Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Wyrwood

Wyrwood are a race created by wizards to handle their dirty work.  As constructs, they are imparted with a range of unique bonuses and penalties!

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Wyrwood are fast and smart but have trouble relating to other races. This makes them ideal choices for Rogues, Witches or Wizards.  It's also a nice ability distribution, because everybody likes Dexterity and Intelligence, and Charisma is the most common dump ability.

Type: Wyrwood are straight up constructs. I'll go over the positives and negatives of this below, but if you coordinate with your party it can be a real blessing.

Size: Wyrwood are small, and thus gain all the great little perks such as +1 to attack and AC..

Speed: Wyrwood move at the same speed as humans.

Darkvision: Wyrwood gain the lovely darkvision. And, just for the heck of it, they also get...

Low Light Vision: So they can see farther in low light!

On Being A Construct:
Being a construct has its pluses and minuses.  I'll go over the biggest ones below, but in general you get amazing immunities, but are unable to benefit from much of the healing and group buffs of your team.  If played right, you can become an excellent tank.

No Constitution Score: You don't need to sink points into Constitution, but you also can't buff it (it always counts as 10).  Luckily, you are immunity to all effects that require a Fortitude save anyway.

Immune to all Mind-Affecting Effects: Something big holds this back from being amazing - you are also immune to all morale effects.  That means that you can't be a barbarian, and it also means that many of your allies buffing spells won't have any use on you.  Still, immunity to charms, compulsions, patterns, and phantasms makes this well worth it, especially in conjunction with immunity to effects that require a Fortitude save.  If you can find a class with a poor Will save, then you are shoring up a big weakness.

Can't Heal Normally: This is going to be a huge problem at low levels.  Not only do you not heal from rest, but positive energy doesn't heal you.  That means your cleric and paladin buddies won't be able to include you in their channelling. The first spell that can heal you properly is make whole, a second level spell.  And your cleric buddy isn't going to want to spend all of his spell slots on just getting you up to normal.  There are a few items that will allow you to get around this.  For example, the Construct Channel Brick allows channeling to heal you.  However, it costs 10,000gp so you are going to have to wait for it to come online.  You can also partner up with an Impossible Sorcerer, whose spells effect constructs.

Immune to Most Fort Saves: A wyrwood is immune to all effects that require a Fortitude save, unless it's a spell that can target objects (or is harmless).  This is something like a quarter of all effects (if Will, Reflex, Fortitude, and AC are all used equally). Incredible.  If you can find a class with a poor Fortitude save, then you are shoring up a big weakness.

Immune to Ability Damage, Ability Drain & Energy Drain: Ability damage, ability drain, and energy drain are extremely annoying, especially if you don't have any way of healing them.

Immune to Fatigue, Exhaustion & Nonlethal: The list keeps going!  These immunities aren't as good, but they mean you can walk forever, automatically endure elements, and not suffer from lots of little penalties.

Death at 0 & Bonus Hit Points: You automatically die at 0 hit points, and cannot go into negative hit points.  This might seem horrible, until you realize that as a medium creature you gain 20 bonus hit points.  That means at level 1 you could have about 30 hit points!  This is incredible:  it's like an orc's ferocity, but you just act normally for an extra 20 hit points.  These extra hit points obviously dwindle in usefulness as time goes on, but they are a huge boost at the start, and similar to having 14 Constitution at level 10.

No Resurrection: No resurrection is sad, but if you love your character you might be able to work out something with the GM.

Alchemist: An wyrwood can make a fantastic Alchemist, thanks to the boosts to Dexterity and Intelligence. A bomber alchemist would make the most sense, but don’t forget that just because the wyrwood Barbarian doesn’t benefit from rage, this doesn’t mean that your mutagen cant still make you a beast! I like the Grenadier archetype for an wyrwood, as I can imagine a constructed creature being very good at making interesting bombs.

Barbarian: A wyrwood can’t benefit from morale bonuses, and rage gives only morale bonuses, so this is just about the worst choice you can make.  You also can't boost your Constitution.

Bard: It’s hard for me to imagine an construct appreciating the arts, and the penalty to Charisma definitely hurts the chances of a good wyrwood Bard. Most bardic performances use competence bonuses, as opposed to morale bonuses, so wyrwood CAN still benefit from performances. If you did decide to try your hand at an wyrwood Bard, the Archaeologist archetype will at least make it less horrible roleplay-wise.

Cavalier [Samurai]: A wyrwood can actually be a surprisingly decent Cavalier, since the bonuses given by Cavalier’s Charge and Order abilities are not all morale bonuses. There are a few, though, so I would stick with the Order of the Dragonthe Lionthe Staff, or the Tome. If you’re playing in a group of other wyrwood, though, the morale bonuses given by your banner will be next to useless.

Cleric: Mechanically, the penalty to Charisma does hurt an wyrwood Cleric’s channel energy ability, but otherwise one could make a decent Cleric with the right base ability scores.  Besides, then you won't feel guilty asking others for make whole and the Construct Channel brick.

Druid: With the right ability scores, there’s no reason you couldn’t play a decent wyrwood Druid, however.

Fighter: Now here is a class that a wyrwood can really shine at. Simple and effective, a wyrwood Fighter would use her superior intellect to fight tactically and take out enemies one by one. You are also immune to a wide range of abilities, making you in many ways the perfect tank.  Given that, the Tactician or Lore Warden archetypes make perfect sense, and can build on the bonus to Intelligence that an wyrwood gains. 

Gunslinger: A wyrwood Gunslinger makes a lot of sense to me, especially with the bonus to Dexterity on her side. There aren’t any specifically good archetypes, but you’ll obviously want to stay away from the Mysterious Stranger archetype, which is Charisma-based.

Inquisitor: The bonuses from Judgments are overwhelmingly sacred bonuses, but the Stern Gaze class feature will be utterly useless to you. The Spellbreaker archetype seems appropriate to me, since wyrwood are highly intelligent and could learn very quickly how to foil spellcasters.

Magus: No morale bonuses to be found here, and those bonuses to Intelligence and Dexterity will be very helpful for a Dex-based Magus build. To that end, I recommend the Myrmidarch and Kapenia Dancer as good options, or just the good old standard Magus.  Being a construct will also help with survivability. 

Monk: A monk would be an interesting choice for an wyrwood, and I could see it being thematic, a constructed creature trying to better her body through focus and martial arts. The monk also includes no morale bonuses, so that’s another plus. A bonus to Wisdom would have been nice, but overall Monk isn’t a bad choice. Being a construct will also help with survivability.

Oracle: This is just a bad choice, since Oracles really need Charisma to function. If you want to play a divine spellcaster, build a Cleric or Inquisitor instead.

Paladin [Antipaladin]: The penalty to Charisma, along with the painful fact that a lot of the Paladin’s abilities rely on morale bonuses, makes this a pretty bad choice, though more workable than the Oracle.

Ranger: A ranger is a good choice, thanks to the bonus to Dexterity, and I could imagine an wyrwood Urban Ranger fitting into most parties. This is a decent choice.

Rogue [Ninja]: A rogue is a great option for an wyrwood, thanks to the bonuses to both Dex and Int. Ninja is a poorer choice because of the reliance on Charisma for ki points, but still very passable.  Being a construct means you don't need to worry about a poor Will or Fortitude save.

Sorcerer: For the most part, a Sorcerer is just as bad off as an Oracle, but thanks to the Sage Wildblooded bloodline you can make your casting based off of Intelligence instead, and then be quite an effective Sorcerer! If you pick any other bloodline, though, this is a terrible choice. If you want you can make an Impossible bloodline Sorcerer to make your spells (and healing spells), affect yourself and other constructs.  Still, that's essentially pouring a lot of resources into getting suboptimal when you could be leveraging your skills.  If your GM lets you, Crossblooded Sage and Impossible is a good idea though. It's not RAW, but it's a pretty tame house rule and interpretation of RAI.

Summoner: Like the Oracle, a Summoner is just too reliant on Charisma to make any sense for an wyrwood. Go Witch or Wizard instead.  

Witch: A Witch seems like an odd choice thematically, but it works out pretty well. The agility patron is probably a good choice here, as haste is always welcome in an adventuring party.

Wizard: If you really want to be an excellent wyrwood spellcaster, this is the class to pick. The Int-based spellcasting works out very well, and a bonded object seems an appropriate choice for a constructed being. The Conjuration - Creation or Transmutation - Enhancement focused arcane schools seem like good choices, and the Golem Constructor arcane discovery also fits very well. 


  1. atherophage@gmail.comNovember 28, 2015 at 12:59 AM

    To start off, Wyrwoods are actually one of the most unintentionally overpowered races I can think of. Allow me to explain this by referring to Ultimate Magic's: Building and Modifying Constructs. In this any construct may buy a permanent increase to any stat for a meager 5000gp. Meaning a particularly crafty player in a campaign where money flows like rivers, a Wyrwood could potentially play any class but Barbarian. So for personal advice to GMs: be VERY careful with the money you leave for these buggers. While sure you can just prevent players from taking the craft construct feat and have NPCs upcharge for its use to limit abuse, but if you are already allowing them to play as constructs to begin with whats really the point in not allowing them to modify themselves as long as they have the cash and the downtime?

    Continuing on, Wyrwoods (and constructs in general) do actually have a resurrection spell (I doubt many people have actually heard of it since not many people care for or read the technology guide, which I will go into later.) and ways to heal themselves from the beginning. One such example of early game healing is the newly added alternate racial trait for Wyrwoods that has them forgo dark vision for 1/day: Make Whole. This was added in Inner Sea Races.
    Another early game option is the cleric archetype Iron Priest which was released in the Technology Guide, allowing clerics to forgo the choice between heal living/harm undead or vice versa for heal constructs/harm living or vice versa.

    As for the +20 bonus to HP, that only occurs if the construct is medium (Which Wyrwood is not.) meaning Wyrwood only gain 10 bonus HP for their size.

    Lastly, as a person who has actually ran a Wyrwood Arcanist, the whole party (and even the GM) had a bit of fun when I role played the 'creepy magical wooden doll'. Personal role play advice is to remember that Wyrwood have actually killed off their creators (who were a cabal of wizards) in a rather slave revolt fashion due to their creators using them as little more than disposable toys/slaves and as such have tendencies towards xenophobia and secrecy. Furthermore it is stated (in what little background information they have) that all Wyrwood know the secrets of their creation and ensure that it stays with them (and them alone) to prevent more of their kind from being enslaved.

  2. For Barbarian, what about the Unchained Barbarian, who's bonuses are iirc untyped?