Blood Bank (Design Notes: Bloodborn)

Races of the Lost Spheres - Bloodborn ©2015 Lost Spheres Publishing, Artist: Dio Mahesa

Races of the Lost Spheres – Bloodborn ©2015 Lost Spheres Publishing, Artist: Dio Mahesa

Often we at Lost Spheres like to keep our magic things well… magical and mysterious, but in the modern gaming environment sometimes a GM or player wants to “see the math” on our homework, and we assure our fans that we in fact can produce such things on request.

Today @bigznak on Twitter asked us:

“I was wondering about Bloodborn. Did you make this race w/the guide from adv. race guide? If yes, how many points are they?”

Bloodborn have existed in the Lost Spheres cannon for about 8-9 years and pre-date the Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide (ARG) by around 3 years BUT the ARG came out before the product release and we wanted to run the numbers to make sure we weren’t stepping too far off the mark. So we worked them through the ARG Race Builder before the product came out. Oddly enough the math worked out eerily on point:

(2 RP – Flexible) – +2 to One Ability Score: As a Human offshoot, bloodborn characters get a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation.
(0 RP – Standard) – Augmented Humans: Bloodborn are humanoids with the (human) and (augmented) subtypes.
(0 RP – Standard) – Medium: Bloodborn are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
(0 RP – Standard) – Normal Speed: Bloodborn have a base speed of 30 feet.

Base race traits came in at a clean wash of zero. The augmented subtype has no game consequences and ultimately serves to make sure that sufficient Knowledge (Local) or Knowledge (Arcane) can tell a bloodborn from a human.  The Sourcerunes get a little more interesting:

(8 RP – Flexible Bonus feats x2 – Additonal Traits and Multiclassing Synergy Feat)  – Sourcerunes (Su): See the Sourcerune Section for information on this racial ability.

Sourcerune and Resonances are best Approximated by Feats, Extra Traits for Primary and Secondary Runes which only alter base abilities such as Spellcasting Attribute or Favored Class bonuses, and Resonances being represented by feats that link differing class features – These feats were more common in the ancestral system but still have some Pathfinder equivalents. The racial abilities were written as they were to be less specific as that feats for multi-class synergy are often tied to two classes, like “your Monk levels stack with you Paladin levels for ki powers and lay on hands uses.” The bloodborn use a decentralized system that works for dozens of Paizo and 3pp classes and makes more functional combinations possible.

Taking for example Soulflare (the Atkai-Muo resonance), we see that we can get the advantage of a Spell Focus feat when we cast a spell from a second class after casting a spell from a different one. A generalized effect that requires a different trigger (two alternating  casting classes) instead of one specialized school, the Soulflare advantages a multiclass bloodborn who relies on both casting classes in alternation.

Powerstrike instead uses an alternating mechanic of spellcasting to gain damage bonuses to your next round of melee attacks. The metrics are similar to those of power attack (spellcasting classes having lower BABs and missing more frequently) trading both on action economy, BAB reduction and spell resources to get similar damage bonuses.

The primary and secondary abilities are more in-line with traits that alter spellcasting. They tend to make tighter stat arrays like point buys more able to support multiclass characters. The Additonal Traits feat allows for two trait substitutions and is good benchmark here.

(4 RP Flexible Bonus feat Additonal Traits) Blood Patrons (Ex): Each Bloodborn was born of two blood donors whose power and knowledge becomes the raw material of the newly created bloodborn’s being. The player selects two skills to represent these blood patrons knowledge reborn in the new character and become class skills regardless of class selection. Additionally, the GM may also allow the bloodborn to make skill checks untrained when dealing with circumstances familiar to one of their Blood Patrons.

Again, the Blood Patron ability is tied to the Traits mechanic in Ultimate Campaign and ultimately is another Additonal Traits feat but ultimately allows the GM and Player to collaborate for the unique Roleplaying Options presented by a bloodborn. An arcanist bloodborn who has a Blood Patron who was a soldier might have Martial Lore or another skill that most arcanists wouldn’t. She might be haunted by battlefields her “father” fought on.

(-2 RP) – Bloodforged (Ex): Due to the energies of the Bloodwells used to create them, Bloodborn have a -2 penalty to saving throws vs. Death Effects and Negative Energy attacks. Additionally bloodborn are sterile via natural means of reproduction and may not trigger Bloodwells with their own blood.

Situational penalties have precedents with things like Light Blindness, the vulnerability to nercomantic effects helps offset some of the advantage of the race.

(-2 RP) – Conflicted Soul (Ex): Bloodborn are driven by the conflicting memories of both their Blood Patrons and their Sourcerunes. They resolve these conflicts by embracing diverse skill-sets and mastering counterbalancing arts. Bloodborn
who remain single classed after their first level take a cumulative circumstance penalty equal to the number of levels in their single class beyond the first to all d20 rolls made for the character. If this penalty exceeds their highest mental
statistic bonus, they descend into madness are surrendered to the GM as NPCs. If you are using the alternate multi-classing rules from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Unchained you may avoid conflicted soul penalties by giving up the required
feats to acquire a multiclass progression.

This is probably the biggest limiter of the race. The Conflicted Soul weakness pretty much requires you to multiclass. If not right at 2nd level then fairly close to it to avoid terrible penalties. The design choice here was very deliberate as that the bloodborn exist pretty much encourage new combinations of class mechanics and “suffer” the additional penalty of slower access to high-end spells and class features.

(0 RP – Standard) – Languages: Bloodborn begin play speaking Common, and a language belonging to one of their Blood Patrons. Bloodborn with high Intelligence
scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as
Druidic).

The ability to select any-non secret language isn’t shabby but not occasion to charge an RP when 1 RP gets Gifted Linguist. As such the Languages portion allows for rare or unusual languages to enter the story without undue advantage.

(Total RP – 10, Standard Power Race)

Overall the bloodborn come in at slightly more advantageous than playing a human IF you are okay multiclassing, which is exactly why and how they were designed. Ultimately, if you want a solid MAD character to be more playable a bloodborn might be a solid option.

Thanks for the question @bigznak – It was awesome!

Interested in playing a bloodborn? Get it here. Or you can check out our pretty cool Pathfinder content at these fine vendors: d20pfsrd.com, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.

 

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