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Monstrous Player Characters for Mystara 4E Campaigns

by David Knott

The Mystara setting includes many races that are too large, too small, or too weird to be made into player character races.† So what do you do if you really want to play a member of one of these races?† The companion character rules in Dungeon Masterís Guide 2 provide the starting point for a solution.† These rules were originally designed to help the DM create simplified monsters who are allied with and who adventure with the player characters for an extended period of time.† However, these rules can easily be adapted to create player characters from otherwise unsuitable races.†

Character Creation:† The procedure for creating monstrous player characters is as follows:†

Race:† This procedure is generally used for races other than player character races.† Selection of race is the first step in this process.†

Level:† Starting level is same as for standard player character in your campaign.

Ability Scores:† Each monstrous race has a set of base ability scores, which usually are based on the lowest level version of the monster type that is not a minion, elite, or solo monster.† Add enough points to the base ability scores to bring the total up to 80, taking care not to add more than 4 points to any single ability score.

Racial Traits:† Each monstrous race has a list of racial traits\These racial traits include size, speed, vision type, and starting languages.

Skills:† Select two skills at 1st level according to racial skill entry.

Rituals:† A character with the Controller role automatically gains the ability to master and perform rituals, a ritual book, and two free 1st level rituals.

Alchemy:† A character with the Leader role gains the equivalent of the Alchemy feat and knows two free 1st level recipes.

Proficiencies:† You are automatically proficient with any armor or shield listed in racial entry as well as any lesser armor or shield along with any weapons listed in racial entry.† You also gain one bonus proficiency.† Unless otherwise restricted in the racial entry, the following choices are allowed for that bonus proficiency:

1) Any simple weapon

2) Any armor (in order of cloth, leather, hide, chain, scale, plate)

3) Any shield (in order of light, heavy)

4) Rituals or alchemy as described above

5) 3 bonus languages (as Linguist feat)

6) Training in any one skill (as Skill Training feat)

Role:† Instead of choosing a class, choose one of the following four roles:† Controller, Defender, Leader, or Striker.

Role Features:† Choose either the feature of your chosen role (as given in DMG2) or a racial role feature for your race (if applicable).

Defenses:† Apply racial modifications to defenses.† Optionally, you may choose to increase any one of Fortitude, Reflex, and Will by +2 and reduce one of the other defenses by -2.

Powers:† Choose one at-will attack power and one encounter attack power from any class with your role.† If the at-will attack power character has the implement keyword, choose one extra at-will attack power that can be used as a basic attack.

Equipment:† Basic equipment consists of all weapons and the best armor and shield (if any) that the character is proficient with plus a standard adventurerís kit.† If the character is above 1st level, add one magic item of the characterís level, chosen so as to benefit a character who receives no numeric bonuses to attacks, defenses, or damage from magic items.

Calculate combat statistics:† Use the formulas for companion characters in DMG2 to calculate hit points, healing surges, attack bonuses, damage bonuses, and defenses for monstrous player characters, with the following modification:

Armor:† AC calculation is based on character wearing the best armor that he is proficient with by default.† Adjust AC up or down by one step per step that armor is off from that norm. Include speed and armor check penalties from armor worn.

Shield:† AC and Reflex defenses are based on character carrying the best shield that he is proficient with by default.† Adjust AC and Reflex defenses up or down by one step per step that shield carried is off from that norm.† Include armor check penalty if applicable.

Defense adjustments:† Include racial and optional adjustments to defense scores.

Level advancement:† Monstrous player characters have far fewer choices to make as they gain levels.† Unless otherwise noted, they have the following options as they gain levels:

New powers:

Utility powers:† At 2nd, 6th, and 16th levels, choose a utility power of up to your level from any class with your role.

Encounter attack powers:† At 11th level, choose an encounter attack power of up to your level from any class with your role.

Daily attack power:† At 21st level, choose any heroic tier daily attack power from any class with your role.† At 26th level, replace this power with any paragon tier daily attack power from any class with your role.

New proficiencies:† At 11th and 21st levels, add one armor, shield, or weapon proficiency, one language or skill training, or (if properly trained at 1st level) one free alchemical formula or ritual of up to your level.† The racial description will list any restrictions on proficiency choices.† Usually, martial weapons become available at 11th level, and superior weapons become available at 21st level.

Retraining:† At each level where no new power is gained, you may retrain a skill or a power as follows:

Skill:† Retrain any skill.† After retraining, you must have at least two trained class skills at heroic tier and at least one trained class skill at paragon tier.† At epic tier, there are no restrictions in regard to trained class skills.

Power:† Replace any power other than a daily attack power with a power of the same type and of a level up to your current level.†

Unchangeable items:† Monstrous player characters never improve their original ability scores, gain feats, or select a paragon path or epic destiny.

Example monstrous races for Broken Lands campaign:†

Ogre:† See Monster Manual for relevant ogre statistics.

Ability Scores:

Str 18
Con 19

Dex 11
Int† 6
Wis 11
Cha† 6
(9 points to allocate)

Racial Traits:†

Size:† Large
Speed:† 8
Vision:† Normal
Languages:† Common, Giant

Defense Adjustments:† AC -1, Fortitude +2

Initial Skills:† choose any 2 of Athletics, Endurance, Nature, and Perception.

Initial Proficiencies:† Hide armor, club.†

Default Role:† Striker

Racial Role Feature:† Skirmish (as Ogre Skirmisher); requires proficiency with heavy thrown weapon.† This ability may be taken instead of the standard Striker role feature.† Bonus damage increases to +2d8 at 11th level and to +3d8 at 21st level.

Racial powers:† The following encounter attack powers are available to ogres:

Angry Smash (as Ogre Savage):† Requires proficiency with greatclub

Hurling Charge (as Ogre Skirmisher):† Requires proficiency with javelin

Knockdown Strike (Weapon, Reliable):† Make a basic attack with a 2-handed melee weapon.† On a hit, the target is knocked prone.† This power requires proficiency with a 2-handed melee weapon.

Troll:† See Monster Manual for relevant troll statistics

Ability Scores:

Str 18
Con 16
Dex 12
Int† 6
Wis 10
Cha† 8
(10 points to allocate)

Racial Traits:†

Size:† Large
Speed:† 8
Vision:† Normal
Languages:† Common, Giant

Defense Adjustments:† Fortitude +2, Will -2

Initial Skills:† choose any 2 of Athletics, Endurance, and Perception.

Initial Proficiencies:† Claw (as gnoll Claw Fighter feat)

Default Role:† Striker

Abilities not gained:† Trolls do not gain any attack or utility powers except as indicated below.

Racial feature advancement:† Trolls have powerful racial features that replace most of their role powers:

1st level:† Regeneration 5 (with restrictions as for standard Troll); Troll Healing (as standard Troll)

2nd level:† Frenzied Strike (as standard Troll)

6th level:† Regeneration 5 becomes Regeneration 10.

11th level:† Troll Healing (as War Troll)

16th level:† Regeneration 10 becomes Regeneration 15.

21st level:† Troll Healing (as Fell Troll)

26th level:† Regeneration 15 becomes Regeneration 20.

Hill Giant:† See Monster Manual for relevant hill giant statistics.

Ability Scores:

Str 19
Con 17
Dex† 8
Int† 7
Wis 12
Cha† 9
(8 points to allocate)

Racial Traits:†

Size:† Large
Speed:† 8
Vision:† Normal
Languages:† Common, Giant

Defense Adjustments:† Fortitude +2, Reflex -2

Initial Skills:† choose any 2 of Athletics, Endurance, Nature, and Perception.

Initial Proficiencies:† Hide armor, club.†

Default Role:† Striker

Racial powers:† The following attack powers are available to hill giants:

At-will:

Hurl Rock (as standard Hill Giant):† Add proficiency bonus of +2 to this attack.

Encounter:

Sweeping club (as standard Hill Giant):† Requires proficiency with greatclub.