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Underpowered aliens?


I was looking at the stats for Vargr last night and thought that a few ability bonuses (with a large penalty too), a few skill bonuses (+1 to Spot, +2 Listen, yippee) and CLAW ATTACKS!!! and BITE ATTACKS!!! was all they had going for them.

(I left out Prestige because that's less of a 'stat bonus' and more of a 'this is how you role play Vargr' thing)

Humans get a bonus feat and bonus skill points, four at first level and one every level after that. Just based on this, the Vargr come off as underpowered. The human bonus feat is nothing to scoff at, and is quite powerful indeed. The skill points are worse, because T20 is such a skill-focused game.

And the justification? Some vague bullshit about how humans are 'versatile' or whatever.

Shouldn't the Vargr have something else thrown in to make them, I don't know, NOT suck? Or do people think it's ok as is?

(the -2 to Str and Con is hard to fathom, one of them I can see but both? Just for +2 Dex?)

Some folks who play Vargr like a challenge. Me personally, a balance of +2's to -2's is preferrable.

My solution:

'Standard' Gvegh-Vargr: (-2str, -2Con, +2Dex, +2Wis)+ the rest as is. Why wisdom? Because of geneered cunning that was enhanced-Knowing when to topple the top dog and take his/her place is a skill in and of itself ;)

MT-DGP* Urzaeng-Vargr: (reputedly large enough to take on Aslan males) (+2 Str, +2Con,
-2 Int, -2 Wis),simply put, the big 'dumb' torpedo types of the pack hierarchy. Adds Str bonus (if any) to damage in claw & bite attacks. Height 2m (male & female).

There were other sub-species of Vargr mentioned in the MT-DGP book, including a born-blind Psionic-using sub species driven out of the rest of their society, but that's a matter of debate on another thread, stofsk!

On the downside, they do have shorter lifespans & can earn less terms (than humans), make their age rolls sooner than humans on average, but hey! They're aliens.

I saw a T20 write up for uplifted Dolphins (max age 50-60years); another for Racconiids (Dentus/Deneb) natives-max lifespan 45-50years. Some alien species just don't live as long.

Aslan in the game have long lives (13 terms maximum--Good lord!) but despite that, we haven't a rush to all play one, do we?

Hope my tweaks for Vargr helps you somewhat. When in doubt, play the game your way! ;)

* I shant get into the quasi-canon argument here. Been there, done that; now Play the game!
I like the Gvegh-Vargr. A +2 to Wis is a good bonus, representing cunning and awareness.

Who doesn't like dogs anyway?
I am owned by two proto-Vargr Labradors, and menaced within my house by three Aslani-femme wannabee's (but they have their place in the amusement level of my daily mayhem called "life in the country").

Thanks, Stofsk. Hoped that helped.
Originally posted by Liam Devlin:
Some folks who play Vargr like a challenge. Me personally, a balance of +2's to -2's is preferrable.
Same here.

I think Vargr get low light vision too. With the skills bonuses I think that balances out with humans. Check the D&D 3.5 PHB or the SRD for fantasy racial comparisons.

While were on the topic of T20 aliens, personaly
I think that since Virushi are large they should get a "Level Adjustment" of at least +1, Large size can be overpowering in melee combat, even though the Virushi are generally peaceful, I think it would make sense from a d20 rules perspective.

On the FRPG side, I generally play humans because I'm always starving for skill points and that extra starting feat IS very nice. In the 1st Edition AD&D days, I nearly always played humans because they didn't have class-level limits and they could dual class (a powerful multi-classing technique, for those of you who don't go back that far).

In 3+ Edition D&D, the demi-human (that's elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes) racial abilities almost balance the human's advantages, but they're somewhat situational. If the campaign's a wilderness campaign, the dwarven stone senses and elven secret door senses are minimized. If it's a dungeon-crawling campaign, those abilities - and the low-light vision/Darkvision of everyone-that-isn't-human - are more important.

In my current D&D campaign, which I've mutated pretty far from "book" d20, all of the non-human races are +1 level-adjusted races with a positive stat balance and more base abilities. (Saurig, a lizard-man-like dragon-descended race, for example, have natural armor, a monstrous hit die, bite/claw/tail attacks, elemental resistance 5 based on their draconic heritage (Fire Resistance 5 if descended from red or gold dragons, for example), and a hefty Swim bonus.)

In play, that level adjustment was a significant factor between the humans and the non-humans in the party, but that was only because in D&D there are magical and psionic abilities that are highly level-dependent. The human wizard was getting 4-level spells a full level before the troldfolk wizard, for example, and had more spells at each level.

Overall, I was quite pleased with how that worked, but in T20 it's not so important, because the expected outcome in character generation is quite a significant level differential between characters. You might have 5-level 2- or 3-term younglings adventuring along with 11-level, 7- or 8-term veterans, and that's okay. The fact that your Virushi has a +4 level adjustment is largely irrelevant to how the campaign unfolds.

(The only possible exception is a psionic-heavy campaign, where level - and therefore maximum rank and therefore what powers one can perform - is a factor.)
Originally posted by Qstor2:
I think Vargr get low light vision too. With the skills bonuses I think that balances out with humans. Check the D&D 3.5 PHB or the SRD for fantasy racial comparisons.
There, I can see your point, but without trademark infringement marching across,(or my buying the AD-D3e book for that matter) that is the job of the GM to use that +1 Spot for Vargr with as he/she weaves the storyline out, IMO.

PC (Vargr): There doesn't seem to be anyone here (at fellow human PC), huhrr?
(misc. die rolling sounds not included)
GM: "Vrrag, you see..."(describes what the Vargr eye senses detect offline in whisper/ note/ etc)

PC Vrrag: Huhrrr! Look-you missed something! (Vrrag bends over and displays object found..)

Its not the mechanics/ rules all the time, but how you use them to portray the action, is my point.
It's the same in other d20 books. Star Wars has the bonus feat and skill for humans and so does D&D. I think I read somewhere that the justification was because no one would want to play a human otherwise.

Mayhaps SDT, mayhap. In our current game, we have 2x vargr, and 12x humans.

1x Gvegh-Vargr
1x Urzaeng-Vargr

1x true Vilani
1x mixed Vilani (Vil/Sol 50/50)
1x Minor Human-Jonkereen (Low Grav worlder)
1x Minor Human-Suerrat (High Grav worlder)
8x Solomani

Not everyone wishes to play an alien. Some because the roleplaying is easier as a human--like I said earlier, its a challenge to properly play one, not impossible.

The challenges and PC chemistry mix varies with former careers & Homeworlds:
As in we have former belters (2), Former Navy/Marines (3), former Scouts (3), Former (maybe not) Rogues (6), and former nobles (2); folks from high pop worlds (4), and folks from low pop worlds (4),folks from hightech (VLAND's & EFATE's pre rebellion highs) to low tech (TL4-6), and points in between.
The Traveller's Guidebook introduces two new feats that make Vargr much nicer for the warrior types. Infighting and Improved Infighting give their natural weapons more oomph (helps Aslan too).
It's worth getting, if just for that--it covers career additions much like the TNE-career paths for chargen do: Wet Navy, Engineers, Flyers (non Grav pilots), Athletes, Convict, Corsair, Diplomat, Entertainer, Law Enforcer, Martial Artist, Medic, & Sailor have been added to the core & service classes. One New Prestige class added within was: Ancient's Hunter .

All the usual T20 THB core & service classes, and previous 4x prestige classes are contained within. The feats mentioned above are also contained within.

Good shtuff! Go get ya a copy!
I now get off shameless plug for the Traveller Guidebook soapbox before applause can start or rotten fruit can be tossed! --, DEX 15, Dodge, Uncanny Dodge, Mobility, Narrow Escape! :D ;) :cool:
Well, I'd subscribe if it let me log in. I seem to be logged in on CotI, but when I go to subscribe, it says I'm not logged in.

I seem to remember hearing about similar problems from other folks.

I recall having to send an e-mail to Hunter's addy and getting my password back for my trouble last year returning to USA from Iraq. It took a while, but I got it. I entered, saw the pdf file, downloaded it (part & parcel with my membership fee i'd paid).

Haven't been back since, and from the quiet-tude of QLI output, have moved on, SDT. It (the pdf.) was however, worth the wait.
Originally posted by stofsk:

Shouldn't the Vargr have something else thrown in to make them, I don't know, NOT suck? Or do people think it's ok as is?
Hey, Vargr don't suck - they lick!
But seriously folks.. if you are going to give Vargr a +2/-2 modifier instead of +1/-1, what about Aslan? +3 or even +4? If an Aslan is basically a walking lion then logic would dictate that he/she be a hell of a lot stronger than a human. Thinking about it something like +5 or +6 strength might be more appropriate. :eek:

Incidentally, Vargr don't suck, but from the illustrations it looks like Hivers might.