JP On Gaming

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

[Designing 5e] My first race

For the past two weeks - ever since I returned from Conglomeration full of new ideas - I have been reading, designing and writing on 5e. My mind is moving from a Pathfinder paradigm to the 5e paradigm, while the two are similar from the outside, are quite different. As I wrote down about the races, because that's where I started.

5e has a few different time units: active time, short rests and long rest (4e' encounter and daily powers). While Pathfinder provides a number of ability per day, in 5e some abilities may be refreshed after a short or long rest. Using these rules allow for a simpler and smoother integration into the game. So I have to become more familiar with them. That is why I have been playing more 5e and discovering the game.

One of the first races I decided to work on were the Kalibans. I sat back and began thinking along the following line. "What makes a kaliban unique?" I looked at the many abilities they had in Pathfinder. However, after trying to design something I did not like. It felt too heavy, too convoluted. The best way to put it, is that it felt too much like Pathfinder and not enough like 5e.

So I deleted everything.

Just removed everything and took a walk around the living room.

"How do I explain a kaliban to someone new?" They are cannibalistic. They are marauders. They run for days. They are hard to kill. Those are the three elements that really make them up. I now had guidelines and somewhere to go with my 5e kalibans.

Cannibalistic. I went through the options in Pathfinder for inspiration. There were two elements: first increase stats or heal oneself. The stat increase is not in line with 5e's philosophy. So it would have to do with healing. I wanted to avoid the "we killed Bob, I will now use him as a potion of healing..." mentality. It would be overly gruesome and not be something I want people to know. Not able to find a good answer on how to resolve this, so I tabled it.

About them being able to run for days, a simple way is to give them advantage against effects that would make them exhausted.

Hard to kill was another issue that caused me to scratch my head for a long time. I looked at orc ferocity, which was the inspiration for the Pathfinder version. Inspiration struck me as I was playing "Death House" at Grand Adventure Comics here in Murfreesboro (shout-out to Steven-L). I got my rear end kicked badly and had to start making death saves.


What a great mechanism to represent the kaliban's toughness!

With everything else, I had to go back to the cannibalistic. What if, they could regain additional health when they take a short break and have munchies available? Give them some extra hit points when they spend hit dice to heal themselves between encounter. I was stuck until one of my elite team of reviewers provided me with the answer.

What it was will have to wait til next time.


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