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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Been playing diablo 3 and considering the concept of Nephalem. It's become slightly more common in various media lately with the whole "offspring of angels and demons and stronger than both" and then I have to go lie down before I choke the Mary-Sue out of people.

    In D3 the concept gets a slight adjustment with Nephalem being precursor/ancient humans. That got my brain ticking down a path that could make the interesting concept of a Nephalem far less Sue-ish.

    There's 2 types of "prototypes". The ones that're half assembled junk before the formula was perfected and the ones that're better than later models cause the creator had to cheapen the parts for mass-production.

    What we are essentially talking about is a prototype human. Random forces of magic/genetics/whatever in a setting have made a person who is simply a "better" human than everyone else, probably without knowing or realizing it.

    So here's the question/discussion: what sort of things could be added to the basic Human racial template to give them a level adjustment of 1 or 2, without going too overboard with the min/maxer stuff.

    My ideas were to have various physical traits, like Scent and low-light Vision along with a few other things, like an untyped +2 bonus to confirm critical hits. Another idea to (very slightly) acknowledge the divine/demon stuff is a +1 bonus to caster level for any singular form of magic from Druid/Bard/Ranger/Arcane or Divine. If a character can use magic they get the bonus, but if they take classes giving them access to multiple types (thaumaturgy) whatever form of magic they learned first is the one that gets the bonuse.

    So that's the set-up. What would you put on a Human Racial template that would give a level adjustment, while still qualifying as a "Human"?

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    First off, it's nephilim.

    Secondly, shouldn't this be in homebrew? It's discussing the mechanics of the homebrew race.

    Thirdly, traditionally nephillim were either:

    1) a race of humans, this is the most accurate translation of the text the word comes from. May be giants.
    2) the children of angels (or demons) and humans, this is probably the most popular view. 3.5 handles this with either the half-celestial and half-fiend templates, or the aasimiar and tiefling races (the easiest thing to do would be to rename planetouched as nephilim, as I've done in my setting).
    3) angels themselves, this is the least common of the interpretations, but has more evidence than number 2.

    Any further discussion skirts board rulings on discussing real world religion.
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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    1) a race of humans, this is the most accurate translation of the text the word comes from. May be giants.
    No it's not. Nephilim is a dis legomenon—that is, it appears only twice—in ancient (pre-Second Temple) Hebrew and isn't clearly defined. Many ancient and Medieval translations do translate it "giants," but that's based on tradition that's unconnected to the original authors, not actual knowledge of what it means. Best guess is it's based on n-ph-l "to fall", possibly "those who have fallen" or "those who cause others to fall". One instance may be read to say they were giants, but that's assuming a metaphor similar to "we are as ants to them" is only to be taken literally, which is certainly not the case in modern English usage and may not have been the case in ancient times.

    You're also wrong in saying that 3 has more evidence than 2, but explaining why would definitely run afoul of forum rules. I'm not even aware of a scholar who's claimed 3 and can't find anything.

    To actually answer the question, though, look at the empty vessel/chosen in Secrets of Sarlona. Basically exactly what you're looking for.

    Also, this probably goes in the 3.x subforum.
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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Whatever stats you give them, call them the Nephilim. Otherwise people will think you learned the concept from Diablo 3, and then laugh at you.

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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    {{scrubbed}}

    I don't know how DnD 3.5 works, but you I'd want to see Nephalem Valor or Nephalem Glory in some form. Something to the tune of increasing their stats or giving them extra abilities as a fight goes on would be sweet.
    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2014-11-17 at 05:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    The Mod Wonder: Heads up: While this does not explicitly cross into religious territory, its linkage to religious lore makes it a good candidate for cross-over into Inappropriate Territory. Be careful of your postings.
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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by janusmaxwell View Post
    Been playing diablo 3 and considering the concept of Nephalem. It's become slightly more common in various media lately with the whole "offspring of angels and demons and stronger than both" and then I have to go lie down before I choke the Mary-Sue out of people.
    D3 handles them actually alot more maturely than most other sources would. First of all the PC is explicitly stated to be more awesome then other people but in terms of scale they still arent the biggest badasses in the universe (until they become the Aspect of Death which they lose when they break Malphael), nor are they said to be the only ones awakened (annd the canon Barbarian is not one at that, so technically if anyone is by definition a sue he is) nor that they are implicitly the big damn heros. In the case of the canon Demonhunter, she mindrapes a demon, the Wizard doesnt think before she acts. the game doesnt do backstory of the classes too well though.

    Blizzard takes care to show that the Nephalem are not sues, they are people, with way too much power and not enough experience to know how to respond to what they are experiencing. Maybe this isnt the case with the post Sin War books but Uldyssian is a puppet until the last possible second where he realizes hes been himself acting as the monster which goes bump in the night and stops the invasions of heaven and hell. The Wizard is arrogant and rash, the DH borders on psychopathic, the crusader is probably of all the characters the most sue and they are pretty self centered when you actually pay attention to what their dialogue is saying inbetween the lines.


    Alot of the problem of trying to correlate the Nephalem into DnD is the scale. they are not outside of the powerscale of non-5th editions of DnD but they start at the power of 10th level characters.
    Last edited by toapat; 2014-11-18 at 06:53 PM.


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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    This largely ties into my general issues. I'm not looking for a point-for-point transference of the Diablo 3 concept of Nephalem or from any other series (no Darksiders) into a pen and paper setting. I'm trying to get down a workable non-Mary Sue concept for "ancient human" instead of just plain human. Think the principle of the X-men where someone in a fantasy world just hit the genetic/magic jackpot, only instead of a random superpower, they have the body/spirit/whatever of an ancient human rather than a normal one. What would that entail?

    I look at the human racial traits, and I go "if I was to take all of this and add on things until there was a 1 or 2 Level Adjustment..." and I came up with Scent, Darkvision, +1 caster level to certain magic schools and a +2 to confirm critical hits. I don't want to get too deeply into the rigamarole of "Can cast divine magic spells even if not a cleric/paladin/whatever" or "can summon a demon once a day to do his bidding" or other religious stuff. (Or stuff that would be 2 unbalanced.)

    Thing is, I'm not nearly as good at DnD as some buddies of mine and are too busy for me to bounce every idea that comes through my head off of them. When I brought up the concept, one of them said "2 feats at first level" and another stared at him saying "That's a +2 Level adjustment by itself!". I don't want to make a similar SNAFU of picking something that'll turn out to be way OP.

    Does the concept of this "ancient human" racial type sound like it could work? And if you were going to make a race that amounted to "Humans who were 'better' at being human" what would you add to it?
    Last edited by janusmaxwell; 2014-11-18 at 11:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    If you want something that's just more human than human, so to speak, have you looked at the Human Paragon class?
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    "Ancient human" is a really vague concept. Whereas you seem to see it as being better than normal humans, I personally don't see why they'd have more power, unless we're using a middle earth "everything is currently in decline" concept.

    If I had to give them extra bonuses I'd say:
    -Endurance as a bonus feat. Your spirit is used to having to do stuff like walking for a long time.
    -The ability to cast an orison from the cleric list at CL 1 as a spell like ability 1/day.

    Those might be equal to +1 LA on their own, but to err on the side of slightly too much power I suggest giving them +2 to a stat or +1 to two stats as well, it gets across an idea of a racial paragon without being complicated or a class.

    But unless all races descended from humans why should we stop here? Why not make "Nephilim" versions of the other races? For example:

    Elven Nephilim:
    Same as normal elves, but add the following traits:
    - +2 charisma.
    -Scent.
    -Gain sprint as a bonus feat.
    -Speak with animals at CL 1 as a spell like ability 1/day.

    A simple "more elfy than elf" character at maybe +1 LA, and you aren't forcing those who want an "ancient spirit" to play humans.

    The alternative is to make it a feat/feat chain, but players get so few feats already.
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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by janusmaxwell View Post
    This largely ties into my general issues. I'm not looking for a point-for-point transference of the Diablo 3 concept of Nephalem or from any other series (no Darksiders) into a pen and paper setting. I'm trying to get down a workable non-Mary Sue concept for "ancient human" instead of just plain human. Think the principle of the X-men where someone in a fantasy world just hit the genetic/magic jackpot, only instead of a random superpower, they have the body/spirit/whatever of an ancient human rather than a normal one. What would that entail?
    Eldan basically hit the nail on the head for humans with the human paragon class.

    And no, neither D3 nor Darksiders actually treats them as a race of mary sue.

    The most defining characteristics of a Sue are basically these: The character has a significant, active, semi-prominent* role in the story, the sue lacks any significant flaws (the D3 player characters are self-centered or self-righteous to a fault), and/or the sue can only exist in that form by objective failure to comprehend the setting (Lt Thackary in GW1). In Darksiders, the 4 horsemen are each horribly flawed even if the story at that point doesnt depict their personal character developments. In d3, the only "whole" character is the male barbarian who we have at least the justification that its the barbarian from D2 so he already had a full storyarc.

    * Significant: The character is intrinsic to the continuation or completion of the story
    Active: The character themselves must actively participate in the challenges ahead as opposed to guiding the actions of others or observing from beyond.
    Semi-prominent: The character must exist for longer then is required for a deus ex machina. A character just showing up to move the plot forward doesnt qualify unless they exclusively exist to do this
    Last edited by toapat; 2014-11-19 at 10:59 AM.


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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Giving them Scent implies they are more animal like.

    You could just give them a once per day reroll or something to represent above average luck or ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Whereas you seem to see it as being better than normal humans, I personally don't see why they'd have more power, unless we're using a middle earth "everything is currently in decline" concept.
    That's an Ancient Greek concept. They had the men of the Golden Age who were just better than later humans. Tolkein's elves are also pretty much just 'better humans'. Genesis has the decreasing lifespans of the patriarchs and the immortality of the pre-fall humans as well as the super-human Nephilim. The Sumerians and their Akkadian descendants had a similar Golden Age to the Greeks.

    The whole idea of placing super human characters into the past that's common in story telling is basically the same idea, even though its kind of unavoidable since outside of Science Fiction most stories are supposed to be told after they've happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    the sue lacks any significant flaws (the D3 player characters are self-centered or self-righteous to a fault)
    Technically they can have loads of flaws, they just won't be treated as flaws in the actual flow of the narrative and the author may not even consider them to be flaws.

    Many Sues could actually be interesting characters if the setting wasn't bending over its back to serve them.
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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Huh. I was not aware of the "Racial Paragon Classes" and it actually looks like what I was search for or conceptualizing....well cr*pbaskets. Now I feel like an idiot.

    Also I kind of regret the distraction by constantly mentioning "Mary Sue" I don't know if there are actual established rules for homebrewing, and was simply stating my intent to not munchkin out a homebrewed race that rule-wise has only 1 level adjustment but can curbstomp Tiamat.

    Plus there's the fact that a few months ago I imbibed from the literary well that is the tale of the Ao-Sue (irolledazero.blogspot.com) and have been on quite an anti-Mary Sue jihad since then.

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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by Closet_Skeleton View Post
    Technically they can have loads of flaws, they just won't be treated as flaws in the actual flow of the narrative and the author may not even consider them to be flaws.

    Many Sues could actually be interesting characters if the setting wasn't bending over its back to serve them.
    as i said, Significant flaws. For instance, barring specific Deus-Ex bull**** Superman is the Canon-Sue posterboy. his only flaw is that he has a weakness to elemental weakness.

    Quote Originally Posted by janusmaxwell View Post
    Also I kind of regret the distraction by constantly mentioning "Mary Sue" I don't know if there are actual established rules for homebrewing, and was simply stating my intent to not munchkin out a homebrewed race that rule-wise has only 1 level adjustment but can curbstomp Tiamat.
    Its not really out of the question to call the way Nephilim get used in fiction as tending towards the sue. After all, they are supposed to be more awesome, but the one instance i know of firsthand (D3) and the second most major usage (darksiders) do keep the characters outside of definite sue territory, barring D3's male barbarian to people who dont have a wider knowledge of whats up with him.


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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Would be against the rules to point the poster to specific writings and mythological or scriptural scrolls for some historical context if there isn't much discussion about it?
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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ View Post
    Would be against the rules to point the poster to specific writings and mythological or scriptural scrolls for some historical context if there isn't much discussion about it?
    That's kind of an issue as I think bringing in real-world stuff on to the forum can cause a mell-of-a-hess. It's too likely to be drawn into political and religious debates separate from DnD related stuff and that's just too likely to cause chaos.

    The closest I'd want to do is grab the Diablo 3 fluff stuff on Nephalem (Their spelling) but the only thing I took from that was the "Angel+Demon=Ancient Human*Thousands of Generations=Standard Human"

    Doesn't really matter anyway as das Shmuck I am didn't know about the Paradigm Classes which is basically the same thing...albeit in Class form. As far as I'm concerned I basically just made a thread about "Hay Guyz, How I mine for Fish!?" and am now embarrassed. If y'all really want to keep discussing this go ahead, I pretty much got the answer I needed.

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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by Closet_Skeleton View Post
    That's an Ancient Greek concept. They had the men of the Golden Age who were just better than later humans. Tolkein's elves are also pretty much just 'better humans'. Genesis has the decreasing lifespans of the patriarchs and the immortality of the pre-fall humans as well as the super-human Nephilim. The Sumerians and their Akkadian descendants had a similar Golden Age to the Greeks.

    The whole idea of placing super human characters into the past that's common in story telling is basically the same idea, even though its kind of unavoidable since outside of Science Fiction most stories are supposed to be told after they've happened.
    Sorry, I was posting in between reading textbooks, I'd forgotten most of my mythology.

    But yes, I tend towards science fiction, so in my mind all stories should be building upwards. Foe example, my though process is "why wasn't the great evil killed 10000 years ago? Because we were still using rituals and stone spears. Now, when it's released we'll by standing by with muskets and quickened spells." I tend to forget that there's a long tradition of "the past was awesome and we aren't as cool", but it's mainly style differences.
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    Default Re: Nephalem racial brainstorming

    Quote Originally Posted by janusmaxwell View Post
    "Angel+Demon=Ancient Human*Thousands of Generations=Standard Human"
    actually the D3 formula is more like Human = Sqrt ((Angel x Demon)*/(Generation x Time ^ Hacked Worldstone))

    *This value is Infinite.
    Last edited by toapat; 2014-11-23 at 09:04 AM.


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