Proposal: Wayangs

Qik

Visitor
I'd like to make a proposal to have the Wayang race (from Paizo's Dragon Empires setting) available for play in LPF. While I generally like the idea of trying avoid an over-proliferation of PC races, the Wayangs really strike me as interesting, for both their fluff and their crunch, and I think they'd fit in well into our setting. I also like the idea of having a small-sized race available for play that is mechanically distinct from halflings and gnomes (whose similar stat bonuses and penalties frustrate me to no end).

As far as the fluff of Wayangs in E'n, I picture it as being something like this:

Wayangs are close relatives of gnomes, and share their fey roots. Both can trace their origins to the Hidden Path, but whereas Gnomes can be seen as much purer expressions of that path, Wayangs seem to have originated from a point at which the Hidden Path intersects with vertices of the Essential Path which express dimness and concealment, such as Darkness, Smoke, and Oil. Whether the Wayang arise from one specific intersection, or whether they are born of a multitude of them, remains uncertain. Either way, the resultant race is a muted relative of their gregarious cousins: Wayangs emphasize secretiveness and stealth, tending to be far more introverted than Gnomes, and their appearance (mostly muted grays and blacks, with occasionally deep purples, blues, or reds) reflects this.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's the crunch; I modified the languages slightly to reflect the absence of the the Tien tongues.

All wayangs are humanoids with the wayang subtype. They have the following racial traits.

Ability Scores: Wayangs are nimble and cagey, but their perception of the world is clouded by shadows. They have the following ability score adjustments: +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, –2 Wisdom.

Size: Wayangs are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on their combat maneuver checks and to CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.

Speed: Wayangs have a base speed of 20 feet.

Senses: Darkvision 60' (wayangs can see in the dark up to 60 feet.)

Special Abilities:

Light and Dark (Su)
Once per day as an immediate action, a wayang can treat positive and negative energy effects as if the wayang were an undead creature, taking damage from positive energy and healing damage from negative energy. This ability lasts for 1 minute once activated.

Lurker (Ex)
Wayangs gain a +2 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth checks.

Shadow Magic (Ex/Sp)
Wayangs add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against spells of the shadow subschool that they cast. Wayangs with a Charisma score of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—ghost sound, pass without trace, and ventriloquism. The caster level for these effects is equal to the wayang’s level. The DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the wayang’s Charisma modifier.

Shadow Resistance (Ex)
Wayangs get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against spells of the shadow subschool.

Languages: Wayangs begin play speaking Common and Wayang. Wayangs with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Aklo, Draconic, Goblin, and Infernal.
 

Systole

Community Supporter
May want to be careful with the stealth bonus. As small creatures, wayangs will already get +4 size. At first level, a typical wayang will have something like +13 to stealth (+4 size + 3 class skill +1 rank + 2 racial + 3 DEX).
 

Qik

Visitor
Stealth is a bit pimped for sure, although I don't know if a substitution is necessary, or, if so, what would replace it. From a fluff perspective, I think the stealth bonus makes a lot of sense, and I don't know if the +2 puts things on a level where it'd pose a balance problem. But I'm certainly open to hearing otherwise.

Frankly, I think the perception bonus makes less sense, at least from a fluff perspective: so their "perception of the world is clouded by shadows" (-2 Wis), but they get a bonus to Perception? Seems a bit at-odds to me, and strikes me as a defacto bonus that doesn't really belong. But of course, you won't catch Wayangs complaining.
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
I like that you've given them a bit of E'n fluff. I'm just not sure it's enough to overcome my ambivalence towards this race. Accumulated modifiers (-Wis +Perception) still make them more observant than the average human which is strange considering that little tidbit that you pointed out. The stealth modifiers are really good and this race would make excellent rogues given that sneak attack would help alleviate lower damage for being small.

Overall, I just don't like this race enough to give it a 'yes' but neither do I dislike it enough, or think it too unbalanced to give it a 'no'. There are other races (like grippli, ratfolk, suli, vanara and vishkanya) that I find much more interesting. I'm gonna leave this sit for a bit and mull it over and hopefully others will drop in and discuss.
 

jkason

Visitor
Yeah, the -Wis +Perception bit is ... odd. Especially since that's the primary skill you use Wisdom for anyway.

I'm wondering, though, if this race might not get some tweaking in the upcoming Advanced Races Guide? Since even the person proposing it recognizes some oddities to the mechanics, maybe we should table discussion to see if it's modified there?

I recognize it's a couple months away, but just my first thought.
 

Qik

Visitor
Based on this post by James Jacobs, it looks like they'll be some additional information in the ARG, but I'd imagine that information will be more on the order of adding fluff than modifying crunch. If you look at the tengu entry from the bestiary vs from the Dragon Empires setting, that seems to be all that really changed. Slightly different situation, of course, but I'd still be surprised to see changes of the things we're talking about. In any event, it'd be a bummer to wait that long just to reassess our standing on allowing Wayangs, though if that's the vote, then I'll of course go with it.

What do people think about replacing the Perception bonus with something that makes more sense? I'd be up for that. Perhaps +2 for Sleight of Hand (based on their caginess/secrecy) or Knowledge (Planes) (given the association with the shadow planes)?
 

IronWolf

blank
I am not a huge fan of a proliferation of playable races, though I suspect that is my own personal bias. I am watching the discussion here, but my inclination is to vote "no" at this time, possibly to reevaluate when the Advanced Races Guide comes out.
 
I'll vote yes as it is from the book. The race will have a tendency towards rogues and wizards. The -Wis/+Perception thing can be summed up as "Curiosity killed the Wayang". They sneak around and notice the little things, but don't know when to back away from a danger.

The stealth issue is not overpowering. There is likely always going to be someone in the party with a stealth of 1 or lower to blunder and ruin his chances of sneaking unless he is way ahead of the party. Then we are back to the "Curiosity killed the Wayang". ;)
 

jkason

Visitor
I'm still considering. Qik makes a good case that the main stats aren't likely to change so much as be added to with various racial alt options, so I'm not as convinced a delay for the book is anything more than a stalling action.

I don't know that the wis/perception thing is so crazy that it requires house-ruling (and in general I think the dictum is to try avoiding that when possible, yes?). Super stealth is super stealth, but with vanish at second level for a lot of character types, I'm not sure maxing that out is really as overpowering as it at first seems. Makes for some lovely sneakiness at 1st level, but pretty quickly access to sneaky magics make that less necessary. Or, at least, that's my take on it.

I suppose where I am now is wondering about where the community's generalized philosophy lies on adopting new playable races. With an entire book dedicated to (from what I gather) statting out a boatload of them, the Wayangs might make a good test case for where we set the bar for entry. Apologies in advance if this comes across as a thread hi-jack; it's not my intent.

My first thoughts are that, beyond being considered for whatever your values for mechanical balance are (and, being mechanics, I think they're easier to explain in approval discussions), I think the more ephemeral (but not really less important) things to consider would fall along these lines:

1) Can it fit logically into the ecology / social ecology of LPF? Playable races, just like playable classes, seem to me something you should encounter with a reasonable frequency. Some may clearly be less prevalent than others, but if 'race X' walks into a bar (or The Dunn Wright), it should be reasonably capable of interacting without being utterly alien.

I think Qik's done a decent job of fluffing the Wayang such that they have a 'place' in E'n.

2) Is it reasonably unique? Yes, this might seem to be fundamentally at odds with (1), but I think a good playable race strikes a good balance between these two. Of the previously-added races, I think Merfolk and Tengu probably manage to meet this standard better than Aasimar and Tieflings. I'm not entirely convinced the latter two aren't just more riffs on the "half-x" template, though I've seen a few examples of folks whose concepts move beyond that.

Here I'm a little more on the bubble. As with Aasimar and Tieflings, I'm not sure Wayangs aren't a pretty standard trope: this time the "dark X" model, where X in this case is Gnomes. At least, on reading, they seem rather like the Gnome equivalent of Drow or Derro to me. In which case, I'm not sure a creature template might not be more appropriate (Nocturnal? A modified Unseelie?).

I haven't really made up my mind, and I'm not trying to be stubborn or insensitive; I'm just not solidly convinced one way or the other yet, so figured it might help to throw out where my head was and see how others respond.
 

Qik

Visitor
Thanks for your thoughts, All. I appreciate the discussion.

I am not a huge fan of a proliferation of playable races, though I suspect that is my own personal bias.
I am actually inclined to agree with you, IW. I find that there's a point at which an excess of player races stretches credibility. In a fantasy setting, that is, admittedly, an irrational conception, but it's mine nevertheless. Things just start to feel like so much cherry picking.

This is where the Wayang's similarity to Gnomes comes into play. I find I'm much more inclined to accept a new race that is related to, or an off-shoot of, an existing one - from a fluff perspective, that provides, at least for me, an adequate explanation for their presence in the world. I also believe that E'n's cosmology (which I'm very fond of) is well suited for explaining these sorts of distortions of more familiar races.

1) Can it fit logically into the ecology / social ecology of LPF? Playable races, just like playable classes, seem to me something you should encounter with a reasonable frequency. Some may clearly be less prevalent than others, but if 'race X' walks into a bar (or The Dunn Wright), it should be reasonably capable of interacting without being utterly alien.

I think Qik's done a decent job of fluffing the Wayang such that they have a 'place' in E'n.

2) Is it reasonably unique? Yes, this might seem to be fundamentally at odds with (1), but I think a good playable race strikes a good balance between these two. Of the previously-added races, I think Merfolk and Tengu probably manage to meet this standard better than Aasimar and Tieflings. I'm not entirely convinced the latter two aren't just more riffs on the "half-x" template, though I've seen a few examples of folks whose concepts move beyond that.

Here I'm a little more on the bubble. As with Aasimar and Tieflings, I'm not sure Wayangs aren't a pretty standard trope: this time the "dark X" model, where X in this case is Gnomes. At least, on reading, they seem rather like the Gnome equivalent of Drow or Derro to me. In which case, I'm not sure a creature template might not be more appropriate (Nocturnal? A modified Unseelie?).

I haven't really made up my mind, and I'm not trying to be stubborn or insensitive; I'm just not solidly convinced one way or the other yet, so figured it might help to throw out where my head was and see how others respond.
Personally, I find the Wayang to be very unique, albeit a potential result of the "inversion" trope you referenced. The other two small races are gregarious and charismatic - I like that the Wayang offer something contrary to that. I also think that they do the "outsider with dark origins" thing much better, both fluff and crunch wise, than the way the tieflings do it, so in that sense, I feel as though they're providing a valuable new asset to building and shaping a character.

I also quite like Satin Knights' "curiosity killed the wayang" axiom.

Just to be clear: I don't mean to over-argue my point on this; just enjoying the discussion. I totally understand the potential aversion to adding new player races.

Finally, just to make it official, I am going to put in my YES vote.
 

IronWolf

blank
I'm still considering. Qik makes a good case that the main stats aren't likely to change so much as be added to with various racial alt options, so I'm not as convinced a delay for the book is anything more than a stalling action.
Stalling isn't always a bad thing. One shouldn't feel rushed into a decision if they think something coming down the pike may or may not change their mind. Or even simply wanting more time to soak in the information and the points/counter-points being made.

My vote at the moment is no (subject to change upon discussion). It might actually change upon seeing how we plan to handle the Advanced Races Guide as a whole when it is released.
 

Maidhc O Casain

Na Bith Mo Riocht Tá!
I really like the fluff you've put together for these little fellas! I also think they fill a niche with the whole "Gnomes' dark cousins" schtick, and I think that's needed as well. I've found myself drawn to the small races recently, so more options for them is a plus for me.

I like the Gripli, too, but I tried to make a Gripli PC and just couldn't make one that worked for me. Like the Tengu and Merfolk, I think they're just a little too different for my taste in spite of the mechanical advantages. I'd use them as NPC's in a heartbeat, though. Not that they're not playable - GlassEye's doing a great job with his Tengu - I just have a hard time playing them as differently as I should.

SO - I'd like to see these guys in LPF. But I do think it's worthwhile to wait and see if the Race Guide changes anything about them that has a big impact before voting them in, and it sounds like the stealth question needs a little discussion.

I think they're fine as-is from a balance perspective (a little front loaded, but that just means GM's can cut loose a little more ;)), but the fluff suggested for the WIS/Perception question is cool, and if we decide the stealth is too much I like the Knowledge (The Planes) replacement for its fit.
 
Last edited:

IronWolf

blank
I really like the fluff you've put together for these little fellas! I also think they fill a niche with the whole "Gnomes' dark cousins" schtick, and I think that's needed as well. I've found myself drawn to the small races recently, so more options for them is a plus for me.
I do agree that the fluff write up is good.

Mowgli said:
SO - I'd like to see these guys in LPF. But I do think it's worthwhile to wait and see if the Race Guide changes anything about them that has a big impact before voting them in, and it sounds like the stealth question needs a little discussion.
I see it that we are on the verge of needing to decide our take on races in general with the Races Guide on the horizon. Rather than address it race by race we might need to determine overall guidelines for acceptable races to be allowed in and then apply that "formula" to races from the Races Guide.

Otherwise we are apt to be inconsistent with our acceptance of race proposals. That is one of the reasons I would like to see a delay in adding new races to see what really is in the Races Guide book when published. In the interim, perhaps working up a guideline when reviewing new races.

mowgli said:
I think they're fine as-is from a balance perspective (a little front loaded, but that just means GM's can cut loose a little more ;)), but the fluff suggested for the WIS/Perception question is cool, and if we decide the stealth is too much I like the Knowledge (The Planes) replacement for its fit.
If we do allow new races I think we should accept them RAW. No changes, modifications, etc (save for fluff). That to me opens even more of a slippery slope. We try to keep as close to RAW as possible to ease entry for people into the LPF. If we start swapping racial abilities someone will join in 6 months and then be surprised the race doesn't work like they think it does. I think it is best to avoid that.
 

Maidhc O Casain

Na Bith Mo Riocht Tá!
I see it that we are on the verge of needing to decide our take on races in general with the Races Guide on the horizon. Rather than address it race by race we might need to determine overall guidelines for acceptable races to be allowed in and then apply that "formula" to races from the Races Guide.

Otherwise we are apt to be inconsistent with our acceptance of race proposals. That is one of the reasons I would like to see a delay in adding new races to see what really is in the Races Guide book when published. In the interim, perhaps working up a guideline when reviewing new races.

If we do allow new races I think we should accept them RAW. No changes, modifications, etc (save for fluff). That to me opens even more of a slippery slope. We try to keep as close to RAW as possible to ease entry for people into the LPF. If we start swapping racial abilities someone will join in 6 months and then be surprised the race doesn't work like they think it does. I think it is best to avoid that.
I agree with pretty much all of this. So far we've made very few changes to RAW for races, and only when nessessary to make them work in a shared world setting. That's a good approach to move forward with, IMO.
 

Qik

Visitor
I also agree that sticking to RAW is the preferential way to go; I had only suggested it in case others were comfortable with making the minor change, since personally, I would have hated to have the Wayangs rejected on the basis of a +2 modifier to one skill (which doesn't seem like it will be the case).

Determining a formula for accepting races from the ARG sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sure how one would go about determining that without running the risk of unintended inclusions or omissions. Personally, I would feel much more comfortable continuing our trend of accepting things based on proposals. It's a lot more work, yes, but I feel it's the most sure-fire way to avoid unintended consequences. That's just my two cents.

As I said earlier, putting off this proposal would in my view net little except for stalling. I can't really see Paizo making any changes that would have an impact on our decision: given the relatively close proximity of the release of the Dragon Empires to the ARG, I would imagine the casting of Wayangs will be relatively consistent. Putting off this proposal whilst deciding what to do about allowing new races in general, on the other hand, strikes me as more sensible, although again, I'm not entirely convinced that we'll be able to come up with an overall consensus on factors which dictate the inclusion or exclusion of races which would enable us to much more smoothly deal with the incoming new races from the ARG. I could, of course, be entirely wrong on that, though. ;)
 
Last edited:

IronWolf

blank
Determining a formula for accepting races from the ARG sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sure how one would go about determining that without running the risk of unintended inclusions or omissions. Personally, I would feel much more comfortable continuing our trend of accepting things based on proposals. It's a lot more work, yes, but I feel it's the most sure-fire way to avoid unintended consequences. That's just my two cents.
Formula may not be the best word. My feeling now is that we don't even have a general feel as to what we want to consider when adding a race. It seems to be skipping a step to be analyzing the Wayang so closely when I don't have a feel for what the community thinks about a proliferation of races.

I don't see the need to rush this particular decision. This rush is even less felt when Paizo is about ready to unleash a whole new set of playable races, custom races, etc.

We are in the upcoming months going to have a whole slew of races to consider and decisions to make. We can certainly look at each case individually if that is what the group thinks is best, but at this point I don't even have a good feel for what the LPF community wants. Do we want a tremendous number of races to choose from or are we more comfortable with a smaller number of races for player choice? I would like to hear from players of LPF, not just judges on this.

I've stated before that I do not like a tremendous number of unusual races in my games. It just breaks what I consider a fantasy world from my perspective. I don't like playing with unusual races in my party, I am a bit plain jane, vanilla like that. It is actually a turn off to me.

With that said, I am very well aware that an "unusual" race is a very subjective opinion and what I consider unusual would not be by others. As a judge I also realize I need to vote with the community in mind, not my personal preferences. And I am willing to vote that way, but right now I don't feel like I know what the community wants and do not feel rushing this vote through is the appropriate path.


Qik said:
As I said earlier, putting off this proposal would in my view net little except for stalling. I can't really see Paizo making any changes that would have an impact on our decision: given the relatively close proximity of the release of the Dragon Empires to the ARG, I would imagine the casting of Wayangs will be relatively consistent. Putting off this proposal whilst deciding what to do about allowing new races in general, on the other hand, strikes me as more sensible, although again, I'm not entirely convinced that we'll be able to come up with an overall consensus on factors which dictate the inclusion or exclusion of races which would enable us to much more smoothly deal with the incoming new races from the ARG. I could, of course, be entirely wrong on that, though. ;)
I don't see it as stalling. I see it as not rushing, getting input from more LPF community members than just judges. With the Races Guide coming that will potentially open the flood gates to new and unusual races I want to know what the LPF community thinks of additional races. Do people want limits, do they want more races, if they want some limits what factors should we consider?

I agree consensus could be difficult on this topic. I've already stated my opinion on races that drift from what I consider mainstream. But as I have also said, I realize I need to vote as a judge and not purely my personal opinion, but I need to know what the community thinks. If there are more people that think like I do then I intend to stand by "No" votes on additional races. If it seems my personal opinion is the minority then I am willing to help get things included that LPF players want. And if we fall somewhere in between then I would like to get a better feel for where that in between is.

Asides from my reservations of non-mainstream races, the fact the Advanced Races Guide is coming makes me want to have a better feel for what people want to see in LPF and less tempted to rush this approval along until we have some consensus from the group (i.e. not just judges) as to where they sit on the issue.
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
We've already made some general decisions about (though not officially stated) the types of races we'll not allow: typically evil, e.g. goblins, kobolds, and obviously overpowered, e.g. drow noble.

However, I'd prefer to stick with the proposal process for races. Gives us the ability to ask for the race to be integrated into the world a little more like we've done with the dwarves, elves, halflings, & tengu.
 

jkason

Visitor
We've already made some general decisions about (though not officially stated) the types of races we'll not allow: typically evil, e.g. goblins, kobolds, and obviously overpowered, e.g. drow noble.

However, I'd prefer to stick with the proposal process for races. Gives us the ability to ask for the race to be integrated into the world a little more like we've done with the dwarves, elves, halflings, & tengu.
I think I agree that new races might be better done as individual proposals. It means in general we probably need to deal with ARG differently than the other Advanced / Ultimate material. There, the judges adopted an "all in except what's excluded after 6 months" philosophy. The above suggests that ruling should probably only apply to races already playable in LPF, and new races beyond that should be on a per-case / well-integrated basis?

On the specifics of Wayangs, I certainly agree Qik's re-full is well done, though it sounds like I may be in the minority in feelings toward the 'dark x' element and uniqueness. I have some things to contemplate as Mowgli makes a decent point about the ability to more easily integrate 'offshoots' than independent races. Hrm.
 

Qik

Visitor
Well, I certain understand the desire not to rush. The pace at which the discussion naturally resolves itself is fine by me.

Threw up a poll to help gauge community opinion.
 

IronWolf

blank
We've already made some general decisions about (though not officially stated) the types of races we'll not allow: typically evil, e.g. goblins, kobolds, and obviously overpowered, e.g. drow noble.
With Advanced Races Guide I don't think it hurts to re-evaluate types of races amongst the entire LPF community.

GlassEye said:
However, I'd prefer to stick with the proposal process for races. Gives us the ability to ask for the race to be integrated into the world a little more like we've done with the dwarves, elves, halflings, & tengu.
No issues with that. I am just saying I don't feel like I have my finger on the pulse as to what the group as a whole thinks of what could be the floodgates opening on new races.


I think I agree that new races might be better done as individual proposals. It means in general we probably need to deal with ARG differently than the other Advanced / Ultimate material. There, the judges adopted an "all in except what's excluded after 6 months" philosophy. The above suggests that ruling should probably only apply to races already playable in LPF, and new races beyond that should be on a per-case / well-integrated basis?
I have no issues with that as noted above (dealing with races on a case by case basis). Though I do think my decisions are apt to be impacted on just how many new races do we consider reasonable adding to LPF.
 

Advertisement

Top