RP and racial background stuff behind the spoiler.
In the North, beyond the furthest reaches of human civilization, lies Mjörgard; howling and frozen. It is a desolate and inhospitable land, called "home" by only one people -- the Naurung. They had once been Men, the stories say, who laid with the giants in the Time-Beyond-Remembering. They are a hale and hearty people, half-again as large as men, and well-suited to the natural conditions of the North. Scholars speculate that the mingling of Giant and Mannish blood complicates their biology to a certain degree, as one in every ten Naurings are born sterile. The North claims the weakest and youngest amongst them each season, but the Naurung continue to endure, together. Few civilizations can boast of communities with bonds as strong as the Naurung's.
The are a fierce and independent people, however; naturally suspicious of the Southron races.
Mjörgard is a hard and frigid land, incapable of sustaining crop growth, so the Naurung are raiders by necessity. In the lands of the Reach, their clan banners are well-known and well-feared. Naurings rarely take more than their communities require, however, and almost never cut down those with enough sense to stand aside when they come. In truth, most of the villages gave up resisting the attacks generations ago, and now simply pay tribute to the Naurung on every moon-turn.
The Naurung pay tributes of their own, however. In the highest Mjörgardian peaks, amongst the tall stone spires of Rassal, the abandoned City of Bells, lives an old white wyrm called Boreandr, who commands both respect and admiration ... and demands sacrifices of wealth and blood. The Naurung are not an especially intelligent people (though many are cunning); most cannot read or write, so the vast majority of their traditions and history are passed down through the generations by song and story. Boreandr, like most great wyrms, measures his vast lifetime in centuries, and has warped the stories of the Naurung over the course of many long generations -- many now believe that he is an avatar of Talos, the god of storms, destruction and savagery, and so happily pay tribute in return for his favor. In return, Boreandr (and his consort, the wicked she-dragon, Shiver) watches over the Naurung, and bring their terrifying wrath upon any who would dare strike back at them. Their interest in the Naurung could easily be compared to the affection a master shows for his favorite pet.
The Naurung are a nomadic people, with only one permanent settlement: Hollowhome. In the Time-Beyond-Remembering, scholars say that Hollowhome was a dwarven fortress-city, but the dwarves have long since fled; driven aback by the giants of old, most like, through the deep roads their ancestors carved from stone and fire. Now it is home to the Naurung. The cavernous entrances to the city sprout up all around the base of Rassal, the fabled City of Bells that rises from the tallest and oldest peaks, and now serves as Boreandr's roost and throne. The Naurung are forbidden to ascend the mountain, or step foot in Rassal, but when the wind howls (and it often howls in Mjörgard), they can hear the massive, ancient bells ringing down in Hollowhome.
References to Auril, Talos, etc are because the race was originally just a re-skin of Half-Orcs that I did for a game I was DM'ing. In that world, I was using a lot of the old Forgotten Realms deities, so that's why they're references in the write-up. I'll likely change that stuff around when I'm totally finished. Anyway, I'm working on my own Homebrew world now, and this is my first attempt at writing up the Naurung as their own, independent and original race. This is actually the first time I've ever tried to Homebrew a race, so I'd appreciate any input you could give me.
Oh, and for what it's worth? I'd say the Naurung heavily favor Primal classes, and Martial as well. I can see some Divine classes, like the Rune-Priest, specifically, but their culture really isn't one that supports Paladins, Clerics, and the like. Their racial bonuses don't lead them toward the Arcane, either, which is good, because I can't imagine a Naurung Wizard, or Bard. Rune-Priests aside, I'd say their spiritual leaders are Shamans and Druids. Fighters, Wardens, Barbarians, Rangers, Rogues, Warlords, etc, are all right up their alley.
It certainly gets a lot of stuff, but most of it is pretty minor, so I don't think that I'm going to worry about it too much. Cold isn't a very common damage type, Nauring Resilience isn't as good as Astral Majesty, Naturally Suspicious is neat but not fantastic, and I've never played with a single group that cared about carrying capacity. If you wanted to tone it down just a bit, though, I might suggest modifying Naturally Suspicious to something like...
Select either to add Insight to your class skill list or to gain a +2 racial bonus on Insight checks.
Your power, however, has a couple of issues. The first issue is that it follows the old scaling method of +2 / +4 / +6. The new scaling method for accessory-less attack powers that target non-AC defenses is +3 / +6 / +9 to take into account the expertise fix. The second issue is that it it relies far too heavily on only a few ability scores, meaning that characters that want to play against type are going to have a useless racial power. Yes, official races do this, but official races screw up a lot of stuff, so that doesn't make it okay. Just let characters use whatever ability scores they wish for attack and damage. Heck, thematically, I have trouble seeing why Charisma isn't included as an option or why STR is.
Thanks, Crimson. I was hoping you'd reply. Your posts regarding Homebrew races are ones I always try to read. I agree that the Naurung get a lot of stuff, but like you said, I don't think they're overpowered, considering how few times I've ever even bothered with carrying capacity in 4e. Your idea for Naturally Suspicious is what I had written up originally, but it felt like I was basically just giving the race a third +2 skill bonus. It certainly needs some tweaking. And I'll definitely redesign the encounter power. I didn't realize they had changed the math around like that. I was just using the Dragonborn racial as a starting point for my power. I like the functionality of it (you can obviously use it to push enemies away, so you can make an escape, but you could also use it offensively -- a Barbarian might use it to push a target away, so he can shift back one and charge, etc), but I agree that it needs to be reworked. That's more or less why I posted this here; so I could get some constructive feedback from the community.
Anyway, thanks man!
Wow haven't seen Crimson commenting in awhile, anyway! I like the race. As CC said it has definitely some neat stuff but nothing that really would be OP.
I agree with CC mostly in regards to the encounter power and stat choices. Usually they try to at least have one from each set of stats(Strength or Con, Dex or Int, Wis or Cha). I would say you could do Str, Int, and Cha. Cha really makes more sense than Wis in my eyes. But Intelligence I think could work, maybe argue it as they know the right words or whatever to say to scare the targets, something like that.
I think though my biggest concern with the racial power is the hit. Con mod damage and push 1 sq. The pushing doesn't matter, the Con mod does. That really does screw with people who don't at least have Con as their secondary stat and even then it wouldn't be more than probably 2 or 3, and if Con is your main stat then maybe 4 or 5. But anyone else would have between 0-2. I would probably say do something like a dice damage(d6, d8 or something) plus mod damage based on the stat you chose for the attack. At least then it will be relatively more even across the board.
Made a few changes. How's this look? (Design notes beneath the spoiler)
So, the Naurung. They actually started off as a thematic re-skin of Half-Orcs, rather than as their own unique race. People tend to have this mental image of who and what Half-Orcs are supposed to be, and I wanted to get away from that. I wanted my character's people and culture to be distinct, so I used the Half-Orc racial stats and created the Naurung to fit over the top of it, like a shirt. Even though I'm still playing (and greatly enjoying) my Nauring character, I'm actually working on creating an entirely new game world, with a number of new races to use instead of the ones presented in the official books. So, having already developed the cultural background of the Naurung, they're the first ones I decided to start building.
I will probably play around a bit with their average height and weight. As it stands, I basically just took the exact entries from the Goliath stat block. I'm pretty happy with Constitution as the primary attribute boost, with Strength and Wisdom as secondaries. That sets them up for all of the classes I feel like they'd be culturally associated with: Rageblood Vigor and Thunderborn Wrath Barbarians; Guardian Druids; Fighters, Runepriests and Wardens of pretty much every sort; etc. Low-Light vision makes sense thematically, because their only permanent settlement is Hollowhome, which is an old Dwarven city beneath Rassal.
I played around a lot with languages and skills, to be honest. On the one hand, Giant seems like the obvious choice for a racial language. If the Naurung are truly descended from Giants, it's really the only logical choice. But they also dwell in Hollowhome; an ancient Dwarven city. They're probably intimately-familiar with Dwarven runes and scripts, but I didn't want them to have three language options at creation, because that's probably a feature I'd reserve for the more innately-intelligent races. On top of that, Draconic would probably have been a decent option, especially for Runepriests, or other members of Nauring divine classes, since they're more or less forced to believe in Boreandr's self-proclaimed divinity. In the end, I just went with Giant. I suppose I could always add in other options as suggestions, and leave it at that.
Skills were a little interesting, too. Endurance was locked in pretty early on, because it helps solidify the Naurung as a "tough" race, who can withstand the sorts of things that other races can't. They do live in a howling, frigid wasteland, after all. Nature was eventually my second choice, but I was also considering Dungeoneering, since their only primary settlement is underground. I don't imagine them as a race who are intimately familiar with aberrant creatures, though, and Endurance/Dungeoneering is the same skill spread that Dwarves get, so I wanted to avoid that. I also played around with the idea of Stealth and Thievery, since they're infamous for raiding Southron holds, but Nature seemed like a more balanced choice. It has to do with finding your way through the wilderness, recognizing natural hazards, idenfifying natural creatures, handling animals, etc. So I felt like it was probably the best all-around secondary boost.
Blood of Auril will probably see a name change at some point, but I'm happy with the ability from a balance / mechanics standpoint. Cold damage isn't particularly common, as has already been pointed out, and it fits thematically with the race. Nauring Resilience went through, by far, the greatest number of changes during the creation process. It started off as a bonus to Temporary Hit Point generation. Something along the lines of, "Whenever you gain Temporary Hit Points, increase the number you gain by 2". I felt like that was something that would highlight the race's "toughness", while at the same time, be applicable to a number of classes and builds. Ultimately, I scrapped it. I guess I felt like there was probably too much room for abuse in conjunction with Battlerager Vigor, Invigorating powers, etc. I like the way it ended up, though: a +1 bonus to all defenses while bloodied shows that they're survivors, who toughen up when the chips are down, but it's also not quite as powerful as some other racial features that grant defensive bonuses (like Astral Majesty, which, again, has already been pointed out). So I think that's solid.
I changed Naturally Suspicious around a bit since I posted this thread. As you can see from the stat block below, now it's a flat "When you make an Insight check to sense motives of attitudes, roll twice and use either result." Crimson suggested toning down what I had originally, which is what I just said, plus add Insight to your class skills. And that's fair enough. I thought his suggestion of granting a +2 bonus to Insight was good, but that was something I played around with early on, too, and I didn't feel right giving the Naurung three racial skill boosts. The way it is now, I feel like it's something people are going to use, which is ultimately what I want. Maybe other games are different, but in most of the games I play in, Insight's a skill that isn't used a whole lot. I'm hoping that being able to roll twice when trying to determine someone's attitude will be more incentive to actually use the skill than a flat +2 bonus would be.
I like Blessing of Rassal, too, but I think it's basically just one step above fluff. That's why I think it works, though, honestly. The one goal I was determined to accomplish with this project was to keep the power level acceptable. I didn't want to post something overpowered, if I could help it. That's sort of the hard part of Homebrewing stuff, isn't it? There are all these neat ideas, but you really have to exercise some good judgement in determining what is and isn't acceptable. I would rather post something underpowered, and beef it up a bit, than post something overpowered, and tone it down. But that's just me. Blessing of Rassal is essentially a 1.5x bonus to push, pull, drag, and carrying capacity. Like Crimson pointed out, most people tend to ignore carrying capacity all together, and I don't think being able to push, pull, and drag stuff better than other characters is game-breaking at all. I wanted something that would help represent how physically powerful and broad the Naurung are, and I think Blessing of Rassal accomplishes that goal pretty well.
Hm, what's left. Oh! Naurung Battle Shout. I went ahead and made those mathematical changes Crimson suggested, and I also changed it from a Burst 1 power to a Blast 3 OR Burst 1 power. That gives the player a little versatility in its use, and I can certainly see how a Shout could be a Burst or a Blast, so I think that's pretty solid. I also changed it so it attacks based on the character's highest attribute, rather than a few pre-selected attributes. And the damage was changed from Constitution modifier Thunder damage to 1d6 Thunder damage, and it scales up to 2d6 and 4d6 at Paragon and Heroic.
Is there anything else that looks like it needs to be addressed? I'm liking the way this looks, guys. Thanks for all your input!
Crimson, I can see in your Minotaur write-up that you gave them a +1 racial bonus to Reflex if the player selects Constitution as a secondary attribute boost. Do you think it would be best to do something like that for the Naurung? That's really my only concern with these "floating" attribute boosts that are de rigueur as of PHBIII; if the player selects a secondary attribute that has the same NAD boost as its primary attribute, I feel like you need to have a provision in place to address that. My idea, up until pretty much the moment I posted this thread, was to include a +1 racial bonus to Will if the player selects Strength as their secondary attribute. I decided to strip it away at the last minute, though, because I was afraid of overpowering the race. Do you think it's a good idea to toss it back on?
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