref +7, Will +3
    Immune critical hits, flanking, plant traits, swarm traits, weapon damage
    ___________
    Offenses
    Speed 20 ft., fly 50 ft. (good)
    Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
    Special Attacks distraction (DC 10)
    Spell-like Abilities (CL 5; Concentration +5)


    ___________
    Statistics
    Str 3 (-4), Dex 20 (+5), Con 10 (+0), Int 6 (-2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 12 (+1)
    Base Atk +0; CMB —; CMD
    Attack: Swarm (1d6)
    Feats Dodge, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Perception)
    Skills Fly: +12, Perception +12, Stealth +21, Sense Motive +5
    Languages none
    Special Qualities plant heritage, plant traits, swarm traits

    ___________
    Special Abilities

    Plant Heritage (Ex)
    Pixies take on the characteristics of whatever plant their egg incubates in. For example: pixies which hatch from eggs laid on rosebushes have thorny protrusions on their bodies; those which emerge from eggs laid beneath the leaves of the oleander shrub are extremely poisonous; pixies hatched from cattails are can breathe water as easily as air; those who grow from milkweed are protected from predators by their bitter taste. To reflect a swarm of pixies’ plantlike heritage, choose one of the following options at creation:
    • Thorns - damage from the pixies’ swarm attack increases to 1d8.
    • Poisonous - if ingested, the subject is treated as if they had consumed belladonna (a.k.a. deadly nightshade).
    • Hydrophyte - gains the "Aquatic" subtype, and a Swim speed of 20 ft.
    • Fragrant - gains the Cloying Scent ability


    Plant Traits (Ex)
    Plants are immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms), paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep, and stun.

    Swarm Traits (Ex)
    As a swarm of Diminutive creatures, a garden pixie swarm takes no damage from weapons, and is immune to critical hits and flanking.

    ___________
    Ecology
    Environment Temperate forests (esp. gardens)
    Organization soirée (2-3 swarms), gala (4-5)
    Treasure none
    Advancement (The easiest way to advance creatures is to have them increase in size when they double their HD.)
    Level Adjustment: —

    Native to Wales, Ireland, and southwestern Britain, pixies are diminutive winged humanoids with a mixture of plant and insect features. Only minimally intelligent, they delight in bright colors, fast movement, and all manner of flora.

    Long a staple of the oldest and grandest gardens of the British Isles, pixies were first imported to the New World by Harold Warbeck, the Lord Glomesbury, in 1587. He sent for four dozen pixies from his family’s estate, on behalf of his wife María, who greatly missed the brightly-blooming gardens of her native Spain. Little did he understand the havoc that these tiny creatures would wreak upon the unsuspecting biomes of the New World in only a few years' time, when the first handful of them escaped into the wild (but not before other colonial lords had followed his lead and imported these ecological time-bombs for the enhancement of their own gardens).

    For some inscrutable reason (perhaps simply the innate perversity of the fey), pixies only seem capable of promoting growth in plants which do not have any significant nutritional or medicinal value. There have even been reported cases where pixies were imported from one area (where a particular plant is grown purely for decoration) to another area (where that plant is used medicinally), only for the prospective healers to find, to their great dismay, that the pixies’ presence had no effect whatsoever on their prized medicinal herbs, even though the same plant’s growth had been greatly accelerated by these same pixies in the other area.

    Garden pixies spend most of their days flitting from flower to flower in their lord’s manse, helping and enhancing the growth and appearance of nearly every plant in their domain. They are typically kept bound within the confines of their masters lands by magic circles, walls of force, or cold-iron fences.

    An adult garden pixie stands about six inches tall, and weighs about a quarter-pound. They do not understand any languages, though they do laugh frequently, and are fond of imitating human speech (even if they don’t understand what it means).

    Combat
    Garden pixies rarely attack intruders, though they will raise a clangorous alarum when their sleep is disturbed. They typically lash out at any nearby intruders a round of faerie fire, and then make as big a racket as they can until their master’s other guards show up (the ones who can actually do some serious damage). In most cases, the sudden light and noise are enough to frighten off any would-be thieves, but if pressed, garden pixies will swarm over their attackers, tearing at them with hundreds of tiny claws and teeth.




    OK, so these are my attempt at expressing, in D&D terms, the first step of one of the most significant results of the Columbian Exchange: the introduction of invasive species to the New World. These bad boys are the first in a two-monster set, the second being the Feral pixie (Homunculus hortus ferus) (the garden pixies' larger, smarter, and more aggressive cousins).

    I'm not sure the XP reward is correct either, because the CR is all wonky. It's way higher than it's supposed to be, because they've got all these immunities and special traits from their plant and swarm subtypes (feral pixies will be one size category larger, so their "swarm" version won't get the weapon immunity that garden pixies have), so they're not all that dangerous, just really really hard to hit.

    Having faerie fire as an at-will SLA isn't excessive, is it? What about entangle 3/day?

    I feel like I might be able to throw another HD or two on these guys without drastically changing their CR, which make them less of a one-lucky-hit-kills-the-whole-swarm deal.

    I wasn't sure if they should have skills or not; swarms generally don't have skills, but although they're not very intelligent, they're not mindless either. But what skills could a swarm of pixies even use effectively?

    I also had an idea that pixies take on the characteristics of whatever plant their egg incubates in. I wasn't sure I wanted to add it to these guys, though, since their CR is already so high. I might make it a feature on the feral pixies instead, but it felt weird for them to spontaneously develop it in the wild when it's not present in their ancestors. Maybe it's already present in their domesticated cousins, it's just less pronounced, so it doesn't have a mechanical effect on them?
    Spoiler: Plant Characteristics
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    Pixies take on the characteristics of whatever plant their egg incubates in. For example: pixies which hatch from eggs laid on rosebushes have thorny protrusions on their bodies; those which emerge from eggs laid beneath the leaves of the oleander shrub are extremely poisonous; pixies hatched from cattails are can breathe water as easily as air; those who grow from milkweed are protected from predators by their bitter taste.

    To reflect a swarm of pixies’ plantlike heritage, choose one of the following options:
    • Thorns - damage from the pixies’ swarm attack increases to 1d8.
    • Poisonous - if ingested, pixies deal damage as though the subject had consumed belladonna (a.k.a. deadly nightshade).
    • Hydrophyte - gains the "Aquatic" subtype
    • Fragrant - gains the Cloying Scent ability


    As always, Please Examine And Critique Honestly. I'm trying to make sure that the base creature is correct, before I go adding any templates or special features to it.
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2014-07-22 at 12:06 PM.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    I have been definitely looking forward to these guys!

    Flavor-wise, the seem very cool and interesting.

    Now, math check:
    Diminutive's size modifier is +4, rather than +8, and their touch AC should be the same as their max AC.
    Not much else to comment on, number-wise. :P

    Damage reduction would not matter to these guys, as they're immune to weapon damage, and damage reduction only applies against physical attacks.
    I think you could quite easily bump up their dex bonus a few extra notches, they should be pretty seriously quick at that size. Think about trying to swat a fly.
    The swarm attack needs to be under offense, and it should be written as Attack: Swarm (1d6).
    They have one too many feats for their HD, it seems.
    Can you clarify your math for those skill bonuses? I don't think they have enough skill points, or high enough skill point caps, to get those numbers.
    Regarding SLAs, I think you're totally fine. They don't deal damage, and while faerie fire can be annoying it certainly wouldn't be game-breaking to use at-will.
    I like the addition of the plant traits, it really seems to fit the theme.

    Overall, a very solid base creatures, just need a bit of tweaking to get it battle-ready.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    If you want to add to the perversity of the "only effects plants with no nutritional or medicinal value", you could have the pixies effect all plants equally, but with the trade off that it renders the plants flavorless, useless, and the mega traits are not passed on in the seeds. So you can have really nice looking apples the size of a small pumpkin, but they will be of no nutritional value and cannot be reproduced to create more of these fruits (so there will be no mega fruit empire exploding). Eating the foods will reduce hunger pains, but will actually not help with feeding you.

    If this is known, why bring them to the New World? How about the pixies being used only in pretty gardens, since the Church held a huge amount of control over anything to do with healing, and so they didn't want to use magical creatures. Furthermore, capturing and containing the pixies takes a lot of resources and money, and so they were only used by the nobility for the flower gardens.

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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    Actually the Swarm Template says that a Diminutive swarm has +8 to Size bonus. Remember swarms use different rules than monster creation rules. See Swarm Template here: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/mon...swarm-template

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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    Actually the Swarm Template says that a Diminutive swarm has +8 to Size bonus. Remember swarms use different rules than monster creation rules. See Swarm Template here: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/mon...swarm-template

    Debby
    Ahh, I seee where the confusion arose. The swarm template is intended to apply to larger creatures, such as chimeras or other things. The swarm-templated creatures itself would be made of much smaller versions of the base creature, reducing their size as mentioned on the table, which in turn increases their size modifier. Applying the template directly to the base creature of a garden pixie would be inappropriate, as they don't shrink as they gather together into numbers.
    They're still diminutive, they still use diminutive's size mod.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Ahh, I seee where the confusion arose. The swarm template is intended to apply to larger creatures, such as chimeras or other things. The swarm-templated creatures itself would be made of much smaller versions of the base creature, reducing their size as mentioned on the table, which in turn increases their size modifier. Applying the template directly to the base creature of a garden pixie would be inappropriate, as they don't shrink as they gather together into numbers.
    They're still diminutive, they still use diminutive's size mod.

    Actually the Template applies to Any creature (there is no size restriction). According to the Pathfinder Swarm Template, any base creature from Tiny to Small uses +8 as its modifier. If you are using the swarm subtype but without the template, the modifier for those creatures seems to be the same the same as the base creature. Having conflicting sources does make things more difficult to assess.

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    Last edited by Debihuman; 2014-07-01 at 07:52 AM.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    Actually the Template applies to Any creature (there is no size restriction). According to the Pathfinder Swarm Template, any base creature from Tiny to Small uses +8 as its modifier. If you are using the swarm subtype but without the template, the modifier for those creatures seems to be the same the same as the base creature. Having conflicting sources does make things more difficult to assess.

    Debby
    The swarm template does not have a minimum size, but it was clearly designed with larger creatures in mind. I would direct you to reread the size and type section of the template, where it indicates the size change. The increased size bonus is because it's new size would be fine. And since the hypothetical diminutive base creature should not be shrinking in this context, they would stay diminutive, and use diminutive's size modifier.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    I have been definitely looking forward to these guys! Flavor-wise, the seem very cool and interesting.
    Why thank you, kind sir. Thank you very much!

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Diminutive's size modifier is +4, rather than +8, and their touch AC should be the same as their max AC.
    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    Actually the Template applies to Any creature (there is no size restriction). According to the Pathfinder Swarm Template, any base creature from Tiny to Small uses +8 as its modifier. If you are using the swarm subtype but without the template, the modifier for those creatures seems to be the same the same as the base creature.
    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    since the hypothetical diminutive base creature should not be shrinking in this context, they would stay diminutive, and use diminutive's size modifier.
    Sorry, I'm terribly confused here. I didn't realize that the template caused the base creature to change size (thought that would explain why I thought the wording was so strange). That's odd; the SRD is normally much clearer about things like that.

    Anyway, I definitely didn't intend for these guys to shrink, so I guess I'm gonna go with Squish's suggesting in this particular case, and recalculate their CMB, CMD, skill bonuses, etc. That might take a while; I'll let you know once I've done it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Damage reduction would not matter to these guys
    Fair enough. I've removed it. Might bring it back for the feral ones, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    I think you could quite easily bump up their dex bonus a few extra notches, they should be pretty seriously quick at that size. Think about trying to swat a fly.
    How many points were you thinking? Three? Five?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    They have one too many feats for their HD, it seems.
    I meant to make two of them bonus feats, 'cause I couldn't decide which to include. Or maybe I did cross it out, and the formatting I used in the doc didn't take when I copy-pasted it here. For now, I've made the second two into bonus feats. Should I maybe drop that back down to one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Can you clarify your math for those skill bonuses? I don't think they have enough skill points, or high enough skill point caps, to get those numbers.
    I honestly don't recall. I think part of it is because of the huge special size modifier I thought they were getting when I applied the template-as-written. I'll just have to completely recalculate their bonuses.

    Come to think of it, with all the changes I'm making, I'm probably gonna have to recalculate their CR and XP bonuses too, by the time I'm done.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    Size bonus:
    The only think it applies to on these guys is the AC. They have no attack bonus, since a swarm automatically hits, and they have no cmb/cmd, being swarms and thus unable to initiate or be targeted by combat maneuvers.

    Dexterity:
    I would say at least 18, possibly up to 20-22.

    Skills
    I dunno, size bonuses wouldn't do that. Here, I'll check 'em for you.
    Math: Fly: +7 (+dex, whatever it ends up being), Perception +8, Stealth +16 (+dex), Sense Motive +5.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    A'ight, I've just updated the stats for these guys, and added the skill bonuses that Squish recommended. But I've got to say, they are WAY more ferocious than I originally intended. They're immune to flanking, critical hits, AND weapon damage, they've got crazy AC, and they're immune to a TON of different effects.

    Now that I think about it, "Cloying Scent" seemed appropriate for the fey, generally-speaking, but I just realized Garden Pixies don't actually have any mind-affecting abilities which that special quality would make easier for them to use. Plus, it's designed for a 5x5 creature, not a 10x10 swarm. Hmm, maybe I need to write it up from scratch, or take it completely off their list of special qualities. (And for that matter, I'm not sure about the whole "hydrophyte" ability either...)

    My calculations say they as-written right now, they should be about CR 5.44 or so, but that seems really, really high for a 1 HD creature. I think I need to either throw more HD on these guys to make them fit their CR better, or add some vulnerabilities, or maybe just strip off a bunch of the plant-stuff. I thought it sounded like a really cool idea at the time, but I think it's better-suited to fey who are large enough to attack on their own, rather than in a swarm.

    Maybe I should bump their size category up a notch, from diminutive to tiny? That would halve their Size bonus to fly and AC, and they'd be just big enough that hitting them with a weapon would actually do some damage. Which, by my rough estimate, would bring them down to... *grabs a calculator* ... CR 4. That's still pretty high, though. Maybe I could shave off some of the bonus feats, and add a vulnerability to cold iron? That'd give us... *back to the calculator*... CR 3.44. Better, but still a teensy bit higher than I'd like. Throwing some extra HD on there would make them fit their CR better, but that'd require more math than I'm able to do right now. What do you folks think I should do about these guys?
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    CR:
    Just relax, man. Look, CR is supposed to be descriptive, not a target. You make the creature the way it's supposed to be, the way you think it should be. If it should have X, Y, and Z, let it have 'em. If it needs something else, put it in there. If it's got too much, well, takes something away. But ultimately, what you have to focus on is the creature itself. And when you're done, THEN you figure out the CR of it. The CR is how you describe to the DM what kind of characters this thing can take on. You shouldn't force a square peg into a round hole if it doesn't want to fit.

    I cannot POSSIBLY imagine this creature being any sort of serious threat to a 5th-level party of adventurers. It deals very, very little damage, it has almost no HP (though being immune to weapons does help), and it's spell-like abilities do no damage and have no serious, debilitating effects. Yes, it's kind of difficult to affect, but it has no bite to make it dangerous. I would say a CR of 1, maybe 2, tops.


    You know, I bet you could take this thing apart and make it into a hazard, rather than a creature, and just have it boost the CR of other encounters. Like, the encounter would be with the house's guards, but the pixie-hazard would make it harder to sneak past them, and can hassle characters with no-save entangles and faerie fire. Well, they could be used like that now, but they would be easier to destroy and easier to resist at higher levels.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    Just because a single pixie has 1 HD does not mean a swarm of them would only have 1 HD. A swarm of pixies would be 5,000 flying pixies. This could easily have been done as a 10 HD swarm just like the grig swarm: see here

    http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/mon...warm-grig-tohc

    or see sprite swarm here: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/mon...e/sprite-swarm

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    Last edited by Debihuman; 2014-07-10 at 02:21 AM.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    OK, I just upped them to 5 HD, which means that they have the same number of feats as before, they're just not bonus feats anymore. I also increased their Concentration bonus to match their HD, and added four ranks to Perception, bringing it up to +12. I think that's everything that's affected by HD... unless HD affects Caster Level, too?

    Eventually, I settled on Squish's suggestion of CR 2. They're really not very tough, even with all their immunities. Your suggestion to turn them into a hazard might've saved me a lot of work, but I kind of like having their actual stats all worked out. But perhaps, for the sake of making DMs' lives easier, it would be prudent to write them up as a hazard as well. I'll do some research and get back to you on that.
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    I just noticed, you still haven't fixed the size modifier to AC.
    Yes, more HD usually affects CL. It doesn't actually change much in this particular case, beyond the duration of the effects.

    Otherwise, looks pretty solid! *high five*
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    Default Re: The Common Garden-Pixie [decorative (and highly invasive) Old World fey]

    OK, I've upped the CL to 5 (equal to HD, correct?) and dropped the size bonus for its AC to +4. If you have no further issues with it, then I pronounce the Garden Pixies... completed. *fist bump*

    Onward! to the feral pixies!

    edit: I also added 'swarm traits' and 'plant traits' under "immune".
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2014-07-22 at 12:11 PM.
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