Sometimes you just want to play as a Pixie. Well, maybe you don’t. But someone out there does. And while Tunnels & Trolls has always has Pixies as a core PC race, Basic RolePlaying games haven’t. Until now. So here’s my take on the Pixie as a playable race in BRP.
Pixies are small (6 inches – 2 feet tall), winged forest sprites who are often innately magical and occasionally take part in grand adventures, either as friends or foes. Most Pixies are shy, benign creatures who avoid humans and the other larger races outright. Some, though, can be malign tricksters or bold adventurers. When pressed into combat they will swarm their opponents, poking and slashing at them with tiny weapons that seldom result in more than a scratch on their own, but which can add up quite quickly. Some Pixies are even especially adept at attacking the more exposed and sensitive areas of larger opponents.
Pixies’ diminutive size and natural flying abilities make them very difficult to strike in melee and almost impossible to hit with missile weapons. And though their magical abilities are seldom of the directly harmful sort, they can often be used to confuse, mislead, and misdirect their foes.
Pixie, Winged Forest Sprites
STR 1d6+1 (4-5)
CON 3d6 (11-12)
SIZ 1d2 (1-2)
INT 2d6+6 (13)
POW 3d6+6 (16-17)
DEX 3d6+6 (16-17)
APP 2d6+6 (13)
MOV run-3, fly-6
Average HP: 7
Average Damage Bonus: -1d6
Armor: 1d4-1, Bark Armor & Acorn Helmets
Attacks: Spear or Sword 40%, damage 1d4+db
Skills: Dodge 75%, Fly 85%, Hide 65%, Language (Human) 35%, Language (Pixie) 65%, Listen 55%, Knowledge (Forest Lore) 45%, Sense 55%, Spot 55%, Stealth 65%, Track 35%
Powers: Pixies are almost always capable of at least a small amount of magic. Consequently, in most cases any individual Pixie should possess a minimum of 2-3 Sorcery or Magic spells, depending on which system is used in the game at hand. Spells that affect others’ perceptions are the most common kinds of magic known by Pixies. For Magic spells, skill levels will likely range between 45% and 65%.
Special: Pixies can fly via their natural wings. For game mechanics, refer to the Wings mutation on p. 110 of the BRP Big Gold Book. Pixies are treated as though they have the Major version of this mutation.
Some particularly martial Pixies may possess the Pixie-Fu (Martial Arts) skill, representing their ability to strike at less well-protected areas due to their size and maneuverability. Personally, I’d recommend allowing PC Pixies to have access to this skill during character creation (though I’d keep the maximum initial value for the skill on the low-end, say, 25% tops), to enhance their playability in combat-heavy settings.
My daughter’s playing a pixie currently–but in the Faery’s Tale Deluxe rule system, vs. BRP. They have a sort of free-form magic resource called ‘Pixie Dust’ that lets them do various effects, depending how much Essence (Magic Points/Hit Points) they want to invest.
Did you ever use the Defense system from BRP to simulate such hard to hit creatures? Or does it make more sense just to assign a high Dodge score?
Right on, daughter-lady! FTD sounds like a pretty interesting system, from what little I’ve picked up. Is it specifically designed for kids?
If I were statting up Pixies specifically as monsters I’d consider the Defense (Superpower) approach for sure. But since I was trying to keep these very specifically in the realm of the other main player character races I opted to go with the Dodge score.*
Something I didn’t note in the writeup (and probably should have) is the BGB Spot Rule regarding big vs. little targets (p. 215), which would result in penalties for most other characters & creatures to hit a Pixie and might, if you use the “simplified” option, grant Pixies a bonus to hit most foes.
Of course, as written they’re only going to produce damage 1/4 of the time (and even that won’t be much and could be absorbed by armor), so that bonus to hit won’t mean too much to any single Pixie. But if you get a half dozen or so swarming you, it could prove quite meaningful.
* One of my saddest realizations regarding BGB BRP is that they didn’t include the full-on points based character creation system that had been worked up during the playtest (I hear – I wasn’t involved in that at all). A system like that would make me far more inclined to assign superpowers-as-traits to specific races. And, if they’d managed to include that the we’d have wound up the moral equivalent of the 4th Edition Hero System Big Blue Book in the BGB. On that case I might actually think I’d died and gone to heaven.
FTD can be played by adults, but has special rules sections for playing with kids, and is dead simple (dice pools; even results count as successes). Starting characters can play a Pixie, Sprite, Brownie, or Pooka, but there’s more options, of course, depending on the GM.
Long, long ago, I played a “sprite” in a homebrewed game with some simplified BRP concepts, and did, indeed, have trouble causing damage. My character (Temuchin, who rode a grackle named Plecharque into battle) got around the problem by shooting needle-like arrows coated with paralyzing poison (milked, at great risk to Temuchin, from tarantulas). He still was effective in combat, and soaked up a lot of atacks by people trying to hit him.
It’s nice to hear about a simple system for playing with kids. I’ve got some good friends who could benefit from that for sure, so I’ll share the news!
D’oh! Poison! There’s another thing I left out of my writeup. Man, I’m pretty rusty at this point 🙂
Temuchin sounds like a fun (if a bit challenging) character to play. And the idea of riding a battle grackle made me grin like an idiot. I find grackles to be endlessly fascinating. But then, I’m kinda weird 🙂
We’re of same mind regarding grackles (if not gas giants). They make the weirdest “chirp” I’ve ever heard–like a woodwind instrument.
The only thing more fun than watching grackles is watching the feral quaker parrots we have here in Austin. There aren’t nearly as many of them, and they don’t hang out on the ground as much, but seeing them in flight is awesome.
But grackles… Oh, grackles. Have you ever see the Grackle con Cheeto painting? If not…
Thanks! I’m glad you dig it, BT. And welcome to the largely moribund Strange Stones, amigo!