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DungeonmasterCal

First Post
I'd like the opinion of the wise and learned members of this august assemblage regarding this home brew race. I've taken the Neandertal (partially based on Jean M. Auel's novels) and added some abilities of the Rilkans from Magic of Incarnum.

Is the LA +0 or higher? Does it seem playable or interesting? Can it bake a cherry pie?

Guti

· +4 Str, +2 Con, -4 Dex, -2 Cha,
· Base Land Speed 30
· All Knowledge checks treated as trained
· +1 to all Knowledge and Bardic Knowledge checks
· +3 Aid Another action if other is a Guti, +2 otherwise
· Guti carry within them and can draw from the memories of their individual ancestors.
· Guti receive the Sturdy feat at first level automatically. (This doubles the CON Bonus to hitpoints each time the feat is taken).
· +1 to Fortitude saves versus extreme natural heat and cold.

Guti stand about 5’4” to 5’10”, and weigh around 180 to 240 pounds. They have much larger and denser muscles compared to their human cousins, and are much stronger and hardier. They aren’t quite as agile, however, and their very direct way of dealing with others often comes off as brusque or even rude.

They have heavy, overhanging brows and large, even bulbous noses that are holdovers from their more ancient ancestors whose memory tells the modern Guti of an age when the world was covered in ice and summer never came. They tend to be barrel chested with little waist, and both men and women have facial hair in the form of long sideburns. Men often sport short beards, and both sexes often braid their hair with small shells and semi-precious stones woven in. Their skin tones are usually dark, and their eyes dark, even black.

Their racial memory that gives them the ability to make knowledge checks with a +1 bonus on any subject, whether they are trained in it or not. When using the Aid Another action with another Guti, they bonus is +3, as opposed to the normal +2. To draw upon Ancestral Memory, a Guti must make an intelligence check of DC 15. If they fail, they cannot try to tap that particular memory again for 24 hours. A Guti can make an Ancestral Memory check a number of times per day equal to their intelligence bonus, +1 per every 3 levels.

The Guti are not savage barbarians, but are a very artistic and spiritual people. There are no priests or clerics among their people. Druids and Spirit Shamans fill these roles. They are especially drawn to the Akashic class because of its ability to draw upon past knowledge, and some warriors follow the Champion of Ancestors path. Guti prefer negotiation to conflict, but if pushed to the limit, they can be formidable foes. They tend to live in the mountains and foothills on the fringes of Human lands, and trade in ivory, furs, and precious metals.
 

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Andre

First Post
If you're comparing to Core races, it's too good for +0, but a bit weak for +1. What jumps out at me is that this race gets a +4 to Str, +2 Con, and bonus hit points. Ignoring the other bonuses, the only real penalty is the -4 Dex and -2 Cha, which don't really balance the above.

Eliminate the Con bonus and the free Sturdy feat, and you're probably there (+4 Str is huge for a melee type). Another option is to simply reduce the bonus to Str to +2. That would be a strong +0, but perhaps not too strong.

As for playability, I'm curious how much use the ancestral memory ability will be. It sounds fun, but I suspect it would have to be handled carefully so as not to be too good, nor completely useless.

I like the idea of a fighter type with useful knowledge skills. Might be too useful, depending on the campaign, but I still like it.
 

DungeonmasterCal

First Post
Thanks, Andre. What I may end up doing is dropping the +2 Con and leaving the sturdy feat. Actual Neandertals, pound for pound, were much, much stronger than our Cro-Magnon ancestors. They were also very tough and resilient, as evidenced by the number of broken and healed bones found in their fossils.

The Neandertals in the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series all held racial memories, which I think scientifically is a load of crap, but it made a unique element to the stories. The Rilkan race from Magic of Incarnum is where I drew the bonus to knowledge checks and such, so I do think it will add a pretty unique flavor. The new homebrew world I'm working on only has "modern" humans and the Guti "neandertals" as available PC races, so I wanted to give them some unique abilities to set them apart.
 

borble

First Post
in my games, this is, like, an la +3.....
ben
EDIT:
Guti carry within them and can draw from the memories of their individual ancestors.
+2

· Guti receive the Sturdy feat at first level automatically. (This doubles the CON Bonus to hitpoints each time the feat is taken).
+1

+1 to Fortitude saves versus extreme natural heat and cold.
worded wrong
 

javcs

First Post
Andre said:
If you're comparing to Core races, it's too good for +0, but a bit weak for +1. What jumps out at me is that this race gets a +4 to Str, +2 Con, and bonus hit points. Ignoring the other bonuses, the only real penalty is the -4 Dex and -2 Cha, which don't really balance the above.

Eliminate the Con bonus and the free Sturdy feat, and you're probably there (+4 Str is huge for a melee type). Another option is to simply reduce the bonus to Str to +2. That would be a strong +0, but perhaps not too strong.

As for playability, I'm curious how much use the ancestral memory ability will be. It sounds fun, but I suspect it would have to be handled carefully so as not to be too good, nor completely useless.

I like the idea of a fighter type with useful knowledge skills. Might be too useful, depending on the campaign, but I still like it.
Agreed, mostly, I'd consider going with DMCal's modification of dropping the Con bonus but keeping the Sturdy feat, or vice versa, depending on how they're intended to fit into the setting.

Alternatively, if the Dex penalty was reduced to -2, or Con was boosted to +4, you'd have a pretty solid LA +1 race.

Giving them low-light/darkvision, depending on how you see them may also work for a quasi-respectable +1 LA (I haven't gotten to reading the Clan of the Cave Bear series, so I don't know if that would make sense or not).

It seems that a Craft bonus may be in line with the flavor.
 

evilbob

First Post
I would also suggest that the OP has about a +1 LA. Even dropping the +2 Con doesn't really make it a +0, just because +4 Str is such a tremendous advantage. It's still much better than all the +0 core races.

If you're really wanting a +0, I would make it +2 Str, -2 Dex, -2 Cha, and keep the rest. Look at the (admittedly low-end) Half-Orc as an example: it's the only +Str core race, and it takes two negatives in order to balance it.

If you're wanting a +1 LA, I would change the Dex penalty to -2 and leave the rest. That's somewhat close to a Goliath, which is (admittedly at the tip-top of the high end for) a +1 LA.
 


robberbaron

First Post
DungeonmasterCal said:
· Guti carry within them and can draw from the memories of their individual ancestors.
For me I'd say +1 is OK, though the see-saw ability bonuses/penalties is more than I would normally like (+4/-4 doesn't necessarily mean Balanced), but the above line is a sticking point.

Do you mean that they know everything their ancestors knew? That would be a huge bonus.
 

DungeonmasterCal

First Post
robberbaron said:
For me I'd say +1 is OK, though the see-saw ability bonuses/penalties is more than I would normally like (+4/-4 doesn't necessarily mean Balanced), but the above line is a sticking point.

Do you mean that they know everything their ancestors knew? That would be a huge bonus.
They have to make a Knowledge (Ancestral Memory) vs. DC 20 to access a memory. The writeup isn't finished yet, but I see it giving them a +1 to whatever action they're trying to accomplish by tapping the racial memory.
 

Spatzimaus

First Post
As others have said: Way too much for LA+0, weak for LA+1.

The stats aren't balanced. The +4 STR is a huge boost; it's one of those stats that really needs more than one negative to balance in the first place. When I tried to make an LA+0 "heavy" race, the Half-Ogre, its stats ended up as STR +4, INT -2, WIS -2, CHA -4, and then I threw on DEX -2, CON +2. Even that was a bit too strong in practice, but we also added a bunch of other penalties to the race.

A -2 CHA is just nothing. If you really want to penalize the race, you need to subtract INT; losing skill points can HURT in the right type of campaign. The -4 DEX hurts, but not that much for the classes this race is ideal for; you won't be doing much ranged combat, you'll be wearing heavy armor anyway, and the loss of initiative or Reflex is minor.

On the other hand, other than Sturdy, the rest of the race's "flavor" abilities are extremely weak. Having a small bonus to Knowledge skills doesn't really mean much when Knowledge(any) isn't a class skill for any of the classes the race is designed for. (Wizard and Bard?) And the boost to Aid Another when the other is the same race, or the +1 save boost, aren't even worth mentioning. But Sturdy makes up for this. It's SO strong to a race that already has a CON boost AND is designed to play the tank role anyway. So, that easily bumps you up to an LA+1.
 

Roger

First Post
DungeonmasterCal said:
Guti

· +4 Str, +2 Con, -4 Dex, -2 Cha,
· Base Land Speed 30
· All Knowledge checks treated as trained
· +1 to all Knowledge and Bardic Knowledge checks
· +3 Aid Another action if other is a Guti, +2 otherwise
· Guti carry within them and can draw from the memories of their individual ancestors.
· Guti receive the Sturdy feat at first level automatically. (This doubles the CON Bonus to hitpoints each time the feat is taken).
· +1 to Fortitude saves versus extreme natural heat and cold.
Well, let's compare them with Goliaths, which are a +1 LA race:

* +4 Str, +2 Con, -2 Dex
* Speed 30, Medium sized.
* Powerful Build (sort-of Large)
* Mountain Movement (better jumping and climbing)
* Acclimated to high altitude
* +2 to Sense Motive
* Languages: Common and the Goliath language.
* Favoured Class: Barbarian

So. Guti's take a bit more of a hit on Dex and also to Cha. They don't get Powerful Build, which is a fairly big deal. They get some Knowledge abilities. They get Sturdy (which, on its face, kinda looks like a broken feat to me, but that's a different subject.) Gutis get no bonus language and they have no favoured class at all. All the other stuff isn't terribly significant.

I'd say Guti is pretty close to +1 LA. Might be a little weak. As others have mentioned, removing the Cha penalty or reducing the Dex penalty might fix that right up.


Cheers,
Roger
 


Arkhandus

First Post
Roger: Sturdy isn't that great. It's from Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed/Evolved, essentially a replacement for Toughness. You just double your Con bonus to HP for that level, not for every level, so it's a one-time benefit from each copy.

So a dwarf takes Sturdy at 1st-level let's say, and has Constitution 20 in the beginning. He gets +10 HP that level instead of +5 from Constitution; just 2 points more HP than the Toughness feat would give (and Toughness sucks beyond 1st-level anyway). Once the dwarf goes up to 3rd-level, he's still only getting the same 5 HP from Sturdy, not 5 per level; but he could take Sturdy again as his 3rd-level feat, gaining another 5 HP (assuming his Con is still 20). You really need a Constitution of 18 or higher for Sturdy to yield more than Toughness; otherwise it yields the same or fewer HP than Toughness.

borble: You have to be kidding. You insist your Dragon Bound is balanced despite how powerful it is in so many things, and with its dragon mount, but also insist that this race would be LA+3 in your games? LA+1 alone would be more than this race needs to be balanced as-is. Sure, the racial memory thing needs clarification, but apparently DM Cal isn't meaning for it to be complete, total knowledge of their ancestors' experiences.
 

Nyaricus

First Post
DungeonmasterCal, the others have suggested changing about ability bonuses; how about focusing more on that ancestor-element and move them up toward a full-blown LA +1? May I suggest the following?

Ancestral Knowledge: Guti draw upon the memories of their ancestors and therefore receive +1 to all Knowledge and Bardic Knowledge checks. At their first class level, he may choose 3+Int mod of any Knowledge skills to be class skills. If Knowledge would normally be a class skills, the Guti receives an additional +1 on Knowledge checks with his chosen (3+Int mod) skills, which stacks with the +1 to all knowledge checks he receives. He may choose Bardic Knowledge in lieu of a class skill for the focus of this bonus; it however takes up two of his chosen skill ranks [reason: bardic knowledge is slightly more powerful, so might as well make it a little harder to get]. The Guti has at least one rank to pick a chosen skill with, even if a low Int mod would otherwise not permit this. Additionally, all Knowledge skills are treated as trained checks, even if not normally a class skill.

Does that sound alright? Based against the Goliath, that sounds about balanced :)

Arkhandus said:
borble: You have to be kidding. You insist your Dragon Bound is balanced despite how powerful it is in so many things, and with its dragon mount, but also insist that this race would be LA+3 in your games? LA+1 alone would be more than this race needs to be balanced as-is. Sure, the racial memory thing needs clarification, but apparently DM Cal isn't meaning for it to be complete, total knowledge of their ancestors' experiences.
Well, the boy does seem a bit confused about balancing in D&D :uhoh:

cheers,
--N
 



Roger

First Post
Thanks for the details on Sturdy. That isn't so bad.

I have the feeling that balancing with skill bonuses, especially Knowledge bonuses, is going to be a dead end. It's one of those things that's just too campaign-specific, I think.

Here's something sorta along those lines which I think might be better, though. Or it might be too good. I dunno -- it's just off the top of my head:

Racial Memories: Any time a guti receives a bonus feat from a class level, he can select any feat he meets the prerequisites for.

Anyway, it's an idea.



Cheers,
Roger
 

Spatzimaus

First Post
Technik4 said:
Every time I read a +4 str race with +0 LA, I just shake my head.
It CAN be done, IMO; it's just a question of what you balance it with. In the case of the OP, though, he's trading stat points 1:1, and that just doesn't work here. IMC we've had a STR+4 race for quite a while, and it's never been a problem, because we put combat-related penalties on the race to compensate.

STR+4 is great, but it's not the sort of game-breaking effect that a 10' reach would be.
 

Machiavelli

First Post
Con penalties can balance ANYTHING. What good is your uber-godliness if the mere threat of violence will knock you unconscious, and the swat of a toddler's tantrum-thrown hands will kill you?

:]
 

DungeonmasterCal

First Post
Ok...I think I've arrived at what I hope will be a LA +0 version of the Guti. I cut back on the mechanics and fluffed up the flavor portion of the description. Thanks to everyone who's input has been offered!



Guti

· +2 Str, -2 Dex, -2 Cha,
· Base Land Speed 30
· All Knowledge checks treated as trained
· +1 to all Knowledge and Bardic Knowledge checks
· +3 Aid Another action if other is a Guti, +2 otherwise
· Guti receive the Sturdy feat at first level automatically (double CON bonus to HP. Can be taken multiple times).


Guti stand about 5’4” to 5’10”, and weigh around 180 to 240 pounds. They have larger and denser muscles compared to their human cousins, and are much stronger and hardier. They aren’t quite as agile, however, and their very direct way of dealing with others often comes off as brusque or even rude.

Guti have heavy, overhanging brows and large, even bulbous noses that are holdovers from their more ancient ancestors whose memory tells the modern Guti of an age when the world was covered in ice and summer never came. They tend to be barrel chested with little waist, and both men and women have facial hair in the form of long sideburns. Men often sport short beards, and both sexes often braid their hair with small shells and semi-precious stones woven in. Their skin tones are usually dark, and their eyes dark, even black. Their language is quite difficult for others to master, as it contains many glottal stops and clicks that make up some of their words. Guti carry within them a type of racial memory that gives them a vast reservoir of knowledge passed on from their forebears. This gives them the ability to make knowledge checks with a +1 bonus on any subject, whether they are trained in it or not. Guti also have a very weak telepathic bond with other Guti. When a Guti uses the Aid Another action with another Guti, they bonus is +3, as opposed to the normal +2.

The Guti are not savage barbarians, but are a very artistic and spiritual people. There are no priests or clerics among their people; Druids and Spirit Shamans fill these roles. They are especially drawn to the Akashic class because of its ability to draw upon past knowledge, as well as the Factotum class because of its wide range of abilities. Some warriors follow the Champion of Ancestors path, using the knowledge of their forefathers to bolster their combat ability, and Psychic Warriors are common among their soldiery. They tend to live in the mountains and foothills on the fringes of Human lands, and trade in ivory, furs, and precious metals. In Guti lands, there are many enclaves and monasteries where pilgrims come to learn more about their inner strength and to hone their psychic abilities.

Guti prefer negotiation to conflict, but if pushed to the limit, they can be formidable foes. When forced into battle, Guti prefer to use heavy, bludgeoning weapons that take advantage of their greater strength. The primary exception to these are short, heavy spears used for stabbing a foe and even impaling them to the ground, a favorite tactic of Guti warriors.

The Guti are also the first race to discover and master the secrets of Psionics. Today, through interaction or interbreeding with other races, they are not the sole proprietors of these abilities, though most psionic characters still come from lands ruled by the Guti.
 

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