Maximum Levels for Variant Races
Unlike the standard demihuman races, new character races never gain additional
levels for high ability scores. It is unusual enough that a member of the race
has become a player character at all! Without the aid of many wish spells, a character from a non-standard race can never rise above 12th level.
Alignment: The Monstrous Manual lists alignments for most races. If an absolute alignment
is listed (e.g., "good"), the player character has that alignment. If only
alignment tendencies are given, the player can choose any alignment.
Hit Points: All creatures roll their hit points using the die appropriate to their chosen
class. At 1st level, Large and greater size creatures gain one additional hit
point for every Hit Die the creatures would normally receive (pluses to the die
are ignored) in addition to their normal Constitution bonus. Thus, an ogre
fighter with a Constitution of 12 would still gain a +4 hit point bonus at first
level, since ogres normally have 4 Hit Dice. (Remember that Large size creatures
suffer larger-than-man-sized damage from weapons!) Thereafter, all new races
earn hit points according to level advancement, Constitution, and character class.
Level Advancement: The character progresses like all others of the same character class. Being a
nonstandard race does not give the player character any special benefits to his
Armor: Most creatures (orcs, gnolls, goblins) have an Armor Class of 10 (and thus
wear armor for protection). Some creatures, however, have natural armor which is
retained by the player character. These characters gain the benefit of a +1
bonus to their AC only if the armor worn is worse than or equal to their natural
Armor Class (as per horse barding).
If better armor is worn, natural armor is ignored and Armor Class is
determined by the armor being worn. Odd-sized and odd-shaped creatures can't wear
off-the-shelf armor; it must be made to order and costs extra (and takes longer to
Movement: The creature's movement rate is the same as that listed in the Monstrous
Attacks: The player character is allowed the number of attacks given his character
class and level, not the number listed in the monster description in the Monstrous
Size Problems: Players who play Large-sized creatures hoping to get an advantage over others
should quickly discover many problems they didn't anticipate. Consider the
plight of the player who decides to have a hill giant. Right away, he'll have a
hard time buying basic equipment. Who makes pants for giants in a human town?
Everything must be special ordered at two to four times--or more--its normal cost.
This is a minor inconvenience compared to other difficulties. Buildings and
dungeons are built for humans and other Medium-sized creatures, denying the large
fellow the opportunity for both a hearty drink and exciting adventure. Even
the toughest character will tire of drinking from measly cups and buying five
dinners at a time. Will he enjoy spending the night in a leaky stable while his
companions enjoy warm feather beds upstairs in the inn?
Days of traveling will quickly show him the joys of walking while everyone
else rides (no horse can carry him), especially when his companions gallop spryly
away from oncoming danger, leaving him in its path. The costs of replacing
broken furniture will quickly become prohibitive. Ropes will have an annoying
tendency to break when the big lunk tries to climb them. And the hill giant better
have at least 20 friends handy to pull him out of that 30-foot pit!
NPC Reactions: On the personal side, expect NPCs to have strong negative feelings about
unusual player character races, even to the point of bigotry and hatred. These
reactions will make life more difficult for the player character, but they are the
price the player pays for his unusual choice.
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