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Thread: The Ssarak Race

  1. #1
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Here is a basic overview of the Ssarak race. The final version will be a lot more detail with history, description, etc, but for now...

    Ability Adjustments: +2 Int, +2 Cha, -2 Con
    Ssarak are highly intelligent and skilled and convincing others, but their long exile underground has weakened the bodies.

    Favoured Class: Sorcerer

    Unique Feats: The Ssarak have the potential to draw on their magical origins and gain powers only dreamed of by other races. The Ssarak gain access to the special feats, Scalechange, Mirror Scale, Fire Scale, Hardened Scale, Diamond Scale, Shapechange, Snakeform, Wings of Morkrasarak, Improve Snakeform, and Drakeform, Fangchange, Poisonfang, Bloodfang, Venomfang, Vampirefang. (Note some names may change in the final version). These feats are not bonus feats, but are available only to Ssarak characters.

    Cold Weakness: Ssarak are very susceptible to cold-based attacks and suffer a ?2 penalty to dexterity and constitution when in cold climates (below 25° C). Their home is built into the side of an active volcano so they had become used to warmth and heat.

    Scales: The Ssarak?s bodies are covered with strong scales that give a +2 bonus to AC.

    NOTE: more descriptions for each ability will be available in the full version. Also, this is only any early version of their racial abilities. I?m looking for comment/suggestions of how to improve/balance this race. The unique feats stay though, although I may have to give the race a ECL of +1 or +2 because of them.

    UNIQUE SSARAK FEATS (early versions, comments please)

    Scalechange: Allows access to other scale feats
    Shapechange: Allows access to other shapechanging feats
    Fangchange: Allows access to other fang feats.

    Mirror Scale: Can change scales to become mirror like, reflecting light. Still working on bonuses for this one.
    Fire Scale: Causes flames to erupt from body, equivalent of fireshield spell, but not as powerful.

    Hardened Scale: +2 to AC
    Diamond Scale: +2 to AC (cumulative with other bonuses)

    Snakeform: Can change shape into giant snake (same mass as normal shape)
    Improve Snakeform: Can change shape into giant snake with constrict and poison abilities

    Wings of Morkrasarak: Can grow dragon-like wings that grant flying ability. Can only be used for short periods.
    Drakeform: Can transform into a large drake, with bite attack, but no breath weapon.

    Poisonfang: Grants poison attack, only weak
    Venomfang: Improved poison attack, also able to spit poison

    Bloodfang: Can drain blood from victim to heal, possibly drain 1d4 hp/round to add to hp total.
    Vampirefang: Improved version of bloodfang, can drain 1d8 hp/round.
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    I'm liking it.

    The idea of race specific feats looks real good. A larger variety of feats perhaps. In order to keep it balanced, have spell requirements, level requirements, hit-point requirements (possibly even a hitpoint sacrifice), or just generally higher than normal requirements.

    Right now, the race seems a bit underpowered. With some decent requirements for the feats, the class will lose many of its other possible feats (such as combat or item creation feats) in sacrifice for these powers. That will help balance the race. Prerequisite feats (scalechange etc.) should also help maintain balance (wasting more feat slots).

    How snake-like are they? Enough to warrant some form of grappling bonus?

    I think the race needs a little more development. Possibly some cultural modifiers of some sort or enhanced sensory capabilities, such as the tongue sniffing of snakes (or heat sense of a pit-viper). Another possibility would be an affinity for snakes of some sort. Some weak enviornmental ability may work, as well (such as swimming, climbing, hiding in nature, etc.) Mostly minor abilities, or even just somewhat neutral quirks should suffice.

    The magical infusion feats seem okay (without set stats right now). Do the non-shapeshifting feats require activation or are they innate? How about a chameleon scale feat (or natural ability).

    That's what I can say for now, without thinking about it much more. I hope it helps.
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    They seem to have enough of both advantages and disadvantages. It really looks like you put time and effort into coming up with this race. I can't wait to see the finished final draft.;)
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    Kinda hard to make specific suggestions as long the description is this vague, but here goes:

    -Ability modifiers - ok. I can see lots of different variables possible with a snake-like race; it all depends on where you want to go with them.

    -Favored Class: Sorcerer - cool.

    -You should make a statement that they are able to cast true magic without bloodlines. An interesting option would be to compile a separate spell list for them. They could have spells dealing with the effects you outline in your feat list.

    -I'd dump or modify most of the feats you are suggesting - they sound more like supernatural abilities or spells than extraordinary abilities. I'm not entirely opposed to the idea, but I think there are other options worth exploring: A unique spell list, including some new spells, possibly giving them existing spells at lower levels than normal. A racial prestige class, bestowing many of the effects and powers you mention. Another option is a short list of special racial spell-like abilities ala gnomes; they could have Alter Self, Barkskin (call it Scaly Hide or something instead) and perhaps Vampiric Touch or Poison.

    -A bonus on Escape Artist may be appropriate - if they are snake-like, they should be pretty hard to tie up.

    -A racial bonus on Spellcraft or Knowledge (arcana) may be appropriate.

    -The Scent ability could be appropriate, or allow them to take it as a feat.

    -They could have a +4 racial bonus on saving throws against heat hazards (DMG page 86), and a -4 penalty against cold hazards. Further, on their next action after taking any cold damage (whether subdual or normal), they'd be considered slowed.

    -Racial feats dealing with constriction would be appropriate.

    -A racial bonus on saves against poison might be appropriate. (I can't think of any poisonous constrictor snakes off the top of my head, but this is fantasy, so never mind that.)

    As you wrote the initial draft, they are hard to balance. The problem is that they don't have a lot of power in the race itself, but they have available a number of feats that could potentially make them far more powerful. Without those feats, they're about ECL +0.3 or some such - strong, but not strong enough to warrant a full ECL. With the feats factored in, they become much stronger; thus, whether or not they should have an ECL or not, or even two, becomes a problem outside of their racial benefits package, making the race in itself hard to balance. I'd strongly suggest that you steer away from making feats of the type you suggest and find some alternative way to implement the racial powers - it makes the race more predictable, and easier to balance.
    Jan E. Juvstad.

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    how numerous is this race and how quickley do they breed.
    is their society unifyed and are they unique to their volcanic home?
    Satanta

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    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Satanta: The Ssarak are mainly confined to The Spire, which is the province containing their volcanic home and fortress. They also control 6 nearby provinces, mostly sparsely populated wasteland, but including 2 mountainous provinces where they control several mines with a large slave labour force. They have a slow birth rate, but live for a long time (roughly 2-300 years).

    Mark_Aurel: On the feats, I have now dumped them in favour of several unqiue prestige classes which allow a player to customise their Ssarak characters. Each Ssarak character may only select 1 of the 5 prestige classes available, but given that they grant very powerful abilities to an otherwise physically weak race, this should be acceptable. All five of the prestige classess focus on shapechanging, or rather on altering the basic Ssarak form. A rough overview follows abilities or stats yet, names also haven't been finalised). All prestige classess will only have 5 levels, rather than the more common 10.

    Windrider: The character grows wings and is able to fly. This prestige class will obviously focus on flying and flying-related abilities (suggestions welcome). Possibly also the negation of the normal deterity penalty when flying.

    Shape Changer: The character can take the form of a giant snake, or half-snake, half-humanoid creature. Gains snake-like abilities including constriction and possibly venom attack.

    Scale Warrior: The characters scales harden and become tougher. Will grant eventual +4-+6 bonus to AC. Also grows spikes and other protections, making character a more powerful warrior.

    Serpent Priest: Enters the upper heirachy of the Ssarak priesthood, granting the character special abilities, including control of serpents and minor reptiles, bonus summoning abilities and more.

    Serpent Mage: The character learns the secrets of the ancient dragon sorcerers. Character gains several spell-like abilties and his ability to cast battle and realm magic increases (normally 1 battle or realm spell/level of sorcerer).

    I'm also considering your other suggestions. Below is an updated version of the Ssarak Racial Traits.

    · Ability Adjustments: +2 Int, +2 Cha, +2 Wis, -2 Con, -4 Dex. Physically weaker and sluggish when compared to the other major races, the Ssarak have spent millennia developing their mental abilities.

    · Unique Prestige Classes: The magical nature of the Ssarak people enables them to develop their bodies following one of five paths. Five prestige classes unique to the Ssarak race represent these paths. See the section on classes for more information.

    · Cold Weakness: Ssarak are very susceptible to cold-based attacks and suffer a ?2 penalty to dexterity and constitution when in cold climates (below 25° C). Their home is built into the side of an active volcano so they had become used to warmth and heat.

    ? They could have a +4 racial bonus on saving throws against heat hazards (DMG page 86), and a -4 penalty against cold hazards. Further, on their next action after taking any cold damage (whether subdual or normal), they'd be considered slowed.

    ? A racial bonus on Spellcraft or Knowledge (arcana) may be appropriate.

    · Scales: Ssarak possess hardened scales that cover much of their bodies, granting them a natural bonus of +2 to AC.

    · Scent: Although the Ssarak have poor eyesight, they can sense enemies in much the same way as a snake, granting them the equivalent of the scent extraordinary ability.

    · Favoured Class: The Ssarak may select either Cleric or Sorcerer as a favoured class

    · Uncommon Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, and Rogue.

    · Prohibited Classes: Bard, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, and Wizard. (Druid, paladin and ranger forbidden because they require divine patron, Bard and Wizard because they are based on elven magic, not the sorcerer of the Ssarak and their former masters, the great dragons.
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    love your ideas, i really think that the new races are brilliant. im sure everybody will enjoy and be enthused when your final draft comes out.


    keep up the good work peeps.([_]
    Snowman

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    I'm not sure that you have to forbid certain classes. The divinely powered classes could be outcasts or could worship according to a racial philosophy. The bard, wizard, magician could also be accessed by outcasts if you allow them.

    I still like the race. Is there a cultural base for the race? If it is indo-chinese you could use the shugenja class for priests, instead of clerics.
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