Pell's Homebrew Compendium

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Pell's Homebrew Compendium

Postby willpell » Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:38 pm

I've done quite a lot of homebrew for my Whiteleaf campaign, and I figure I should put some stuff up in its own thread, so that it can be used by anyone who might find it interesting. Stuff that's very specifically and exclusively tied to my gameworld will appear in the thread for my game; this is meant to be open-source (though in some cases the distinction is a fine one).

Index.
You either die Chaotic, or you live long enough to see yourself become Lawful.

Glemp wrote:To some extent, you need to be arrogant - without it, you are vulnerable being made someone's tool...for Herbert's sake, have the stubbornness not to submit to what you see instantly, because you can only see some facts at a time.


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Re: Pell's Homebrew Compendium

Postby willpell » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:27 pm

Gnoll Racial Substitution Levels

In mechanical terms, the Gnoll absolutely stinks; comparing a level 3 Human Fighter or Ranger or something to a Gnoll, it becomes utterly obvious that you're not getting anything decent by playing a Gnoll. The only upsides are +4 STR, +2 CON, +1 Natural Armor, and Darkvision; in exchange, you're losing at least 1d8 worth of hit points (compared to the Ranger; the Fighter has still more), virtually all your skills (even the Fighter has 12 skill points to the Gnoll's 10, assuming an INT of 10 or 11, and while he doesn't have Listen and Spot in-class, he does have more than JUST Listen and Spot as the only in-class skills for your first two hit dice, including the original multiplied-by-four skill points; compare that to having a Ranger level to start with and it's completely absurd), a Fighter feat or a Favored Enemy class feature, and +1 to Will and at least +1 to Reflex saves. If you really want the +4 STR and +2 CON, you can take some LA +1 template (I'm not sure which one; Draconic and Mineral Warrior are both close) on top of two levels of Ranger, and you'll have everything that the Gnoll gets plus more.

Nonetheless, some people seem to think gnolls are cool or something, and want to play them. They're even included in Races of the Wild as a player-race option, despite their overwhelming mechanical suboptimalness. So, assuming you are going to want to play a gnoll character for whatever reason, shouldn't you get something for your trouble? The two humanoid hit dice aren't ever going to result in a powerful character no matter what you do, so it's okay to open up a little and give the poor Gnoll something that would be stupidly broken attached to a Human or Dwarf character. Thusly, these Racial Substitution levels are intentionally made more powerful than those available to elves or dwarves or whatnot, and they absolutely should never be approved for use by anyone who isn't saddled with two HD of Humanoid (and not even everything that does; a Lizardman or Locathah is pretty nearly as crappy as a Gnoll and probably wouldn't break if given these levels or near approximations of them, but something as robustly designed as the Skulk is probably decently balanced, and should not get above-average substitution levels like these).

As with normal substitution levels, these levels entirely replace the features of the replaced level, and you can't go back and take the replaced level instead; once you make your choice, you're committed to it. The only exception is that if a replaced class level normally includes advancement of spellcasting, meldshaping, psionic powers, or some other form of magic, the substitution level offers exactly the same such advancement unless explicitly stated not to.

Gnoll Ranger

Gnolls inherently favor the ranger class, as they are natural hunters. Whether they are loyal whelps of the demon prince Yeenoghu, grizzled survivalists attempting to turn away from the path of utter savagery and emulate the greater evolutionary success of semi-civilized humans, or simply monstrous brutes marauding the countryside and getting by on sheer physical might, these hyena-like humanoids are above all natural hunters, fueled by an appetite for fresh meat (preferably from sentient beings who suffered as they died, at least according to the evil-aligned majority of the race).
Hit Die: 1d10.

PRETEND THIS IS A TABLE LIKE THE ONES IN THE BOOKS
Level - BAB - Fort - Ref - Will - Special ------------------------------------------ Spells
1 - +1 - +2 - +2 - +0 Favored Enemy, Track, Ambusher -----------
4 - +4 - +4 - +4 - +1 Hyena companion None
18 - +18 - +11 - +11 - +6 5th favored enemy As standard ranger.

Requirements
To take a gnoll ranger substitution level, a character must be a gnoll about to take his 1st, 4th, or 18th level of ranger.

Class Features
Gnoll Ranger levels grant the same class skills as normal ranger levels.
Skill Points Per Level: 6+INT modifier.

Class Features
All the following are class features of the gnoll ranger's substitution levels.
Favored Enemy: As the standard ranger class feature, except as noted here. Gnolls of a traditionally savage bent usually choose Humanoid as their favored enemy; if doing so, they may choose to not select a subtype, and instead apply the bonus against all Humanoids other than gnolls, but they lose the ability to apply the Favored Enemy bonus to Sense Motive checks, except those involved in a feat or skill maneuver which grants a bonus in combat, or to Bluff checks which are not part of the Feint maneuver or a combat-related feat. (Evil gnolls care nothing for the social politics of those they intend to devour alive.)
Gnolls which have turned their back on the viciousness of their cousins frequently choose Animal as a favored enemy (to help them with hunting for food, and with pressing wild hyenas or other beasts into service), but those who become aligned with druidic societies sometimes choose Undead or Aberration out of hatred for these unclean (and inedible) creatures. Those particularly determined to put a stop to the depradations of their wicked brethren sometimes focus upon Evil or Chaotic Outsiders as a favored enemy, enabling them to thwart the Abyssal minions of Yeenoghu (including fiendish or half-fiend members of their own race) and hopefully purge the taint of the Lower Planes from gnoll-kind. Regardless of which of these choices a given gnoll ranger makes, however, the class feature functions normally in their case.
Track: First-level gnoll rangers gain this bonus feat, just as do standard rangers.
Ambusher: Regardless of whether they are noble, demon-tainted, or just plain mean, gnolls of all varieties usually place relatively little stock in the idea of harmony with nature; they find the application of brute force in gratuitious quantities is usually adequate to deal with any problems they may have with the local wildlife. Instead, they typically focus on being more effective stalkers and predators, camoflauging themselves in natural surroundings, and paying no more attention to the animals and plants around them than is necessary to avoid betraying their position.
A gnoll ranger who takes the first-level substitution level gains a +2 bonus on Move Silently checks, a +4 bonus on Hide checks in areas of tall grass or undergrowth, and the ability to deal +1d6 of Sudden Strike damage to any creature which is denied its Dexterity bonus against the gnoll. (Sudden Strike damage does not apply to attackers which the gnoll simply flanks; only those who are actually caught unaware by the gnoll's attack, or simply have no ability to evade it, are at risk of this extra damage.) This damage stacks with any Sneak Attack or Sudden Strike damage the gnoll may gain from other class levels, and it may be used to power Ambush feats just as with normal Sneak Attack dice.
As the ranger gains levels, this Sudden Strike damage increases by 1d6 for every three ranger levels (so +2d6 at 3rd, +3d6 at 6th, and so on up to a maximum of +7d6 at 18th).
This class feature replaces the standard ranger's Wild Empathy class feature. A gnoll ranger with this substitution level never gains Wild Empathy from his ranger levels, and does not stack his ranger levels with levels in another class which grants Wild Empathy.
Spells: A gnoll ranger who selects the 4th-level substitution level does not cast spells (including from scrolls or wands), and never gains spellcasting ability from later ranger levels. Gnolls put little stock in magic, and their rangers are usually focused solely on enhancing their prowess as hunters.
Hyena Companion: As the normal ranger's Animal Companion class feature, except that the ranger selects a hyena as his companion instead of any other animal. If the gnoll is from a typically evil Gnoll tribe, he may summon a Fiendish Hyena as his companion; it gains abilities at the same rate as a normal ranger's companion. If the gnoll is from a more naturalistic tribe, he summons a normal Hyena, but may treat his effective druid level as 3/4th his ranger level, rather than 1/2, for the purpose of determining the companion's abilities.
This class feature replaces the normal ranger's Animal Companion class feature.
5th Favored Enemy: Since the gnoll's two Hit Dice "clog up" his available limit of class levels, a gnoll ranger who takes the 18th-level substitution level gets the benefit of his last upgrade to Favored Enemy at this level, rather than having to wait until epic levels (if the game does continue beyond ECL 20, he does not improve Favored Enemy further upon gaining his 20th ranger level). This substitution level assumes that the campaign allows the Level Adjustment Buyoff system, and that a gnoll character who reaches 190,000 XP has long since bought off his Level Adjustment (and probably made enough extra XP, due to his ECL being lower than that of the rest of his party, to make back the XP cost of this buyoff).
If the character took a normal ranger level at 4th, he gains spells as normal from this substitution level. If he took the 4th-level Gnoll Ranger substitution level as well, he does not gain spells when taking this one.
You either die Chaotic, or you live long enough to see yourself become Lawful.

Glemp wrote:To some extent, you need to be arrogant - without it, you are vulnerable being made someone's tool...for Herbert's sake, have the stubbornness not to submit to what you see instantly, because you can only see some facts at a time.


My long-neglected blog.
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Re: Pell's Homebrew Compendium

Postby Samutony » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:48 pm

I am very pleased to be with you here.
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