I don't feel the need to tie them to other SRD avians, since they're rather humanoids that can shapeshift into avians.
But the main reason I picked the larger bonus for Wis is precisely because they're divine casters --- they might already have a good Wis, but they will also benefit the most from the boost.
Whew, the CC swanmay gets quite a few boosts, doesn't it?
Anyway, let's get this settled and then deal with the SQs. Did I convince you at all?
Are you thinking of examples outside lycanthropes?
Gee, and I thought you usually liked to ramp monsters up a lot! I just don't think we can assume they'll have amazing base stats before the template, so I don't mind giving them a hefty Wis boost.
But I could compromise with +2 to everything but Con. It's not super-flavorful, though.
Are those for the swanmay or bird maiden? Anyway, I will go along with your proposed ability bonuses except for Int. The minimum listed doesn't justify it, I think.
So we are set with Str +2, Dex +6, Wis +4, Cha +2?
Ready for SQs?
Hmmm, why don't we allow them to take any bird form? Or specify a list of birds from the SRD/CC?
|2||Parakeet||9||1, Fl 24||1/2||20||1||1|
|3||Swallow||8||1, Fl 30||1-1||20||1||1|
|4||Parrot||6||1, Fl 30||1+1||19||1||2-4|
|5||Falcon||5||1, Fl 36||1-1||20||3||1/1/1|
|6||Owl||5||1, Fl 27||1||19||3||1-2/1-2/1|
|7||Eagle, Wild||6||1, Fl 30||1+3||18||3||1/2/1-2/l|
|8||Eagle, Giant||7||3, FL 48||4||15||3||1-6/1-6/2-12|
It just seems like listing bird types would be easier than providing stats. But if you want to do something like this, maybe the Beast Form spells (or however they're called) from Pathfinder would help.
It's traditional at least to have the DM do the work, not all the poor designers.
The problem is a lack of small bird stats in 3.5e (and earlier editions). So I guess I'm coming around to your point of view. But cribbing from Pathfinder, I'd say they take the form of a bird and get certain flight speeds, ability bonuses, etc, based on their HD, with maybe a few things depending on the type of bird.
I'll go along with speaking, sure. I assume that means they can still cast, too.
What do the numbers represent there? I don't know if we need quite that many different grades, but, yes, I think we're agree that that's the way to go. I still think we can crib the bird-like parts from the Beast Shape spells in Pathfinder.
|2||Tiny||40 ft. (average)||+1||1d3***||—||-6 Str, +2 Dex|
|3||Tiny||40 ft. (good)||+1||1d4***||—||-4 Str, +2 Dex|
|4||Tiny||60 ft. (good)||+1||1d4||d3||-2 Str, +2 Dex|
|5||Small||60 ft. (average)||+2||1d3/1d3||1d4||+0 Str, +2 Dex|
|6||Small||60 ft. (average)||+2||1d3/1d3||1d4||+2 Str, +2 Dex|
|7||Medium||80 ft. (average)||+3||1d4/1d4||1d6||+4 Str, +2 Dex|
|8||Large||80 ft. (average)||+4||1d6/1d6||1d8||+8 Str, +2 Dex|
That looks good if you want to include the footnotes!
There doesn't seem much difference between the 5 HD and 6 HD stages. I'm thinking we could make the 6 HD faster (80 ft.?) or the 5 HD a clumsy flier, just to distinguish the two. Then the 5 HD bird could be a hefty, clumsy real-world bird like a Shoebill Stork or Giant Hornbill, while the speedy 6 HD stage could be something like a Harpy Eagle.
I'd also consider tweaking the damage.
Come to think of it, the SRD Eagle is Small, with an 80 ft. (average) fly speed, 1d4/1d4 talons and a 1d4 bite. I think we'd better set the 6 HD stage to be at least equal to an Eagle, don't you?