Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Creating game materials? Monsters, spells, classes, adventures? This is the place!
User avatar
SmootRK
Posts: 3578
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:03 am
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:19 am

MacLeod wrote:If I get a chance to, I'll playtest some of these races. :) Don't know when that'll be though...
Cool! and Welcome Aboard!
User avatar
MacLeod
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:55 am

SmootRK wrote:Cool! and Welcome Aboard!
Thanks. :D
User avatar
billiambabble
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:54 pm

Hurrah! Goblin thieves. (or fighter goblins, pretending to be be thieves like hobbits do...) ;)
One of the things I liked about T&T was that in the box there were some pre-gen characters and one of them was a goblin. Ace.

I see that stinky Trogs are back also. :D

Nice little supplement. *thumbs up*
User avatar
SmootRK
Posts: 3578
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:03 am
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:17 am

Yes, I like the idea of many of these races... especially for NPC use. Mix in some of the other optional classes and you can have:

A Gnoll Witch Doctor (Necromancer/Cleric) follower of Yeenoghu.
Kobold Assassin squads
Mighty Centaur Knights
Caveman Druids
Stealthy Bugbear Hunters (rangers)
And of course, Barbaric Ogres!!

Lots of permutations for those who want/need some variety in their Basic Fantasy
User avatar
billiambabble
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:19 pm

I'm up for Barbaric Ogres! SMASH IT! FOOD OR FREND?
Those gnoll shamen sound like droolers though.
I never could get my head around Bugbears being stealthy. In illustrations they always look so big and clumsy.
hebitsuikaza
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:02 pm

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:46 pm

I think I see a few of these that could use a few adjustments. I won't review all, but maybe a few of my favorites.

Goblins
The -1 hit point on every sort of die regardless of class is a way too harsh penalty. They should have the same penalty as the Halfling and the Elf where they never roll higher than d6s, but there is no need to dock them a hit point when they are only rolling a d6 or a d4 to begin with.

I feel like giving them both the Dwarf ability and the Elf ability to detect secret doors is a bit too much of the same. Yes, some tribes live in caverns and some tribes live in the forests, but each individual goblin ought to only have one or the other. Plus, they really seem more like a Kobold thing-- Goblin's don't really construct a lot of secret passages.

A few of the things goblins excel at that might make for other potential abilities:
1) They are pretty universally good at hiding, particularly in the wild. Any goblin who isn't good at hiding is going to live a very short and brutal life. So any goblin that makes it to being a PC is likely a good hider, even if a Mage or Fighter. Halflings have a 90% chance of hiding while in forest terrain and they don't spend half their time hiding as Goblins do.
2) Goblins can live on refuse and find every corner of the world that can give them safe refuge. This could translate into a skill where the Goblin has a good chance to find food, water or shelter in any wilderness setting with a decent degree of success. They should probably almost certainly find what they are looking for within 3 hours tops.
3) Goblins are known to somehow, some way, be able to train, control and utilize big scary animals. Worgs, Dire Bats, Giant Spiders, the ilk. You can't very well just give a PC one-- but perhaps a Goblin PC could have access to something like this as a unique retainer option. Or, if training and raising animals are done in the general rule, they have an edge in that regard.
4) They are really good at working in groups. Much better at reading their allies actions and working in conjunction than anything short of Kobolds. This could lead to some sort of combat bonus when outnumbering an enemy.
5) They are crazy hard to hit-- not just with weapons, but if one is trying to smack them with a blast attack like a fireball or dragon breath, it might be hard to do. In addition, they have been known to live in toxic environments without any issues. They could use some saving throw bonuses!

I am not saying incorporate everything... but you need to be able to look at the Goblin and the Halfling and say that they are equal. If a Goblin isn't every bit as good as a Halfling, there is no point in a Goblin existing as a playable race. You'd better just tell anyone interested to use the Halfling stats and call themselves a Goblin.

Hobgoblin
Here, again, the Dwarf ability doesn't seem to fit very well. A few things that Hobgoblins are good at.
1) They are extremely athletic. Running, climbing, swimming, etc. are things that they are built for-- and not just arising from their raw strength. When engaging in such activities, they may very well deserve a bonus towards being successful.
2) They are highly disciplined in battle and know how to use formations to the best of their ability. Fighting in a small squad is perfect for them and they know exactly where to be based on where everyone else is. They might deserve some sort of bonus (AC -1?) when they can remain "in formation" though that will need to be better defined.
3) They are commanding and those who work for them don't want to cross them. A particularly successful hobgoblin, the type PCs will likely be, will be able to command their fellows to a far greater degree than humans can control other humans. As a result, perhaps they deserve an increased number of maximum retainers and their retainers deserve higher morale-- so long as they are goblinoid.
4) They are extremely goal-oriented and mentally disciplined. It would sour their honor to run away from battle screaming or let someone screw with their head. So maybe they deserve a bonus to their own morale checks so long as their allies aren't dead or fleeing.

The hobgoblin ought to be every bit as good as an Elf. Actually, they might be equal to an Elf as is-- but that Dwarf ability could probably use some switching up since Hobgoblins don't really do a lot of digging around and constructing in underground tunnels.

Orcs
Orcs have almost nothing and giving them a penalty for fighting in light is crazy harsh. It really doesn't feel necessary and leaves the race too underwhelming to be usable. A few things could be used to boost the Orc.
1) Their strength comes from rage. If they get hurt, they get even. A small bonus to their offense (or maybe their defense) when they start getting low on HP would probably do much to make them interesting.
2) They live in some of the worst conditions of any sentient race in D&D. No place is too hot, too cold, or too toxic for them. They should probably be able to shrug off negative environmental effects. In addition, finding food, shelter or water in wilderness areas is a skill they would universally have.
3) They have a great sense of smell. While not on the level of the Gnoll, they could use a weaker version of the same sort of ability.
4) As already noted, they are incredibly resilient to toxins and tough as nails. Saving throw bonuses would be appreciated here.

The Orc primarily competes with a Dwarf for design space. Basically if your Orc is not on par with a Dwarf, then one is better off telling someone to use the Dwarf stats and merely call themselves an Orc rather than use any other rules.


I haven't put a lot of thought into Kobolds. But Kobolds ought to compared directly to Gnomes. If the Kobold isn't generally as viable as a Gnome, it needs to be strengthened using Koboldish abilities until the point where one has equal reason to choose either.
User avatar
SmootRK
Posts: 3578
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:03 am
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:18 pm

I can appreciate your ideas as totally appropriate for a campaign-specific version of each of these races. I would even be inclined to utilize some of these ideas in my own campaigns. However, your observations are somewhat subjective and totally dependent on one's specific concept or paradigm on the races... and not likely universally shared by all. There is a wide variety of views of these sorts of races; for instance Orcs range from Tolkein-esque, to World of Warcraft inspired, to the variations between Advanced D&D and Basic Editions and all the variations of 1e, 2e, 3.x and beyond... some striking differences really; some lawful, others chaotic, some have green skin, others having pig faces.

The design of the monster races (as they appear in this supplement), while certain small liberties and extrapolations were included, was to closely match the monster entries directly as they appear in the monster section of the BFRPG core rules. Add to this, they are purposefully designed to be somewhat lacking or relatively bland compared to core races, or at the very most just barely equivalent. The intent is that these races may have some role-play usefulness, but they are not meant to supersede the traditional races (for the most part)... so yes, if one does a side-by-side comparison they will seem sub-par in certain ways compared to the traditional offerings.

Good ideas regardless for individual Game Masters to include in their campaigns where one or more of these races have more prominence in the game.
hebitsuikaza
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:02 pm

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:58 am

So one's intention from the word go was not to actually increase player options, but to punish any player who would want to play a nonstandard race. Well, that says volumes right there, does it not?

What sort of DM would intentionally force a subpar option on a player for the crime of daring to ever prefer something outside of the heroes of Lord of the Rings? Should such a person even be put in charge of a game in the first place?

It does seem it would be far more respectful to the PCs to simply say
"you want to play a goblin, play a halfling an call yourself a goblin. Goblins are little more than wild Halflings from a purely mechanical point of view."
"you want to play an Orc, just play a Dwarf and call yourself an Orc. They are both cave-dweller, tough as nails warrior races. Makes very little difference."
"you want to play a Hobgoblin, just play an Elf. They are relatively close enough that any difference doesn't matter."

As for any particular powers or abilities not falling in line universally in settings?...

Halflings have insane saves, being excellent at shooting, being universally the best hiders in the world well beyond master thieves and being the hardest to hit targets of all races at all stem from short, dumpy humans with furry feet? It is hardly the most well-thought out extension of the concept and certainly would not be true in... well, virtually any setting where being short didn't make one automatically Batman.

Why is that one race so far and away so insanely powerful anyway?
User avatar
artikid
Posts: 320
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:59 am
Location: Enna, Italy
Contact:

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:37 am

You must be Tzakkesh on the goblinoidgames forum, right?
User avatar
SmootRK
Posts: 3578
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:03 am
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Re: Monsters as Player Characters: A Basic Fantasy Supplement

Post Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:30 am

hebitsuikaza wrote:So one's intention from the word go was not to actually increase player options, but to punish any player who would want to play a nonstandard race. Well, that says volumes right there, does it not?... and more....
not really... just more of a mindset of making what is in the Monster Section, playable. No more, no less.

You seem to be coming from a different sort of style of play, likely later editions primarily where game mechanics and options have more weight. Not wrong, just different than how many here see things. It is not punishment of players who want alternate race options, but rather not allowing options to take the focus off of the more traditional offerings.

Again, the ideas you present are not wrong; and I rather like a few ideas. They just don't really match up to the BFRPG core materials (monster entries) exactly. Not that the playable races presented match perfectly either, but steps were specifically taken to keep things to the core concepts, and also kept minimalistic as befits the idea of "basic" gaming, otherwise we call the game "Advanced Fantasy Role-Playing Game" ;)

Now then, while describing the design rationals taken and even though I actually try to give praise and credit for your ideas, you infer quite directly that "we punish players" or "Should such a person even be put in charge of a game in the first place?"... we have plenty of differences of opinion around here, but we prefer a less accusatory tone.

EDIT: And Welcome regardless. :D Choice of language/tone aside, we like to hear alternate ideas and opinions.
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests