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More Powerful Planetouched

posted Thursday, April 20th 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame DesignGame Material

We all know that tiefling and aasimar are a shade underpowered for +1 level adjustment. Sean K Reynolds has admitted this in the past, pointing out that everyone would play them if they were +0 level adjustment but some people would still play them at +1, and that a better solution than the level adjustment system couldn’t be found.

If you want to encourage the planetouched races in your game by giving them a little boost, here’s my house rules on the topic.

First, make the race a template – why should only humans get to have extraplanar ancestors? Thus there now exist in your world aasimar elves and tiefling dwarves. The character gains both the benefits of the base creature as well as the planetouched race, and these stack – for example, a tiefling elf has (amongst other things) +4 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, and -2 Charisma, and treats both rogue and wizard as his favoured class. He retains the Outsider (native) type regardless of the base creature.

A “plain” aasimar or tiefling in this variant is simply a planetouched human. He is as the standard tiefling but with the bonus feat, the bonus skill point per level and can treat any class as his favoured class. An alternative to this is that

The effect of this on your game world is that planetouched should be more common to fit with how often players choose them, and there should be some explanation for this such as planar war in the world’s history. This also means that you will have planetouched monsters – good-aligned aasimar minotaurs guarding holy sites, well-organized bands of tiefling orcs with devil ancestors – but don’t overuse this! Remember that planetouched races have resistance 5 to several elements, which at low levels can make opponents immune to most of the wizard’s offensive spells.

In truth I haven’t worked out yet how tiefling-as-a-template affects a creature’s challenge rating – perhaps it brings a CR1/2 creature up to CR1, but then perhaps it’s not even worth that much. It’s probably something best decided on a case-by-case basis.

Comments

  1. Ishan

    September 10th, 2006

    Uh, that’s a bit scary, the minute I saw “race template” I immediately thought of tiefling halflings. The Realms are not ready for the kind of breakage I could do with that.

  2. Jonathan Drain

    September 11th, 2006

    There are worse things you can do with +1 level adjustment than start with 22 Dexterity.

  3. brandon

    October 12th, 2006

    first, look at the description of half-fiend and half-celestials, they both can be added to any corporeal humanoid. so under planetouched description where is describes them as human is an oversite on the editors part. planetouched are descendants of half-fiend/celestial. ex. if a fiend breeds with a gnome (stop laughing) the offspring would be a half-fiend gnome, if said half-fiend reproduced with another unfortunate gnome it would create a planetouched gnome.
    second, the rules are made to be broken and are often wrong, hence v..3.5

  4. Quicksilver

    August 24th, 2009

    This is a very good point you make here. I have incorporated mixed planar race creatures in my besm tri-stat game, and I never asked myself why this wasn’t shown in D&D somewhere. I think i could enjoy this in the 3.5 games I play in.

    Earthen dwarves, airy elves, fiery dessert dwellers. This should’ve made it into the game a long time ago.

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