Astomoi race is unplayable...


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So I have been reading the Bestiary 5 book and saw the race Astomoi and loved them, that is until I read the following caption.

“Telepathic Senses (Ex) Astomoi can’t speak or see, but can mentally sense the area within 60 feet, as per darkvision, and can speak telepathically. An astomoi can’t see anything beyond 60 feet. An astomoi must provide thought components for spells that normally require verbal components. It can use language-dependent abilities with its telepathy, but not abilities that depend on audible components.”

So this limited distance is not that big of an issue in most combats but in roleplaying it kind of different. For the most part the Astomoi world is only 60ft from them. They can never see the sun or the clouds nor can they see the stars. They are all too far away for them to see. This will affect long range classes and abilities from being useable, as well as navigation. Think about this, you could not sail a ship because it over 60 feet long or you can’t see the road is blocked up ahead because it out of your sight. Any flying creature who can reach you from farther the 60 feet you will never be able to attack back because your world does not exist that far away. Now one might be able to use blind fighting to resolve this but one must remember you can sense anything over 60ft away at all. It’s all guessing. A shortbow has a range of 60ft. you can’t even shot the full range of a long bow. Can’t see the castle is on fire before you get to the gate. Now I have not yet found anything that can extend this ability as many other races can see up to 20+perception skill*10. Now as a playable race this hinders them a lot. I can’t begin to imagine how a GM could use this in evil ways to toy with one’s character. So with such a limited ability how can one make this a playable race? Now if there is a correction or way around this please let me know.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It's in the Bestiary, just because it uses class levels doesn't mean it should be a player option.


If that's the case why have a section devoted to making it a playable race


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I expect that a Astomoi would need to have friends without this disability, perhaps be a member of some sort of group or party of adventurers.

I also expect that they would do better focusing on close in, rather than long range, options.

Scarab Sages

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I would think they would also become extremely likely to employ obscuing mist, darkness spells, or other options to block the sight of others while they can see through it normally.


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It's weird that there's zero background on them and their environment is "any land." They obviously couldn't survive against sighted enemies anywhere outside tunnel systems.

Silver Crusade

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Why would someone play a Oracle with the Blind Curse?

Why would someone play a character who is blind?

Many people do, and yet this race has even more leeway than them.


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It's like a clouded vision oracle, but starts off better. Playing one of those, I tasked a party member to relay out-of-range descriptions to me, and eventually picked up a familiar to take care of that.


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How would an entire society of blind people survive in a world where people with sight might want to take your stuff? They wouldn't.

So, yes, this is playable as a character, but it's nonsensical as a racial concept.


Oracles with the Blind curse aren't unplayable, they just have challenges that require a sighted party member's aid to easily overcome.
If you don't want to deal with a certain challenge, don't play that race/class, but I wouldn't say it's unplayable

(Also GMs aren't supposed to be evil, and those that are can screw with you regardless of your character selection)


This isn't much different then an Oracle with the Blind curse, and I can't recall anyone saying those were unplayable. They're weird and restrictive, yeah, but hardly unplayable.


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Slithery D wrote:

How would an entire society of blind people survive in a world where people with sight might want to take your stuff? They wouldn't.

So, yes, this is playable as a character, but it's nonsensical as a racial concept.

They're a very ascetic race, presumably in part for that reason. If they have no stuff, no-one is going to take it.


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Great! My one weakness (today), nonsense.

Silver Crusade

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captain yesterday wrote:
Great! My one weakness (today), nonsense.

Says the... *blinks* UNICORN!

*glomps*

Scarab Sages

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Slithery D wrote:

How would an entire society of blind people survive in a world where people with sight might want to take your stuff? They wouldn't.

So, yes, this is playable as a character, but it's nonsensical as a racial concept.

Because they can "see" just as well as sighted creatures in the right situation. If you are in a a dense forest where everything outside of 60 feet has total concealment, they can see as well as a human. If they are underground in complete darkness, they can see as well as a dwarf. Also note that they have a telepathy range of 100 feet, and can easily have a thought-relay system to communicate with others beyond the range of their "sight".


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This is actually no worse than the problems that an Oracle with the Clouded Vision curse would face. Having friends who can see farther than you can is an immense help -- and your senses actually work better than those of normal characters under some circumstances. Long ranged builds are unplayable, but melee and short range builds work just fine.


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They can still hear just fine, and I don't think there's any limitation on their sense of smell. It's like playing a character with darkvision of 60 ft in the dark. Make them a caster with Darkness to level the playing field, pick up some spells or abilities for additional senses, shapeshift into creatures with eyes, carry smoke sticks and smoke bombs, use large AoE spells, grab some blind fighting feats, get a familiar or other intelligent pet class option to act as a range-finder, boost movement to close gaps quickly, focus on summons/buffs/melee, rely on armor or miss chance rather than Dex, or stick to urban/underground/forest/dark settings where visibility would be limited anyway.

Seeing the sun or clouds is pleasant, but of limited use. Generally a large ship will have many crew members, and most jobs are fine for an astomoi. A burning castle is still noticeable without being able to see it.


huh, you'd think they would get a tradeoff for giving up long range perception, like a constant Sift effect or something in their 60' range.

But yeah, anyone with a ranged weapon could wipe out the whole race unless they have super crazy reflexes or some other defensive mechanism to make up for supernatural shortsightedness


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Ridiculon wrote:

huh, you'd think they would get a tradeoff for giving up long range perception, like a constant Sift effect or something in their 60' range.

But yeah, anyone with a ranged weapon could wipe out the whole race unless they have super crazy reflexes or some other defensive mechanism to make up for supernatural shortsightedness

Anyone with a ranged weapon could take out a lot of humans, or any other 0HD race with 1 commoner level. The ability to be a mass murderer isn't exactly restricted just because some people can see you coming

Silver Crusade

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captain yesterday wrote:
Rysky wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Great! My one weakness (today), nonsense.

Says the... *blinks* UNICORN!

*glomps*

I'm a Manicorn. :-)

Um, if you want, it's your horn.

*takes out file and gets to work on horn*


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Rysky wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Great! My one weakness (today), nonsense.

Says the... *blinks* UNICORN!

*glomps*

Unicorns were my one weakness yesterday.

Scarab Sages

captain yesterday wrote:
Rysky wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Great! My one weakness (today), nonsense.

Says the... *blinks* UNICORN!

*glomps*

Unicorns were my one weakness yesterday.

Wouldn't it be great if unicorns were real?...


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Who's out there committing astomoi genocide, anyway?
Some ranger who accidentally took humanoid (astomoi) as their favoured enemy and is trying to make it count?


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true, im just thinking of it from a (sort of) evolutionary standpoint. in a world where creatures with normal vision are evolving how did these guys survive? do they have other senses that make up for their limited "vision"? how did they travel long distances without astral navigation, what did they do if their few landmarks were destroyed? how do they prepare for weather if they literally cannot see it coming? Things like huge thunderstorms or tornadoes coming in on a sudden front could have wiped them out just as easily as a well coordinated bow volley.

It seems like a lot of this would be avoided if they lived only in tunnels. Keep in mind that I haven't seen the actual entry on these guys.


I'm game.


Renata Maclean wrote:

Who's out there committing astomoi genocide, anyway?

Some ranger who accidentally took humanoid (astomoi) as their favoured enemy and is trying to make it count?

not so much purposeful genocide as losing in the competition for resources


Many people here are commenting about how this is no different than playing clouded vision oracle, but I've yet to see the obvious link: play a clouded vision oracle with this race. You lose nothing (maybe ideal stats, I haven't looked at the race), and gain much.


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I call shenanigans on the "evolutionary" argument. There are animals with a few feet of vision at best. Solar navigation works fine with shadows, and there are lots of signs of bad weather other than looking at the sky.


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Ole rickety knee tells me when the weather starts to turning.

Silver Crusade

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Shiroi wrote:
Many people here are commenting about how this is no different than playing clouded vision oracle, but I've yet to see the obvious link: play a clouded vision oracle with this race. You lose nothing (maybe ideal stats, I haven't looked at the race), and gain much.

Ha!

Unfortunately I'm pretty sure you can't take that curse with them since they don't have any eyes to cloud.


There's a lot of ridiculous creatures that don't make a lot of sense from an evolutionary point of view, really. The racial vulnerability to disease could hurt possibly more than the "blindness", and no-one has any idea how these things even reproduce.

On the other hand, astomoi have no need to eat or drink, so have less need to compete for resources (although their constitution penalty probably doesn't help much for surviving in hostile environments otherwise)


They can also see with no light- big hunting advantage over humans, especially before fire.


QuidEst wrote:
I call shenanigans on the "evolutionary" argument. There are animals with a few feet of vision at best.

Do they walk around in the open? Do they try to use resources (iron, wood, water) that would also be useful to evil humanoid races?

Contributor

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Slithery D wrote:
It's weird that there's zero background on them and their environment is "any land." They obviously couldn't survive against sighted enemies anywhere outside tunnel systems.

They can see, its just not in the traditional sense. Their mental sense works like darkvision.


Renata Maclean wrote:

There's a lot of ridiculous creatures that don't make a lot of sense from an evolutionary point of view, really. The racial vulnerability to disease could hurt possibly more than the "blindness", and no-one has any idea how these things even reproduce.

On the other hand, astomoi have no need to eat or drink, so have less need to compete for resources (although their constitution penalty probably doesn't help much for surviving in hostile environments otherwise)

AH, see i didn't know that they dont eat or sleep that would definitely help. In that case the only other normal pressure, that i can think of, and im most certainly not an expert, would be just taking land that anyone else wants.

EDIT: Also yes there are plenty of other ridiculous (real life) creatures, but not all of them evolved as upright bipeds with advanced social structures/language in a place with other upright bipeds with advanced social structures/languages


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Rahod wrote:
If that's the case why have a section devoted to making it a playable race

Note that the section says "Astomoi Characters", NOT "Astomoi Player Characters". Since astomoi is a race without racial hit dice, any astomoi necessariliy needs class levels, and that section is there for the GM to be able to create any astomoi at all. That does not imply the race is intended, or even practical, as a race for player characters. The fact that this race is only found in a bestiary, not in a player-oriented book, is another indication that it is primarily intended to be used for NPCs.


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Alexander Augunas wrote:
Slithery D wrote:
It's weird that there's zero background on them and their environment is "any land." They obviously couldn't survive against sighted enemies anywhere outside tunnel systems.
They can see, its just not in the traditional sense. Their mental sense works like darkvision.

Right, and that's limited enough to get them killed by any enemies with traditional vision unless the environment limits their opponents in the same way (i.e. tunnels or always dark and no one has See in Darkness). It's not even just about ranged weapons, a group of astomoi walking across a plain or valley is completely at the mercy of a group who sees them coming from a kilometer (or ten) away and arranges an ambush with superior numbers or positioning.

10,000 humans can coordinate in a battle with visual cues like banners and everyone has situational awareness of what is going on and can independently do the right thing. 10,000 astomoi can try telepathic relays, I guess, but they can't actually see when the left wing collapses or look and grasp the size of the force encircling them, they just (at best) get relayed, disjointed reports of what someone saw within 60'.

They'd have zero chance against much smaller forces able to see and coordinate better. And that's find, they just need to live somewhere groups that can see can't take advantage of their huge advantage. That somewhere is not "Environment: Any land."


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Slithery D wrote:
They'd have zero chance against much smaller forces able to see and coordinate better. And that's find, they just need to live somewhere groups that can see can't take advantage of their huge advantage. That somewhere is not "Environment: Any land."

They would have a huge disadvantage during the day, but they would have nearly as much of an advantage at night.

They certainly are not the least likely creature that has ever been published.


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And surprisingly, Paizo did not invent these guys out of whole cloth.

See here.


oh, good catch on the greek thing. not that im saying that paizo's creatures are always sensible but these guys are a little bit ridiculous to have been made up so late in the history of the game


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By the way, "a-stomos" means "mouthless" in Ancient Greek.


I found them really interesting too, but it seems like they are only good for druids starting at a reasonably high level or another class granting enough polymorph abilities to stay in another shape most of the time.


If they don't have to eat, they make great employees (or slaves). Why can't they live in human communities and let humans be their long-range scouts? There's no reason why their armies would have to be astomoi-only.


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Who says they are a natural race? They could be the results of psychic experimentation by some long ago civilization, and the average Astomi village may include multiple 10+ level psychics.


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How very flavorful. I can imagine an entertaining PC who expresses that the world is created and destroyed around him as he "moves it". With such a limited range of perception, the idea of a persistent, massive world might not settle in, and instead such a person might imagine a scrolling sphere of reality around themselves with nothing but potential outside that area.

That all said, mechanically I wonder about the comment made earlier about obscuring mist. I'm not sure that would work as written due to the senses functioning "as darkvision". If it was basically blindsight, then this would be very cool. A close-range melee type would work reasonably, or even excellently. But if this functions as darkvision... the mechanical cost is very, very high.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There could also be facets of their technology or culture that make the difference.

Just like humans invented the spyglass, the Astomoi could have invented a device that lets them "focus" their thought-vision to see further away.

Or perhaps their culture naturally lends itself to producing a high number of Summoners or Spiritualists whose intelligent bonded companions act as "eyes" for them.

Or perhaps they are a rare and reclusive race living in small numbers in a tiny valley somewhere and have literally never met other humanoids. ...That scenario probably doesn't end well for them, though. :p

Anyway, lots of ways I can imagine making a really cool culture out of these guys.

PC wise, yeah, no worse than a clouded vision oracle. Heck, I had a friend who decided to play a fully blind oracle (I gave him some very short blindsight to make up for it) and that worked out okay.


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The goofiest thing about the race is that its vision functions "as darkvision" rather than anything else.

So despite the fact that they're blind and sense their surroundings telepathically, they can't see inside supernatural darkness or fog or foliage.

It's a missed opportunity to really give a race an alternate way of handling things. I don't think it'd be really broken either given how limiting that vision is otherwise and how the rest of the race doesn't really stand out that much.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, I definitely missed that on first read and that is rather silly. Especially how exactly supernatural darkness blocks "thought vision"... :/

I'd likely houserule it to functioning as blindsight; that's fairly powerful, but makes logical sense the way the ability is described.


My personal inclination is to make a more player-friendly version more like the classical astomi (hairy, having eyes), and make this version have blindsight but be specifically a little more powerful than is normally player-appropriate, since it is a psychic/ki-based alteration.

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