Invasion of the Humans

I recently had the opportunity to pick up a number of older RPG products for a song. Among them was a copy of Goodman Games’ JG2 Citadel of Fire, a D&D 3.5 update of the original module from Judges Guild. Not so much a direct update as a revision and expansion, the book added quite a bit of new material to the original adventure.

One of the most striking parts of the new material was the appendix regarding the people of the setting. Counting variants and half-breeds, the book introduced no less than sixteen new races! But the kicker was that all of them were some sort of variations on a theme for humans, ranging from different ethnicities to entirely new sub-species.

I found this notable because it occupies a design space that I’ve been very aware of recently, which is that humans – compared to other humanoids such as elves, dwarves, etc. – are underpowered. While the traditional bonus feat and extra skill point at each level are nice, the overall curve is slanted decidedly against them. Moreover, there are no longer any class restrictions or level limits to provide disincentives to playing any of those other races.

This is fairly easy to see within the context of Eclipse: The Codex Persona. Humans are only a 9-point race, which is rather low when compared to their counterparts. Hence why we quite often see revised humans popping up every so often. Given that, it seemed like it might be worthwhile to translate the new races in JG2 into Eclipse terms and see how they compare.

Since the original names are the Product Identity of Judges Guild, I’m going to make some minor alterations to them just to be on the safe side. Note also that I’m also listing their favored classes. That doesn’t really mean much if you’re using Eclipse, which doesn’t have classes, but if you’re using character classes then corrupt the CP cost for each race down to two-thirds of the listed total.

High Avilionan (31 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Attribute Shift/+2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom (6 CP).
  • Attribute Shift/+2 Charisma, -2 Constitution (6 CP).
  • Profession (sailor), Rope Use, Sail, Spellcraft, and Swim are class skills (0 CP).
  • +2 bonus to Rope Use and Spellcraft (4 CP).
  • +4 bonus to Swim (4 CP).
  • Damage reduction 2, specialized for one-half cost/only versus energy attacks, corrupted for two-thirds cost/only versus cold (1 CP).
  • Bonus language: Avilionan (1 CP).
  • Favored Class: Expert (sailor), Bard, or Wizard.

This listing also makes clear that we’re keeping the class skills for each race. That doesn’t incur a CP cost because every character has a dozen or more skills that are “relevant” (as Eclipse terms it) for them anyway. “Sail” isn’t a typical skill, of course, and its functionality can probably be represented by Profession (sailor) just fine, but I’ve left the listing here just in case.

This write-up also gives them cold resistance 2, compared to the original’s cold resistance 1, but I doubt anyone will object to that.

High Avilionan, Aquatic (52 CP/+1 ECL)

  • As per standard high avilionans (31 CP).
  • -2 Constitution (-6 CP).
  • Celerity with one instance of Improved and Additional: 30-foot swim speed (21 CP).
  • Adaptation/underwater (6 CP).

This actually changes the original write-up by a considerable amount. To be closer to the standard listing, dump the Celerity listing and instead add another +6 to the Swim bonus for 6 CP. That will reduce the total cost of the race to 37 CP.

Common Avilionan (10 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Rope Use, Profession (sailor), Spellcraft, and Swim are class skills (0 CP).
  • Bonus language: Avilionan (1 CP).
  • Favored Class: Expert (sailor or shipwright), Aristocrat, or Sorcerer.

Notwithstanding the class skills and favored classes, this is essentially your bog-standard human with a bonus language thrown in. If you want this to be more than just a different ethnicity that retains some vague remembrance of their ancestral tongue, consider giving them Adept for the four class skills listed above. That will increase the cost only to 16 CP, still well within +0 ECL territory.

Amazon (34 CP/+1 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • +2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma (24 CP).
  • Handle Animal and Survival are class skills (0 CP).
  • Unarmored (-3 CP).
  • Shield Proficiency (3 CP).
  • Defender/+1 dodge bonus to AC, specialized for one-half cost/only while wearing no armor or light armor (3 CP).
  • Poor Reputation/non-Amazons (-3 CP).
  • Bonus language: Amazon (1 CP).
  • Favored Class: Warrior, Druid, or Psychic Warrior.

The original listing had amazons inability to use armor work a little differently: if they took levels in a class that granted Heavy Armor Proficiency, then they gained only Light Armor Proficiency. Otherwise, they didn’t gain any armor proficiency when taking levels in a class. That’s a bit awkward to model in Eclipse, since the penalty changes depending on what class you take, so we’re simply going with the Unarmored disadvantage to apply it across the board.

That said, the race is really crying out for a third disadvantage to bring them down to +0 ECL territory. Consider adding Hunted (amazons are subject to persecution from a powerful neighboring state), Obligations (to the amazons’ patron deity, without whom they wouldn’t have evolved into their own sub-race), or Vows (regarding conduct toward non-amazons).

Psionic Amazon (46 CP/+1 ECL)

  • As per standard amazons (34 CP).
  • Mindspeech, corrupted for increased effect/extends out to 100 feet, only works with creatures that have a language (6 CP).
  • One level of wilder psionic progression (6 CP).

Technically, the corruption on Mindspeech should only extend its range to 90 feet, but the difference is small enough to overlook.

Altirian (24 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Attribute Shift/+2 Strength, -2 Intelligence (6 CP).
  • Attribute Shift/+2 Constitution, -2 Charisma (6 CP).
  • Track (3 CP).
  • Knowledge (nature), Handle Animal, and Survival are class skills (0 CP).
  • +2 bonus to Survival (2 CP).
  • Timeless Body, specialized for reduced cost/aging penalties are reduced by one age category (1 CP).
  • Favored Class: Barbarian, Druid, or Psion.

Note that the lack of additional skill points for altirians is a deliberate omission. Altirian characters can choose which environment their Track ability applies to at character creation, but most go with wilderness. Note that while their aging penalties are reduced by one category as they grow older (e.g. not taking the middle age penalties until they reach old age), they accrue the bonuses at the normal rate.

Protohuman, Male (116 CP/+3 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Attribute Shift x2, variant/-2 Strength, +1 Constitution, +3 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom (12 CP).
  • Device Use/treated as being a dragon with regards to using magic items (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/low-light vision (6 CP).
  • Accursed, variant/light sensitivity; stunned for 1 round when entering into an area of bright sunlight or a daylight spell, and dazzled until they leave the area (-3 CP).
  • Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft are class skills (0 CP).
  • +4 bonus to Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft, Appraise, Spot, and Search (20 CP).
  • Specialist with the Improved and Superior modifiers, with no restriction on magical specialty (24 CP).
  • Immunity/aging (uncommon/minor/minor) (2 CP).
  • Timeless Body (3 CP).
  • Spell Mastery (6 CP).
  • Spell Shorthand, specialized for one-half cost/only as a prerequisite, with the Hieratics modifier, variant/you may make a Spellcraft check (DC 25 + spell level) when you see a spell on your spell list cast within 30 feet of you to automatically be able to write it into your spellbook (6 CP).
  • Immunity/needing a spellbook to prepare spells (very common/severe/trivial), specialized for one-half cost/only for 0-level spells (3 CP).
  • Defender/+1 natural armor (6 CP).
  • Self-Development/+2 to a single ability score for the purposes of raising spell DCs (6 CP).
  • Occult Talent with the Improved modifier, corrupted for two-thirds cost/only gains detect magic, read magic, flare, mage hand, identify, and magic missile (8 CP).
  • Bonus languages: Protohuman and Draconic (2 CP).
  • Favored Class: Wizard or Cleric.

The original write-up called for this race to receive double the usual number of spell slots for a high ability score. Since that was another ability whose usefulness varied wildly (and could be changed thanks to stat-boosting effects), it was replaced with Specialist. Likewise, when using the variant of Hieratics, I’d recommend corrupting the ability for two-thirds cost/must scribe the spell within 1 hour per point of spellcasting ability bonus or lose the opportunity to do so (4 CP).

Protohumans, of course, aren’t really “proto” at all. Rather, they’re a clan obsessed with magic to the point of experimenting on themselves to try and gain the same affinity for magic that dragons have. They call themselves protohumans because they believe that all other branches of humanity are dead ends, a fate they intend to avoid via artificially inducing their own evolutionary growth, making them the beginning of humanity’s glorious destiny to conquer the cosmos. Needless to say, everyone else views them (correctly) as both mad and very dangerous.

Protohuman, Female (211 CP/+6 ECL)

  • As per male protohumans (116 CP).
  • +8 bonus to Intimidate, Listen, Spot, Sense Motive, Disguise, Forgery, Hide, Intimidate, Move Silently, and Sleight of Hand (80 CP).
  • +4 bonus to Spellcraft, specialized for double effect and corrupted for two-thirds cost/only to detect and identify Illusion and Conjuration spells (3 CP).
  • +8 bonus on saves against “illusions, concealment, deception, lies, false identity, and false alignment” (12 CP).
  • Favored Class: Witch or Illusionist.

To be clear, where female protohumans have skill bonuses to the same skills as their male counterparts, the bonuses are intended to stack. Both male and female protohumans reach middle age at 100, old age at 150, venerable age at 200, and have a maximum age of 200 + 2d100 years.

Protohuman, Half- (66 CP/+2 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Device Use/treated as being a dragon with regards to using magic items (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/low-light vision (6 CP).
  • Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft as class skills (0 CP).
  • +2 bonus to Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft, Appraise, Spot, and Search (10 CP).
  • Immunity/aging (uncommon/minor/trivial) (1 CP).
  • Spell Mastery (6 CP).
  • Spell Shorthand, specialized for one-half cost/only as a prerequisite, with the Hieratics modifier, variant/you may make a Spellcraft check (DC 25 + spell level) when you see a spell on your spell list cast within 30 feet of you to automatically be able to write it into your spell book (6 CP).
  • Immunity/needing a spellbook to prepare spells (very common/severe/trivial), specialized for one-half cost/only for 0-level spells (3 CP).
  • Defender/+1 natural armor (6 CP).
  • Self-Development/+2 to a single ability score for the purposes of raising spellcasting DCs (6 CP).
  • Occult Talent, corrupted for two-thirds cost/only gains detect magic, read magic, and identify (4 CP).
  • Favored Class: Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard, or Ranger.

The result of a protohuman coupling with any other breed of human (with one exception, listed below), consider adding the Secret disadvantage to this race, as most half-protohumans don’t want others to know about their lineage. Doing so also gets their ECL down to +1. If they’re found out, then they gain two disadvantages: Outcast (no one wants to associate with a scion of a race of dangerous lunatics) and Hunted (the protohumans will seek to eradicate the “stain” on their racial purity). Half-protohuman live half as long as full-blooded protohumans, reaching venerable age at 100 and having a maximum lifespan of 100 + 1d100 years.

Protohuman, High Avilionan, Half- (85 CP/+2 ECL)

  • As per half-protohumans (66 CP).
  • Attribute Shift, variant/+2 Intelligence, -1 Strength, -1 Constitution (6 CP).
  • Attribute Shift, specialized for one-half cost/+1 Charisma, -1 Wisdom (3 CP).
  • Profession (sailor), Rope Use, Sail, and Swim are class skills (0 CP).
  • +1 bonus to Use Rope (1 CP).
  • +2 bonus to Spellcraft and Swim (4 CP).
  • Damage reduction 2, specialized for one-half cost/only versus energy attacks, corrupted for two-thirds cost/only versus cold (1 CP).
  • Bonus languages: Avilionan and Aquan (2 CP).
  • Buy off corruption for Occult Talent and upgrade to Improved Occult Talent, specialized for one-half cost/only to add create water and ray of frost (2 CP).
  • Favored Class: Sorcerer, Wizard, or Ranger.

The extremely rare crossbreed of protohumans and high avilionans. This is also the case if one of the parents is an aquatic high avilionan; the ability to survive underwater is unfortunately not passed on in the case of such couplings.

Alrian (7 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Sense Motive and Diplomacy are class skills (0 CP).
  • +1 bonus to Spot (1 CP).
  • Poor Reputation/Altirians (-3 CP).
  • Favored Class: Any except Barbarian.

If you don’t have altirians in your campaign – and don’t want to simply switch out which group the Poor Reputation disadvantage applies to – there’s no problem with simply dumping it, as it only raises their racial CP total to 10, just barely better than normal humans. Also, having such a broad choice of favored classes means that they can’t corrupt their total CP cost.

Antilan (13 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Bluff is a class skill (0 CP).
  • Simple Weapon Proficiency/dagger (1 CP).
  • Martial Weapon Proficiency/rapier (3 CP).
  • Favored Class: Rogue.

If you want to make this race more attractive to rogue-types, consider throwing in Finesse/use Dexterity instead of Strength for melee attack rolls (6 CP). Note that you might want to corrupt that to “light and one-handed weapons only” for two-thirds cost, or even “light weapons only” with one or two exceptions (such as the rapier) for one-half cost. If that’s not enough, take Finesse again to add Dexterity instead of Strength to melee damage rolls (6 CP unless you give it a matching limitation); you’ll still be under the +0 ECL limit.

Ghiran (10 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Bonus language: Ghiran (1 CP).

The first of several “races” that are really just different human ethnicities, something supported by how they also know their own local language, much like how languages developed in the real world (rather than the racial languages most d20 games use).

Gimesh (9 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Profession (merchant) and Appraise are class skills (0 CP).
  • Favored Class: Rogue, Fighter, or Cleric.

Another ethnicity, at least this one provides some guidance in the form of automatic class skills and favored classes. As these suggest a certain character progression without trying to force the issue, this is actually a rather good way to indicate a “typical” career path without hamstringing players that want to go in another direction.

Skandi (11 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Swim and Sail are class skills (0 CP).
  • +2 bonus to Swim checks (2 CP).
  • Favored Class: Barbarian, Fighter, Cleric, Bard, or Expert (sailor).

Despite their shared affinity for the water, skandi have no particular connection with avilionans. Rather, both are simply people from seagoing heritages.

Thardrian (9 CP/+0 ECL)

  • Bonus feat (6 CP).
  • Fast Learner, specialized for one-half cost/only for skills (3 CP).
  • Ride and Survival are class skills (0 CP).
  • Favored Class: Any except psionic classes.

As with alrians, this favored class listing is too broad to warrant corrupting the racial CP for two-thirds cost. Not that it really needs it anyway.

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