I was thinking about this post: On monster species.
"So this is core to the idea of Dungeons and Dragons. A world of monsters, inspired by unique creatures in our own mythologies."
But instead of making a monster species I made a playable character race: the gollums.
Warning: gollums can be fun to play but they can slip into PvP.
(Also this like a first draft, this really need some simplifications)
Requirements: DEX 9, CON 9
Prime Requisite: DEX and CON
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 8
XP, saves and to hit: as halflings
Gollums are innocent but envious people possessed by a greedy entity. They are usually halflings or children who endured too much misery, they snapped and murdered someone to steal their Precious. Full of shame they run away and hide themselves into dark caves. Now they have their Precious, their best friend, they are never going to be alone again... While nurturing them, their Precious twist the gollums into wretched goblins. The Precious is like a hermit crab that inhabit precious and magical objects, it push it's gollum to find new treasures and magical object to inhabit. The Precious always want a new and prettier home. Now it push it's gollum out of the cave, toward a group of adventurers looking for riches. Why adventurers would put up with such a wretched creatures? Because they are good treasure hounds...
My Precious: gollums start with a random petty & useless magic item that they totally obsess over and venerate.
Not pretty enough: gollums don't use normal equipment, including weapons and armors, those are not pretty enough. They can use simple non-crafted tools like stone, clubs or torches but their Precious won't let them use anything else. If gollums are forced to use or wear something that their Precious don't approve, they sob and complain and suffer a penalty of 2 on all of their d20 rolls or tests. "It burn, it bite!"
Teeth & claws: gollums have needle like teeth and sharp claws that inflict d4 damage.
Low light vision: gollums see well in the dark, they halve any penalty due to darkness (or have infravision like a dwarf if you use infravision in your game).
Hide in shadows: gollums have an uncanny ability to disappear in the underdark. In caverns or other dark cover, gollums can hide on a roll of 1-5 on 1d6. They can also hide in the wilderness or behind other forms of cover on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6.
Always fiddling around: gollums are very curious and receive a bonus of 1 to find secret doors.
Stalkers: gollums are good at surprising their preys. When they are alone and hiding in shadows they inflict a penalty of 1 on their opponent surprise rolls.
Nasty backstabbers: gollums receive +2 to hit and a damage multiplier of x2 when backstabbing.
Ugly & pitiful: if they are not acting pitiful, gollums receive 2 points of penalty on reaction tests.
Loosing your Precious: when gollums loose their precious they gain a d4 hate die.
Their hate die grow by one step each day they rest without their precious. (d4, d6, d8, d10 and d12)
While directly trying to find back or retrieve their Precious, they can can add their hate die to any d20 roll they make or they can switch their hate die with any other die they roll (including damages rolls).
Each time they use their hate die, it shrink by one step.
While not actively trying to retrieve their precious, gollums receive a penalty of 2 to any d20 roll and a penalty of 1 to any other dice roll.
While they are not looking for their Precious, gollums will sob and complain all the time. If a player character trick them into believing that they are trying to find their Precious, the gollum will loose their penalties, but his hate die will gain a step if he find out he have been tricked, which can eventually be dangerous...
Hate die maximum step by levels:
- level 1-2: d6
- level 3-4: d8
- level 5-6: d10
- level 7-8: d12
Finding a new Precious: each time a gollum hold a treasure in his hands that is worth more than is precious in gold pieces, the treasure must make a reaction roll. On a good result, the Precious choose to move into the new treasure. On a bad reaction roll the Precious is jealous and want the item lost, abandoned or destroyed.
The gollum can also ask his Precious if it desire a new treasure not owned or claimed by a other player character. The gollum must be able to see the treasure to do so (the treasure make a reaction test as above). If the Precious desire the new treasure, the gollum receive +1 to all d20 rolls while trying to acquire it.
But if the gollum have lost his Precious, if anyone else (PC or NPC) find or own a new treasure, this new treasure must also make a reaction test. If the Precious decide to move into the new treasure, the gollum can now use his or her hate die to acquire it...
Treasure hound: the Precious always push the gollum toward new treasures. When entering a new location or area, a gollum have a chance of 1-2 on a d6 of being guided by their Precious toward the neared treasure (or a treasure of the GM choosing). The gollum can ask the the Precious if she is getting closer by playing a game of hot and cold. The Precious (the GM) only answer if the gollum is getting warmer or colder. A gollum can only follow one treasure trail at a time.
Holding the Precious in hostage: if someone else get hold of a gollum's Precious, he can order him or her around. The gollum will receive a hate die step for each order he choose to follow. But seeing someone else holding his Precious also cripple the gollum. to try to retrieve his or her precious by force the gollum must pass a saving throw vs paralysis (without using his hate die). If the save is failed the gollum's hate die grow by one step. The gollum must rest before mustering again the will to try to retrieve his or her Precious.
Hoarding gold and treasures: gollums never spend gold or treasures, they accumulate and hoard them into a nice place that become their lair. They often name and talk with the items of their hoard (naturally they usually talk about their Precious... )
Reaching level 8: when the gollum reach level 8, the Precious will lure him or her toward the lair of a other gollum. The gollum must steal the other gollum's Precious. Gollums can always use their hate die against other gollums.
If the gollum menage to hold both precious, the Precious will try to devour each other. From now on the vanquishing Precious will need a way bigger and better treasure to host it and it will push the gollum toward bigger and more dangerous hoard of treasures (Dragons, Liches, etc...).
Or... while reaching level 8 the gollum can choose to destroy the Precious to gain redemption, while doing so the Precious can use the hate die against him or her. If the gollum manage to destroy the Precious he or she will be free but will endure nasty withdrawal symptoms. (He or she must change class).
Dying: if the gollum die, the precious become a cursed item until it manage to tempt someone to murder for it to create a new gollum.