Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Wilden: A Player's Handbook 3 preview race.

With the dew of their creation still wet upon their brows, the wilden emerge from the Feywild’s unspoiled reaches, from ancient bogs and primeval forests. Awakened to combat the growing corruption plaguing the lands, they shoulder the burden of restoring the natural order and purging the aberrant horror from the world.

The Wilden, previewed from PHB3 in a recent Dragon article, is the most alien core race presented to date. As a tribe of plant-people from the Feywild, they should fit perfectly with the primal classes in PHB2, and please players with a taste for the unorthodox. Although the article describes its origin as an obscure race from 3rd Edition's Races of the Wild book, for most players it will be a completely new concept.

A female Wilden. Current concept art is unclear on whether or not they will have mammary glands.

Their main racial feature are their aspect powers. Each day, a Wilden chooses one of three aspects of nature that will strongly condition their personality and grant him a unique encounter power. This is a very interesting idea, as it provides variety not only from a mechanic point of view, but for role playing as well. The powers are:
  • Wrath of the Ancients: Requires an area attack, and allows you to teleport and gain a bonus against your enemy this turn. Only seems useful for controllers.
  • Wrath of the Destroyer: Requires an enemy to attack you or an adjacent ally, and you can attack or charge that enemy. The attack can even impose a condition on the enemy - A really great power, but its name doesn't quite fit. It's more of a defender thing, so I'd try 'Wrath of the Guardian'.
  • Pursuit of the Hunter: When someone moves close, you shift a lot and get a striker bonus damage against him.
As for personality traits, the race lacks a sense of individuality - they see themselves as parts of a greater whole, and always use the plural, 'we', when speaking of themselves. As a young race without prejudices, they are characterized by their curiosity and openness, and a tendency to adopt the cultures of those they live with. However, They are prone to drastic personality changes, depending on the aspects they have adopted. Finally, the settlements they form tend to be small, and indistinguishable from the nature that surrounds them.

Overall, we have a new, exotic race that will add a bit of color and variety to the game, which was to be expected after the first two player's handbooks covered the basic niches. While I don't think these will be a hit like the Dragonborn, with enough support and a good visual design they would definitely have a chance to catch on, and become a permanent part of the D&D mythology.

House ruling the Wildens

I have some concerns with the implementation of the Nature's Aspect feature. Each power roughly corresponds to a role - controller, defender, striker - but while two of them provide an ability of that role, the third essentially requires you to already have that role. I think these powers would work better if their requisites focused mores on game actions and less on character builds - that is, you would tend to play a different style depending on the power you had chosen. In addition, Wrath of the Destroyer is probably too good, while Voyage of the Ancients and Pursuit of the Hunter are a bit underwhelming. Finally, Pursuit of the Hunter gives a damage bonus that really should scale over the tiers. I'd suggest the following changes:

Voyage of the Ancients - Allow the trigger to also work on ranged attacks (so that almost any character can trigger if they try hard enough), and instead of the current effect on the enemy, teleport it 3 squares. With this change the power changes from something a bit generic to real Feywild awesomeness.

Wrath of the Destroyer - Really, change it to Wrath of the Guardian. And, since the effect is really, really good, but I'd like to keep it that way, you should make the triggering condition more restrictive - have it only work when an adjacent ally is hit, but not when he is missed or when you are attacked. This way, you'd have to maneuver to make good use of it.

Pursuit of the Hunter - I'm not clear about how the trigger works, as written, but I think it would count enemies moving close to you. A better restriction would be that an enemy already close moved, changing it to something like 'an enemy that started its turn within 2 squares of you moves or shifts". Also, have the extra damage increase to 2d6 at 11th level and 3d6 at 21st.

Edit: The extra damage should definitely be limited to once per round, as it can get out of hand in combination with multiple attack powers and action points.

Wilden racial feats
No racial description is complete without a couple of race-specific feats to highlight that race's strengths and customize their features. Since the original article didn't take this into account, I suggest the following feats:

1 comment:

  1. I'm writing part of a narrative involving Wildens, and I was googling them for more in depth information on them. I was happy to chance upon that point where you said they speak using 'we' instead of 'I'. Thanks for the help; I'm subscribing to your blog.