Pooka, Variant (3.5e Race)
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Pooka... ah. Pooka. There is a saying on Pooka - "You can always trust a Pooka, but no one in their right mind would ever believe one." Tricksters and compulsive liars, but their personalities are almost child-like in innocence. Their appearances are always somewhat indicative of their animal affinity, which they can change into when no one is watching. Even the hardest heart can be melted with appropriately applied Pooka pressure, and one tends to spill their closest-kept secrets to a prying Pooka. The greatest Pooka flaw? They always lie. This may be blatant, to encourage the appropriate interpretation, or subtle, to confuse the hell out of everyone present.
Pooka are fey, animals and liars. Not harmful by nature. But they are cursed and flawed to lie. It seems to be a part of their nature - be it a true curse on their kind, or some instinct to help them hide from the world. They are by nature unpredictable, shifting about a lot, though they seem to get lonely quickly so rarely move without company.
Pooka are fey - Shape-shifters at that. They are something akin to humans and elves, usually quite beautiful in either form. They can be large or small in nature and shape. They often have animalistic features in their humanoid forms, though the extent of these features can vary from almost none, to many varied additions. They also, being fey, can mate with their animilistic humanoid cousins, which can create mixes beyond the normal mix. Especially when the children are not the same type as their Pooka parent.
The Pooka are often viewed as being one big, happy family. However, the Pooka club comes with it's own problems and infighting, like any other fey.
Inter-Pooka Relations In the animal kingdom, there are hunters and the hunted. This is to an extent reflected in pooka society. A falcon pooka and a sparrow pooka might get along, but they both know the natural order of things, and are wary of it. As such, domesticated animals usually party with domesticated animals, wild animals with wild animals of like type. This is also, however, warped by the Pooka's love of legend and story - Things like how lions are overly fond of mice pooka, and white rabbits named Alice are always viewed as trouble. Also of note is the number of pooka around who are in the "cute and fuzzy category" as compared to the "not-so-cute-and-fuzzy" category. Oh course, begin shape-shifters known for perpetual lies, there is much conjecture as to how to handle a Pooka. And well, a Pooka trive can be the most dangerous matter - your never sure when their near, or what they truly are.
Pooka and other Supernaturals Shapeshifters and Pooka go together like tea and crumpets. They share views on most of the world, and in general a pooka is welcome in such circles, or at the least tolerated. Pooka like to congregate with Shape-shifters of the same species, if they can find them, though this is a rare feat. Mages will either love or hate a pooka, depending on their own view of magic. Vampires are avoided outright, unless the pooka in question is also a blood-drinker (i.e. a vampire bat). Demons, as far as is known, do not and will never find a changeling, much less be on friendly terms with one. Hunters are on tricky relations with the pooka, as with all fae, and pooka in general avoid any human who voluntarily hunts another without understanding it's nature.
Pooka by definition are Chaotic. They can range from Good to Evil, though most are Good or Neutral. For a Pooka to become non-Chaotic is impossible, unless they somehow overcome their curse, seek divine intervention or similar extreme occurances. Some Pooka try to remain lawful to fit into other societies, but they find this life hard with constant mistakes - if only from their lies, let alone their wild natures.
Wilderness, Forests, Villages, Roads & Highways, Lakes and rivers, anywhere their animal nature might feel at home. They are always discomforted by cities, though some of their kinds feel right at home there - Dogs, Cats & Mice especially.
Pooka are Fey. They are born Fey with an innate sense of Nature and natures authority over things. They are also Chaotic by nature, so usually end up with a strong leaning towards a Chaotic Neutral Mature god/goddess. Devotion is a rare thing, just is any sort of focus amongst their kind.
They start by knowing Sylvan & Common, plus any languages of their parents. A Pooka adopted by a non-Pooka instead learns the languages of that Parent.
Pooka name's vary greatly from Fey, Sylvan, Human, Tribal and even Pet names. There are literally no limits as to the form, style or meaning of the names of a Pooka, and they often lie about their own name as well.
- Pooka gain the physical stat bonuses: You gain the stat bonuses or penalties of your Animal Form's physical Ability scores. You also gain -2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma.
- Fey (Shapeshifter), Some Pooka may also have the amphibious or Aquatic subtypes as well, if their animal form has them. They benefit from these in both their forms.
- Pooka are in general Medium sized, or the size of their animal when in that form. However, if your animal form is small or small, you may choose to start as Small. If your animal form is Large, you choose to start as Large instead.
- Pooka have a base land speed of 30'. However, if their animal form has a land speed less than 30', they instead have a speed of 20' or their animal forms, whichever is higher. If their animal form is faster than 30', they have a land speed of 40' or their animal forms, whichever is lower. If their animal has a swim speed, they have a swim speed with the same rules as their base land speed. In their animal forms, they have their animal speeds instead.
- Alternate Form (Su): A Pooka has one single alternate form that takes the shape of an animal. This ability works as normal, except that they do not gain an healing for transforming, they do not gain any ability score changes nor do their type or saves change. Their alternate form has an unlimited duration.
- Speak to Animals (Ex): A Pooka can speak with animals of their kind. So dogs & wolves can speak to Canines, cats & tigers can speak to Felines, ponys & horses can speak to Equines etc.
- Low Light Vision (Ex): A Pooka can see twice as far as a human in poor illumination.
- Flaw, Compulsive Liars (Su): Pooka are liars by nature and tend to embellish the details, even when trying to tell the truth. If a Pooka speaks, they must make a Will save (DC 15) to avoid adding a lie into it somewhere. They must make this roll for each minute (10 rounds) of speaking. However telling partial truths does abate this flaw, so its the most common method of getting around it. Pooka Gain -4 to Diplomacy checks & -8 against anyone that knows of a Pooka's constant lying. This penalty is abated against anyone that actually trusts the Pooka, whether or not the Pooka is lying. Pooka's do not gain a bonus feat for this flaw.
- Racial Hitdice: Pooka have Racial Hitdice equal to the amount of Hitdice their animal normally has. So a Pooka with a Wolf alternate form has 2 hitdice, whilst a Dire wolf form Pooka would have 6 Hitdice. However, unlike animals, Pooka gain levels of Fey instead.
This provides the following bonuses each level: +1/2 Base Attack Bonus (As a Wizard of equal level) 0 +1/3 Fortitude Save Bonus (As a Rogue's Fortitude Save of equal level) 2 +1/2 Reflex Save Bonus (As a Rogue's Reflex Save of equal level) 2 +1/2 Will Save Bonus (As a Cleric's Will Save of equal level) 6+Int Mod Skill points per level, with Quadruple this amount at first level. 1d6+Con Mod HP per level, with maximum at first level. Pooka's with racial Hitdice are proficient with Simple Weapons & Light Armor. If trained in armor use, they may also choose to learn to wear barding as well. Not all Pooka choose to learn this skill however. If a Pooka's animal form has a bonus feat, they also gain that feat as a bonus feat.
If a Pooka's animal form has 1 Hitdice or less, they instead with a Class level and no racial hitdice at all. This generally is still a balanced race as the Pooka will have terrible penalties to their Physical scores. However, if it results in a unbalanced race, GM's may impose that the player must take 1 racial level, possibly 2. Or perhaps lower their stat bonuses by an amount.
A Pooka can if they choose, take additional racial class levels to advance their animal form. In this way they may grow in size or even into a Dire form of their creature. This is quite acceptable and the normal rules for growing into a large size apply. Werewolves are considered balanced if they wish to advance into a Large wolf (at 4 Hitdice) or Dire Wolves (at 6 Hitdice) - theres even an article on the matter at the wizards website - A Savage Progression (See Below for link). So any other creature which won't advance so quickly or easily is also acceptably balanced. Savage Progression: Ghost, Werewolf & Werewolf Lord Template Classes http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20040117a
Pooka Spellcasters are eligible to gain the Natural Spell Feat, treating their Alternate Form ability as Wild Shaping for its requirements. With this feat they may cast spells in their animal form. Eschew Materials is also recommended as a feat for Pooka Spell casters.
- Automatic Languages: Sylvan, Common, the language of their other parent if not Pooka.
Bonus Languages: Any, except Druidic.
You can add in Damage Reduction, 5/Cold Iron for +1 Level Adjustment if you wish. Some players or GM's may also wish Pooka to be more charismatic, gain +4 Intelligence & +6 Charisma, with +4 Racial Bonus to Bluff Checks. This also an additional +1 Level Adjustment.
Note, you can compare Pooka to Were-wolves and might wonder why I haven't given them more level adjustment? Well, they do not gain a hybrid form, they do not have the ability to mix their equipment with their shapeshifting, they do not have a bonus Iron Will feat nor Damage Reduction. They either have large quantities of racial levels to pay for their abilities, or their Ability score penalties pay for the remainder of their powers. However some GM's might consider removing the ability score bonus in their humanoid forms or reducing them to +2 or +4, -2 & -4 max. In this case I would remove the level adjustment entirely, or increaase their mental stats. Its up to what you want as a GM. Some times level adjustment is a hinderance to a character/campaign, and sometimes GM's want more or less powerful characters to deal with. And sometimes, we want powerful races to work with Gestalt or other such ideas.This isn't the easiest idea to balance - as each creature can vary in balance, as well as balance is a personal idea more often than not.
People are welcome to suggest balance options.