Dragon: Playing Githzerai

Githzerai were in Monster Manual initially, but I ignored them since conceptually it was very difficult for me to envision such a character existing in the implied setting. These are a race of people that live in the Elemental Chaos and live in monasteries, right? Pretty narrow niche to inhabit, and since they really like beating on mind flayers (paragon tier monsters), they just never grokked with me.

Since then, 'zerai have made a re-debut in Dragon, appearing in Player's Handbook 3 as a fully realized racial option along with some thematic psionic classes like the monk. The monk has been released as a playtest, and along with the psion debut its made things a bit easier for me to create a logical githzerai character. The only problem? There place in the narrative.

Its easy for me to take githzerai and attach it to a class. The mechanics are fine. Its the where and fucking why that throws me for a loop. We've run a few delves and one-shot adventures, and in most cases I've rolled monk or psion to give it a whirl. In every instance I just picked a background that gave me a skill bonus I wanted, since none of them seemed to make much sense (for example in Eberron, I would often pick Breland since Sharn was supposed to be a cosmopolitan city, so it made as much sense as any other place). In the end it just felt like the fucking banana in Helm's Deep, just kind of...there. No rhyme or reason to it.

So, this article? Shit yes. This is one of the rare race-articles that has fluff that I actually care to read. Granted, the best part was the "Githzerai in Eberron" sidebar, but the rest has useful material that just needs a few name-changes for any campaign. It really helps put into perspective where they might exist in the natural world, and why they would worship deities at all. I think I got caught up in the notion that they exist on another plane (most of the time). There's even a lot of good content in there on connecting them to primal spirits, and along with a couple of feats you have some good incentive to build a githzerai druid or beastmaster ranger.

Speaking of feats, there are ten Heroic, six Paragon, and two Epic feats.

For a few freebies, I think that the one that will see a lot of use (mostly because I favor big-ass swords) is Githzerai Blade Master, which gives you proficiency in all military heavy blades, bastard sword, and fullblade, in addition to a +2 feat bonus to damage (and it increases up to +4 at epic tier).
Defenders can pick up Marked Fortunes (auto-mark every adjacent bad guy after using Shifting Fortunes to shift) and/or Marked With Iron (marking attack penalty is boosted by your Wis mod) to further add to their "stickyness".
Even shamans gets some love, as Shifting Spirit lets your spirit companion shift the same distance you do whenver you shift. Period.

Most of the paragon tier feats focus on more vanilla racial tropes, but Githzerai Healer lets targets of your healing powers make saves against certain conditions.
On the other hand, Tempered Iron Mind lets you activate iron mind as a free action, even if the attack misses.
Zuoken's Centering lets you use Wis instead of Con to determine healing surges per day, Wis mod for Strength checks and Athletics. Umm...I need to update my monk (zoom!).

The two epic tier feats are both based on iron mind, allowing you to change the damage type you deal to one that hit you, or letting you add your Dex mod to damage against an oath of enmity target after triggering it.

Aaand, we wrap things up with the storvakal paragon path. Whoo boy.

When you burn an action point, you get to make a save against every effect on you. At 11th-level you reduce penalties to attacks, skill checks, and ability checks. Finally, at level 16 you get a defense bonus against charm, fear, and psychic attacks.
Probability travel is a level 11 encounter that uses your highest ability modifier on the attack roll and affects a close blast 5 that only targets enemies. It deals psychic damage and teleports affected enemies, but also lets you teleport allies in the area of effect.
Wind of reprisal is a level 12 daily utility that forces an enemy to attack an ally if it misses you with a ranged attack, and lets you teleport. I think by its trigger (an enemy misses you with a ranged attack) that it should be an Immediate Reaction, instead.
Excoriating strands is a level 20 daily attackthat affects a close burst 2, only targets enemies, and also relies on whatever your highest ability score is for the attack. It sheers off all resistances and immunities that a target might have (save ends), and the attack always does full damage (it isnt affected by psychic resistance or insubstantial targets). It also has an aftereffect that does the same damn thing. So, great against elites and solos.

Damnit, I need to go update my psion, too...

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