Playing Chocobos (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Chocobos as Characters
Chocobos are special characters. They can be played, but the Dungeon Master needs to be careful handling them. There are three simple ways to incorporate chocobos into a campaign: commonplace, statistical impossibility, and liberal use of the awaken spell.
Chocobos do not need to be in a campaign, so why add them as characters? It makes a flavorful, interesting, and often humorous character. Chocobos are easy to play and fun to customize, besides being a unique character in almost any campaign from to get-go.
Chocobos are peculiar creatures. They have a race entry, like any other, but unlike other races, they shouldn't take normal classes designed for regular characters. Instead, they have their own classes, accessible only to chocobos that incorporate their unique abilities as a playable race. The base classes they can take are listing following.
- Choco-Warrior: A chocobo class made for melee and strength in combat.
- Choco-Thief: The equivalent of a rogue for chocobos, this class is just as versatile and twice as fun.
- Choco-Mage: Magic chocobos for the avian with an arcane bent.
- Choco-Priest: Through revering the divine power of nature, they are a sort of merge between druids and clerics.
- Psy-Cobo: Psionic chocobos for the flavor of psionics.
- Still under construction.
Part of playing chocobos may be choosing the color of your chocobos this requires use of the scaling races variant rule, which allows the color addition, a very powerful aspect of chocobos, to come later in the game.
Chocobos, as strange as it is playing mounts as character, need special armor to fit them and special weapons to wield. They use these just like any other character, but the equipment they can use is slightly different.
Chocobo have three natural attacks: Their beak, their claws, and their wings. The beak is their primary weapon, the claws their secondary, and the wings are tirtiary. Rather than light, one-handed, and two-handed, chocobo weapons are divided by what natural weapon they enhance: Beak, Claw, or Wing. Enhance meaning, in this case, that the weapon from any melee weapon used by a chocobo is added on top of the base damage for that natural weapon that it covers. This doesn't mean that more than one weapon can be used on a single body part, but that the body part's damage-dealing capabilities are improved by the addition of that single weapon.
For the purposes of feats like Weapon Finesse, Beak weapons count as light weapon, Claw weapons are one-handed, and wing weapon are two-handed. This is based off the ease with which such weapons are wielded by the chocobo.
Ranged weapons behave normally for chocobos.
For a list of weapons chocobos can use, click here
Chocobos wear barding. Depending on the setting, this barding costs as much as it does for a regular mount (×4), but some campaign setting might find chocobos adventuring or needing armor as war mounts more common, reducing the prices to about half normal barding (×2 medium humanoid armor cost). The commonality of armor is assumed in the list of chocobo armor. that follows. Most chocobo armor refelcts normal armor, but there may be some special armor unique to chocobos.
For a list of armor chocobos can use, click here
Most mundane equipment for a chocobo remains the same. However, some things just don't make sense for a chocobo, so there are replacements. The list of replacements for mundane equipment an be found here.
Chocobos don't wear boots, gloves, belts, and those sorts of things, so what is a poor bird to do? Change the item! Every magical item slot can be changed to fit a chocobo. Following is a short list of what each body slot on a chocobo can use as items.
- Head: It may look ridiculous, but birds can wear hats.
- Face: Riding bits, beak clamps (sort of "pince-nez" style), blinders, choco-lenses
- Throat(Neck): No change; birds can wear necklaces.
- Shoulders: Why change it, except to be a bird-mantle, covering one phalanx or a wing. I think it would look makestic.
- Body: Armor still fills this slot, but parade-style ceremonial garments might replace robes.
- Torso: Choco-vest
- Arms(Legs): Perhaps wrappings of some sort or leg-rings
- Hands(Wings): Feathers, clips
- Waist: Wrapped around the torso, buckling between the legs over the stomach and coming under the wings should work for any belt.
- Feet(Claws): Claw cladding, like boots for birds. Simple coverings with no sole.
- Ring: Claw rings
In the World
Chocobos need a reason to be aventuring. Birds don't form parties to explore the world.
To explain this, you may have to make a new setting, making smart chocobos a common race that interacts with every other race normally. In such a campaign, chocobos wouldn't appear as wild creatures, or would be rare as such and just be the feral kin of their more intelligent cousins. The Dungeon Master would have to decide whether to make the race of chocobo magical beasts with the augmented animal subtype to explain their intelligence, or just let their type remain animal.
Another way to incorporate chocobos would be to claim they are regular chocobos, but have been awakened into sentient creatures, automatically making them magical beasts with the augmented animal subtype.
Besides All This
Chocobos work like normal characters, except for everything described above. Enjoy playing them.