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Author Topic: Hobgoblin & Lizardfolk PCs  (Read 3399 times)
IanEHewitt
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Posts: 6


« on: October 23, 2004, 01:28:55 PM »

After reading the advice in the DMG (and MonteCook.com) I have tried to create Hobgoblins and Lizardfolk as PC Races. My intention was to create a race that could be played from 1st level - without the ECL causing imbalance. I used the optional Racial Levels (Arcana Unearthed & Unearthed Arcana) for each race, to enable them the chance to realize their full MM potential.

This is my first attempt at such a task and I would appreciate input, feedback, criticism and suggestions on what I have so far. The races need to be internally balanced with the PC races from PH and Arcana Unearthed.

HOBGOBLIN RACIAL TRAITS
Str +1
Dex +1
Wis -2
Cha -2
Medium Size
Base Speed 30'
Darkvision 60'
+4 Racial Bonus to Wilderness Survival skill checks.

HOBGOBLIN RACIAL LEVELS
Level 1: +1 BAB, +0 Fort, +0 Ref, +0 Will, Spec: +1 Str, +1 Dex.
Level 2: +2 BAB, +1 Fort, +1 Ref, +0 Will, Spec: +2 Con.
Level 3: +3 BAB, +2 Fort, +2 Ref, +1 Will, Spec: +2 Con.

LIZARDFOLK RACIAL TRAITS
+1 Str
+1 Con
-2 Int
Medium Size
Base Speed 30'
Hold Breath
Natural Weapons
+4 Racial Bonus to Balance, Jump, Swim Skill Checks.

LIZARDFOLK RACIAL LEVELS
Level 1: +0 BAB, +0 Fort, +1 Ref, +0 Will, Spec: +1 Natural AC, +1 Str
Level 2: +0 BAB, +0 Fort, +2 Ref, +0 Will, Spec: +2 Natural AC, +1 Con
Level 3: +1 BAB, +1 Fort, +3 Ref, +0 Will, Spec: +2 Natural AC, MultiAttack Feat (MM)

Cheers
Llowellen
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TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2004, 02:17:35 PM »

Hi there!  Welcome to the Forge!

Is this for an Independent Game Design?  Because it looks, frankly, like Dungeons and Dragons.

I'd try to redirect you to a forum here that's more appropriate to your question, but if I'm understanding it correctly there really isn't one.  Minor modifications to existing mainstream RPGs aren't in the Forge's mission statement.  Perhaps someone more in touch with modern D&D communities can give some links?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2004, 04:34:26 PM »

Hiya,

Actually, it's a perfectly reasonable topic for RPG Theory, which is not restricted to independent games.

If anyone wants to dive into a good D&D discussion, go for it!

Best,
Ron
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2004, 05:01:51 PM »

Hi, Ian, welcome to the Forge!

First off, I have to say that Hobgoblins and Lizardmen are my two favorite D&D races.  Good choices for a first work.

That said, I think these need more work before they're really ready to play with.

Here are some considerations.

First, never ever racial modifiers in units of +1, +3, +5 or anything like that.  In 3.x, attribute modifiers should always be +2.  The reason for this is that it limits the usefulness of choosing specific races -- as it stands, if you have two odd attributes, you would want to make a Lizard Man or Hobgoblin only, because you'd effectively be getting an extra +2 to one attribute.  This is a big deal.

Secondly, your races are severely lacking in the color that makes them really cool.  Look at the races in the PHB.  They have cultural skill bonuses, little special abilties, etc.  So I don't want to see things like "+4 Racial Bonus to Wilderness Survival Checks" so much as I want to see "because they spent a lot of time in the wilderness, Hobgoblins gain a +2 to Survival checks."  Also, you have a great chance to do things with the Hobgoblin's militaristic culture.  How about "Because of their militaristic culture, all Hobgoblins are trained in one martial weapon?"  Similarly, I'd like to see more to the Lizard Men than "hold breath" or the tail bonuses.  What makes them cool?  Add in stuff from that.

Anyway, I have more to write, but perhaps the next note.  Good luck!

yrs--
--Ben
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Callan S.
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2004, 05:16:19 PM »

Welcome Ian,

Yeah, the traditional nifty abilities, tempered by the usual 'it's good in just the right situation, not every situation' requirements.

Hi Ben,

I don't know about your concern for stat bonuses which aren't in two's.

Basically these only will affect stats which are odd themselves (like 13, or 15). This does mean that a player will have to put odd stats in those areas the race gets a bonus from to get any immediate effect...thus reducing choice somewhat. But otherwise, what's the prob? Like the half orc, bonuses that don't pay off by themselves can be balanced out by other abilities.
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Philosopher Gamer
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SlurpeeMoney
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Posts: 69


« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2004, 06:39:19 PM »

I love a good stat block, but...

Whenever you're taking a race and making it playable, you'd might as well re-invent the whole race. Palladium did an admirable job of making monster races playable (in fact, hob-goblins and lizard men are both playable in that system; might be worth a look).

I'm less worried about the stats, though, and more into the idea of "What would these races contribute, story-wise, to the campaign?" I'm very narrativist, and while D&D 3.x can do some great narrativist capaigning (the Wheel of Time adaptation, while buggy, kicked some serious ass), too often people focus on the stats, the gamist and simulationist aspects of D&D play.

Are you using one of the established D&D settings? Are you creating your own world? How are these races going to be viewed, galavanting around with a bunch of "civilized" folk? How are people going to react to having them in their towns and cities? What are the major benefits to playing one of these monster races?

I love a good stat-block, but a great Racial Description is always so much better.

~Kris
"Making D20 scream with narrativist passion."
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2004, 07:56:35 PM »

Quote from: Noon
Hi Ben,

I don't know about your concern for stat bonuses which aren't in two's.

Basically these only will affect stats which are odd themselves (like 13, or 15). This does mean that a player will have to put odd stats in those areas the race gets a bonus from to get any immediate effect...thus reducing choice somewhat. But otherwise, what's the prob? Like the half orc, bonuses that don't pay off by themselves can be balanced out by other abilities.


BL>  Well, given that the standard attribute adjustment in 3.x is always a +2 or some multiple thereof, let's consider the following cases, assuming we are playing with Ian's Lizardman.

If I have a stat set that looks like

8
10
12
12
14
18

Then there is no reason that I should play a Lizardman at all.  Or, rather, I will be at a considerable disadvantage compared to the other races in the game, as I will be missing out on one of my stat bonuses.

Conversely, if I have a stat set that looks like:

8
10
12
13
15
18

I am a damned fool for playing anything but a lizardman, because I can get an effective extra stat bonus just from making the correct attribute placements.

Clear?

yrs--
--Ben
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WiredNavi
Member

Posts: 75


« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2004, 08:26:08 PM »

Quote
...I am a damned fool for playing anything but a lizardman, because I can get an effective extra stat bonus just from making the correct attribute placements.


...Until you hit 4th Clevel, at which point you start getting level-based stat bonuses and those odd +1 and +3 bonuses become just as valuable as the others.
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Dave R.

"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness."  -- Terry Pratchett, 'Men At Arms'
Ben Lehman
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2004, 08:30:43 PM »

Quote from: Jinx
Quote
...I am a damned fool for playing anything but a lizardman, because I can get an effective extra stat bonus just from making the correct attribute placements.


...Until you hit 4th Clevel, at which point you start getting level-based stat bonuses and those odd +1 and +3 bonuses become just as valuable as the others.


BL>  Well, yes, until I hit 8th level...  And so on until 20th.

yrs--
--Ben
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WiredNavi
Member

Posts: 75


« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2004, 02:19:25 AM »

Quote
Quote
..Until you hit 4th Clevel, at which point you start getting level-based stat bonuses and those odd +1 and +3 bonuses become just as valuable as the others.



BL> Well, yes, until I hit 8th level... And so on until 20th.


Does it matter?  All it does is switch the occurrence of that odd stat boost four levels up.  Barring magical bonuses - which come in 2s anyway - you will always alternate between an odd number of stat points and an even number of stat points every 4 levels.  Whether you start out with more evens or more odds doesn't really change things that much - it might give a momentary advantage at the start, but that advantage mostly dissappears as soon as the cycle starts up.

Ian, I think (like others have said) that you'd be better off detailing _why_ those bonuses come.  In fact, you could try a sort of exercise like HeroQuest keyword creation - write a couple of paragraphs about what Lizardmen and Hobgoblins are like, without considering the kind of bonuses and penalties you want them to recieve.  Then look that over and see how the things you wrote down translate into a racial template.  On the other hand, they look pretty good as they are.  You might want to give the lizardmen a base swimming speed, but that's clearly your call.
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Dave R.

"Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness."  -- Terry Pratchett, 'Men At Arms'
Chris Geisel
Member

Posts: 55


« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2004, 08:34:11 AM »

Since you didn't mention it in your original post as one of the resources you're using, I thought I'd mention that in the 3.5e of the Monster Manual, Lizardfolk have a section on how one would stat up a PC using it as a race. I suspect the same is for Hobgoblin, though I only have firsthand knowledge of the Lizardfolk.

It's not exactly what you're looking for, because although it gives the flavor text and specialty skill bonuses, stat mods, etc, it doesn't have the 1-3 level advancement you're shooting for. But you still might find it useful to check out and see how the 3.5e guys did it. (Incidently, in the MM, Lizardfolk are equavalent to 2nd level characters.)
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Chris Geisel
IanEHewitt
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2004, 11:07:42 AM »

Apologies for putting this in the wrong forum initially - but thanks to everyone for the discussion.

I fully agree with everyone who suggests more flavour and text - this has been my intention all along, the purpose of this exercise is just to nail down the dry old mechanics. The flavour is something I do not feel I will struggle with.

To put all of this in context - I am creating my own world. Hobgoblins are the dominant PC race in the southern pole, they will differ considerably from the cultural perspective they are presented with in the MM, although physically they will be the same. My lizard folk fill the same niche in a South American-type continent. As these are PC race options though, they need to balanced with the more standard PC races - without depriving them of their individuality (the lizard folk presented in the MM for example is actually balanced against a 4th level PC, not a 2nd, when you factor in a single class level and two racial levels on top of the LA +1).

I agree with both sides of the even/odd ability mods discussion and can see both points of view. However I will stick with the standard set by the existing rules and try to keep to evens, although this is a little harder to balance in my view.

For example, if the lizard folk gets +2 Str +2 Con -2 Int at first level, I would be tempted to apply -2 Wis AND -2 Cha to balance. Lizards (in my world) will be a martial people and the -2 Int penalty not likely to phase them much. The Swim movement is a good suggestion, I will include this.

Thank you all again for this discussion,

Cheers
Ian
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mindwanders
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2004, 01:52:37 PM »

Quote
For example, if the lizard folk gets +2 Str +2 Con -2 Int at first level, I would be tempted to apply -2 Wis AND -2 Cha to balance. Lizards (in my world) will be a martial people and the -2 Int penalty not likely to phase them much. The Swim movement is a good suggestion, I will include this.


I'm kinda rusty on my AD&D and have only played 3.5 once, but I seem to remember something that came up a couple of times for custom reptilian or insectoid races back in 2nd ed.

I honestly can't remember where it was, but I'm sure some races got an effective -5 charisma to non reptilian species just because they were so damn alien.

Something like this might be an alternative to adding in more stat penalties.
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IanEHewitt
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2004, 02:49:08 PM »

This remains a work in progress - I have expanded the lizardfolk entry taking into consideration the advice given here. The flavour text is obviously written with my own world in mind, but any feedback there would be great too - these may not be the culturally typical lizardfolk of the MM.

Continued feedback would be great.

Many thanks,

Rajiinian (Lizard Folk)
Rajiinians are the amphibious, coastal dwellers of the jungles of Rajiin. These peoples are primarily hunters, fishers and food gatherers but in two distinctly separate areas – Northern and Southern Rajiin divided by the all-but impassable wall of the Spine of Rajiin.

Personality: Rajiiinians are an innovative people, it is testament to their skill as creative thinkers and builders that some of the most advanced early civilizations were built deep in the jungles of Rajiin without the benefit of the wheel or of metal tools or beasts of burden. Intrepid builders and inventors Rajiinians are a people curious about worlds beyond their own. They extensively study the stars, plotting constellations and planetary movements and were among the first races to discover the existence of the outer planes. Rajiinians are devout, very independent, loyal to their own traditions and laws, yet respectfully apathetic towards others.

Physical Description: Rajiinians are a reptilian people. They are blessed with powerfully tall and muscular humanoid frames covered with scales that may vary in colouration from gray to brown with a yellowish-green being the most common. Their chests and stomachs, as well as their inner arms tend to be a much lighter shade than the remainder of their body. Eyes are typically a pale yellow in colouration - pupil-less and double-lidded similar to a lizards. A powerful prehensile tail some three to four feet in length is used for balance and swimming. A Rajiinian's hands are humanoid in appearance but feature long and sharp talons, as do their feet. Prominent dorsal spines may run the length of a Rajiinian’s body from the forehead, down the spine to the tip of his tail.

Relations: Rajiinians respect their own kind and typically have good relations among themselves even on the rare occasions different Rajiinian societies may interact. The mountain dwelling kobolds are viewed at best as a nuisance and a pest and at worse (given their tendency to raid or lair within ancient holy ruins) foul heathens that deserve no less than to be hunted. Werejaguars are respected and loved by the Rajiinians and afforded a special place in Rajiinian society – often as priests or seers. Rajiinians are not aware of the difference between the two Courts of the Fey – although they are all too aware of their presence - they treat both equally with a measure of superstitious fear and dread.

Homeland: All major Rajiinian civilization favour the coastal regions primarily and the swamplands and river plains secondly. The higher and cooler elevations of the mountains hold many unknown superstitious dangers (and allures) for the average Rajiinian and are typically avoided by all but the most adventurous.

Religion: Rajiinians are a devout people who worship their own ancestors primarily, believing that they remain to guide their own descendants with a wisdom gained only through death. This ancestral worship fits into a pantheon of sorts with a half-lizard, half-jaguar aspect of Anwen at its head. Sacrifice and ritualistic cannibalism remains a significant part of Rajiinian religion.

Language: Two major spoken languages exist among the Rajiinians, each with their own regional dialects and variations and a common hieroglyphic written language.

Male Names: Acatapec, Tel’ Chiquel, Tel’Rajil, Xuca
Female Names: Chol, Itza, Ix’atza, Pocom

Racial Traits:
+2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Rajiinians are a physically strong and resilient people although somewhat aloof to strangers. They rely more heavily on common sense and intuition than on intellect.

Rajiinian base speed is 30 feet. As an amphibious people they also enjoy a base Swim speed of 30 feet.

Medium: As Medium creatures, Rajiinians have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Hold Breath: A Rajiinian can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to four times its Constitution score before it risks drowning.

Natural Weapons: 2 claws (1d4) and bite (1d4).

Automatic Languages: National Language.

Because of their tails, Rajiinians have a +4 racial bonus on Jump, Swim, and Balance checks.

Racial Levels: A Rajiinian can take up to three levels in ‘Lizardfolk’ as a class to develop their racial qualities more fully.

Lizardfolk Levels
Rajiinians can take up to three levels in ‘lizardfolk’ at any time. Not all Rajiinians, however, take racial levels (or all three of them).
Hit Die: 1d8
Skill Points at 1st Character Level: (2+ Intelligence) x 4
Skill Points at Higher Level: 2+ Intelligence bonus
“Class” Skills : Balance (Dex), Craft (Int), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str) and Wilderness Survival (Wis).

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Rajiinians with levels only in lizardfolk (no actual class levels) are proficient in the use of all simple weapons and light armours and shields.

Level 1 : +0 BAB, +0 Fort, +2 Reflex, +0 Will, +1 Natural AC, +1 Str
Level 2: +1 BAB, +0 Fort, +3 Reflex, +0 Will, +2 Natural AC, +1 Con
Level 3: +2 BAB, +1 Fort, +3 Reflex, +1 Will, +2 Natural AC, Multiattack Feat
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Callan S.
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2004, 03:35:35 PM »

Quote from: Ben Lehman

If I have a stat set that looks like

8
10
12
12
14
18

Then there is no reason that I should play a Lizardman at all.  Or, rather, I will be at a considerable disadvantage compared to the other races in the game, as I will be missing out on one of my stat bonuses.

Yeah, I said it would only effect odd numbers. But if your rolling your quite unlikely to get all evens. And if you do, there are stat increases from level advancement to consider.
Quote

Conversely, if I have a stat set that looks like:

8
10
12
13
15
18

I am a damned fool for playing anything but a lizardman, because I can get an effective extra stat bonus just from making the correct attribute placements.

Clear?

yrs--
--Ben

No, not really. Much like your not a fool for playing a half orc (with his +2 strength, but -2 on int and chr), the stats aren't the whole picture. Conversely here the bonuses look like they pay out too much, because you can can crank a bonus in two stats. But like the half orc (which looks as if he's ripped off with bonuses), the rest of the package should be looked at to check the value. Also, the odds of getting an uneven stat in both your highest roll is fairly low. Sure, if you get it, playing a lizard man should be pretty attractive to you. In your example, if I chuck 18 in strength then I waste the bonus (for now). But if I'm making a melee guy, I want 18 to be in strength and I probably want high con in a similar way. The odds of both of these numbers being an even number is pretty low.

BTW, can you use the phrase 'Clear?' with some sort of smiley (assuming it was meant as a friendly question). The internet doesn't carry the intent of a one word phrase to well.
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Philosopher Gamer
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