Alternate Racial System

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Alternate Racial System

Post  Ramsus on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:42 pm

So, the idea here is to establish an alternate race system so that people can make characters that work how they want, not how other people have decided the race they want to play should work. Instead of picking a race, you have a number of points for racial traits and just pick traits off of the list.

For now I'm only going to show the traits from races that are currently official.

I'm open to suggestions about how to deal with skills as balancing the difference of 2 Trained Skills and a Cutie Mark and 3 Trained Skills seems a bit tricky. Obviously the first is superior to the second. Depending how that works out, certain traits and other things might need slight rewording.

I'm suggesting that everyone starts with 4 Racial Trait Points on character creation.

The List
Naturally Skilled: Gain the Freaky Knowledge utility talent. (1 Point)
Friend in Deed: Whenever you successfully aid a creature on a skill check, you provide a +4 bonus instead of a +2 bonus. (1 Point)
Epic Pwny: Whenever you roll a natural 19 using your cutie mark skill, treat the result as if you had rolled a natural 20. (1 Point)
Flight: You can walk on clouds and fly with poor maneuverability (you take -10 penalty to precision and athletics skills while flying). It takes practice to fly with grace and options for that appear in the utility talents. (2 Points)
Weather-Crafter: Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
You can to alter the atmospheric conditions in a 100-foot radius. For example, you can make a sunny day rain or a rainy day clear up within the area of effect. You can also attempt a more difficult feat, such as creating a localized hurricane or forcing thunderstrikes out of clouds to hit tall objects. These more difficult tasks require a Stunt check or Acrobatics check set at the DM’s discretion. (1 Point)
Ponykinesis: At Will
Mentally pick up or manipulate an object within fifty feet that weighs 25 pounds or less. You can hold only one object at a time. (1 Point)
Finishing School: Gain an additional utility talent at character creation. (1 Point)
Fireborn: You are immune to any heat below the level of an adult dragon's breath, including natural fire and lava. You can also create puffs of flame at will. These puffs of flame are identical to a torch in many respects and are capable of burning objects and lighting fires outside of combat just as a torch might. Puffs of flame are ordinary fire, they extinguish quickly without tinder. (1 Point)
Spyrotechnics: Preparation Time - 6 Seconds
You can create either a burst of blinding fireworks (blinding all creatures that see it within 120-ft of the fire source) or a thick cloud of smoke (extending 20 feet in all directions from the fire source and lasting 18 seconds). (2 Points)
Friendship is Dragons: You provide a +1 morale bonus to the skill checks of all allies you can see. (1 Point)
Satisfaction Guaranteed: At the beginning of the day, choose one of your trained skills or cutie mark skill. Until the end of the day, your allies are considered trained in that skill. (1 Point)
Show Them How You Rock!: Daily
You can tell the DM to treat the result of a d20 roll he just made as a natural 1. No rerolls are possible. (1 Point)
Attack The Day!: Magic
Trigger - You or one of your allies rolls a natural 20 on a skill check they do not have a cutie mark in.
Treat the result as though it was a cutie mark critical. (1 Point)
Stalwart Overachiever: You gain an additional 2 attribute points and can have up to 12 points in a single attribute instead of 10. (1 Point)
Badass: During character creation, you choose one of your Magic talents. Once per day, you can use that talent without spending a Magic point. (1 Point)
Herd Mentality: Whenever an ally successfully aids you on a skill check, you gain an additional +1 bonus to the check. (1 Point)
Heart of Courage: You gain a +5 bonus when attempting a skill check that has a DC of 30 or higher. (1 Point)
Thundering Hooves: Gain the Yee-Haw utility talent. (1 Point)
Fast As Lightning: Magic
By spending a Magic Point, you can fly at a rate of a 100 miles-per-second for the next minute. However, few can endure a full minute at this pace. Flying at this blistering speed is incredibly dangerous; you and any passenger you might be carrying take 1d20 damage for each second spent flying at this speed. (See notes in Races of Equestria) (1 Point)
Bridle Gossip: 5/Day
You have a unique way of talking. Upon character creation, choose to specialize in rhyme, haiku, rap, limerick or another equally kooky form of communication (subject to DM approval of course). Whenever out of combat, you may use this form of communication 'in character' to create an original, relevant and coherent phrase. If you do, you can roll twice on the next skill check he makes and take either result. (See notes in Races of Equestria) (1 Point)
Half Lion: Daily
You can let out a mighty roar, terrifying target creature for one minute. Creatures gain +5 to persuasion checks when attempting to intimidate a terrified creature. (1 Point)
All Awesome: Daily
Once per day you may turn a critical failure it rolled into a critical success. (1 Point)
Changeling’s Trickery:
You can alter your physical form to take on the appearance of any similarly sized living creature that you can see or that it knows well. The new form lasts until you change form again. Any creature that attempts to recognize a flaw in your disguise makes a perception check DC 25. The DC may be higher or lower depending on how well you act out the deception.
You can also create a unique appearance for yourself, in case you don’t feel like impersonating anyone. In this case, the DC to recognize the form is a deception is 40. (See notes in Races of Equestria) (1 Point)


Right, then. Some notes. I didn't spend a lot of time judging if traits were marginally stronger or weaker than each other. I could do that for days and not really get anywhere useful. The traits I made cost 2 points were the ones I could without a doubt say were equivalent to 2 Utility talents.

I just went ahead and changed the wording for Satisfaction Guaranteed so it would work for anyone despite their skill setup. Though this does sort of lean toward making the "solution" to that question just be having everyone getting 2 Trained skills and a cutie mark. *shrug* Simpler is probably better in this case.

It should be noted that I mashed Stalwart and Overachiever together. This is because I could see no way to justify claiming Overachiever was worth a whole point or that I think it would even be a good idea to encourage people to have stats of 12 without the extra 2 points as I'm pretty sure nobody intended for the system to have people be only good at one thing.

Why you ask have I included Naturally Skilled and Thundering Hooves when Finishing School is on the list? Well that's simple. You can only take each trait once. I left off Inherently Magical because it exists in a weird space between these options and you could always just replace it with Finishing School. We may or may not want to add a few more racial traits that grant specific Utilities. Especially if people feel we want something to replace Inherently Magical with. In that case I'd suggest making Inherently Magical add some specific Utility from the Unicorn list and making one to add a specific one from the Pegasus list.

I can see arguments for making Weather-Crafter and/or Changeling’s Trickery cost more than 1 point as they are rather strong traits. Also it may be noticed that I left off the end of Changeling's Trickery. This is because I had no idea how to properly price it the way it was and because it's entirely possible someone wants to play a character who just changes appearance and doesn't want to pay for TK and Flight just to get that. As is, you can still make a normal Changeling under my proposal of starting with 4 racial points.

Also you may note that looked at this way Baby Dragons were the strongest race, coming to a total of 5 points worth of traits.

Also, I suggest the following Utility Talent.
Natural Talent: Gain 1 Racial Trait Point.

(Disclaimer: That was the least horribly bland name I could come up with after sitting here for over ten minutes that wasn't a joke so bad I wanted to punch myself through my computer screen.)
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  elfowlgirl on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:51 pm

If they took 3 trained talents instead of a cutie mark talent, you could always provide the bonus of an extra racial trait point.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Xel Unknown on Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:59 pm

I think, there should be some sort of bonus to taking the normal racial skillset that each race has right now... Maybe one that works along with that unility talent you've suggested too. Like it lets you have two racial talents if taken if you spend your talents at the normal... And maybe you can decide to not spend all racial points to gain one extra skill point or something, but you've at lest have to take three racial talents or spend three racial points, cause last I checked that's sorta how all the other races work as is going by your new system suggestion.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Ramsus on Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:03 pm

elfowlgirl wrote:If they took 3 trained talents instead of a cutie mark talent, you could always provide the bonus of an extra racial trait point.
That's a pretty simple solution. Though, it'd probably have to be playtested to deem whether or not that's actually a good idea.

Xel, that's probably overcomplicated. If people want another skill there's a Utility for that, and you could get it racially by taking Finishing School.

Oh and I forgot something. GM's, if anyone tries to take Natural Talent to take Finishing School, give them a swift hard bucking.


Last edited by Ramsus on Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Xel Unknown on Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:04 pm

Overcomplicated ideas seem to be my bread and butter. XD
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  SilentBelle on Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:57 pm

So with this approach, could a player choose a single trait multiple times?
Finishing School X4 to start with a bunch of talents, or perhaps Stalwart Overachiever X4 to start with 8 more stat points.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Ramsus on Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:03 pm

Nope, can only take any trait once. You could take Finishing School, Naturally Skilled, and Thundering Hooves, and something else though.

Basically so people can't do crazy stuff like +8 to stats. (Mind you a GM could always allow it anyway.)
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:58 am

You know, for a thread that's almost certainly going to be polished until it becomes the new Living Legends Racial System and and official expansion option for Pony Tales as well... It doesn't seem to get a lot of posts.

Seriously Ramsus, love this idea since you mentioned it. I'd been idly wanting a way for people to build-their-own-races for months now - but none of the systems we'd idly tossed around were as slick as this one. Seems almost painfully obvious in retrospect. Awesome job. sunny
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:00 am

Well I don't think most people think this is going to end up official or something like that.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:03 am

I know, this was my teasing way to endorse it. pirat

Y'all know now.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Ramsus on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:09 am

Haha, well, you don't have to give me credit for coming it up with it on the spot. This is an issue I've mulled over and tried to shoehorn into systems where it didn't really work for years. The first time I looked at this system I knew exactly how to do it because of how loose and uncomplicated the system is.

Edit: And to be fair, when I saw your system the first thing I did was facepalm about how obvious it should have been to make a system work like that if I wanted a system where you could craft a character as you wanted and not with all the weird arbitrary strings attached. Because I've totally designed my own homebrew systems before and they all came somewhat close to looking like this one but, nowhere near as nice. Primarily, I think, because for some reason detaching the combat and non-combat didn't occur to me.


Last edited by Ramsus on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:14 am

Great idea meets good system for it? Awesome, candy all around!
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:20 am

*steals all the candy!*
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  tygerburningbright on Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:48 am

Just my two bits but this would be an awesome system in living legends (or any other homebrew setting) but in terms of canon I do not quite understand. It in my opinion would be rather strange in the world of Equestria.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:59 pm

The point is more allowing people to build their own races then having to stick to the what we've already got so far. Or at lest that's how I understand how this system would work.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:02 pm

Yep. Everything would still be open to DM permission of course. So you'd still have all the existing racial options.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  LoganAura on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:03 pm

So an Optional Expansion. *Nod*
...
*Will totally make an Alicorn using this sometime after it gets cleaned up.*

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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:04 pm

And this would allow people like me to build a zebra without needing to do any ryming. Cause That is the only thing stoping me from playing that race. And it'd allow a lot of more options. Like lets say you wanta make a pegasus that can't work the weather, cause they just never understud how to work it, or you were wanting to RP a non-weather crafting pegasus, that'd just let you have a useless talent that you don't really plan or wanta use for your chacter, but with this, I could trade weather crafting in for something that'd better fit the character I was building.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  LoganAura on Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:17 pm

My idea for an Alicorn Racials after looking at the list for a bit.
Earth Pony's Naturally Skilled.
Unicorn's Ponykinesis.
Pegasi's Flight.
any thoughts?

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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  A1C Bronymous on Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:22 pm

Key word being "Canon". Some things can be inferred or interpreted in different ways from the show, and some aren't. It's quite clear that from the official show-canon perspective, somethings are impossible for a unicorn, some things are impossible for a Pegasus, and (let's be honest) lots of things are impossible for an Earth Pony.

I know that these games are prone to break canon in some way or another, but it all comes from the world-builder- that is, whenever there is a breach, it will be the DM's headcanon taking the place of the show canon (or the Dm allowing an adaptation of a Player's headcanon). And in practice, there is nothing wrong with that. The DM should get to say what is and is not in his/her own world, because that's how these games work. But this alternate racial system kind of runs contradictory to that. Making it to where anyone can do anything not only blands the idea of party specializations, but in many cases would force a DM to allow a Player's idea of what should be, even if he does not agree with it. A DM telling a Player what he can or cannot do is acceptable, but a Player telling a DM what the Player will do, despite DM disapproval, is not.

This system should be, at the very least, entirely optional for the DM to decide to use. DM is lord and master of his world, and if he says a Player can do anything, then that's fine. But if he says Earth Ponies can't fly, ESPECIALLY on the basis of show-canon, then he shouldn't be forced to allow it just because a Player thinks it would be neat.


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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Ramsus on Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:57 pm

Keep in mind that this racial system was designed to be used in the same setup where there are no racial barriers to utility traits. People should already be giving flavor reason for why their character can do X. If someone playing an "Earth Pony" takes Ultra Mega Advanced Telekinesis+, "magic" probably isn't an acceptable answer. Thankfully people are clever and can figure out ways to explain such things, such as: "SCIENCE!" And considering MLP, while you can say Earth Ponies can't do magic, you really can't say Earth Ponies cannot manipulate the weather, teleport, or change their appearance somehow. It's all just about how you apply the flavor. I don't know about the rest of you but, I could probably easily explain any race doing any mechanical effect on the list of racial traits or utilities given a minute or two.

That looks like a decent Alicorn. Mind you Alicorns are, most likely, not going to be on the approved PC race list for most GMs and personally I'd probably build them with more racial traits than a PC is supposed to have. Or rather, ok I wouldn't do that at all since I'd be designing them as an NPC and thus not following PC rules at all. Still, that does give you a decent starting point and if you GM did allow it, that'd probably be a good way to do so.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Masterweaver on Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:49 pm

This system also seems decent for hybrids.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Appkes on Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:16 pm

Wow, this is rally nice. Simple, like the rest of the system. Even thoug I hate the idea of breaking down the barriers, as long as this stays an optional tool rather than the basic race system, I love it.


But no way is Trickery only worth one point. No. Frikken. Way.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:23 pm

I'm so looking forward to having time to polish and balance this system later. Still haven't had time though, been developing a board game at rapid rate (first playtest tomorrow!) and all the other stuff as usual.
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Re: Alternate Racial System

Post  Ramsus on Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:26 pm

If it's worth any more than 1 point it becomes impossible to build a normal Changeling without expending a Utility as well.

You're allowed to change what costs what in your own games if you're a GM of course. *shrug* Otherwise though that's just an opinion and I don't see a solid mechanics based reason for making it cost 2.

Edit: Got ninja'd by Stairc. I'd just say, try not to get too caught up in making everything perfectly balanced to each other here, Utilities already aren't to that degree and you'd end up with like a 20 point system here the way I'm seeing things if you wanted to have real fine detail level balancing of traits to each other. Still, guess we'll just have to wait and see how you mangle my beautiful baby handle it.
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