SYNTHETIC LIFE AND SORCERY!

PATHFINDER ANDROIDS IN 5E DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

One of the first things I need to come up with in order to run the Iron Gods adventure path are rules for playing Androids in 5E. Background information on Androids in Pathfinder’s Inner Sea setting can be found in Paizo’s Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sphere Bestiary, Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the Stars, and the Pathfinder Adventures Path #85: Fires of Creation (Iron Gods 1 of 6), and, in the interest of avoiding the wrath of Paizo’s lawyers, I won’t reproduce those here.

Pathfinder Android

The following are my draft rules for playing Androids in the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons game.

Android Traits                                                                                                                           

Your android character has certain traits stemming from their semi-artificial nature.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1, and your Intelligence score increases by 2.

Age. An androids body does not deteriorate, but an android’s cybernetic mind eventually shuts down and restarts itself after roughly a century.

Alignment. As with the humans they are patterned after, Androids tend towards no particular alignment.

Size. Androids stand 6 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds, on average. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Artificial Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.

Constructed Body. You count as both a construct and a humanoid for the purpose of effects targeting such creatures (such as the Charm Person spell, a Mace of Smiting, and a ranger’s favored enemy ability). You have advantage on saving throws against disease, fatigue, paralysis, poison, and being stunned.

Cybernetic Mind. You have difficulty processing your own emotions and understanding those of others. As a result, you suffer disadvantage when making Wisdom (Insight) checks, but you gain advantage on all saving throws against fear.

Darkvision. Your advanced artificially-designed eyes grant you superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.

Nanite Surge. Once per day, you can use a bonus action to add your Proficiency bonus to the result of one d20 roll. This can be done before or after making the d20 roll. When you use this ability, your circuitry-tattoos glow with light equivalent to that of a torch until the start of your next turn.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common.

DUNGEON MUSERS’ NOTES

As a starting point for my conversion of the Android race from PF to 5E, I looked to the 5E stats for Elves. Those two races already have several common abilities in PF, so I figured it would be a good starting point.

Several of the Android racial abilities seem quite powerful when compared to other 5E races (immunity to disease, fatigue, and fear and a significant bonus on a slew of useful saving throws), so I scaled back those immunities to having advantage on saving throws against those types of effects.

For the Android’s signature Nanite Surge ability, I was going to model it after the Guidance cantrip, but I am not a big fan of the randomness of a dice bonus. Further, in PF the Android’s Nanite Surge bonus scales with their character level and, while 5E’s bounded accuracy keeps bonuses on a fairly even level, I like the idea of that ability growing more powerful as the character does. In any event, there are precedents in 5E for using a doubled-up Proficiency bonus for certain abilities (the Expertise abilities of Bards and Rogues), so I figure that this is a design decision consistent with the 5E rules.

Finally, one thing I noticed in the 5E Dungeon Master’s Guide while I was writing up the Android race, is that, while there are no generic “Bane” weapons in 5E, there are several items that function as Bane weapons (the Dragon Slayer, Giant Slayer, Holy Avenger, and Mace of Disruption). These weapons seem to do an average of 2d6 extra damage and force a DC 15 save against some effect (the Giant Slayer knocks the target prone and the Mace of Disruption utterly destroys the target, if its hit points are 25 or less) or they do a flat 3d6 extra damage (the Dragon Slayer).

With these observations in mind, it seems that an intrepid DM inclined to create his or her own custom Bane-style weapons, could have them either do a flat 3d6 extra damage against “Bane” targets or do 2d6 extra damage and force a DC 15 save against some effect.

The following is an example of this type of magic item, appropriate for the Iron Gods adventure path:

EMP Sword
Weapon (sword), rare
You gain +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.

When you hit a robot or Android with it, the robot or Android takes an extra 2d6 slashing damage and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be restrained until the start of your next turn.

RESOURCEFUL RESKINNING

For those DMs who do not like getting Sci-Fi in their Fantasy games, these stats could still be used to represent a race of advanced golems or simulacra, or even a race of animated, human-like plant creatures.

For those DMs who are inclined to permit something along these lines, I present for your review the Stoneborn.

STONEBORN

The Stoneborn are a race of beings created by ancient primal magics. Born at the feet of ageless mountains, their name comes from the jagged shards of rock that appear to make up their bodies. The magic that animates them grants a kind of semi-life, with their bodies duplicating those of living beings in many ways. Despite their golem-like appearance, the Stoneborns’ bodies mimic the flexibility, shape, and density of human flesh and bone, and their organs roughly duplicate those of a human.

Fantasy Robot

Another distinction between the Stoneborn and golems is that they are living beings who possess unique souls. The bodies of the Stoneborn do not show signs of the passage of time, but after roughly a century, a Stoneborn’s soul departs and her body collapses into a heap of jagged stone.

Stoneborn Traits                                                                                                                       

Your Stoneborn character has certain traits stemming from their semi-golem nature.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1, and your Intelligence score increases by 2.

Age. A Stoneborn’s body does not deteriorate, but her soul eventually departs after roughly a century, leaving a pile of undifferentiated scree.

Alignment. Stoneborn tend towards no particular alignment.

Size. Stoneborn stand 6 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds, on average. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Ancient Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.

Mountain-born Body. You count as both a construct and a humanoid for the purpose of effects targeting such creatures (such as the Charm Person spell, a Mace of Smiting, and a ranger’s favored enemy ability). You have advantage on saving throws against disease, fatigue, paralysis, poison, and being stunned.

Primal Mind. You have difficulty processing your own emotions and understanding those of others. As a result, you suffer disadvantage when making Wisdom (Insight) checks, but you gain advantage on all saving throws against fear.

Darkvision. Your enchanted eyes grant you superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.

Earthblood Surge. Once per day, you can use a bonus action to add your Proficiency bonus to the result of one d20 roll. This can be done before or after making the d20 roll. When you use this ability, the gaps between the stones that make up your body glow with light equivalent to that of a torch until the start of your next turn.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common.

As for the EMP Sword, for a robot-free campaign, I would reskin that magic weapon as follows:

Golem-Bane Hammer
Weapon (hammer), rare
You gain +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.

When you hit a construct with it, the construct takes an extra 2d6 bludgeoning damage and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be restrained until the start of your next turn.

ANDROID ARE ONLINE

With draft stats done for the Android race, I am one important step towards running the Iron Gods Adventure Path using the 5th Edition D&D rules! Even if one of the players does not roll an Android character, I will get to see how these rules work with one of the key NPCs from the first Iron Gods adventure, once I start the conversion of those stats…

Until next time, I remain;

THE DUNGEON MUSER

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SYNTHETIC LIFE AND SORCERY!

4 thoughts on “SYNTHETIC LIFE AND SORCERY!

  1. […] So that just leaves Nanite Surge. Which seems fairly emblematic of the race, plus I like that it makes their creases glow. At first I was considering modeling it on the Hero Point mechanic found in the Dungeon Masters Guide. But I think I’m probably going to (I mean I would) use Hero Points as a campaign mechanic. While casting about for inspiration I came across this excellent blog where some kind soul is publishing his own Iron Gods -> 5th edition conversion. With not even the slightest trace of guilt I decided to use his proposed system for Nanite Surge: […]

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