Orc Custom Classes

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Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10
Orc Custom Classes

Hey ACKSers - Two recent threads, the first asking for the details of unarmed combat by monsters, and the second asking about the details of 0th level demi-humans, caught my eye. These threads made me realize that ACKS had not fully rationalized the humanoid monsters (such as orcs) with the class-and-level system that was employed by demi-humans.

 

In particular, when you try to integrate the monster characteristics from ACKS with the custom class rules from Player's Companion, annoying questions arise. The big three that I felt were unanswered were:

1. If the Monster fighting value is better than the Fighter fighting value, why don't monsters such as orcs or goblins get the fighter damage bonus?

2. If higher HD beastmen get a damage bonus from high strength, why aren't they getting an attack throw bonus to hit from high strength, too?

3. How can beastmen shamans and witch doctors have such a widely varying range of caster ability at the same flat HD value?

4. Why does it cost 3,000 xp to get to level 2 as an orc?

 

On one hand, questions like this are no big deal; monsters are monsters, and it's a virtue of the system that you don't need to design monsters tediously the way you do in D&D 3.5. On the other hand, I know that many of you really enjoy "peeking under the hood" and seeing a well-oiled machine that's tightly integrated. I certainly do. Here's an effort at offering that to you.

 

I can't pretend that the Orc Custom Class rules I'm about to share have always existed. The development of the Custom Class rules came way after the characteristics of humanoid monsters were first determined. I was, however, able to"reverse engineer" a an Orc racial value that rully rationalizes the system.

 

The Orc Custom Class rules here should be fully compatible with the Player's Companion and also be capable of producing all of the orc types (standard orc, orc champion, orc sub-chieftian, orc chieftain, orc shaman, and orc witch doctor). (Note that an orc champion is actually a level 2 orc with a bad hit point roll!)

 

Let me know what you think! If anyone wants to take a crack at the other humanoid races, feel free to do so in this thread.

 

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

 

Orc Custom Classes

Orcs are grotesque beastmen bred as warriors from men and wild boars by the ancient Zaharans. They stand just over 6’ tall, with pig-like faces, reddish eyes, and black hair. Orcs prefer wearing vivid colors that many humans would consider unpleasant, such as blood red, mustard yellow, yellow-green, and deep purple. Their equipment is dirty and unkempt, though serviceable. Orcs are primarily subterranean, but they are also nocturnal and may be found on the surface at night. Orcs are exceedingly cruel and delight in the torment and murder of others. They are also exceptionally greedy, which makes them particularly attractive to the chaotic rulers who hire orcs as mercenary soldiers.

Requirements

All orc classes require a minimum Strength 9 or better.

Class Category Values

Fighting: Orcs with broad and narrow weapon selections are limited to choosing from swords, spears, flails, axes, spears, polearms, short bows, and crossbows.  

Divine: Orcs may never allocate build points to the Divine category. See the Mystic Path orc custom power, however.

Arcane: Orcs may never allocate build points to the Arcane category. See the Mystic Path orc custom power, however.

Orc Value

When building an orc custom class, assign between 0 and 4 build points to the class’s Orc Value. At Orc 0, all orcs gain the following orc custom powers:

Value

Orc

XP Cost

4

Orc 4

2000

3

Orc 3

1750

2

Orc 2

1500

1

Orc 1

1250

0

Orc

1000

 

·         Bestial Tongues: All orcs speak their native tongue and two bonus languages, selected from the following list based on their tribe’s proximity to other beastmen and monsters: Bugbear, Draconic, Gnoll, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Ogre, Troll.

·         Fearsome Size: Orcs get larger as they advance in experience, growing approximately ½ inch of height and 10 lbs of muscle per level. When they have accumulated sufficient XP to be half-way to 2nd level, the orc gains a +1 bonus to damage rolls due to his size. At 4th level, the damage bonus is increase to +2 and the orc’s great size and strength grants a +2 morale bonus to orc henchmen, retainers, and followers. At 7th level, the damage bonus is increased to +3, and at 11th level it is increased to +4.

·         Mystic Path: When an orc gains a level of experience, he may choose to gain one level of arcane or divine spellcasting in lieu of all other benefits he would normally accrue from leveling (e.g. hit points, attack throws, saving throws, proficiencies, etc.) An orc may acquire a maximum of 4 arcane casting levels and/or 6 divine casting levels in this manner.

·         Subterranean: Orcs gains infravision to a range of 60’.  However, orcs suffer a penalty of -1 to attack throws when in sunlight.

·         Unempathic: Orcs suffer a -2 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of humans and demi-humans.

 

Additional points allocated to the Orc Value stack with points allocated to the Fighting Value for purposes of calculating the rate of improvement for attack throws, to a maximum of 4.

EXAMPLE: The standard orc warrior is built with Hit Dice 2, Fighting Value 1, Orc Value 2. The orc warrior’s attack throws increase as if his Fighting Value were (Fighting Value 1 + Orc Value 2 =) 3.

Experience Point Progression After 8th level

Unlike the experience point progression for human and demi-human classes, the experience points progression required to advance in Orc classes always continues to double, even after 8th level. 

 

todd
Joined: 2012-05-15 22:31

Does my math seem right?

If Orc 0 costs 1,000, then it is built on (1000/40), 25 custom powers?

"Bestial Tongues" is a slightly underpowered Bonus Languages, so we'll call that 1.

60' Infravision is usually 2 powers, but the penalty in sunlight is probably worth a 1 power discount (since a +1 to hit is worth one power).

Unempathic... Not sure if that should be a bonus, or really just flavor (especially since it's mostly cancelled out by 4th level). Let's say 0 custom powers for now.

Fearsome Size and Mystic Path are therefore 23 custom powers between them. Part of Fearsome Size is a damage bonus very much like the fighter damage bonus, and we know that is worth 2 custom powers (one for each melee and missile). The morale bonus is probably worth 2 custom powers (it's a big bonus, but it's gained at 4th level, mitigating it somewhat), slightly more if it were gained at 1st level (+1 in certain conditions is worth 1, so +2 in all conditions is probably worth about 3, maybe 4).

That accounts for 4 custom powers, bringing our remaining total down to 19. Mystic Path is pretty powerful, because it allows for a lot of versatility. And, well, because it's all that's left to make up the xp differential. So that must be a 19 custom power-power.

Carrying those same assumptions over to the Bugbear means BattleBorn is probably worth about 220 custom powers.

exedore6
Domains At War Backer
Joined: 2013-03-23 14:33

I'm not sure that's what's happening, I think Orc 2 is 1500 solely because if a player were transformed into an Orc, it'll take 3000 xp. 500 + 1000 + 1500. I think monster class conversions don't really work with the racial class build guidelines.

exedore6
Domains At War Backer
Joined: 2013-03-23 14:33

I'm not sure that's what's happening, I think Orc 2 is 1500 solely because if a player were transformed into an Orc, it'll take 3000 xp. 500 + 1000 + 1500. I think monster class conversions don't really work with the racial class build guidelines.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

 

Base Class (Orc Monsters)

Orc Warrior

Hit Dice 2, Fighting Value 1b, Orc Value 2.

Prime Requisite:  STR

Requirements:     STR 9

Hit Dice:                 1d8

Maximum Level:  11

Orc warriors served as frontline troops in the ancient Empyrean War. Bred for battle, orc warriors require little training, being born with an innate skill in the most savage of weapons. While not as poised or skilled as highly-trained fighters, their fearsome size and cruelty more than make up for it.

At first level, orc warriors hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. Orc warriors thereafter advance in attack throws by one point every level of experience (i.e. as monsters). They save as fighters. Orc warriors are trained to fight with battle axes, crossbows, flails, great axes, polearms, short bows, short swords, spears, swords, and two-handed swords. They may wear leather or lighter armor, and may wield a weapon and shield or a two-handed weapon.

Orc warriors grow to fearsome size as they advance in experience, gaining approximately ½ inch of height and 10 lbs of muscle per level. When they have accumulated sufficient XP to be half-way to 2nd level, the orc gains a +1 bonus to damage rolls due to his size. At 4th level, the damage bonus is increase to +2 and the orc’s great size and strength grants a +2 morale bonus to orc henchmen, retainers, and followers. At 7th level, the damage bonus is increased to +3, and at 11th level it is increased to +4.

Some orc warriors take a mystic path, serving their tribes as shamans or witch doctors. When an orc warrior gains a level of experience, he may choose to gain one level of arcane or divine spellcasting in lieu of all other benefits he would normally accrue from leveling (e.g. hit points, attack throws, saving throws, proficiencies, etc.) An orc warrior may acquire a maximum of 4 arcane casting levels and/or 6 divine casting levels in this manner.

 

Orcs are subterranean, and have infravision to a range of 60’.  However, years spent in darkness leave orcs suffering a penalty of -1 to attack throws when in sunlight. Orcs are innately cruel, with little empathy for others, a trait that gives them a -2 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of humans and demi-humans.

All orcs speak their native tongue and two bonus languages, selected from the following list based on their tribe’s proximity to other beastmen and monsters: Bugbear, Draconic, Gnoll, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Ogre, Troll.

 

James C. Bennett
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Joined: 2012-01-17 20:17

Great stuff!

Tywyll
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Joined: 2012-02-06 14:12

Awesome. How many picks is fearsome size worth?

YourSwordisMine
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Joined: 2012-03-12 09:41

Nicely done. It is nice to see how the Custom Classes work like this. Thanks.

My big stumbling block in trying to convert monsters to character classes has been the AC of the monster. I've been trying to convert the Bugbear, I am stymied by just how much AC their "shaggy hide" gives, and how to implement it for the Custom Classes.

moorcrys
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Joined: 2012-02-22 22:34

So cool Alex. Super flavorful and touches on an area players invariably want to experiment in.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

YourSwordIsMine, here is the data you're stymied by.

Bugbears (AC 4 and 2d4 damage)
+1 natural strength bonus, +3 natural armor bonus.
One-handed weapon (1d6) and shield

Dwarf (AC 5 and 1d8 damage)
Battle axe wielded two-handed (1d8) and banded plate armor

Elf (AC 4 and 1d8 damage)
Spear or sword wielded two-handed (1d8) and chain mail armor

Gnome (AC 4 and 1d6 damage)
One-handed weapon (1d6), shield, and scale armor

Gnoll (AC 4 and 2d4 damage)
+1 natural strength bonus, +1 natural armor bonus
One-handed weapon (1d6), shield, and leather armor

Goblin (AC 3 and 1d6 damage)
One-handed weapon (1d6), shield, and leather armor

Hill Giant (AC 5 and 2d8)
+5 natural strength bonus, +3 natural armor bonus
Spear wielded two-handed (1d8)

Hobgoblin (AC 3 and 1d8 damage)
Spear wielded two-handed (1d8) and scale armor

Kobold (AC 2 and 1d4)
-1 natural strength penalty
Small weapon wielded two-handed (1d6) and leather armor

Ogre (AC 4 and 1d10 damage)
+3 natural strength bonus, +3 natural armor bonus
Club (1d4), fur armor

Orc (AC 3 and 1d6 damage)
One-handed weapon, shield, and leather armor

Note #1: Damage bonuses are converted into dice by adding the bonus to the average die roll than mapping it to a new larger or smaller die.
1d4+3 = 1d10
1d6-1 = 1d4
1d6+1 = 2d4 (technically should be 1d8, but making it 2d4 differentiates it from using a medium weapon two-handed)
1d8+5 = 2d8

Note #2: Dwarves ane elves arguably should get a fighter damage bonus of +1 to their weapons. If you believe that should be the case (e.g. they aren't members of some slightly-less-than-elite class which has traded this damage bonus away), then their equipment load-out is:

Dwarf: One-handed weapon and shield, chainmail armor (AC4)
Elf: One-handed weapon and shield, lightweight chainmail armor (AC3)

Beastman
Joined: 2011-11-11 08:23

"Note #1: Damage bonuses are converted into dice by adding the bonus to the average die roll than mapping it to a new larger or smaller die...."

:-( do not understand. perhaps i'm wrong but:
1d4+3 = average roll 2.5 +3 = 5.5, so next higher die would be a d6 - ?
1d6-1 = average roll 3.5 -1 = 2.5, so next higher die would be d4 - ok
1d6+1 = average roll 3.5 +1 = 4.5, so next higher die would be d6 - ?
1d8+5 = average roll 4.5 +5 = 9.5, so next higher die would be d10 - ?

if mapping a die means mapping the average we have:

5.5 -> d10
2.5 -> d4
4.5 -> d8
9.5 -> 2d8

Ah, question answered by myself....*cough*

YourSwordisMine
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Joined: 2012-03-12 09:41

Alex,

Yes, thank you. That's exactly what I needed to know. That's kind of what I was thinking it would be, but I wasn't certain.

That "Mystic Path" power is a great way of doing the whole Shaman/Witch Doctor spread without having to create separate classes for each one. Very elegant.

One of the other issues I was having was what did extra ranks of a Race Value give. Having it add to the Fighter Value solves that problem for many monstrous races as well.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

 

Bugbear Custom Classes

These large, hairy beastmen were magically bred from hobgoblins and bears by the ancient Zaharans. They are quite strong and tough due to their bear lineage. Despite their bulk, they are deceptively stealthy.

Requirements

All bugbear classes require a minimum Strength 9 or better.

Class Category Values

Fighting: Bugbears with broad and narrow weapon selections are limited to choosing from the following weapons: battle axe, great axe, hand axe, javelin, morning star, short sword, spear, sword, two-handed sword, war hammer. 

Divine: Bugbears may never allocate build points to the Divine category. See the Mystic Path custom power, however.

Arcane: Bugbears may never allocate build points to the Arcane category. See the Mystic Path custom power, however.

Bugbear Value

When building a bugbear custom class, assign between 0 and 4 build points to the class’s Bugbear Value. At Bugbear 0, all bugbears gain the following orc custom powers:

Value

Bugbear

XP Cost

4

BB 4

11,000

3

BB 3

10,750

2

BB 2

10,500

1

BB 1

10,250

0

BB 0

10,000

 

·         Bestial Tongues: All bugbears speak their native tongue and two bonus languages, selected from the following list based on their tribe’s proximity to other beastmen and monsters: Draconic, Gnoll, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Orc, Ogre, Troll.

·         Battleborn: Bugbears begin play with 2d8+1 bonus hit dice (modified by CON). They deal +1 damage in combat due to their inherent strength. When calculating their attack throws on the Monster or Class Attack Throw tables, bugbears count as three levels greater than their actual level of experience. When calculating their saving throws, bugbears count as two levels greater than their actual level of experience.

·         Fearsome Size: Bugbears get larger as they advance in experience, growing approximately ½ inch of height and 10 lbs of muscle per level. When they reach 2nd level, the bugbear gains a +1 bonus to damage rolls due to his size. At 3rd level, the damage bonus is increase to +2. At 5th level, the damage bonus is increased to +3 and the bugbear’s great size and strength grants a +1 morale bonus to bugbear henchmen, retainers, and followers. At 8th level, the damage bonus is increased to +4, and at 12th  level it is increased to +5.

·         Mystic Path: When a bugbear gains a level of experience, he may choose to gain one level of arcane or divine spellcasting in lieu of all other benefits he would normally accrue from leveling (e.g. hit points, attack throws, saving throws, proficiencies, etc.) A bugbear may acquire a maximum of 4 arcane casting levels and/or 6 divine casting levels in this manner.

·         Naturally Stealthy: Opponents encountering bugbears suffer a -1 penalty to surprise rolls.

·         Shaggy Hide: Bugbears’ base unarmored AC is 2 instead of 0. However, bugbears may not wear human-sized armor due to their hide. Custom-made bugbear armor has quadruple normal cost.

·         Subterranean: Bugbears gains infravision to a range of 60’.  

·         Unempathic: Bugbears suffer a -2 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of humans and demi-humans.

 

Additional points allocated to the Bugbear Value stack with points allocated to the Fighting Value for purposes of calculating the rate of improvement for attack throws, to a maximum of 4.

EXAMPLE: The standard bugbear warrior is built with Hit Dice 2, Fighting Value 1, Bugbear Value 2. The bugbear warrior’s attack throws increase as if his Fighting Value were (Fighting Value 1 + Bugbear Value 2 =) 3.

Experience Point Progression After 8th level

Unlike the experience point progression for human and demi-human classes, the experience points progression required to advance in Bugbear classes always continues to double, even after 8th level. 

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

 

Base Class (Bugbear Monsters)

Bugbear Warrior

Hit Dice 2, Fighting Value 1b, Bugbear Value 2.

Prime Requisite:  STR

Requirements:     STR 9

Hit Dice:                 1d8 + 2d8+1 bonus HD at first level

Maximum Level:  11

Bugbear warriors served as elite commandos in the ancient Empyrean War. Bred for strength, toughness, and stealth, bugbears excel at nocturnal raids and close combat.

At first level, bugbear warriors hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 7+. Bugbear warriors thereafter advance in attack throws by one point every level of experience (i.e. as monsters). They save as fighters of two levels higher than their actual level of experience. Bugbear warriors are trained to fight with battle axes, hand axes, great axes, javelins, morning stars, spears, swords, two-handed swords, and war hammers. They may wield a weapon and shield, a two-handed weapon, or fight with two weapons. They may not wear any armor, but their shaggy hide provides a base unarmored AC of 2.

Bugbears are born to battle. At first level, they gain 2d8+1 bonus hit dice (modified by CON). They deal +1 damage in combat due to their inherent strength. Bugbears get larger as they advance in experience, growing approximately ½ inch of height and 10 lbs of muscle per level. When they reach 2nd level, their damage bonus is increased to +2. At 3rd level, the damage bonus is increase to +3. At 5th level, the damage bonus is increased to +4 and the bugbear’s great size and strength grants a +1 morale bonus to bugbear henchmen, retainers, and followers. At 8th level, the damage bonus is increased to +5.

Despite their size, bugbears are naturally stealthy. Opponents encountering bugbears suffer a -1 penalty to surprise rolls.

Some bugbear warriors take a mystic path, serving their tribes as shamans or witch doctors. When a bugbear warrior gains a level of experience, he may choose to gain one level of arcane or divine spellcasting in lieu of all other benefits he would normally accrue from leveling (e.g. hit points, attack throws, saving throws, proficiencies, etc.) A bugbear warrior may acquire a maximum of 4 arcane casting levels and/or 6 divine casting levels in this manner.

All bugbears are subterranean, and have infravision to a range of 60’.  Bugbears are innately cruel, with little empathy for others, a trait that gives them a -2 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of humans and demi-humans.

Bugbears speak their native tongue and two bonus languages, selected from the following list based on their tribe’s proximity to other beastmen and monsters: Draconic, Gnoll, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Ogre, Orc, or Troll.

 

 

 

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

OK, the Bugbear was a bit trickier because a baseline bugbear has 3+1 HD! I wanted to simultaneously reflect the fact that a bugbear of 3+1 HD is effectively a "1st level bugbear" while still ensuring that the bugbear XP was such that getting to the next HD (4+1) would cost 12,000XP.

Why 12,000XP? In ACKS Core I wrote that "A character transformed into a monster may increase in HD through adventuring. It requires 3,000xp plus 500xp per special ability (*) for a 1 HD monster to advance to 2 HD.  The amount of XP required doubels with each HD." (And monster XP does not stop doubling.)

That would imply:

  1. 0 XP
  2. 3000 XP
  3. 6000 XP
  4. 12,000 XP
  5. 24,000 XP
  6. 48,000 XP
  7. 96,000 XP
  8. 200,000 XP
  9. 400,000 XP
  10. 800,000 XP
  11. 1,600,000 XP
  12. 3,200,000 XP
  13. 6,400,000 XP
  14. 12,800,000 XP

So a bugbear with 3+1 HD to begin with would need to accumulate 12,000XP to gain another HD. You will note that the Bugbear XP curve in the class above matches this perfectly. A 1st level bugbear has 3+1 HD and needs 12,000 XP to reach 2nd level, etc. Note that a bugbear of higher than 7th level (10+1 HD) would be almost mythically rare, as that's effectively 14th level for a fighter.

 

The Butcher
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Joined: 2012-02-02 20:05

Thanks for posting this. Between those and the Hobgoblin Warchanter class hinted at in D@W, I'm looking forward to more monstruous mayhem!

CharlesDM
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Hello,

I created a Goblin Custom Classes to add to this thread, but I am unable to copy and paste from Word without losing all of the formatting of the Orc and Bugbear Custom Classes above. I tried the Plain text and Filtered HTML text formats, and tried re-saving my Word document as Filtered HTML.

The text is readable as plain text, but it would be nice to add to this thread in the same format as the prior entries. Any instruction is appreciated.

Thanks!

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

To make those posts, I used the Visual Editor and simply cut and paste directly from Word into the Forums.

Thomas Weigel
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Joined: 2012-06-20 11:57

Only administrators have the Visual Editor currently, and even there, it was removed as the default choice due to persistent bugs.

I could switch it over: I am not aware of any security issues with the Visual Editor or the CKEditor it's built on.

bobloblah
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Joined: 2013-03-22 16:16

Is the quote bug the root cause for text formatting no longer working (as in: you turned it off)?

Thomas Weigel
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Joined: 2012-06-20 11:57

Nope, entirely different bugs :-).

Thomas Weigel
Thomas Weigel's picture
Joined: 2012-06-20 11:57

bobloblah: Just realized you might have been talking about a different kind of formating. Here are the issues I'm aware of:

1. If you look at below the comment textfield, just above the "Save" and "Preview" buttons, there is a pulldown menu that says "Text format: Plain text". For normal formating for this site, you want "Filtered HTML".

2. "Visual Editor" is another format, but I didn't turn it off: it's NEVER been available to anyone but administrators/editors. It has some interface bugs, like making text smaller without being told to (and not being able to change the text back!).

3. Quoting is a filter that can apply to any of the other filters. It's broken in all of them, and borks the site in ways that are a pain to fix.

bobloblah
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Joined: 2013-03-22 16:16

Thanks! I hadn't

noticed

the

  • pull-down
Waegdaeg
Sinister Stone of Sakkara Backer
Joined: 2013-11-24 12:26

Restore life and limb on thread!

This really interested me, as I have designs on a beastman campaign, though I had a couple questions. For the divine mystic path is it cleric caster levels (ie: no spells till divine 2?) would turn undead/Divine class restrictions come into play at that time (such as the cleric's weapon restrictions?)

Secondly what would a gnoll custom race look like? from this thread something like this?

fearsome size (3 powers?)
unempathetic (0 powers)
Bestial tongues (1 power)
mystic path (??? powers)
natural AC of 1 (1 power)