Racial Ability - Class/Creature-type

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CitizenKeen
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Racial Ability - Class/Creature-type

#1 Postby CitizenKeen » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:58 pm

I feel like I've already figured out the answer, but I'm wondering what the hivemind thinks.

What value would you place on a Racial Ability that made you a member of a game-mechanically targeted class, but had no innate hindrances?

An example would be "Undead" - let's say you wanted to craft a player race akin to the Forsaken from WoW. Intelligent zombies. You give them a lot of abilities similar to the Android, like Construct, and so forth.

But in most fantasy campaigns, there are a lot of potent spells that only target undead. They're more powerful than comparable spells precisely because they target undead. Shouldn't that be worth something?

Another example might be droids in Star Wars (who can be locked down).

What does the hivemind think? -0? -1? -2? (Certainly not more than that!) Outsider is one benchmark Edge, but I could see it being a Major Hindrance. Again, this doesn't mean you're Wanted (like some Undead), or targeted by people. It just means that if an opponent wants to kill you, they have more resources to do so than if they wanted to hurt your equally ranked friend. (And this doesn't have to be limited to combat, either.)

Obviously, you can always be targeted by some descriptor. But just because it's possible for the GM to introduce a disease that only effect Pharblaxians, or an Axe, +1 Fighting against Gingers, doesn't mean you should get a rebate.

But some classes (undead and droids) in certain settings are so targeted that even though there's no mechanical drawback inherently, there's enough "out there" that I could see an argument being made that they should get a rebate.

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#2 Postby jpk » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:39 am

I'd probably cost that at 0.

If people are intentionally making weapons to better annihilate your population, that's probably going to be reflected somewhere in your racial build anyway if it's reasonably common. But any race (or even nationality) is subject to that sort of thing anyway, so they really all have it in common (including baseline humans).

That's my thought, anyway.

Actually, if some race had some ability not to be so targeted, I'd make that a positive-cost racial benefit.

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#3 Postby CitizenKeen » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:20 am

I figured somebody would choose -0, but I'd be interested to hear more with regards to why.

You take your standard fantasy scenario, and there's not much in the way of anti-elf, anti-dwarf, or anti-halfling magic items. But there are tons of anti-undead.

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#4 Postby jpk » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:27 am

CitizenKeen wrote:I figured somebody would choose -0, but I'd be interested to hear more with regards to why.

You take your standard fantasy scenario, and there's not much in the way of anti-elf, anti-dwarf, or anti-halfling magic items. But there are tons of anti-undead.

I would say that there is tons of anti-undead because there's a "shoot first, stab second, destroy third" attitude toward undead. They aren't in any way socially acceptable, and people will be trying to kill you with fire, swords, spells, angry dogs, cleavers, and small benches anyway. The value for "lots of stuff targets me" is already assumed in the "everyone wants to kill me" problem.

If there were no social bias to undead (or elves or dwarves), there probably wouldn't be any increased likelihood of anti-undead (or anti-elf or -dwarf) materiel.

Now, if you do have some really odd society where everyone's fine with a race but there's still a whole mess of anti-that-race magic floating around (say, from the lost empire of Ihatethatraceistan), then you'd probably want to compare it to races that take extra damage from fire or cold iron or something, and compare the likelihood of leftover Ihatethatraceistani equipment.

But I really do have a hard time picturing that, myself.

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#5 Postby Zadmar » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:05 am

CitizenKeen wrote:You take your standard fantasy scenario, and there's not much in the way of anti-elf, anti-dwarf, or anti-halfling magic items. But there are tons of anti-undead.

But the undead also tend to be immune to a lot of the spells that target living creatures - charm spells, sleep spells, suffocation, poison, disease, entropy, fear, level/stat-draining, and so on.

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#6 Postby kronovan » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:31 am

I think the best way to handle this is with the social flavor of the setting as opposed to a negative abilitiy in a race, which seems to be what others are saying.

CitizenKeen wrote:What value would you place on a Racial Ability that made you a member of a game-mechanically targeted class, but had no innate hindrances?


If I'm reading your correct meaning in that statement, it sounds like you're suggesting altering the core mechanics of the system, as hindrances are exactly for that purpose. From my perspective there's 2 ways to have a race targeted in a setting -socially and with game mechanics- but both would require a hindrance.

CitizenKeen wrote:You take your standard fantasy scenario, and there's not much in the way of anti-elf, anti-dwarf, or anti-halfling magic items. But there are tons of anti-undead.


True, but that's to a large extent is due to an alignment conflict in those scenarios. In many fantasy settings undead tend to be polar opposites in alignment to the party of protagonists. As others pointed out they can be tough to contend with and there's offten a "Greater Evil" behind them, hence the need for a healthy arsenal to arm yourself with. If your party of protagonists are Necromancers of evil alignment, you won't have the undead as formidable foe. Suddenly its those innately good and magical High-Elves or those fanatical Holy Men that are the much feared adversaries.

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#7 Postby CitizenKeen » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:53 am

kronovan wrote:True, but that's to a large extent is due to an alignment conflict in those scenarios. In many fantasy settings undead tend to be polar opposites in alignment to the party of protagonists. As others pointed out they can be tough to contend with and there's offten a "Greater Evil" behind them, hence the need for a healthy arsenal to arm yourself with. If your party of protagonists are Necromancers of evil alignment, you won't have the undead as formidable foe. Suddenly its those innately good and magical High-Elves or those fanatical Holy Men that are the much feared adversaries.


All true. And maybe I'm approaching this wrong. But assuming that the entire party is undead is different from one character.

Let's say that a player want to play the Drizzt Do'Urden of vampires - they're usually really evil, but he's the Angel of this fantasy setting and was cursed with a soul or whatever.

Well, he's got the vulnerability to sunlight and holy water, etc. Natch. He gets points for those. But there's also an arsenal of weapons out there made to kill him that don't exist for other players. Weapons beyond Holy Water - there's no edge that makes you awesome against elves, but there is an edge (Holy Warrior) that gives you power against undead. Not a power that syncs up with their vulnerability, simply a power that attacks their status.

Perhaps I'll try to figure something else out, since it seems a number of people are against it. But I'm curious why a stockpile of anti-specific PC weapons isn't considered as hindering as a Quirk.

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#8 Postby kronovan » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:16 pm

CitizenKeen wrote:...there's no edge that makes you awesome against elves, but there is an edge (Holy Warrior) that gives you power against undead.

Actually no, the correct title is Holy/Unholy Warior and it works both ways as stated in the last paragraph:
"A character may also be an Unholy Warrior working for the forces of evil. In this case, he repulses good creatures, such as angels, paladins, or good characters with Arcane Background (Miracles)."

Make those Elves Paladins or Miracle workers and they're subject to the Repulsing Good power of an Unholy Warrior. There's also nothing to say you setting's flavor can't make Elves innately good the way the way angels are, which would subject the entire race to an Unholy Warriors Repulse Good power.
Last edited by kronovan on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#9 Postby Tavis » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:17 pm

While Undead are mentioned as one of the 'supernaturally evil' groups that Holy Warrior has an effect on there are a couple of things to bear in mind.

Firstly - it's Supernaturally evil (emphasis mine) - if this character is the 'Angel' of their world then they aren't evil - and thus, even though they are undead, the Holy Warrior Edge wouldn't work against them.

Secondly, if the existence of the Holy Warrior edge is being used as justification for giving the Undead character some kind of points break/additional benefit then bear in mind that the UNholy Warrior edge also exists which grants the same benefits against:
angels, paladins, or good characters with Arcane Background
(Miracles).


So, if that is the case, then any character with AB: Miracles should also get the additional benefit, as there are things out there designed to damage them specifically/give an advantage against them specifically.
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#10 Postby The Dread Polack » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:15 pm

CitizenKeen wrote:Let's say that a player want to play the Drizzt Do'Urden of vampires - they're usually really evil, but he's the Angel of this fantasy setting and was cursed with a soul or whatever.

Well, he's got the vulnerability to sunlight and holy water, etc. Natch. He gets points for those. But there's also an arsenal of weapons out there made to kill him that don't exist for other players. Weapons beyond Holy Water - there's no edge that makes you awesome against elves, but there is an edge (Holy Warrior) that gives you power against undead. Not a power that syncs up with their vulnerability, simply a power that attacks their status.

Perhaps I'll try to figure something else out, since it seems a number of people are against it. But I'm curious why a stockpile of anti-specific PC weapons isn't considered as hindering as a Quirk.


I think I get what you're saying here. You're talking about a character who could reasonably expect to run into opposition that will not just attack him on sight, but would also be likely to be carrying weapons or otherwise possesing powers or abilities that are actually more dangerous to this character than other characters. This isn't flavor- the character *will* be taking more damage, on average, over the course of the campaign due to actual mechanics that hurt him more.

... or he might be more susceptible to mind control, or persuastion, tricks, tests of will, etc.

This is a real, actual disadvantage to the character, more so than other characters. The society might hate elves, but we're assuming there aren't as many weapons and powers designed to hurt only elves as there are for this character type. As such, I think it's likely worth a hindrance.

I can't put a value on it, though. Mostly, I think you need to compare this character to the rest of the party. If he needs to be significantly more wary than the other characters to make sure he doesn't go down on round 1, then it's worth something. Otherwise, most PC adventurers walk around with targets on their chests already, given their line of work, so it might not be noticeable.

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#11 Postby 77IM » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:33 pm

It sounds to me like you are looking for vulnerability, a situational one.

Let's say you're making a race of Half-Demons. Holy power deals +4 damage to them. That's the equivalent of -4 Toughness, which by the rules is a whopping (-8) racial ability. But, how often is Holy damage encountered? Surely not 1/2 the time. Let's guestimate 1/4 the time. So divide the cost by 4 and make it a (-2) racial ability. Actually Holy is probably pretty rare so maybe it's only encountered 1/8 the time for a (-1) racial ability.

That's how I'd do it -- come up with a concrete penalty and cost it, then reduce the cost based on how often it is really a problem. If the penalty is variable guestimate an average. Err on the side of under-pricing negative abilities to prevent abuse.

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