Ahuizotl race

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Ahuizotl race

Post  Fallow Field on Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:46 pm

The Ahuizotl is much like a large dog with smooth and slippery skin. Upon the end of its tail is a hand, much like that of a monkey or a raccoon which it uses to grasp things or to drag away its victims. Its home is often hidden in caverns below the watery depths. It will lie in wait in swampy waters or rivers seeking to drag ponies down into the depths and take them to its cavern below the waters. If it goes too long without finding a victim, it will weep like a child, like a small foal or a loved one. So that unsuspecting victims might hear it and think a foal is weeping, and when they go to investigate, they will be caught by the Ahuizotl.


- Paraphrased from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florentine_Codex (from Wikipedia article on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahuizotl_%28creature%29)


Ever since I saw Ahuizotl from the Read it and Weep episode, I've been fascinated by this creature from Aztec mythology (and I think its awesome that a "show for little kids" decided to introduce some Aztec mythological creatures along with the standard Greek ones). So, I was thinking it would be cool to have an Ahuizotl as a playable race or at least a monster.

The basic idea for these would be a race who is quite at home in the water with a few "rogue" tricks for mimicking the voices of others and tripping up their opponents. Kind of a tricky sneaky race. Also note that the mythological Ahuizotl is known for its tendency to eat the eyes and fingernails of its victims... but since this is the MLP verse I think we can leave that out. More likely they live on a diet of fish or other creatures and if they do drag people underwater, its probably for some other reason... like keeping them as slaves in underwater caverns or hoping to ransom them for jewels or the like.


Racial Traits -

Give them a hand - Ahuizotl all possess a hand at the end of their tail which they can use to grap or manipulate objects. This is in addition to their forepaws which they can also use. Their tail-hand is often used to anchor themselves to the ground (by grasping onto a nearby solid object) or to drag things behind themselves (very useful when swimming).

Helllooo Rainbow Dash! - Ahuizotl also possess the ability to alter their voice, letting them imitate the voice of another person or animal. Once an Ahuizotl has heard their target speak, they can attempt to mimic their voice. Anyone who attempts to see through the deception must make a perception check with a DC of 25.

Not a Seapony - The Ahuizotl is adept at swimming and staying underwater. Their large mouths let them hold their breath for up to 10 minutes at a time and their eyes let them plainly see underwater without difficulty. The Ahuizotls eyes are also positioned at the front of their head, letting them poke their eyes and mouth just above the water to gauge their surroundings and replenish their air.




I haven't actually played a game of Ponyfinder yet, so I don't know how to balance this mechanically while staying true to the concept. The perception roll for the Helllooo Rainbow Dash ability is based off the Changelings disguise (though I can see an Ahuizotl would mostly use their ability while out of sight or disguised in some other way). It would probably be better to give them a bonus to skill checks that involve disguising their voice and later Utility Talents that give bonuses to social skills that involve speaking (much like how the Ahuizotl villain from the Daring Do story became leader of all those cats).

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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  AProcrastinatingWriter on Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:15 pm

Well that's just an excellent first post, right there.

First pwnst.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  SilentBelle on Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:00 pm

Hmm, I wonder if the Hellooo Rainbow Dash trait should just be based off of the character's persuasion or not (Kind of like a kenku's mimicry in 4E), rather than it being a preset DC. That way it could scale up, and your party could spend a magic point or two to make a very convincing ruse out of it. Essentially make it a persuasion vs perception check. Then there would be circumstantial modifiers of course, but those are easy enough to make up on the spot.

Well that's my take on it anyway. I like the idea of a trickster race, and I look forward to seeing any more great ideas you come up with.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  XandZero2 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:23 pm

SilentBelle wrote:Hmm, I wonder if the Hellooo Rainbow Dash trait should just be based off of the character's persuasion or not (Kind of like a kenku's mimicry in 4E), rather than it being a preset DC. That way it could scale up, and your party could spend a magic point or two to make a very convincing ruse out of it. Essentially make it a persuasion vs perception check. Then there would be circumstantial modifiers of course, but those are easy enough to make up on the spot.

I think FF's idea is more likely to become a reality if he sticks with a set DC check for the mimicry, just like the Changeling's shape-shifting ability. Stairc's mentioned many times before that he wants any race to be equally viable at doing any thing, and if Auhis had to pump points into Persuasion to be effective, that would limit their potential.

-That doesn't mean that Ahuis couldn't have some race-specific utilities that upped the DC though, or that even gave them a Persuasion bonus to add to the DC.

BTW - This is just a nit-picky thing, but why is that one ability called "Helllllooooooo Rainbow Dash"? Shouldn't it be called, "Helllloooooooo Daring Do?" (;

And welcome to the pt boards!
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Fallow Field on Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:46 am

XandZero2 wrote:
SilentBelle wrote:Hmm, I wonder if the Hellooo Rainbow Dash trait should just be based off of the character's persuasion or not (Kind of like a kenku's mimicry in 4E), rather than it being a preset DC. That way it could scale up, and your party could spend a magic point or two to make a very convincing ruse out of it. Essentially make it a persuasion vs perception check. Then there would be circumstantial modifiers of course, but those are easy enough to make up on the spot.

I think FF's idea is more likely to become a reality if he sticks with a set DC check for the mimicry, just like the Changeling's shape-shifting ability. Stairc's mentioned many times before that he wants any race to be equally viable at doing any thing, and if Auhis had to pump points into Persuasion to be effective, that would limit their potential.

-That doesn't mean that Ahuis couldn't have some race-specific utilities that upped the DC though, or that even gave them a Persuasion bonus to add to the DC.

BTW - This is just a nit-picky thing, but why is that one ability called "Helllllooooooo Rainbow Dash"? Shouldn't it be called, "Helllloooooooo Daring Do?" (;

And welcome to the pt boards!

Heh, my first though was something like "Voice Mimicry" or "Hellooo Lunch!" or something similar. I just went with "Hellooo Rainbow Dash!" because its a quote from the show. I'm sure that if this ever gets made official that someone with better naming skills could come up with a better one.

I think the main traits for the Ahuizotl race are their semi-aquatic nature, their trickster abilities, their tail-hand (which is pretty cool), and the fact that they are predators (more specifically, trickster predators who lure in unsuspecting victims to drag them underwater). I can see them as being sort of like Seaponies, except they can also walk comfortably on land so you aren't stuck in an aquatic campaign.


Ideas for Racial talents (or abilities)

Take my hand! - An Ahuizotl may grab onto one willing target as a free action with the intent to drag them along or to prevent them from being moved. (Basic idea is that an Ahuizotl with a decent swimming skill can find a drowning ally and then carry them to safety, or do something similar to someone in the dark or if the group is being pushed around in a windstorm or the like.) Likewise, they can anchor themselves to a stable or moving object (like grabbing onto a flying dragon, swimming shark, or anchoring themselves to the ground). Basically, if you ever find yourself with the need to grab onto something with your hands, paws, hooves, or mouth full... an Ahuizotls tail-hand is there to grab onto it.

Call upon the Ahuizotl - An Ahuizotl becomes especially adept at storing air in their mouth. While underwater, he can store up to 30 minutes of breathable air in his mouth and can use it to blow bubbles filled with breathable atmosphere. He can blow a bubble large enough to encompass a ponys head which allows the target five minutes of breathable air. Further applications can increase the time to a maximum of thirty minutes.

Also, given sufficient time and a suitable underwater cavern, an Ahuizotl can fill an underwater location with air to create a habitable area filled with breathable air. Most Ahuizotl use this ability to create secret lairs where few others would be able to follow.


=====

Story ideas featuring the Ahuizotl.


Seapony Legends - There are rumors of seaponies living around a specific area (most likely a beach, in a lake, or near rocky cliffs) and visitors will often hear a hauntingly beautiful voice singing during the night. Some ponies have become enraptured by these rumors, but all who go to investigate eventually disappear without a trace. The players investigate and find that a band of Ahuizotl have made a lair near that location and have been singing to lure in travelers and potential victims. Their victims are all trapped in the underwater lair, forced to work for them or be sold to slavery.

Haunting Hermit - A lone Ahuizotl lives in the forest or swamp, he tends to keep visitors or predators away by imitating the cries of large and dangerous monsters. Someone has recognized one of his latest cries as that of an adult dragon and they want the players to investigate this potential dragon appearance.

Mischief Mimicry - In school, a young Ahuizotl pup has just discovered his natural ability to mimic the voices of others and has started showing it off. Some of his classmates think it's cool and it seems to be the only reason they hang around the weird-looking kid. Cue a group of kids running around town getting into trouble with one of them having the ability to mimic voices and other noises.

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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Philadelphus on Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:34 am

Fallow Field wrote:Ever since I saw Ahuizotl from the Read it and Weep episode, I've been fascinated by this creature from Aztec mythology (and I think its awesome that a "show for little kids" decided to introduce some Aztec mythological creatures along with the standard Greek ones). So, I was thinking it would be cool to have an Ahuizotl as a playable race or at least a monster.
I felt the same way, and I think it's great that you're getting this discussion started. One possibility for their voice-mimicking ability would be to incorporate the unicorn talent Echo into it (much like the baby dragon ability Spyrotechnics incorporates the unicorn talent Pyrotechnics) to let an ahuizotl throw its voice and make sounds without needing a target to copy first.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Zarhon on Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:40 am

The thing with the underwater abilities is that it limits the race for a lot of options, considering the "limited" nature of water-based challenges in campaigns (if such appear at all), as well as it forces the DMs to create water-based challenges to ensure the Ahuizotl can use their racial abilities. They should be utility talents, if anything.

So here are my own proposals on racials:

AHUIZOTL

Traits

Need a hand?
Thanks to their unique biology, Ahuizotl's have the unique ability of "assisting" themselves. Whenever they perform a skill check, they may choose a different skill (relevant to the task at hand) that would "assist" them in that task and roll a confirmation roll. If they succeed, they grant themselves an assist bonus. In addition, when assisting an ally, they use two separate skills, both of which can grant separate assist bonuses if successful.

Mimic voice
Ahuizotls can mimic voices and sounds with ease, provided they have heard them in action at some point. When mimicking such sounds, others cannot distinguish the voices as fake, but they can tell the direction and point of origin of it, or notice irregularities in the spoken subject matter, prompting a DC25 to recognize you as the source of the sounds. If you are seen moving your lips your mouth whilst mimicking, they roll a DC15 instead.

Cunning - Daily
Ahuizotl's are naturally cunning, thinking several steps ahead of others, as well manipulating others into doing what they want. They may grant themselves or an ally a Magic Point +10 skill check bonus without paying for its Magic Point cost, but only if they/their target have a Magic Point available to do so in the first place.*

Utility Talents

Ventriloquism - 2/Day
When using "Mimic voice", you may choose a different creature or object to be the "source" of your mimicked voice and your lips do not move, prompting no penalties from it. You can choose to make the chosen source of the sound obvious, or hidden (requiring a DC25 to decipher that object as the "source" of the sounds). Creatures will only assume you as the actual of the sound if the chosen "source" of the mimicked voice is illogical, impossible, or it is very obvious you mimicked a sound**.

Tricky Tail
You gain the following abilities from your tail:
- You can anchor yourself to a spot, or serve as an anchor for others, provided you can succeed an endurance check (DC15 or higher, depending on pull force against you).
- You can make grab/restraint/manipulation objects or creatures at a distance of up to 10 feet, so long as your tail is un-restrained.
- When a creature or object approaches within 10 feet of you, flip a coin. If you win the toss, you are made aware of that creature/object and can attempt to interrupt whatever they are doing with an appropriate skill check.***

Natural Swimmer
As part of your racial heritage you're a born swimmer. You gain a +15 bonus to swimming in any condition (Including swimming in partially liquid substances, such as mud, in the middle of a whirlpool, or liquid rainbows, but NOT viscous substances such as jelly) and can hold your breath for up to 10 minutes. You can reduce this time by a self-determined amount, to allow others to breathe for that long. Do not ask how, as you don't want to know.

Water Stalker
Prerequisite - Natural Swimmer
You can hide inside any pool of liquid large enough to accomodate your size. Creatures cannot detect you unless they saw you enter and cannot determine your precise location within, without entering it themselves. You can perform skill checks on anything/anypony within 10 feet of the liquid you are hiding in, with a +10 skill check bonus.

* An Ahuizotl without magic points cannot use "cunning" to give himself a free bonus, but can give the "free" bonus to an ally, if they have a magic point.
** Having a rock shout "Release the handsome Ahuizotl from his bonds and punch yourself!", is highly unlikely to fool anypony, for example.
*** For instance, grabbing a rock thrown at you, or tripping somepony running past you, or stealing an attacker's weapon from them.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Philadelphus on Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:43 pm

Zarhon wrote:The thing with the underwater abilities is that it limits the race for a lot of options, considering the "limited" nature of water-based challenges in campaigns (if such appear at all), as well as it forces the DMs to create water-based challenges to ensure the Ahuizotl can use their racial abilities. They should be utility talents, if anything.
By this logic, Flight and Ponykinesis should be utility talents rather than racial abilities. Not every racial ability is going to be equally useful in all situations. I think having a swimming racial ability works as a "flavour" ability, one that sounds cool and could be useful under the right circumstances, much like Flight or Ponykinesis. If something's not going to be useful very often, I'd rather give it to the player as a free ability than make them spend one of their limited utility talents on it. Also, how often has our GM created a ponykinesis-based challenge for us? Wink
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Zarhon on Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:19 pm

Philadelphus wrote:By this logic, Flight and Ponykinesis should be utility talents rather than racial abilities. Not every racial ability is going to be equally useful in all situations. I think having a swimming racial ability works as a "flavour" ability, one that sounds cool and could be useful under the right circumstances, much like Flight or Ponykinesis. If something's not going to be useful very often, I'd rather give it to the player as a free ability than make them spend one of their limited utility talents on it. Also, how often has our GM created a ponykinesis-based challenge for us? Wink

Pegasi can fly anywhere that is outdoors and/or has air (in other words, 90% of the outdoor areas, and some indoor ones). Unicorns can use their ponykinesis on almost anything. "Swimmers" can use aquatic abilities only where swimming would be possible.

Let's take ponyville as a typical example area. How many places can a unicorn use their magic on, or how many areas can a pegasus fly in? Compared to that, how many areas can a swimmer use his/her aquatic abilites?

If you choose a race whose talents never gets used, you can't do anything about it, since you can't just change races willy-nilly and end up being stuck playing a "lackluster" race. Switching utility talents, however, is both easy and suggested (especially if you never had the chance to use them, allowing for easy retconning), if you find your utility to be severely lacking.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  XandZero2 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:33 am

Zarhon, I think you're missing one of the points Phil was trying to make - that not every racial ability has to be super useful. It can just be flavorful.

I actually like the Aquatic ability a lot as a racial. For one thing, would anyone ever take the ability as a Utility if they had access to so many other options, and like you, thought that Aquatic abilities were just too situational?

I think we should keep the Aquatic ability and just make sure the Ahui's other abilities are strong ones to balance it. We could probably combine the two hand abilities together. We could even make the DC for the Mimicry be higher if everyone thinks the race is still too weak. I'm not sure if I like the Cunning ability though, as that basically gives Ahui's an extra Magic point per day, which seems to OP to me.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Philadelphus on Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:23 pm

Indeed. Weather crafting is very flavorful, but how many situations is it actually useful in?

Regardless of whether or not it's useful, a breath-holding ability makes more sense as a racial ability because it's part of what ahuizotls are, just as flight is part of what pegasi are. It wouldn't make sense to make flight an optional utility talent for pegasi, and the same thing for ahuizotls and breath-holding. It's not like I'm advocating taking away one of their current racial abilities and replacing it with breath-holding (in which case I could understand your reluctance), I'm saying we should give it to players as a freebie.

Making extra utility talents that improve on a racial ability is fine (like the talents that improve upon a pegasus' natural flying ability) but don't make the base ability itself require spending a utility talent on.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Fallow Field on Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:08 am

I think having water affinity as a racial ability for Ahuizotls is great for the following reasons:

1. It's part of the origional Aztec myth.

2. Even if its not a very strong racial ability in all situations, they have other abilities that are more universaly applicable. The extra hand and voice mimicking alone seem like they've got alot of potential to be useful in other situations. Even you consider the water affinity weak, the other traits pick up the slack.

3. It puts them in a unique ecological niche. Earth ponies and other ground based races tend the earth, pegasai and flying types get the air, having one race who can live comfortably in the water kind of rounds it out. I don't know if Ahuizotls are supposed to live in a place where Winter Wrap-Up type events are held, but it would make total sense for some of them to help out. Possibly the Ahuizotl patrol swamps, rivers, lakes and other places and count the various aquatic animals in them or make sure the water is clean.

4. Considering the above, even if their aquatic ability doesn't see much use in combat, it would totally help form backstories of give jobs for the character to do.

5. If the ahuizotl never have to worry about drowning (except in rare circumstances) and have bonuses to helping others with their tail hands, then they should basically act as a living "get out of jail free card" for the whole group on the odd chance that they run into a water hazard. Sure, you're not likely to run into a water hazard in the average campaign but that just means that few people will prepare for them. So in the rare case a group runs into one it can become a huge hassle. If ahuizotl is there, they can then easily help bypass it or at least make sure nobody loses badly if they fail whatever checks are involved. It basically helps eliminate dangers from certain environmental hazards for the whole group, which in turn lets them all focus on combat or roleplay and keeps the game moving.

6. As a utility power that's rather rare (until we get another race with aquatic affinity) ahuizotls can be expected to be able to hide stuff in the bottom of lakes or streams. Pegasai can get cloud homes, but said homes are in the air where everyone can see them. Ahuizotls can make underwater homes that are basically hidden where others would have trouble going unless they hold their breath. Or they can hide things in stashes by burying them underwater (dang, I can almost imagine ahuizotl pirates stealing stuff and burying them in treasure chests at the bottom of lakes just because they can).

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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  XandZero2 on Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:41 pm

Fallow Field wrote:(dang, I can almost imagine ahuizotl pirates stealing stuff and burying them in treasure chests at the bottom of lakes just because they can).

^Sounds like a nice plot hook (;

And I agree with everything you typed in that last post. Well said man.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Philadelphus on Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:34 pm

Indeed. That was an excellent presentation of the issue.
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Re: Ahuizotl race

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:10 pm

It's really nice and all... But I kinda don't like the idea of this being a race. But other then that it's alright and I do hope it gets in. I'm just giving this my two bits.
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