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ursulav

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I must reproduce this, for sheer amusement. The following was posted to the Digger Forum
over at Graphic Smash, by one Jules:


NOTE: This has not been play-tested!

Nor am I willing to play-test it!

Nor have I really read through it carefully!

Nor am I really even a huge D20 system fan!

*+2 strength (biceps with feet!), +1 intelligence (smarter than yer hack'n'slashing half-orc barbarian), -2 charisma, -1 dexterity (claws pose a bit of a disadvantage there)
Small: As a Small creature, a wombat gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but she uses smaller weapons than humans use, and her lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
*Wombat base land speed is 20 feet
*Low-Light Vision: A wombat can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
*Automatic Languages: Common and Terran. Bonus Languages: Undercommon, Dwarven, Gnome, Gnoll, Celestial
*+4 racial bonus on saving throws against fear, charm, and illusion-based spells (Hmm... They didn't cut the gems that massive dragon has in its hoard as well as they might have. Hey, where did everyone just go?).
*Special charisma modifier: In normal circumstances, wombats' tend to let their plain speech and rough ways give them a bad impression, giving them their standard -2 charisma penalty. However, in non-verbal aspects, they are quite charismatic, being very cute: as such, if prevented from speaking, but somehow called upon to make a Charisma check, they actually have a +2 bonus relative to their default modifier. (for example, if a naïve human NPC comes across a prone, unconscious wombat, he'll think it's very cute (high charisma); once he treats the wombat and it regains consciousness, and starts saying things like "you cast a magical SPELL to heal me? Well no wonder the wound isn't healed proper!" the wombat's charisma drops back down to its default modifier.
*+2 racial bonus to Craft, Appraise, Profession, Knowledge (architecture and engineering), and Knowledge (Dungeoneering)
*AC counts as +3 if attacked from behind, due to armored rump.
*Special restriction: atheism. Wombats can never worship any deities. They aren't, strictly speaking, atheist, in that they believe gods exist. They do believe, though, that they're essentially always more trouble than they're worth.
*Special restriction: anti-magical. Wombats cannot wield magical weapons, nor can they use magic. Strictly speaking, all classes are permitted to them, but I wouldn't recommend playing a Wombat sorcerer. However, wombats have access to considerably greater technologies than most races, and this partially makes up for their lack of magic (for example, they can't cast "light" spells, but they can break out a glowstick). However, these can only be crafted by the wombat itself or bought in a wombat warren. (a special "advanced wombat equipment" list is needed now, I suppose.) Give a wombat a priceless Vorpal Sword, and your wombat's first response is to try to pawn it off to the nearest unsuspecting adventurer ASAP.
*They get five free feats: Diligent, Lightning Reflexes, Endurance, and Martial Weapon Proficiency: picks, and unarmed strike (as with monks, owing to claws)

Next up--Wombat: The Tunnelling!


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...dammit, you bastards. Okay, I know nothing about Digger at all, but that's such a cool racial concept with such painfully bad play balance that I had to fix it. *grin*

Like I said, I don't know Digger, so I've gotta ask... is it in fact a magical world, with the wombats thoroughly incapable of magic? Or do they simply shun it greatly, and have a glaring ineptitude? The latter's remarkably similar to one of my own pet races, the Tazidye. Anyway. GEEKWARD HO!

    Wombat
    Small Humanoid (Wombat)
  • +2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma. (The stats were already horrendously unbalanced, why not capitalize on that ECL hit? This also eliminates the need for all those feats. ECL +1)
  • Base speed 20', burrow 5'
  • Natural weapon: claws 1d3 (ECL +1)
  • +1 size bonus to attack and to armor class.
  • +4 size bonus to Hide.
  • Low-light vision. (I'd have made them Monstrous Humanoids, but that gives them automatic Darkvision.)
  • Automatic languages: Common and Wombat. Bonus languages: Dwarven, Gnome, Draconic, Undercommon, Terran. (Maybe there was a setting-specific reason to make Terran their language? If so, they should probably be of the Outsider type. Would make sense with the whole anachronistic-technology thing.)
  • Racial weapon proficiency: Wombat Pickaxe. (Exotic weapon, like all the other racials. Create stats for this, has to be superior to available weapons in some way; how about: two-handed weapon, small damage 1d6, medium damage 2d4, 19-20/x3 critical, piercing. This weapon, by the way, makes me drool.)
  • +2 racial bonus to Appraise, Craft, Knowledge (architecture and engineering), and Intimidate. (Profession doesn't seem they're style; wombat hairstylists? Brokers? Maybe, but no better than anyone else. Intimidate bonus offsets the Charisma penalty.)
  • +2 racial bonus to all saving throws. (Takes care of some more feats. +4 would've been an ECL bump anyway, why not make them super-halflings? ECL +1.)
  • Magic dampening (Ex): Magical items do not function properly when in contact with Wombats. Any magical item which touches a Wombat (even as an attack) loses all magical properties as long as contact is maintained. Intelligent items and items in in the possession of another creature are entitled to a Will save against a DC of 10 + the Wombat's character level. Artifacts are unaffected. (It's a lot of bad, but a fair bit of good too. ECL -1)
  • Spell Resistance equal to 4 + character level. Wombats may not voluntarily lower their spell resistance. (ECL +1)
  • Casting impairment (Ex): Wombats are thoroughly incapable of casting spells or using spell-like abilities, and any supernatural abilities will not function. (There are LOTS of ways to gain spell-likes and supernaturals. There are ALSO ways of ceasing to be a Wombat, so it's wrong to forbid them from HAVING magical capability... only from USING it. This is pretty damn big, ECL -3.)
  • Favored class: Fighter.

If you want them to have SOME magical ability (I like it better this way), adjust as so:

  • Magic dampening (Su): As above, except a supernatural ability, and the Wombat herself may also attempt a Will save to keep an item functioning, but at a -4 penalty.
  • Spell resistance: A Wombat may voluntarily lower her spell resistance by making a Will save against 10 + her character level.
  • Casting impairment is removed.
  • Casting ineptitude (Su): A Wombat's effective caster level for spells and spell-like abilities is one half her actual caster level. Supernatural abilities with level-dependent effects also function as if the Wombat were half her actual level. (Rounding down as always, so at first level you got JACK. Note that the Wombat LEARNS spells at the normal rate, just can't cast them. The bit about supernaturals nerfs undead turning, contributing to the "meh" attitude toward dieties. ECL -2.)
  • Effective character level: +1.

Okay, the sad part here is that I don't have a book anywhere near me and haven't played in MONTHS. I am such a dork.


That, actually, is ... pretty much perfect. The abhorrence-and-ineptitude version strikes me as more true to canon -- it still departs from it in places, but it would be playable. The armored rump could perhaps still be incorporated as a 1d3 subdual damage 'rump attack' (since I seem to recall that wombats actually use said armored rumps to club assailants), perhaps even replacing the claw attack. Digger seems more inclined to punch people than to claw at them, but I don't know if it's just her.

*takes a bow* Thanks. Systems analysis is just this thing I do, y'know? And implementing the racial magic-dampening effect in D20 was a challenge I couldn't resist, partly because now I can use it almost verbatim for my Tazidye (who are native to a more dynamic system). If, of course, I ever have enough free time to be a gamer again.

Meanwhile, I just realized: "Small" is a -1 ECL trait, isn't it. So heck, give 'em +2 natural armor! (We'll just say they like to parry with their tails.) This adds up to +4 AC for race, after dexterity and size... pretty nasty, in fact.

Alternately, don't give them the armor bonus, and just take the ECL penalty off the "magic allowed but crappy" version. I think I like that idea better.

A 1d3 Slam attack (for normal damage) wouldn't add ECL on top of the claws, if you think a damaging rump attack is viable (although I did fudge on the +1 they're supposed to get for an additional movement type, because it's only 5' and they only had one natural weapon)... if you just want it doing subdual, though, there's little reason to bother; for a Small creature, a punch is 1d2 plus Strength bonus. They just happen to punch from the hip. Now, this does put some very interesting visuals into my head when I think about the possibility of a Wombat monk.

Other minor errata for the magic-capable version:

  • The Wombat's spell resistance and magic dampening (supernatural abilities) are not affected by their casting ineptitude (or if you want to be cleaner system-wise but probably confuse people, just base those on twice their level instead)
  • When the Wombat's magic dampening ability affects an item, the effect lasts for one round after contact is broken. (This prevents them from using magic projectiles, but it also means that if, say, someone makes an attack of opportunity against a Wombat with a magic sword and fails his Will save, it's not a magic sword again until one round later—in this case, the Wombat's next turn, so the suddenly disgruntled antagonist discovers that on his own turn, the sword's not magical no matter who he goes after.)
  • A Wombat attempting to use a magic item continually must make a Will save every round to prevent the item from being affected by her magic dampening, but if she succeeded in the previous round she does not receive the usual -4 penalty.
  • The Will save to lower spell resistance is per individual effect, and should have a DC of the Wombat's spell resistance +10 (the additional +4 over their character level is important because they've got a bunch of bonuses on their Will saves).

Any other suggestions, based on your greater knowledge of the subject matter? (I'm not even going to ask about the +1 attack bonus versus Dwarves.) Let's make these guys worthy of publication in an official supplement! And then refuse to give up the rights when WotC begs us! BEG, WOTC, BEG! :D


A 1d3 Slam attack (for normal damage) wouldn't add ECL on top of the claws, if you think a damaging rump attack is viable (although I did fudge on the +1 they're supposed to get for an additional movement type, because it's only 5' and they only had one natural weapon)... if you just want it doing subdual, though, there's little reason to bother; for a Small creature, a punch is 1d2 plus Strength bonus. They just happen to punch from the hip.

In light of ursulav's observation about wombat claws being like brass knuckles, which makes a lot of sense, I'm tempted to just give them (oh, what the hell) 1d4 subdual damage on all unarmed attacks and let rump vs. hands be a matter of which end of them is protruding from the burrow. But brass knuckles are arguably equivalent to gauntlets, which would make their punches do normal damage ('arguably' because I would expect the risk of breaking your hands on someone's skull or elbow to be higher with brass knuckles -- you can hit harder with a gauntlet because you don't have to worry about that). Perhaps a 1d4 subdual damage Slam attack, and claws that do either 1d2 or 1d3 lethal damage. That wouldn't be a big deal for members of most classes; it would make wombat monks damn formidable for their size category, but since wombat monks would get only limited use out of their plethora of supernatural monk abilities, it sort of balances out.

Per the other thread, I've already been convinced that they should get the butt-slam for an additional 1d3 (lethal) attack, and the +2 armor bonus.

I really, really don't like to break from standard damage for size class without damn good reason, and the main reason I don't think there's any point to giving them an enhanced subdual attack is that they've got a strength bonus. Average roll on 1d2 is 1.5; average roll on 1d4 is 2.5; average roll on 1d2+1, which is what a base Wombat gets, is also 2.5. Compare this to the 2.0 average on 1d3, and you'll find that even without a special attack, only a half-orc beats a wombat at fisticuffs. And that's pretty damn impressive all by itself, when you consider that the wombat is punching the half-orc in the SHIN.

Natural weapons, by the way, give little advantage over monk attacks, and barring house rules, monks don't get any sort of damage bonus if they're using a natural weapon—it's a trade-off, instinct vs. training. It makes sense if you consider that a monk foregoes the use of individual body parts in favor of the ENTIRE body becoming a weapon, attacking with whatever part's handy rather than just with the pointy bits (and STILL doing better damage than he would normally do with the pointy bits!). If you want to tear it up with claws and rump, go for a fighter/barbarian. 1d3 doesn't seem so bad, when it's 1d3+9.

By the way, if you read through the monk's supernaturals, you'll find that only Wholeness of Body, Abundant Step, Quivering Palm, and Empty Body are affected by Casting Ineptitude... and flavorwise, that's perfect: a wombat wouldn't want to use any of those anyway. Note that Ki Strike doesn't have an effect based on character level, it has different discrete effects at different character levels: it's really a progression of several non-level-dependent abilities. Similarly, a paladin would gain Cure Disease at the normal rate: it's a level feature, not a level-dependent feature.

THE GEEKING... IT CONTINUES!

Average roll on 1d2 is 1.5; average roll on 1d4 is 2.5; average roll on 1d2+1, which is what a base Wombat gets, is also 2.5. Compare this to the 2.0 average on 1d3, and you'll find that even without a special attack, only a half-orc beats a wombat at fisticuffs.

... good point.

And that's pretty damn impressive all by itself, when you consider that the wombat is punching the half-orc in the SHIN.

Don't say funny things while I'm drinking soda. Now my sinuses are carbonated.

Natural weapons, by the way, give little advantage over monk attacks, and barring house rules, monks don't get any sort of damage bonus if they're using a natural weapon—it's a trade-off, instinct vs. training.

Oh, you're right. I had misremembered the 'monk damage by size category' table in Sword and Fist as 'monk damage by natural unarmed damage' table. I think both would be useful, actually, because....

It makes sense if you consider that a monk foregoes the use of individual body parts in favor of the ENTIRE body becoming a weapon, attacking with whatever part's handy rather than just with the pointy bits (and STILL doing better damage than he would normally do with the pointy bits!).

... because I agree with your premise here, but not your conclusion -- most martial arts are pragmatic enough that a student who had some kind of special weapon built in would not be instructed to, in effect, neglect it. Most of the martial arts I'm familiar with tend to put heavy emphasis, in their training (as distinguished from the art itself), on hurting the other guy as much possible as quickly as possible, rather than on philosophy or spirituality, though, so I'm working from a skewed sample -- and d20 monks are definitely more the philosophy-or-spirituality type.

And there's the matter of qualification, I guess. You'd really need more specialized training than your average monastery can give you to make effective use of your rump in a martial arts context. Bloody hell, I think I feel a prestige class coming on.

</i>1d3 doesn't seem so bad, when it's 1d3+9.</i>

Dude, it's hard to make 1dANYTHING+9 look bad.

only Wholeness of Body, Abundant Step, Quivering Palm, and Empty Body are affected by Casting Ineptitude... and flavorwise, that's perfect: a wombat wouldn't want to use any of those anyway. Note that Ki Strike doesn't have an effect based on character level, it has different discrete effects at different character levels: it's really a progression of several non-level-dependent abilities.

Right again. I hadn't thought that through completely.

Given that they dig all day, I think wombat claws would function more like brass-knuckles on a punch than like an edged weapon--they're powerful, but fairly blunt--getting kicked by a horse hoof, rather than scratched by cat claws, say.

I like the magic thing myself--I figure it's more of a cultural aversion than anything else, so a wombat COULD become a wizard, they'd just feel really weird about it and the other wombats would be rather appalled. (It's not wrong so much as just in very poor taste.)

That's kind of what I'd figured, and also the reason I bumped up the Charisma penalty even more—no Wombat sorcerors. Natural talent ain't happening, they've gotta study it, which makes the cultural aversion that much more pervasive.

So what's with the butt thing, anyway? Do they actually use it for defense, or for offense, or both? And just how well-armored is it? I've already spotted a few things I'll need to fix, so if there's going to be a Wombat v2.1, I might as well get input from God Empress of Wombats. *grin*

*grin* A wombat butt is basically a thick hide shield covered with extremely stiff bristles. According to the wombat rehabilitator I talk to, there's evidence that they can beat in a predator's skull with their rump against the wall of the tunnel. It's a tough butt. They use it primarily defensively, going headfirst into a tunnel and blocking it with the rump, which evidentally is enough to deter a fair number of predators.

Gadzooks! Guess the +2 armor and 1d3 slam attack are right in there, then. Which means ECL+1, absolutely.

It's official, folks: Wombats are inherently superior to dwarves.

Which I gather is an in-joke. Am I a clever insider yet? :D

I do sincerely hope you've got Digger books on sale at FC, Ursula. Because I hate subscribing to online services. And at this rate, it's seeming like I'm gonna be cornered into it, butt-first...

Well, I won't be at FC this year, alas--the move came up and nuked my plans--but hey, maybe by next year, Digger books will be in print! (It could happen! Maybe!)

Yeah, someone else just told me that. What I get for skimming through the "Ursula is frazzled from the move" posts, d'urg. Was looking forward to giving you money, too! (It's hard for me to do that when it's not cash in person, because my brain always kicks in when I'm typing my credit card number.)

However, I was serious about bribing you for custom doodles. Soon as the band's got some more money, we're going to want some good merchandising images. Y'know, T-shirts and stickers and junk. I've got Matt Harpold doing all our "serious" art, you're the perfect counterpart for the cartoony side. :D

Dwarves and Wombats

(Anonymous)
Digger was rather critical of Dwarves in an early strip. The text goes (I hope this is within the limits of fair use!):

Digger: You just don't magick somebody's tunnel! It's dangerous! It's rude! A tunnel ought to be build with hard work, know-how, and the occassional bracing timper. If you try shoring it up with magic, bad thing happpen. Walls collapse and the entire tunnel gets de-stabilized. And you never know when it'll be the wrong phase of the moon and the whole thing'll come down.

Like dwarves. They'd dig out a mountain, and if the stone wouldn't hold, they'd just slap a spell on it. But the only way to keep it stable was to keep packing magic on, and eventually they couldn't hold it together, and they'd leave. You go in an abandoned dwarfhold now, and it's huge, shafts, galleries, absolutely rotten with magic. You have to go roped together in the dark, and you can't make a noise, or the whole mountain will come down.

Ganesh Statue: One would presume that mining with magic is inadviseable, then.

Digger: Inadviseable?! It's BLOODY IRRESPONSIBLE, is what it is!

there's evidence that they can beat in a predator's skull with their rump against the wall of the tunnel.

Wow ... wombats sound pretty hard-ass.

;)

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