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Gremlin Racial Writeup and Progressionby Jamie Baty
Small and tricky, these little creatures are the bane of civilised living. Gremlins are quirky, meddlesome, and playfully malignant embodiments of Chaos. They are Murphy's Law personified.
Personality: Gremlins love to meddle. They want to mess up things that work, and laugh at the outcome. While they are chaos personified, they are rarely evil and generally do not intend serious harm. As a result of this meddling instinct, gremlins can easily be distracted by anything unusual or new. An intricate device or contraption can keep them occupied for 2d6 hours trying to figure out the object, and ultimately how to make it malfunction.
Gremlins like to pick up things, squint at them, and poke fingers into places that shouldn't be poked. They like to make little exclamations of surprise and interest. They express displeasure by poking out their tongues, screwing up their faces, and rasping. They squeak and chitter a lot and are quite rude.
Despite their endless tinkering with the inanimate and mechanical, what is actually learned by the gremlin is minuscule- the knowledge is gone in the time it takes to cause one malfunction and start working on the next. While they are experts in messing things up, they know little of why and how things work.
Physical Description: Gremlins are 3ft tall humanoids with pasty grey-green skin, large saucer-shaped eyes and pointed ears. They weigh between 25 and 35 lbs. They favour simple clothing such as loincloths and tunics.
Relations: Gremlins are generally not liked in civilised cultures. They simply cause too much chaos. They are tolerated by most sentient species, but will be driven off if causing too much trouble. Of all the sentient races, gnomes perhaps hate them the most.
Alignment: Gremlins are almost always chaotic. Few are good or evil. Most are pranksters with little concern other than their amusement
Gremlin Lands: There are no gremlin lands, as such. They may be found in any and every part of Mystara, but are rarely found in great numbers. Gremlins always live in and around settled areas. They parasitise other "civilised" creatures. They move around from place to place and rarely collect treasure as such. They will have a number of secret places (attics, paths below floorboards, the eaves of barns, even sewers) to which they can escape and hide. The flying city of Serraine probably has the greatest number of them concentrated in one place.
Religion: Gremlins don't take religion all that seriously, and most religions would have difficulty dealing with them. However, those that are inclined to things divine usually follow Korotiku. Some have also followed Loki or Eiryndul. Those that don't follow a specific Immortal choose two of the following domains: Chaos, Luck or Trickery.
Language: Gremlins speak their own language, a derivative of Sylvan and Gnomish. It is a very disjointed language and hard for any non-gremlin to understand and speak. Most also speak Common. Exceptional gremlins may pick up Auran (especially if on Serraine), Gnomish, and other local languages.
Names: Gremlin names are usually similar to the naming conventions of the region they are found in, but silly sounding or meant to be puns. They do not have surnames. Male Names: Beazeley, Gluteus, Igor, Nigel Female Names: Brunhilda, Muffy, Nigella, Wanda
Adventurers: Gremlin adventurers possess a level of curiosity that surpasses that of a normal one its kind. Some are motivated to see (and/or compromise) many new and different things. Some want new "shinies." Some want to cause levels of chaos never seen before. Gremlin adventurers have a hard time fitting in as their auras can harm their allies as well as their enemies. However, some parties will put up with the minor troubles and fallout from the gremlin if the skills and abilities can be channelled properly when needed.
Gremlin Racial Traits:
• +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength, +4 Charisma, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom..
• Small size. +1 bonus to Armour Class, +1 bonus on attack rolls, +4 bonus on Hide checks, -4 penalty on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits 3/4 those of Medium characters.
• A gremlin's base land speed is 40 feet.
• +2 racial bonus on Jump and Tumble checks.
• +4 racial bonus on Hide checks.
• +4 racial bonus on Disable Device checks made for the Chaotic Aura.
• Low-light vision.
• Chaotic Aura (Su): A gremlin radiates a Chaotic Aura. Any creature within 10ft of a gremlin must make a Will save vs DC 15 (Cha based, +2 racial bonus) each round or something that can go wrong for the creature, will. These misfortunes will be average difficulty or less (see below). In addition, as a standard action, the gremlin may focus this aura on a single foe or object, raising the save DC to 17 (+2 bonus) and allowing for a more elaborate misfortune (see below).
The nature of the aura is to be playfully malignant. The effects of the aura are never directly harmful. Gremlin magic usually affects mechanical devices before non-mechanical devices. A crossbow might break in half, axe heads might fall off the shaft, armour straps might break, bowstrings fray... The exact effects of gremlin magic depend on the DMs imagination.
It is also of note, that this aura functions constantly, and any object within the aura is subject to malfunction- chair legs break, food spoils, bottles break, chandeliers fall... A gremlin can, overtime, completely wreck an area by its mere aura. For every minute a gremlin is in an area, there is a 25% chance that a malfunction will occur within 10ft of the gremlin.
For more specific or complex malfunctions, the gremlin can make a Disable Device skill check vs the difficulty of the task. If the check succeeds, any targeted unattended object is immediately affected, while any malfunction involving a creature or items in their possession receive a save.
Difficulty (DC) Example
Very easy (0) Unravel basic knot or undo simple fastener, turn off a tap
Easy (5) Bowstring breaks, Axe head falls off, cause someone to stumble and drop something, sheath falls off, armour strapping breaks
Average (10) Backpack spills equipment out, stopping a water clock, making a wood plank pop into the air
Tough (15) Cause a wagon wheel to fall off, weapon to break, cause someone to trip and fall, making a plank pop into the air and hit someone, souring a keg of beer
Challenging (20) Cause a person to trip and spill drinks on a specific target, cause the legs to fall off a chair
Formidable (25) Cause a person to trip and crash into another object, making a plank pop into the air and hit a specific person in a specific way
Heroic (30) Make bars fall away from a metal cage, make an entire wagon undercarriage fall off, making the legs fall off a bed and have the frame then collapse.
Nearly impossible (40) Make a small building collapse on itself.
Other gremlins may assist another gremlin in causing a specific malfunction. Each assisting gremlin adds a +2 bonus to the Disable Device skill check. Groups of gremlins are thus able to perpetrate some truly magnificent malfunctions.
• Fumbling Foes (Su): This gremlin ability has two effects: First, any creature that attacks a gremlin and misses, must roll an attack against himself, taking normal damage if the roll indicates a hit. This roll receives a -3 penalty.
Secondly, anyone within the Chaotic Aura casting a spell or using a spell-like ability of a magic item must make a Will save vs DC 15 (Cha based, +2 racial bonus). If successful, the magic works normally. If failed, the magic doesn't harm the gremlin and the effects of the magic target the caster.
• Mental Resistance (Ex): Gremlins may have a sieve for a brain, but hey are very resistance to mental effects. A gremlin has a +2 bonus against all mind-affecting spells and spell-like abilities.
• Unwieldy Magic (Ex): A gremlin has difficulty using magic items. Each time a gremlin picks up a magic item, there is a 10% chance that the item will deactivate or malfunction. A malfunctioning item will return to normal 10-30 minutes after a gremlin has put it down.
• Automatic Languages: Gremlin, Common. Bonus Languages: Auran, Gnome, other local languages.
• Favoured Class: Rogue.
• Level Adjustment: +2
Gremlin Racial Progression
The table below gives an optional level progression for gremlin players. In this system, starting ability score modifiers and other abilities are granted later or partially granted. At the end of the base progression, the gremlin will be the same as if created normally. The optional advanced progression continues to develop gremlin abilities rather than class abilities.
Table: Gremlin Racial Progression
Class Level Hit Dice Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Special 1st 1d6 +0 +0 +2 +2 (6+ Int Mod) x4 -2 Str, -2 Int, -2 Wis, +2 Dex; +2 racial bonus to Hide checks; Chaotic Aura; Mental Resistance; Unwieldy magic; Starting Feat. 2nd 1d6 +0 +0 +2 +2 --- +2 Cha; +2 racial bonus on Jump and Tumble checks and Disable Device checks made for Chaotic Aura; Fumbling Foes (-5penalty) 3rd 1d6 +0 +0 +2 +2 --- +2 Cha; +4 racial bonus to Hide checks and Disable Device checks made for Chaotic Aura; Chaotic Aura (+2 bonus to Save DC); Fumbling Foes (-3 penalty, +2 bonus to save DC) Below are levels for advanced progression 4th 2d6 +1 +0 +3 +3 6+ Int Mod Chaotic Aura (+3 bonus to Save DC, 15ft range); Fumbling Foes (-2 penalty, +3 bonus to save DC); Mental Resistance +3;Unwieldy magic (20%); Hide bonus +5 5th 3d6 +1 +1 +3 +3 6+ Int Mod Chaotic Aura (+4 bonus to Save DC, 20ft range); Fumbling Foes (-1 penalty, +4 bonus to save DC); Unwieldy magic (30%); Hide bonus +6; Leg Whip. 6th 4d6 +2 +1 +4 +4 6+ Int Mod Chaotic Aura (+4 bonus to Save DC, 25ft range); Mental Resistance +4; Unwieldy magic (40%); Hide bonus +; +4 racial bonus on Jump and Tumble checks; Side-Splitter 7th 5d6 +2 +1 +4 +4 6+ Int Mod Chaotic Aura (+5 bonus to Save DC, 30ft range); Fumbling Foes (+5 bonus to save DC); Mental Resistance +5; Unwieldy magic (50%); Hide bonus +8, Confusion.
Advanced Gremlin Abilities
Leg Whip (Sp): As a standard action, the gremlin can cause a shimmering green magical force to whip around the targets legs, binding them together if a Reflex save vs DC 14 (Cha based ) is failed. A bound target cannot move more than 5 ft per round by hopping, which takes a full-round action. If the target is moving in the round it is affected by the leg whip, it falls prone, suffering 1d3 damage. The effect has a range of 20ft, and lasts for 2d4 rounds. It may be 2/day.
Against targets that cannot be tripped up in the above manner, it will cause an elaborate malfunction to befall the target.
Side-Splitter (Sp): This ability affects a single creature, which must be able to see the gremlin. The gremlin leaps out, makes a rude or absurd gesture/grimace/pose, and sticks its tongue out as far as possible (farther than you might think). The target must make a Will Save vs DC 16 (Cha based, +2 racial bonus), or drop all carried items and fall to the floor laughing. The victim cannot take any actions while laughing. The victim is allowed a save each round to break the effect. Once broken, it takes one round for the victim to compose themselves and gather up any dropped items. This ability has a range of 20ft and can be used 2/day.
Confusion (Sp): 1/day the gremlin may cast the confusion spell. CL 5, Cha based save.