Friday, December 23, 2016

Thematic Pathfinder Race - Elf

OK, Christmas is here and I spent the last week helping my wife with our 2 hobbits. So, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to convert all Pathfinder Core Rulebook races to my new proposal about how its mechanics work*. 

*However, a I was able to watch Rogue One, thank you! (AWESOME MOVIE!).

Well, let’s get at least one example about how I want a race to work in my “simple” Pathfinder. I hope to get more in the next weeks.

Let’s start with Elves.

I’m keeping Pathfinder flavor elements – things like the fact that “elves who dwell in a region for long find themselves physically adapting to match their surroundings, most noticeably taking on coloration reflecting the local environment” (Pathfinder Core Rulebook, page 22) and “elves that spend their lives among the short-lived races, on the other hand, often develop a skewed perception of mortality and become morose, the result of watching wave after wave of companions age and die before their eyes” (idem).


Elves are medium-sized humanoid [elf] with speed of 30 ft.

Starting languages: Elves begin speaking Common and Elven. Those elves with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Celestial, Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.

Racial Traits

Keen Senses: once per day, you can reroll a Perception skill check. You have low-light vision.

Elven Soul: you’re immune to sleep and charm effects. If subjected to a compulsion effect that allows a Will save, you can choose to reroll it at any time of your convenience during the compulsion effect’s duration (no one is sure that the damn elf is really dominated).

Nimbleness: once per day, you can reroll a Dexterity or DEX-based Skill Check.

You must choose the Frail Form or Forlon racial talents at 1st level. These are special talents that reflect either an elf’s traditional frailness or an innate developed fortitude, based on his upbringing.

Frail Form: elves are tall, slender humanoids, greater in height but more slender in build than humans. They tend to be more frail, though their natural lifespan is measured in centuries.
Once per day, before rolling a Constitution or CON-based skill check, you can choose to fail in that check. If you do that and your GM agrees that it was a dramatic/significant failure, you gain an extra daily reroll with any other of your racial traits (yeah, this a little bit of FATE/Aspect rules on Pathfinder, please, forgive me).

Forlorn: you were raised by short-lived non-elven races (usually humans, half-elves or other races from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook). Because of that, you lack the elves’ natural cheerfulness and otherworldly nature.
Once per day, before rolling a Charisma or CHAR-based skill check against any Pathfinder Core Rulebook race, you can choose to roll a natural 1 (i.e. a critical failure in a social encounter). If you do that and your GM agrees that it was a dramatic/significant failure, you gain an extra daily reroll with any other of your racial traits (another FATE rule for Pathfinder, sorry)

Finally, also at 1st level, you can choose either Elven Magic or Elven Fighting Style as a bonus Racial Talent.

Elven Racial Talents

Racial Talents are exclusive abilities that can be acquired during advancement. You can substitute an Ability Score increase for one of the following Racial Talents.

Elven Magic: once per day, you can reroll a Caster Level check or a Spellcraft skill check. Or you can force the target of a spell cast by you to reroll his save.

Elven Fighting Style: you are proficient with longbows (including composite longbows), longswords, rapiers, and shortbows (including composite shortbows), and treat any weapon with the word "elven" in its name as a martial weapon.
If you are already proficient with any of the weapons above due to a class feature, you gain a daily reroll to attack rolls, combat maneuver checks or damage rolls with those weapons.

Elven Dreams: you never really sleep, but while your body rest your mind wanders through mental exercises and lucid dreams. You recover hit points and other abilities normally, but also remain aware of everything happening around you, as if you’re awake (no Perception skill check penalties for you).
Finally, while resting, you can cast, once per game session (or once every week), a dream spell (caster level equal to your character level). Although you don’t sleep, you can be contacted by dream spells normally.

Bond with the Land: after spending one day in any type of natural terrain (in other words, any wilderness free from taints, such as demonic corruption or technological pollution) you create a bond to it. You gain the benefits of the endure elements spell as an extraordinary ability and a daily reroll that be used to one Survival skill check, Wild Empathy class feature or save against a terrain hazard (just one reroll per day!).
If you like (and your GM approves), your Elf PC can start to show physical alterations due to her attunement to a new terrain type.

Golarion Elven Racial Talents

The Elves of Golarion (Pathfinder’s official campaign setting) are actually alien humanoids from “Pulp Venus” (or Castrovel, the Green Planet, as it’s called in Golarion). If you like this approach and want to reinforce it with mechanical elements, I offer you the following talents. Please, bear in mind that Castrovel is known by its powerful psionic denizens. The Golarion Elves call their homeland Sovyrian.

Sovyrian Mind Training: You’re immune to compulsion effects. Once per day, when targeted by a compulsion effect, you can force the target to roll a Will save (DC = 10 + half character level + Int modifier) or suffer 1d6 of nonlethal damage for every 2 character levels (maximum 10d6). Requisite: Elven character level 8th.

Castrovel Born: you have telepathy with a range of 30 ft. Requisite: Elven character level 12th.

Castrovel is AWESOME! So are alien elves!