View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:27 am



Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban 
Author Message
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:51 am
Posts: 528
Location: Queensland, Australia
Post Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Okay, first of all, I don't want this to be taken as a slander on Jester's efforts. I really appreciate the effort he and the rest of the Fraternity are putting into updating Ravenloft for the 5th edition.

That said... I deeply love the Brutes & Banshees article from Quoth the Raven #8 by Uri "Shadowking" Barak. It took the Caliban, a race I'd always dismissed before as a poorly reskinned Half-Orc, and made it into something that truly inspired and fascinated me.

Most relevantly, I loved the way that it made it possible for all kinds of calibans to come from all over, truly fitting the "Gothic Mutants" motif of the race. So, with that in mind, the current official write-up for 5e, where caliban subraces are supported by tying different strains into different domains, really leaves me feeling unimpressed. It's a step in the wrong direction, in my opinion.

So, rather than bitch about it, I thought I'd do something useful and try to do an alternative 5e Caliban racial statline. I'm very much a rookie when it comes to homebrewing, so I'd really love any feedback I can get on these beauties; I wanna make 'em balanced and flavorful, so I need all the help I can get.

Incidentally, although I'm going for a standard "subrace" approach with this first draft, taking a leaf out of the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide and handling them more like the tiefling (a single race but with racial variant options) is something I'm willing to consider. That and/or the racial feat approach might be a way to handle some of the mutations that the original Brutes & Banshees covered in that long-ago article.


Caliban Racial Core:
Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Constitution
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Darkvision 60 feet
The Hidden: A Caliban automatically has Proficiency in Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
The Horror: A Caliban automatically has Proficiency in Charisma (Intimidation) checks.
Unnatural Blood: A Caliban belongs to one of the five subraces; Banshee, Bestial, Brute, Cannibal or Witchspawn. Acquire the additional abilities determined by one subrace.

Banshee Subrace:
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Cha
Ghostly Keening: A Banshee Caliban can unleash a terrifying wail that can leave foes reeling in fear, assuming they don't die of fright. A Banshee may use Ghostly Keening once per long rest. It cannot be used if the Banshee is silenced. Ghostly Keening affects all creatures in a 60ft cylinder centered on the Banshee, forcing them to make a Constitution check against a DC of (15 + Banshee character level). On a success, a creature is Frightened for 1 minute. On a failure, a creature takes (1D6 per level of the Banshee) Necrotic + Thunder Damage.
Cold Blooded: Existing with the chill in the grave racing through their blood, Banshees are hardly touched by mundane cold. A Banshee Caliban has Resistance to Cold.


Bestial Subrace:
Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Dex
Feral Armaments: Whether fangs, claws, gnarled spikes of bone, all Beasts sport weapons with which to defend themselves. A Bestial Caliban has Proficiency with its Unarmed Strikes, which do 1D4 slashing, piercing or bludgeoning damage. The type of damage is chosen at character creation and cannot be changed.
Thick Hide: These calibans sport hides that are unnaturally resistant to harm, sometimes even being covered in thick fur, leathery scales, or patches of chitin. A Bestial Caliban gains a +1 bonus to Armor Class.
Loping Fiend: These calibans can move more like beasts than men, allowing them dart forth with uncanny speed. A Bestial Caliban increases its movement rate by +5 feet, giving it a base movement speed of 35 feet.


Brute Subrace:
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Str
Unholy Stamina: Filled with freakish fortitude, Brutes are far more durable than mere humans. A Brute Caliban increases its maximum Hit Points by 1, and increases them by +1 each time it gains a level.
It Will Not Die: Whether from unnaturally thick hide, dulled senses of pain, feral ferocity or freakish ichorns, Brutes do not succumb so readily to death as men. A Brute Caliban passes Death Saving Throws on a 5 or higher, instead of a 10 or higher. A Brute Caliban also has Advantage on saving throws made to avoid being rendered Unconscious.


Cannibal Subrace:
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dex
Graveworm: Cannibals are capable of devouring all manner of noxious filth, protected by their own uncanny appetites. A Cannibal Caliban has Resistance to Poison and Advantage on saving throws against Disease.
Ghoulish Heritage: Armed with ripping claws and gnawing fangs, Cannibals can tear and rend those who oppose them. A Cannibal Caliban has Proficiency with its Unarmed Strikes, which do 1D4 slashing damage.


Witchspawn Subrace:
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Int
Hexcraft: Dark magics flow in the blood of the Witchspawn. A Witchspawn Caliban knows the Eldritch Blast and Thaumaturgy cantrips. It gains Witch Bolt, which it can use once per short rest, at level 3.
Devil's Nipple: By sharing the foul energies coursing through their blood, Witchspawn may bolster their allies. Once per short rest, a Witchspawn Caliban may heal a target by touching them. The target regains 1D6 missing hit points. The Witchspawn may choose to heal more than this, but risks draining themselves; a more potent healing effect forces the Witchspawn to make a Constitution check, with a DC of 5 per extra D6 healed. Failure causes the Witchspawn to fall Unconscious for 1 minute.

_________________
"Is there any word more meaningless than 'hope'? Besides 'blarfurgsnarg,' of course."

"Seek and Locate! Locate and Destroy! Destroy and Rejoice!"


Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:09 am
Profile
Invisible Menace
Invisible Menace
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 6:46 pm
Posts: 7529
Location: Chania or Athens // Greece
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
I also liked the Calliban from QtR. It adds something special.
However, IMC I'm not sure how it will be used since I make my 5e NPCs kinda ad-hoc; if I need a sorcerous Caliban with X powers, I go on and give it to her. That kind of thing.

_________________
"You truly see what a person is made of, when you begin to slice into them" - Semirhage
"I am not mad, no matter what you're implying." - Litalia
My DMGuild work!


Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:06 am
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:51 am
Posts: 528
Location: Queensland, Australia
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Considering that 5e follows in 2e and 4e's footsteps under the "NPCs and PCs are made differently", alhoon, that's really not surprising. I'm focusing on calibans from a PC stand point. :P

But, seriously, anyone have any critiques on my first draft in the opening post? I really am new to actually doing this sort of thing, so I need all the help I can get to make them balanced. I know the best I can go for is the thematics, because the actual article I'm referencing relies heavily on its mutations traits, which aren't really compatible with 5e.

_________________
"Is there any word more meaningless than 'hope'? Besides 'blarfurgsnarg,' of course."

"Seek and Locate! Locate and Destroy! Destroy and Rejoice!"


Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:41 pm
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:51 am
Posts: 528
Location: Queensland, Australia
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
So, nobody has any opinion on my efforts so far? Or is it just nobody's bothered to read the article that kicked off my drive to do this project?

_________________
"Is there any word more meaningless than 'hope'? Besides 'blarfurgsnarg,' of course."

"Seek and Locate! Locate and Destroy! Destroy and Rejoice!"


Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:16 pm
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:02 pm
Posts: 6515
Location: New Jersey
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Hell_Born wrote:
So, nobody has any opinion on my efforts so far? Or is it just nobody's bothered to read the article that kicked off my drive to do this project?
I think it may be that there's not critical mass of 5e experts qualified to critique it. I know alhoon runs 5e and that Jester and Dion have dipped their toes in at least, if not more, but I suspect many readers are like me, and don't have the faintest idea of what's balanced or fitting with the rest of 5e. Sorry. :( wish I could help.

_________________
"We're realistic heroes. We're not here to save the world, just nudge the world into a better place."


Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:54 am
Profile WWW
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:49 am
Posts: 245
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Hey there! I've got a decent amount of 5E play and design experience, so I'll be happy to take a look at it (and, in fact, have been meaning to). I've just been busy with a bunch of other things lately. I'll look over these soonish, though, and give you some feedback :)


Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:36 am
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:51 am
Posts: 528
Location: Queensland, Australia
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
@Gonzoron: I'm sorry, I can be rather impatient sometimes. I thank you for your patience in dealing with me and I'll try to reign my temper in better in future. Thank you for your honesty.

@Ender: Much appreciate the offer! I was also thinking to set up topics for 5e versions of the Dread Genasi (Quoth the Raven #7) and Deathtouched (Dragon Magazine #313) - would you be willing to offer your input there, and/or in the topic I did about converting Pathfinder's changelings (Hagspawn) to 5e?

_________________
"Is there any word more meaningless than 'hope'? Besides 'blarfurgsnarg,' of course."

"Seek and Locate! Locate and Destroy! Destroy and Rejoice!"


Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:25 pm
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:49 am
Posts: 245
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Absolutely. I'm always interested in seeing new 5E content. I was reviewing your post on Haglings earlier today, in fact. I've been busy working on a 5E Star Wars conversion, which has been eating up most of my creative energy, so forgive me if I don't immediately post feedback in those threads. I will get to it, though.


Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:59 pm
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius

Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:49 pm
Posts: 226
Post Wow!
As the original writer :-), kudos...

While I'm not too familiar with 5e (or not at all- stopped playing at 3.5e), it seems like a really nice way to update. Still- perhaps a more detailed Deformities list would be fitting, to allow Caliban players more varieties (or it can be an open list, similar to rewards/curses from failed Powers Checks). Also- don't races get stat penalties now?

_________________
"To bring down the monster you have to become a monster"


Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:11 am
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:49 am
Posts: 245
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Alright... let's give this a shot. I’ll cover my thoughts on different parts of this is separate posts.

Quote:
Caliban Racial Core:
Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Constitution
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Darkvision 60 feet
The Hidden: A Caliban automatically has Proficiency in Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
The Horror: A Caliban automatically has Proficiency in Charisma (Intimidation) checks.
Unnatural Blood: A Caliban belongs to one of the five subraces; Banshee, Bestial, Brute, Cannibal or Witchspawn. Acquire the additional abilities determined by one subrace.

My immediate reaction to this is that I don't know any other base race that has two Skill Proficiencies. Is there a reason that they get Stealth proficiency? The Horror seems fitting as the original article says "All calibans, even the most human-looking ones, have something truly unnatural and unsettling about them." I could definitely see this translating to proficiency in Intimidate. I'm less sure about The Hidden. Given that it deals with the need to hide from the public and it's based on their time spent avoiding contact with others, this strikes me as part of a Background and not a racial trait.

Something else to note is that 5E typically gives a +2 ability score adjustment to the base race and +1 to the subraces (with the Mountain Dwarf's second +2 being an exception, but I can't find an example of the +2/+1 being reversed). If it were me, I'd probably raise the core modifier to a +2 or, alternatively, relegate the adjustments entirely to the subrace (this is not how 5E does things, however). Yet another alternative, given that the article describes how the Caliban are the most human of the demihumans and are direct offshoots, is to make the subraces all Human variants... but that's only if you really want to get crazy with this. Actually, crazy isn’t such a terrible thing.

Here's how I would probably set up the Caliban core traits:

Quote:
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2.

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

The Horror. You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill.

Subrace. Although Calibans are rare and often unique, many share similar traits that denote five distinct subraces: banshees, bestials, brutes, cannibals, and witchspawns. Choose one of these subraces.

Okay, you’re all probably looking at me like I’m crazy. Wisdom? Hear me out. There isn’t a single race that gets a +2 WIS bonus. Not one. I can’t figure out why. I’d have thought the Aasimar in the DMG would have gotten it, but it didn’t… ANYWAY. I picked Wisdom because any other ability score either doesn’t fit one or more subraces or provides too much of a bonus to one or more subraces. Looking back at QtR #8, the Calibans all had some negative modifier. To answer your question, Shadowking, 5E does not use negative modifiers for races anymore, but it also tones down the positive modifiers. The article also suggested that Calibans often were more in touch with nature, could be highly introspective, and grew to enjoy simple pleasures in life. Honestly, this sounds a lot like a natural affinity for Wisdom. So that’s why I picked it. But, still. A part of me just thinks all the ability score adjustments should be made in the subrace.


Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:37 am
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:49 am
Posts: 245
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Quote:
Banshee Subrace:
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Cha
Ghostly Keening: A Banshee Caliban can unleash a terrifying wail that can leave foes reeling in fear, assuming they don't die of fright. A Banshee may use Ghostly Keening once per long rest. It cannot be used if the Banshee is silenced. Ghostly Keening affects all creatures in a 60ft cylinder centered on the Banshee, forcing them to make a Constitution check against a DC of (15 + Banshee character level). On a success, a creature is Frightened for 1 minute. On a failure, a creature takes (1D6 per level of the Banshee) Necrotic + Thunder Damage.
Cold Blooded: Existing with the chill in the grave racing through their blood, Banshees are hardly touched by mundane cold. A Banshee Caliban has Resistance to Cold.

Okay, a couple of things here. First, 5E tries not to introduce a racial trait that follows its own rules. It is more likely to grant the ability to cast a specific spell or two. In this case, I'd say Dissonant Whispers and Shatter are the most applicable spells here, though creating our own is not out of the question. What I would do is model it off of the Drow and Tiefling spellcasting like this:

Quote:
Ghostly Keening. You know the vicious mockery cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the dissonant whispers spell once per day. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the shatter spell once per day. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

If, however, we absolutely wanted to use our own rules, then Ghostly Keening, as written, is far too powerful. We can take a look at the Dragonborn's breath weapon for an example of how to set it up.

Area: This one is tricky. The breath weapon is a 5x30 line or a 15ft cone. Other racial traits that allow spellcasting don't typically have AoE spells that do damage. The only one I can find is the Fire Genasi's 1/long rest burning hands. The Tiefling and the Drow eventually get Darkness, which is a 15ft sphere. A 60ft cylinder is simply too large, especially for an ability that deals damage. At the most, I'd say a 15 ft sphere for this ability would be appropriate.

Effect: You're clearly shooting for both damage and fear in one ability. Cool, we can work with that. Like most abilities, this features a saving throw, which is appropriate (see below for notes on proper saving throw construction in 5E). Okay, let's look at damage first. 1d6 Necrotic + Thunder per level. That's a lot. I'm uncertain if you mean "1d6 Necrotic damage and 1d6 Thunder damage" or "1d6 damage, half of which is Necrotic and the other half of which is Thunder". In either case, it needs adjusted. A quick search through the PHB and MM indicates that abilities featuring damage and a saving throw always halves the damage on a successful saving throw (please correct me if you can find a counterexample). Furthermore, effects like this are more likely to deal psychic damage than necrotic. The MM Banshee is a good example of this, as well as a number of spells and abilities.

On top of that, the Frightened condition is added on top of this damage. Comparable abilities include the Abjure Enemy (level 3) ability of the Oath of Vengeance Paladin and the Fey Presence (level 1) ability of the Archfey Patron Warlock. In both cases, the ability deals no damage and only functions on a failed save. The Paladin's ability lasts for 1 minute or until the target is damaged and affects a single target. Abjure Enemy also says that on a successful save, the target's speed is halved instead. The Warlock's lasts until the end of your turn, but works in a 10 ft radius. Both abilities can be used after a short or long rest. Given that, I think being frightened for a full minute on a successful save is too powerful. Take a look at the Dissonant Whispers spell. It deals damage and has a secondary effect that is similar to fear. On a successful save, the target takes half damage and isn't frightened.

Save: First things first, the saving throw needs to be adjusted. 5E's standardized method for calculating saving throws is 8 + modifier + proficiency bonus. Character level is no longer a determining factor (though has a direct correlation to proficiency bonus). The modifier you choose is based on whatever you feel is most applicable. In this case, I'd say CHA. Additionally, note that you're including a fear effect in this ability, which typically should call for a Wisdom saving throw instead of Constitution. We would reword is thusly: "When you use Ghostly Keening, each creature in the area must make a Wisdom saving throw. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus."

Given all that, this is how I would design a version of Ghostly Keening that didn't use spells:

Quote:
Ghostly Keening. As an action, you can cause each creature in a 10-foot radius sphere originating from you to make a Wisdom saving throw. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus. A creature takes 1d6 psychic damage and 1d6 thunder damage on a failed save and are frightened by you until the end of your next turn. On a successful save, a creature takes half as much damage and is not frightened. The psychic and thunder damage increases to 2d6 at 6th level, 3d6 at 11th level, and 4d6 at 16th level.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

I'd like to note that this is a particularly powerful ability. It is just a tad more powerful than the Dragonborn's breath weapon, since the damage is 1:1, but it also gets a fear effect, albeit a short one. Still, I'd be cautious with this ability. More importantly, the Dragonborn balances such power with less gained from the rest of the class. The only other ability it gets is a single elemental resistance (not counting the ability score adjustments common to all races). Overall, abilities like this requires careful balancing. I might allow it to be this powerful, but have it replenish only after a long rest. Alternatively, lower the damage dice to 1d4.

Then there's Cold Blooded. This fits nicely, I think. In fact, as mentioned above, a single resistance to go along with the powerful ability is very much in line with the Dragonborn's design. The core racial traits do provide the extra skill proficiencies (and again, I urge you to choose only a single one), which isn't altogether too much. I might still suggest adjusting Ghostly Keening a bit. What else can we do? Looking at the original QtR article, Banshee Calibans are supposed to be somewhat physically frail (which, incidentally, doesn't fit the bonus to CON we give the base race) and susceptible to diseases. I might suggest this:

Quote:
Deathly Pallor. You have disadvantage on saving throws to resist diseases.

Now, if I were to go with the "all ability score adjustments in subrace" idea from earlier, I'd say that the Banshee should get a +2 CHA, but probably nothing else. If using a +2 for a base race stat, I'd stick with a +1 CHA here. Alternatively, a +1 base stat does work... I guess it just looks strange to me. I'd still pick +1 WIS for the base stat increase, honestly.


Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:41 am
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:51 am
Posts: 528
Location: Queensland, Australia
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Thank you so much for your critique so far, Ender. To try and respond, since I figured you were hoping to tackle this one sub-race at a time.

General Caliban:
The reason I gave them two Skill Proficiency (something only the Half-Elf gets in the corebook, to my knowledge) is two-fold.

The first is that Calibans are generally described as intimidating, but also reliant on stealth. From their earliest days they're hidden away by parents, or hiding from humans, and this trait is furthered as they grow up. Even when they live out in the open, human prejudice and hostility means that, whilst calibans are good at scaring people they are forced to interact with, they generally try to keep their heads down and stay unnoticed. So, Intimidation + Stealth proficiency was flavorful.

The second was that, really, the basic caliban has never had a lot going for it. The corebook version was literally "half-orc with different fluff" (so that was, what, Strength + Con bonus, Int penalty, darkvision, that's it?), whilst the Brutes & Banshees article puts all of the "crunch" on the selected/generated deformities, which the Generic Caliban can access everything from, so there's not a huge amount of inspiration floating around.

As for stats... honestly, I think it might be better to make it that the +3 (or +4, since Mountain Dwarf and Half-Elf both show it's okay under very specific circumstance) came from the sub-races. It's not been done before, but with subraces being mandatory, it's mechanically fine, as far as I can tell.


Banshee:
A +2 Cha +1 Wis stat bonus array seems fitting to me for Banshee.

I'm sorry for the mechanical deficits in the Ghostly Keening ability. Which would you personally recommend? The spell-like ability trinity? Or the unique version that you wrote up?

Personally, I prefer the version you wrote up, though I'd agree with toning it down... how about making it 1/day (long rest) and D4 for damage, with a racial feat that lets you make it 1/encounter and D6 damage?

I'm not a huge fan of racial penalties, but 5e has a good track record for successfully using them to balance powerful ones (cf. Drow, Duergar). So the Deathly Pallor, which is both not-crippling and flavorful, has my approval.


I can't wait to see what you make of the others.

_________________
"Is there any word more meaningless than 'hope'? Besides 'blarfurgsnarg,' of course."

"Seek and Locate! Locate and Destroy! Destroy and Rejoice!"


Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:40 pm
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:49 am
Posts: 245
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
I'm busy for the next hour or so, but I'll respond to your reply once I'm free again, promise. In the meantime, don't apologize for any perceived deficits :P You've done a lot of really great things. Balancing abilities is hard. Don't be down on yourself. Here's my comments on the Bestial subrace before I go.

Quote:
Bestial Subrace:
Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Dex
Feral Armaments: Whether fangs, claws, gnarled spikes of bone, all Beasts sport weapons with which to defend themselves. A Bestial Caliban has Proficiency with its Unarmed Strikes, which do 1D4 slashing, piercing or bludgeoning damage. The type of damage is chosen at character creation and cannot be changed.
Thick Hide: These calibans sport hides that are unnaturally resistant to harm, sometimes even being covered in thick fur, leathery scales, or patches of chitin. A Bestial Caliban gains a +1 bonus to Armor Class.
Loping Fiend: These calibans can move more like beasts than men, allowing them dart forth with uncanny speed. A Bestial Caliban increases its movement rate by +5 feet, giving it a base movement speed of 35 feet.

Hm. The ability score modifiers. I’m kind of on the fence here. While the QtR article describes them as strong, but not on the same level as the Brutes, the +1 STR makes sense. The DEX increase also makes sense if we’re thinking about their animalistic nature. I’m going to make a suggestion here. I really think each of the subraces should have its own, distinct ability score adjustment not covered by another subrace. If we look to existing subraces, no two under the same base race share any ability score adjustment. Here, though, the Bestial’s STR and DEX increases are repeated by the Brute and Cannibal, both of which are said to excel at those particular scores. So let’s stop and think about this for a moment. What scores fit which ones the best?

Banshee: CHA. I think that’s clear. It’s their voice and unnatural beauty that sets them apart.
Bestial: We’ll come back to this.
Brute: STR. The article focuses on their great strength.
Cannibal: DEX. We’re told they are preternaturally quick and agile.
Witchspawn: INT. Even though they’re naturally magical, they are said to have “towering intellects”.

Okay, so back to Bestial. I’m going to argue for either CON or WIS here and for the base race to have the opposite. But I’m undecided which should be which. I can see either. Being bestial in nature, they have an affinity for wildlife, hence Wisdom. But given their animal hybrid-like nature, Constitution could also make sense as they would be heartier. Like lycanthrope-lite. Or, as usual, the other alternative is to give the subraces all the ability score adjustments and we can play around with it as we see fit.

As noted in another thread, I believe, the rules for Unarmed Strikes have been tweaked in an errata. Everyone is now proficient with their unarmed strikes and the damage is standardized as 1 + STR bludgeoning. Given that everyone can now automatically use their unarmed attacks, most monsters and monstrous races will probably treat theirs a little different. I imagine that a change to damage type is perfectly acceptable and also doesn’t have to be balanced out by anything. Feral Armaments, therefore, can be altered as such:

Quote:
Feral Armaments. Choose either the slashing or piercing damage type. Your unarmed strikes now deal this damage type instead of bludgeoning.

However, I’m going to suggest another change. The errata considers unarmed strikes to be kicks and punches and whatnot, hence the bludgeoning. Giving someone claws or horns really says to me that they should be able to deal slashing or piercing… but still be able to kick someone or smack them with the back of their arm. I suspect the Monster Manual errata will make a change that allows monsters to use one of those or bludgeoning, depending on the attack. So here’s what I’d do:

Quote:
Feral Armaments. Choose either the slashing or piercing damage type. Your unarmed strikes may now deal either this damage type or bludgeoning damage.

I don’t really see this as being altogether that powerful. It feels more like a ribbon to me, but I do recognize its usefulness.

Thick hide is pretty strong, actually. A +1 to AC does a lot more in 5E. There is precedent for it if you look to the Unearthed Arcana: Eberron take on the Shifter. The difference is that their ability to increase their armor lasts for 1 minute when they shift. I might consider allowing the race to have resistance to a weapon damage type. This is… dangerous, however. I suspect that weapon damage is far more common that elemental damage. If we went this route, I’d definitely say it would have to be from a nonmagical weapon.

Quote:
Thick Hide. Choose bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage. You have resistance to this damage type from nonmagical weapon attacks.

Hey, now we’re choosing damage types for two things. 5E likes to consolidate. So let’s try this:

Quote:
Natural Weapon Affinity. Choose either the piercing or slashing damage type. This choice determines the damage type associated with your Feral Armaments and Thick Hide.

Feral Armaments. When you make an unarmed strike, you may choose to deal either bludgeoning damage or your Natural Weapon Affinity damage type.

Thick Hide. You have resistance to your Natural Weapon Affinity damage type from nonmagical weapon attacks.

This gives a certain amount of cohesion to your particular Caliban. Thick Hide might still be a bit powerful—I don’t honestly know. This might be a good thing, though. Otherwise, I feel the subrace might be a bit underpowered, actually. As for Loping Fiend, we can look to the Wood Elf for the proper wording of this ability:

Quote:
Loping Fiend. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.

Bam. Pretty easy.


Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:58 pm
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:49 am
Posts: 245
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
Quote:
The reason I gave them two Skill Proficiency (something only the Half-Elf gets in the corebook, to my knowledge) is two-fold.

The first is that Calibans are generally described as intimidating, but also reliant on stealth. From their earliest days they're hidden away by parents, or hiding from humans, and this trait is furthered as they grow up. Even when they live out in the open, human prejudice and hostility means that, whilst calibans are good at scaring people they are forced to interact with, they generally try to keep their heads down and stay unnoticed. So, Intimidation + Stealth proficiency was flavorful.

The second was that, really, the basic caliban has never had a lot going for it. The corebook version was literally "half-orc with different fluff" (so that was, what, Strength + Con bonus, Int penalty, darkvision, that's it?), whilst the Brutes & Banshees article puts all of the "crunch" on the selected/generated deformities, which the Generic Caliban can access everything from, so there's not a huge amount of inspiration floating around.

You make some good points. I'm still preferential to associating the Stealth proficiency with a background (Urchin, for instance), but I can see why you've done it.

Quote:
As for stats... honestly, I think it might be better to make it that the +3 (or +4, since Mountain Dwarf and Half-Elf both show it's okay under very specific circumstance) came from the sub-races. It's not been done before, but with subraces being mandatory, it's mechanically fine, as far as I can tell.

You know, in retrospect, I think using the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide's approach to Tieflings may be the best way to handle it. Have a "default Caliban", which is the standard Half-Orc refluff. Then have the five variants. This lets us wholly swap out the ability scores. Alternatively, have a table set up like the Dragonborn's Draconic Ancestry that lists the ability score adjustments per Caliban Bloodline or something. Or just put it in the subrace. I don't know. They're each functionally equivalent. One benefit to having a default and variants is we could have a list of Deformities as used in the QtR article. List them all and what they replace, then maybe have a list of "packages" of the deformities that are our 5 bloodlines. Did that make sense? Or should I give a specific example?

Quote:
Which would you personally recommend? The spell-like ability trinity? Or the unique version that you wrote up?

I'm not sure. While the spell progression is certainly more like the way other races are set up... I spent enough time working on my version of Ghostly Keening that I'm somewhat attached to it :P Still, I think the three spells I suggested actually perform all of the things you would want it to be able to do. If we happened to use the SCAG's variant setup, we could always have one be an optional replacement for the other.

Quote:
Personally, I prefer the version you wrote up, though I'd agree with toning it down... how about making it 1/day (long rest) and D4 for damage, with a racial feat that lets you make it 1/encounter and D6 damage?

If it's a long rest, I think you can keep it at 1d6. If it's a short rest, I think 1d4 would probably be acceptable. I don't think it needs to be both a long rest and d4. You could give them a racial feat for greater damage, but I'm not sure it's necessary or altogether that useful, even.


Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:55 pm
Profile
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:51 am
Posts: 528
Location: Queensland, Australia
Post Re: Brutes and Banshees Revisited: An Alternate 5e Caliban
The Bestial ability tweaks look damn good.

Agreed, we really need to settle on how we're going to handle ability modifiers as a whole before we tackle the Bestial's ability score mods; I wasn't too happy with making the Brute, Bestial and Cannibal all have Strength + Dex boosts myself.

Well, for the added Stealth bonus, it really depends on just how much "oomph" the individual subraces offer. Like you said, a Background can give them Stealth bonuses, and most calibans will come from an Urchin or Street Thief or Family Shame Locked Up In The Cellar type background anyway. So, yeah, I'm okay with it not being a racial trait if they don't really need it.

Using the SCAG Tiefling update is tempting... but I must confess that I don't really know how to do so. See, I pre-ordered my copy of SCAG before November release, but the shop I ordered it from got only about 3 copies and then sold them all before I got there. And the online store that they got it from has YET to restock the damn thing. So I don't really know the actual way that the SCAG writes up the Tiefling, though I do recall that it gives an alternate ability score modifier, and three optional racial traits - switching out the level 3 SLA for Burning Hands, replacing the "devilish" SLAs with mental ones, or trading SLAs for Flight?

Anyway, I think I understand your last sentence, but if you could give specific examples, that'd be swell.

For the Banshee, personally, I'd prefer to keep your Ghostly Keening writeup with the 1d6 damage for 1/day shriek (maybe a Feat to use it 1/encounter instead is viable?), but making the ability vs the set of SLAs a racial option would be a great compromise in my opinion.

_________________
"Is there any word more meaningless than 'hope'? Besides 'blarfurgsnarg,' of course."

"Seek and Locate! Locate and Destroy! Destroy and Rejoice!"


Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:30 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 31 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF.