[5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

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[5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby VoidWalker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:56 am

Hey, all. I'm a little worried I might be breaking some rules here, but since I figured the fans of Mystara who're interested in upgrading to 5th edition wouldn't want to go wading through my general Races topic over in the 5e Crunchy Bits forum, I decided it couldn't hurt to spin off a topic just for them.

In all honesty, I'm not a huge expert on Mystara - it was before my time and outside of my country, alas. But, the few titbits I've been able to find over the years since getting into D&D have deeply fascinated me - a flying city of competent Tinker Gnomes? A faux-French kingdom of swashbuckling, wine-loving wolf-morphs? Sorcerous spiderweres who aren't Always Chaotic Evil? An extraplanar race who look like purple devils, but are Usually Chaotic Good? It was enough to intrigue me, and as a result, I've spent quite a bit of time trying to work out how to update three of my favorite Mystaran races that I know of; the Aranea, the Lupin, and the Diabolus. And, since I like them so much, I thought that I'd share them here, and get folks opinions on if they work and how I might further refine them.
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby VoidWalker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:03 am

Blasted hiccuping connection... can a mod please delete the redundant thread? Anyway, on to the races.

Diabolus
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Charisma, +1 Wisdom
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Vision: Darkvision
Child of Dreams: A diabolus is immune to Sleep and Charm effects.
Foe of Nightmares: A diabolus has Advantage on any checks made to resist Fear effects, and is proficient in the use of the Trident.
Diabolic Tail: A diabolus sports a long, flexible tail that ends in a poisonous barb. A diabolus has an Extra Attack that can only be used to make a Tail Sting attack - this is an Unarmed Strike that inflicts Piercing damage and which forces the victim to make a Constitution check vs DC (8 + your Proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or be Poisoned. Additionally, in a campaign that uses languages, all diaboli know the Diaboli Tail Cant, a silent language based on gestures, positions and motions with the tail; other races can learn to understand this language, but they cannot “speak” it without a suitably flexible tail of their own.

Diaboli Racial Variants: That Old Time Feeling
Being Mystara fans, you're doubtlessly familiar with editions past and so probably remember that the Diaboli of prior editions were somewhat different beasts. They were described as having “all the flexibility of humans”, which translated as them having no ability score modifiers, but also being inherently alienating to creatures native to the material plane, as well as being inherently resistant to magic due to their extraplanar nature. For those who want to bring back some of that older feel, the following alternatives are presented.

Alternative Ability Score Modifier: +1 to all ability scores.

Racial Flaw: Alien: A diabolus suffers Disadvantage on all Charisma (Persuasion), Wisdom (Animal Handling) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks made against beings native to the material plane. At the DM’s discretion, suitably “monstrous” races such as (Half-)Orcs and Dragonborn, or “planetouched” races such as Tieflings, Genasi and Aasimar, may be immune to this penalty.

Alternative Racial Trait: Soul of Chaos: A diabolus has Resistance to all damage caused by spells or magical effects, and has Advantage on all saving throws caused by spells or magical effects.
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby VoidWalker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:32 am

The Aranea was one of the first races I ever did, and I'll tell you, I had a devil of a time making it work. Ultimately, I ended up just going with the presumption that in generic play, any Aranea PC would spend all their time in hybrid form anyway, so I left Spider-Shifter out of the "core" race.

Aranea
Ability Score Increase: +2 Intelligence, +1 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Darkvision
Arcane Birthright: You know the Prestidigitation cantrip and 1 other cantrip of your choice from the Wizard spell list. Intelligence is your casting ability score when using these cantrips
Spider Climb: You have a Climb speed of 30 feet and do not need to make an ability check to climb difficult surfaces, including upside down underneath ledges or along a ceiling.
Venomous Bite: As an action you may make a melee attack against an adjacent target. On a hit, you deal 1d8 poison damage. This damage increases by 1d8 at levels 5 (2d8), 11 (3d8), and 17 (4d8). You have Advantage when delivering a Venomous Bite to a target that is grappled or restrained.
Fling Webbing: As an action you may make a ranged attack with a range of 30/60ft. On a hit, the target is Restrained until it passes a Strength check (DC 8 + your proficiency modifier + your Constitution modifier). Your webbing can be attacked as an object by someone seeking to cut through it, in which case it has AC 10, HP 5 + your level, vulnerability to fire, and immunity to bludgeoning, poison and psychic. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.

But... I didn't stop. I kept tinkering, and tried to do a version of Spider-Shifter as an optional racial power. As Mystaran fluff demands they be able to swich forms, naturally I've included it here - maybe you guys can help me finally get the race as a whole to work right.
Spider-Shifter: You are a natural shapechanger, capable of switching between three forms; that of a giant spider, that of a humanoid, or your true "hybrid" form. You have only a single humanoid form, chosen at character creation from the list of Human, Elf, Half-Elf, Mul and Dwarf; you cannot assume a different humanoid form. Like a werewolf, your three forms are all you have. Switching between forms requires an action to complete. Assuming the form of a Giant Spider follows the rules for Wild Shaping (see Druid, PHB pg 67), with the exception that you can still talk and cast spells whilst in spider form. In your humanoid form, you lose access to your Spider Climb, Venomous Bite and Fling Webbing traits, but can completely pass as a member of your chosen humanoid race; no Wisdom (Perception) test can unveil your species identity, and magical items relating to your humanoid race will treat you as such. However, in this form, magical items specifically keying off of shapechangers will react to you as such.
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby VoidWalker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:50 am

Doing a 5th edition rendition of the Lupin was tricky because of the vast array of potential stat abilities it had in 2e - your "common" Lupin had +1 Strength and Con, the Wolvenfolk had +1 Strength and +2 Con, Long-Runners had +1 Dex, to just name the closest to the ultimate template - and in 3.5, they had no ability score bonuses at all. So, I just made it up on what sounded remotely plausible.

To explain the subraces; in 3.5, the "core" Lupin was based on their appearance from the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix; based, I think, on the traditionalist tribes of the Yazak Steppes, it made the lupin more or less based on Native American Tribes of the Pacific Northwest. If those tribes specialised in hunting werewolves from atop the backs of giant wolves, anyway. It also acknowledged the existence of "nomads", who essentially scavenged on the fringes of human territory (only difference was favored class switched from Ranger to Barbarian), and of the civilized Lupin kingdom of Renardie, which was more of a Pseduo-France in the age of swashbuckling type culture (favored class: Bard, replaced Expert Rider with +2 to all Crafts checks).

So, with no real idea how to pull it off, I tried to make the subraces follow a similar line; rugged, honorable, grasslands hunters, resourceful and hardy scavengers, and witty, urbane, civilized individuals. I could use feedback on my efforts and I'd really appreciate discussing this race; I do own the Red Steel boxset and the Dragon Magazine issue where they were updated to 3.5, so I can share the lore from those books on here if required.

Lupin
Ability Score Modifier: +1 Wisdom
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Vision: Darkvision
Lupine Senses: A lupin has Advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks where its keen sense of hearing and scent are relevant, but suffers Disadvantage on Constitution saves against attacks based on odor or sound, such as a banshee's cry or a ghast's stench.
Subrace: Choose between the Tribal, Nomadic or Renardie Lupin subraces.

Tribal Lupin
Ability Score Increase: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution
Plains Hunter: A Tribal Lupin's Movement increases to 35 feet. Additionally, a Tribal Lupin does not suffer movement penalties from difficult terrain in grassland environments.
Run With The Pack: A Tribal Lupin adds double its proficiency bonus to Wisdom (Animal Handling) checks made with wolves or wolf-like magical beasts, including giant wolves, dire wolves and worgs.

Nomadic Lupin
Ability Score Increase: +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity
Hardy Scavenger: Nomadic Lupins have Advantage on saves against disease and the poisoned effect.
Cobble Together: A Nomadic Lupin has Proficiency with Tinker's Tools, and Advantage on any check made to use those tools to try and reassemble, repair or otherwise restore functionality to a degraded or damaged tool, weapon or suit of armor.

Renardie Lupin
Ability Score Increase: +1 Intelligence, +1 Charisma
A Civilised Weapon: A Renardie Lupin has proficiency with the Rapier.
Vintner's Palate: A Renardie Lupin adds double its proficiency bonus to Constitution checks made to avoid being affected by alcohol, and to Intelligence (History and Investigation) checks made in relation to alcohol and brewing.
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby Morfie » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:04 am

VoidWalker wrote: In all honesty, I'm not a huge expert on Mystara - it was before my time and outside of my country, alas.


I'm curious, which country is that?

Mystara became the official name for what was known as The Known World, originally mapped in the Expert Set. I believe this particular product at least was sold all over the world and translated into different languages.
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby VoidWalker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:44 pm

Rural Queensland, Australia, in the 90s. I couldn't get ahold of any D&D books growing up - it wasn't until 4th edition that I was really able to secure any D&D stuff beyond my monthly issues of Dungeon & Dragon Magazine. It was a dark time for me.
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby JTrithen » Fri Dec 09, 2016 6:20 pm

This looks pretty good, VoidWalker. I like it.

Thanks for sharing it. (And, yes, this is the appropriate forum, as it's for all things Mystara, regardless of edition.)

I'm pretty new to 5e, so I don't really have any opinions on your work, ATM. (I haven't played 3, 3.5, or 4th editions; mostly only BECMI. But my players wanted to transition to 5e, and I am still DMing in Mystara, though. So, I'm definitely interested in conversion work like this.)
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby VoidWalker » Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:26 am

Appreciate the vote of confidence, JTrithen. Like I said, I don't know Mystara that well, but if there are other races or subraces - long story short, 5re takes the approach of "core race with wide-spread traits, then subraces for more defined aspects" to cover all of the various different sub-varieties of races (for example, all dwarves get march in heavy armor, poison resistance, stonecunning, a free Tool proficiency, darkvision and +2 Con, but it's your choice of Mountain Dwarf, Hill Dwarf or Duergar that defines other racial traits, like bonus HP or spell-like abilities) - that are native to Mystara... well, I enjoy homebrewing, and I do have an interest in bringing back classics. So, I'd be happy to use this topic to discuss ways to update other races of Mystara to the newest ruleset. Like, whether or not Tabaxi can "fill the shoes" for Rakasta, or how to do Tortles justice, or if the 5e Lizardfolk works for the Mystaran Lizardfolk.
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby VoidWalker » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:39 pm

So... I've been away for a long, long time, but I've recently stumble across a trove of older D&D material, which has made me more familiar with the races of Mystara. As such, if there's any interest, I would love to share my efforts at creating 5e versions of Mystara's more unique denizens, from Caymas to Nagpas, on this forum. Would that be permissable? Maybe now that 5e has been out longer, we can more readily discuss balancing my work.
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby Hugin » Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:15 pm

Absolutely! Go for it, VoidWalker!
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby Chimpman » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:26 pm

I've been a long time 3E/3.5E supporter. I looked at 4E and decided not to put too many resources into it. Someone convinced me just the other day to give 5E a try so I bought the PHB, and have to say I'm very intrigued by it. I'm still in the early stages of learning the new system, but so far I really like what I'm seeing. I noticed that there are 3E and 4E conversion subforums here, but no 5E conversion subforum. That means this is the right place to post these topics (at least until there is enough interest - and enough threads) to start our own conversion forum.

I'm interested in seeing what you have so far. I'd love to see the rakasta, and possibly sub-races for both it and the lupins (maybe using the old Dragon articles as guidelines).
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby JTrithen » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:36 am

Okay, VoidWalker, I'm got some thoughts. Though I must confess I may not have the aptitude to go through your conversions with a fine-toothed comb in detail.
Off-hand, they look pretty good. If any of my players want to play one of these races, I'm gonna' have to use or at least look into some of your work here.

Diaboli

The diaboli looks pretty good. I was going to use the tiefling just as a straight conversion for the diaboli (or "replacement," if you will), even though I know it's not the exact same "flavor," though they are"similar" races, in some ways.
I like the tail barb information, and the alian racial flaw. Great work. (I think I remember that 3.5 writeup in Dragon Magaizine; pretty sure I have that issue around somewhere.


Lupins

Lupins look good. Thanks for explaining where you were going with them, and what published work you had for references.


(No comments on the Aranea, sorry.)


Other races...?


Lizardfolk

I will use the lizardfolk (from the recent 'Volo's Guide') as written (and am already using it for one of my players). I 'm not gonna' be too picky about that.
I actually had started to research different lizard men races on Mystara, here:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16588&p=185396&hilit=lizardfolk#p185396

I was working on converting to make a 5e class. Then, the Volo's Guide to Monsters came out, and I didn't worry about it too much after that, just to cut out the amount of time needed to spend on it.


Rakasta

I made an attempt at extrapolating the subraces of rakasta out for 5e, as suggested by Chimpman. These were the subraces created by Bruce Heard in Dragon Magazine #247.
I made these up a while ago, so they're not fresh in my mind.
Also, I didn't really make a "core" race, like you did with the lupin, and as you outlined was typical of 5e.
(There may be some more details in the some of the individual "breed"/subrace descriptions form the Dragon Magazine article, too, that I didn't go through thoroughly.)




Stalwarts

I was pretty much going to use the 5e goliaths for stalwarts (outlined in 'Volo's Guide') without worrying too much about capturing the "essential" flavor of the stalwart race or correcting details, just for the sake of time. I think they are a pretty close equivalent.


Nagpa

I'm always looking for 5e races (or classes) that could be used (or converted, with some work) for Mystara-equivalent races.
In the Volo's Guide to Monsters, I noticed that the kenku had quite a few similarities with a Mystaran race -- the nagpa. And, so they might be able to used or at least as a starting point.
Here are some of the similarities:
-kenku live on the fringes of society and are often chaotic (if not evil)
-kenku are cursed (so are the nagpa's original origins!)
-kenku are birdlike, but flightless (I don't think nagpa have any flight capabilities that I recall!)
-kenku seek after magic items that are related to flying; this is to regain their ability to fly, taken when they were cursed (nagpa seek after magic lore and items for knowledge and power)


Those are several of my thoughts on adapting 5e material and conversions.
Let me know if you have any comments or suggestions (especially on the rakasta that I did a bit of work on.)
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Re: [5e] [Mystara] Fifth Edition updates for Mystaran Races

Postby Chimpman » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:45 pm

Nice rakasta table JTrithen! It's going to take me a bit longer to fully digest, but here are some off the cuff thoughts/comments.

- One thing I haven't noticed (at least not yet, and keep in mind that I'm brand new to 5E - like just days into it), is negative ability modifiers on race builds. From what I can tell in the PHB, all of the races and subraces have positive ability modifiers only. I'm not sure it is wrong to apply a negative modifier (or what the implications of doing so might be for other aspects of the rules), but that's something I'm going to have to think about in more detail.

- As best as I can tell (again someone more knowledgeable please correct me if I'm wrong), it looks like the race gets an overall ability modifier, and then sub-race modifiers get added in on top of that. If that is the convention, then I might do something like giving baseline rakasta a +1 to Dex, and then use the subraces to modify scores on top of that.

Are there guidelines listed anywhere to help make a balanced race (ie how many ability score modifiers/skills/feats should be given to even hings out)?

EDIT: Answered my own question (I think). Will spend some time reading through this: viewtopic.php?f=81&t=12827&hilit=race
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