4E How would you re-envision Guardinals and Rilmani in 4e?
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  1. #1

    How would you re-envision Guardinals and Rilmani in 4e?

    I have some ideas for re-envisioning these creatures originally introduced in PS.

    Guardinals always resembled Shamanistic Guardian Spirits to me. And many cultures have platonic ideas for certain animals. As a race they are a race of former animal spirits, that interacted with mortal races. Though this time they are less anthro, more shape-changing animal spirits who have human forms with subtle animalistic features. Though a lupinal doesn't have to necessarily look like a wolf as the wolf tribe, they could resemble something wolf-like in form but with 5 tails, 6 legs and 3 heads that's glowing white.

    Rilmani have the problem with having too many qualities of being the balancers of alignment, and some signature abilities which affect alignment. I would re-envision them as an ancient empire/order of humans who brought themselves perfection through alchemy (since Rilmani types are named after the alchemical names of metals). They see themselves as the successors of humanity, humanity 2.0 and they seek to bring down or at least exceed the Gods, Primordials and other beings.

  2. #2
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    I would definitely go with platonic ideals for the guardinals, but I find their type name to be pretty painful. I'd come up with something better, although I'd likely use the individual species names from 2E and 3E.

    Nothing about Rilmani really speaks to me, but I like the ancient magical empire idea.

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    I'd probably just use them as-is for a Planescape game, and leave them out of anything else entirely. There's no real reason they *need* to exist in any other setting, and while I think the shamanistic nature spirits thing is cool, I think it would be an idea better served by a fresh design rather than an attempt to recycle the NG furries.

  4. #4
    To the extent that there's anything cool about Guardinals, it's their vague resemblance to Egyptian deities - that is "animal-headed humanoid outsider."

    In the interests of keeping them from becoming silly, I suggest calling them something else. Guardinal is...painful.

    Celestial animals are hard to pull off. Aslan works, but only barely. And he lives in a world where other animals talk (and make tea!) as well. So maybe it doesn't work in a non-comedic setting. Hard to say.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kobold Avenger
    I have some ideas for re-envisioning these creatures originally introduced in PS.

    Guardinals always resembled Shamanistic Guardian Spirits to me. And many cultures have platonic ideas for certain animals. As a race they are a race of former animal spirits, that interacted with mortal races. Though this time they are less anthro, more shape-changing animal spirits who have human forms with subtle animalistic features. Though a lupinal doesn't have to necessarily look like a wolf as the wolf tribe, they could resemble something wolf-like in form but with 5 tails, 6 legs and 3 heads that's glowing white.
    D&D doesn't (didn't?) have enough awesome avatars of nature. I'd agree with you -- make the Guardinals the equivalent of Good Druidic Sponsor-race (in the same way that, well, Angels are Good Clerical Sponsors and Devils are Evil Clerical Sponsors. Not sure what an Evil Druidic Sponsor would be, offhand, but I'm sure there would be some/many. Maybe just an unhappy Guardinal, but I like leaving them that patina of Good alignment!).

    I'd suggest also moving the Lantern Archon, Hound Archon, and at minimum the form-factor of the Tome Archon over. Guardinals get recast as mostly-magical-animals who happen to have humanoid forms, but spend most of their time in their natural, glowing-animal-looking form.

    Lantern Guardinal (Candle?): Sun-spirits responsible for all seekers of knowledge.

    Hound Guardinal (Caindal?): Dog-spirits responsible for city-dwellers.

    Avoral: Hawk-spirit responsible for explorers and foresters

    Cervidal: Goat-spirit responsible for soldiers and mountaineers

    Equinal: Horse-spirit responsible for farmers and travelers

    Leonal: Lion-spirit... Not sure that this would really still have a place/the same place. Leads kings who are in tune with nature, perhaps?

    Lupinal: Wolf-spirit responsible or rangers, guardians, and hunters.

    Musteval: Rodent-y spirit responsible for those who listen. Kind of out of place, ne?

    Ursinal: Bear-spirit, responsible for healers and tenders of sacred places.

    Useful: Some sort of otter, owl, or perhaps piscene spirits? Something a bit less directly animal and more "Thunderbird", "Shadowwolf", and so on? Tie dryads in, obviously. Maybe river spirits? Maybe make these more elemental, maybe D&D4 doesn't need any more elemental ties, thank-you-very-much?

  6. #6
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    In fact (threadjack?):
    Guardinals could be, as I say, benevolent theriomorphic personifications of nature. They're opposed by natural disasters, possibly incarnated in various wicked fey, possibly not. Druids, shamans, and rustics variously use, worship, and befriend them. They're wise and good, albeit hard to contact and more focussed on the individual and his or her spiritual attainments than on the community. They end up being the same as a large class of nature spirits -- rivers, fires, the sun, and so on.

    Mystic Archons would be benevolent anthropomorphic personifications of tool use. They represent the intellect and are all tool-themed; they're not driven to avoid doing harm so much as they're driven to do specific good and to empower individuals who contact them. They're much more community-driven than Guardinals, and understand large-scale plans. These end up being the same as a large class of human-concept spirits associated with civilization -- rulers, hearths, forges; human labor in general falls under their (intellectual) purview.

    Angels (Aasimar? Meh, I never liked that name) would be the representations of more abstract emotional human concepts -- Justice, Mercy, Love, and so forth. They'd be ranked in choirs with a specific (domain-like split) of these sub-descriptors shared between 'em (to replace the overly complex clerical casting). Their primary goal is to do no evil. They, and the devils their foes, end up as more abstract spirits yet.

    Eladrin are become Grey Elves and houses thereof; I'm completely fine with that, but I can understand a fellow poster not being so happy at the change. I'm sorry. They end up not having as big a role in the mythological setup here, which is only right: they're a PC race.

    Am I leaving out any of the classically good-aligned outsider races?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kobold Avenger
    Rilmani have the problem with having too many qualities of being the balancers of alignment, and some signature abilities which affect alignment. I would re-envision them as an ancient empire/order of humans who brought themselves perfection through alchemy (since Rilmani types are named after the alchemical names of metals). They see themselves as the successors of humanity, humanity 2.0 and they seek to bring down or at least exceed the Gods, Primordials and other beings.
    Love it. Yoinked it. The next serious Law/Chaos campaign I run will feature alchemically perfected humans.

    As far as the Guardinals/Archons, etc., could they be the result of human worship of various natural concepts? Looking at Lackhand's previous post; maybe a successful healer/cleric who guards a sacred shrine would become an Ursinal upon his death.

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    Guardinals I'd see as the physical manifestation of totems. As such, they are benevolent, but if wronged they can be savage and relentless in their wrath. As such, I'd make them more shamanistic in their attire and society.

    Maybe the original lycanthropes could have been guardinal spirits that were punished for some transgression by being encased in human flesh.


    Rilmani would ideally be a race of outsiders with a very taoistic view of the cosmos. I'd make them much more Eastern in attire and society.

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    Have to agree the Gardinal name, and all the individual "type" names are pretty painful. The best I ever did was rename them Wardinals. I chose to make them associated more with nature and Druids. Wouldn't be upset to see them disappear in 4E.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drkfathr1
    Have to agree the Gardinal name, and all the individual "type" names are pretty painful. The best I ever did was rename them Wardinals. I chose to make them associated more with nature and Druids. Wouldn't be upset to see them disappear in 4E.
    Why not merge them with the Guardians, a planar sect (minor faction) that emulated the Guardinals? Then you have a sect of shamanistic warriors who eventually (as Paragon Paths) come to embody their totems. Those who fulfill their Epic Destinies become akin to Cat Lord and other "animal based" demigods.

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