Looking at the quickstart, i can notice how compared to the life-forms on warp shell the ones in alfheim seem a little “bland” and uninspired. while Xill in warp shell can cast a spell inatelly and reptiles have their own weapons, all of the life-forms on alfheilm just give stat bonuses. if you could give 1 ability or change one thing about each alfheim life-form to make it more interesting, what would it be?
Unique alfheim life-form abilities?
You could just run the Warp Shell life-forms in Alfheim, or transpose the Warp Shell abilities to Alfheim life-forms.
In fairness, I think many of us who have played ICRPG for a bit would recognize and agree that Warp Shell is simple a little more “gonzo” as an RPG setting than Alfheim is, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s simply the unique tone of each world. The innate mechanical abilities of some of the WS bio-forms have a flashy utility that trumps some Alfheim forms the same way a lot of the Warp Shell Starting Loot and Basic Loot can feel OP compared to their Alfheim analogues.
You can follow the sound advice of @rpgerminator and swap, remix, or reskin features of the Warp Shell into your Alfheim game, and the tone and table feel of your Alfheim sessions will change as a result.
As was explored pretty definitively in the lengthy Alfmarches campaign, Alfheim characters are actually pretty powerful as starting builds even under Master Edition RAW, and depending upon your GM style, the kind of adventures you run, the length of your campaign, and the industry of your players, they can become extremely formidable in relatively short order. In part because of the baked-in milestone and mastery progression and in part due to the nature of the magical loot available, the allegedly “flatter” Alfheim characters often experience a more dramatic sequence in mechanical character development than Warp Shell characters, who, from a certain point of view, start out with pretty amazing tech and generally just encounter more of it. This often translates to fun in the campaign.
Thus, if you’re playing more than one-shots, its useful to remain mindful of the character progression aspect of your ICRPG game when you are deciding how much Warp Shell to inject into your Alfheim session, as characters’ prospects for mechanical growth also contribute to the feel and tone of your successful campaign in ways less immediately apparent than the cool features PCs get out of the gate.
Do you have any ideas?
Ingenuity—Irrepressible humans frequently find themselves bested by the other races of Alfheim, but their indefatigable monkey brains always seem to grind out an inelegant in clutch situations to try to save the day. Once per session, human PCs can ask the GM for a hint, meta-elaboration, or retcon that could work in their favor when the going gets tough. Additionally, humans get +1 CHA when bullshitting any nonhumans.
Hardiness—Dwarven PCs roll EASY on CON saves and ALWAYS EASY on CON saves related to poisons and other toxic substances. Additionally, once per session, dwarves can shake off any lingering poison effect (like blindness or weakness) after suffering any commensurate HP damage.
Arcane Abilities—Elven PCs roll EASY on INT checks related to magical arcana and phenomena. With their innate magic resistance, (at their discretion) elves also roll EASY to resist magical effects such as fear, sleep, enfeeblement and enervation, and confusion. When casting INT spells, elves cast at a cost 1 point less than other spellcasters (minimum 1).
Natural Armor—A Torton PC can utilize Turtle Mode (ICRPG Core 2.0, p. 137).
Disengaging Action—In lieu of an attack, a goblin PC can spend an action to use STR, DEX, INT, or CHA as appropriate to create a distraction, play a dirty trick, feint, juke, or otherwise do something weird to prevent a specific CLOSE opponent from retaliating with a damage-dealing melee or magical attack on that opponent’s next turn. This ability affects only one opponent, can only be used once per round, and may not be used on consecutive rounds; ranged attacks on the goblin remain unaffected.
I have some homebrew species for my home game. It’s not exactly Alfheim, but it’s pretty close to vanilla fantasy. My kids really like elves and asked for more elf options.
+1 to any two stats
Perception checks are Easy
You never need sleep and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Perception checks are Easy
You can camouflage while stationary in natural settings
Perception checks are Easy
You start with one Int spell memorized. (No slot necessary)
Con saves are Easy.
Instead of 1+Con for taking a breath, you roll 1d4+Con
Once per session, you can reroll a roll with advantage
You can hide in surprisingly tight spaces
Can climb any surface they would be able to walk on.
Deal weapon damage with unarmed claw attacks.
I kinda like +1 to any 2 Stats/Effort. It’s bland, but flexible and powerful.
If wearing no Iron/Steel armor, use DEX instead of CON for Defense.
Innate Animal Friend (Roll WIS to find an animal companion suited to your environment)
It’s hard to beat EASY CON for a dwarf.
I also really like the idea @RPGhack had for 1d4+CON Recovery.
Maybe positive effects of GAR are doubled? That might be crazy
Add WIS to Stealth or ranged attack rolls
Anytime you consume a food item, gain an additional 1d4 Temporary HP. This stacks on top of your Max HP.
Use the DEF stat of any CLOSE ally. Or any ally between you and an ranged attacker.
On your turn, as an action, roll DEX and describe how what appeared to be a devastating attack was actually comical near-miss.
Rolls to create or mend devices are EASY. On a Nat 1 the device fails catastrophically.
Natural Shield, +2 DEF
SNAP, Bite a CLOSE enemy for ULT. There next attack against you is EASY.
Turtle Mode (see above)
Swimming rolls EASY
Move and act as normal while DYING.
While DYING, STR rolls are EASY, all Effort is ULTIMATE.
Any surface walkable
Armored Hide +2 DEF
Roll EASY DEF/resistance to cold.
If you succeed a Save against FEAR, allies NEAR succeed as well.
If I were gonna do this for reals, I’d probably design 3/5 abilities per Bioform, and then players can pick two on character creation. Additional Bioform abilities could make good Milestones too.
I just did a little brainstorming with a player to come up with some Bioform Abilities for a Slime PC.
We came up with…
Gear Devourer: Expend 1 HIT on an item to Recover with no roll. (Items have 3 hits, I allow all players to expend hits to add 1d6 to any roll)
Pseudopod Punch: On a successful unarmed attack, deal BASIC and GRAPPLE an opponent.
Resilient Form: Physical attacks against you only deal 1 point of damage. MAGIC healing does not effect you.
Squeeze: Roll CON to move through any opening larger than 1 inch. Gear not included.
We also talked about a potential weakness to fire/electricity.
He went with Gear Devourer and Pseudopod Punch for his character.
It’s not really abilities, but to make the bio-forms more interesting, I did this little thought experiment: Forms More Wonderous: Variations on Fantasy Bioforms
here are the bioforms I use for my homebrew fantasy world. The point was to make them not gamebreaking. Didn’t want people feel like they needed to pick X bioform to be the best magic user or the best warrior etc etc.
(Disclaimer we don’t play with the rule that CON adds to DEF and during character creation everyone picks 2 languages from 9 choices.)