Gnomish infravision

PLAYER’S COMPANION NOTES ON CREATING CUSTOM RACES

  1. Calculate number of racial powers.
  2. Subtract 1, to represent the fact that racial classes lose 1 maximum level of experience at Race 0.
  3. Add 1 if the class has racial value powers at 1+ that are not available to humans.
  4. Multiply the result by 40.
  5. Round the product to the nearest interval of 25 (25, 50, 75, 100, 125, etc.)
  6. If the race’s racial value mimics a class (such as elf and mage), divide the Racial Value XP cost at Value 4 by the cost for elf 4 (2,625) and multiply the result by 50,000. This is the additional cost per level after 8.
  7. If the race’s racial value does not mimic a class (such as dwarf), divide the Racial Value XP cost at Value 4 by the cost for dwarf 4 (1,400) and multiply the result by 10,000 for 2 class types and 30,000 for 2 class types. This is the additional cost per level after 8.
    GNOMES
    • Nose for Potions: Because of their familiarity with alchemy, gnomes may make a proficiency throw of 11+ to determine the magical properties of a potion or oil on taste. Starting at 5th level, all gnomes may brew potions as if mages of their class level. (2.5)
    • Gnome Tongues: All gnomes speak four bonus languages: Dwarf, Elf, Goblin, and Kobold. (1)
    • Infravision: The Gnomish tendency to underground life has granted them extended infravision to 90’. (2.5)
    • Resistance to Illusions: A lifetime spent in the company of illusionists leaves gnomes hard to fool. Gnomes receive a +4 bonus on saving throws to disbelieve magical illusions. (1)
    NOBIRANS
    • Divine Protection: As the favored of the Empyrean powers, all Nobirus characters receive a +2 bonus to all saving throws. (1)
    • Blood of Kings: The blood of ancient kings and heroes flows in every Nobirus. The character may hire one more henchman than his Charisma would otherwise permit, and the base morale score of any henchmen is increased by 1. (1)
    • Heroic Spirit: Because of the Nobir’s courageous spirit, the maximum class level for any Nobirus class is increased by 1. (1)
    • Longevity: All Nobirus characters are ageless and enjoy a lifespan three times longer than that of normal men. Like elves, they are immune to ghoul paralysis. (1)
    THRASSIAN
    Thrassian 0: cost = 250xp
    • Claws and Bite: The character gains a claw/claw/bite attack routine. The claws deal 1d2 damage each, while the bite deals 1d4 damage. (2)
    • Infravision: The character gains infravision to a range of 30’. (1)
    • Scaly Hide: The character’s base unarmored AC is 1 instead of 0. (1)
    • Swimming: The character gains a swimming movement rate of 60’ per turn. The character may hold his breath for 12 rounds (2 minutes). (2)
    Thrassian 1: cost = 400xp
    • Claws and Bite: The character gains a claw/claw/bite attack routine. The claws deal 1d3 damage each, while the bite deals 1d6 damage. (3)
    • Infravision: The character gains infravision to a range of 45’. (1.5)
    • Scaly Hide: The character’s base unarmored AC is 2 instead of 0. (2)
    • Swimming: The character gains a swimming movement rate of 90’ per turn. The character may hold his breath for 30 rounds (5 minutes). (3)
    Thrassian 2: cost = 1,000xp
    • Claws and Bite: The character gains a claw/claw/bite attack routine. The claws deal 1d3 damage each, while the bite deals 1d8 damage. (4)
    • Infravision: The character gains infravision to a range of 60’. (2)
    • Scaly Hide: The character’s base unarmored AC is 3 instead of 0. (3)
    • Superior Fighting: The class’s Fighting Value is effectively increased by 1 for all purposes. (+500)
    • Swimming: The character gains a swimming movement rate of 120’ per turn. The character may hold his breath for 1 turn. (2.5)
    Thrassian 3: cost = 1,250xp
    • Claws and Bite: The character gains a claw/claw/bite attack routine. The claws deal 1d4 damage each, while the bite deals 1d8 damage. (5)
    • Infravision: The character gains infravision to a range of 90’. (2.5)
    • Scaly Hide: The character’s base unarmored AC is 4 instead of 0. (4)
    • Superior Fighting: The class’s Fighting Value is effectively increased by 1 for all purposes. (+500)
    • Swimming: The character gains a swimming movement rate of 120’ per turn. The character may hold his breath for 1 turn. (3)
    Thrassian 4: cost = 1,825
    • Claws and Bite: The character gains a claw/claw/bite attack routine. The claws deal 1d4 damage each, while the bite deals 1d10 damage. (6)
    • Flying: The character gains a flying movement rate of 30’ per turn. (+500)
    • Infravision: The character gains infravision to a range of 120’. (3)
    • Scaly Hide: The character’s base unarmored AC is 5 instead of 0. (5)
    • Superior Fighting: The class’s Fighting Value is effectively increased by 2 for all purposes. (+1000)
    • Swimming: The character gains a swimming movement rate of 120’ per turn. The character may hold his breath for 1 turn. (3)
    ZAHARANS
    • Ancient Pacts: In elder days, the lords of Zahar ensorcelled the dark powers of the world in pacts of service and obedience. Some creatures still remember these pacts and will aid Zaharans when commanded. All Zaharans gain a +2 bonus to reaction rolls when encountering intelligent chaotic monsters. Intelligent chaotic monsters suffer a -2 penalty to saving throws against any charm spells cast by a Zaharan. [1]
    • Zaharan Tongues: All Zaharans speak four bonus languages: Ancient Zaharan, Goblin, Orc, and Kemeshi. [1]
    • Inexorable: Zaharans are unflinching in the face of horrors that terrify normal men. The character is immune to all natural and magical fear effects. [1]
    • Dark Soul: The grim embrace of death holds special perils for Zaharan characters. Whenever a deceased Zaharan rolls on the Tampering With Mortality table, he suffers a penalty on the 1d20 roll of -1 per level of experience. [-1]
    • After the Flesh: Through undeath, the black sorcerers of Zahar can grow stronger. If transformed into intelligent undead, they retain their racial powers and any class abilities. Their class abilities must still be paid for as special abilities (see below). [3]

OK. Let me see if I can wrap my head around this. I’ll do the gnome, and I’ll assume your steps are repeated for each level.

I don’t, however, understand what #3 entails - is that physical things like Fangs&Claws? Caster levels?

At Gnome 0, I get 7 points. Subtract 1 for race, multiply by 40, that’s 240 which is 250.

Good so far.

Gnome 1: 3 spellcasting powers end up costing 5 total, 12-1==11*40=440=>450.

I start reverse engineering here:

Gnome 2: 1/3 level mage costs 16, 28-1=27*40=1080=>1075.

Gnome 3: 2 more casting powers == 5, 33-1=32*40=1280=>1275.

Gnome 4: 1/2 level mage costs 16, 50-1=49*40=1960=>1975.

That correct?

Dwarf is odd. I’m guessing that perhaps #3 is the fact that the Dwarf proficiency skill bonus is “not a power available to humans”, and perhaps that’s defined by the fact it’s not listed as a custom power seperately?

Dwarf 0: Dwarf traits, 5 points, 5-1+1=540=200
Dwarf 1: 1 proficiency, +1 prof/skills, 10 points, 10-1+1=10
40=400
Dwarf 2: 2 prof, +2 prof/skills, 15 points, 15-1+1=15*40=600

Weird level:
Dwarf 3: 3 prof, +3 prof/skills, 20 points, 20-1+1=20*40=800, but it’s 900, meaning the point value is 22.5.

Dwarf 4: 4 prof, +4 prof/skills, 35 points, 35-1+1=35*40=1400.

I apologize for the thread necromancy (though this is an impressively useful thread, so perhaps it should be seen from time to time), but I’ve revisited this lately and this part:

  1. If the race’s racial value does not mimic a class (such as dwarf), divide the Racial Value XP cost at Value 4 by the cost for dwarf 4 (1,400) and multiply the result by 10,000 for 2 class types and 30,000 for 2 class types. This is the additional cost per level after 8.

does not parse.

From looking at the Dwarf and Gnome entries, I’m going to bet that reads

  1. If the race’s racial value does not mimic a class (such as dwarf), divide the Racial Value XP cost at Value 4 by the cost for dwarf 4 (1,400) and multiply the result by 10,000 for 1 class type and 30,000 for 2 other class types. This is the additional cost per level after 8.

where “class type” is one of the four saving throw progressions.

Implied here is that a custom race that does not mimic a class must be denied one of the class types, usually picking between Arcane or Divine (Dwarf or Gnome may not choose Arcane.)

I don’t think I understand. Why doesn’t it parse as written?

It’s true that dwarves and gnomes are denied access to a class type, but I don’t see why that would be necessary for any racial value that doesn’t mimic a class type.

Oh, motherfizzltybits.

Now that you’ve said that it parses completely fine. There’s 4 class types. Duh.

I sat and stared at that for the longest time.

Well, that was a pretty epic brainfart.

Thanks for the lightning bolt there :slight_smile:

This is incredibly useful

note: I’ll add the +25xp for a skill suggestion in the Player’s Companion

a) question on point 6? the cost for elf 4 isn’t 2500?

b) let’s try to build the elf as written and factoring in the longevity

attunement to nature (1)
Elf tongues (1)
keen eyes (1)
Connection to nature (1)
animal friendship (1)

  1. 5
  2. 5-1=4
  3. 4x40=160-> 150 (and not 125???) I am doing something wrong…

maybe some of this power are worth less than 1?

attunement to nature (0,5) since it works only outdoor and don’t give bonus to search doors or hear noise
Elf tongues (1)
keen eyes (0,5) again because it’s less than half of the alertness power
Connection to nature (1)
animal friendship (0,5) as indicated in the rules pg.93

  1. 3,5
  2. 3,5-1=2,5
  3. 2,5x40=100-> 100 (and not 125???) I am doing something wrong…

ok I’ll add in the longevity power (Elves will call it Oak body?)

Longevity (1)

  1. 4,5
  2. 4,5-1=3,5
  3. 3,5x40=140-> 150 (and not 125???) I am doing something wrong…

ok… at this point since both attunement and keen eyes are less than half of the alertness power, I decide that both of them add up to 0,5

  1. 4
  2. 4-1=3
  3. 3x40=120-> 125 NAILED IT (or so I hope!)

so Elf 0 should be

attunement to nature (0,25)
Elf tongues (1)
keen eyes (0,25)
Connection to nature (1)
animal friendship (0,5) as indicated in the rules pg.93
Longevity (1)

So, this is a terrible case of thread necromancy - my apologies - but something which seems to be ignored in these calculations (re: Elf) is the ability to cast arcane spells while wearing armor (I believe gnomes have this as well) and yet it is not factored into the racial cost. This is a huge advantage over humans but always seems to be almost, handwaved off as “just a thing.”

I’m wondering how to reconcile that as I’m working on adapting a few races into my new campaign and this was the best discussion I found on the topic.

Thanks!

Personally, I viewed that as a matter of proficiency, rather than anything else.

I’d certainly let a human class with (say) Fighting 1, Arcane 3 cast in armor they were proficient with.

That’s probably the cleanest way to handle it, and I’ve done that with some light-armor classes myself.

You’ve purchased the ability to cast in armor by spending the build points on Fighting Value.

yeah, when it isn’t possible to spend proficiencies or, in other systems, feats to gain access to stronger forms of armor, it’s easy enough to just ignore arcane spell failure from armor entirely.

More generally, ACKS denies you access to all class abilities while wearing armor you aren’t proficient with. A blade-dancer can’t cast spells in Plate Armor, any more than a mage can.

I get where you are coming from but I find that - and the other answers brought up here - to be a perfectly reasonable solution. But it doesn’t really seem to fit for me.

Otherwise, why call it out specifically for elves, gnomes, and zaharans and not for say, Nobirans or Thrassians?

Ultimately, this divide seems to be an ability related to inclusion in that race and it seems to change a fundamental divide in the game-thinking when you can simply add “I cast spells and wear armor” to any human class build. Admittedly, any human caster that can wear armor cannot have full mage casting, which is a huge disadvantage over the standard mage, but it still seems as if this advantage is inherent by the need to point it out for some races vs. others. This would lead me to believe, say, that a Thrassian spellcaster could NOT cast spells in any armor they were proficient with. Otherwise, why call it out as a benefit of those other races?

To me, that’s a world-building conceit, just as “Dwarves may never allocate build points to the Arcane category.” If dwarven wizards make sense in your world, just change the rule there. It doesn’t need to affect the XP value of Dwarf.

Similarly, if you want Thrassian mages to cast in armor, let them. Otherwise have any Thrassian fighter-mage class you make trade off their armor proficiency for other custom powers.

You do bring up a good point… in that it also seems that dwarven inability to allocate build points to Arcane also doesn’t seem to have any effect on the calculation of the racial XP costs but is a significant, noteworthy deviation from baseline. I would say it “should” affect the XP value of the Dwarf.

Again, each of these things is specifically called out for a reason - the fact that they do not affect XP values doesn’t seem like a world-building conceit but rather a question worth addressing.

To each their own, but I’m not as interested in just waving stuff off when everything else seems so tightly packaged in terms of making a logical, usable, and consistent rules set.

ACKS does not use the typical D&D “choose your race then choose your class” system specifically in an effort to make each race feel different in more ways than just the baseline racial abilities.

I see quirks like these as an effort to encourage that. As an example, I am building classes for an upcoming game where Orcs (well, orc-blooded at least) are a prominent race reasonably-well integrated into civilization. I wanted to add Orc Shamans and Orc Barbarians, but also wanted them to feel different from their human counterparts. One way I achieved this was to add a note stating that “Orcblooded classes always increase their effective Fighting Value to at least 3” and making Orc 1-4 stack with Fighting Value. This in turn left further repercussions (as the Shaman now had additional weapon and armor choices, etc.) and I’m pretty happy with the results.

When I get around to writing the “Orcblooded Warlock” class, it’s going to be interesting, because I don’t want them casting in armor. In turn, the class won’t need any points in Thievery to get its custom powers, and can potentially take Arcane 4 instead of 3.

I get that, and I certainly think you are right, as far as it goes.

Ultimately, we are maybe talking about different things. I see the fact that the class descriptions for Spellswords and Nightblades and Tricksters specifically pointing out the “unlike (human) mages…” as indicative that thus is a class power… just a racial class power as opposed to a class-class power. Thus seems reinforced by the inclusion of that note in their custom class building information. Does that make zense?

It does make sense! I read that section slightly differently, but there’s nothing wrong with classifying that ability as a 0-point custom power (as it apparently is intended to be) and giving it to those races/classes where it makes sense in your own world.

Given that classes without the ability can trade off their armor use for other defensive abilities (flesh-runes, blade-dancing, etc.), or utility powers, it should be fine.

I generally agree with the consensus here that it’s simply a proficiency thing. I consider the specific callouts as fluff text or a specific contrast to the Mage class.

Recall that it says “Unlike (human) mages…”, which to my reading is referring specifically to the Mage class available to humans, which cannot cast spells while wearing armor.

Note that the Venturer, for example, is a human character capable of casting spells while wearing armor. (Actually reading Venturer, I’m not 100% sure of this, but I assume they can because it doesn’t say that they can’t.)

" it also seems that dwarven inability to allocate build points to Arcane also doesn’t seem to have any effect on the calculation of the racial XP costs but is a significant, noteworthy deviation from baseline. I would say it “should” affect the XP value of the Dwarf."

Should that really affect the XP value for Dwarf, though? Should playing a fightery dwarf cost more XP because some other dwarf could hypothetically be a wizard? XP-to-level should charge you for the abilities you actually get, rather than what some other class that happens to be the same race could have gotten. If the concern is that the dwarf save bonuses are too good when you apply them to the Arcane base saves, that’s one thing, but the sensible solution to that is “change dwarf save bonuses if using the Arcane save progression”, rather than “penalize all dwarves everywhere by raising the XP cost.” Similar approaches ought to apply for pretty much all other sources of dwarf+arcane mechanical incompatibility (assuming there are in fact any, and that it’s not purely a flavor restriction).