Nyambe Classes as Archetypes


Conversions


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After having owned the awesome Nyambe: African Adventures book for years I am finally going to get to put it to use as my campaign will finally be trekking to the lands of Nyambe-tanda.

I've converted the classes to archetypes and would love to get critiques/improvements to make them better. If Chris Dolunt happens to come along and offer his insight, more is the better.

(BTW, If you haven't taken a peek at this amazing tome from Atlas Games, you are missing out. So, to Mr Dolunt, thanks for your hard work. I have loved this book since it came out in the heydey of d20 in 2002.)

So without further ado, here are my attempts at making the classes into archetypes:

Nyamban Archetypes

Bard
Ngoma (Archetype)

Ngoma means “drummer” in Kordo. Ngoma are musicians, dancers, poets, and spellcasters. Even though ngoma invoke the powers of the orisha, ngoma are not true religious functionaries. Instead, they are “social” magicians, providing their services to members of the community for a modest fee.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A ngoma is proficient with all simple weapons. They are not proficient with any sort of armor, but are proficient in shields.
- Sanguar: Ngoma are proficient in the art of dodging, commonly known as sanguar and gain the Sanguar feat (Nyambe: African Adventures 86) as a bonus at 1st level.
- Spells: While a ngoma uses the bard spell list, she casts her spells as a divine caster.

Cleric
N’anga (Archetype)

N’anga are the priests of Nyamban societies. Though all people make sacrifices to the orisha, N’anga devote their entire lives to making the will of the spirits manifest amongst the community. N’anga are responsible for performing many public ritual including those for birth, coming of age, marriage, and death. N’anga do not form organized churches, though evil n’anga may come together in fiendish cults. Normally, being a n’anga is a hereditary occupation, and most are trained to assume their roles from childhood. Others come into the class later in life after having visions or encounters with powerful spirits. These “convert” n’anga often take their responsibilities more seriously than those who have inherited the “family business.”
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: N’anga are proficient in all simple weapons. They are not proficient in any sort of armor, but are proficient with shields. N’anga are also proficient with the favored weapon of their chosen orisha.
- Sanguar: N’anga are proficient in the art of dodging, commonly known as sanguar and gain the Sanguar feat (Nyambe: African Adventures 86) as a bonus at 1st level.
- Spells: N’anga is a divine caster who follows the ancestor, celestial, or fiendish orisha. The n’anga uses the normal cleric spell list—although she casts summon dragon (Nyambe: African Adventures 123) instead of summon monster.

Druid
Bangu (Archetype)

Very similar to the n’anga, the bangu also devote their lives to the orisha of Nyambe, however their focus is more on the natural world. They carry the same basic responsibilities as the n’anga, but the bangu, which means “skin” in Kordo, focus on non-humanoid things like animals, plants, and objects.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Bangu are proficient in all simple weapons. They are not proficient in any sort of armor, but are proficient with shields. Bangu are also proficient with the favored weapon of their chosen orisha. They are also proficient with all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form they assume with wild shape.
- Sanguar: Bangu are proficient in the art of dodging, commonly known as sanguar and gain the Sanguar feat (Nyambe: African Adventures 86) as a bonus at 1st level.
- Spells: A bangu is a divine caster who follows the elemental or natural orisha. The bangu uses the normal druid spell list—although he casts summon elemental (Nyambe: African Adventures 124) instead of summon nature’s ally.

Fighter
Gamba (Archetype)

Gamba are village warriors who place a greater emphasis on strength and toughness than any sort of formal training. These warriors are brute force combatants, relying on speed, strength, and power to make up for a lack of training. Gamba are raised in rural communities, and most join warrior societies upon initiation into adulthood. These organizations provide them with camaraderie and a minimal amount of combat training. Many gamba are only part-time warriors, spending the majority of their time herding or hunting, and only fighting when their community needs to be defended.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The gamba is proficient in the use of all simple and martial weapons, light armor, and shields.
- Fast Movement (Ex): The gamba has a speed faster than the norm for his race by +10 feet when wearing no armor or light armor (and not carrying a heavy load). This ability replaces Weapon Training.
- Sanguar: Gamba are proficient in the art of dodging, commonly known as sanguar and gain the Sanguar feat (Nyambe: African Adventures 86) as a bonus at 1st level. This ability replaces Armor Training.
- Damage Reduction (Ex): Starting at 10th level, the gamba gains the extraordinary ability to shrug off some amount of injury from each blow or attack gaining DR 1/—. At 13th level, this damage reduction rises to DR 2/—. At 16th, it rises to DR 3/—, and at 19th level it rises to DR 4/—.This ability replaces Armor Mastery.

Monk
Engolo (Archetype)

Engolo are masters of unarmed combat. The art of engolo originally started as Nuba, a ritual form of wrestling practiced by the competitive NaBula people. Over the centuries, others have expanded the art of engolo to include kick attacks, weapon training, and even ritual dancing. However, Nuba still lies at the core of engolo, and as such the art includes much wrestling, tumbling, and ground fighting. The engolo is a master of form, but lacks the ability to harness his ki.
- Alignment: The engolo must be of lawful alignment.
- Grab (Ex): At 3rd level, an engolo can initiate a grapple without provoking an attack of opportunity. The engolo receives a +4 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to start and maintain a grapple. This ability replaces Still Mind.
- Martial Arts Master (Ex): At 4th level, an engolo may use his monk level to qualify for feats with a fighter level prerequisite when those feats are applied to unarmed strikes or weapons with the monk special quality. This ability replaces Ki Pool.
- Sandai (Ex): Engolo train to musical accompaniment. This practice is known as sandai, and provides a +2 bonus to the engolo’s CMB at 4th level. To gain a bonus, the engolo must be listening to music played by someone with at least 3 ranks in the Perform skill. This bonus increases to +3 at 8th level, +4 at 12th level, and +5 at 16th level.
- Ground Fighting (Ex): At 5th level, an engolo suffers no AC or attack penalties for fighting while prone. This ability replaces High Jump.
- Extreme Endurance (Ex): At 5th level, an engolo gains immunity to fatigue. At 10th level, he also gains immunity to exhaustion. At 15th level, he gains immunity to stunning. At 20th level, he gains immunity to death effects and energy drain. This ability replaces Purity of Body, Diamond Body, and Perfect Self.
- Physical Resistance (Ex): At 7th level, if an engolo suffers any effect that causes ability damage, ability drain, or temporary ability score penalties, the effect is reduced by 1 point. This reduction increases by 1 for every three levels beyond 7th (to a maximum of 5 at 19th level). This ability replaces Wholeness of Body, Timeless Body, and Tongue of Sun and Moon.
- Immune to Nonlethal Damage (Ex): At 12th level, an engolo is tough enough to completely ignore nonlethal damage from physical attacks. Nonlethal damage from environmental sources (such as breathing smoke) or magical attacks still affect him normally. This ability replaces Abundant Step.
- Defensive Roll (Ex): At 13th level, an engolo may use the defensive roll advanced rogue talent (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 69) once per day, plus once per three levels beyond 13th (to a maximum of 3 times a day at 19th level). This ability replaces Diamond Soul.
- Quivering Palm: An engolo may use this ability one additional time per day per level above 15th, but may not have more than one in effect at a time.
- Greater Defensive Roll (Ex): At 19th level, an engolo suffers no damage on a successful defensive roll, and only half damage if the Reflex saving throw fails. This ability replaces Empty Body.

Ranger
Dembe (Archetype)

Dembe are “monster hunters,” gifted with supernatural powers to help them pursue and destroy their chosen foes. They are typically experts with ranged weapons such as spears and bows, and are unparalleled trackers.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dembe are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light armor and shields.
- Sanguar: Dembe are proficient in the art of dodging, commonly known as sanguar and gain the Sanguar feat (Nyambe: African Adventures 86) as a bonus at 1st level.

Rogue
Nanala (Archetype)

Nanala means “stealthy walker” in Kordo. The term is commonly applied to anyone who shows a tendency toward hiding, attacking from ambush, or any sort of deception. Most nanala are members of the lower classes. Nanala with larcenous inclinations are more likely to come from cities rather than rural areas, as their crimes are more likely to be discovered in small communities. Locks are uncommon in Nyambe, as are mechanical traps. As a result, nanala are more combat-oriented than rogues in other lands.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A nanala’s combat training focuses on weapons suitable for stealth and sneak attacks. Nanala are proficient with the sap, normal and composite shortbow, and all simple weapons. Nanala are not proficient in any sort of shield or armor.
- Sanguar: Nanala are proficient in the art of dodging, commonly known as sanguar and gain the Sanguar feat (Nyambe: African Adventures 86) as a bonus at 1st level. This ability replaces Trapfinding and Trap Sense.

Sorcerer
Sei (Archetype)

Sei means “witch” in Daka-kara. These spellcasters are mortals born with the blood of dragons, and they are the only individuals capable of using arcane magic in Nyambe without the aid of fiendish orisha. Sei display their powers at childhood without any sort of training or practice. Amongst the unthlatu, such powers are considered normal, but sei of other races may find themselves exiled from their own communities.
It is not known whether the Overpower smiles or frowns upon sei, and despite their role in the overthrow of the Kosa, sei are distrusted and even hunted in some lands.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Sei are proficient with all simple weapons. Sei are not proficient with any type of armor nor with shields. Armor interferes with a sei’s movements, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.
- Draconic Bloodline: Sei can trace the source of their magic to their heritage which grants them spells, bonus feats, and additional class skill, and other special abilities. All sei are descended from the dragons and therefore carry the draconic bloodline. At 1st level, the sei must select one of the chromatic or metallic dragon types and this choice cannot be changed. This ability replaces Bloodline.

Witch
Mganga (Archetype)

Mganga, also known as “witch doctors,” are spellcasters who specialize in fighting evil magic. Mganga are decidedly anti-social. Most live lives of seclusion, far from any settlements. People have little reason to interact with mganga unless they have been bewitched.
- Alignment: As an opponent of evil, the mganga must be non-evil in alignment.
- Create Gris-Gris (Ex): At 1st level, a mganga gains Create Gris-Gris (Nyambe: African Adventures 82) as a bonus feat. Gris-Gris are the Nyamban equivalent of scrolls.
- Mojuba Bags: A mganga must study her mojuba bags each day to prepare her spells. She cannot prepare any spell not encoded in her mojuba bags, except for read magic, which all mganga can prepare from memory. This ability replaces Witch’s Familiar.
- Familiar (Ex): At 2nd level, a mganga can summon a familiar. This familiar is like that of a wizard and is not required for her to prepare her spells. This ability replaces Witch’s Familiar.
- Ex-Mganga: Any mganga who changes to an evil alignment loses the ability to cast mganga spells, and can no longer advance in levels as a mganga. In addition, if she has a familiar, it turns against her and then leaves.

Wizard
Mchawi (Archetype)

Mchawi are wizards who have learned to steal magic from the Overpower through the aid of fiendish orisha. It takes a certain kind of person to sell his soul in exchange for arcane power. Mchawi can come from any occupation and social class, but what they all have in common is self-centeredness and an ego big enough to believe they can deal with the fiendish orisha and get away with it.
- Alignment: Most mchawi are evil, and as the majority pursue their own agendas rather than serve the orisha, they tend toward ethical neutrality rather than law or chaos.
- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Mchawi are proficient with the blowgun, dagger, punch dagger, dart, sickly, quarterstaff, whacking stick, and wrist knife. Mchawi are not proficient with any type of armor nor with shields. Armor interferes with a mchawi’s movements, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.
- Necromancy Specialization: Mchawi are all specialists in the school of necromancy and follow the arcane school rules as spelled out in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.
- Create Gris-Gris (Ex): At 1st level, a mchawi gains Create Gris-Gris (Nyambe: African Adventures 82) as a bonus feat. Gris-Gris are the Nyamban equivalent of scrolls. This ability replaces Scribe Scroll.
- Mojuba Bags: A mchawi must study their mojuba bags each day to prepare their spells. He cannot prepare any spell not encoded in his mojuba bags, except for read magic, which all mchawi can prepare from memory. The mojuba bags replace the normal wizard’s spellbooks.
- Fiendish Servant (Ex): At 3rd level, a mchawi can summon an animal, with the fiendish template (see Improved Familiar), that enhances the mchawi’s skills and senses and can aid him in magic. This ability replaces Arcane Bond.
- Damned Soul (Su): Mchawi of 5th level or higher no longer fear death. If slain, a mchawi is automatically reincarnated as if subject to the reincarnate spell, taking the form of a predatory animal with the barozi template (Nyambe: African Adventures 239). The mchawi cannot be restored from death by any other means, including powerful spells such as true resurrection or wish.
- Ex-Michawi: Any mchawi who changes to a good alignment loses the ability to cast mchawi spells, and can no longer advance in levels as a mchawi. In addition, if he has a fiendish servant, it turns against him and then leaves.


Nice Job! I have also been a fan of Nyambe for a while. When I was thinking about converting it to Pathfinder, I was thinking of how to alter the draconic bloodline to give sorcerers more options, based on the dragon lineage the player chooses.


Thanks. I cross-posted this to EN World and a person there suggested that the Gamba's Fast Movement wasn't a fair tradeoff for losing weapon training. And I think they are right. I'm thinking of just making that a bonus ability and leaving Weapon Training as is.

Any other critiques, suggestions??


I don´t have the book, but wouldn´t the fighter version work better as a barbarian archetype?


The book actually says there aren't any native barbarians in Nyambe. Rather than the "out of control rager" that the barbarian seems to be, the Gamba is presented almost more of a "rookie" or "barely trained" fighting man (or woman). At least that's the way I read it.


Ah, I see. Well, the fluff of a class is easy to reflavor (class and background need not be the same), and I thought barbarians in general have the right crunch for a less formally trained and more enthusiastic and brutish fighter. So who are the "weaponmaster" warriors in this setting that would normally be the fighters, or is there no such group?

I may need to check this book out when I have the chance, the setting sounds interesting.


They don't really have a weapon master class in Nyambe. I think the reason the author went with fighter rather than barbarian (and this is just conjecture on my part) is that there aren't the "berserker" analogs in African culture. And I may be WAY off on that as I don't profess to be an expert by any means.

And you should definitely check the book out. One of the absolute best from the d20 era. You can probably find it for pretty cheap.


BEAUTIFUL


Suggestion: Archetypes are supposed to make clear what's being traded off. So for the Ngoma, for example, I'd write the Sanguar ability as follows:

"Sanguar (Ex): Ngoma are proficient in the art of dodging, commonly known as sanguar, and gain the Sanguar feat (Nyambe: African Adventures 86) as a bonus at 1st level. This replaces the standard bard's light armor proficiency."

Doing things this way will help you see at a glance whether your archetypes are balances with the unmodified base classes.

I'd also recommend that, for classes where that's the only substitution going on, you either add other alternate class features, or else eliminate these archetypes altogether in favor of the general rule that armor proficiencies can be traded off for Sanguar.


Dotting.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Suggestion:

Good ideas. Let me play around with them a little now that the ice storms have passed and power is reliably back on.

Any other ideas, suggestions, improvements?

I'm also looking at updating the Nyamban races in the not too distant future as well.

Liberty's Edge

I'm digging this thread, and I agree with the idea that Nyambe's replacement classes should be treated as Archetypes rather then wholly new Classes.

That being said, was never a fan of the Mchawi (Always Evil Arcanist who steals power from the Overpower) concept. But that's mostly because I think there should be a less "Evil NPC Only" archetype alternative for Nyambe would-be Wizards.

I did like the exploration of the concept of the Magician as seen in the movie Yeelen (which I know from Brows Held High), where the Magician is mostly portrayed as a Artisan, mostly because the Bambara people are Animists who believe that inanimate objects have a dormant force that can be harnessed and unleashed by learned Artisans.

In Game Terms, this would mean a Wizard who doesn't use a written spellbook, but needs a unique focus for every spell.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It seems like the engolo should have some relationship with the brawler.


lonewolf23k wrote:
Mchawi stuff

I've been looking at the Mchawi over and over again and think changing the alignment restriction to "any non-good" makes it a more playable option. I still like the flavor of them being the only arcane casters in Nyambe, though.

RJGrady wrote:
Engolo stuff

You are correct sir. They do seem to have more in common with the brawler than the monk, however, I was trying to remain among the core classes as much as possible. That was my entire line of thinking.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

[QUOTE="BV210"
I've been looking at the Mchawi over and over again and think changing the alignment restriction to "any non-good" makes it a more playable option. I still like the flavor of them being the only arcane casters in Nyambe, though.

Well, they are the only local arcane tradition. There are foreign arcane casters in Nyambe, and they are usually assumed to be Mchawi.


You are correct. I should have said "the only native arcane casters in Nyambe".

Liberty's Edge

BV210 wrote:


I've been looking at the Mchawi over and over again and think changing the alignment restriction to "any non-good" makes it a more playable option. I still like the flavor of them being the only arcane casters in Nyambe, though.

Except for Sorcerors, who are well-regarded for their Draconic bloodline.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think the idea that other arcane traditions are rare and not well known is actually kind of cool. Many settings turn wizards into something fairly mundane. It's kind of cool to think that your wizard of the illusions school might be one of five practitioners of their tradition in the land.

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