Thursday, April 28, 2011

Custom Reincarnate Tables

If you are looking for (or wish to return to) the central list of my updated Reincarnate tables, click here. If you're not in a hurry and simply want tips on making your own, keep reading this post.


The other day, I mentioned that I've broadened the lists for reincarnate to choose from. I'll go into a little bit more detail on that subject now.

By way of explanation: I like randomness. The more, the better. So I decided I wanted a reincarnated creature to be able to come back as anything at all. Plus, I had an aasimar and a warforged in that campaign, and it didn't make sense to me that they would choose from the Humanoid list and not their own. And as long as I was making Outsider and Construct lists, I might as well make one for everybody.

Let's construct a new Humanoid list from scratch.

First, we go to HeroForge and MonsterForge and consider all the available humanoids. Going from HeroForge, which includes all the various subtypes (Fire Elves and Shield Dwarves and the like), the list is nearly 300 entries long. We could do it; we'd just make three d% lists, and roll 1d3 to choose which list to choose from. But let's make it simpler and stick with MonsterForge, which gives a much more manageable 27:
Bugbear; Dark One, Dark Creeper; Dark One, Dark Stalker; Dwarf; Dwarf, Duergar; Elf; Elf, Drow; Githyanki; Githzerai; Gnoll; Gnome; Gnome, Svirfneblin; Goblin; Halfling; Hobgoblin; Human; Kobold; Lizardfolk; Locathah; Merfolk; Mongrelfolk; Neanderthal; Orc; Selkie; Skulk; Troglodyte; Varag

Now, I want a creature to have a chance of coming back as any creature at all, so let's add "Any Other Type" to the list. If "Any Other Type" is rolled, we simply choose randomly from the other reincarnate lists.

I also want a Humanoid to have a greater chance of coming back as a Humanoid-like creature than as a dragon or something, so let's add the four most Humanoid-like types to the list. Let's go, semi-arbitrarily, with Monstrous Humanoid, Giant, Fey, and Outsider. If any of these are rolled, you simply roll on the respective list.

I also want a creature to be more likely to reincarnate as a creature close to its own power level, to make it less likely to completely unbalance a campaign. How do we measure power level, though: Challenge Rating, Hit Dice, or Level Adjustment?

Well, CR is a measure of a creature's power level in a single fight (and takes HD into account), while LA is a measure of a creature's power over the long term of a campaign (and only partially takes HD into account; the question LA asks with respect to HD is "Are the abilities this race gives more powerful than it would get from spending its HD on class levels instead?").

There's actually another question here: do we take racial hit dice into account for a creature that's reincarnated into it? On the one hand, we really should, for utmost balance. On the other hand, that can easily lead to a reincarnated creature gaining buttloads of ECL in one dollop, and I'd rather shy away from that. So, in my game, if a creature is reincarnated into a body with racial HD, the racial HD are ignored. The racial LA is not. (I do allow this LA to be paid off like any LA.)

So let's sort our list by LA alone:

+5    Dark One, Dark Stalker
+4    Dark One, Dark Creeper
+3    Gnome, Svirfneblin
+2    Elf, Drow
+2    Githyanki
+2    Githzerai
+2    Skulk
+2    Troglodyte
+2    Varag
+1    Bugbear
+1    Dwarf, Duergar
+1    Gnoll
+1    Hobgoblin
+1    Lizardfolk
+1    Locathah
+1    Merfolk
+1    Selkie
+0    Dwarf
+0    Elf
+0    Gnome
+0    Halfling
+0    Kobold
+0    Mongrelfolk
+0    Neanderthal
+0    Orc
+0    Goblin
+0    Human
-    Any Other Type
-    Monstrous Humanoid
-    Outsider
-    Giant
-    Fey

Now let's assign each LA a value. Higher value will mean higher likelihood of that thing being chosen, so +0 LA should be highest and +5 LA should (in this case) be lowest. Each number will correspond to a number of results on a d%, so these numbers need to add up to 100.

After a bit of fiddling, it turns out that we can set up the numbers such that LA +5 and +4 = 1, LA +3 and +2 = 2, LA +1 = 3, and LA +0 and the five that call for rolling on other reincarnate tables = 4.

Our complete Humanoid reincarnation table then looks like this:
1-4    Any Other Type
5-8    Fey
9-12    Giant
13-16    Monstrous Humanoid
17-20    Outsider
21-23    Bugbear
24    Dark One, Dark Creeper
25    Dark One, Dark Stalker
26-29    Dwarf
30-32    Dwarf, Duergar
33-36    Elf
37-38    Elf, Drow
39-40    Githyanki
41-42    Githzerai
43-45    Gnoll
46-49    Gnome
50-51    Gnome, Svirfneblin
52-55    Goblin
56-59    Halfling
60-62    Hobgoblin
63-66    Human
67-70    Kobold
71-73    Lizardfolk
74-76    Locathah
77-79    Merfolk
80-83    Mongrelfolk
84-87    Neanderthal
88-91    Orc
92-94    Selkie
95-96    Skulk
97-98    Troglodyte
99-100    Varag

It's basically the same idea to generate a random list for each Type. You can, of course, add homebrew creatures (such as the Engineers of my campaign) and remove creatures that don't appear in your campaign (what the heck is a Varag, anyway?), to taste.

Another possibility for inclusion on the table is a Template option, where you reroll on the same table, and then apply a randomly-determined template from a different table.

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