Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Vanara

Vanara are furry monkey humans who live in the forest.  Agile and with a climb speed and tail, they play pretty much as you'd expect.

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity and Wisdom, -2 Charisma is a good distribution.  Charisma is a classic dump ability score, and everybody benefits from Dexterity (and, to a lesser degree, Wisdom.

Size: Medium - these are big monkeys!

Speed: 30 ft with a 30 feet Climb Speed.  Next to Fly, Climb is probably the most useful speed in the game.  It's great for getting around, preventing fall damage, and being generally monkey-like.

Nimble: +2 to Acrobatics and Stealth, which works well with the Climb speed.

Low-Light Vision: I'll take low-light vision over nothing.  Not as good as Darkvision, but still handy dandy.

Prehensile Tail: This trait is pretty deep into GM fiat territory, but it can range from harmless fluff to game breaking cheese (I'm looking at you, firearm reloading). Results may vary.

Alternate Racial Traits:
Tree Stranger [Climb Speed]: The loss of your climb speed is a pretty harsh price to pay, but treating all Knowledge skills as class skills is pretty good.  Still, out adventuring you are more likely to use climb.

Whitecape [Prehensile Tail]: It is very possible that you won't be using your prehensile tail for anything.  If that's the case, then you could trade it for a situational CMD bonus.  It's only against bull rush or trip though, so not too useful.

Wisdom, Dexterity, and a Climb speed are great for a lot of classes, ranged, melee, and casters included.
The Gunslinger is an obvious choice, as are ranged Zen Archer Monks, Rangers, and Inquisitors.  Their melee counterparts are no slouches either, still firmly in the Blue.  Druid is another good option.  Less obvious is the Empyreal Sorcerer, who keys off of Wisdom, and the Divine Strategist Cleric, who doesn't channel.
Next comes basically everybody else.  Cavaliers, Fighters, Barbarians, Alchemists, Rogues, and Magus all appreciate the bonuses - their ranged counterparts more than their melee counterparts.
The Ninja, Cleric, Paladin, and Bard can all somewhat work around the Charisma penalty, and take advantage of everything else.  The Witch and Wizard are also in this category - you'd be better off with somebody who gets an Intelligence buff.
Last is the Oracle, Sorcerer, and Summoner, who can't really work around the Charisma penalty.

Racial Favored Class Bonuses:
Alchemist: +1/2 damage to your bomb damage is great - it will comprise about 1/8th of your total bomb damage.

Druid: +1/2 to Wild Empathy and Handle Animal is flavorful, but just not too interesting.

Fighter: Reposition isn't something you have to worry about too much, but trip could be.  Something to consider, but I would recommend just sticking with the extra HP.

Monk: +1 to Acrobatics to jump is loads of fun, but as a monk you'll have plenty of this anyway. I wouldn't worry about it.

Ranger: +1/4 dodge bonus to AC against favored enemies is fairly good, especially when you get more favored enemies to work with.  Better than the extra HP against those guys.

Rogue: +1/6 rogue talent is much more powerful than just an HP.  Use it to save a feat for toughness, and you will have made back more than you gave up.

Racial Archetypes:
Treetop Monk (Monk): It's flavorful, but that's about it.  You are better at climbing, and ever so marginally better with wooden weapons.  For these you give up the very useful Still Mind and Purity of Body.  The only potentially useful trade-off is one-turn freedom of movements instead of Abundant Step (dimension door), making getting out of grapple easy peasy.

Racial Feats:
Tree Hanger: You always gain +2 to CMD against trip, and when you can hang you gain +2 to bullrush, drag, and reposition.  This is fairly situational, but could be used in many forest, jungle, and some indoor environments.  However, the bonuses are really not worth justifying a full feat.  Maybe a trait.

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