Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Wayangs

Wayangs are shadowy little creatures who are relatively rare in Golarion. They’re also the only race that is small size and has no Strength penalty, so they can do some fun things that other small races don’t excel at!
Racial Traits:

Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom. Wayangs are quick and good at reasoning, but not the wisest of the bunch. These scores make Wayangs excellent as Rogues and prepared casters.

Type: Wayangs are humanoids with the wayang subtype, so nothing special here.

Size: Wayangs are small-sized, so their natural stealthiness is even more enhanced from being small! The only bad thing about this is the slow speed.

Speed: Wayangs have a base speed of 20 feet.

Shadow Resistance: Wayangs get an inherent resistance to spells of the shadow subschool, which don’t come up a TON but could come in handy once in a while.

Lurker: A +2 to Stealth is excellent for these guys, making their overall inherent bonuses to Stealth at 1st level a total of +7! (+4 size, +2 racial, +1 Dex). They also get a +2 bonus to the best skill in the game, Perception!

Shadow Magic: Wayang casters get a +1 to the DCs of any shadow school spells that they cast, and get three racial spell-like abilities usable once per day, ghost sound, pass without trace, and ventriloquism, which are all fun if not the most useful spells out there.

Darkvision: Wayangs get darkvision 60, and as I’ve said before, darkvision is the best kind of visoin!

Light and Dark: This is a strange and unique ability, allowing a wayang to be treated as an undead for the effects of positive and negative energy once per day. For a necromancer, this ability could be really useful, so that you can heal yourself along with your undead creatures once per day, but otherwise I can’t really see a huge benefit.

Alternate Racial Traits:

Dissolution’s Child [Shadow Magic]: This ability is strange, because it says you turn into a four-foot tall shadow, but it somehow also works as invisibility? Will this work in bright light? If so, can enemies see where you move in your shadowy form? Despite these questions, for a Rogue or any other non-caster character, this is probably a better option than Shadow Magic.


Alchemist: With their boosts to Int and Dex, a wayang can make a very good bomb-focused Alchemist. You’ll likely want to pick up the Smoke Bomb discovery to give you even more cover when you’re trying to be stealthy.

Barbarian: It’s tough for me to imagine a wayang, with their dark, stealthy nature, turning to the life of a Barbarian. However, with no penalty to Strength or Con, it’s actually not a terrible choice.

Bard: No Charisma bonus means a wayang isn’t ever going to be an optimal choice for a bard, and even their racial archetype, the Shadow Puppeteer, leaves a lot to be desired. The favored class option is cool, letting you add Wizard spells to you list, but I just don’t see it as a realistic option, in the end.

Cavalier [Samurai]: Like the Barbarian, I have trouble imagining a wayang Cavalier. Riding a wolf or other medium animal into battle just seems against their nature. However, this IS the only small race that doesn’t have a Strength penalty, so even though it’s hard to imagine, it could work out quite nicely as long as you build it out correctly. Samurai is a bit better than Cavalier because of the mounted archery abilities.

Cleric: A penalty to Wisdom hurts a spellcaster Cleric build, though a tank-style build would do just fine, and you’ll get a boost to the DCs of your shadow-subschool spells. You’ll definitely want the Darkness domain, and I would suggest the Loss subdomain for the ability to make creatures forget everything they do in an area you designate. Useful for infiltration, that’s for sure!

Druid: Same as for the Cleric, a spellcaster Druid is doing to hurt a little from the Wisdom penalty, but a wild shape focused Druid will do just fine! If you don’t take an animal companion, grab the Darkness domin for sure!

Fighter: With no Strength penalty, a wayang Fighter can do just fine, though a ranged build will benefit from the Dex bonus. Fighters are too variable to really suggest any specific archetypes, so just go with what makes sense for your character concept!

Gunslinger: A wayang can make a fine Gunslinger, thanks to their Dex bonus. However, the Wisdom penalty does hurt your Grit points, so you might want to grab the Mysterious Stranger archetype.

Inquisitor: The Wisdom penalty hurts an Inquisitor more than a Cleric or Druid because it affects other aspects of the character than just the spellcasting. I’d say this is probably a bad choice.

Magus: A sneaky little Dex-based wayang Magus could be absolutely devastating, sneaking up behind an enemy and using a quick shocking grasp through a poisoned blade to paralyze them and damage them all at the same time. I can also imagine the Hexcrafter archetype making a lot of sense for a wayang, because hexes are kinda mean and tricky without being evil.

Monk: The Wisdom penalty definitely doesn’t do anything good for a wayang Monk, so this one’s never going to be optimal. You could probably pull off a decent Martial Artist, but otherwise I’d stay away.

Oracle: Without a Charisma bonus, a wayang Oracle only makes slightly more sense than a wayang Cleric, and none of the mysteries have any good shadow spells. HOWEVER, pay attention to the favored class option, which lets you grab spells from the Wizard spell list, which obviously you’ll want to be shadow subschool spells. This is probably not the BEST option, but it’s certainly not bad!

Paladin [Antipaladin]: The wayang’s natural sneakiness is lost on a Paladin, for the most part, and they don’t have a Charisma bonus, so this isn’t a great option, though it’s probably not the worst one.

Ranger: A ranged-focused wayang Ranger could be super deadly, hiding in the shadows and getting critical hits on her favored enemies. With the Wisdom penalty, you might want to consider going with one of the spell-less archetypes, like the Skirmisher.

Rogue [Ninja]: I think when they wrote this race, the writers said to each other “how can we make the best Rogue out there? Hmm... let’s give them tons of bonuses to Stealth, small size, and no Strength penalty! COOL!” Wayangs were obviously written to be great Rogues, and even better Ninjas since they get their own racial vanishing trick at level 1 (if you take Dissolution’s Child, of course, which you will). Make sure to grab the racial feat, Shadowy Dash. I’m actually surprised there isn’t a racial archetype for the Rogue, given the obviousness of the choice.

Sorcerer: Without a Charisma bonus, you probably aren’t going to be the BEST Sorcerer out there, but the Shadow bloodline is seriously excellent for a wayang, and I’d honestly have trouble choosing between the regular version or the Wildblooded one, Umbral. Shadow gives you an extra Stealth bonus after you cast shadowy spells, which you’ll do a lot of, but Umbral gives you a similar ability as a 1st-level power and increases your caster level by 1 in dim or darker light, so I’ll have to give it to Umbral as the better option. You could always go Crossblooded to get both Umbral and Sage, so that you use Int instead of Cha for your spellcasting, just make sure to purchase Pages of Spell Knowledge to make up for the loss of one spell known per spell level. Don’t forget about the favored class option, which gives your illusion spells extra damage!

Summoner: Again, despite the lack of a Charisma bonus, I find myself rating this as a decent option, mostly because of synergy with some specific Eidolon evolutions. Pick up Shadow Blend and Shadow Form, along with Skilled [Stealth], and your Eidolon is just as stealthy as you, if not more so! Grab a few teamwork feats like Outflank and Precise Strike, and you’ve essentially created a pair of Rogues out of a single character!

Witch: I imagine a wayang Witch being a sneaky little thing, hiding in the shadows and tossing out hexes and shadow spells while her allies pummel their foes. While none of the hexes are specifically good for stealthy characters, evil eye and misfortune work great for anyone. The bonus to Intelligence is obviously helpful for hex and spell DCs, and the Shadow patron is an obvious choice.

Wizard: As with the Witch, a wayang Wizard is an obvious choice, thanks to the Int bonus and shadow spell boosts. You’ll obviously want the Shadow subschool, and the Infiltrator familiar archetype is worth a look so that you can scout out all kinds of situations without worrying about your familiar getting squished.

Racial Favored Class Options:

Bard: The Bard and Oracle both have the same option here, and it’s a great one: You can add spells from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list to your list! There are some great shadow subschool spells you’ll want to grab, of course, and it can also let you be a bit more of an offensive caster than a Bard normally is.

Oracle: See Bard just above this!

Sorcerer: Adding +1/2 damage to illusion spells is pretty cool, though I would have preferred +1/2 to the DC of the spells!

Summoner: An extra skill rank for the eidolon doesn’t seem that exciting, but if you’re building a Ninja-style sneaky Eidolon, it can be a HUGE bonus. I like this option a lot.

Racial Archetype:

Shadow Puppeteer (Bard): So, I mentioned up in the bard section that I’m not a huge fan of this archetype. You only get two new abilities, and they replace some of the Bard’s most important performances. You switch out inspire courage and inspire competence for a shadow servant ability (not very useful), and the ability to summon some quasi-real creatures from the summon monster lists. This would be really nice if it scaled like the normal spells, but you only increase the summon monster level every three Bard levels, so this is just hands-down worse than a normal bard.

Racial Feat:

Shadowy Dash: If you plan to move around the battlefield stealthily (which you should, as a wayang), then you want this feat, as it removes the penalty for moving at full speed when using Stealth!

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