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    Lord Tataraus's Avatar

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    Default [3.5] Racial Progressions

    This is a homebrew I've had for a little while and I've playtested it a bit to a lot of success so I might as well put it up for critique beyond my normal players. The basic concept to actually born from WotC's promise to make race actually matter through out all levels (in this case, all 20 levels). I also had some inspiration from the bloodlines in UA, but they are a bit too formulated for my taste. One final note, this is created with the mindset of using Pathfinder races and expanding beyond first level.

    Dwarf
    {table=head]Level|Ability/Bonus
    2nd
    |Hardy Warrior: 1/day a Dwarf may completely ignore all effects of a single attack with a weapon made against him.
    6th
    |Tough Skin: DR +1 (existing DR increased by 1, otherwise gain DR 1/adamantine)
    10th
    |Paragon: A Dwarven paragon gains +2 Strength and tremorsense 5ft on rock and hard earth only.
    14th
    |Resilient Fortitude: If a Dwarf makes a successful fortitude save, he may ignore all effects (except afflictions) or count as 2 successful saves.
    18th
    |Earthen Skin: DR +1 (existing DR increased by 1)
    20th
    |Legendary: A legendary Dwarf gains tremorsense 10ft and gains an extra +3 bonus on saves verse spells.[/table]

    Elf

    {table=head]Level|Ability/Bonus
    2nd
    |Light Step: An Elf gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC.
    6th
    |Forest Stalker: An Elf gains invisibility as a spell-like ability usable 2/day with a target of personal only.
    10th
    |Paragon: An Elf paragon gains +2 Charisma and a +1 bonus to initiative.
    14th
    |Step of the Forest: An Elf may gain the effects of a greater invisibility spell when using his Forest Stalker ability.
    18th
    |Quick Step: An Elf's racial dodge bonus becomes +4 and his racial initiative bonus becomes +2.
    20th
    |Legendary: An Elf may teleport anywhere within line of sight up to 30ft away as a move action 2/day, this is a spell-like ability.[/table]

    Gnome
    {table=head]Level|Ability/Bonus
    2nd
    |Nature Attunement: A Gnome may talk with animals as the spell a number of times per day equal to 1/2 the his hit dice.
    6th
    |Commune with Nature: 2/day a Gnome may speak with speak with plants as the spell.
    10th
    |Paragon: A Gnome paragon gains Scent and a +4 bonus on all saves against compulsion effects, and a +2 bonus on all checks involving Fey, animals, and plants.
    14th
    |Immerse in Nature: 2/day a Gnome may gain fast healing 1 for a number of rounds equal to his hit dice.
    18th
    |Blend with Nature: 2/day a Gnome may meld with plants as the meld with stone spell with a caster level equal to 1/2 his hit dice.
    20th
    |Legendary: A legendary Gnome gains hide in plain sight and a +4 bonus on stealth checks while in a natural environment. A Gnome also gains +2 Dexterity.[/table]

    Half-Elf
    {table=head]Level|Ability/Bonus
    2nd
    |Light Step: A Half-Elf gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC.
    6th
    |Great Skill: A Half-Elf gains a +3 racial bonus on any one chosen skill.
    10th
    |Paragon: A Half-Elf paragon gains +2 to the ability score he chose at first level as well as a +1 bonus to initiative.
    14th
    |Skill Mastery: A Half-Elf may always take 10 when using the skill he chose for the Great Skill ability. If the chosen skill already allows for the Half-Elf to take 10 he may instead take 20.
    18th
    |Quick Step: A Half-Elf's racial dodge bonus becomes +4 and his racial initiative bonus becomes +2.
    20th
    |Legendary: A legendary Half-Elf gains 1 free gestalt level.[/table]

    Halfling
    {table=head]Level|Ability/Bonus
    2nd
    |Improvised Crafter: A Halfling does not take a penalty due to lack of equipment on Disable Device and Craft checks.
    6th
    |Fleet of Foot: A Halfling’s base movement speed becomes 30ft
    10th
    |Paragon: +2 Intelligence, 1/day a Halfling may reroll one d20 roll
    14th
    |Natural Climbers: A Halfling gains a climb speed of 15ft and may always take 10 on climb checks
    18th
    |Mettle: Gain mettle
    20th
    |Legendary: A Halfling may reroll a d20 roll 3/day and has his luck bonus on saving throws increased to +2[/table]

    Human
    {table=head]Level|Ability/Bonus
    2nd
    |Versatile Learner: A Human gains one extra class skill of his choice.
    6th
    |Great Skill: A Human gains a +3 racial bonus on any one chosen skill.
    10th
    |Paragon: A Human gains +2 to his initially chosen ability score and an extra 5 skill points this level.
    14th
    |Skill Mastery: A Human may always take 10 when using the skill he chose for the Great Skill ability. If the chosen skill already allows for the Human to take 10 he may instead take 20.
    18th
    |Great Skill: A Human gains a +3 racial bonus on any one chosen skill.
    20th
    |Legendary: A legendary Human gains 1 free gestalt level[/table]

    Half-Orc
    {table=head]Level|Ability/Bonus
    2nd
    |Blood Rage: If a Half-Orc is at 10% or less health he gains a +2 bonus on all attack rolls and a +4 bonus on intimidate checks. Once the Half-Orc’s hp returns above the Blood Rage threshold he returns to normal.
    6th
    |Battle Ready: A Half-Orc may act in a surprise round if he would not normally be able to do so, but is still considered flat-footed and is automatically placed in the lowest initiative on the following round.
    10th
    |Paragon: A Half-Orc paragon gains +2 Constitution, additionally, while under a Blood Rage a Half-Orc gains a +2 bonus on all saves.
    14th
    |Greater Blood Rage: A Half-Orc’s Blood Rage begins at 25% or lower hp.
    18th
    |Intimidating Presence: Immediately after entering a Blood Rage, all enemies within line of sight of the Half-Orc must make a will save against the Half-Orc's intimidate check + 5 or be shaken. The enemy who caused the damage to put the Half-Orc into a Blood Rage automatically becomes shaken.
    20th
    |Legendary: A legendary Half-Orc does not die until he reaches -20 or lower hp and he gains an extra +2 on attack rolls while below 0 hp.[/table]

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    I'm not sure about the Elf Legendary. Where's it come from? It seems a bit random.

    Similarly, I'm not sure about Natural Climber for halflings.
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    thegurullamen's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    Bravo, sir. This is exactly what I was looking for. We need some more of this.
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    Lord Tataraus's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Thane of Fife View Post
    I'm not sure about the Elf Legendary. Where's it come from? It seems a bit random.

    Similarly, I'm not sure about Natural Climber for halflings.
    Well, I could reword it I guess, the concept is that the elf has become such a master of remaining unseen he can literally move without any negative effects. It is supposed to be a move that ignores AOOs, wall of fire, pits, traps, etc. The easiest way to do this is mechanically is by teleporting. Fluff-wise, I at least say the elf is just that good at avoiding obstacles, but he is actually physically sprinting to his destination. However, I just realized I left out the keywords "within line of sight".

    As for the halfling natural climber, I guess its mostly a personal preference thing. I see halflings as extremely acrobatic and athletic, but boosting Tumbling runs the risk of being overpowered and jumping just doesn't work for someone so small, but climbing has always been a small guy's thing, they have to learn to climb over stuff that humans don't have a problem with so they develop the skill more readily. Plus, I like climbing for sneaky races, it enhances the thief and sniper aspects.

    If you can think of better abilities I would definitely consider them.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    Alright, that sounds good for the elf.


    For the halflinf - I don't know. Maybe something with thrown weapons/slings?
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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    6th Fleet of Foot: A Halfling’s base movement speed becomes 30ft
    Might wanna change that to "A Halfling's base movement speed increases by 10." Right now, this is worthless to halfling barbarians and monks.

    Mettle: Gain mettle
    What does this mean?
    Last edited by Lappy9000; 2008-09-20 at 09:24 AM.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    The Gaming Den boys talked about this a while back when 4E so abjectly failed of its' promise to make character race a mechanically meaningful choice. IIRC they wanted to make Dwarves tough as all hell, Elves the masters of glamour magic, Orcs into the Hulk, etc.

    Racial abilities should be both evocative of the race and mechanically significant: a +2 to a save bonus doesn't make a character any more awesome or memorable. A good racial ability should be able to tell even the least fantasy-familiar newbie player what the race is all about.

    As it is the suggestions Lord Tataraus makes are a good start for racial abilities, but there is a problem. These abilities don't scale-by-level in any meaningful way. After about 10th level the abilities suggested are essentially worthless in the face of what level-appropriate spells and creature SLAs can do.

    Oh, and 20th level capstone abilities are useless. They get used for maybe one adventure, and that's assuming the game ever even makes 20th. If you're going to give a creature a characteristic ability then hand it over early and make sure it scales up with the character as they level.

    Example:

    Dwarf
    "The sons of the mountain are as hard and unyielding as the stone that birthed them."
    Dwarves were created to be the most steadfast of the speaking races. Where others will collapse from weakness or cower in fear the dwarves draw strength from the earth and grimly endure adversity.

    1 - Tremorsense: 10ft, this increases to 30ft at 6th level and 60ft at 11th level
    2 - Hard as Rock: DR/adamantine = 1/2 lvl.
    6 - Dwarven Fortitude: 1/day can suppress harmful status effects for up to his HD in rnds.
    11 - Stony Hide: SLA Stoneskin 1/day (CL = HD), +4 save bonus vs. petrification
    16 - Son of the Earth: SLA Meld with Stone 1/day (CL = HD), immune to petrification

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9000 View Post
    Might wanna change that to "A Halfling's base movement speed increases by 10." Right now, this is worthless to halfling barbarians and monks.

    Mettle: gain Mettle
    What does this mean?
    It's the Will save version of Evasion IIRC.
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2008-09-20 at 10:57 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    The Gaming Den boys talked about this a while back when 4E so abjectly failed of its' promise to make character race a mechanically meaningful choice. IIRC they wanted to make Dwarves tough as all hell, Elves the masters of glamour magic, Orcs into the Hulk, etc.
    Wait wait wait, 4e didn't follow through with that? I thought that was gonna be a big thing in the new edition. Geez Wizards....

    Thanks for telling me what Mettle was but...

    Racial abilities should be both evocative of the race and mechanically significant: a +2 to a save bonus doesn't make a character any more awesome or memorable. A good racial ability should be able to tell even the least fantasy-familiar newbie player what the race is all about.
    This news depresses me.

    Of course, then again, going too totally-awesome-super-cool on racial progression begins to overpower the common races in the face of their more monstrous opponents.

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    Lord Tataraus's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    Bosssmiley, I agree that capstone abilities could either use work or just get thrown out, admittedly, I have never played beyond 15th level and I haven't tested these abilities beyond 10th. A overhual may be nesecary, however, I don't want the racial abilities to be too powerful.

    Quote Originally Posted by bosssmiley View Post
    Dwarf
    "The sons of the mountain are as hard and unyielding as the stone that birthed them."
    Dwarves were created to be the most steadfast of the speaking races. Where others will collapse from weakness or cower in fear the dwarves draw strength from the earth and grimly endure adversity.

    1 - Tremorsense: 10ft, this increases to 30ft at 6th level and 60ft at 11th level
    2 - Hard as Rock: DR/adamantine = 1/2 lvl.
    6 - Dwarven Fortitude: 1/day can suppress harmful status effects for up to his HD in rnds.
    11 - Stony Hide: SLA Stoneskin 1/day (CL = HD), +4 save bonus vs. petrification
    16 - Son of the Earth: SLA Meld with Stone 1/day (CL = HD), immune to petrification
    My problem with your above example is firstly, some of the abilities are way to powerful (tremorsense and DR), and others are just not unique enough (the SLAs). Also, a dwarf isn't really associated with magic so the melding into stone is not really what I think of about Dwarves and I am really hesitant on immunities they are too absolute. Also, I don't want the progression to be that fast, especially not adding to the base bonuses which is what the 1st level ability is doing.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    I think races need capstones just like classes. Sure, you may never use them, but they're shining examples of what you could become should you reach those heights, just like what absolute paragons of one's race and class should be.

    I've always envisioned dwarves as what gnomes always should have been; creatures of the earth. Earth magic fits well with them. I'd try for more emphasis on bonuses to strength checks to show their burly/strong training/predispositions.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    Legendary Humans: What is a "free Gestalt Level?" Is it a multiclasses level that does not count against XP?
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tataraus View Post
    Bosssmiley, I agree that capstone abilities could either use work or just get thrown out, admittedly, I have never played beyond 15th level and I haven't tested these abilities beyond 10th. A overhaul may be necessary, however, I don't want the racial abilities to be too powerful.

    My problem with your above example is firstly, some of the abilities are way to powerful (tremorsense and DR), and others are just not unique enough (the SLAs). Also, a dwarf isn't really associated with magic so the melding into stone is not really what I think of about Dwarves and I am really hesitant on immunities they are too absolute. Also, I don't want the progression to be that fast, especially not adding to the base bonuses which is what the 1st level ability is doing.
    Fair enough mate. The Dwarf was strictly a personal taste, off-the-top-of-my-head example. Some of it may be a bit rich for some tastes, other parts might not be strictly level appropriate (meld with stone).

    I suppose I'd just like to see a bit of a rebalance of the current "I'm a dwarf fighter 16" or "I'm an elf wizard 12" discrepancy. I'd love it if racial choice were a big, mechanically-meaningful deal all through the game, rather than being the front-loaded cherrypick it currently is.

    Personal take on the PHB races:
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    Dwarves: steadfast sons of stone
    Elves: masters of glamour and illusion
    1/2 Orcs: fearless, terrifying and ANGRY
    1/2 Elves: living detection suites
    Halflings: master sneaks
    Humans: super egotism powah! (16 - Great Destiny: 1/day moment of prescience )

    Gnomes? Don't use 'em.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Racial Progressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Guyr Adamantine View Post
    Legendary Humans: What is a "free Gestalt Level?" Is it a multiclasses level that does not count against XP?
    Kind of, you basically get 2 levels for your 20th level though you take the better of hit dice, BAB, and saves. For example you could be a human wizard 20 and take your Gestalt as rogue giving you trapfinding, sneak attack, a better reflex save, and d6 hit dice. Of course you would gain more benefit if you were already multiclassed so you could be effectively a rogue 11/wizard 10 in 20 levels.

    As for the roles of the PHB races, I agree mostly with Bosssimley, though I see Humans as more of a jack-of-all-trades type and half-elves as a mix of Elf and Human and Gnomes are a highly nature-oriented race, almost fey.

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