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Racial Varients

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:52 pm
by Slimcreeper
In keeping with my tradition of occasionally posting game mods that no one asked for, I've written up some racial variants for your consideration.

Starting and Racial Abilities

Life of Study: Dwarves can use their extra Speak Language Skill Rank on any Craftsman or Knowledge skill.

Longevity: Elves can sacrifice an Attribute Point to get an Artisan, Knowledge, or Language Skill Rank.
Woodlonging: Some elves are deeply connected to the Blood Wood, and as such always know the direction and approximate distance to the Blood Wood. Such elves are obsessed with the Wood and will feel driven to visit or heal it. +2 on any sort of Navigation test.

Racial Variant

Blood Elves: Blood Elves may travel from the Blood Wood for a variety of reasons, but it is very hard on them and uncomfortable for everyone else.
Racial Abilities:
- Unappealing to Horrors: Intelligent Horrors always target Blood Elves last, if at all. They cannot get any nourishment from them, so tormenting them is like eating dirt.
- Pain Resistance: Blood Elves ignore 1 point of Wound penalties.
- Reduced Recovery Tests: Blood Elves have one less recovery test per day. If he would normally have 1 recovery test per day, he can only make a recovery test every other day.
- Armor Restrictions: Other than Fernweave, armor and clothing must be specially crafted to be worn over the thorns, increasing its cost by three to four times when purchased outside of the Blood Wood.
- Intense Reaction: Nearly all Namegivers begin with an Attitude of one worse than normal towards Blood Elves. However, any successful Interaction tests results in a free additional success.
- Intense Woodlonging: In addition to knowing the direction and distance to the Blood Wood, Blood Elves may become physically ill as a result of their obsession with the Wood. Triggers for Intense Woodlonging vary, but may include near death, the death of a loved one, a major triumph, or intense reaction to a work of art. When the GM rules that it has been triggered, the elf must make a Willpower test against the number of months the elf has been away from the Wood. On failure, the character becomes afflicted with Wood Consumption.
Wood Consumption
Type: Debilitation Death Effect Step: 7 Onset Time: 1-2 months.
Interval: Chronic/1 Month Duration: Cronic
A Blood Elf taken with Wood Consumption know as soon as he fails the Willpower test. As with other Debilitating diseases, for each Success the disease gets against the victim’s Toughness Step he suffers -2 to all tests. If the penalty exceeds the victim’s Toughness Step, he is bedridden. If it exceeds his Toughness x2, he dies and cannot be revived through any means short of the intervention of a Passion. The only cure is to spend a night in the Blood Wood while suffering from no Wounds or Damage and to take a morning recovery test.

Wellspring: Humans can take on other race’s starting Attributes, Movement and Karma ratings in lieu of the Versatility talent. The human doesn’t get access to Versatility, but instead chooses a starting Attribute array, Movement Rate, and Karma Modifier from Dwarfs, Elves, Orks or Trolls. They do not get access to any other racial abilities.

All Obsidimen can enter the Dreaming, a nearly coma-like level of deep meditation. While in the Dreaming, Obsidimen do not need food or drink. If Obsidimen enter into communal Dreaming with one another, they can communicate telepathically with a range of Touch. Obsidimen can also enter into the Dreaming with their Liferock, meaning that in addition to other benefits, they benefit from the Liferock’s Armor. Entering or leaving the Dreaming requires a narratively appropriate amount of time, anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour.
Natural body: Obsidimen add +2 to any tests to hide when they are not moving and in a natural environment, such as forest or cave. This reduces their starting Charisma value by 1.
Longevity: Obsidimen can sacrifice an Attribute Point to get an Artisan, Knowledge, or Language Skill rank.

Iron Stomach: +2 to all tests vs ingested poisons or tainted food or drink. This reduces their starting Perception value by 1.

Trolthelia: Deposits of trolthelia form natural weapons, granting the troll +2 to damage tests in unarmed combat. Reduce starting Charisma and Perception Attributes by 1.

Swimming: All t’skrang have a Swimming ability (Player’s Guide p. 201) - they use their standard Movement Rate when swimming.
T’skrutio: T’skrutio is a kind of skin adaptation that lets t’skrang change their skin color in response to their emotional state. It cannot be used for camouflage, but can be used to communicate to other t’skrang in visual range. Both t’skrang must succeed on a Charisma (6) test in order for the communication to take place. It is believed that T’skrutio was much more common in legendary times. T’skrutio can be learned using the Read/Write Language skill, and the character must start with at least one rank in R/W Language spent on T’skrutio.

Racial Variant
K’stulaa: K’stulaa are strange mutant t’skrang born with flaps of skin between their arms and legs that allow them to glide. They are not born with the natural fear of heights as other t’skrang and are often driven from their homes as bad omens. Sesslakai Aropagoi, the House of the Spirit Wind, nestled in cliffs in the southern spur of the Throal Mountains, is the only place where k’stulaa are consistently born. The Sesslakai Aropagoi takes in k’stulaa no matter where they are born, however.
- K’stulaa cannot wear any armor with an Initiative Penalty.
- K’stulaa can speak K’stulaa fluently as a magical ability.
- K’stulaa can learn the Gliding Skill.
- Gliding
Step: Rank + Dex Action: Standard Strain: 1 Cost: Novice.
After falling or leaping from an elevated position, the k’stulaa makes a Gliding test (5) in order to begin gliding. Once gliding, she can move 2 yards horizontally for each yard she drops vertically. Gliding is also used for any aerial tricks the k’stulaa wishes to attempt. Actions that use either arms or legs (such as weapon attacks or unarmed attacks using arms or legs) break the glide. The k’stulaa can use a standard action to make another Gliding test to resume gliding.

Re: Racial Varients

Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:41 pm
by Lursi
With all the different ways all races can acquire additional talent like powers (Optional talent pool, Questor, Paths, ets) versatility is really not as much of a feat as it used to be.

I would rather trade it in as you propose.

Re: Racial Varients

Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:24 pm
by Slimcreeper
Well, versatility now is more about picking up what the internet would call one weird trick and rounding out your character. The wellspring variation is a little weaker. If you choose elf, for example, your character is mechanically an elf that can’t see in the dark.

Re: Racial Varients

Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:05 pm
by Sharkforce
i dunno, versatility can be pretty awesome in the right situation. it can double, triple, quadruple, and now even quintuple a magician's spell list at a bargain price. it can give access to defensive talents for disciplines that wouldn't otherwise have them (and yeah, it'd be better if you could spend karma and take knacks, but it's still better to have access via talent than skill). not to mention some talents are not just about a single roll... animal bond is certainly *better* if you can spend karma, but even without, it can give you reliable helpers for a variety of tasks, and yeah, you aren't going to be able to bond too well with that circle 8 creature that has willful 4 most likely, but you can still befriend lower circle animals, and if you then add in animal companion durability and animal training and enhance animal companion, they may not be quite as impressive as a proper beastmaster's animal companions but they can still be a heck of a lot stronger than without it.

as another example, if you get awareness but not the ability to disarm traps, a single rank of disarm traps from versatility will allow you to detect traps, even if you're not the best at disarming them (which in turn means you can plan for those traps, and potentially disarm them by triggering them while you're not in the area at least). a talent like blood share can allow the distribution of healing across a party (if they're loyal to each other :P ) and truthfully, the test only *really* matters if you're in a hurry.

even for non-magicians, versatility can potentially give them access to a lot of versatility by picking up the spellcasting and related talents (and once you've done that for one discipline, it's a much smaller additional investment to access the rest of them). true, you're not going to do as well as a full magician could, but it can still open up a lot of versatility to you (as it should, given the name).

or consider versatility to gain the ability to read or speak new languages you come across. maybe you've never come across a situation where it would be useful, but i certainly have.

so honestly, between the ability to shore up areas of personal weakness for a character, shore up party weaknesses (nobody that can track, or nobody that can find traps, or whatever else), and add useful strong abilities as you advance in circle and find that adding in a variety of abilities from early on in other disciplines that can greatly enhance your own capabilities becomes more affordable, i think versatility is still pretty good. early on, the attribute bump is probably stronger, but when you get to higher circles and the cost to advance a single talent by one point could instead be used to add an entire new set of capabilities to your adept (without the need for committing to an entire additional discipline), i think it balances out.

i mean, to pick up what i would consider to be the core package of animal companion abilities, you would need 5 circles in beastmaster or cavalryman (or at least 3 to get everything short of durability). that's a pretty major commitment, and you're probably going to have to pick up a bunch of other talents that you didn't necessarily *really* want along the way (and all of them at increased cost due to multi-discipline). personally, i wouldn't be so hasty to give up versatility if i knew the campaign was expected to go on for a reasonably long time.

Re: Racial Varients

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:19 am
by Lursi
Hm, you have some good points there regarding the absolute value of the human versatility.

Compared to ED2 I do see a significant increase in flexibility for all races. The competitive advantage to other races is smaller.

Re: Racial Varients

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:01 pm
by Sharkforce
well, i am certainly not prepared to make a judgment regarding the comparative value of human versatility, then and now. i've never even read 2nd edition.

i'm just saying that there is a fairly compelling argument to be made that as you advance in circle, human versatility becomes a very interesting and inexpensive means of advancing your character by gaining new capabilities. i would certainly agree that in its present form, it is coming at a non-trivial cost at lower circles (while other races gain useful attribute increases and often some minor special capability at first circle for free, humans gain only a potential ability which they have to pay for), but once you've advanced a bit in circle there is a lot of potential to do some really interesting things with it. it's basically a trade-off.

Re: Racial Varients

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:55 am
by ragbasti
I think versatility is still a huge advantage compared to other races.

When you look at Questor powers, Paths, etc. you have to always take into account how restricted these options truly are if you play them by the book.
Both Questors and Paths have few mechanics attached to them, outside of the separate talent you raise to achieve new ranks but at the same time impose very strong RP restrictions. Your character not only has to act in accordance with their Passion or Path, but they also have to pass an Ordeal every time they want to increase in rank.
Unless you are ignoring these RP-based restrictions, Versatility still has the absolute edge. All the human has to do is find a willing teacher, which can be either a party member or another Namegivers they pay for the training.

There will always be talents that some might be reluctant to teach but the human still gets all of these essentially with no restrictions.

Treating Paths and Questors as just a separate set of talent pools to replace versatility for other races is dumbing down the concept. It feels like this goes against the spirit of what they were intended for, encouraging roleplay and offering players the option to give their character greater depth both in a story sense and mechanically.

Re: Racial Varients

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:28 pm
by Slimcreeper
My meanest, worst, most unlovable opinion: versatility has tended towards being OP because there aren’t any interesting RP reasons to play a human in the world, with a few exceptions in the denizen book.

Re: Racial Varients

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:00 pm
by Lursi
Maybe getting other discipline‘s nicest talent has been a little harder, if not impossible in our group. We had a warrior who was eager to learn fireblood. He never got it.

The reasoning that the humans shine in higher circles while other benefits weigh more in lower circles is good.