Saturday, June 16, 2018

Swamp Lizardmen of the Elysian Empire

As it should be obvious from my blog's title, I love lizards! And other reptiles as well.

The lizardmen of the Elysian Empire are utterly primitive. They are also thoroughly Neutral. For the most part, they prefer to keep to themselves, eat fish, and mount sporadic raids on ill-defended human settlements and caravans. However, occasionally a particularly bright - in lizardman terms, that is - individual may sometimes seek greater glory and more impressive trophies than those available in the swamp. Enterprising players may recruit such individuals as henchmen. Alternatively, at the Judge's discretion, a player may play such savage beast.

As you probably know, my commercial product for ACKS, Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu, has a civilized lizardman race. However, in more typical ACKS settings, such as the Dark Inheritance mini-campaign, such civilization is far from the grasp of the savage reptilian swamp-dwellers. The following racial template applies to lizardman player characters and adventuring NPCs of standard ACKS worlds.

A lizardman looks like an upright, anthropomorphic Water Monitor, with a long, thick tail, a forked tongue, and a muscle mass befitting a large reptile. Lizardmen are warm-blooded and are technically omnivores but prefer eating fresh fish over vegetables or fruits.

Lizardmen are less active in the winter in cold climates. They retreat to their underground warrens - often with underwater entrances - and hide there. They still fiercely defend the warrens against attacks, but do not raid settlements and do not waylay travelers until the spring. They sleep for many hours a day and eat preserved (usually smoked or dried) food in the winter months. In warmer climates, they are active year-round. However, would-be conquerors who might see "hibernating" lizardmen as easy prey should beware: the shamans still have their spiritual "eyes" open, even when they hide underground and even when they sleep.

Lizardmen can reproduce both sexually and asexually, just like some real-life lizards (for example, certain Whiptail lizards; Komodo Dragons) can. A single female lizardman (lizardwoman?) can start an entire new tribe of her virgin-born daughters and their lineage of daughters. If they come across males, they can mate with them and have sexually-produced offsprings as well (and male offsprings in general). Lizasrdmen are egg-layers; parents guard their eggs until they hatch. The hatchling - a small lizardman - can take care of itself from the moment it hatches. Adults let the young dwell with them in the village, but the young feed themselves on carrion or by fishing in the swamp.

How is this race, and class, related to the 2+1 HD lizardmen from the ACKS monsters chapter, you ask? You see, the swamp lizardman is primordially Neutral. Most lizardmen in the Elysian Empire and around it are Neutral. A Neutral lizardman is typically only 1 HD. A few lizardmen, however, despite their primordial tendency towards neutrality, do come to the worship of the Chaotic deity Bokrug. Such cultists gain immense power from their dread god, in return to horrid sacrifices. This power finds its expression in the default 2+1 HD of "monstrous" core-book lizardmen.

Swamp lizardman Racial Template
Swamp lizardman character classes are created using the lizardman racial category and experience points. Requirements, class category values, hit points per level after 9th, and experience point progressions are modified as noted below.

All lizardman classes require a minimum Strength of 9 or better and may not have Intelligence above 9.

Class category Values:
  • Fighting: The build points allocated to the class’s Fighting Value may be increased by 1 or 2 points by the lizardman Value (see below). Use the effective values to find the class’s fighting abilities, up to a maximum of 4 points.
  • Arcane: lizardmen may not have any Arcane value.
Lizardman 0 (XP Cost 350): At lizardman 0, the class will have the following five custom powers:
  • Fangs and Claws: The character gains a claw/claw/bite attack routine. The claws deal 1d3-1 damage each, while the bite deals 1d6-1 damage.
  • Inhumanity: The character is a beastman. He suffers a -2 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of men. The character gets a +2 bonus to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of lizardmen.
  • Scaly Hide: The character’s base unarmored AC is 3 instead of 0. The character has a base movement rate of only 60'.
  • Primordial Mind: lizardmen were lizardmen, and lived in the same simple way, for eons. Their primitive, antediluvian minds are difficult to sway by sophisticated sorcery. Thus, the lizardman gains a +4 bonus to saving throws vs. mind-affecting magic.
  • Swimming: The character gains a swimming movement rate of 120' per turn. The character may hold his breath for 1 turn.
Lizardman 1 (XP Cost 850): Lizardman 0 + Fighting 1

Lizardman 2 (XP Cost 1,350): Lizardman 0 + Fighting 1 + HP 1

Lizardman 3 (XP Cost 1,850): Lizardman 0 + Fighting 2 + HP 1

Lizardman 4 (XP Cost 2,350): Lizardman 0 + Fighting 2 + HP 2

A lizardman’s claw and/or bite damage will be modified by the character’s STR adjustment and damage bonus. However, lizardmen cannot use their fangs and claws while wielding weapons, using shields, or wearing Armour heavier than chain mail.

Experience Point Progression After 8th Level
Lizardmen increase the amount of experience required to gain each level after 8th by 45,000XP.

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