Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Vishkanya

Vishkanya are graceful, scaled, fork-tounged humanoids.  They are experts with poison, and able to generate a (fairly weak) poison from their saliva.

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Wisdom.  This ability score distribution leaves enough classes open, though the Wisdom hit will hurt your Will save just a bit.

Size: Vishkanya are the same size as humans.

Speed: Vishkanya have the standard 30ft base movement speed.

Poison Resistance: +1 against poison per HD is pretty strong.  It's not poison immunity, but it at higher levels it might as well be.

Keen Senses: Woot, +2 to Perception!

Limber: +2 to Escape Artist and Stealth fits into the scout type character who would be most likely to use poison on his blades.

Low-Light Vision: Darkvision is way better than low-light vision, because realistically most DMs don’t really worry about lighting conditions except for darkness. Still, it's nice to have around.

Poison Use: You can't poison yourself now!  If you get this from a class already, try to trade it away with an archetype.

Toxic: This is the Vishkanya's definitive ability - the ability to generate poison and apply it to weapons.  The good news is that it is a swift action and it doesn't cost money - you don't give up actions or money to use it.  The okay news is that you can use it a number of times equal to your Constitution Modifier, and the Fort Save is 10 +1/2 HD + Con, so you have to Buff your Con to make it effective.  For a frame of reference, that's a DC of 15 at level 6 for a 14 Con character (and only twice a day).  The bad news is that it's really not that effective. It only deals 1d2 Dexterity damage for 6 rounds, and only requires 1 save.  So, even if you hit it's not going to do very much.

Weapon Familiarity: Blowguns, kukri, and shuriken are all useful weapons, and good to have.  Shuriken in particular can be great with sneak attack or poison.

Alternate Race Traits:
Sensual [Keen Senses]: Lose out on Perception for Perform?  No thank you.

Subtle Appearance [Low-Light Vision]: Low-light vision isn't that useful, but neither is Disguise to look like human.  If it's crucial to your flavor then consider it.  Otherwise, ignore it.

Dexterity and the poison are going to help martials of both the ranged and melee variety, and the Charisma and Dexterity will help Charisma casters.
The BardNinjaPaladin, and Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger, do well on the martial side of things, particularly their ranged varieties.  On the caster side, the OracleSummoner, and Sorcerer will benefit, though may have a tougher time using the poison.
Next come the Alchemist, BarbarianCavalier, Rogue, and Fighter.  Consider tanking with any of these guys and raising your Con to improve your poison.  Again, ranged is slightly better here.
A lower level Cleric can be built focusing on channeling, healing, and ranged which fits the Vishkanya, but that Wisdom penalty is always going to hurt..
There is a slight gap, after which comes a host of classes that key partially off of the lowered Wisdom.  The Gunslinger, Inquisitor, Monk, and Ranger all lose from the Wisdom penalty, but are able to use the poison fairly well.  The Magus, Witch, and Wizard don't gain or lose too much, but aren't able to use their poison very effectively.
Only the Druid fits into red, and even then it's questionable.  He loses out on his primary spell casting, and (probably) can't poison while whildshaped, but can at least gain from the Dexterity bonus.

Racial Favored Class Bonuses:
Bard: More bardic performance is good.  Better than your alternatives.

Rogue: Rogues usually have pretty back CMD, so a bonus against grapple (or reposition) is useful. However, Rogues also usually have pretty bad HP and AC, so keeping the AC is probably more useful.

Sorcerer: More use of a first level bloodline power is normally not great.  However, there are a few bloodlines that you could consider it for.

Racial Archetypes:
Deadly Courtesan (Rogue): Now this is an interesting archetype!  You gain bardic performance for Fascinate and Inspire Competence.  Perhaps more important (but easy to overlook), you gain the ability to expend rounds of bardic performance for a morale bonus equal to the number of rounds you expended on one attack.  For these you give up trap sense, improved uncanny dodge, and one rogue feat.  If you don't plan on using those, it's well worth the trade.

Racial Feats: 
Sleep Venom: Ok, this makes your venom much better.  Instead of a pittance of Dexterity damage, the target is staggered for 1d4 rounds and then unconscious for one minute.  Staggered is an incredible debuff, and the target only gets to attempt one save.  A must have if your Constitution is 16 or higher, and still a good choice if it is lower.

1 comment:

  1. Vishkanya toxic becomes immensely more useful if a game uses the unchained poison variant rule. The poison being tied to constitution is still unfortunate, but the potential use as debuff is much more noticeable, especially since it becomes potentially lethal.