New Race Idea: Wolfen

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So I got to sitting around with a DM, talking about letting me play a Lycanthrope in their campaign. I'm new to D&D, and really wanted a Werewolf that stayed in hybrid form, and was able to use beast form attacks. But to get that, I had to make a Druid, and she said that I would be better off playing a Shifter if I wanted to play a "wolf-girl."

In the end, I felt kind of upset. D&D has Gnolls... Minotaurs... and Shifters (ew...), so I decided, "Hey! You wanna play a werewolf in hybrid form all the time... How about something simpler?" It was at this point I decided to look up some images, and... oddly enough, I found the Lupin. I was not pleased at Wizards of the Coast's attempt to make a wolf-like race, and that further fueled me to make a race all my own.

After a few hours of talking to friends in a chat-room (thank you for supporting me, you know who you are!) , I came up with the Wolfen.

So, you ask... What are Wolfen?  I'll answer all that here.


Wolfen in 4th Edition:

WOLFEN

Wolfen are lean, feral humanoids. Armed with claws and sharp teeth, these powerful creatures travel in packs.


Average Height: 6´ 4˝– 6´ 8˝

Average Weight: 157-207 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Charisma; +2 Strength or +2 Dexterity

Size: Medium

Speed: 7 squares

Vision: Darkvision

Languages: Common, choice of one other

Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Perception

Group Awareness: You grant non-wolfen allies within 5 squares of you a +1 racial bonus to Perception checks.

Ferocious Bite: When you make a weapon attack, you can use your bite, which is a weapon in the heavy blade weapon group. This weapon has the off-hand weapon property and a +3 proficiency bonus, and it deals 1d8 damage. Your bite has the enhancement bonus of your primary weapon.


Wolf Howl: You have the Wolf Howl power.

 


Wolf Howl Wolfen Racial Power
Howl at the heavens, asking for Melora's blessing to strike your enemies down.


Encounter
Minor Action — Personal
Effect:
 Melora grants you her blessing; you gain a +1 power bonus to your next attack roll against an enemy. If your attack hits and deals damage, add your Charisma modifier as extra damage.


Wolfen are a race of ferocious, beast-like humanoids who are usually found traveling the wilderness and do not like staying in one place too long, though it is not unheard of for Wolfen to settle down and claim a place to call home. Wolfen take great pride in their hunting skills and live off the land, many of them being skilled hunters. They have an increased sense of smell, making it easier to track prey, especially when wounded, and work together in packs to ensure safety as well as better hunting results and yield. In fact, wolfen are all about teamwork, making them excellent leaders in combat as well; if you see a wolfen adventurer traveling with a group, the wolfen is often-times the face of the party.






Play a Wolfen if you want...
 
✦ To be a race who is skilled in tracking down animals and other creatures.
✦ To be a wolf-like humanoid who values teamwork and ancient traditions.
✦ To be a member of a race that favors the fighter, ranger, and rogue classes. 
 


PHYSICAL QUALITIES
Wolfen are lean, feral humanoids that stand slightly taller than humans. Their size gives them strength and their lean build grants them faster speeds than humans. They have a wolflike head and muzzle, and have sharp claws as well as fangs. Their claws are not long enough to be used as weapons, however. Their tails are almost half as long as they are tall, but can sometimes be shorter. Wolfen tails react to their emotions; for example, it wags when happy, and comes between their legs when scared. Short fur covers their bodies head to toe, usually ranging from a gray or brown coat and growing lighter as it progresses around the muzzle, front, hands, feet, and the tip of their tail. A wolfen can have the same exact coat that any wolf breed can have, be it red wolf, arctic wolf, timber wolf, or otherwise. In addition, wolfen can have fur the same color as a human's hair. Wolfen eyes can either be the same as their wolf cousins, or they can be the same color as a human's.

Having the same qualities as their feral counterparts gives them many benefits. Wolfen have an amazing sense of smell, making them excellent trackers; they can smell other animals more than one mile (1.6 kilometers) away. Under certain conditions, wolfen can hear as far as six miles away in the forest and ten miles on the open tundra. A light-reflecting layer on a wolfen’s eye called the tapetum lucidum (Latin for "bright tapestry") causes a wolfen’s eyes to glow in the dark and may also facilitate night vision.

Here are a couple of examples as to how wolfen can look:

✦ Lyvie is a wolfen paladin who has blonde fur and blue eyes; these indicate the wolfen's fur and eye color are that of a human's.
✦ Raine is a wolfen fighter who has grey fur and gold eyes; these indicate the wolfen's fur and eye color are that of a wolf's.

 

 


PLAYING A WOLFEN
Wolfen are natural predators and they are raised from a young age to hunt and survive in the wild. Most wolfen prefer the wilds to civilization, but this is not always the case. Wolfen can be found in the wild in "packs" or they can be found in their very own settlements. Pack and family bonds are important to them, and loyalty to their Alpha is unwavering. The Alpha is the leader of the pack in the wild, or in settlements, the ruler of the town, village, or city.

Wolfen are very social in society. They enjoy talking and get-togethers, telling tales of their exploits. Wolfen are not shy about anything, and this unfortunately means they are often blunt and to the point, shunning verbal subtlety.

In battle, wolfen are strong team players; they set aside any regards of personal well-being to assist allies. Those who have befriended a Wolfen, their pack, their family, or their settlement can never ask for a more loyal friend.

Wolfen worship Melora, and with good reason. Not only is she the goddess of the wilderness, but in wolfen religion, Melora blessed a group of humans when they impressed her with their teamwork during a great hunt, giving them the form of the wolf and dominion over the land, creating the wolfen. While wolfen firmly believe this tale is true, the other races think this is nothing more than a fairy tale. Regardless, it is unknown if the wolfen really are of human descent or not.

Wolfen Characteristics: Carnivorous, cunning, friendly, kind, loyal, predatory, swift, tough


Wolfen Male Names: Bane, Corrin, Elric, Faust, Genn, Kaleb


Wolfen Female Names: Alysonn, Jessamyn, Kanesha, Lyvie, Raine, Telrana




Wolfen in 3rd Edition:


RANDOM WOLFEN STARTING AGES


Adulthood: 18 years


Intuitive: 18 + 1d4 years (19-22 years)


Self-Taught: 18 + 1d6 years (19-24 years)


Trained: 18 + 2d6 years (20-30 years)
 



RANDOM WOLFEN HEIGHT


Male and Female: 6 ft. 4 in. + 1d4 in. (6 ft. 5 in. - 6 ft. 8 in.)


RANDOM WOLFEN WEIGHT


Male and Female: 157 lbs. + 2 (2d4 x 5 lbs.) (167-207 lbs.)




WOLFEN RACIAL TRAITS


✦   Medium: As Medium creatures, wolfen have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

✦   Base Speed: Wolfen have a base speed of 40 feet.

✦   Natural Weapon: Wolfen have a bite attack that deals 1d6 piercing damage.

✦   Darkvision: A wolfen can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

✦   Scent (Ex): This special quality allows the wolfen to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.


Wolfen can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range.


When the wolfen detects a scent, the exact location of the source is not revealed—only its presence somewhere within range. The wolfen can take a move action to note the direction of the scent. When the wolfen is within 5 feet of the source, the wolfen pinpoints the source’s location.


Wolfen with the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Wisdom (or Survival) check to find or follow a track. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10 (no matter what kind of surface holds the scent). This DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.

✦   Skill Bonuses: +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Survival checks.

✦   Automatic Languages: Common and Wolfen. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).

✦   Favored Classes:  Ranger. A multiclass wolfen’s ranger class does not count when determining whether they take an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

Reserved
The 3E one is going to end up with a level adjustment due to the combination of multiattack natural weapons and Scent. Reducing the latter to Lesser Scent (essentially the same but with a 5' base range rather than 30') and altering the former to function as a single natural weapon ("claws" which can't be used along with wielded weapon)s would probably solve that, although the skill bonuses are still too generous if you want to avoid a LA.

In the 4E version, +2 Dex and +2 Str/Con would avoid creating wonky NAD benefits on the race, and Danger Sense is doubling up on the existing Perception bonus with a second 'awareness' effect.

I'm not sure why they have an Intimidate bonus; their society is (odd as this may sound) portrayed as being respect-based, which plays more to something like Insight.

Pack Attack isn't very flexible (which is also a problem with the gnolls' version). How about gaining and granting +3 with Combat Advantage from flanking (similar to that avian race with the keyboard-mashing spelling)? It's a similar overall benefit but at least it isn't limited to melee attacks.

Wolfen Frenzy: Bad scaling of the attack bonus, weaker than many characters' MBAs, and not so useful for melee classes with other stat focuses (like the Avenger). If you have to keep this then making it a no-action rider on an existing attack (similar to the one from the Mercenary theme) would avoid most of those problems, and it wouldn't even need to be limited to melee/weapon attacks (the caster sorts would evoke the effect through their magic).

Speaking of which: it's probably best to avoid inserting random new deities into the racial writeup since 4E generally doesn't follow that pattern, and in any case, it's already the sort of thing that Melora (or equivalent existing deities in other settings) and/or some of the primal spirits would do.

The other general issue that comes up with this race is that it could really use some de-emphasis of the melee element so that it's feasible to play something other than a fighter/barbarian/warden/etc without losing most of your racial benefits.

On a purely thematic note, their society is described as being extremely insular and distrusting of outsiders, then incongruously asserts that they're given to leaving home to make a name for themselves. This not only clashes with itself, but 'extremely insular and distrusting' isn't a great idea for a PCable race in general.


And while this isn't directly part of the writeup - what did you come across about lupins and what did you not like? Their thematic and mechanical elements have varied pretty widely across various editions and settings and I'm not sure which one(s) you were using as a basis.
The 3E one is going to end up with a level adjustment due to the combination of multiattack natural weapons and Scent. Reducing the latter to Lesser Scent (essentially the same but with a 5' base range rather than 30') and altering the former to function as a single natural weapon ("claws" which can't be used along with wielded weapon) would probably solve that, although the skill bonuses are still too generous if you want to avoid a LA.

In the 4E version, +2 Dex and +2 Str/Con would avoid creating wonky NAD benefits on the race, and Danger Sense is doubling up on the existing Perception bonus with a second 'awareness' effect.

I'm not sure why they have an Intimidate bonus; their society is (odd as this may sound) portrayed as being respect-based, which plays more to something like Insight.

Pack Attack isn't very flexible (which is also a problem with the gnolls' version). How about gaining and granting +3 with Combat Advantage from flanking (similar to that avian race with the keyboard-mashing spelling)? It's a similar overall benefit but at least it isn't limited to melee attacks.

Wolfen Frenzy: Bad scaling of the attack bonus, weaker than many characters' MBAs, and not so useful for melee classes with other stat focuses (like the Avenger). If you have to keep this then making it a no-action rider on an existing attack (similar to the one from the Mercenary theme) would avoid most of those problems, and it wouldn't even need to be limited to melee/weapon attacks (the caster sorts would evoke the effect through their magic).

Speaking of which: it's probably best to avoid inserting random new deities into the racial writeup since 4E generally doesn't follow that pattern, and in any case, it's already the sort of thing that Melora (or equivalent existing deities in other settings) and/or some of the primal spirits would do.

The other general issue that comes up with this race is that it could really use some de-emphasis of the melee element so that it's feasible to play something other than a fighter/barbarian/warden/etc without losing most of your racial benefits.

On a purely thematic note, their society is described as being extremely insular and distrusting of outsiders, then incongruously asserts that they're given to leaving home to make a name for themselves. This not only clashes with itself, but 'extremely insular and distrusting' isn't a great idea for a PCable race in general.

And while this isn't directly part of the writeup - what did you come across about lupins and what did you not like? Their thematic and mechanical elements have varied pretty widely across various editions and settings and I'm not sure which one(s) you were using as a basis.


Thanks for the suggestions. To answer the question about lupins, I saw an image of them... they look too much like a dog, versus a wolf. So I decided to make something that looked more wolf-like. As for Shifters (in case someone asks why I don't play one)... I want a real wolf-like race... not a 1920s wolf-man movie knock-off.

And definitely thank you for pointing out the whole social, then anti-social issue. As for Wolfen Frenzy, I based it off of the Minotaur's Charging Gore... something I probably should not have done, but did anyway.

As for the 3.5e version of the Wolfen, I scaled it down a bit. I dropped one of the natural weapons, leaving them with a bite attack, and dropped the bonuses so they only get a +2 to Listen, Search, and Survival. I left scent alone. The reason for that is because as creatures/PCs with wolf traits, they will have the hearing and sense of smell that their feral "cousins" have.

I also tweaked the 4e wolfen a bit.
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