Playing with Fantasy XXVII

Fantasy game thoughts. Try to get two this month so I average out to one a month.
  • Think I'll just have my dark elves ride the same cats as the other elves, instead of Simbakubwa-based crocottae. And I think I'll go back to goblins riding a Carnivoran, too, instead of hyaenodonts, but instead of the amphicyonids they were riding before, I think they'll ride percrocutids, like Dinocrocuta (or rather like Percrocuta, but then also scaled up so hobgoblins and bugbears can ride them). Might give the voice-mimicry ability of crocottae to the things the goblins ride, since wargs ("worgs") are described as mimicking voices, in several D&D/Pathfinder sources. (Presumably the crocotta of legend, based on the striped hyena, was said to mimic voice because of the laughing.)

    Not sure I'll keep the orcs riding pigs (or entelodonts or mesonychids). I do like the idea, because Twilight Princess, but riding an artiodactyl when everyone else rides carnivorans makes them the odd one out. Maybe I'll have the orcs ride hemicyonid bears, since the dwarves ride giant wolverines and they're both caniforms. The dark dwarves (which are not duergar) do not ride the wolverines; they ride giant spiders. Elves' cats are chaotic neutral and thus more likely to just go with whatever, while dwarves' wolverines are lawful neutral, i.e. sticklers. Maybe just have the ogres walk everywhere, with their dwarf endurance? Yeah that could work.

    Not sure what my evil gnomes ride. Maybe edgelord versions of the other gnomes' hyenas? They're true neutral, so they could go along with their two-legged friends just like the panthers.
  • If we base the beastie the goblins ride on Percrocuta—5 feet long, 3 feet at the shoulder, 205 pounds—and use the height ratios of the three goblin races (rounding up or down as needed), we get a hobgoblin mount that's 8 feet long, 5 feet at the shoulder, and (taking the cube of the dimensional difference) weighs 900 pounds. But applying the bugbear one gives us a mount that's only 11 feet 6 inches long, 7 feet at the shoulder, and weighs 2,555 pounds—which is only a Large creature. However, because it's freaking enormous, you could apply the Advanced template, like you do to make a warhorse out of a regular horse. (This means bugbears, themselves Large, have to burn a feat to get Undersized Mount, but it's worth it.)
  • My dark elves no longer practice blood-sacrifice of speaking creatures ("human sacrifice" with a slightly broader target category). Decided it was a bit too witchy; in the real world there are plenty of human-sacrificing cultures that do not go all the way into witchery (the Nahuatl city-states that semi-forced Cortes into conflict with Tenochtitlan practiced human sacrifice too, just on a much smaller scale and without cannibalism), but in fantasy it's better to keep the themes distinct.

    Basically the dark elves now keep to the level of evil found in ancient civilizations like Rome and Sparta, with pragmatic murders like eugenic infanticide and constant honor-killing, but with a taboo on human sacrifice. Of course, part of their pragmatic murder is massacring communities that manage to fight back against their slave-raids, to cow others; they also perform experiments on intelligent beings. (Other than goblins or other elves, whom they always kill rather than capturing.)
  • A recent Wizards of the Coast customer survey had, to ensure that they actually surveyed customers (imagine preferring that!), a very basic rules question ("What is advantage?"). And a bunch of Twitterati went ballistic at the "gatekeeping", because even knowing the basic rules is an imposition, I guess. Remember, this is after they simplified the d20 rules because Mike Mearls thinks women are stupid, but apparently DnD now attracts people, gender unspecified, who are actually even stupider than Mearls assumed, and think that that's a problem for everyone else.
  • Holy mackerel but the cavalier Order of the Blossom is OP. You get a sneak attack while being a heavily armored cavalier with a martial class attack bonus, which not only means your sneak attack is more likely to hit, but also that your sneak attack can be stacked with Vital Strike at 6th level—you don't have to wait till an odd level because cavaliers get a bonus feat at 6th.

    And then, because that wasn't horrifying enough, you also get a bonus to Bluff checks equal to half your cavalier level. You use Bluff (which is modified by Charisma, which many cavalier abilities run off of) to feint. Which denies enemies their Dex bonus against you till your next action. "Enemy denied Dex bonus" is all that is required to sneak attack.

    Rogues can often sneak attack every round or every other round, but they generally need an ally to be helping them flank, and are a "glass cannon" if they get into an even fight. Order of the Blossom members can likely sneak attack every other round solo, and have d10 hit dice and heavy armor.
  • So I decided that my elves' inquisitors are mostly living grimoire archetype from Horror Adventures, mostly because Int instead of Wis is an advantage for them.

    But that archetype uses a holy text. I had originally conceived my religions as not having those much—they're not as common in real-world religions as a Protestant culture would understandably assume, let alone as important—and they'd have to be somewhat different for a people whose gods are their actual still-living ancestors. But living grimoires beat people with steel bibles, like Alice in Shadow Hearts. So.

    I eventually decided that, rather than a revelation like Judeo-Christian scripture or a combination mystical vision and philosophical tract, like Buddhist and Gnostic scripture, it'll be in the format of memoir (equivalent of a real-world mythology, but the mythic creature is right there reminiscing about stuff), and one of those books of advice, like the Handbook that Dhuoda of Septimania wrote for her son William (equivalent of the moral precepts a real-world holy book would set forth).
  • Decided the hydrocratic PĂșkel-men, who looked like Australian Aborigines with brown hair and eyes and medium-brown skin, will instead have blond hair and green eyes, because brown eyes and hair is basically actual Aborigines. Also the Dothraki-esque speaker barbarians from that same continent, I decided, are Dravidian-looking but with red hair and blue eyes.
  • Kinda cheesed Kingmaker makes you pretty much have to be lawful good, if you're not going to lose Kesten or Jhod during the Season of Bloom. The reason being that I really want to be a blight druid, and get to use the bleed power of the Death domain (not normally available to non-evil clerics or inquisitors).

    I really hope they make that a viable choice in Wrath of the Righteous. That and the elf-witch better be romanceable, and to dudes. There was no romanceable full elf last time, and it was a travesty. (It's also a travesty that there was no romanceable halfling or gnome—the big people were still romanceable for halfling or gnome PCs.)

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