Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Shobhad

Shobhads are four armed giants who live in the deserts of a low-gravity planet.  A bit underwhelming for 29RP, this advanced race has fairly broad bonuses and no real penalties.  They are very similar to the four armed, desert dwelling Kasatha, right down to their ability scores and defensive training.

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom, +2 Strength (adjusted for Size). There are plenty of martials that key partially off Wisdom, so this is a strong ability score distribution.

Size: Shobhad are large.  This gives them reach and bonuses to CMB and CMD, but it also gives them some penalties to AC and attack.  The fact that they get to use large weapons bumps size up to a net positive.

Speed: Shobhad have a normal, 30 foot move speed.

Defensive Training, Greater: +2 to dodge bonus is great.  It goes away if you are flat footed, but that shouldn't happen too often.

Ferocity: Ferocity is a great ability, especially at low levels.  It allows you that extra turn to get out of combat or heal yourself when you are nearing death.

Stalker: Perception and Stealth are always class skills.  This isn't quite as broadly useful as a flat bonus, but it can potentially deliver more umph.  

Racial Weapon Proficiency: You get the Shobhad long rifle proficiency, a sniper rifle that only functions on low-gravity worlds. Unless you spend time on low-gravity worlds, this is absolutely useless. 

Jumper: This essentially halves the DC for jumps where you don't have a running start.  Usually you can get running starts in needed situations, but it's still useful.

Desert Stride: I'm not going to complain, but non-magical difficult terrain in desert environments probably isn't that common.

Multi-Armed: What can you actually do with four arms?  There are six things that stick out as options, but the rules get a bit muddled in these waters.  First, you can wield two-weapon fighting two different weapons with two hands each.  However, wielding a light weapon with two hands gives no advantage on damage, so you'd want to wield two large weapons and take the penalty to attack.  You could also potentially take two-weapon fighting and wield two projectile weapons.  Second, you have extra hands to reload firearms and crossbows, which is much more of a clear bonus.  Third, you can use a two-handed weapon and grab a shield as well.  If you can't think of another use for them, I would highly recommend going the shield route. Fourth, you can carry a litany of wands or metamagic rods for various uses, and be better able to choose on the fly without having to rifle through your backpack.  Fifth, if you grow two claws, you can use them in conjunction with two hands holding manufactured weapons.  There's even an argument to be made for being able to gain four claw natural attacks. Sixth, you can gain a bunch of extra attacks with multi-weapon fighting.

Shobhads have bonuses to Strength and Wisdom, opening up a range of classes.  With an AC bonus and Ferocity, melee classes are at an advantage.  Four arms allow them to either dual wield more effectively, quickly reload guns, or grab a shield.
The Gunslinger is the obvious choice.  The Shobhad can dual wield pistols while reloading them with his two free hands.  Hell, he can even grab a shield and then reload both pistols with his remaining free hand.  The Wisdom modifier also helps.  Consider the Pistolero archetype.
Inquisitors, Monks, and Rangers, all gain from the Wisdom modifier and Strength modifier, the AC buff, and the four arms.  On the more casting side, the Cleric and Druid have much to gain.
The Emyreal Sorcerer is another good choice, and can wield multiple wands and rods simultaneously.
A bit lower on the scale but still firmly in the blue come the straight martials: The Fighter, Barbarian, Cavalier, Rogue, and Ninja can all benefit from the strength, AC, and arms, and even the Wisdom buff provides a small bonus to lacking Willpower.  The Paladin falls into this category as well, able to wield a massive great sword in two hands and heavy shield in another. The Magus will be able to hold a two handed weapon in two hands and use spell combat with another, keeping another hand free for wands, rods or anything else.
The Bard and melee Oracle can still be competent, but don't gain to their main casting ability.
The Alchemist and pure casters, the Sorcerer, Wizard, Witch, and Summoner, have little to gain but also don't suffer any penalties to their main casting abilities. Their four arms can be used to wield multiple wands and rods in any case.

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