Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Gillmen

Gillmen are gilled human who were once, essentially, from Atlantis.  They function just fine on land - as long as they get their daily dose of submersion.

Racial Traits: 
Ability Scores: Gillmen gain +2 Constitution and +2 Charisma, but lose -2 Wisdom.  This prepares them to be charisma casters or paladins.

Type: Gillmen have the aquatic subtype, meaning little except they have some unique interactions with a few spells and abilities.

Size: Gillmen are the same size as humans.

Swim Speed: Gillmen move at the same speed as humans on land, and have a base Swim speed of 30 feet.

Enchantment Resistant: Gillmen gain +2 against enchantment spells and effects.  Against aboleths this changes to a -2 penalty, but that's probably not going to come up too often.

Water Dependent: This is in some ways the definitive ability of the race.  A Gillman must submerge himself in water at least once a day, or die within 4d6 hours (on average 14 hours).  There are a number of ways to deal with this but all of them can be taken away with a short prison stay or bad luck.  The most obvious way is to stay near water at all times, but this isn't always feasible.  Next, simply have the ability to (or have a good friend who can) cast create water and get into a bath.  You can also get a decanter of endless water, or fill up a bag of holding with a large quantity of water, to be poured out whenever you like.

Ambphibious: Gillmen can breath both water and air.  This is likely to come up at least a few times in any campaign, and certainly more frequently in an aquatic campaign.

Alternate Race Traits:
Riverfolk [Water Dependent]: Vulnerability is pretty terrible, especially against the most common energy type.  If you take this, you will die from the odd fireball. Stick with water dependent.

Slimehunter [Enchantment Resistance]: Trade in your +2 bonus against enchantment against everything except abolish to a +2 bonus against just abolish.  Gag.

Throwback [Swim, Amphibious, Water Dependent]: This basically undoes a lot of the gillmen's abilities, trading out the swim speed an amphibious to get rid of water dependancy.  Basically all you are left with is enchantment resistance and the ability score distribution.  Why not just pick another race?

Gillmen make for great charisma based Casters and Charisma dabblers, and their aquatic abilities are good for anyone.  The Oracle, Summoner, and Sorcerer are all good choices from a straight casting perspective. The Paladin can also make great use of the Constituion and Charisma bonus, and his abilities somewhat mitigate the Wisdom hit.  The Bard is another great choice.
The Ninja, Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger, and many Cavaliers can also make use of the Charisma, but are hit by a low Will save.  Luckily, the bonus against enchantment is a help.
Beyond that it's pretty middling.  Barbarians, Fighters, and Rogues all benefit from the Constitution bonus, but not much else.  Wizards, Witches, Magus, and Alchemists suffer no real bonuses, but no real penalties either.  The Cleric enjoys the Charisma and Constitution, but a -2 penalty to your casting ability score hurts.
Last, we have those who rely on Wisdom to get around.  There is no incentive to play a Druid, Inquisitor, Monk, or Ranger outside the Constitution bonus, but at that point you are really clutching for straws.

Racial Favored Class Options:
Fighter: +1 to your CMD against any two combat maneuvers is pretty strong.  Trip and grapple are good choices, as those come up far more than any other.

Rogue: 1/6 of a rogue talent is great, netting you an additional three rogue talents across 18 levels.  Far better than the alternatives.

Sorcerer: One of the biggest weaknesses of the sorcerer's spellcasting is the number of his spells known.  This option shores this up nicely.

Wizard: On the other hand, Wizards can easily learn new spells. Skip it.

Racial Archetypes:
Eldritch Raider (Rogue): The Eldritch Raider is a rogue with magical trappings.  You get at will use magic device, which is good but somewhat redundant if you have somebody else who can cast it, and you gain a reasonable bonus to use Magic Device, which can be very useful if you are that kind of rogue.  For these, you give up trap sense, a rogue talent, and 2 skill points per level.  You also gain access to cast a few 2nd and 3rd level spells a day with a pretty heavy investment.  There's nothing particularly wrong with the bonuses this archetype gives, but I would definitely not recommend the magic rogue talent tree.  If you like these capabilities and flavor, and don't need the sneak attack, then consider an archeologist bard instead.  They can make better use of your charisma in any case.

Racial Feats:
Unusual Origins: Your divination spells manifest at +1 caster level, and once per day when immersed you can cast augury.  Divination spells usually don't rely much on caster level, but  daily augury if fun.  It's flavorful and interesting, though not too mechanically useful.  Worth a shot if you are into that kind of thing.

1 comment:

  1. This race is a lot better than most give it credit for.
    1. If you like flavor, it is perfect. You always have your home underwater with your fellows. Lots of great story there. That, and it isn't strictly a human or half elf (thank goodness).
    2. It has a built in weakness. Any hero needs a weakness, and this is one you have to figure out how to play around.
    3. Mechnically it makes for one of the best Sorcerers you can get. The wis penalty doesn't hurt much since will is your highest save anyway. the cha and con bonus are necessary for a good sorcerer. And to top it off, the racial FC bonus is amazing. You fall into the same boat as half elf and human for those of us who are tired of playing vanilla humans and half elves all the time.

    It would be really cool to take one of these to 20 as sorc with aquatic bloodline.