Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Grippli

Gripplis are small-sized humanoids who look like walking frogs. They are rare in Golarion and so not many people see them. Their small size makes them great at hiding (especially in swampy areas). They remind me of poison dart frogs, as some of them can even extrude a poison from their skin!

Racial Traits:

Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -2 Strength. Grippli are nimble and alert, but a bit physically weak. Like most small-sized creatures, this makes them great at hiding and sneaking up on enemies, as well as spotting traps.

Size: Gripplis are small creatures, so they get a bonus to attack, AC, and Stealth. They aren’t slow like some other Small creatures, so there’s really no negative to having a small size for a Grippli!

Type: Gripplis are humanoids with the grippli subtype.

Speed: Gripplis have a base speed of 30, unlike most small creatures, and they also have a climb speed of 20, so climbing trees and walls is a piece of cake!

Camouflage: In addition to their +4 to Stealth from being small, gripplis also get a +4 racial bonus to Stealth in marshy or forested areas. Since this bonus is dependent on your surroundings, I think that the Toxic Skin alternate racial trait shown below is probably better overall.

Swamp Stride: I don’t know how much you plan to be hanging out in swamps in your campaign, but if you do find yourself in a swamp, your grippli character can ignore nonmagical difficult terrain. Not a very exciting ability, in my opinion, so I would trade it out for Toxic Skin.

Weapon Familiarity: Proficiency with nets can come in extremely handy, since nets are an exotic weapon. This is essentially a free feat!

Darkvision: I’m sure you’re aware by now how I feel about darkvision. It’s good. Case closed.
Alternate Racial Traits:

Glider [Swamp Stride]: This is a pretty cool ability, allowing your grippli character to glide around as she’s falling, and take significantly less damage from the fall. For any non-melee character, this is a pretty decent option, though for melee characters Toxic Skin is too good to pass up.

Jumper [Camouflage]: Replacing a situational bonus to Stealth with the ability to Jump from a standing position is a pretty even tradeoff. I would say if you like this one, grab it, but Toxic Skin is just overall better in my opinion.

Princely [Swamp Stride, Weapon Familiarity]: For a non-martial character who is also playing the party face, like a Sorcerer or Oracle, this is a pretty good option. A +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate can go a long way in negotiations. You’ll also get proficiency with the rapier, which is a great weapon. If you’re not worried about being poisonous, this is a solid choice.

Toxic Skin [Swamp Stride, Camouflage]: Being able to exude your own poison is pretty excellent, though I do wish that it was usable based on Con modifier instead of just once per day. Six rounds of 1d2 Dexterity damage can be pretty debilitating, and unlike poisons that you buy, the save DC on this one gets better and better as you go up in level. This is a great choice for any melee character.

Alchemist: This is the only class that a grippli gets a racial archetype option for, and it’s an even better option if you picked the Toxic Skin racial trait, because the favored class option gives you more uses of that poison per day! The Bogborn Alchemist archetype replaces Throw Anything with a modified form of mutagen that grants your grippli the amphibious special ability (meaning she can breathe underwater!) and a swim speed of 15 feet. This is great for any aquatic environment, obviously, as well as getting across a fast-moving river. It’s important to note, though, that giving up Throw Anything also means you don’t get to add your Intelligence bonus to thrown splash weapon damage (including bombs) and most bomb-focused alchemists rely on that damage. Instead, I would suggest taking the Vivisectionist archetype to gain sneak attack damage instead of bombs, because of the huge bonuses to Stealth that your grippli will have. You’ll also definitely want to pick up two new Alchemist discoveries written just for grippli Alchemists, Chameleon and Deadly Excretions. Chameleon gives you ANOTHER +4 to your Stealth checks, increasing to +8 at 10th level, and Deadly Excretions makes your racial poison alternately deal Constitution damage instead of Dexterity damage.

Barbarian: A Strength penalty hurts grippli Barbarians (just like gnomes and halflings), and nothing else really says “grippli Barbarians rock!” to me, so I’m gonna say this is a sub-optimal choice.

Bard: Nothing’s really helping or hurting you as a grippli Bard (though the idea of a frog singing makes me all warm and fuzzy inside) so go for it if you want!

Cavalier [Samurai]: Small size doesn’t really lend toward being an excellent melee cavalier, but a ranged build is a different story. If you take the Luring Cavalier archetype, your Dexterity bonus will be very helpful, and I also love the fact that you can combine the Beast Rider archetype with that, so that your grippli Cavalier can ride a thematic mount like a hippo or a giant snapping turtle! If you go the Samurai route, you’re stuck with a pony or wolf, but you can still make a great mounted Samurai!

Cleric: The Wisdom boost will help with your Cleric spells, and make sure to pick a thematic domain, or grab the Trickery [Deception] domain to make use of your excellent Stealth bonuses!

Druid: Like a Cleric, you’ll get a boost to spellcasting thanks to the Wisdom bonus. I also like the idea of a grippli Druid who rides around on his giant frog companion (with the Jumper feat, of course!).

Fighter: There’s nothing wrong with a grippli Fighter, though you’ll probably want to stick with a ranged build to make use of the Dexterity bonus.

Gunslinger: A grippli can make a very nice Gunslinger, as the Wisdom bonus will help with grit points, and the Dex bonus obviously boosts your attack bonus. I recommend the Pistolero archetype, as it’s flat-out better than the basic Gunslinger.

Inquisitor: Like the Cleric and Druid, the grippli’s racial Wisdom bonus makes the Inquisitor a good choice, and you’ll probably want to use a ranged build to make use of the Dex bonus.

Magus: Without an Intelligence bonus, a grippli isn’t going to be the best Magus out there, and most Magus builds require a decent Strength score as well. One fun option would be to grab the Agile Tongue feat and use it to deliver touch spells instead of your melee weapons.

Monk: A grippli can make for an excellent Dex-based monk, thanks to the bonuses to Wisdom and Dex. I don’t think there are any archetypes that specifically work well for gripplis, but overall gripplis make great Monks.

Oracle: A grippli Oracle of Waves makes thematic sense, but without a Charisma bonus you’re not going to be the most optimal Oracle out there.

Paladin [Antipaladin]: Paladin is one of the worst choices for Grippli, with a penalty to Strength, no bonuses to Con or Charisma, and no archetypes or feats to offset these isssues.

Ranger: A bow-focused grippli Ranger can work out very well, and if you are interested in making the most of your animal companion, grab the Beastmaster archetype and take the giant frog companion!

Rogue [Ninja]: With the grippli’s insane bonuses to Stealth, grippli Rogues are almost as good at being sneaky as goblins are! Make sure to Toxic Skin racial trait and make use of that poison on your sneak attacks. The Chameleon archetype fits VERY well with a gripply who spends a lot of time in the swamps, so that’s one great option. You’ll probably want the Agile Tongue feat so that you can use Sleight of Hand checks and steal or disarm maneuvers from up to 10 feeet away!

Sorcerer: Grippli Sorcerers can work just fine, though there’s not really anything good or bad about this option. The Aquatic and Verdant bloodlines are both great options for a grippli. Also remember that you can go with the Empyreal bloodline to take advantage of the grippli’s Wisdom bonus.

Summoner: Nothing says a grippli can’t be a good Summoner, but there’s nothing specifically going for you either.

Witch: Same story here as with the Sorcerer and Summoner, there’s nothing saying you can’t make a great grippli Witch, but it’s not optimal.

Wizard: Just like the Witch, no Intelligence bonus means you can make a good, but not optimal, Wizard.
Racial Favored Class Options:

Alchemist: This is a really great favored class option, assuming you picked Toxic Skin as a racial option. You get one more use per day for every four levels of Alchemist you have, and that’s a great bonus!

Druid: Concentration checks don’t come up terribly often unless you run a weird melee-caster combination build, so I’d stick with a hit point instead of this option.

Gunslinger: A bonus to two of your best grit abilities, utility shot or dead shot, is an excellent choice, so I would definitely go with this option.

Rogue: Perception checks are very important for a Rogue, though this only works in a forest or swamp, so if you’re not planning to be in those terrains often, you should take a skill point instead.

Ranger: This option is only useful if you know that you’ll be swimming often, but in that case it’s a really good favored class option.
Racial Archetype:

Bogborn Alchemist (Alchemist, duh): This archetype only actually has one replacement power, which trades out Throw Anything for a swim speed of 15 feet and the ability to breathe underwater when using your mutagen. The real treat here are the grippli discoveries, Chameleon, Deadly Excretions, and Underwater Demolition. That third one doesn’t really interest me much, but Chameleon gives you an additional +4 to Stealth, and Deadly Excretions lets you alter your racial poison to deal Constitution damage, so both of those are excellent choices.
Racial Feat:

Agile Tongue: I like this feat, because it gives you a bunch of different options for things that you can do from 10 feet away, including delivering touch spells (both offensively and defensively!). Grippli Rogues will also like the idea of making Sleight of Hand checks to steal items from 10 feet away... wow!

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