Of Chitin And Creativity Part IV: The Quest For Peace
Well, my planned update schedule didn’t go as… er… planned. So it goes. But, hey, it’s not quite next week yet, unless you’re a Seventh Day Adventist, and, if you are, don’t you have some confusing billboards to set up, or something?
Today, we’ve got to round out the race with some feats and maybe some other goodies. I am a big, big, fan of race-specific feats, weapons, powers, and so on. I feel it really adds a lot to the distinctive feel of a race, and fulfills what I consider to be an extremely important design goal — mirroring fluff with mechanics. A lot of games, and I have to say 4e is often guilty of this, give you a bunch of fluff about races, usually very grandiose and extreme, and then don’t back it up in any meaningful way. Dwarves are stubborn, but get no bonuses to resisting mental command or sly words. Elves are magical, but don’t actually make better wizards than anyone else. Everyone hates ogres, but they get no penalties to social skills. Etc, etc, etc. I see this all the time. I also have heard the excuses: "Well, you should roleplay that!", "I want my elf to be different!", "That leads to munchkinism", blah, blah, blah. This idiocy reached it’s extreme, IMO, in a thread on RPG.net which proclaimed even racial stat mods ought to go, since they (gasp!) led to some races being marginally better at some classes than others. Wow, short, agile, halflings make better Artful Dodger rogues than stumpy-legged barrel chested dwarves! What’s up with that, huh? But I digress.
Rant over. On to the feats!
It’s interesting to note how feats changed between 3e and 4e. In 3e, feats were generally intended to be very broadly accessible, with prerequisites most classes could meet, given time. With the exception of a few oddities like Weapon Specialization, most feats could be learned by anyone of the right level and with the right attributes. However, there was usually a clear "intended audience" for feats, or, rather, it was clear to those who knew how to interpret the game data. Some feats were also much, much, worse than others — I can’t imagine anyone taking Endurance, for example, unless it was needed from some Prestige Class, and if it was, it was only because the designer of the Prestige Class felt like justifying the existence of the feat somehow. (The idea of more or less useful feats is not a bad one; the problem is that there’s a single cost point for feats. Spending a dollar for a cheap hamburger and ten dollars for a good steak makes sense; spending ten dollars for access to ‘one meat item of your choice’, and picking the hamburger does not.)
Also, and perhaps more importantly, feats in 3e were a major source of character power, especially for non spellcasters. To a large extent, a character could be defined by their feats, and unless you were a fighter, you didn’t get a lot of them to play with.
4e gives you a lot of feats, and they’re generally more focused. They often serve to enhance a specific class feature or ability, and your choices generally won’t make or break your character. There’s a few glitches — if you meet the ability requirements, it’s almost always better to grab a cross-class skill via a multiclass feat than from Skill Training, and given how much they’ve lowered skill check DCs, Skill Focus is almost useless overkill. Generally, though, feats in 4e, enhance and amplify abilities. (Well, unless they’re Heritage feats, or some of the Multiclass feats that basically grant a whole new subset of potential powers, or any of the several other examples which show the ‘Feat’ mechanic has become overloaded. But that’s another topic.)
So, for the Cha’k, this means looking at the races powers and traits, and likely roles, and coming up with some feats that fit both. Role-based feats are interesting, as sometimes they define how an X does Y, and sometimes they offer interesting bonuses to those who choose to play against type.
Heroic Tier Feats
Kin To The Cockroach [Cha’k]
Benefit: When you are Dying, you are not unconscious, merely Dazed. You cannot use any ability with the Heal keyword on yourself, though you can spend a healing surge as per the Diehard racial trait. (You are affected by other character’s healing abilities as normal.)
Design Notes: There’s some part of me that says "Call this ‘Improved Diehard’" I am always, always, always torn between an urge to coldly functional names ("Type II Demon", "Fireball V"), and an urge to poetic, flavorful, names. I could have a huge flame war with myself over which are better. I think there might be a rant/essay there. Also, I imposed the limit on healing surges to keep this from being too useful — hey, look, I’m dazed, I take my Second Wind/use my own healing powers/whatever, and I’m no longer Dying! Being knocked below 0 hit points should always be a very risky thing and should virtually mandate your fellow players give you a hand, quickly.
Resiliant Surge [Cha’k]
Benefit: You gain the Resiliant Surge power.
Resiliant Surge: Feat Power
You fight back against any ailment.
Trigger: You take damage from ongoing damage.
Effect: You spend a healing surge. You do not take the damage, and may immediately make a saving throw against the source of the damage.
Design Notes: This is an interesting little power. The odds are good that any ongoing damage will be less than the value of a healing surge, so why would anyone use this? Well, if you’re down to almost no hit points and don’t want to be unconscious, it’s a good bet. If you have a lot of surges to spare, the extra saving throw can be useful. You may have gained a vulnerability to a damage type which kicks the damage way up. Some monsters have very, very, nasty ‘follow on’ powers which do extra damage if you’re taking ongoing damage from one of their attacks.
Good Breeding [Cha’k]
Benefit: Your caste trait is enhanced, as follows:
- Guardian: You gain +1 to your Will, Fortitude, or Reflex defense.
- Leader Caste: You may use Group Mind as an Encounter power.
- Tunneler: You may spend a Standard action to sustain the power for one additional turn. You may do this only once.
- Skywatcher: You are considered to have always taken a ‘running start’ when making Jump checks.
- Messenger Caste: When using Messenger’s Desperation, you may reduce the effects of any forced movement by 1 square.
Paragon Tier Feats
Scent Control [Cha’k]
Benefit: You gain the Scent Burst power.
Scent Burst: Feat Power
You can use your communication scent for other purposes.
Area: Close Burst 3
Target: Each creature in burst.
Attack: Level +4 vs. Will
Effect: When you use this power, before the attack is rolled, you must declare if you are emitting an alluring scent or a repulsive scent. If you emit an alluring scent, pull all those hit 1 square. If you emit a repulsive scent, push all those hit 1 square.
Lifeweaving Wizard [Cha’k]
Benefit: Whenever you learn a spell with the Summoning keyword, you may choose one of the following effects. This effect applies whenever you cast the spell. Each Summoning spell may have a different effect, but the effect chosen cannot be changed except when you gain a level.
- Summoned creature has +1 to all defenses.
- Summoned creature has +2 to its attacks.
- Summoned creature has +1 to Speed.
- Summoned creature has +1 to Saving Throws.
Defender Of The Hive [Cha’k]
Prerequisite: Cha’k, Guardian Caste.
Benefit: Any bloodied allies adjacent to you gain a +1 to all defenses.
That’s about it for now, for 4e. I still intend to get the FantasyCraft version of the Cha’k out here, ideally tomorrow. In the future, I may add in some Epic feats, a racial Paragon Path, some cool items, etc.