Excerpts 02/04/2005


Races of the Wild Excerpt
By Skip Williams



Races of the Wild,starts by exploring a couple of existing races --- elves and halflings -- more deeply, and then adds a new one -- raptorans - the D&D game. Races of the Wild provides detailed information on the psychology, society, culture, behavior, religion, and folklore of elves, halflings, and raptorans. It also gives you new prestige classes, feats, spells, magic items, equipment, and guidelines for crafting adventures and campaigns using the material within this tome. Our sneak peek includes a look at the raptorans, an overview of the new prestige classes, an expanded skill description, new feats, a new spell, a new psionic power, and a new monster.

An Expanded Skill Description and New General Feats

Skills

Elves, halflings, and raptorans have found endless ways to make use of what they know. Sometimes, it is their unique outlook that leads them to approach tasks in remarkable ways. Other times they must invent special techniques to suit their particular needs.

The Skills section of Races of the Wild describes new uses for the skills described in the Player's Handbook. Unless otherwise noted, there are no special requirements for the new skill uses.

Handle Animal (Cha; Trained Only)

Wandering halflings often rely on their animals for transportation and defense, and halflings have developed many ways to get the most from their animals. Many elves and raptorans have also honed their animal handling techniques. These techniques include tricks and general purposes that anyone with the Handle Animal skill can teach to animals. For a full description of teaching an animal a trick or training it for a purpose, see page 74 of the Player's Handbook.

Teach an Animal a Trick: You can teach an animal a specific trick with one week of work and a successful Handle Animal check against the indicated DC. The following tricks expand upon those presented on pages 74-75 of the Player's Handbook.

Ambush (DC 20): The animal hides, using the Hide skill to the best of its ability. It then stays hidden and attacks the first foe to come close enough for the animal to attack after a single move. The animal must know the attack trick to learn this trick, and it will attack only those kinds of creatures it has been trained to attack and that it recognizes as foes.

The animal will not attack creatures that are familiar to it (such as members of its owner's party) or harmless creatures that it would not otherwise attack (such as birds or squirrels).

You can specify a kind of creature to attack each time you command an animal to perform the ambush trick. Doing this requires a DC 20 Handle Animal check, and you must convey your desire to the animal somehow. If the animal has the scent ability, you can supply the animal with the scent (for example, from a piece of discarded clothing or equipment). You also can show the animal the kind of creature you want ambushed (by pointing to the creature in the distance or showing the animal a captive creature). A speak with animals spell can be handy for designating a kind of creature to ambush.

You can specify a location for the ambush instead of the kind of creature. Doing this also requires a DC 20 Handle Animal check. The place you designate must be a place the animal can reach by taking a single move action, and the animal must be able to see it when you give the ambush command.

Bull Rush (DC 20): The animal attempts to bull rush a designated creature. The animal must know the attack trick to learn this trick, and it will bull rush only those kinds of creatures it has been trained to attack. This trick otherwise works just like the attack trick.

Disarm (DC 20): The animal attempts to disarm a designated creature. The animal must know the attack trick to learn this trick, and it will disarm only those kinds of creatures it has been trained to attack. You designate some item the subject holds or carries, and the animal will try to seize that item. If given no other instructions, the animal attempts to make the subject drop any weapon it holds.

If the animal uses a bite attack (or some other natural weapon that allows it to grasp an object), it winds up holding the target item in its mouth (or grasp) after a successful disarm.

Mark (DC 20): The animal moves toward a creature you designate and endeavors to stay near the creature no matter what it does or how it moves. The animal generally stays within 10 feet of the creature but keeps out of its reach. While performing this trick, the creature makes noise to help mark the foe's location.

If the animal also knows the seek trick, you can designate an area or direction for the animal to seek out foes that are attacking you. To identify a foe, the animal must see the creature attack you or use a spell or other magical effect with a visible manifestation in your direction. Otherwise the animal marks the first creature it encounters.

Overrun (DC 20): The animal attempts to overrun a designated creature, provided the animal is big enough to do so. If the animal has the trample special ability, it uses that ability against the creature if the animal is big enough to do so.

Train an Animal for a Purpose: Rather than teaching an animal individual tricks, you can train it for a general purpose. The following general purposes expand upon those presented on page 75 of the Player's Handbook.

Helpmate (DC 20): An animal helpmate serves you or a creature you designate, acting as a companion, guard, and assistant. It knows the tricks come, down, fetch, guard, heel, and stay. Training an animal to be a helpmate takes six weeks.

Herding (DC 20): The animal knows how to drive groups of other animals from place to place and how to keep individuals from wandering away from the herd. It knows the tricks come, down, guard, heel, mark, and seek. Training a herding animal takes six weeks.

Rescue (DC 15): The animal knows how to find and retrieve hurt or incapacitated creatures. It knows the tricks fetch, mark, seek, track, and work. Training a rescue animal takes five weeks.

Feats

This section contains a sampling of new feats from Races of the Wild that embody the strengths and abilities of the races of the wild. Some of the feats listed here are more appropriate for elves, halflings, raptorans, and the other races of the wild than they are for other races, but even characters of other races will find several intriguing options.

Able Sniper

You are accomplished at remaining unseen when you're sniping with a ranged weapon.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Hide 5 ranks.

Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on ranged attack rolls with a weapon made against flat-footed targets that are at least 30 feet away. In addition, you gain a +4 bonus on Hide checks made to hide again after you have made an attack roll while hiding (see page 76 of the Player's Handbook).

Aerial Superiority

You can use your flying ability to gain an advantage against landbound foes or airborne foes that you can outmaneuver.

Coordinated Strike

Benefit: While flying, you gain a +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class against opponents who cannot fly or have a lower maneuverability than you.

Coordinated Strike

You and your animal companion or special mount can coordinate your melee attacks to gain an advantage in combat.

Prerequisites: Handle Animal 5 ranks, animal companion class feature or special mount class feature.

Benefit: During any round in which your animal companion or special mount makes a melee attack, you gain a +1 competence bonus on your attack rolls against the same target.

Underfoot Combat

Underfoot Combat

You can enter the space that a foe at least two size categories bigger than you occupies.

Prerequisites: Small or smaller, Tumble 10 ranks.

Benefit: You can move into or through a square occupied by a creature at least two size categories larger than you. You do not provoke attacks of opportunity for doing so. While you are in a square occupied by a creature at least two size categories larger than you, you gain the benefit of soft cover (+4 bonus to AC) against all attacks, including those of the creature whose space you occupy.

Normal: Without this feat, you can move through squares occupied by a creature at least three size categories larger than you, or a creature three size categories smaller than you (or any creature, if you are Tiny or smaller).

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