The Ri’aal

   The Ri’aal are a sample exotic race for Eclipse: The Codex Persona d20 point buy. Like most such, they’re as powerful as possible for a +1 ECL race. Players like that – and it fits in with my general policy of “no weak races”.

   The Ri’aal are an exotic, non-humanoid, race. While their body plan is vaguely feline – although a bit blockier, and with non-retractable claws – their bodies are covered with a mixture of feathers (which change color according to their moods) and iridescent scales covering vital areas, giving a somewhat serpentine impression. They normally move on four legs, but can rear back on two to use their paws. Unfortunately, their paws are impossibly clumsy. Ri’aal are not natural tool users, and their innate powers interfere with virtually all equipment – but their natural powers are often a fair substitute for such items. Why anyone would use “things” tends to be a bit beyond them and they virtually never carry anything. Those who associate with other races may occasionally consent to wearing a shoulder-pack, or even a potion bandoleer (although they cannot benefit from potions themselves), in order to assist their allies – or to carry some food more conveniently at lower levels. Higher-level Ri’aal usually develop the ability to store food extradimensionally for use on long journeys.

   Ri’aal normally weigh about 160 pounds, do not wear clothing, and never carry anything except, occasionally, a carcass in their jaws – and then only to somewhere to stash it or back to their den for the sick or young. Otherwise they usually feel that the best place for food is in their stomachs; a Ri’aal will often devour several days worth of food, sleep for a few hours, and then eat nothing else for days. They normally live on raw meat and small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and grains – although those who associate with other races may develop a taste for dried, cooked, or even spiced meat.

   Even a non-adventuring Ri’aal can be quite dangerous. As wilderness chase-and-pounce-hunters, they will normally be skilled in evasion, tracking, climbing, melee combat, and wilderness survival. They will possess innate magical powers – normally including Mage Armor, Self-Healing, and some sort of ranged attack to fend off other predators – they are resistant to physical attacks, and have formidable jaws and talons. There is no such thing as a “commoner” Ri’aal.

   The Ri’aal find the very concept of using external “equipment” – or of engaging in complex manipulations – utterly alien. Whenever they attempt to do so they must roll twice when attempting any task related to the item in question, accepting the worst result (thus, for example, using armor or a weapon penalizes all combat checks). For the Ri’aal, learning to manage a doorknob, or to use Mage hand to do so, is the height of technological sophistication.

   Ri’aal don’t normally live in cities, and rarely even come into towns unless they’re accompanying (or moving in on) a personal friend – but they do make friends relatively easily. They are, like most sentient races, sexually active year round, but are only fertile for a month or so each year. A pair will usually produce a litter of 2-3 kits every four to five years. Sadly, young Ri’aal have an unfortunately high casualty rate – although those which opt to hang around with friends of other races after leaving their parents have a better survival rate, hence the practice is gradually becoming more and more common. Their culture is pretty much entirely oral, although the best storytellers are capable of creating small illusions to illustrate their tales. They tend to be individually relatively kind, but predatory – and have a difficult time with larger-scale morality. They don;t normally associate with groups of more than four or five themselves, and find it difficult to wrap their minds around large-scale “social contracts” and ethical concerns.

Ri’aal Racial Build:

   Racial Limitations: Restrictions on Armor, Weapons/Tools, Physical Manipulations, and Recorded Symbology (including symbols, hieroglyphs, writing, and so on), for +4 CP/Level. Disadvantages: Restriction points automatically go to the Ri’aal’s Innate Enchantments, below (+3 CP), and Inept (as solitary or small-group hunters, the Ri’aal are relatively poorly socialized and suffer a -1 on all Chr based skills other than Intimidation-based effects, +3 CP)

Racial Abilities (+1 ECL Race, up to 63 CP base + 6 CP from racial disadvantages).

  • Fast Learner (6 CP): Specialized in Innate Enchantment abilities, for a +2 CP-per-level bonus.
  • Innate Enchantment (0 CP + 6 CP from Restrictions and Fast Learner): Specialized and Corrupted: Blocks the use of magical, psionic, and advanced technological items and the total value of the developed powers cannot exceed the amount of treasure normally allowed for a character of two levels higher). Powers are normally constructed using the rules in The Practical Enchanter. (6 CP, for a base vale of 15,000 and a bonus of 18,000 per level – including L1. (This will amount to a base total of 375,000 GP at L20, but a Ri’aal will not be able to use his or her full innate potential until around L15).
  • Immunity/The normal XP cost of developing Innate Enchantments (6 CP): This is an Uncommon effect (3 CP), but would amount to a full one-level penalty over levels 1-20 (Major, +3 CP), and defaults to Major resistance (no adjustment), for a net cost of 6 CP.
  • Immunity/Dispelling and Countermagical Effects (6 CP): (Common, 6 CP base, Minor (a short-term disruption) no modifier, and Major Resistance – effects of up to L5, no modifier). This is Specialized in protecting their Innate Enchantments for double effect: they are unaffected by dispelling and countermagical effects of level ten or less.
  • Imbuement/Unarmed Attacks (6 CP): Unarmed attacks gain a (+Level/7) enhancement bonus. Points from this bonus may be traded in for special weapons powers or for attacks to count as if made with special materials (at +1 per material). Once such a choice is made it cannot be changed later on without further improvements. Serious Ri’aal adventurers may want to upgrade this ability later on.
  • Damage Reduction 6/- (6 CP): Specialized: only versus physical damage (double effect from 3/-).
  • Defender/Natural Armor (6 CP): Specialized: does not increase with level, +2 Natural Armor.
  • Martial Arts/Natural Weapons (6 CP): 1d6 base unarmed damage, considered armed when unarmed in melee combat).
  • Occult Sense/Darksight (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Scent (6 CP).
  • Celerity/+10′ Ground Movement (6 CP).
  • Attribute Shift (6 CP): -2 Charisma, +2 to any other attribute.
  • Skill Bonuses (3 CP): +1 to Spot, +1 to Listen, and +1 to any one Knowledge Skill.

   The Ri’aal will tend to start falling behind the general power curve at very high levels, since the ever-increasing treasure allotments will begin to leave their innate powers far, far, behind – but their immunity to dispelling and ability to ignore “item slots” partially makes up for it. At high levels they tend to be talented generalists. Like all our characters and races, the Ri’aal are built using the point-buy rules from Eclipse: The Codex Persona. Their innate enchantments are best designed using The Practical Enchanter. If you don’t happen to have those, here are some links:

   Eclipse: The Codex Persona: Print Edition (Lulu.Com), Electronic Edition (Lulu.Com), Electronic Edition (RPGNow.Com), Shareware Edition (at RPGNow.Com), and Shareware Edition (Box.Net Download).

   The Practical Enchanter: Print Edition (Lulu.Com), Electronic Edition (Lulu.Com), Electronic Edition (RPGNow.Com), Shareware Edition (at RPGNow.Com), and Shareware Edition (Box.Net Download). Handy for designing special powers and items. There’s a nice RPGNow Staff Review too.