Faun (racial talent and feat)

Written by Matt Hoffman.

Fauns appeared as a PC race offering in the July issue of 13th Age Monthly Vol. 2 "Shades of Fey." Even though it explicitly says in the flavor text that fauns are not satyrs (nor related to them in any way), I came up with some add-ons to the race that let faun players pay homage to the satyrs of D&D lore (and get something cool in the process!)

Racial Talent: Hooves and Green Hair: Your connection to the magic of the forests earns you the services of a Wood Nymph (aka Dryad) from the "Nymphs" issue of 13th Age Monthly (Vol. 2, October). The Dryad has the same standard powers as a normal Dryad (not including the "Nastier Specials"), but is normal strength (rather than double-strength), is always one level lower than you, and has stats as a normal monster of the appropriate level. Explain how you came to befriend the Dryad, and why she's (or he's?) so loyal to you. The Dryad remains at your side until destroyed. (see notes, below)

Champion Feat: Your Dryad companion gains one of the "Nastier Specials" from her monster entry in the "Nymphs" issue of 13th Age Monthly. (i.e. Call Tree Friends, Entrancing Beauty and Woodland Grace) You may take this feat three times to get all three specials for your Dryad.

*Notes: In bulleted list form.

  • The name of the talent, "Hooves and Green Hair," references an old article from DRAGON #109 that presents two 1st Edition AD&D PC races: half-satyrs and half-dryads. Even though 13th Age dryads and fauns don't have the association with each other that satyrs and dryads do in D&D, the homage gave me the warm and fuzzies.
  • I originally drafted this as two linked Champion-tier feats, instead of a talent with modifying feat. Ultimately I decided that the ability to get a companion to pal around with you and cast Confusion spells on your enemies was probably worth more than just a feat. If I were going to tinker with the balance further, I would probably limit how often the Dryad could use its Willowy Words power (1/battle? 1/day? Recharge 16+?)
  • Necessarily, since the Dryad is travelling with your goat-legged player character, she's probably going to lose some of her special abilities that reference a protected domain or region. Suggestions follow:
    • Willowy Words: No longer gains the benefit of "Environmental Boost"
    • Tree Stride: You can probably still let the Dryad teleport from tree to tree, but limit it to 1/battle, and limit its range to being between a tree she can touch and a receiving tree she can see. (in effect, now it's a re-skinned version of the High Elf's Highblood Teleport racial power)
    • Nymph Powers: The Dryad companion is *not* "domain bound," but neither does she have the "limited immortality" of her sisters. (but also see below)
  • Regarding Dryad advancement, modify all of her stats to match a standard monster of the appropriate level (pg 254 of 13th Age rulebook), including changing the damage of her attacks to normal "strike damage."
  • The death of a Faun PC's Dryad companion could be the seed to a memorable adventure. Even though the slain companion doesn't have the limited immortality of other nymphs who remain bound to a domain, maybe your Faun learns of a way to restore a slain Dryad to life by taking her to a special druid grove -- or bringing her before the High Druid herself? Or maybe your Faun's dead Dryad can't come back to life, but the Faun is called upon to atone for having lost a Dryad that was entrusted to his care? (and, as a result of that atonement, a new Dryad offers to accompany him in the slain Dryad's place) The larger point here: don't just refund the player's talent and let him/her walk away from the dead Dryad. That sucks! Make the player do some work to show that the Dryad's life had meaning, and as a result there is some regrowth in the form of a new (or resurrected) Dryad companion. This is 13th Age: the story should always weigh more than the stat block.

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