Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Nagaji

Nagaji are an unusual race, humanoid snakes who were created by the Naga.  Although they lack a cohesive, definitive ability, their small bonuses come together to make competent melee characters or dabblers.

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +2 Strength, +2 Charisma, -2 Intelligence. A combination of Strength and Charisma bonuses is relatively rare, and it makes Nagaji perfect as Paladins and battle Oracles. You can also put together an excellent Dragon Disciple build with them!

Size: Nagaji are Medium size, just like humans.

Speed: Nagaji move the same speed as humans.

Armored Scales: Nagaji gain a +1 natural armor bonus, a nice perk which will benefit everybody, particularly those melee characters.

Resistant: +2 against mind-effecting and poison is always nice, though not the strongest trait.

Serpent's Sense: +2 on Perception (the most used skill in the game), with an extra +2 on Handle Animal just for kicks.

Low-light Vision: As with all the other races that have low-light, this is just not as useful as darkvision would be, but it can come in handy in some situations.

Alternate Racial Traits:
Hypnotic Gaze [Serpent's Sense]: Unfortunately, the spell that this allows you to mimic only affects up to 2d4 HD of creatures.  While you might get some use of this early on, the Perception bonus will see greater use and longevity.

Melee characters are going to benefit most from the Nagaji's ability distribution and natural armor, even better if they can take advantage of that Charisma bonus.  Pure Charisma casters will also do well.  This places the Paladin, melee Bard, and melee Oracle at the top of the list, with Cleric and Ninja following close behind.  Sorcerers and Summoners gain a bit from the Charisma, but a move into Dragon Disciple will really benefit.

The straight melee martials have little to lose, but in general they'd prefer the intelligence to the Charisma. Nagaji make competent BarbariansCavaliersFighters, Rogues, and Monks, and even Rangers and Inquisitors in melee. There is little to recommend the Druid, or Gunslinger (thought Mysterious Stranger helps with the Gunslinger).  The Magus suffers from the -2 Int penalty, but strength and natural armor help somewhat to mitigate this.

Lastly, the Alchemist, Witch, and Wizard have virtually nothing to gain from the Nagaji, and suffer a penalty to intelligence besides.  A vivisectionist Alchemist can do a better job, and perhaps take advantage of the facial favored class option.

Racial Favored Class Options:
Alchemist: It is difficult to raise the DC of poisons, and a +1/3 on the poisons you create isn't at all bad.  It's not enough to scale with Fortitude saves, but it helps and can make for a fun character concept.

Fighter: A situational +1 to CMD isn't too hot, but grapple and trip are extremely common and can be game changing.

Monk: +1/4 to a ki pool is great, and let me tell you why.  Lets say you have a free feat slow and are trying to decide between hit points and 1/4 ki for your favored class.  A character who takes hit points as favored class and Extra Ki as a feat will have 20 extra hit points and 2 extra ki by level 20.  A character who takes the +1/4 to ki as favored class and Toughness as feat will have 20 extra hit points and 5 extra ki by level 20.  

Summoner: With life link, +1 hp to the eidolon isn't to different from +1 hp to yourself.  Better with the hp yourself - if your eidolon dies, he can always come back.

Racial Archetype:
Naga Aspirant (Druid): The Naga Aspirant completely changes the flavor of the Druid while keeping and in many cases enhancing it's abilities. You can no longer easily summon allies, but you gain a bunch of wizard spells (including charm person, fireball, and greater invisibility).  Your bonus against fey is swapped for a bonus against naga (less useful, but hey).  The most interesting aspect, however, is that you now transform into a naga instead of an animal.  At lower levels, this naga is more powerful than the potential wild shape animals it replaces.  However, it quickly becomes outclassed by vanilla wild shape.

Racial Feat:
Spit Venom: Blinded is a good penalty, but it takes a full round action to use and you need to be within 10 feet.  If you are that close, you probably want to engage in melee anyway.