Monday, January 21, 2013

Disney-Style Gargoyle Race-Class

One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled.
It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear.
It was the age of gargoyles.
Stone by day, warriors by night, we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect, frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years.
Now, here in Manhattan, the spell is broken, and we live again!
We are defenders of the night!

image source: digitaltofu at deviantart

This is a Gargoyles PC Race-Class suitable for use in OSR games (AD&D, LL, LotfP, etc). It is based on the 90s Disney TV show of the same name, which is fucking awesome and go watch it RIGHT NOW if you haven't already. 

You can scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how they fit specifically in to the Jammer Hearts universe, but they're designed to be used pretty much anywhere you like.

This is currently a draft: I welcome feedback, always! 

I also owe a debt to Robert Parker for his Fallarin race; I pretty much cribbed his flight rules wholesale. 

Requirements: STR 16, CON 12
Prime Requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 12

Experience Level Abilities Breath Weapon Poison/Death Petrify/Paralyze Wands Spells/Spell-like abilities
0 1 Fly 20ft, stone sleep, sharp claws, tough hide, ignore first 30 ft of fall damage 15 12 14 13 16
2750 2 15 12 14 13 16
5500 3
15 12 14 13 16
12000 4 Fly 40 ft; ignore 50 ft of fall damage if unburdened 13 10 12 11 14
24000 5
13 10 12 11 14
45000 6 13 10 12 11 14
95000 7
9 8 10 9 12
175000 8 fly 60 ft; ignore 70 ft of fall damage if unburdened  9 8 10 9 12
350000 9
9 8 10 9 12
700000 10 7 6 8 7 10
1050000 11
7 6 8 7 10
1400000 12 fly 80 ft; ignore all falling damage if unburdened  7 6 8 7 10

Gargoyles are tall humanoid creatures with wings, horns, fangs, and claws. They generally stand anywhere from 5 to 8 feet tall, with the average being around 6 feet 5 inches. They do not so much fly as glide very effectively, almost simulating flight. During the day, gargoyles turn into stone statues, which leaves them vulnerable; they can resist this for a time, but not for long. Though intelligent, they tend to live in small clans, and are not builders.

Gargoyle culture eschews the use of traditional weapons; a sharp claw and stout heart is all a true warrior should need. Furthermore, gargoyle claws are large and sharp, and not terribly suited to holding weapons.

Gargoyles CAN wear armor, but they prefer not to, as armor can severely impede their gliding abilities, and their natural armor is generally suitable. Furthermore, a gargoyle's unusual body type and the fact that their people are not generally craftsmen means that armor in their shape are hard to come by. A skilled blacksmith can reshape armor to suit a gargoyle, but it costs 2x the base cost of the armor.

Flight: Though they have powerful wings, gargoyles are still quite heavy and cannot fly for very long. They can only carry half their carrying capacity while in the air (including armor). As long as they are wearing chainmail or less, gargoyles ignore the first 30 ft of any fall and can move their speed horizontally while falling; if completely unburdened, this distance increases greatly, at about 20 feet per four levels. This ability does not function if the gargoyle is unconscious, paralyzed, or turned to stone. Furthermore, the gargoyle may fly up to 20 feet per four levels, but they must land at the end of their turn. Finally, flying (rather than gliding from a great height by using their ignore falling damage ability) is exhausting, and if a gargoyle does not take a full turn to rest after flight, each additional flight requires a save vs paralysis with a bonus to their roll equal to their Constitution score, or they fall prone.

Gargoyles cannot fly wearing anything heavier than half plate. If wearing chainmail, their flight distance is reduced by 10 feet; in half plate, by 20 feet. In chainmail, they can only ignore the first 30 feet of a fall regardless of level; in half-plate, they can only ignore 20 feet (eg, they can only glide that distance).

Sharp Claws: Gargoyle claws are natural weapons. A gargoyle can attack with both claws at +1 to hit; this attack deals 2d4 points of damage, but they need to use both hands to do so; that said, they're so quick that this counts as a single attack. A gargoyle can attack with a single claw to do 1d4 points of damage.

Tough Hide: Gargoyles naturally have AC 8 in descending / 12 in ascending. This armor does NOT stack with nonmagical wearable armor; ie, if a gargoyle puts on padded or leather armor, this will not make their armor better. Chainmail, half plate, and shields, however, do improve their armor. They still get any bonuses from dexterity, and any enchantments on armor still work for them.

Stone Sleep: The gargoyle's greatest weakness is that at dawn, they turn to stone, as per the flesh to stone spell, with no save. At dusk, they return to their flesh form, shattering a thin shell of stone off their bodies. This also applies to any objects the gargoyle carries (though not to living creatures it is holding). The gargoyle need not be exposed to sunlight for this to occur; even deep underground, a gargoyle is so in tune with the cycles of light and darkness that they turn to stone. This is even the case on worlds with extremely dim or almost invisible suns, such as Traverse. On worlds with perpetual night, gargoyles will still be subject to a cycle; instead of moving with the sun, however, they'll simply lock into an 8 hours stone / 16 hours flesh cycle that synchronizes with any other gargoyles nearby. While in this state, a gargoyle is especially vulnerable: if smashed or if vital organs are removed, the gargoyle will never revert to flesh form.

A gargoyle can resist turning to stone by making a constitution check every hour after sunrise. Each cumulative hour forces them to treat their constitution score as though it were 1 point lower (eg, a -1 penalty) until they either turn to stone or dusk arrives. If a gargoyle resists turning to stone for a full day, they begin to take penalties as per sleep deprivation (however that works in your game) until they take a full day's stone sleep.

They do have one minor advantage over others: stone sleep heals 1d4 + constitution modifier hit points naturally. Permanent damage, such as missing eyes or limbs, cannot be healed save by magical means.

Stone-to-Flesh spells can awaken a gargoyle, but they will have to make constitution checks every hour to stay flesh during the day. If Stone-to-Flesh is used repeatedly to keep a gargoyle flesh throughout the day, they will still begin to take penalties as per sleep deprivation (just as a human who had been woken repeatedly throughout the night would) 


Much as in the plot of the show, the gargoyles were an ancient race which by contract defended certain human clans. In ancient Scotland, one gargoyle clan was betrayed by their human charges, murdered while they slept in stone form in the sunlight. The six surviving members were cursed to remain stone even at night, until their castle rose above the clouds.

A thousand years later, an ambitious entrepreneur  technologist, and transhumanist, David Xanatos, sought to break the curse, placing the castle atop his enormous skyscraper, such that it rose "above the clouds," fulfilling the conditions and breaking the curse. The gargoyles' philosophy, however, was at odds with Xanatos' ambitions, and they fled with the aid of a human police officer, Elisa Maza. 

In Jammer Hearts, Demona, a mad gargoyle bent on the destruction of the human race, used the Heartless about seven years ago to destroy their homeworld. Now, most gargoyles find themselves refugees on the city-planet of Traverse. On the bright side, they've discovered that their clan were not the only surviving gargoyles -- many others, from Japan, Paris, London, Cairo, Moscow, Mexico City, Avalon, and other places across the planet, have found themselves wandering Traverse's streets. They have formed new lives, and some younger Gargoyles have grown up entirely in the shadow of Traverse's spires.