Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Third Time's the (Goldenmane) Charm

It goes without saying that we here at Nosfecatu Publishing are very big fans of 4E Dungeons and Dragons. We just wouldn't be able to design proper 3rd-party products for an RPG if we didn't have a certain amount of love for the game, after all. So it comes as no surprise for us to eagerly anticipate the Player's Handbook 3, which is the newest addition to the core rules of the game. The book itself will feature four new races and six new classes, not to mention the addition of the much-awaited psionic power source for the game. At least two members of Nosfecatu are planning to get one as soon as it hits Philippine shelves (we'll be a month or two late, I'm afraid). As for me, I will make do with the information that I'll get for being a DDI subscriber.

Unfortunately, there aren't any news regarding the inclusion of any of the content found in PHB3 n the GSL, so we will be unable to expand upon any of the options presented in that book for the time being. However, that doesn't mean that Nosfecatu products won't be influenced by that core book. we've been scouting out for any Internet rumors like many of you, and we have stumbled upon the idea that the four new races follow a different type of format. Should the rumors turn out to be true (and we're fairly positive that it will be), we will use the opportunity to put an extra feature to our beloved tikbalang.

Those of you who've seen the tikbalang may have wondered why they didn't have a racial bonus to their dexterity scores. As an equine race well-known for their speed, such a feature would seem like a natural thing to do. And for the most part, we agree with this notion. However, as the theme of 4E PC races went, we were limited to only two racial ability score preferences.

As we were deciding which ability scores the tikbalang race would get, we took a look at the themes that tikbalangs in Philippine myth and popular culture portrayed. the most prolific themes were: The tikbalang that provided boons for those who outlast the creature in wrestling it and stealing the mane (con/str), tireless tikbalang that galloped at the speed of cars for miles on end (con/dex), tikbalang who charmed or kidnapped women to take home and be their bride (cha), trickster tikbalang that used illusions (cha), and the tikbalang hunter that used bows, spears, or two swords (dex/possibly str). There were other themes, but these were the ones that stood out the most.

Constitution was the most prominent racial characteristic that we could slap onto the tikbalang, so that one was almost a no-brainer. We determined that strength would be out once we determined that, since tikbalangs were a borderline large race and we didn't want to stick with the str/con archetype of  borderline large creatures. Besides, strength didn't seem like a major point with the tikbalangs, so it was something we could do without.

So it came down to dexterity versus charisma for the secondary score. In the end, we decided to choose charisma over dexterity. Ironically, this was due to some half-orc influence. You see, half-orcs managed to be tough SoB's even without a constitution boost, thanks to their Half-orc Resilience racial feature. They were tough, but not necessarily enduring (did that make sense?). On the other hand, tikbalangs are fast, but not necessarily nimble. If half-orcs can be tough without a con boost, we can make fast tikbalangs that didn't have a dex boost.

All in all, we liked how we handled the tikbalang as a PC race. However, there were people who disagreed with the race's lack of a dexterity boost, since it makes the archer-tikbalang concept (most recently popularized by Skyworld's Makabo) a little difficult to execute. Personally, a build that features a starting primary stat of 16 is still worth taking, but we understand the sentiments of those who called for a dexterity increase.

The rumored racial format change for the PHB 3 lets us address the dexterity-void. We stand by our premise that charisma is more important to a tikbalang than dexterity, but if the rumors turn out to be true, then we'll go ahead and create a free update for the tikbalang. In the update, we'll give the option of choosing dexterity over charisma, and add in a few options geared towards the concept of the Nimble Tikbalang.

Until next time!