Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Killing Goliath - somethingsomething Elemental Evil 5e something, Part 3

Full disclosure with 2 parts of this series down, I actually dislike elemental races as a theme. Making de-rigueur elementals and genies and shit makes those already hoary concepts feel all the thinner, and makes meeting a full fledged member of their nation a less inspiring affair. So write me off as pretty stupid for even doing this article series or else read on to hear me complain further about the Goliath.

Some people hate race-as-class, and I get it. I think it simplifies a lot of things and makes you think about what about your character is important to you, but I get it. What bothers me, then, are latter-day races which are basically classes, or which step on what classes do that makes them special. In the Goliath's case they're a race who live as barbarians, so they are a race of Barbarians. You can be a barbarian Barbarian and just be a threshing machine or you can be a barbarian Wizard because why should anyone be required to make a choice? Less either or! More either AND!

I also don't read dnd novels but while I'll give the benefit of the doubt that someone made them interesting their game-book-lore is dull as dishwater. They also simply boil down to being a big guy race when you could spend your big guy nickel on something more interesting.

The elephant in the room, though:

Goliath lost.

Everyone knows this. In the world.
Tiny babies know this.
Dumb people know this.
And he was killed by a tiny baby man.

Confidence is not inspired when you name your race "Losers." Even half-giant would be a clearly better name, except that outside of Dark Sun we aren't allowed to call them that becaussssse why again? Oh because there's technically a different half giant stat block somewhere. Honestly that sounds like another mark against these guys, that they don't even have that aspect of themselves locked down.

There is a type of character that I've always liked the idea of, but my general dissatisfaction with just animal races prevented me from exploring. The great thing about them is that, as a burly race of mountain creatures, I need do very little to convert them over. They instantly come with a swimming pool of awesome points of reference, factoids, and their own societies that we know a lot about. I'll even play ball and name them after some famous loser of their species.


Ability Score Increase: Increase your Strength score by 2, and your Constitution by 1.
Age: Kerchak grown ape by 12, dead ape by 60.
Alignment: Ape law.
Size: Big but Medium.
Speed: 30'.
Great Ape: You have training in the Athletics skill.
Mighty Ape: You have proficiency with Constitution saving throws.
Strong of Limb: You count as Large for carrying/push/pull/lift formulas.
King of Mountain: You're acclimated to high altitudes above 20,000' and you're naturally adapted to a warm, humid climate.
Languages: You can speak Common and Primordial.

I swapped out Stone's Endurance for something that felt in that spirit without feeling too Barbarian, changed a Language, and changed their climate adaptation, but otherwise they work off the shelf. Hell, they'd work by just crossing out "Goliath" and writing "Gorilla."

Outside of coming with an existing culture and thousands of hours of footage to draw inspiration from, these guys have a couple other advantages:
  • Puts more Tarzan/Burroughs into the game which is always welcome.
  • Puts more Planet of the Apes into the game, which I always welcome.
  • Puts more Kong into how long do I have to keep doing this you get the point.
  • Gorillas doing anything will always look cool when drawn.
  • If we get the inevitable bloat of racial Feats, Gorillas can go in a lot more interesting directions than just shrugging off even MORE damage.

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