Sunday, January 1, 2017

Fishers - an ACKS race

A new race for Adventurer, Conqueror, King - the Fisher.  Inspired by the Niffler from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (without being hunted to extinction as the primary component for Bags of Holding); the common platypus (although they're better described as unusual than common) and Runequest Ducks (when given a choice between being described as annoying or plucky, ducks will always choose to be considered annoying, when you have feathers 'plucky' has a whole 'nother meaning.)

For an upcoming campaign, I wanted to develop a race that fills the 'hobbit' spot without being completely senseless in a fantasy setting.  Even within the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien admits that the concept of hobbits is untenable within his world.  They are almost completely dependent on the services of others to defend them from enemies, i.e. the Rangers patrolling the North.  Once that protection is withdrawn they immediately become a plantation of slaves to the first warlord to come around with a gang of a few hundred men.   I can easily imagine a version of Middle Earth where a dragon lives in Michel Delving, and treats the hobbits as a source of wealth and livestock - and there's nothing they can do about it.

Runquest Ducks on the other hand, have been a source of derision by players for years.  Yet they make sense within their world, they're despised, untrusted and victims of a massive pogrom by their erstwhile friends and neighbors.  They respond by scattering into the swamps and marshes that humans don't want to live in and persevere in small groups.

Both races are depicted as small, natural thieves and often played humorously by the DM and players.

I had been planning on introducing Ducks into ACKS for my next campaign, when my much better half took me to see the latest JK Rowling money pump.  And I was entranced by the Niffler, greedy little SOB that he is, but too small for a potentially playable race.  So I worked with the concept, starting with the platypus and came up with:

Using the rules for creating monsters from ACKS Lairs and Encounters,(pg147) here's my worksheet:


1. Concept: Sentient Platypus, ~3' tall and 75#, having electrolocation and poison
2. Monster type: Beastman, a combination of a humanoid and an animal
3. Hit Dice: 1, I want this to fill the hobbit spot as a fantasy race, so not too tough
4. Saving Throws - as a 1st level Fighter
5. Body form:  Musteline or weasel like.  While platypuses are fun, they're kind of dumpy looking.  At this point I added the Otter to the mix and used it's body shape.  That gives me a BME (Body Mass Exponent) of 1.94, a CCF (Carrying Capacity Factor) of 0.020, a bite attack, Movement of 150 and +3 AC.
6.  Weight = (Hit Dice *10)^BME or (1*10)^1,94 = 87 lbs.  Close enough to my concept weight.
7. Size Category - this is based on Weight and 87# puts Fishers in the Man Sized category
8. Normal Load in Stones (14lbs) = Weight * CCF) or 87 * 0.020 = 1.74 Stones.  A Fisher can carry about 24 pounds without becoming encumbered.
9. AC = (0.8*Hit Dice) + Body Form Modification + Size Modification or (0.8 * 1)+3+0 = 3.8, rounded up to 4.
10.  Natural Attacks - the Musteline body comes with a bite attack.  But I removed that when adding the platypus snout.  The platypus has ankle spurs that inject venom on the males hind legs.  For the Fisher, I moved that to the front legs/arms for both sexes and made it a secondary attack when wrestling.  In my mind the ability evolved when catching fish with their forelegs, the Fishers were able to inject a paralyzing toxin to subdue the prey.  As a trade off for making it fairly short duration, I added that failing the Save vs Paralyzation still leaves the victim with the buzzing, foots-asleep feeling that makes it difficult to walk or pick things up.
11. Damage is by weapon or paralyzation.
12. Movement rate - stayed with the 150' and added 60' swim speed
13. Special abilities.  Electrolocation - Platypuses have this in spades.  I've made the range longer in water and shorter in air, making it functionally equivalent to see invisible at close range.
14.  XP - base for a 1 HD monster is 10, I added 3 for the Paralyzation attack.  Electrolocation by itself isn't enough to add more.
15.  Encounters - Romps, holts and rafts are all associated with Otters.  Technically a group of Otters on land are a romp and in the water a raft.  In this case raft =~ village.  I chose nautical titles as appropriate, despite 'Skipper' being the title used for the Otter leader in the Redwall books. 
16. Treasure = 4 * XP * Average number in lair (Holt) or 4*13*2.5*2.5=325.  I see them as being Raiders rather than Hoarders or gatherers on Incidental treasure - so checking the table Treasure Type A.
17. Intelligence - Sapient by definition
18. Alignment - most Beastmen are Chaotic, but the creation story included in the write up indicates that they were created for a Lawful cause.  Still they're too playful and as a group unconcerned about Chaos to be Lawful.  So Neutral.

Oddly - the Monster creation rules don't provide guidnace on determining Morale, so I set it to Zero.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a pretty fun race, as both an encounter and a PC. Perhaps there's one who was contacted by the Priestess' deity, and is on a quest of some sort.

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