Wednesday, February 7, 2024

GLOG Class: Bioweapon

I got this idea from mad gods on bear blog.

Crab Evo from Kagaku Sentai Dynaman

A thousand soldiers were slain.  Too many to be tragic--this is just a fact.

Their bodies were ground up and mixed together.  Their names were forgotten.  They were boiled in a cauldron heated by the fat of their own bodies, and Hell itself stirred the pot.

You were born knowing nothing but hatred, chained to a thing called obedience.  Your obedience was absolute and unquestioned, in a way that humans will never understand.  There was never any doubt in your head.  Never any delay or hesitation.  What your creator commanded, you obeyed. 

There was only ever one command.

How many have you killed?  What a meaningless question.  You killed them all.

You only ever knew two sensations.  A restlessness punctuated by a blind, grasping eagerness to inflict yourself upon the world.

But now your creator is dead.  A long time dead, even.  Your teeth are beginning to soften in their rests.  Your exoskeleton is growing brittle.  And incredibly, your sense of self is beginning to become unglued, the slave enchantments finally softening and sloughing away.  Your mind is a newborn thing, and for the first time it tastes something new: doubt.

Templates

A    Built for War, Cruelty Horizon

B    Voice, Demon Blood

C    Softness, Bodyguard

D    Skin Contact, Living Blood

E    Extra Template

Built for War

+6 HP, +3 Str, +3 Con.

Each time you gain another template in this class, you soften, losing 1/3 of these bonuses.

Additionally, you have natural armor (as plate),  two natural attacks (1d6/1d6), and cannot speak.

Cruelty Horizon

  • You must make a Cha check each time you consider doing something in combat besides attacking.  You are a butcher of thousands, nothing more.
  • You must make a Cha check each time you attempt to help another person.  The idea of helping another person has thus far been inconceivable; yet you are beginning to conceive of it.
  • Anyone attempting to help you directly must succeed on a Charisma check or else turn away in disgust.  You are revolting; there is no forgetting your atrocities.

Every time you gain a template in this class, you may remove one of the prior 3 restrictions.

Voice

Your rip out your mandibles.  There is still a mouth back there, somewhere.  It hurts, but you learn how to use it.

Demon Blood

You can feed your blood to someone, effectively transferring HP to them.  This process takes 1 minute.

Softness

Your exoskeleton is rotting on your body.  It will kill you in 3 days, unless at least 3 people assist you in removing it.  Afterwards you can wear clothing and armor as normal, but you lose your natural armor.  

Without your exoskeleton, you are cold.  You will always be cold.  The biting wind is cruel and but also innocent in its cruelty.

Bodyguard

1/round, when an ally next to you takes damage from a melee attack, you can choose to intercept the blow.  Roll a d6: 1 - you fail in your attempt, 2-5, you take half of the damage (rounding down), 6 - you take all of the damage.  You can make this choice after the DM announces damage.  

Skin Contact

Your claws are instruments of murder, and nothing else.  You must rip them off.  It is painful--painful, but they will regrow in 2 weeks as hands.  The skin is brittle, and your fingers lack fingernails, but you can now hold weapons and objects.  You lose your natural attack.

The first time you pet a cat you are going to lose your mind.

Living Blood

You regenerate 1 HP every minute.  

If you spend 10 minutes healing someone (doing nothing else), you restore all of their HP and your HP.

Extra Template

Since you've basically lost all advantages from Template A, at this point you get the ability to gain one more template from some other class that you normally have access to.

Pic unrelated.  Scorpia is just adorable.

Backstory Questions

I've started doing this thing.

Characters in my games don't usually start with more than a sentence of backstory, but each time they level up, I invite the players to tell me more about their character.  Your backstory is earned, not given.

Anyway, these are the questions that I would ask this player, as they level up their Bioweapon.  They don't have a backstory, so instead they gotta philosophize.

Level 2 - You still cling to a part of your past.  What part of your mind will never change?  What part of your mind are you beginning to doubt? 

Also: you have a mouth now.  What will your first words be?

Level 3 - Your body is falling apart.  You are weaker every day.  Why are you so quick to abandon your strength?  If not strength, what do you seek?

Also: what do you do you with your exoskeleton?  Do you give it a funeral?  Discard it like trash?  Or something else.

Level 4 - You once never felt pain, and yet now there is pain in your every moment.  Why do you strive?  Why not lie down and die?

Also: you can remember your atrocities.  Butchery performed blindly, like a man drinking water without considering if the water feels pain.  How do you feel about your past, in your eyes?  Can you forgive yourself?  Or are some crimes unforgiveable?  Or is there nothing to forgive, since how can someone be guilty of sin when morality is not a thought that is available to them.

Additionally - Each time you level up, you remember one of your constituent souls--the people that were ground up to make you.  You are not them, but you remember bits and pieces of their life: perhaps 10-20% of their memories.  Distant, like a dream half-remembered.

Work together with your DM to decide their identity.  They may have living relatives.

Discussion

There's a lot of untapped potential in classes.  I've played around in the past with classes that self-destruct when they reach a certain level, classes that get weaker as they level up (doesn't work), classes that have three bad levels and then 1 really good one (vampires).

Anyway, this is my attempt to make a class that loses its identity as it levels up.

When you start, you are a living weapon, full of malice and covered in claws.  Conceptually, it's crystal clear.  By the end of it, you've abandoned it.  Without that clear image, the player will have to work a little harder define who the character is.  What's the thing beneath the carapace?

It's certainly meant to be something of an inversion, as you eventually become something of a healer and a protector, allowing for that natural roleplaying pivot.

Level 1 is really good, level 2-3 are a little weak, but level 4 is a small game-changer, since it allows you to easily heal your party.  (In my games, I almost never give out healing potions, and healing magic is rare, so this is a relatively large pivot.)  It's worth noting, though, that you've gone from being the invincible bruiser to a (probably) weaker version of a paladin.  

That's what the extra template is for.  The player gets some compensation, and the character diagetically gets a start on a new life.

2 comments:

  1. Extra bonus points for "The first time you pet a cat you are going to lose your mind."

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  2. This is amazing. LOVE the inbuilt storyarc in the level progression.

    Could every class have this?
    rogues story arc could be starting out as a selfish, cold blooded criminal and end up as an robin hood- type, stealing for helping the poor. but thats maybe a bit to moraliazing and heavy handed.

    yours is elegant. it starts with constrains, "cruelty horizon" and graudually gives (or forces) freedom on the player. maybe that could work for other classes aswell. maybe the paladin starts out as a zelous devout to their god in the first levels, than is forced to give up some abilities, but also dogmas when they starting to doubt and loose conviction.

    maybe all classes is nothing more than preconceptions and false ideals every adventurer has to free themselves of before becomming true heroes?

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