Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

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Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:59 pm

[The following is a run-through of my thought processes while creating the Hippogriff race. If you aren't interested in that part, then skip to the end where the race itself is.]

Although they haven't appeared in canon yet, considering the fact that this setting contains both ponies and griffons as relatively major elements, hippogriffs seem like a natural addition for a player race. But when thinking about it, I have a hard time figuring out what they'd actually have for racial options. Some sort of mix between griffon and pegasus traits seems logical thematically, and yet this doesn't quite work out. Let's take a look:

Pegasus
Flight - The flight and cloud-walking are a must-have for the hippogriffs.
Weather-Crafting - A "take it or leave it" sort of ability - not every hippogriff's pony parent was necessarily a pegasus, after all.
ALSO: Cutie Mark - Considering that the equine half of a hippogriff is the back half, a hippogriff would likely have one.

Griffon
Half-Eagle - The front half of a hippogriff is the eagle half, so this ability makes sense - but it's functionally identical to Flight.
Half-Lion - Was overridden by the pony part. Hardly needed at all.
All Awesome - Another "take it or leave it" (which will from this point on be abbreviated as TIOLI). It strikes me as the sort of "flavor" ability that should belong to only one race, i.e. the griffons.
Sisters of the Sky - This one also seems thematically logical. Additionally, it seems like hippogriffs should also be able to take utility talents that are specifically tied to the griffons' eagle half (which, at this point, is all of them, but this might change in the future).

Now, let's say we take Flight/Half-Eagle, the pony's cutie mark, and a tweaked Sisters of the Sky and slap them together for the Hippogriff. But it still needs something more, something unique, something that relates to the "personality" of the race, if you will. After all, pegasi have Weather-Crafting and griffons have All Awesome, don't they? So what would hippogriffs have?

Well, they come from two distinct bloodlines, which each supply a part of their "racial personality", if you will. So if we examine the "big picture" of each race...
Ponies - Although they're split into three distinct subraces, they seem to have several things in common - namely: adaptability, a natural affinity for magic, and a predisposition for cooperation and harmony. (Even when they were split into the three tribes, before the Windigoes came, it appears that ponies still banded closely together as far as their own tribes were concerned.)
Griffons - So far it appears that griffons have a tendency towards arrogance and a feeling of superiority... at least over those that they see as rivals or unimportant bystanders. But to be fair, they do tend to excell in their chosen field - apparently, Gustave and Gilda were skilled and/or talented enough to challenge the Cakes's and Rainbow's prowess in baking and racing, respectively.

So what sort of ability would combine the pony's adaptability and magic affinity with the griffon's inborn prowess and smug sense of superiority? I don't know about you, but an extra Magic Point sounds like it would do that just fine.

But wait! If we take those previous racial traits and combine them with this new one, is that overpowered compared to the other races? Truth be told, I have no idea, but I suspect that it probably is. Should this prove to be the case, then we can work in a little something to help balance things out.

In this particular case, I recall reading in Pathfinder's Ultimate Magic something that could be relevant. Under the crossblooded sorcerer archtype, one drawback mentioned is that "the conflicting urges created by the divergent nature of the crossblooded sorcerer's dual heritage forces her to constantly take some mental effort just to remain focused on her current situation and needs. This leaves her with less mental resolve to deal with external threats." This seems like the sort of issue that a hippogriff would have too, considering that it's the offspring of a mostly-herbivorous equine and a partly-carnivorous eagle-lion-thing. While Pathfinder's game mechanics represent the "less mental resolve" with a -2 penalty to Will saves, PT:AoH doesn't have those. But I think that close to the same effect could be achieved by saying that hippogriffs take a penalty to skill checks made to resist mind-affecting effects.

So if we mix all that together, we come up with this:

Hippogriff
Blood of the Horse
Hippogriffs receive training in only two skills, but gain a cutie mark. Hippogriffs may also use magic items that only work for ponies.
Blood of the Eagle
Hippogriffs 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. Hippogriffs may also use magic items that only work for griffons.
Scions of the Sky
Hippogriffs may choose talents normally exclusive to pegasi. (However, taking weather-related talents like 10 Seconds Flat doesn’t do anything for hippogriffs as they do not have the Weather-Crafter racial trait.) Additionally, hippogriffs may also choose talents that relate to the eagle half of their griffon ancestry (i.e. talents that specifically mention "eagle", "hawk", or other birds of prey in their name or description).
Heir of Two Worlds
Due to their mixed ancestry, hippogriffs begin the day with one additional magic point. However, the conflicting urges from both bloodlines result in a -3 penalty to skill checks made to resist mind-affecting effects.

Well, what do you think? Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Tweaks?
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Masterweaver on Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:35 pm

On a free-form forum I'm part of, Kirin are described as half pony and half dragon. Now there are three forms of Kirin, relating to the three tribes of pony, and the number of generations removed from the original mating affects their genetics...

My point being that maybe you should cut out Mixed Ancestry and instead make it a "Pick one" ability. Pegagriffs would get weathercrafting, Unigriffs would get an extra utility talent, and Earthgriffs probably get Epic Pwny.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:02 pm

Masterweaver wrote:My point being that maybe you should cut out Mixed Ancestry and instead make it a "Pick one" ability. Pegagriffs would get weathercrafting, Unigriffs would get an extra utility talent, and Earthgriffs probably get Epic Pwny.

I'd thought about something along those lines, but... I wasn't quite sure about doing something like that. I did consider making the Hippogriff a pony-only template, but there are all sorts of potential issues with that arrangement... The greatest one, at least as far as your "Pick one" suggestion is concerned, would have to be the Pegagriff outcome: mechanics-wise, it would be exactly like a pegasus... except that it could also take certain griffon traits, with absolutely nothing to balance that out.

Here's a thought, though: perhaps instead of Scions of the Sky, hippogriffs could get to choose one pony race that they could draw their non-griffon utility talents from. That way, it represents different heritage options without running into issues of that sort. Does that sound reasonable?
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Masterweaver on Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:22 pm

Yeah, that could make sense. Granted it makes unigriffs a bit odd, but then again we can always have one called Buckbeak.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  XandZero2 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:52 pm

I like how I'm not the only one that's thought of the Hippogriff possibility. I mentioned in it the fluff I made for Griffons elsewhere on these forums. I have no idea if the concept is balanced or not, but I hope some of the players more experienced with the PT system are able to help you out.


Last edited by XandZero2 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:53 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Editting)
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:08 pm

Great, great thoughts going into this design.

However, right now the Hippogrif is clearly the most powerful race option in existence. Just compare it to the Pegasus... And laugh. Weather-Crafting... Or all those extras?

I think it needs to be made a bit more reasonable. Also, the "Scions of the Sky" trait is a little clunky when explaining the 'you can take eagle-based skills' part, which is a point against the trait... But also very hard to work around.

Anyway, Hippogrifs area great idea and your thoughts going in are excellent. Keep developing them further.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:02 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:Great, great thoughts going into this design. However, right now the Hippogrif is clearly the most powerful race option in existence. [...] Anyway, Hippogrifs area great idea and your thoughts going in are excellent. Keep developing them further.

Duly noted. I'll do my best to think of ways to nerf the current abilities, come up with alternate options, etc. Maybe if we drop Heir of Two Worlds, drop the griffon part of Scions of the Sky, give them Eagle Eye as a racial option... Hmm. I'll keep thinking about it, and hopefully I can come up with a revision in a day or two.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:42 am

Jason Shadow wrote:
Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:Great, great thoughts going into this design. However, right now the Hippogrif is clearly the most powerful race option in existence. [...] Anyway, Hippogrifs area great idea and your thoughts going in are excellent. Keep developing them further.

Duly noted. I'll do my best to think of ways to nerf the current abilities, come up with alternate options, etc. Maybe if we drop Heir of Two Worlds, drop the griffon part of Scions of the Sky, give them Eagle Eye as a racial option... Hmm. I'll keep thinking about it, and hopefully I can come up with a revision in a day or two.

Frankly, if you want to give them the cutie mark option (and you have a clever argument for why they should have one) then you just need to give them a slight additional ability that is highly flavorful but not too potent. After all, weather-crafting isn't very useful - it's there for flavor. Of course, we're going to make it so you can sink talents in to power it up, but that's a whole other thing.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:42 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:
Jason Shadow wrote:
Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:Great, great thoughts going into this design. However, right now the Hippogrif is clearly the most powerful race option in existence. [...] Anyway, Hippogrifs area great idea and your thoughts going in are excellent. Keep developing them further.

Duly noted. I'll do my best to think of ways to nerf the current abilities, come up with alternate options, etc. Maybe if we drop Heir of Two Worlds, drop the griffon part of Scions of the Sky, give them Eagle Eye as a racial option... Hmm. I'll keep thinking about it, and hopefully I can come up with a revision in a day or two.

Frankly, if you want to give them the cutie mark option (and you have a clever argument for why they should have one) then you just need to give them a slight additional ability that is highly flavorful but not too potent. After all, weather-crafting isn't very useful - it's there for flavor. Of course, we're going to make it so you can sink talents in to power it up, but that's a whole other thing.

Okay. Flavor, but not too potent... hmm... Perhaps an affinity for birds of prey? Something along the lines of Animal Speak (maybe with an added Persuasion bonus), but working only on raptors (the birds, not the dinosaurs)... Eh. Maybe not.

Ooh! Or maybe some sort of voice thing. Sound mimicy, ventriloquism... It's not exactly an eagle thing, but it's still kind of cool. ...Oh wait, that's kind of already covered with the Unicorn talent Echo. Huh.

Well, if anyone wants to weigh in with their own ideas, it would be greatly appreciated.

Also, Stairc, it has been suggested above that perhaps hippogriffs should have variations according to their pony parent, but what do you think? Is it a reasonable option both flavorfully and within the game mechanics, or would that overcomplicate either one of them?
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:53 pm

Jason Shadow wrote:
Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:
Jason Shadow wrote:
Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:Great, great thoughts going into this design. However, right now the Hippogrif is clearly the most powerful race option in existence. [...] Anyway, Hippogrifs area great idea and your thoughts going in are excellent. Keep developing them further.

Duly noted. I'll do my best to think of ways to nerf the current abilities, come up with alternate options, etc. Maybe if we drop Heir of Two Worlds, drop the griffon part of Scions of the Sky, give them Eagle Eye as a racial option... Hmm. I'll keep thinking about it, and hopefully I can come up with a revision in a day or two.

Frankly, if you want to give them the cutie mark option (and you have a clever argument for why they should have one) then you just need to give them a slight additional ability that is highly flavorful but not too potent. After all, weather-crafting isn't very useful - it's there for flavor. Of course, we're going to make it so you can sink talents in to power it up, but that's a whole other thing.

Okay. Flavor, but not too potent... hmm... Perhaps an affinity for birds of prey? Something along the lines of Animal Speak (maybe with an added Persuasion bonus), but working only on raptors (the birds, not the dinosaurs)... Eh. Maybe not.

Ooh! Or maybe some sort of voice thing. Sound mimicy, ventriloquism... It's not exactly an eagle thing, but it's still kind of cool.

If anyone wants to weigh in with suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated.

Hmm... Interesting ideas... Could also give the Hippogrif the ability to carry another medium-sized creature on its back without incurring penalties to the checks - so its good for flying others. Perhaps a +1 boost to the group's perception checks, though again I'm trying to stay away from more skill boosts. Perhaps something involving the predatory side. There's also legends that hippogrifs could fly as fast as lightning. Lightning affinity could be their friend, though others might not understand why.

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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:47 pm

Okay, so potential "final abilities" for hippogriffs are as follows:

Falconer's Tongue
Hippogriffs can communicate with birds of prey as easily as they verbally communicate with other creatures. Speak to them as you would any NPC.

Birdcall
A hippogriff can mimic any voice or sound that it has previously heard. It takes a DC 25 Perception check to recognize the noise made as fake.

Carry Burdens (or Roc's Grip)
A hippogriff can carry another medium-sized creature on its back (or in its claws) while flying without incurring penalties to checks.

Gather the Storm (or Thunderbird's Gift)
A hippogriff is capable of storing up lightning within its body, which it can later discharge through its claws. Outside of combat, hippogriffs never take damage from electricity. Additionally, hippogriffs can store up to 5 Charges of electricity, which can then be used to light campfires, cook meat, give other creatures painful (but harmless) shocks, etc. Hippogriffs may also attempt greater feats, such as ignite large, flammable objects, mess with electrically-powered machinery, act as makeshift defibrillators, and so on, but these acts may require additional Charges and/or an Endurance check, the difficulty of which set at the DM's discretion.
Hippogriffs always start the day with 0 Charges, but may gain them by being struck by lightning - a small bolt of lightning or even a hoofshake buzzer may result in one Charge, but larger bolts provide more Charges per strike and it is not unheard of for one single, colossal lightning bolt to give a hippogriff all 5 charges at once.
Hippogriffs are naturally insulated and are at no risk of accidentally electrocuting themselves or others when wet.

Ride the Lightning
Outside of combat, hippogriffs never take damage from electricity. When struck by lightning, a hippogriff can move up to ten times its normal speed for the next half-hour. Multiple lightning strikes double the maximum speed, but halve the time at which they can move at this speed.

Anyone like the look of any particular one of these? Personally, I'm partial to Birdcall or Gather the Storm myself.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:54 pm

Well, we went from "no good options" to, "lots of good options". You've got a real knack for design JS, I hope you keep channeling it for us. We could use a lot more Everypony Talents especially.

The coolest one is, "Gather Storm". Also could be called, "Thunderbird". We can explain in the flavor of the race, when it makes it into an expansion, that Griffons have a legendary relationship to lightning. I think it could be polished more, and players are going to want to know how hard it is to get struck by lightning (can any pegasus do it? what's the check on that? we want our 5 charges at the start of each day) and will want to start the day with maximum charges, recharging whenever possible. So just design with that in mind.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:26 pm

Very well. Polish ahoy!

Thunderbird
Outside of combat, hippogriffs never take damage from electricity. Additionally, a hippogriff can store within itself up to 5 Charges of electricity, which can it can then discharge through its claws in order to light campfires, cook meat, give other creatures painful (but harmless) shocks, etc. Hippogriffs may also attempt greater feats, such as ignite large, flammable objects, mess with electrically-powered machinery, act as makeshift defibrillators, and so on, but these acts may require additional Charges.
Hippogriffs always start the day with 0 Charges, but may gain them by being struck by lightning. Pegasi can use their Weather-Crafter ability to give a hippogriff its full 5 Charges, and a hippogriff can also deliberately fully recharge itself in existing stormy weather. Either way, this takes a preparation time of 10 minutes and a DC 20 Stunt or Acrobatics check, and can only be attempted once every six hours.

If that looks good, then the final build for the Hippogriff race will be as follows:

Hippogriff
Blood of the Horse
Hippogriffs receive training in only two skills, but gain a cutie mark. Hippogriffs may also use magic items that would normally only work for ponies.
Blood of the Eagle
Hippogriffs 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. Hippogriffs may also use magic items that would normally only work for griffons.
Scions of the Sky
Hippogriffs may choose talents normally exclusive to pegasi. (However, taking weather-related talents like 10 Seconds Flat doesn’t do anything for hippogriffs as they do not have the Weather-Crafter racial trait.)
Thunderbird
Outside of combat, hippogriffs never take damage from electricity. Additionally, a hippogriff can store within itself up to 5 Charges of electricity, which can it can then discharge through its claws in order to light campfires, cook meat, give other creatures painful (but harmless) shocks, etc. Hippogriffs may also attempt greater feats, such as ignite large, flammable objects, mess with electrically-powered machinery, act as makeshift defibrillators, and so on, but these acts may require additional Charges.
Hippogriffs always start the day with 0 Charges, but may gain them by being struck by lightning. Pegasi can use their Weather-Crafter ability to give a hippogriff full charges, and a hippogriff can also deliberately recharge itself in naturally-occuring stormy weather. Either way, this takes a preparation time of 10 minutes and a DC 20 Stunt or Acrobatics check, and can only be attempted once every four hours.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:25 pm

Jason Shadow wrote:Very well. Polish ahoy!

Thunderbird
Outside of combat, hippogriffs never take damage from electricity. Additionally, a hippogriff can store within itself up to 5 Charges of electricity, which can it can then discharge through its claws in order to light campfires, cook meat, give other creatures painful (but harmless) shocks, etc. Hippogriffs may also attempt greater feats, such as ignite large, flammable objects, mess with electrically-powered machinery, act as makeshift defibrillators, and so on, but these acts may require additional Charges.
Hippogriffs always start the day with 0 Charges, but may gain them by being struck by lightning. Pegasi can use their Weather-Crafter ability to give a hippogriff its full 5 Charges, and a hippogriff can also deliberately fully recharge itself in existing stormy weather. Either way, this takes a preparation time of 10 minutes and a DC 20 Stunt or Acrobatics check, and can only be attempted once every six hours.

If that looks good, then the final build for the Hippogriff race will be as follows:

Hippogriff
Blood of the Horse
Hippogriffs receive training in only two skills, but gain a cutie mark. Hippogriffs may also use magic items that would normally only work for ponies.
Blood of the Eagle
Hippogriffs 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. Hippogriffs may also use magic items that would normally only work for griffons.
Scions of the Sky
Hippogriffs may choose talents normally exclusive to pegasi. (However, taking weather-related talents like 10 Seconds Flat doesn’t do anything for hippogriffs as they do not have the Weather-Crafter racial trait.)
Thunderbird
Outside of combat, hippogriffs never take damage from electricity. Additionally, a hippogriff can store within itself up to 5 Charges of electricity, which can it can then discharge through its claws in order to light campfires, cook meat, give other creatures painful (but harmless) shocks, etc. Hippogriffs may also attempt greater feats, such as ignite large, flammable objects, mess with electrically-powered machinery, act as makeshift defibrillators, and so on, but these acts may require additional Charges.
Hippogriffs always start the day with 0 Charges, but may gain them by being struck by lightning. Pegasi can use their Weather-Crafter ability to give a hippogriff full charges, and a hippogriff can also deliberately recharge itself in naturally-occuring stormy weather. Either way, this takes a preparation time of 10 minutes and a DC 20 Stunt or Acrobatics check, and can only be attempted once every four hours.

Hippogriff is looking pretty good. I'll fiddle with the Thunderbird trait a bit (still would have some awkward gameplay, with players constantly looking for stormy weather, and it currently encourages Stunts or Acrobatics focused builds to make use of Thunderbird - which I want to avoid, so there's no incentive to play a physical hippogrif over a horse-sense and knowledge-focused one). But overall, this template looks extremely solid.

I predict Hippogriffs will be in the upcoming Races of Equestria expansion. I even included one as an NPC in my Pony Tales game last night.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  XandZero2 on Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:31 pm

Congrats on the Stairc seal of approval JS.

I think I want to use your wording for "Scions of the Sky" on Air Dragons too. I was afraid to make Dragons completely immune to fire, but if Hippogriffs can be completely immune to electricity, then I might just go with outright fire/lava immunity.

My only concern with Hippogriffs is this - if they're immune to electricity, then shouldn't Griffins also be immune to electricity as well? It seems kind of strange that the offspring would have a power that outshines the parent in such a way.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:38 pm

XandZero2 wrote:Congrats on the Stairc seal of approval JS.

I think I want to use your wording for "Scions of the Sky" on Air Dragons too. I was afraid to make Dragons completely immune to fire, but if Hippogriffs can be completely immune to electricity, then I might just go with outright fire/lava immunity.

My only concern with Hippogriffs is this - if they're immune to electricity, then shouldn't Griffins also be immune to electricity as well? It seems kind of strange that the offspring would have a power that outshines the parent in such a way.

The only thing I worry about with such immunity is how it might affect combat abilities. Perhaps have it require concentration, so it can't be used in combat, or just leave it to DMs to factor that in.

As for Hippogriffs/Griffins - Hippogriffs in mythology have traditionally outshone their parents by a vast margin. Legends speak of them being able to fly at the speed of lightning. Tying them to lightning here is interesting and flavorful, though of course I could be talked out of it if another flavorful ability pops up.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:28 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:The only thing I worry about with such immunity is how it might affect combat abilities. Perhaps have it require concentration, so it can't be used in combat, or just leave it to DMs to factor that in.

Well, I did specify "Outside of combat" for hippogriff electricity immunity - it's not the first time that a racial immunity has been ignored during moments of peril. After all, if dragons can swim in lava just fine and are probably equally immune to flames, then why did Spike have to dodge that dragon's fire in Owl's Well that Ends Well?
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  XandZero2 on Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:20 am

Jason Shadow wrote:
Well, I did specify "Outside of combat" for hippogriff electricity immunity - it's not the first time that a racial immunity has been ignored during moments of peril. After all, if dragons can swim in lava just fine and are probably equally immune to flames, then why did Spike have to dodge that dragon's fire in Owl's Well that Ends Well?

Pointed noted.

Also, I didn't know that Hippogriffs traditionally outshined their parents. Interesting - and don't read this as sarcasm, I'm serious. You learn something new everyday (:
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:51 am

I declare Hippogriffs good enough for me to just start polishing. Great work everyone and great addition to the races. Thanks a bunch JasonShadow.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:12 am

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:I declare Hippogriffs good enough for me to just start polishing. Great work everyone and great addition to the races. Thanks a bunch JasonShadow.

And thank you. It's a pleasure to be of service.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:52 pm

I'm compiling races to add to the racial compendium. One thing I want to bring up - the final Hippogriff template is essentially just a Pegasus with Thunderbird instead of Weather-Crafter.

Question: Are we sure Thunderbird, which is definitely cool, is 'hippogriff' and cool enough to set the race apart? It might make a better utility talent.

I'm tempted to give them "The Rainbow-Dash" as a racial instead, or something similar, as their mythology speaks to them being able to fly as fast as lightning - not that they can conjure lightning.

Last call for design suggestions. The Race handbook probably won't be up for a few days anyway.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:55 pm

I'm interested in patching Hippogriffs. The Thunderbird talent isn't as in line with the mythology as I'd like, so it seems odd to give it to all Hippogriffs. How about making Thunderbird a utility talent and giving them this instead as a racial feature?

Fast As Lightning - Magic
Legends say that Hippogriffs can fly at the speed of lightning. This might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s true that Hippogriffs can reach blisteringly fast speeds for very short amounts of time. By spending a Magic Point, a Hippogriff can fly at a rate of a 100 miles-per-second for the next minute. However, for each second this speed is sustained; the Hippogriff and any passenger it might be carrying takes 1d20 damage.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:10 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:I'm interested in patching Hippogriffs. The Thunderbird talent isn't as in line with the mythology as I'd like, so it seems odd to give it to all Hippogriffs. How about making Thunderbird a utility talent and giving them this instead as a racial feature?

Fast As Lightning - Magic
Legends say that Hippogriffs can fly at the speed of lightning. This might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s true that Hippogriffs can reach blisteringly fast speeds for very short amounts of time. By spending a Magic Point, a Hippogriff can fly at a rate of a 100 miles-per-second for the next minute. However, for each second this speed is sustained; the Hippogriff and any passenger it might be carrying takes 1d20 damage.

I'm kind of torn on this. On one hand, it's certainly a more flavorful option than using The Rainbow-Dash as a racial, which is always a good thing. But on the other, this option seems like it would need to be tweaked. A lot...

First of all, if it's 100 miles-per-second and 1d20 damage per second, then even if you're using a loaded die (favoring 1s), then that's a maximum of thirty seconds that one can fly before falling unconsious - making the "next minute" specification a little misleading, unless you can find a healer that can somehow keep up with you and avoid taking similar damage... or unless you decide to use it in multiple, short bursts, I suppose.
Secondly, I'm not sure that the damage thing is a good idea in the first place. From what I've seen of the system so far, keeping track of solid, quantitative damage outside of combat is freakishly rare, if not almost unheard of. Something about introducing such perils now, self-inflicted or not, feels... worrying for me mechanics-wise, although I can't quite put into words why. (Besides, if hippogriffs can move at such "blisteringly fast speeds", then doesn't it seem logical that their bodies would be able to safely withstand such speeds?)
Finally, it seems to me that between the absurdly-fast speeds and the damage incurred from them, the ability seems really limited and extremely broken at the same time. Either it's pretty much a single-use, self-only teleport, a hasty retreat from combat, or an insta-win in any race that the Hippogriff decides to enter. Once again, it feels worrying...

I dunno. Frankly, I'm not even going to bother making a call on this. But so long as we fill this last racial, I'm perfectly happy with making Thunderbird a utility talent.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:24 pm

Jason Shadow wrote:I'm kind of torn on this. On one hand, it's certainly a more flavorful option than using The Rainbow-Dash as a racial, which is always a good thing. But on the other, this option seems like it would need to be tweaked. A lot...

Excellent. Then let's get tweaking.

Jason Shadow wrote:First of all, if it's 100 miles-per-second and 1d20 damage per second, then even if you're using a loaded die (favoring 1s), then that's a maximum of thirty seconds that one can fly before falling unconsious - making the "next minute" specification a little misleading, unless you can find a healer that can somehow keep up with you and avoid taking similar damage... or unless you decide to use it in multiple, short bursts, I suppose.

Very true. It's intended to only be used for 1-2 seconds. But there needs to be some duration that reduces it to one burst of speed per magic point. Just a wording issue. I kind of like that the 60 seconds makes it clear that you can't begin to survive the capabilities (and I'm planning additional utility talents to give you resistance to the damage, so you can fly for longer and longer spurts) to accentuate the danger of the ability.

Jason Shadow wrote:Secondly, I'm not sure that the damage thing is a good idea in the first place. From what I've seen of the system so far, keeping track of solid, quantitative damage outside of combat is freakishly rare, if not almost unheard of. Something about introducing such perils now, self-inflicted or not, feels... worrying for me mechanics-wise, although I can't quite put into words why. (Besides, if hippogriffs can move at such "blisteringly fast speeds", then doesn't it seem logical that their bodies would be able to safely withstand such speeds?)

Yep, it is freakishly rare - I don't want utility talents affecting combat. However, here I feel it's valuable for several reasons. First, it makes the talent less useful as an escape (you're probably already damaged if you're trying to escape, so it's not a get-out-of-death-free-card if the use itself is what takes you down... It's a gamble in a tough situation). Second, it both distinguishes the talent from The Rainbow Dash and makes it feel very flavorful. The damage makes it different and also helps make it more fair.

Jason Shadow wrote:Finally, it seems to me that between the absurdly-fast speeds and the damage incurred from them, the ability seems really limited and extremely broken at the same time. Either it's pretty much a single-use, self-only teleport, a hasty retreat from combat, or an insta-win in any race that the Hippogriff decides to enter. Once again, it feels worrying...

Well, it's not an instant-win if the race requires maneuvering. But yeah, it sure makes them special.

The funny thing is that this racial trait is both pretty fair when you come down to it and just so blisteringly-fast that it LOOKS broken. It sure feels exciting and scary all at once... Which is kind of the idea.

If anyone has suggestions on how to improve the trait, let me know. I'd love to make it better. I definitely like the basic idea though.
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Re: Hippogriffs? Hippogriffs.

Post  Jason Shadow on Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:00 pm

...Yeah, okay. Fair enough. Between your points and the "saftey tips" in the Races of Equestria expansion (which I hadn't seen when making the previous post), I concede. While this means that that the average hippogriff could give even Rainbow Dash a run for her money if it was feeling suicidal enough, the ability itself still strikes me as fair - mechanically. And by fair, I mean "reasonable except for maybe in the hands of your average weaselly munchkin", but those guys can turn anything into an advantage. Laughing

Of course, this puts a little pressure on the DM, because now he has to work out reasonable distances between potentially every single town and landmark in his campaign... and, of course, there's the potential implications regarding sonic rainbooms (after all, regular ol' sonic booms happen at a little over 761 mph [at sea level], and a hippogriff can move at 360,000 mph). But hey, that's the DM's problem. If you want to lessen these issues a bit, you could reduce the speed and damage die proportionally to each other, down to 50 miles per second and 1d10 - still about the same distance, but twice as much time.

However, you've won me over, and I'm perfectly willing to support this ability as-is.

TL;DR: Objection withdrawn. Woo-hoo!
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