I was a Teen-Age Wemic
Third Edition D&D is very flexible and actually encourages players to customize their PCs. One way to do that is to try playing a "monster" as a player character. A game balance problem pops up, however, in that many interesting monsters are too powerful in comparison to traditional characters who are just starting out -- in a party of first level humans, half-orcs, and an ogre, the ogre will dominate.
The official guidelines in the Dungeon Master's Guide therefore suggest that no monster can be played until the other characters in the party have more hit dice than the monster. For example, when the humans and half-orcs in the group are fifth level, a four-hit-die ogre will fit right in.
Wemics have five hit dice generally, so they too are too powerful for low-level play. Following the DMG, a balanced game can include a wemic when the other players are sixth level. Thereafter, the wemic can gain class levels as experience points are gained. Following the guidelines in the DMG, here are my ideas for playing adult wemics in a more powerful group.
But if you are part of a low-level group, you may not want to wait for the rest of the party to get powerful before you can start your wemic character. How can we have a balanced wemic in a low-power setting? Well, if the wemic has fewer hit dice and lesser powers, that would help. What if the wemic were young, and still growing into adulthood?
This idea is fully explored below. A wemic character starts with one hit die, at monster level one. As the character gains experience, he grows older, gains more monster levels, and eventually becomes a full adult. Meanwhile, the wemic can also multiclass and have class levels as well as monster levels. Character level is the sum of monster levels and class levels. Here's how ...
Wemics are in some ways strikingly similar to humans, and in other ways, shockingly alien. They are perhaps most similar to the varied non-agricultural nomadic herders in the Real World -- the North American Plains Indian, the Bedouin, the Mongols. Wemics are wanderers, following the herds, living under the sky.
Personality: A nomadic, stone-age folk, wemics are often represented as barbaric,illiterate, and uncivilized; they are famous for being highly superstitious. Others would describe wemics as nature-oriented people with a rich tradition of oral history -- they live close to the earth and are in tune with the magical forces around them. As is often the case for cultures that live on the edge of survival, under conditions of harsh competition, in which wits and strength are paramount, wemics make necessity into virtue. Wemics must hunt and fight to stay alive, so they glorify bravery, persistance, and aggression. Their success at carving out a niche and thriving is evident in their pride.
Physical Description: Wemics are creatures that resemble lions from the waist down and humans from the waist up. They look like centaurs from far off, but at closer distances their leonine natures become unmistakeable. Their lower portions are very well muscled; their short fur is tawny; they sport a lion's tail with a tuft of black fur at the end. Their upper portions are like well-formed humans, although the males grow long, mane-like hair, and both sexes have cat-like eyes and larger canine teeth than humans -- which partly explains their heavy accent when speaking the Common tongue. Wemics dress mostly in furs and leather, and many braid totems or beads into their hair as clan and pride markers. Wemics stand six to seven feet tall, and they average ten feet long from head to rump. These large-size creatures generally weigh 600 to 850 pounds.
Relations: Wemics are forced to be nomadic by their need to follow herds, so they tend to scorn settled folk as lazy, slow, and filthy (and in truth, most cities visited by wemics are dirty and unsanitary). They usually look down on settled folk, such as humans, as degenerate and soft. But that doesn't stop them from trading! Wemics are usually happy to trade, especially for metal blades from knives to greatswords. Beads, mirrors, combs and brushes, fine cloth, and tools are all very welcome. Wemics usually trade in furs and ivory, but wemic crafts are often considered valuable.
Alignment: Wemics are generally neutral, taking sides only when their own interests are involved. Individual wemics can be any alignment, though as wandering people, they tend slightly toward chaos rather than law.
Wemic Lands: Wemics follow the herds they depend on for food, so they are often found in savannah, following antelope and zebra; or in the plains, following wild horses and bison; or even in the tundra, following caribou. Wemics view these grazing grounds as their own land, and they react violently to encroachment and competition. However, they tolerate passers-through and welcome merchants.
Religion: Generally, wemics worship racial gods (or wemic aspects of gods that govern nature, hunting, and war). Some also honor Nature, especially Rangers and Druids. Being superstitious, wemics will often honor many gods, just to be on the safe side.
Language: Wemics speak their own language, which only includes these consonant sounds: ch/k, f, fr/rf, h, t/j, l/ll, m, n, r, s, th, v, w, wh/hw, z; and these vowel sounds: au like awe, ow like power, e like eel, eo like we old maids, i like ice, o like mold, a like major, y like yes or end. As a general rule, consonant sounds alternate with vowel sounds.
Names: Wemics believe that their names reflect their individuality, so no two wemic names are ever identical. Their names do not have any meaning per se; they are not words in the Wemic language. Wemic males and females have the same kinds of names. Here are some examples: Nijeo, Tomerj, Eojal, Nonowla, Fraweol, Vythao, Fawynth, Vauwerf, Ferfi, Eowyf, Aweth, and Liram.
Adventurers: Wemics often become Fighters, Rangers, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, and Bards. They almost never learn the arts of Wizardry, because wemics are not a literate culture. The urban arts of Rogues are not useful to most wemics. And there is no tradition of wemic Monks or Paladins.
YOUNG WEMIC BASE RACIAL TRAITS
(rules corresponding to those for other races, such as human or dwarf)
Medium Size: A young wemic is smaller and lighter than an adult. As a medium-sized creature, the young wemic has no adjustments to attack, AC, or skills.
Base Speed: Wemic base speed is 40 feet.
Natural AC: A young wemics begins with a natural bonus to AC of +1.
Natural Weaponry: All wemics can attack with their foreclaws, doing 1d4 damage (20, x2) in two attacks per round.
Low-light Vision: All wemics can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
Skills: A young wemic receives a +2 racial bonus on Jump, Move Silently, and Hide checks. The Hide bonus is doubled to +4 in tall grasses and in natural underbrush.
Age: As half-orcs.
Automatic Languages: Accented Common and Wemic.
Bonus Languages: Unaccented Common, Sylvan, others as determined by the DM based on the campaign world.
Favored Class: Ranger.
WEMIC MONSTER CLASS TRAITS
(rules corresponding to those for other classes, such as rogue or cleric)
Hit Die: d8
Class Skills: The young wemic's monster class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Craft (primitive objects) (Int), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Wilderness Lore (Wis).
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A young wemic is proficient with padded, leather, and hide armors and wood shields. He knows how to use shortswords, longswords, greatswords, daggers, all spears, all clubs, and javelins.
Table: Young Wemic Attributes
|Monster Level||Age (years)||Length (ft)||Height (ft)||Mass (lbs)||Ability Scores|
|1||10 - 12||6 - 7||4.5 - 5.0||175-300||+2 Str, -2 Con, -4 Wis|
|2||11 - 13||6 - 8||5.0 - 5.5||275-400||+1 Str, +1 Con, +1 Dex|
|3||12 - 14||7 - 9||5.0 - 6.0||375-525||+1 Str, +1 Con, +1 Dex, +1 Wis|
|4||13 - 15||7 - 10||5.5 - 6.5||500-650||+2 Str, +1 Con, +1 Dex|
|5||14 - 16||8 - 11||5.5 - 7.0||625-825||+1 Str, +1 Con, +1 Dex, +1 Wis|
|6||15 - 17||8 - 12||6.0 - 7.5||800-1,000||+1 Str|
Table: Young Wemic Stats
|Monster Level||BAB||Fort Save||Reflex Save||Will Save||Skill Ranks||Special|
|1||+1||+0||+2||+2||Int||Claw or weapon attacks only, Pounce|
|3||+3||+1||+3||+3||+2||Claw and weapon attacks allowed|
|4||+4||+1||+4||+4||+2||Large, +1 Natural AC, +2 Hide|
|5||+5||+1||+4||+4||+2||+2 Move Silent|
|6||+6 / +1||+2||+5||+5||+2||+1 Wilderness Lore|
A new wemic character must choose an age from 10 to 12 years old. The character is not eligible to advance to second level wemic until he is in the second level age range, from 11 to 13 years old. Similarly, a wemic character cannot gain a wemic monster level unless he is in the acceptable age range. A player may choose to start a wemic at age 12, so that the wemic can advance to level two and then to level three at will. By the time that the wemic is ready for level four, perhaps the character will have aged to 13 years old. However, if a wemic character ages beyond the allowed range and has not advanced a wemic level, then all experience points gained while the character is "too old" are penalized by 20 percent. For example, a first level wemic turns 13 years old without advancing to level two wemic (perhaps the character has preferred to advance in another class, such as ranger or bard). Until the character advances to level two wemic, all experience earned are reduced by 20 percent.
A player can declare that his fourth, fifth, or sixth level wemic is fully grown. After such a declaration, the character cannot advance as a wemic again, but he suffers no penalty for being "too old."
A player can freely select his wemic's height, length, and mass, so long as the chosen dimension falls in the allowed range on the table above.
A wemic's ability scores increase as levels are gained. In addition to the changes noted above, a wemic, like all characters, gains a +1 at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20.
At level one, a wemic spends skill ranks equal to his Int score. At level two, the same. At each subsequent level, only two skill ranks are gained. No Int bonus ever applies to skill ranks gained as wemic monster class skills are gained. Max rank for class skills is character level +3, as usual. Note that a wemic must spend skill ranks to learn to read or to speak Common with no accent (he can use a bonus language to erase his accent as well).
Claw and weapon attacks
At first level, a wemic must choose to use either his claws or a human-style weapon when fighting. At third level, a wemic learns to use both claws and a weapon at the same time. When attacking with both claws and a weapon, the player selects either claws or weapon as primary and the other as secondary. The primary attack(s) uses the character's full Base Attack Bonus, including extra attacks if the BAB is +6 or greater; the secondary attack is at -5 and Str damage bonuses are halved. So a level 3 wemic with a sword, a shield, and claws could attack with the sword normally and both claws at -5, or with the claws normally and the sword at -5. If a wemic wants to fight with a weapon in each hand, as Rangers often do, then either the weapons are primary and the claws secondary, or vice versa. A multiclassed ranger wemic using a light weapon in his off hand has a choice of usung weapons at -2 and claws at -5, or using weapons at -7 and claws at normal BAB -- but only if he is a level three wemic. Also, a third-level young wemic can choose the Wemic MultiAttack feat (see below).
Wemic MultiAttack [Special]
Prerequisite: wemic level 3.
Benefit: When attacking with weapon(s) and paws, the wemic suffers only a -2 penalty on secondary attacks, not -5.
When a wemic charges a flat-footed opponent (usually because the opponent is surprised or because the wemic wins initiative in the first round of melee), he can make a pounce attack, as do lions. A wemic can can charge (pounce) and make a full attack as a standard action; they can partial charge (partial pounce) and make a full attack as a partial action. At monster level 1 and 2, this means a pouncing wemic can attack with one or two weapons OR with two paws. At monster level 3, this means that a pouncing wemic can attack with both weapon(s) and claws. Moreover, a wemic can take a wemic-only feat, called Improved Pounce. This feat allows a pounce attack with any charge -- the opponent does not have to be flat-footed. Stock wemics actually have two feats: Alertness and Improved Pounce (see Below).
Improved Pounce [Special]
Prerequisite: wemic only.
Benefit: The wemic can make a full attack action at the end of any charge, not just against opponents who are flat-footed.
Racial Skill Bonuses
A first level wemic has a racial bonus of +2 when making Jump, Hide, and Move Silently checks. At level two, he gains an additional +2 Jumping; at level 4, +2 Hiding; and at level 5, +2 Moving Silently. So a fifth level wemic has total skill bonuses of +4 with all three skills -- the Hiding bonus doubles to +8 in tall grasses and in natural underbrush. Moreover, a level 6 wemic gains a +1 racial bonus in Wilderness Lore.
At level 4, a wemic teen becomes large in size. He then suffers a -1 penalty to both AC and Attack Rolls. He can carry twice as much as humans and other medium-size characters. He can use Large weapons in one hand and Huge Weapons two-handed. If he uses a Large weapon in two hands, his Strength bonus is increased by half again. Medium weapons are light weapons for Large wemics. And Large characters suffer a -4 penalty on Hide checks.
Young wemics begin the game with a +1 natural armor class bonus. At level 4, this bonus rises to +2. This stacks with the standard -1 penalty due to large size at level 4.