View Full Version : Feedback on Race Balance in homebrew setting

2006-04-13, 08:08 PM
I've recently been piecing together a new homebrew setting where I wanted to try and remove all the obvious tolkein inspired races and those pesky humans. However, I'm never very good at judging the balance of each race's mechanics, so any feedback on how balanced these races are would be fantastic.
I'll leave in the background and descriptions as well, so feel free to let me know your thoughts on them also. Of course, that sort of stuff is all very basic at the moment and needs a LOT of work.

Ilyasis - The Will of the Movers

Ilyasis is a land of strangely different races. Dominated by the sprawling populations of the Cilid species the other races do their best to survive in what the Sun Cilids see as their world. Meanwhile, on extradimensional planes, powerful outsiders known as the Movers have their own agenda, and carry out their will by gifting the mortal races with magic, but at a cost. In this age, the distances to the Movers' planes grow ever smaller and the Movers gain more and more power over the goings on in Ilyasis...

Supernatural Beings - The Movers:
The Movers are the sole source of magic within known existance. They seem to be able to give out various levels of magic based on their own power as well as using magic for their own means. They are commonly known as The Movers and can be grouped into three varieties.

The Eyora - Beings from the Eyoral Plane. More distant than the Myra. Have very vague forms and are all part of one order but it is unclear what their agenda is.
The Myra - Outsiders from the Myral Plane, who commonly make appearances on Ilyasis and make deals with mortals to carry out their wishes. Powerful individuals who differ greatly and have visible forms, often appearing as demons or strange creatures. Much conflict on the plane amongst themselves and hugely differing personalities.
The Kuln - Spirits who have no home Plane. Commonly "possess" animals and plants and live inside them until they die, before moving on. Are believed by many to simply not exist, because of their elusive nature compared to the Eyora and Myra.

Races of Ilyasis
(all races are Medium sized and have speeds of 30ft)

The most common race across Ilyasis that exist in various subraces. The most common are the Sun Cilids who live almost exclusively in cities in the desert. They appear similar to humans but with much smoother features, somewhat bulbous eyes and slightly reflective skin. They also stand hunched over and generally stand between five and a half and six feet. Instead of hair they have a fin that extends from their forehead back to their neck, the flap of skin is often coloured and hangs loosely. As well as this Cilids have two retractable, delicate, sail-like fins that run parallel down their backs. For common Cilids these are quite useless, but Noble Cilids use them as a sign of status and a display of all important beauty and good breeding. These fins are the dividing factor between which cilids attain Noble status, which permits breeding, and common status, where they are encouraged to go out and work. Within the common Cilids there is little to no distinction between males and females, as breeding is simply ruled out of their lives. This is accepted surprisingly readily, as it has been the way for as long as their records show.
Subraces: Sun Cilids, Steel Cilids, Green Cilids, Dry Cilids.

Sun Cilids: They are the dominant race across Ilyasis and live generally in large cities scattered across the desert. Almost every Common Sun Cilid will at one time be given military training or good schooling before serving their race however they can. However, the nobles, who are identified at birth by their bright colouration, are the only Cilids permitted to breed and live a life of luxury within the city. Birthings take place frequently, and spawns of up to fifty Cilids can be born at a time. These young are birthed into a ceremonial pool where they live until they climb out. From each birthing there will generally be around two or three nobles, who's fins feature beautiful patterns of combinations of red, orange, blue, purple or golden yellow. The common Cilids generally have a brown to yellow colouration and fin colours ranging from dull orange to pale yellows and reds. The race is overseen by a council composed of nobles. Each member secretly chooses a successor before he dies. The armies of the Sun Cilids are the most disciplined and tactically superior that are known of. In spite of their huge population Sun Cilids are frequently devestated by diseases, to which they have little resistance.
+2 to Diplomacy tests and Will saves
4 Bonus skill points at first level that must be spent on Knowledge skills
-2 to saves against poison, diseases or disease-like effects
May select one bonus feat at first level
Favoured Class: Fighter
Languages: Sundi

Steel Cilids: These are the most distinct of all the Cilid subraces. They stand a foot taller on average and are noticably much more heavily built as well as having more reflective scales, which gives them their name. They live in the cold tundra and have several settlements tunnelled into the mountains. They are well known for producing excellent swords. Other than the obvious differences they have a similar culture to Sun Cilids. Maintaining livestock in their tunnels means the Steel Cilids live a largely meat based diet. They have a strong pride in their culture and due to past conflicts with the Antha they can be standoffish with them. They have a good relationship with the Sun Cilids, who they trade weapons with for vital food.
+2 Str, -2 Int, -2 Cha
+2 to saving throws against cold damage and survival checks in cold climates
Favoured Class: Fighter
Languages: Sundi

Green Cilids: A subrace very similar to the Sun Cilids that have selectively bred a green colouration to suit their lives in the swamps and jungles where they make their homes. However, they are still looked down on by Sun Cilids who see them as weak for leaving the desert. Their culture is very similar to the Sun Cilids, although their towns tend to be sprawled out over the jungle, resulting in a less centralised rule, giving more freedom to their nobles. They have a great sense of tradition, especially in partaking in the same activities as the first Cilids who arrived in the jungle. These include hunting down jungle creatures and tree climbing.
+2 to Hide Checks whilst in a forest, swamp or jungle
+2 to all Climb Checks
Treated as having the Track feat
Favoured Class: Ranger
Languages: Sundi

Dry Cilids: These nomadic Cilids live in the harshest areas of the desert and have a society much different than Sun Cilids, despite being so close to them. They have no concept of class and instead live in small tribe-like groups. Their back fins are often removed at birth and there is a great variety of tribes, some of which have a deep resentment for their preceived arrogance of the Sun Cilids. Traditions and culture varies greatly from tribe to tribe, but most prefer a simple nomadic life of hunting and gathering.
+2 Dex, -2 Cha
+2 to all Heal and Survival checks
Favoured Class: Ranger
Languages: Sundi, Drytongue

Short stocky and have distinctive grey and red patched skin. Lack any hair on their body as well as noses and have a bony ridge forming a "corner" on each side of their heads. They have a natural knack for finding water in the dry desert. Ambitious as individuals but their society seems content in its sparsely spread population and lack of real power on a world scale. In Sun Cilid cities and armies, however, Dolants are a great asset, and this has lead to strong ties between the two races. Roughly half of the Dolant population live amongst the Sun Cilids. They are a patient, loyal and peaceful people but can make tough soldiers if the need arises.
They are the oldest race on the continent and stuggled with life in the desert before they were gifted with their watersense by the Eyora. They have no real concept of unification within their race and each small family tends to live under it's own rule. Individual Dolants are encouraged to look after themselves and go and do whatever makes them happy with their lives.
+2 Con, -2 Dex
+2 Bonus to Fortitude saves
Watersense (a Dolant can sense the location of the nearest source of water within 100 meters and the rough direction of a water source within two miles)
Dolants can survive without food and water for up to a week and may ignore the effects of heat exhaustion whilst in the desert
Favoured Class: Any
Languages: Sundi

Standing just over six feet tall on average these creatures are recognisable by their thick horns that curve over their heads and down the back of their necks as well as their proportionally long legs. They have somewhat humanlike bodies but are notably hairy, with wirey grey, white or brown hair covering most of their bodies from the neck downwards. They have angular faces with large eyes and broad feet and hands. Claim to have been created directly by the Movers, but which Movers exactly is a greatly disputed matter. A good deal of segregation within their culture around this belief. Breeding is completely segregated between the Upper and Pale Antha. This has lead to the Upper Antha being on the whole taller and broader and the Pale Antha inheritating a trait of white hair. They have a good deal of cultural pride, especially the Upper Antha, and their cities are often lively places celebrating festivals and holding contests of various types. An unusual tradition of the Pale Antha is the annual "Red Charge" where the antha cover themselves with red clothing and set out to hunt some large creature using a variety of primative weapons, working themselves up into a savage rage. This supposedly reminds them of the raw animal power within every Antha, but the exact origin of the tradition has become somewhat faded throughout the years.
Subraces: Upper Antha (Eyora Followers), Pale Antha (Myra Followers)
+2 Dex, -2 Int
+2 to Fortitude (Upper Antha) or Reflex (Pale Antha) Saves
All Antha are treated as having the Run feat
Favoured Class: Cleric (Upper Antha) or Barbarian (Pale Antha)
Languages: Sundi, Antha

Slender creatures with green, grey or brown carapace native to the eastern jungle island. Despite their appearance they are not overly fragile and their barbed exoskeleton is surprisingly tough. Their wide heads house a large mantis-like eye on each side and a small mouth with tiny, but sharp, teeth. They believe the ends justify the means in all situations and live their lives by this logic. They regularly interract with the Movers to try and ensure their own survival and further their causes. Form settlements around organisations and orders aiming towards a common goal. Very logical people, they usually live in small self-contained settlements or occasionally clear a large enough portion of the jungle to build a compact city.
+2 Int, -2 Wis, -2 Cha
+1 Natural Armour
+2 to all Will saving throws
+2 to all Spot Checks
Favoured Class: Mage
Languages: Sundi, Lycolt

Native to a nearly inhospitable ice island are this slightly built race that stand around five and a half feet. Their skin ranges from dark grey to brown and adaptability is their most proud feature. They see hardships as a challenge that they can work through and learn from. They have small eyes, pug noses and proportionally large mouths filled with sharp pointed teeth, which is a sign of their wholey meat based diet. They can happily eat raw meat straight off the bone and find the concept of eating vegetables disgusting. Their faces are often marked with white paints and their hair is long stringy and usually dark. Their bodies are wirey and agile. They enjoy travelling and their settlements' populations seem to be constantly changing, as it is rare for a Hanler to stay in one place for long. They are intrigued by most aspects of other Hanlers and other cultures as well as being quick learners. They are well known for their inexplainably loud voices, love for hunting and huge appetites.
Subraces: Hanlers (standard), Tunnelers
Gain one free bonus language
+2 to all Reflex saving throws
+4 skill points at first level and +1 at every following level
Favoured Class: Bard
Languages: Hanler, Sundi

Tunnelers: Broken off from the main race centuries ago to tunnel into the jagged mountains and since then have almost entirely shut themselves off from the rest of the world and developed pale skin along with large black eyes. Very secretive and stay out of the affairs of the rest of the world.
-2 Str, +2 Dex
Darkvision 60ft
Favoured Class: Ranger
Languages: Hanler, Tunneltongue

2006-04-13, 11:03 PM
im not exactly sure about comparitivly to eachother, but ALL of this is underpowered compared to regular DND races. And you need at least one small sized creature

2006-04-14, 06:26 AM
Ah. Well I might consider giving them all a bit of a boost, but I'd be interested to hear how anyone thinks they are balanced relative to eachother.

And is there some rule written in stone saying that I -need- to have a small player race? It was something I was trying to avoid for various reasons.

2006-04-14, 08:34 AM
Most are a bit weaker than the standard races as LON said. That not necessarily a problem though.

Lycolts' favoured class says mage, are you changing classes as well or do you mean wizard? If you allow standard wizards they are a bit overpowered for that class and need a drawback that actually matters to a wizard, like a con penality instead of wis and cha (both almost completely superfluous to a wizard), and the downsides of low wis are even more that equalized by +2 will and spot. +2int -2con and no other stat mods would work if you tone down the other goodies, or +2int -2con -2wis if you leave them.

Green Cilids are a bit too weak. The only thing they might be remotely good at is being wilderness rogue, ranger nullifies their free track. And even there a Dry Cilid is at least equally good IMO.

2006-04-14, 09:15 AM
Ah, yes, sorry, by Mage I mean Wizard. I just prefer to use the name Mage in my settings. I do agree with you on the Lycolts, I was struggling a little to try to make them something other than "the wizard race". I'll see what I can come up with, as I don't really want to force them into the "good wizards, weak fighters" pigeonhole. I'll try and come up with some sort of special disadvantage for them I think. Because of how I picture them I imagine them being completely unable to Swim or to learn how to. I don't suppose this would be a big enough disadvantage? How about limiting Lycolt Mages' spell selection somehow? Forcing them to choose one or two forbidden schools? This could be worked into their background somehow I'm sure.

And for the Green Cilids, I'll give them another look. Do you think giving them a "Treat as if they have X Feat" would balance them out somewhat? I'm thinking the Dodge feat would suit them well. However, this is just pigeonholing them more into the "Rogue Race" thing I'm trying to avoid. I'm hoping to give each race enough flavour that the players will pick them based off that rather than numbers but I still really want to avoid a situation where every Rogue is a Green Cilid and every Mage is a Lycolt.